The recent addition of the nominations committee to ESIP processes has been a positive development for ESIP. It has helped both identify and empower quality candidates for the important offices within ESIP. Nonetheless, it is often challenging to identify quality candidates for positions.
As a result of working through the process, the committee has identified two issues which unduly restrict the choice of candidates:
- Candidates for the positions must be the designated representative of the member organization (per bylaws); and
- ESIP members who are Federal employees cannot serve in senior positions (we need to clarify if it’s just VP and Pres.)
The nominations committee makes the following suggestions to address these issues:
- ESIP should clarify in its bylaws who is eligible to serve as officers.
- In practice, we have not followed the bylaws to the letter in this regard, only ensuring that candidates are at least at a member institution. However, it has often been a question, and as it stands would severely limit the candidate pool. Many potential candidates have have asked about it.
- Standing committee chairs should not be required to be the formal member representative. We want to encourage strong and diverse community engagement in these positions.
- Executive committee chairs for finance and for partnership might still be required to be the formal representative. If so, it should be clear in the bylaws what positions, if any, should be required to be held by the organizational representative.
- For positions that do require the nominee to be the formal representative (if any), a step could be introduced whereby the organization is asked whether they would be interested in changing their representative so that they can become a nominee.
- The Executive Committee and Board should work with Type IV representatives to explore developing a conflict of interest policy that allows Federal employees to serve as Officers within ESIP (although not necessarily on the Foundation Board). It should be recognized that these positions are elected by and are accountable to the entire membership and are not in a position to promote any one agency’s agenda. Furthermore, the current policy eliminates many very well qualified and willing candidates.
The nominations committee understands that some of these issues might still be in flux with the changing relationship between the Federation and the Foundation.
The nominations committee also wishes to document tools and resources that might be useful in developing a strong candidate pool:
- Current list of active ESIP members, with Types and designated representatives
- Current committee mailing list memberships
- If possible, a list of Webex attendance and/or business meeting attendance, or an indication of how "active" some members are
- Solicitation of suggestions from the current Chair and/or co-chair of the committee
- Direct solicitation to committee mailing lists
An additional concern of the nominations committee relates to serving on the committee itself. The members of the committee have been well chosen from the breadth of ESIP membership, and that should continue to guide the composition of the committee. However, while it has not yet been an issue, guidelines for committee membership include excluding members from being nominees themselves. The committee would like to suggest going forward that if a member of the nominations committee is nominated for a position and is willing to accept that nomination, that he or she recuse themselves from any discussion for that nominated position.