As members of your elected Board of Directors, we ask for your support in amending the PDK bylaws regarding board elections.
For most of PDK’s history, chapter leaders convened every other year to elect the association’s president based on opportunities to meet candidates face-to-face. When PDK’s new Constitution was ratified almost 15 years ago, this approach was modified to allow each member to cast a vote for the association’s president. At the time, this seemed like a natural progression.
Unfortunately, participation in the PDK presidential election is very low with only about 5% of PDK members participating. Given this low rate of involvement in the election process, conducting the election remains a significant financial burden for the organization.
This situation is not unique to Phi Delta Kappa International. Most other professional associations are experiencing the same challenge. In fact, Votenet Solutions, an election service provider, recently published its 2012 Index of Association and Non-Profit Voting and Election Trends. They highlight “low voter turnout” as the biggest election challenge faced by associations, and found that “poor voter turnout is largely due to voter apathy.”
In the face of these facts, there is an alternative approach that many professional associations are shifting toward—one that allows the elected board of directors to select the association’s leaders from among the current members of the board. We therefore propose the following changes to the governance structure and process of the Association:
- PDK members would still elect individuals to the board of directors,
- These elected board members would then select the individuals who would serve on the board’s executive committee from among the current board members,
- The executive committee would be composed of board chair, vice chair and past chair.
- These individuals would serve one year in each position.
Note: The amendment, if approved, would take effect immediately. However, the three individuals currently serving as president, president-elect and past president would complete their terms of office and could be selected by the board to serve as chair or vice chair.
As your elected representatives, we know that strong leadership is essential for associations to thrive in today’s environment. We deliberated thoughtfully about this important leadership question, and we unanimously propose this solution and ask for your support in amending Phi Delta Kappa’s bylaws.
The PDK International Board of Directors