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PMA Board considers composition of Executive Committee

Diversity and continuance planning are top priorities

by Gregg Brekke | Presbyterian News Service

Current PMA Board composition statistics.

LOUISVILLE – The Executive Committee (EC) of the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board (PMAB) met today to consider the future composition of and nominations for the next class of the Executive Committee.

PMAB Personnel and Nominating Committee, which is responsible for nominating Executive Committee members, met with the General Assembly Committee on Representation (GACOR) at the Board’s March meeting.

“They had several issues,” said PMAB member Melinda Sanders. “They acknowledge the diversity of the PMA Board but expressed concerns about the racial makeup of the Executive Committee. They were concerned about us going forward with an Executive Committee that doesn’t have the diversity that the board has.”

The makeup of the current Executive Committee was decided last year before the Board adopted a new structure. This Executive Committee structure was composed of committee chairs from the previous Board structure and five at-large members.

As an alternative to this model, Ken Godshall, chair of the PMAB, also offered for consideration the recommendation embedded in the PMAB Governance Task Force report.

The Task Force report suggested the Executive Committee consist of the chair and vice chair of the PMAB plus the chairs from each of three mission and corporate committees—six additional persons—for a total of up to eight total members.

Rather than move toward the as-of-yet unapproved Governance Task Force recommendations, Godshall proposed the Board follow the existing rules set forth by the Board. In addition to asking the Personnel and Nominating Committee to present a slate of candidates for the Executive Committee that fits the needs and required skills of the Board, Godshall noted they should take seriously GACOR’s recommendations about racial diversity, provide continuity with current board leadership and nominate members with an eye toward developing leaders for the future.

Board member Chad Herring agreed with the recommendation, but offered the following advice to the Personnel and Nominating Committee.

“One of the advantages of the old system we have lost is the way the Executive Committee got elected,” he said. “The former structure allowed a hybrid model of appointment to the Executive Committee where committee chairs were elected by committee members and then three at large members were suggested by the Nominating Committee that added balance for representation or skills.”

“Before they begin their reflection on that question they may open discussion to the entire board for comment and suggestions for people who may serve the Executive Committee. The broadBoard should feel they have more input into the selection of or requirements for Executive Committee members.”

Board member Joe Morrow agreed. “One of the values of the system we had, and somehow we need to retain, is that not only does the process we have need to include more voices—voices of the Board as a whole having input on their leadership—not only raises the competence of the Board about their leaders, but speaks to a broader audience in the church about the competencies of people who’ve been called to serve the Board at this time.”

No recommendation or vote was required for this action to proceed as it did not alter the standing rules for the Personnel and Nominating Committee to continue their work as scheduled.

Following this conversation, the Executive Committee went into closed session to discuss personnel matters.

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