A MESSAGE FROM YOUR BOARD
This is a summary of more detailed correspondence sent to Presidents/ Moderators of PNWD congregations and the local chapter of the UU Ministers Association on May 16, 2011. To read the full version of the memo, which provides several links for more information, click here.
Left to right:
Elizabeth Greene, UUA Trustee; Carol McKinley, Dick Jacke, David Cauffman, Kate Lore, Elton Hall
As your elected district board, we’ve been watching several initiatives that are currently proposed or underway related to UUA governance and regional collaborations. Districts around the Association are responding in various ways, and it’s time for us to share with you our considerations about how PNWD may be impacted -- and how we’ve decided to respond.
UUA Board size and election
Your congregation’s delegates to General Assembly this June will vote on two significant amendments to the UUA bylaws.
The first amendment, if approved, will reduce the UUA Board from 26 to 14 members. This automatically requires a change from the current process in which each of our 19 UUA districts appoints a Trustee. Instead, the amendment provides that Trustees will be nominated by a nationally elected Nominating Committee, charged to make trustee nominations that reflect a full range of diversities, including geographic.
The second amendment proposes shortening the term of UUA Nominating Committee members. This is intended to refresh the Nominating Committee more frequently.
We support both these amendments. To see why, click here to read the full memo.
UUA and District “Ends” Policies
Some districts are choosing to adopt the UUA board’s “Ends” policies, rather than maintaining separate statements of aspiration and mission. The PNWD Board revised our own “Ends” policies in October 2010, and we believe our statements speak to local vision in an inspiring way. So, while acknowledging our linkage to the UUA Board and our shared commitment to the vision expressed in the UUA “Ends” policies, we have chosen to take no action at this time to adopt the UUA “Ends” in place of our own. For more details, click here to read the full memo.
Over many years, the UUA and districts have agreed to co-employ two district staff positions (currently held by Janine Larsen, District Executive, and Tandi Rogers, Program Specialist). We have shared costs as well as supervision. However, we are persuaded that the “co-employment” model as it has been practiced has not always provided consistency in staff oversight and accountability. So, we are in conversations with the UUA about how we may move to a model that recognizes the UUA as the sole employer of our shared staff, at the same time clarifying our contract for local UUA staffing, and our local input on staff hiring and assessment.
It is our belief and intent that this adjustment will be subtle in its practice, and that UUA staff support of district operations and member congregations will not substantially change. For more details, click here to read the full memo.
Districts around the UUA have been experimenting with various collaborations over the past few years. A few districts have begun sharing staff and looking at other joint operating agreements as regional groups. None have voted to formally dissolve in favor of a regional approach, and the UUA board has not requested this. Still, the impulse to try regional service delivery and the potential for regional leadership structures or governance is compelling.
The PNWD Board and staff have begun meeting with our neighboring districts – Mountain Desert, Pacific Central, and Pacific Southwest – to more purposefully explore possibilities for collaboration in a variety of ways. We have made no decisions about shared governance, staffing or assets at this point. We are proceeding slowly and with great care, considering both the lessons of history and opportunities for new ways in the future.
We support district staffers in exploring specialist roles across district boundaries. No one wants to lose trusted staff relationships, but we may benefit from additional staff serving our congregations as well.
We’re also considering a Regional Assembly in spring of 2013, incorporating all our “Pacific Western” District Assemblies for that year only. We expect to provide off-site participation and voting through web connection. Our hope is that we might achieve broader accessibility to programs and the democratic process, not diminished involvement. For more details, click here to read the full memo.
We are pleased to announce that Tandi Rogers, our PNWD Program Specialist, has been tapped to serve as the Strategic Growth Specialist for the UUA's new Office of Strategic Growth, beginning July 1. For 2011/12 this will be a half-time position, allowing Tandi to continue with PNWD half-time next year as well. We will be making some staffing adjustments to accommodate this new position for Tandi while still maintaining full-time service to PNWD congregations. These plans are still in development, and will be announced when finalized.
Several other interesting initiatives, events, experiments and changes are in the works within the UUA and PNWD, and some require the special attention of your congregation. Please click here to see the longer version of our December 16 memo to see several examples and links for more information.
PNWD and the UUA are engaging transition in many ways at present. With all change comes both loss and opportunity. We look forward to many new opportunities, and we believe that our experience of loss will be softened as we consider the many positive prospects ahead.
We invite your questions and comments – please feel free to contact us as a group, at PNWD-Board@googlegroups.com. We look forward to staying in touch with you as we have additional information to share.
Your PNWD Board:
Elton Hall, President (Boise UU Fellowship, ID)
Rev. Kate Lore, Vice President (First Unitarian Church of Portland, OR)
David Cauffman, Treasurer (UU Congregation of Whidbey Island, WA)
Dick Jacke, Secretary (East Shore Unitarian Church, WA)
Rev. Carol McKinley (Olympia UU Congregation, WA)
and Rev. Elizabeth Greene, UUA Trustee (Boise UU Fellowship, ID)
Your PNWD UUA Staff:
Janine Larsen, District Executive
Tandi Rogers, Program Specialist