Update from Governance Committee

Hi NYC NoWC family, 

We send this to you in hopes that you, your families and your communities are doing well under these circumstances. We are excited to give you all an update on the 2021 NYC NoWC Board of Director elections. In reflecting on a difficult year where the Board’s seven members often felt under capacity, we lost a Board member, and we set out an ambitious plan for 2022, we came into election season excited to bring on new energy and ideas to the Board. 

Though our bylaws required that the Board have seven members, in August of this year we amended the bylaws in order to make seven members a minimum and not a strict requirement. This gives us the ability to have more Board members and, therefore, more folks helping move our work. In doing an internal audit of our committee structure this year, we realized that the work we do might require more than seven board members. 

We fully expected to go into 2022 with a board of seven (7) people, or potentially nine (9), given the turnover. When this year’s slate of candidates declared their interest in joining the Board, we were pleasantly surprised by both the enthusiasm and quality of the candidates. In light of this, the memberships’ relative interest in all of the candidates, and the aforementioned concerns around capacity, the Board decided to bring on all of the candidates to serve beginning January 2022

We did not make this decision lightly. One concern was that membership would feel that their vote didn’t matter. That could not be further from the truth.  The closeness of the results gives us confidence that we are furthering the wishes of the membership itself.  Further, we saw the increased capacity as a way for us to better support our membership. It is the worker owners and worker cooperatives for whom we do this work, and the last thing we want to do is to minimize worker owner voices. Another concern was that this decision might make future candidates for the NYC NoWC board, the Advocacy Council and other potential opportunities feel entitled to a role. This decision was made based on the particular situation before the Board, as well as the resources available to us as an all-volunteer Board. In no way should this suggest that future elections will happen the same way. 

This is not the first time that the Board has used discretion to increase capacity when we had excellent candidates. One lesson that we learned is that in future elections we should be clearer about the possible outcomes. Further, we will make sure to give members a space to provide thoughts, feedback, and concerns. Our work at NYC NOWC is a work in progress and we are constantly learning what is best.  If we hear significant concerns about this decision, we are open to creating a space to discuss how to move differently in the future. If you have any questions, comments or concerns, please do not hesitate to let any of us know. 

Yours in the struggle, 

Governance Committee of the 2021 NYC NoWC Board of Directors 
Julian Hill, Zara Serabian-Arthur, Emmanuel Pardilla, Tammy Shapiro