From The Blog
Committee Process Expands Perspectives
Candidates for the board of directors in the upcoming election will be announced in November before voting opens in late December. Each year, the Nominating Committee provides recommendations on candidates who choose to go through the committee’s evaluation process. After objective evaluation, the committee will weigh in on the candidates that best meet the needs of the board and the community. Below, we’ll explore the context in which the committee was created and the process it follows each year.
History of the Committee
Before KICA created the Nominating Committee, the board had the same problem that many other community associations have: it was difficult to find candidates willing or able to commit to board service. To fill the upcoming vacancies, board members reached out to their friends and neighbors – often people in the same demographic segment. Kiawah Club members persuaded people they interacted with at the Club to run for service, and full-time residents did the same thing with the neighbors they socialized with. While this was an effective and understandable way to recruit, it was a type of self-perpetuation –where the board is filled again and again from a small pool of people.
When this problem became apparent, the board looked for a solution. After researching similar communities and best practices in the industry, the KICA board formed the Nominating Committee in 2013. Made up of property owners across the spectrum of island ownership, the committee brought views from different segments of Kiawah Island and a mission to recruit which was outside the board.
The Nominating Committee, led by the vice-chair of the board of directors and made up of volunteers, works about five months a year on the process that culminates in these recommendations. Volunteers participate in the committee for a one-year term are sought each year in May and June. The committee’s stated purpose is “to identify, recruit, qualify, and recommend candidates for service on the KICA board.” (View the full Nominating Committee charter at kica.us/nominating.) Identifying and recruiting are arguably the most important steps in this process. Committee members work to connect with property owners who might have interest in running for the board and recruit them. These people can come from any segment of KICA membership, from part-
time owners who live behind the V-Gate to full-time owners who bought in West Beach 25 years ago.
The committee begins board recruitment in July and continues through the closing of board candidate applications in early October. During this phase, the committee reaches out to interested parties and tries to create interest in board service among property owners. This year, the committee spear-headed a board service info session in which previous and current board members spoke about their experiences. The meeting was also livestreamed for those who weren’t able to attend in person. This kind of broad outreach is an important tactic for the committee. While KICA staff has always promoted the opportunity to run for the board in its communications, the board recognizes that the most appropriate solicitors for property owner representation are often property owners themselves.
Prior to moving into interviews, the committee receives information from the board on skillsets needed or demographics that are under- or over-represented. These can be based on the skills of directors leaving the board or upcoming strategic goals. For example, financial or project management experience may be desired due to island-wide projects in the near future. Part-time property owners may be under-represented, leading the board to direct the Nominating Committee to seek representation from a part-time property owner.
Candidates can be recommended based on one of three basic philosophies: the committee can recommend all candidates who are considered qualified, recommend the best of the candidates, or recommend only as many candidates as there are open seats. All three philosophies have merit and the board of directors has left the nominating committee latitude in deciding its philosophy each year.
Going Through the Process
The committee meets with each prospective candidate who wishes to go through the interview process. Any KICA member can run for the board and no member is required to sit down with the Nominating Committee to do so. A significant purpose of the committee interview is to have the candidate verbalize and confirm the information shared within the written application. The committee also evaluates each candidate based on objective metrics. A candidate’s ability to advocate for the good of the entire Kiawah community is a key factor. A big picture view helps set apart these candidates from those whose personal causes are a primary focus. The committee develops a sense of whether candidates have the interpersonal skills to work in the board setting. Individual perspectives are critical for a strong board, yet to be effective, the directors must be able to disagree without being disagreeable. This process also ensures that prospective board candidates are considered by their peers.
After the evaluation, the committee makes it recommendations to the board of directors. The board reviews the recommendations and either accepts or returns them to the committee for further review.(Since the committee’s formation, the board has never returned recommendations.) Potentially, more candidates will run than there are seats available. This year, five members submitted applications to run for the board but all of them may not choose to run. Submitted information is confidential until candidates are announced in November.
Nominating Committee chair Sue Schaffer notes another important facet of the committee’s work. “85% of KICA property owners are not full-time residents. The Nominating Committee’s recommendations are crucial for people who haven’t had the chance to meet the candidates or aren’t clear on what issues the community will be facing in the next few years. The nominating committee process gives committee members better insight into the candidates than voters can glean from a written statement and short video, enabling us to compare and evaluate as objectively as possible.”
All candidates, regardless of whether they go through the Nominating Committee process, are presented to the community through a biography and video interview (conducted by staff). The committee will not express opinions on candidates who choose to run independently.
The slate of 2020 candidates will be finalized and announced with an email in November 2019.Make sure you receive this information as soon as it’s available by signing up for KICA’s email communications at kica.us/signup.