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More On SEMPO Board Elections Process

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I posted earlier that SEMPO has opened nominations to elect a new board of directors. Here's some additional information about the process.

The original bylaws had board members serving staggered terms, which is why I wrote that the election schedule had been moved up from previous plans. Some board seats were supposed to come due in March 2005, but not all of them.

SEMPO's new bylaws, posted recently, call for all seats to come due at the same time and for all seats to have a one year term. This was based on recommendations from SEMPO's legal counsel and other parties the group talked with, SEMPO president Barbara Coll told me.

Any concern that potentially, all existing directors might be voted out, leaving the group without any continuity?

"We are confident that some of the current board, within those that decide to run, will be elected. Many of the current members are content, some very, with the progress and success to date of the organization. We are seeing healthy renewal rate and a regular flow of new members coming in," Coll emailed.

I asked if existing board members had announced plans to stand again. So far, only Dana Todd says she'll do so, if nominated. She's invested a lot of time in the group over the past year or so, she said, and would like to be part of the transition to SEMPO's first elected board.

As covered earlier, any SEMPO member can nominate another member for election to the board. Members can also nominate themselves. Nominees will be interviewed by SEMPO's election committee along with Coll and fellow board member Todd to ask whether the nominee is willing to put the time into being a director and if their intention is to help the group meet its goals.

That sounds somewhat dramatic. Is the committee really looking to double-check that someone who was nominated really wants to serve, if they didn't put themselves up? And what is the time commitment involved? SEMPO gave me this statement:

There is a specific set of criteria outlined in the bylaws for acceptance/rejection of board candidates and members. While we do not anticipate any reason to reject a candidate by board decision, candidates should take this election seriously and understand what we're asking of them. Board members have a fiduciary responsibility to the organization to support the mission and success of the organization, and to follow procedures accordingly.

Generally speaking, board members put in anywhere from 6-20 hours per month working on committee tasks and in meetings. Some directors, like Barbara, put in considerably more. Leadership skills are a must, and a serious dedication to the furthering of the SEMPO mission: to promote awareness, education and consumption of search marketing worldwide.

Our current board has been very effective working as a team, having monthly board meetings and frequent team mails. Even when we disagree, we are able to come to resolution and action. It is our hope that the new board will maintain this tradition of communication and idea exchange, and to continue the momentum of the current year's achievements

In all, there are 13 seats opening up. Members can vote for up to 13 choices out of the total number nominated, and the 13 getting the most votes will be elected. The election is now expected to happen sometime in January. Also, 51 percent of the membership needs to vote for the elections to be valid.

SEMPO's president and chairman is not selected directly through the election. Instead, once the board is in place, the board members themselves will vote for one of their number to lead the group.

Coll, the current SEMPO president, is also serving as the group's executive director until someone can be found (and as posted earlier, is no longer compensated for this). A search for a permanent executive director is on-going.

What's the status of that? And if someone's not found before the new board is elected, with the president have to do double-duty as executive director?

SEMPO's response to these questions were that its board "intends to make the elections and membership renewal the first priorities of the new management role."

Finally, when will the nomination list be made public? SEMPO says it intends to show the list by the group's meeting at Search Engine Strategies Chicago next month and also post it on the organization's web site

Want to discuss? Visit our forum thread SEMPO Announces Board of Director Nominations. And older thread, SEMPO & Board Elections, may also be of interest. Back in August, when SEMPO's board faced many criticisms, I invited people to suggest people they'd like to see on the board. No suggestions were ever posted.


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