Reminder: Bylaws Vote at Erie Business Meeting

Author: Dan Linke, Member-at-Large

The following originally appeared in the Winter 2013 edition of the Mid-Atlantic Archivist. It is being reposted here, with additions, as reminder that the following will be brought to vote at the Erie Business Meeting.

A fun fact that emerged during MARAC’s 40th Anniversary is that the organization started with about 100 members and over four decades grew by almost 1000%! Over that time, committees were organized and added as needed or opportunities arose. This past year, MARAC Chair Ed Galloway, tasked an ad hoc committee composed of the four at-large Steering Committee members with reviewing how our awards committees are structured and recommending any changes. The committee (Rebecca Collier, Tammy Hamilton, Dan Linke, and Jordon Steele) found that, for the most part, the Arline Custer Memorial Award Committee and the Finding Aids Awards committee run well. However, they did notice operational differences between the two. Both grant monetary awards, yet the administration of each committee differs significantly. Custer Committee members are elected, while Finding Aids Committee members are appointed by the chair.

Given that MARAC has always placed an emphasis on the power of the membership at large over the elected officers (see Article 5. Government of our Constitution, esp. “The membership assembled in a business meeting is the highest authority of the Conference.”), the ad hoc committee recommended to Steering that both awards committees’ membership be elected. They also recommended that the structure of both committees be identical: six members each, with two members elected each year. Additionally, they recommended that the C. Herbert Finch Online Publication Award be put under the aegis of the Finding Aids Award Committee for logistical, workload, and intellectual reasons. (The Finch award is more closely aligned with the Finding Aids award as both consider methods of outreach and access created by archivists for their users.)

This recommendation will require a minor modification to the MARAC bylaws which will be put to a vote at the business meeting when MARAC meets in Erie, PA in the spring. The change, shown below, involves striking the extant third sentence from Section 5 Part D.  Proposed additions are in italics.

The awards committees shall be the Arline Custer Award Committee, the Distinguished Service Award Committee, and the Finding Aids Award Committee.  Members of the Arline Custer Award Committee and the Finding Aids Award Committee shall be nominated and elected for three-year staggered terms, following provisions of Bylaw 3.  Members of the Finding Aids Award Committee, including the chair, shall be appointed by the MARAC Chair for two-year terms. Members of the Distinguished Service Award Committee include four members: the immediate past MARAC Chair, who serves as the Committee chair, two members elected by membership for one-year terms, and the MARAC Archivist who serves as a non-voting ex-officio member.

If approved, Steering and the Nominations and Elections Committee will develop a plan to implement the changes. The membership at large will notice little difference, but in making these changes, we hope to make both committees run even more smoothly, as well as making them more accountable to the membership, and therefore keep true to our founding principles.

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