Revisiting the Single-Candidate Slate

Last year, the Board of Directors considered proposing a change to the AIHA bylaws that would have modified the nomination process for officer positions (but not for directors-at-large). The process under consideration called for the Nominating Committee to propose single-candidate slates for vice president, secretary, and treasurer. These candidates would appear unopposed on the election ballot, but members would have the option to write in a candidate of their choice.

This process would have solved a recurring problem: the shortage of qualified candidates willing to run for office. However, a few members expressed concerns that the process would not be democratic, so the Board agreed to delay bringing this change before the membership.  WHY SINGLE-CANDIDATE SLATES? A 2017 study of 341 associations conducted by the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) indicated that 48 percent currently use single-candidate slates for board positions. One reason these associations favor single-candidate slates is that qualified people who lose an election tend not to be willing to run again. There is also concern that nominating committees may “force-select” candidates based on who they would like to win.
CYNTHIA A. OSTROWSKI, CIH, is AIHA president and owner of CAO Consulting near Detroit, Mich. She can be reached via email.