At its September 2017 meeting, North End/Waterfront Residents’ Association (NEWRA) voted to its extend term limits from two to four years for officers other than President, a compromise from the original proposal of removing them entirely. NEWRA’s Presidential term will still be limited to two years. The By-Laws amendment comes a month before the NEWRA elections, scheduled for its annual meeting on October 12th.
The issue of term limits has been controversial at the non-profit organization. The latest debate follows an attempt made before last year’s election to extend all officer terms, including President, from two to four years. When that effort failed, current President Mary McGee was elected to succeed Ford Cavallari who had already served two years.
At this week’s meeting, past President Cavallari objected to the most recent proposal, saying “by removing the term limits of officers besides President, you remove the incentive of the chief executive to recruit new members into the organization. What you end up with is a small, self-perpetuating group talking to themselves.”
Chair of the By-Laws Committee, Jennifer Crampton, countered with, “I think it’s a balance because it is difficult to find people” to serve as officers. The longstanding chair of the Zoning, Licensing & Construction Committee and two-time past NEWRA President, Victor Brogna, said he agreed with Cavallari regarding officers becoming entrenched. He used his own long tenure as an example saying, “the business community often asks me what would the board do on various issues and I have to remind them that NEWRA is a membership organization.” There are no term limits on committee chairs.
McGee reiterated that “the by-laws committee does not want the President to get entrenched in that position.” Referring to the other positions, “We frankly do not have another Jenn to take over the secretary role.” Member Michael Malm indicated the extension of the sub-officer positions could help continuity across the worker roles.
An initial member vote, 17-12, to remove the non-presidential officer term limits entirely did not achieve the required two-thirds majority needed for a by-law change. In a second compromise vote, members voted 26-4 to pass a by-laws amendment extending the term limit to four years for officers other than the President (the latter will remain a 2-year term).
The executive committee also announced that there is currently no candidate for the Treasurer role. Interested members should speak with someone on the executive committee or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition to the term limit change, additional amendments were made to increase annual dues from $10 to $20 and update the by-laws to officially allow email communications instead of mailed notices.
View the entire discussion in the above video. See more on NEWRA.