DLA’s Board Chair Exceeded His Term Limit.

Audit calls on the school's board to ensure it complies with term limits.

Table of Contents

Overview

As of June 30, 2017, DLA’s board chair had been in the position more than seven years (since April 30, 2010), which is three years longer than DLA’s bylaws allow. By not ensuring that all board members adhere to established term limits, DLA may be denying the opportunity of board membership to other members of the communities it serves who could provide new ideas and expertise. It may also be denying current board members opportunities to assume leadership positions on the board.

Authoritative Guidance

According to Section 4.2 of DLA’s bylaws, “The term in the office of Chair, Vice Chair, Treasurer, and Secretary will be two years. A Trustee may not serve more than two consecutive terms in the same office.”

Reasons for Issues

Typically, an election is held annually at the June board meeting to elect new officers as current terms expire. The board chair stated that he influenced the other board members to forgo the process of electing a new chair at the end of his consecutive two-year terms.

Recommendation

The board should not allow any of its members to serve a term that exceeds those established in its bylaws.

Auditee’s Response

In 2017, the Board Chair spoke with DESE regarding by-laws and was advised that the average term for members of Boards of Trustees ranged from 15 to 20 years. The Chair was advised that he could expect to serve no more than 15 years and he advised that no member of the Board had served more than 7 years.

Thereafter, the DLA Board approved the new by-laws at the end of the school year and submitted them to DESE for approval. DLA has not heard back regarding approval of the by-laws.

As far as an exit plan from the chair and the Board, efforts are underway to recruit new members to serve on the Board. At this time DLA would suffer with an abrupt departure of the Chair from the Board. Having that in mind, the Chair anticipates that the term expiring on June 30, 2019 will be his last term of service.

Auditor’s Reply

Regarding how long DLA’s board members can serve, during our audit period DLA’s bylaws stated, “The term in the office of Chair, Vice Chair, Treasurer, and Secretary will be two years. A Trustee may not serve more than two consecutive terms in the same office.” DLA’s board was responsible for making sure all of its members complied with this requirement. Going forward, DLA should not allow any of its board members to serve a term that exceeds the period established in its bylaws.

Date published: November 19, 2018
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