Modern Governance 
In the coming weeks, AIHA members will be asked to vote on a pair of proposed amendments to our bylaws. The first amendment reflects recommended changes to the current Local Sections Council, which represents AIHA’s local sections in our governance structure. The second amendment would modernize the way AIHA elects officers for the Board of Directors. Cindy Ostrowski, my predecessor as AIHA president, provided insight on these issues in her contributions to The Synergist. With the ballot scheduled to open soon, I’d like to revisit the amendments and provide further clarification.

LOCAL SECTIONS GOVERNANCE  The first proposed amendment stems from recommendations made by a task force convened in the autumn of 2018 to explore ways to build a stronger relationship between AIHA national and local sections. The task force recommended disbanding the Local Section Regional Representatives network and transitioning the Local Sections Council into a new Local Sections Advisory Group, or LSAG. Both recommendations are consistent with trends in nonprofit governance, which is moving away from large assemblies of volunteers for oversight purposes and toward smaller, nimbler structures.   The LSAG would comprise member representatives from local sections—including students—selected by local section officers, as well as Board and staff liaisons. The inclusion of students is a key improvement, granting students direct access to the Board. Students had no representation on the Local Sections Council. To allow maximum flexibility, the proposed amendment does not require the LSAG to comprise a specific number of representatives.   ELECTION OF AIHA OFFICERS  The proposed change to the election of AIHA officers would institute a “single-candidate slate” for the offices of vice president, treasurer-elect, and secretary-elect. The single-candidate slate is increasingly common among associations. A forthcoming study from the American Society of Association Executives shows that more than half of surveyed associations do not pit one candidate against another in contested elections.

The best reason for adopting a single-candidate slate is that it helps ensure a diversity of skills and professional experience on the Board.
KATHLEEN S. MURPHY, CIH, is AIHA president and director of Global Regulatory Affairs at Sherwin Williams in Cleveland, Ohio.

The best reason for adopting a single-candidate slate is that it helps ensure a diversity of skills and professional experience on the Board. For example, if the Board has a strong need for someone with a particular skill, or if a new specialty area emerges within the IH profession that isn’t represented on the Board, the single-candidate slate increases the chances that someone with the needed skill or background will be elected. Under the current system of competitive elections, our Nominating Committee must try to find not one but two candidates with the appropriate skill or background to ensure the Board gets what it needs to be successful.  Under the proposed amendment, the Nominating Committee would select one candidate for secretary-elect (or treasurer-elect in alternating years) and one candidate for vice-president. Officer candidates recommended by the Nominating Committee would be reviewed and ratified by the Board, followed by a ratification ballot by the general membership. AIHA would continue to allow for “write-in” candidates for inclusion on the ballot if they receive 200 signatures in the allotted timeframe noted in the bylaws.  The proposed amendment would not change the election of at-large directors: these positions would continue to be filled through competitive elections between two candidates.  AN ENGAGED MEMBERSHIP  AIHA is fortunate to have an engaged membership that takes ownership of our association and participates in elections. Approximately 30 percent of AIHA members vote every year, higher than most associations. I hope that trend continues with this summer’s ballot and that all members weigh in on the proposed changes.