After listening to Jan Scott’s interview of Faye on Waiheke Radio, I was struck by the claim that due to time pressure, Faye had undertaken to create portfolios and divvy them up, as well as simply write in the obvious- that she and Jo, being the de facto power couple, would share the top seats. All of this rushed business was ostensibly necessary to fulfill council’s mandate for the local board to “hit the ground and running” (sic). After speaking with Anna Bray, Stewardship Manager at ACC, I discovered that no such mandate exists. The boards were asked to start to “have a think” about role allocations. There is a big difference between starting a conversation about roles and completing the process in less than 3 days. Faye gave the example of one local board that met for long hours into the night because they took the mandate so seriously. That is laudable, unless those hours were spent without the entire board present for such an important discussion and process. And of course we don’t know that the board did more than start the conversation.
How is this board going to work? That is the question on my mind. Before making final decisions, this board needs to spend the time to hash things out, not rubber stamp role allocations hastily devised and allocated.
It would seem advisable for all concerned to simply scrap anything that has gone on so far and start from a clean slate.
The following are just the beginnings of questions to answer about the process board members engaged in or plan to engage in.
What actions has each board member undertaken to demonstrate willingness to consult among all 5 board members- this is an easily verifiable question- how many informal gatherings which include all 5 to get acquainted, how many formal gatherings?
How many times have the 2 people who have voiced interest in being chairpersons met and discussed possible mutually accceptable solutions?
How many board members have submitted suggestions for portfolios?
Has there been an opportunity for all board members to gather together to brainstorm possibilities?
What may have been appropriate portfolios for a community board, may or may not be suitable for the expanded responsibilities of this new board, and new portfolios may be required- that truly is a daunting task, not for one person, and not to be sorted in a 5 minute tabling motion. This is not community board 2, this is a whole new game.
Regarding criteria for selecting chair and deputy chair-
Has there been a discussion amongst the group of 5 to brainstorm and select the criteria that all agree are pertinent? Has there then been a fair process of applying that criteria to all interested candidates?
What actions and processes has the local board devised to operate in a fair and transparent manner?
This way we can know how to evaluate whether board members are living up to their stated goals of effective leadership.
Judging by just these first questions, it is obvious that the board members have many meetings in front of them, formal and informal, to address all of these issues and come up with a high quality result.