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 Post subject: self appointed board of directors
PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2019 10:57 pm 

Joined: Sun Jun 03, 2012 9:21 am
Posts: 11
Anybody here serve on or serve under a self appointed board of directors? I have heard of museum boards going this route, am wondering how it's working for you or your group. Any insight would be helpful for self knowledge. I would like to know which museum's are self appointed. I plan to reach out for a copy of their by-laws and how their election process, if there is one, takes place.

Thanks
Glenn


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 Post subject: Re: self appointed board of directors
PostPosted: Wed Nov 06, 2019 6:00 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 9:37 pm
Posts: 270
Location: Niles Canyon Railway, near Sunol, CA
‘Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.…’

Winston S Churchill, 11 November 1947
source: https://winstonchurchill.org/resources/quotes/the-worst-form-of-government/

My experience at Golden Gate Railroad Museum is that a self-appointed board was fine - at the beginning. Over time the board majority's goals and the membership's goals diverged. When volunteers had no way to change governance by voting in new people, many eventually "voted with their feet" and left - permanently.

- Doug Debs


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 Post subject: Re: self appointed board of directors
PostPosted: Wed Nov 06, 2019 7:45 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:19 am
Posts: 5699
Location: southeastern USA
If and when the goal of the BOD changes from growing the organization to better serve the community into perpetuating itself to serve it's own interest, it's time to start over. Better not to get to that place at all by writing in turnover from day one.

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Santayana: "He who does not remember the past is condemned to repeat it."
Corollary: "He who does is doomed to watch those who don't repeat it anyway."


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 Post subject: Re: self appointed board of directors
PostPosted: Wed Nov 06, 2019 8:16 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 01, 2004 2:46 pm
Posts: 2078
Location: Pac NW, via North Florida
I thought you meant what I once saw for a small (non-RR) museum years ago.
A group of people actually just decided they would control the museum, formed their own board and the museum had no clue.
Then, they actually started issuing mandates. The museum people were more than baffled at this as these people had no authority over them at all. Restraining orders got filled out. Hilarity did not ensue.
I never understood the nerve that required.

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Lee Bishop


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 Post subject: Re: self appointed board of directors
PostPosted: Wed Nov 06, 2019 8:23 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2016 1:15 pm
Posts: 520
I saw something similar to that happen at a RR Museum... things can get ugly really quick.


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 Post subject: Re: self appointed board of directors
PostPosted: Wed Nov 06, 2019 8:26 pm 

Joined: Sun Jul 20, 2008 12:21 am
Posts: 29
A railroad museum can be looked at and thought of
as a sort of microcosm of government.

As it goes with any form of government, a robust system of
checks and balances must exist.

I've seen rail museum BODs take off and get way out of
hand a few times before.

The very term "self appointed" seems doomed to me.

How about "elected", by the membership?

More than once I've seen a rail museum BOD become comprised
of non-railroaders with a non-railroad mentality toward running
the outfit. That can lead to some very non-entertaining and highly
revolting developments. Usually it leads to the next regime-change.


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 Post subject: Re: self appointed board of directors
PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2019 9:26 am 

Joined: Thu Sep 02, 2010 12:40 pm
Posts: 39
Yes... elected by the membership makes sense. Except for one group I worked with that while they had some 150 members paying dues; only about 12 of them were full members, which all sat on the board. Each year, those twelve members would elect the board...

Add to that that most on that board had sat in the same seat for decades...

Yes, term limits I believe are exceptionally important. They don't have to be permanent (eg two terms as president in a lifetime) just make them consecutive terms. Conversely, I'm sure a lot of us do not have long lines of people willing to sit on the board.

In theory I don't see why a self-appointed board couldn't have term limits; but ultimately I think a membership elected board is better.


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 Post subject: Re: self appointed board of directors
PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2019 11:51 am 

Joined: Tue Sep 14, 2004 7:52 am
Posts: 1712
Location: Strasburg, PA
Being a corporation, the stockholders vote in the board, but since most of the larger stock holders are on the board, you could say that they are self appointed, but then again, they have a right to be, it's their money.

Instituting age limits was a huge reform to our board of directors. In the '90's several of the original 1958 stockholders were still on the board, where they would be wheeled in so they could drool on their shirts, soil their Depends, and not say a word during the entire meeting other than to vote "no" to anything the "youngsters" in management wanted to put through, making for a pretty trying time. Linn said that "In their eyes, I'm still that 10 year old kid that used to make mischief, so why would they listen to me?"

I used to rail about these octogenarians and nonagenarians with virtually no future left of their own, making decisions with little or no thought that would affect my future for decades to come.

So, to their credit, several years back the board voted to put a mandatory retirement age of 75 on being a member of the board. It is a double edged sword in that it has caused some good members to retire, but also forced off members that contributed little or nothing. And nothing prevents the valuable retirees from being called in to consult as needed.

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C. S. Forester

Strasburg Rail Road Mechanical Department


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 Post subject: Re: self appointed board of directors
PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2019 12:16 pm 

Joined: Wed Jun 26, 2013 7:20 pm
Posts: 197
Quote:
More than once I've seen a rail museum BOD become comprised
of non-railroaders with a non-railroad mentality toward running
the outfit.

Is this really a bad thing? Sometimes you need people on the board who have a business approach to running a museum.


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 Post subject: Re: self appointed board of directors
PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2019 1:45 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2016 1:15 pm
Posts: 520
I’ve personally seen the results of an business minded leadership and it’s not good, imho.

Ideally you want a mix.


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 Post subject: Re: self appointed board of directors
PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2019 2:00 pm 

Joined: Sat Sep 04, 2004 10:54 am
Posts: 961
Location: Tucson, Arizona
Old Pueblo Trolley's Board of Directors is nominated by a committee and elected by the general membership. We do not have term limits nor a mandatory retirement age as we have never needed either provision. Directors who are representatives of the neighborhood associates or the subsidiary divisions are selected by their organizations and presented to the nominating committee to be submitted to the membership for election at the annual meeting. In my twelve years on the board, I have seen several changes of board members due to death or changes in life circumstances.

Vacancies may be filled by appointment, but the appointed directors are voted on at the next annual meeting. Thus, the membership always gets to approve or remove a director by vote at some time.

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"When a man runs on railroads over half of his lifetime he is fit for nothing else-and at times he don't know that."- Conductor Nimrod Bell, 1896


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 Post subject: Re: self appointed board of directors
PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2019 2:38 pm 

Joined: Thu Sep 19, 2019 8:54 am
Posts: 13
Kelly Anderson wrote:
Instituting age limits was a huge reform to our board of directors.


We used to have a couple of long-time board members who could no longer get around; one had a slew of health issues and could no longer drive, the other lost a leg to diabetes and ended up on public aid in some sort of state-owned facility and thus could no longer come around any more either. But the rest of the board lacked the stones to ask these two to resign, so they just appointed additional board members to "fill in". We went from five members to seven. Then, the two unhealthy ones eventually died, but we still have seven board members.

It was tough enough to find members interested in running for the board when we had five (the positions come up for election every five years, one board member per year); now that we have seven, they usually run unopposed. Board member for life!


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 Post subject: Re: self appointed board of directors
PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2019 3:09 pm 

Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2004 2:50 pm
Posts: 2483
Location: Northern Illinois
train guy wrote:
Quote:
More than once I've seen a rail museum BOD become comprised
of non-railroaders with a non-railroad mentality toward running
the outfit.

Is this really a bad thing? Sometimes you need people on the board who have a business approach to running a museum.


It all depends on what business they think they are approaching. If they think it's strictly entertainment, what's to keep them from scrapping all the old junk and replacing it with brand new amusement rides?

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Dennis Storzek


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 Post subject: Re: self appointed board of directors
PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2019 3:23 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2016 1:15 pm
Posts: 520
Dennis Storzek wrote:
train guy wrote:
Quote:
More than once I've seen a rail museum BOD become comprised
of non-railroaders with a non-railroad mentality toward running
the outfit.

Is this really a bad thing? Sometimes you need people on the board who have a business approach to running a museum.


It all depends on what business they think they are approaching. If they think it's strictly entertainment, what's to keep them from scrapping all the old junk and replacing it with brand new amusement rides?


Exactly. Or selling historic pieces for quick $$$, or giving away historic pieces for a political good will move. When the members complain they are told "we needed the money" or "don't you think it's good to support the community?" and how do the members argue if there is no way for them to vote out the current BOD?

Ideally... everyone on the BOD would volunteer / work during daily operations (not just special events) and get a good feel for the visitor experience, the operations, etc.

You want a Board with some diversity in age and interest. I'm gonna take a big guess that the majority of board members for Railroad museums and attractions in this country are white males over the age of 40.


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 Post subject: Re: self appointed board of directors
PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2019 3:46 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 22, 2017 6:47 pm
Posts: 243
Location: Philadelphia, PA
How about term limits?

Some Museums have term limits for the Board. Many specify a maximum of two terms of three years each. You can run again but must sit out one election cycle before you do.

Phil Mulligan


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