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Grassroots Participation in ACBL Elections

There have been many threads about the failings of the current ACBL board, both in terns of execution of a plan and the base structure of the board. There have also been several threads with proposals about reforming the way the ACBL is governed. It is my belief as an institutionalist that the most effective way to accomplish the change we seek will be to get reform-minded people onto the existing Board of Directors.

In my view, the major hurdle to this is that the election of of a director is done by the units. There is no public pronouncement of the platform of the candidates or the criteria that the unit board members use to evaluate the candidates. This is also preventing the recruitment of reform-minded candidates by like-minded activists. This results in the membership of the ACBL being kept at arms-length from the election of the board.

If I read the ACBL website correctly, Districts 6, 9, 10, 11, 12, 17, 20 and 24 will have District Director elections this year. Candidates must declare their intention to run by May 31 with Unit elections taking place between August 15 and September 30.

In order to re-engage the membership with the election of the ACBL leadership, I strongly urge that members of those districts request that candidates publish their campaign platforms (perhaps on Bridge Winners) including answers to specific reform questions such as:

  • Is the current size of the BOD optimal for the board to accomplish its goals? What are the reasons for your answer?
  • What is your concept of the major responsibilities of the BOD?
  • Do you support reducing the number of in-person meetings and using technology to support virtual meetings?
  • Do you believe that every BOD member should be able to review all contracts entered into by the ACBL?
  • What is the correct response by the BOD to the Bahar Gidwani and the Hawaii Nationals incidents?

Second, I would hope that the members would be aware of when and how their Unit Boards are conducting their election. I have created a spreadsheet with every unit in a district that is holding an election this year to organize this information. If you become aware of this information for a unit, please feel free to message me on Bridge Winners and I will update the spreadsheet.

[Note: you will need a Google account to view the spreadsheet.]

It is up to grassroots activists to ensure that BOD candidates understand that election to the board is contingent upon a commitment to serving the goals of its members. It will only take a few successes to influence other members of the BOD that are not up for election this year to position themselves well for re-election. So even if you are a member of a district that doesn't have an election this year, I would encourage you to contact your District Director and request a public response to a set of questions like those above.

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