Here's our situation:
We have a new president coming in who is hoping to change embedded attitutdes and even out the balance of power. To my knowledge, there is nothing in the bylaws that touches how chairs are chosen.
Many feel the pres should choose since ultimately she's the one who has to work with these people, and that she could be out-voted by the "old guard" who want to retain power. Even though I trust the person to make good choices, I feel this gives the impression of the "same old same old," you know, choosing friends etc. even if that's not the case, and it could be a bad situation for the pres--if she makes a wrong choice, she's "the cheese" and stands alone.
I think there should be a committee, which the pres could choose from those who sign up, and they decide with her. I feel it's safer, and ultimately is the right thing to do. Too often in our group n people from the "outside" or "newbies" are ignored because they're an unknown. I've come to find that many of these people are untapped goldmines of experience, contacts and ideas. If the pres chooses by herself, those people will be pushed to the side again if the pres doesn't know them personally, whereas with a committeee there's a greater chance the "newbie's" name will come up for consideration.
OK, FINALLY the question(s)--
How do you do it? What do you think about how chairs should be chosen?
Don't be shy--I know you all have opinions on this one!
You have a problem that I can only dream of. In our group we usually do not have to make a choice about who is going to chair and event or fundraiser, we usually take whoever is willing to volunteer for it.
If there ever were to be more than one individual that wanted to chair something, I think that the best solution would be to pair two up, maybe a newbie and an old pro, they would be co-chairs. In my ideal world, we would always have this type of planning, you would always have someone willing to do it who already knows how it works.
Gook luck, and I hope to someday have to make this type of hard decision.
Don't get me wrong--I'm not complaining about having people wanting to help!!!
We DO have a problem getting people involved, but it's mainly because of the "clique" in control. THEY pick and choose what does or doesn't get done, and who does or doesn't do it--there's NEVER a vote, for anything, other than the nominating committee (and that's only because my friend and I got involved, and even then, the slate was changed without approval). They'd rather burn themselves out or get their friends to do it in a half-assed way rather than give someone they're not friendly with a chance. Fundraising has been run by someone who did a medicore job and never accepted new ideas for the past 6 years. Other people HAVE offered to chair, but because she didn't like them, the rest of the board (who are all friendly socially) let her hang on to it like a dog with a bone. The current first VP (who is the fundraising chair and on her way out) and the Pres (who will be first VP next school year) promised another woman she could have fundraising next year. The rest of us were like, "Uh--hello? Is this how it works?" When people started to ask about it, the Pres and VP's reaction was, "well how can we take it away from her now--we PROMISED it to her!" It's very frustrating, because getting people involved is hard to begin with, and with behavior like that it's even harder to get them to help.
That's why with the new pres I feel she should have a committee--at least there's a shot at it being fair on some level. I'm just curious how everyone else does it--if there's a better way I'd like to have examples!
When we're looking for committee members or even just someone to take on a task, we just ask for volunteers at our meetings or put it in our newsletter. If more than one person steps up then they just work together. Sometimes this method is the best way to get new people involved. They may feel too "frightened" to volunteer alone but if we put the offer out there for multiple people to work together, we tend to see hands go up more freely. We used to have everything run by the board but a couple of years ago we started committees to oversee some of our larger projects. It's much easier for people to take a small part of a big project. More people can feel like they are contributing and no one feels overwhelmed. We've got a lot more new parents and teachers involved in the organization using this method.
I read this with interest because I had a similar, but very different experience. Let me explain.
When I became involved in our middle school PTO 2 & 1/2 years ago, it was my first experience. Before then, my child had been in a private school & parent involvement was very cliquish...
So I was excited to become involved. To be brief, I became president this year & thought the orgs. vol. coordinator would help with finding chairs, since she had MANY more connections than I.
Unfortunately, she was just interested in creating databases & not willing to recruit. Needless to say, we also don't have much parent involvement & it's dwindled since my first year at this school (for several reasons...)
Anyway, I've thought about this a lot & wonder how it would work for the committees to meet at the beginning of the year & let them decide who will be chair (or co-chairs).
If there are no takers, or no one signs up for the committee, it seems like it would then fall to the volunteer coord. (who's familiar w/all the vols.) & the president to work on finding a chairperson.
I don't know if that would prevent cliques--they just seem to spring up before you know it--but if the group is selecting, it might help.
Also, do you have "job descriptions" that help guide you to volunteer's strenghths & weaknesses?
kma- if you are absolutely certain that the appointment of the chair is not in the bylaws, Robert's Rules are then to take over where the bylaws leave off. (I would make certain that it is not in the bylaws though- most that I have seen have committees defined)
In combing Robt's for an answer, I think this is what I've come up with... (my eyes are starting to hurt!)
If you have had executive board (usually defined again in your bylaws and may include Principal, perhaps teachers etc, in addition to the elected officers) then it is responsible for appointing the chairman.