Friday, June 24, 2016

Who should the Ideal Marshall Board Member Be and Why?

Former President Leon Haft



I just wrote this up quickly.  I hope its good.


Necessary qualities:

Debt:  There is no reward for joining or serving on the board.  Anyone who seeks anything other than to service the club is self-dealing.  Therefore board service is most appropriate for long-standing members who already owe a debt to the club.  Never put someone on the board because they want to be on the board.  That's always a bad sign.  Put people there who are willing and do not have inappropriate motivations.


Archie Waters
Loyalty:  A person demonstrates loyalty by joining the club, paying their dues, playing at the club, and waiting for several years before running for the board.  A loyal person does not disobey or ask for or make exceptions to the dues policies, bylaws, or compliance with government laws.  Loyalty may be demonstrated by serving on committees and other volunteer work before joining the board.  While times change and the most long-standing members are not always correct, it would reasonable to consider the input of longstanding members before making a decision.
Dr. Milton Hanauer

 Enthusiasm:  The person show be enthusiastic not just about chess in general, but about the specific organization.  They should be people who have a reason for being enthusiastic about the organization.  They should see the club as more than a symbol.  They should see it as a working organization which must operate within certain parameters. 

 Respect:  The person should respect the organization not just because of our outward successes, but because we have an operational model that has worked well for over 100 years.  This includes our structure as a membership club for chess and social purposes, our committee structure, and our tradition of mentoring new volunteers until they are experience board members.

Available:  The person does not just need to be available for board meetings.  The must be well informed with respect to all happenings at the club.  They need to have time to research the legal and social environments that the club operates in.

NM John Collins

 Experience:  Experience with the particular organization is important.  That is why long-standing members are better.  Experience in other fields or with other organizations is not as important.

Contact:  Contact with the club is important is as discussed above.  That is the reason for the rules regarding residence (living in the area) prior years members are required for board service.  A board member should really exceed these requirements.

GM William Lombardy

 Representative:  It is incredibly important that board members represent all of the voting members as opposed to unduly representing themselves, each other, and outside organizations.  Ideally each voting member should be represented by exactly one board member.

 Fiduciary:  While other board activities are optional, it is essential for each board member to function as a good fiduciary.  This means being inquisitive:  Finding facts and laws for themselves rather than trusting other board members.

Not Necessary:


Howard Stern
Donations:  Donations are generally good things unless there are too many strings are attached.  A good donor will not require a seat on the board.  A good donor loves the organization the way it is, and doesn't see the need to change it.  Of course a good board attracts more donors than a bad one.

Expertise in Other Fields:   Of course we need expertise in other fields, but we can always find expertise among the members.  A good expert doesn't need to be on the board and in general doesn't want to be on the board.

Cooperativeness:  If you have two people who always say the same thing, you only need one of them.  Boards that are too friendly among themselves are often colluding against the members.   Its better to have people who don't like each other and keep each other honest.


Martin Shkreli
You might ask how you can get 15 people who meet all of these qualities.  I've always said that you can't, and that a 15 person board is far too large.   In the olden days some would say that a large board helps prevent unfriendly takeovers.  This assumes that all board members are loyal, astute, and upright.  I think its better to have a small number of solid people than a large number of uninterested or corrupt people.  Whether people are nice or not has nothing to do with it.

Justin Beiber and Christian Beadles

I should also add that all members should
participate in governance.   If the club turns into a business, it will no longer be an affordable place for adults to play chess.  Non-profits also have a tendency to drift to where the money is.  That's whats going to happen if long-standing members don't participate in governance.

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