November 2001

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Why Run for Council?


A quote attributed to Sir Winston Churchill goes: "Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the rest." Your Association is also a democracy, run by your elected representatives on Council.

Every year at this time, 16 volunteers from our membership sit on the nominating committee and bring forward names of 10 individuals (seven for council and three for vice-president) who are willing to stand for election. All are excellent candidates who, if elected, will serve our association well.

Across Alberta recently, many municipalities just came through a tough-fought election for their leaders and decision makers. In many of the communities, several candidates ran for the few available positions. Why shouldn't it be the same for our Association, since we have nearly 30,000 eligible candidates for council?

Considering the Myths

Let's look at a few myths!

Myth #1: "I must be nominated by the nominating committee." No. Any
professional member in good standing will be placed on the ballot for
Council simply by having 10 members in good standing nominate him or her.
To be nominated for vice-president, though, you do need to have served on
council for at least one year.

Myth #2: "It takes too much time." Yes, to serve as an elected council
member will require some time commitment, and a commitment from your
employer, but not as much as you would think. Council members serve a
three-year term. You are required to attend five one-day council meetings
each year (weekdays), a strategy retreat (one weekend) and attend two or
three functions during the year (usually evening events).
Of course, you will need some prep time at home to prepare for council meetings. The commitment is less than a dozen days a year, plus possibly some committee or
task force work. In return, it will help set the direction of your
association and gain a better appreciation of the value of being a
professional member.

Myth #3: "I won't make a difference." Every member of Council has full
opportunity to express his or her view on any issue and bring to the table
other issues and concerns. Many times I have seen good policies established
by Council following full and open debate by all members. We are a
democracy. We are not "an old boys club."

Myth #4: "It is for older members." No, It is for everyone. I know that
younger members have family and job commitments. But you also have new
ideas and a long career ahead of you. It will also allow you to meet many distinguished members of our professions, and gain from their knowledge.

We do, however, want our members of Council to have an appreciation for how a
professional association should be governed, how to participate effectively
in Council meetings within normal rules of debate, how to be part of a
governing team and to have a broad knowledge of our professions and the
needs of members.

So What Do I Do?

Let's try to double the slate of candidates. Get involved? Let your name
stand for Council, or nominate someone else who is willing to run.
And when it is time to vote, support the individual or individuals who you feel are best qualified to lead our great Professional Association.


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