Who (and what) the heck are the “officers” of Council? We thought you might like to know.
One of the principal items on the agenda for the first meeting of the term is the election of a slate of Council officers: Council President (Chief Governance Officer), First Vice-President (Advisory Coordinator), Second Vice-President (Member Liaison) and Secretary-Treasurer.
Officers, including the President, are not über-Councillors, nor do they form an Executive Committee with special decision-making powers. They are ordinary Councillors to whom Council has delegated some specific responsibilities to help Council do its work, and each position entails consistent time commitment beyond regular meetings.
Despite what one might assume from the title, the Council President is not the head of Equity, nor even the head of Council. The President is best understood as the “servant-leader” of Council – he or she “leads” Council by taking instruction from Council. In summary, the job is to organise, coordinate, enable and support Council's work, and that has bee done for the past while by Stage Management Councillor Allan Teichman (me).
Probably the most basic responsibility of the President is chairing Council meetings. That’s fairly simple, and it's not much different from the same task in any other setting. However, the lion’s share of the work is done between meetings: managing the Council calendar and agendas, arranging for Council education on upcoming topics, communicating with staff and others as required, and acting on motions that were passed. In addition, all of the material that Council needs for each meeting must be written, compiled or arranged for in time for the monthly package mailing deadline.
At the moment, the President is also Council’s main communications link, requiring a column for each EQ, two or more Council Link reports to the members each year, as well as regular blog posts, various reports, and the like. All told, it’s roughly the equivalent of a part-time job.
The First Vice-president of Council acts as the Advisory Coordinator, whose purpose is to assist Council’s advisory committees to effectively carry out their responsibilities. The job generally involves helping to set up new advisory committees, making sure that they are informed of resources at their disposal, have access to them, and that there is follow up to ensure timely completion and/or reporting on progress related to each committee mandate.
The Second Vice-president of Council is the Member Liaison, and provides a direct point of contact for members who would like to make Council aware of emerging issues, concerns, and trends. The primary focus for this position is in the area of Owner Linkage – ensuring Council stays connected to the members who own the Association, and enabling input on the many things that are important to them.
Council is looking at a review of this position. One of the main upcoming topics of discussion on the Council agenda is member communication – how we can best reach out to them (and they can connect in), on the topics members want to talk about, and through the most effective avenues. While this work is not yet complete, it is expected that the 2nd VP’s job description will change to reflect future directions in this area.
Lastly, but not leastly, the Council Secretary-Treasurer is in charge of ensuring the integrity of Council’s documents and various other governance materials. Because all of Council’s business is recorded in minutes, and all its decisions are written into policy and bylaws, this work is pretty much ongoing throughout the term. Staff handle most of the minute-taking and document updating, but the Sec-Treas is involved all along the line to ensure that these documents are kept current and are an accurate reflection of Council business. From time to time, the Sec-Treas is also called upon to sign documents as required by law or the expectation of outside agencies, such as our auditor.
Another of the key responsibilities of the Sec-Treas is to track the various monitoring reports received throughout the year, since these will form the basis of Council’s annual evaluation of the Executive Director. The Sec-Treas also helps Council track its own self-evaluation, so that we ensure we behave consistently with our own rules over time. And, of course, the Sec-Treas tracks agenda proposals we receive from the members.