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Discussion on term limit changes

Discussion in 'Member Feedback' started by TeamStowell, Dec 22, 2008.

    • Member

    TeamStowell We love driving!

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    I would like to hear from others about their thoughts on term limits. I like the idea of the proposed three year terms which are being voted on in January, but the concept of impossing term limits has always disappointed me. I dont like them for the following reasons:

    • If someone is doing a great job, she or he should be allowed to continue with the will of the voting population. Good leaders are sometimes hard to find.

    • They may be involved in a project with a time frame longer than their term, and would be unable to complete it or may not initiate it for just that reason.

    • If someone does get elected and is really not performing their duties, there is no way an established group of leaders could keep them in office with our ability to vote them out, granted they would stay in position one year longer than in the past.

    • If people are concerned about the lack of new leadership in the officer ranks, find a candidate, talk them up and get them elected. It really isn't more complicated than that.

    Am I crazy to think this way? I have been a member for less than ten years and have never felt that the current group of leaders has had anything but the best interests of the group in mind. If these proposed term limit changes were in place, I imagine some of our leadership would have already been in office longer than would be allowed. I think that if someone had the interest and skills needed to be successful in these roles, they should be allowed more then a couple of spins in the Regional VP position followed by a couple of terms in national leadership. It strikes me as a waste of talent.
    • Member

    Bimmerdan

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    Term limits have always been one of those "...but on the other hand..." type of discussions. One of the problems that can occur is that you can have a board member just filling a position that doesn't want to leave. They may not be doing a "bad" job, they may just not be doing much of anything. It may be ego, it may be perceived status within the club, it may be a control issue...there are any number of reasons for it. The result is, that since this individual isn't doing anything terrible or damaging to the club/chapter, replacing them is low on the priority list. They continue to put their name on the ballot so other members are hesitant to add their name because they don't want to cause friction (or they are afraid of losing). The bulk of the membership at large doesn't really see what goes on 'behind the scenes' but they see the ballot, they see a name they recognize so they vote the same individual into office again and again. Term limits are a way to assure this scenario doesn't continue to happen.

    "But on the other hand", all your points are valid as well... :D
    • Member

    TeamStowell We love driving!

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    Thanks for sharing your views on the subject Bimmerdan.

    I agree with all the points you raise and have seen them come up in different organizations I have been involved in. My concern is that when we do get a leader who is doing a great job in a position, they are limited to how long they can be in office based on their previous service and that ultimatly may hinder the overall sucess of the club.

    "But on the otherhand...."
    • Member

    Satch SoSoCalifortified

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    Term limits: good or bad?

    If you ask the average person whether term limits are a good idea, I believe the knee-jerk reaction will be, "Yeah-let's throw the rascals out!" And indeed, the power of the incumbency (and ready access to cash) has enabled politicians to stay in office when they might more appropriately be unemployed.

    But voluntary organizations may be different. I know of at least one or two chapters that have been held together by the "10:90 rule"-10% of the people do 90% of the work. The problem is not getting these people out of office, it's getting somebody to serve.

    I personally believe every office comes with a term limit: the number of times the voters will re-elect you. In California, we are now beginning to see the effect of term limits on the state legislature, in which people seem to figure out what they're doing just about the time they're "limited out." Even the Governator hasn't been able to solve that one.

    If Barbara Adams had chosen to remain as BMW CCA Secretary beyond the 14 years she served in that position, I believe we would have continued to elect her-not because of the power of the incumbency but because we were happy with her dedication to the Club. And a limit to the time she could serve would have merely deprived us of her service. I say elect them-and then exploit them for everything they have to contribute!

    The only term limit we have now is on the BMW CCA President, and that was a political solution to a perceived problem well over a decade ago. The only Board member who has been around longer than the proposed term limits is Mark Jon Calabrese, and I don't believe we've used him up quite yet.
    • Member

    steve stafford

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    Salient points. This club shares this conversation with another club I belong to. Good volunteers are hard to find. Seems to me that term limits attempt to address the relative indifference of members, even like me who may have been members a very long time, who for one reason or another just don't make it to events and other beneficial activities. So I am, we are, members in spirit but no action. Term limits aren't as as good a solution as engaged members who get out to vote.
    • Member

    Jeff Gomon

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    Chapter Lacky here....

    Great points you all raise and truly bring to light the passion of the members of this club. Satch aside...he is clearly in it for the cool trips to drive new cars and all the travel perks!!!:D

    I digress. I have been in the club for over 16 years with my first 4 being in the Tidewater Chapter while in the Navy. I was very active, but never held any office. The chapter was large and there were plenty of experienced people to step up and "run" when openings became available. I was happy to help in other ways. When I came back to Nebraska, I found our Chapter, the Missouri Valley Chapter, had only 128 members and was lacking leadership/volunteers, with only 2 events annually. Needless to say, I had a lot of ideas, had learned alot from my Tidewater experiences and was promptly voted in as President......that was 11 years ago, I'm still the prez.:eek: and am into the last year of my latest 2 year term. We are topping 600 members, we won the membership drive last year and took 2nd nationally in member retention. Experience and longevity plays into this a lot.

    Some would call this crazy, I call it learning how things are done and then helping those volunteers around you that want to help, be more effective. Most of our board have been around 5-10 years, like myself. We have swapped a few positions at times, but we remain very open to new ideas/events and encourage our members to participate and provide input. The chapter members voted down term limits citing many of the reasons that TeamStowell stated. Members provided feedback that they liked the progress that was being made, the number of new and exciting events that were offered. Further, many knew that they could come and enjoy an event or even volunteer knowing most of the bases were covered and they would get effective support.

    That said, I think our collective style of leadership may be a bit unorthodoxed. We, as a group of leaders, actually like each other, enjoy spending time together and don't have agendas. I am president, he is VP, she is Treasurer, he is Newsletter editor etc. really is just a "title" to us. Any of us can bring an idea, made decisions, do whatever it takes and we answer to the group and the members, not the position. We all know each other's positions and responsibilities and seamlessly fill in for each other. That works in smaller groups like we have. That is not how it works at the National Level, there are some points to be made about limiting some of the terms on certain positions. You would not want someone to continue in office who suffers board burnout, hidden agenda's or just doesn't "get it". That mindset will quickly trickle down and affect everyone.

    "On the other hand"..(sorry for that)...I would hate to have someone forced out who is doing a great job. But I would also like to have a mechanism in place that, potentially, could force change...I am a conflicted soul.:confused: At least this is America and we have a choice!!!
    • Member

    TeamStowell We love driving!

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    Thank you for the great comments Jeff! It is a difficult choice as presented and while I think I understand why the leadership is presenting this option, I worry about it's consequences.

    Democracy is a great thing!
    • Member

    MGarrison

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    how 'bout no term limits, but some sort of impeachment process in place to oust when or if necessary (for all I know that's in the bylaws in some fashion already). Then, if everyone's happy, someone could keep on truckin' for however long, but if something changes for the worse there's an option for booting. I'm not sure if that's realistic or practical - just a thought.

    Dark Helmet guest

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    I (shockingly!) agree wholeheartedly with Jeff's perspective on the situation. Now entering my 4th year on our board, I understand that each chapter has its own struggles and that it is impossible to have an identical operational and leadership structure within the different chapters.

    However, at a national level, term limits are needed. Dan is right. end of story.

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