April 19th Annual Meeting Information! BIDA Board Elections and Proposed Bylaw Changes.

Hello dear BIDA community,

It is approaching the time of the year when BIDA holds its annual membership meeting.  For those of you who are new to the community, this is the time and place where important decisions are made to help keep BIDA running smoothly.  

As an organization that is dedicated to serving our wonderful dance community, we want to maintain transparency about any fundamental changes to BIDA as well as give our members a voice so that our organization best reflects its dancers.  

This is where you come in.  Our current BIDA board has some key changes planned for BIDA's bylaws that will allow us to run more effectively as a group.  However, in order to remain true to our representative and transparent nature, we can only enact these changes to our bylaws by consensus of the community.  

As such, we will be voting on the proposed changes at our annual membership meeting at our April 19th dance. In order to pass these changes, we need a two-thirds vote of agreement.  This also bears the implication that those who abstain will make it harder to reach a consensus.  Therefore, we would ask you as a member of our dance to look over the intended changes which will be elaborated below and come to the membership meeting with an informed idea of the changes we hope to make.

Statement of Intent for proposed changes:

- simplify the language
- remove ambiguities
- elaborate situations which are unclear under the current bylaws
- provide added flexibility
- streamline administrative processes

Highlights:
- Amend voting process, changing to a slate system that is more efficient/organized.
- Increase flexibility by allowing for more members to be on the board.
- Empower the membership to enact changes more than just once a year at the annual meeting.
- Install contingency plans (i.e., in case of excessive board member turnover, if our voting system fails, etc.)


Proposed changes to Bylaws, by article (detailed):

Article III: Membership

Current -
1. BIDA membership is open to anyone who attends a BIDA meeting*. Anyone who attends a BIDA meeting will be considered a member for all purposes.

Proposed -
1. Anyone who attends a BIDA meeting will be considered a member for all purposes.

Reasoning -
Here we are trimming down unclear language and making it unambiguous that if you are present at the meeting, you will be counted as a member (important for purposes of voting count).

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Article IV: Board of Directors

Current -
2. The BIDA Board will consist of four officers plus three at-large members.

Proposed -
2. The BIDA Board will consist of four officers plus three to five* at-large members.  In the event that there are fewer than seven board members when new board terms begin, BIDA will have 6 months to operate with interim board members or without replacements.  The minimum number of allowable board members is four officers.

Reasoning -
We wanted more flexibility in terms of how many board members we can have at a time.  This would allow us to have more at-large members as needed, for purposes of training to take over officer positions in the future, assistance with leading larger projects, or to meet an increase of interest for board positions etc.  

We also needed a contingency plan in case BIDA falls below the previously allotted number of board members.  This change states a clear plan of what will happen and what to do in case of a large turnover of board members.  This wording also more clearly states that BIDA needs at the very least 4 officers to function.  

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Article VI: Operating Procedures

1. Meetings of Membership
Current -
   4.  ...the membership will elect the board, officers and at-large Board members, and will approve any Bylaw changes.

Proposed -
   4.  ...the membership will elect the board* and will approve any Bylaw changes.

Reasoning -
We think that division of roles among the board should be made after the board members are elected.  This makes it easier to specifically tailor division of labor to accommodate for strengths and preferences of responsibilities once we know who the board will consist of.

Current -
   5.  ...If a proposal fails to reach a consensus, any member may request to take a vote on the proposal, which will pass only if two thirds of the membership approves.

Proposed -
   5.  ...If a proposal fails to reach a consensus, any member may request to take a vote on the proposal, which will pass only if two thirds of the membership approves (not counting abstentions).

Reasoning -
We do not want abstaining votes to count negatively against both 'yes' or 'no' votes.  This allows abstaining voters to remain truly neutral without impeding the voting process of those who have a definite positive or negative opinion on that issue.  In times past, there have been an overwhelming volume of abstaining voters that functionally blocked any changes from being passed.  This also takes pressure off the abstaining voter, knowing that they will not have an effect on overall voting percentages.

Current -
6. ...Members will be able to vote for up to seven people to join the Board, and the seven candidates with the most votes will become members of the Board. BIDA will use any method of vote-counting that its Board approves. Anyone may be nominated for any position at any time, subject to the nominee’s approval, up to one week before the annual membership meeting, at which point nominations will close. The Board will decide by consensus which members will take which officer positions. All officer and Board terms shall be for one year, starting on May 1.

Proposed -
6.  ...Members will be able to vote for up to seven people to join the Board, and the seven candidates with the most votes will become members of the Board. The BIDA board will present a slate of board members, for which the membership will vote yes or no.    BIDA will use any method of vote-counting that its Board approves.  Anyone wishing to be on the BIDA Board must let the Board know of their intent at least one week before the annual membership meeting. The board will then choose a slate. If the slate is not approved by 2/3 majority (not counting abstentions), BIDA will revert to individual voting. Members will be able to vote for up to seven people to join the Board, and the seven candidates with the most votes will become members of the Board.  For the individual election (if the slate gets voted down), anyone who announced their intent to run (at least a week prior to the meeting) must be included on the ballot. After the board is elected, the Board will decide by consensus which members will take which officer positions. All officer and Board terms shall be for one year, starting on May 1.
Reasoning -
We are reworking our voting process from individual voting to an elected slate where the board is elected as a whole, rather than one person at a time.  This will simplify and shorten the whole election process.  However, if the proposed slate gets voted down, we have a contingency in place to return to individual voting.  
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Article VIII: Amendments to these Bylaws

Current -
Any changes or amendments to these Bylaws must pass a two-thirds vote of the BIDA membership at its annual meeting. Any proposed changes or amendments must be distributed electronically to membership at least one month prior to the vote.

Proposed -
Any changes or amendments to these Bylaws must pass a two-thirds vote of the BIDA membership at a membership* meeting. Any proposed changes or amendments must be distributed electronically to membership at least one month prior to the vote.

Reasoning -
This will allow us to enact changes to BIDA's structure more than once a year.  Only allowing ourselves to perform this kind of maintenance once per year has been slowing progress, and this will allow the organization to be more adaptive over shorter time-scales.

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