Board Success Comes From Planning

Like your business, or other organizations, the CCCBA Board of Directors focuses on succession planning for the association.  Such planning is critical for any organization to thrive.  It involves a balance of analyzing “what do we need now” along with a look towards “what do we think we need a few years from now.”  In this article, I hope to better explain the board selection and succession planning process and remove some of the mystery in the process.

Per our bylaws, the board consists of seventeen (17) directors, five of whom are in officer positions (president, president elect, secretary, treasurer, and immediate past president).  Each year, a Board Nominating Committee is created no later than March 1.  Traditionally, the president elect is the chair of the nominating committee and nominates other members to the committee.  Typically, those committee members are former CCCBA presidents and/or former board members, and last year, for example, I also included the 2019 Board President, Wendy Coats, since she will also “inherit” the board.  The board then votes on the proposed members of the nominating committee.

Repeating an annual process, in April 2018, Theresa Hurley, Executive Director, sent out the first notice for a call for candidates to join the Board of Directors of the CCCBA.  All members should have received this, and subsequent, notices.  The notices identified that nominations were due by June 1, 2018.  Thus, as of the date of this publication, the nomination period for 2019 has closed.

Once the candidates’ information is received, the Board’s Nominating Committee reviews and analyzes the applications, letters of recommendation, and any other materials submitted by the candidates.  The nominating committee will interview candidates, and ultimately determine a slate of nominees for the board to review.  The proposed slate must also contain at least two additional alternative candidates.  This slate of nominees and alternatives must be provided to the board and Executive Director no later than August 15.  The Board then reviews the slate and approves or modifies the slate at the September board meeting.  Next, the approved slate is sent to all voting association members no later than October 1, for approval no later than October 31.

There is no magic description of the “ideal” board member.  It is true, however, that most board members have already demonstrated commitment and service in some aspect(s) of the association.  Some examples include serving as a leader in a Section, and/or serving on any of our numerous committees, including the Criminal Conflicts Panel Committee, Pro Bono Committee, Contra Costa Lawyer Editorial Board, LRIS Committee, and others.  Frankly, those more familiar with the depth and breadth of the CCCBA are likely better equipped to help serve as a Board Member.  In addition, the nominating committee also takes into account the current Board composition, and tries to diversify the Board in terms of practice area, solo vs. larger firm vs. in-house vs. government attorneys, geographic reach/location of the candidate’s office/practice, and other experiences.

Generally, directors are elected for a term of three (3) years.  Directors may serve only two consecutive three-year terms.  Directors may be appointed as an officer, which terminates the three-year term, and initiates succeeding one (1) year terms for each officer position (treasurer, secretary, president-elect, president, and immediate past-president).  If an individual has served a six-year term, or has served through all Officer positions, the individual may be re-elected to the Board after a break of at least one year.

Of course, filling vacant Board positions is just one part of succession planning.  If you have any questions about the board, or the CCCBA operations, please reach out to our wonderful staff or to any board member.