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Electing a Member of the ACBL Board of Directors
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If the governor or US senator of your state were elected by volunteers from a few Neighborhood Improvement groups, would you expect the governor of US senator to address Big Issues such as creating better health care for the state’s citizens (or, even, the country’s citizens), or producing a business climate that attracts jobs to the state (or, even, the country)?  Or would you expect the governor or US senator to address Littler Issues such as producing more local parking places and beautifying the local park?  My bet is with the latter, where the Big Issues fail to attract attention of the state’s governor or US senator.

Do ACBL election procedures – whereby each of the 25 members of the BOD is elected by board members of individual units – match the example of having the governor or US senator elected by volunteers for the Neighborhood Improvement groups?

Well, I have received my online ballot for election of my unit’s board of directors.  Let me start by applauding the candidates for their volunteerism.  They have chosen to spend their time on lots of meeting and work time for no remuneration; and I have not. 

Only one candidate has run for each of the four unit officer positions; only one of those four chose to link a statement to the list of their candidacy that is included on the unit website.  The seven unit board member positions drew eight candidates.  Six of the eight candidates have chosen to link a statement to the list of their candidacy.  Let’s examine the six statements, to try to evaluate what issues the candidates have chosen to highlight to the unit members who elect them.  I will exclude the portions of the statements that describe the bridge successes (playing, directing, mentoring) and work and educational backgrounds of the candidates to focus on the portions of the statements that describe their goals for bridge: 

  1. Confident of making valuable contributions to the community.
  2. Looking forward to making our tournaments and club games more warm, friendly and fun.
  3. Want to increase membership and make bridge a fun endeavor that will attract more people to the game.
  4. Assist the unit in making the playing experience as exciting and rewarding as it can be, within the constraints of cost and practicality.  With assistance from the unit, create outreach by local clubs and their members to recently retired baby boomers, to nurture and encourage newer players, as they represent the future of the game.
  5. Focus on new membership and new players to ensure the future of this game.
  6. Eager to hear opinions and input of players.

Did you notice any attention in those statements to the candidates’ use of their votes for District Director, to attend to Big Issues that the DD can possibly influence, such as promoting policies that produce long-term growth of the amount of bridge being played, or protect the financial resources of ACBL, or provide direction to ACBL Management, or improve the transparency of discussions with Membership?

I don’t.

When you look at the resolutions addressed at ACBL BOD meetings, do you see the BOD spending much time addressing Big Issues?

I don’t.

In my opinion, something is broken in the process of electing the 25 members of the BOD.  Based upon their communication to their voters, those who elect the 25 members evidence limited interest in the use of their vote for DD to help direct how the ACBL BOD addresses the Big Issues facing the ACBL and its membership.  And, perhaps not coincidentally, the BOD itself seems to evidence only limited interest in addressing the Big Issues … instead passing lots of resolutions affecting Littler Issues such as minor modifications of master point awards or the scheduling of particular events at NABCs.

Do you agree that the process for electing the 25 BOD members needs fixing?  If “yes”, what fixes do you propose and how might those fixes be implemented?

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