(So, if you want some background, check out the UU World, Tom Schade and Sarah Stewart)

I don’t want governance by platitudes.  Now, I freely admit that I’m on the outside looking in, but when I look at the UUA I don’t see a lot of concrete stuff coming out, especially from President Morales.  I hear platitudes.  I see people talking about how exciting and revolutionary those platitudes are, but I rarely see concrete action beyond a blog post.  And I am all for “monitoring” with clear definitions/job roles/etc. because as someone who does contribute to the UUA I do want to know that the money is making an impact.

Yes, I can take a certain amount on trust, on faith, but at the moment I also work for the CLF doing social media.  I’ve got a pretty clear ability to see what my impact is and how good of a job I’m doing.  And I can also look at those analytics to see what I need to change and how I need to adjust my programming so I can better reach my goals.  I can’t imagine not having those metrics because I find them so essential in changing how I do my job on a daily and weekly basis so I can do a better job.  Yes, I’m fortunate that social media metrics are easy to get (for the most part.)  And if that’s what this consultant is for – figuring out the best way to measure the impact – then I’m all for spending 100k to figure that out.

Yes, not everything can be made into a metric, but a whole lot can, and it’s an objective way to make future staff decisions.  When we have data to back up what programs are and aren’t working, we can then better adjust for the future.  We just let quite a few staff go and for the first time I actually knew some of the folks let go.  So, without metrics that measure the impact they had on the mission of the UUA, how can those layoffs be adequately justified?

There’s a lot of concern about tone out there.  Folks worried about the relationships – relationships between the Board and the President are broken, relationships being frayed, communication is strained, etc. etc. etc.  Ok, so I don’t really see the big deal with that I have to admit (I guess I fall into the grown ups can work together without liking each other camp.)  I really don’t particularly care if the president and the moderator don’t get along – how does that have any relevance on my day-to-day life as a Unitarian Universalist?  If they aren’t getting along and we’re having to have conversations about the lack of conversations, then gridlock sets in and sure, that’s a problem…usually.  But gridlock implies that before the gridlock there were interesting and exciting things coming out of the UUA and I’m not sold on that.  How much is my life as a member in a congregation affected by what’s going on that the UUA?  Are some folks seeing this as a big deal because folks on staff in congregations are affected more by things at the UUA than the common layfolk (that’s a genuine question – beats me.)  Are folks just excited that there’s drama in what are probably otherwise dull board meetings, so people are getting excited about the drama involved?  I’m not sure I see why this is making such big news.

I imagine that it’s tied to the Moderator race at upcoming GA.  And from what I’m feeling out there, folks who do want the Moderator and the President to hold hands and skip through the plenary hall are leaning towards Key and those who aren’t as concerned with that total harmony or kinda like the status quo are leaning Payne-Alex.  So I think I’m beginning to lean toward Payne-Alex, and indeed, today made the call and am now supporting Tamara Payne-Alex for moderator. (Stay tuned for an upcoming post on that decision making process.)

I just keep coming back to this: How much of this board vs. president conflict is actually relevant in our congregations vs. folks saying it’s important.  How much of this is relevant to the folks serving at the greeting table in my congregation vs. how much of this is relevant to the smallish “Elite UU Leaders” circle?

I’m not inspired at all by the current president, which makes me think the Board is more likely to be in the right.  I also come in knowing many Board members and have worked with more than one on various things.  So I do have something of a Board Bias I should be upfront with here, but I don’t think it’s clouding my thoughts too much.

Maybe the problem is in what the actual role of the president is.  I don’t think we should necessarily elect the CEO of the UUA.  I think we can elect the person or persons that CEO reports to and that person or those people can set the vision.  Maybe the president should be something like Missionalist-in-Chief, where they set the mission of the next x years that fits in to the overall vision of the UUA that’s set by the Board.  When folks elect the president, they’re under the assumption the president sets the vision – which doesn’t apparently happen with this policy governance model.

Anywho, those are some of my scattered thoughts.  I’m not quite sure what to make of all of this and even if I should be worried about it truth be told.  (I’ve got enough on my plate as it is!) In the end, I bet in a week or two this falls off the collective RADAR screen and will be a minor asterix, unless it gets brought up again (and again (and again)) in the context of the Moderator election.  Here’s hoping.