LifeRing Board Adopts Several New Policies

The LifeRing Board of Directors met last night, June 10, and adopted several policies that represent change and forward movement. In summary, the motions adopted – all unanimously – were as follows:

— A committee structure to bring a more systematic approach to efforts for growth and efficiency;

— A Terms of Use policy to be used if needed on the LifeRing Email groups concerned with governance issues;

— A policy regarding Motions to the Board calling for changes in direction from the membership;

— And a structure for appointing Regional Representatives for various areas around the United States, plus one for our international meetings.

More details after the jump …

The Board agreed to create 13 committees, including an Executive Committee which will find chair people for each one, drawing primarily, but not exclusively, from the Board members themselves. The other committees are:

  • Bylaws, which will consider changes to the LifeRing bylaws, including a proposal to allow absentee voting which was much discussed at the 2012 Congress session;
  • Fundraising
  • Website and IT
  • Face-to-face Meeting Support
  • Online meeting support
  • LifeRing Press
  • Strategic Planning
  • Professional Outreach
  • Public Relations
  • Volunteer Recruitment and Coordination
  • Convenor Training
  • Accountability and Transparency

The Executive Committee, made up of current officers, present and immediate past Executive Director and present and immediate past Board Chair, will solidify the structure and leadership of each committee.

The Terms of Use policy is an effort to ensure that a positive and constructive approach is maintained on LifeRing email groups. It is in no way intended to stifle debate, but rather ensure that dissent does not devolve into name-calling or disrespect for others. The policy will be posted to the BOD and Convenors email groups and takes effect as soon as that happens.

Similarly, the new policy on submitting proposals to the board is not intended to restrict those proposals, but rather to help the board consider them carefully by putting them into a form that is conducive to decision-making. “You should be doing things better/faster/differently” is not something that helps the board improve its decision-making. Instead, it was felt that what was needed are specific motions that deal with the situation in a specific way and can be voted up or down as presented. The board, through the Executive Committee will provide assistance in drafting such proposals.

Finally, the board moved forward towards a system of Regional Representatives who will help the LifeRing Service Center keep track of, and communicate with, our growing number of meetings, now numbering about 150. As we grow, the challenge of communications between the organization and the meetings will only increase. The Regional Representative system is intended to facilitate both the growth and the smooth functioning of the organization. Many regions have few or no LifeRing meetings, we want to be ready when new meetings spring up. In the San Francisco Bay Area, where there are lots of meetings, the Regional Representative will be assisted by Area Representatives, each one dealing with a limited number of meetings.

The board meets monthly via conference call.