Ten Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on NPCA Governance Reform

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Special Reports: November 15, 2004: Vote "Yes" on the NPCA's bylaw changes: Ten Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on NPCA Governance Reform
Vote "Yes" on NPCA's bylaw changes Vote "Yes" on NPCA's bylaw changes
NPCA members begin voting this week on bylaw changes to streamline NPCA's Board of Directors. PCOL, NPCA Chair Ken Hill, the President's Forum and other RPCVs endorse the changes. Mail in your ballot or vote online (after Dec 1), then take our poll on how RPCVs are voting.

By Admin1 (admin) (pool-151-196-36-89.balt.east.verizon.net - on Monday, November 15, 2004 - 5:50 pm: Edit Post

Ten Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on NPCA Governance Reform

Ten Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on NPCA Governance Reform

Ten Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on NPCA Governance Reform

Ten Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on NPCA Governance Reform

1. How does the Returned Peace Corps Community govern itself now?

Quite a few Groups (geographic and country of service; total now 156) are incorporated separately as non-profit associations, each governed by its own Board.

The Presidents’ Forum meets annually, typically for 2-3 hours; ideally, all Presidents or Leaders represent all Groups; in practice, only 35-45% of Groups are represented, and often not by their Leaders but by Members who may be appointed or may simply happen to be also in town attending other conference events.

NPCA is also incorporated as a non-profit with its own Board. Since 1993, 18 “elected” Directors have been chosen directly by NPCA Members voting via annual ballots, while 6-11 “appointed” Directors have been elected by vote of the Board; also, the Coordinator elected by the Presidents’ Forum is ex officio a Director. Until recently, the Board conducted much of its work through 14 committees.

In 2002, NPCA created an Advisory Council, of about fifteen RPCVs and former staff with national reputations, broad experience, and well-recognized names. Meeting once a year, they advise on major issues of strategy and policy.

2. Why reform our governance structure?

The Presidents’ Forum, meeting in Portland OR in August 2003, debated and endorsed a proposal which asked NPCA’s Board to consider changing its structure and methods with a view to making it work more efficiently. During its review, the Task Force suggested also that the Forum’s pattern of brief annual meetings is not as effective as it should be.

It also discovered that Membership numbers of many Groups and NPCA have recently stagnated or declined. NPCA clearly needs to improve its services to Members and Groups through better cost controls and use of new technologies. Of a potential RPCV population of perhaps 100,000, only a small minority, perhaps 15-20%, are active as NPCA and Group Members. For NPCA and the Returned Peace Corps Community to grow requires improved governance and vigorous leadership

3. Why now?

Strong new leadership opens exciting opportunities. The Presidents’ Forum’s elected leader, Carol Rogers, brings new energy and resolve to the role of Coordinator. NPCA’s Board has new leadership, through normal rotation, in Chair Ken Hill and Vice Chair Stephanie Arnold. NPCA’s staff has capable and energetic leadership in our new President, Kevin Quigley. NPCA is taking on major new duties, including contracts with the Peace Corps, overseeing endowed funds, and serving Groups through its interactive Association Management System. Looking toward 2011, NPCA and the Groups face large opportunities and challenges to take best advantage of the 50th anniversary.

4. What, in brief, are the proposed reforms?

Two require By-Law amendments, which must be approved by the Membership: Other proposals do not require By-law changes or votes:For details, please see the document Improve Governance to Strengthen the Peace Corps Community.

5. Who favors them?

NPCA’s Board voted for them almost unanimously. The Presidents’ Forum in Chicago in August 2004 also approved overwhelmingly – 65 for, 7 against, 1 abstained. Many veteran leaders of NPCA’s board and staff during its 25-year history, whom we consulted during our research and analysis, favored these, and even stronger, reforms.

6. Who opposes them and why?

{A few Group Leaders expressed concerns about reducing the number of elected Directors, fearing that this would reduce the representation of views and interests of the Membership. In response, advocates argue that the more vigorous Group Leaders Forum, the new Forum Steering Committee, and greater roles of Group Leaders and Members in NPCA’s program committees will represent Member interests better.

7. Why does the NPCA Board need Directors appointed by the Board?

Since NPCA’s inception, the great majority of its Directors were elected by members via ballots. But experience showed that direct elections did not produce, consistently, the mix of skills and experience needed to run an effective national organization. Hence, Members voted in 1993 to allow 6-11 Directors to be appointed by Board vote. Today, it is still difficult to attract via elections the professional and governance skills we need.

It is important to note that currently all appointed, like all elected Directors, are RPCVs or former staff as well as active Members of NPCA.

8. What is the Steering Committee of the Group Leaders Forum? What will it do?

Although sanctioned in our By-laws, the Committee has not to date existed. In Chicago, several experienced Group Leaders volunteered to form the first Committee. It plans during the year to meet regularly, led by Coordinator Carol Rogers, to:

* Create stronger procedures, meeting structure, and electronic communications;
* Develop resources to help Group Leaders become more effective in governance;
* Design the agenda and topics for the 2005 Forum; and
* Launch other steps to make the Committee an effective leadership organ for Group Leaders and the Returned Peace Corps Community.

9. Why should I care or bother to vote? How would the reforms benefit me?

Every voice counts in tapping the potential of the RPCV community. These reforms will help NPCA’s Board to focus on providing cost-effective programs and services to our Members. More staff time will be released to serve Groups and individual Members. A more active Group Leaders’ Forum will focus on communicating issues to/from our Membership. More vigorous committees and task groups will guide and support services for Members. A major benefit will be to revitalize and enlarge the active RPCV Community. A vote of significant size will be a vote of confidence.

10. If these By-law reforms are approved, when would we transition to the new model?

We would execute changes as soon as possible, aiming to complete them all by August 2005; for details, please see the document Improve Governance to Strengthen the Peace Corps Community.

When this story was posted in November 2004, this was on the front page of PCOL:

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Story Source: NPCA

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; NPCA; Governance



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