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    6 Replies Latest reply on Dec 21, 2007 8:04 AM by LUCKIEST

    Board of Directors

    LUCKIEST Guide
      I have just joined a local Non Profit Organization as Treasurer. There are 9 (nine) members on this Board.
      There appears to be running battles between the Executive Board's President and the Executive Director
      who is a salaried employee of the Non Profit.
      The present problem appears to be that the Executive Director needs to have the Board's approval to give
      Bonuses or Salary adjustments to all staff (including the exec director).
      The Executive Director has prepared a list of projected bonuses, has already taken his bonus, and is in
      the process of preparing the others. The Board sent the Exec Director an e mail yesterday, not to give
      out the Bonus checks until after the Board can vote. The Board is meeting this Thursday.
      Any suggestions or insight would be appreciated. Thanks, LUCKIEST
        • Re: Board of Directors
          Generation4 Adventurer
          Hello. I'm a newbie to the site, but I thought I'd try and help you. I've worked with non-profits before but have never been on the board, so take my advice for what it is. Non-profits all have bylaws, rules, and regulations. It sounds like the Executive Director moved too quickly on the bonus allocation and distribution which is outside of procedure. It sounds like the Board is meeting this week to formally agree on amounts and distributions. Might be a bit awkward for the Executive Director, but it sounds like everything is going through procedure which is the correct thing to do. You mentioned that he has already taken his bonus - well - after the board meeting the individual should be prepared to make an adjustment (plus or minus) depending on what the vote is. Moving forward if any party has an issue with how bonuses or salary adjustments are determined, I'd suggest voting on it. But for right now...procedure is procedure.
          • Re: Board of Directors
            CorpCons08 Ranger

            It really sounds like the Executive Director feels he is immune from the decisions of the Board of Directors. That being the case, the Board needs to sit him down and explain to im his role in the non profit. If he is unable to follow the proper procedure, you may have to have a vote and let him go.

              • Re: Board of Directors
                Lighthouse24 Ranger

                As noted above, part of the reason the board doesn't come down on the Executive Director is that they know they're partly (maybe mostly) to blame. Also, for most non-profit organizations, the Executive Director is seriously underpaid compared to what a for-profit manager with a similar sized staff and range of responsibilities would make.

                While the board may not respect the Executive Director's social status in the community, they know that if the Executive Director quits or is fired, it can seriously impact day-to-day operations, fundraising, delivery of services, etc. Plus it always starts a chain-reaction throughout the community -- when a paid position at that level in a non-profit opens up, a game of "musical chairs" begins where everyone in the non-profit and social services arena in that city or region will try to move up to a better gig. I've seen it take as long as four years for music to stop, the players to settle, and for all the organizations involved to get back up to staff -- and back to the job of fulfilling their missions. Executive Directors often know they have this leverage, and they sometimes leverage it to get their way -- which creates feuds with board members.

                Jim Croce could have almost been singing about a non-profit boardroom rather than a pool hall ("You don't tug on Superman's cape . . .")

              • Re: Board of Directors
                Lighthouse24 Ranger

                Sounds like some folks I've worked with! This will be more the "insight" you requested than it is an "answer."

                The usual situation is that the Executive Director is THE functional leader of the organization (which includes managing the budget, supervising employees, driving the fundraising activities, overseeing the distributions of services, being the face the media and public see, etc.) -- yet he or she has no little or no authority (without board approval) to take what would normally be a senior manager's action. There are good reasons for this, of course, and the rules for making that arrangement work are documented in the non-profit's charter or by-laws.

                The problem is that the Executive Director often can't get the board to DECIDE anything. I've seen a board of twenty community leaders spend an hour-and-a-half on one trivial issue that's first on the agenda (because they ALL have to talk, even if they have nothing new or useful to contribute -- +sound familiar+?), and then they run out of time and have to delay the three agenda items that the Executive Director urgently needed action on. "Oops, next month's agenda is already full, we'll have to put it on the agenda for the month after." And so it goes.

                When a corporate board needs to make a decision, they do (otherwise, it costs stockholders money, and if their inaction were to cost stockholders money, they'd get voted out). A non-profit board, on the other hand, is a "feel good, look good" deal for most volunteer board members. Too many of them just want the title, the sense of importance, and the opportunity to be politically/socially affiliated with the mission of the organization (and to publically take credit for the good it does) -- but they don't really want to DO anything to guide it.

                As a result, the Executive Director is stuck, and very often will pull the kinds of things you described because it forces the board to finally act on something they were probably supposed to have decided last June. The board (made up of at least a few very powerful people who are certain they "run" the communities they live in) naturally see this as a insubordinate act.

                As suggested in Gen4's post, the most important action now is that they vote on this issue and get on with business. Enjoy your experience on the board, and keep us posted!
                • Re: Board of Directors
                  Excellence Newbie
                  Did the Board take notice that the Executive Director, himself, already took his bonus without the Board's vote?
                    • Re: Board of Directors
                      LUCKIEST Guide
                      Excellence, Yes we met Monday night and yes the Board take notice that the Executive Director, had
                      already took his bonus without the Board's vote.
                      For other reasons, the Board ALL voted that the Exec Director give back the Bonus.
                      The Board voted to deduct XX percentage from his paycheck until paid back.
                      Thanks for asking, LUCKIEST