Question: Should we have a nominating committee?

My school parent-teacher group is writing its bylaws, and we are stuck on the election process. Some parents are concerned that we will not be able to get parents if we don’t use the nominating committee. Others say they will not run if the nominating committee is used because they do not want to be subjected to the scrutiny of the committee. What are the other ways we can elect officials for the next school year?

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Advice from PTO Today

Elly writes:

Elly sides with the parents who worry that you won’t get nominees if you don’t use a committee. Granted, a nominating committee doesn’t magically make being on the board an attractive proposition—you still have to make it enticing—but at least you have a system in place all year long for finding and recruiting officers. It’s officially a subgroup’s responsibility and not something you can shrug off until the last minute.

As far as “scrutiny” is concerned, is this a parent group or a congressional hearing? If you anticipate having so many officer candidates that you have to winnow them down to a select few, pat yourselves on the back for running an organization so many parents want to get involved in. Then, write your bylaws to allow for voting on an open number of candidates gathered by the nominating committee, rather than on a slate with one candidate per position.

Community Advice

badpants writes:
We have a nominating committee and I think it's a great idea. But our definition is pretty loose and certainly does not include and scrutinizing. Ideally, it consists of 3 members, but sometimes, we are only able to get 2. Their job is soley to sniff out interested parents. Or, in some cases, an interested parent contacts them directly. Why I like it is this, many times parents who are interested in running are interested because they feel change is needed. If I were that parent, the last person I'd want to talk to is someone on the current board. So a neutral 3rd party is just the thing. Also, if the current board is in charge of nominating or finding interested parents, it can come across as an appointment, and that does not create any warm and fuzzy feelings. Durring the meeting when nominations would be announced, for us it's March, the nominating committee would make the announcement. We also like to include a little bio about the parent, such as the names of her kids and their grade, any committees she has chaired or other involvement if she has not chaired. And maybe some kind of positive statement or personal philosophy for example, Cindy is really excited to continue the great momentum of XZY PTO.

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