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News from Governance Task Force

Recommendations include a smaller PMA Board with a more engaged process of discernment and oversight

By Melody K. Smith | Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE – The Executive Committee of the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board heard a progress report from the Governance Task Force at its Aug. 31 meeting that suggests changes to the size and structure of the board.

Based on the proposed committee structure and other considerations, the Governance Task Force recommends that the Board be set at 16 voting members.

All members would serve on an administrative committee and on a program committee. Some members may be chosen for short-term assignments on task forces. An Executive Committee, composed of the officers and the chairs of each committee, would provide coordination for the work of the Board and would oversee the work of the Executive Director.

Currently the Board maintains relationships through a combination of receiving corresponding members on the PMA Board and sending members to serve on other bodies in a variety of capacities. The Board currently has 15 corresponding members. Citing the ineffectiveness of the current model at ensuring a relationship between the other entities and the Board, the new proposal calls for reducing the number of corresponding members to 10: one from each of the other five GA agencies, one from the three advocacy and advisory committees, the GA Moderator (currently a voting member) and the Executive Director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency.

At the current Board size, filling all the deployment spots to serve on other organizations’ boards has remained a challenge. The proposal calls for a limited number of deployments — only those directly mandated by the General Assembly through the Organization for Mission to facilitate collaboration with other General Assembly agencies and integrated auxiliaries (i.e., Presbyterian Women). By taking this action, the Governance Task Force hopes to provide time for the General Assembly Nominating Committee to fill empty slots on other boards, formerly filled by the Mission Agency.

The Board would continue to send members to groups whose only access to the General Assembly is through the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board, such as Mission Responsibility Through Investment.

The Task Force researched the current Board’s makeup to ensure that the level of diversity would be maintained if normal attrition were allowed and found, in fact, that diversity would actually increase. 

At its February 2016 meeting the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board established the Governance Task Force to review all aspects of Board governance.

The task force proposal will be presented to the full Presbyterian Mission Agency Board at its September meeting.

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