Recently, CIRA announced it has proposed key changes to its bylaws. Of particular concern is the way board members are selected. Read on to see my letter to the corporation.
The public consultations on this matter are open until May 2 — tomorrow. I urge you to submit your comments to CIRA today if you have not done so already. To submit comments, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org before May 2. Visit http://www.michaelgeist.ca/content/view/6451/135/ and http://cira.ca/legal/governance/ for more background.
UPDATE: Thanks to clarification from CIRA Chair, Paul Andersen, I see that I have misinterpreted the wording on the full slate of candidates. The reference to that in my letter is lined through.
To: CIRA Board Members
This message is to express my feedback regarding proposed changes to the CIRA bylaws.
Most notably, there are changes in the bylaws that remove the ability for people to run for a director or advisor position of the CIRA board without being on a slate assembled (presumably) by the existing board.
I strongly oppose this change
, along with the running of a full slate, rather than individual candidates in board elections. As well, I oppose the provision for board directors to appoint other directors — even temporarily. This proposed structure and process lacks the accountability and transparency required to govern such an important public institution in the public interest. It sets the stage for an environment where only insiders are able to hold positions on the CIRA board and dramatically reduces CIRA members’ power to express confidence (or lack thereof) in board members individually or even as a group.
The make-up of the CIRA board is important, not only because of how important the corporation is, but because it is vital Canadians and the world have confidence in the legitimacy of it. Under proper governance, CIRA can be an exemplar for other similar organizations around the world to follow but in order for that to be, the board has to be taken seriously. Transparency and public confidence are prerequisites for legitimacy in boards of our public institutions.
I understand that the current CIRA board desires a more efficient process for selecting board members. Democracy, while not as efficient as the alternatives, is the only way to ensure accountability and proper governance of the CIRA board. Any changes to the CIRA bylaws must go substantially further in maintaining the integrity and legitimacy of the board than the current proposal, rather than degrade such integrity and confidence.
If you have any questions or comments for me on this matter, please feel free to contact me.
Thank you and best regards,