Gini Courter on the Election Process
On Election-L email list, there has been a discussion about the present method of electing the President and other officers of the UUA. Gini Courter weighed in with this statement, that I am reproducing here.
A number of people who've posted recently assert that the current method of selecting the UUA President or Moderator "isn't broken" so it doesn't need to be fixed. The list of people who know that the current process IS broken includes Bill Sinkford, Peter Morales, and Laurel Hallman. I agree with them, and with the two candidates for Moderator in 2001 who were also critical of the current process. As far as I know, no one who has run opposed for President or Moderator in the past thirty years thinks the current nomination-campaign-election process is just, equitable, or compassionate, or that it truly reflects our values. (Perhaps some candidate fully affirmed the current process, but if so, they weren't vocal about it during the campaign.)
The people who have run for President and Moderator think we should be willing to consider the possibility that our election process is too long, too grueling, too costly, and/or too disconnected from congregational life and leadership. We should consider whether the barriers to candidacy might be inappropriately high, or in some cases, just inappropriate. We should discuss whether a more transparent nomination process would be more inclusive and more in keeping with our values than our current highly opaque nomination methods.
We might even wonder why we require candidates for President and Moderator to raise tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars to campaign to serve our Association. I don't know this year's finances, but in 2001, both Moderator candidates and one of the two Presidential candidates ended their campaigns with outstanding debts that they had to cover personally.
At the April Board meeting, your UUA Trustees made a commitment to Bill, Peter, and Laurel that they would bring a set of amendments to the election process to GA in 2010. The draft amendments offered by the Board describe one possibility; the amendments were published in this year's GA agenda so that congregations could begin discussing them now and provide feedback for a final version that needs to be ready by mid-January 2010. The trustees would love to hear our congregations' best thinking on this. I know some trustees are on this list, but you can also contact them directly. You'll find your trustees' email addresses on this page: http://www.uua.org/aboutus/governance/boardtrustees/19052.shtml