OCEAN is Restructuring to Increase Opportunities for Leadership

by Communications Committee

During our strategic planning session in February one of the major topics discussed was sustainability, not in the natural resource conservation context of the word, but rather in taking the momentum the organization has built over its recent past and sustaining it into the future.

One of the outcomes of that discussion was the need to maximize participation at the board level. Over the past few years filling every position on the Board has been difficult, not because there aren’t people interested in serving, but because our organizational structure has been a barrier to some degree.

OCEAN Basins

These are the OCEAN Basins under the current organizational structure. Click to Enlarge

The map of our current structure shows the number of employees in each of the eight Basins. As you would expect it is much easier to fill board members from a pool of 70 employees than it is from a pool of 10. Every year we struggle to fill positions where the pool of employees is small and turn away interested individuals because they work in an area that is already well represented. While we like the idea of geographic representation, we realized that some areas weren’t being represented at all.

Our solution to this problem was to divide the state into larger areas, creating five “Regions” that were roughly equal in terms of the number of employees. This was a difficult task, especially when trying to group employees within Regions that share similar conservation issues and practices. At lease six different scenarios were considered, and through discussion and deliberation a new structure to present for vote at CONNECT 2015 was chosen.

OCEAN Regions

These are the proposed new OCEAN Regions in the By-Laws to be voted on by the membership at CONNECT 2015. Click to Enlarge

As you can see in the map of the proposed new structure, the five Regions would host between 30-50 employees each. Each Region would have one representative on the Board leaving room for six At-Large positions.

We also wanted to have At-Large positions maintain some facet of geographic representation, so in the proposed structure we would draw three At-Large positions from a pool containing Portland/Salem Metro and Northwest Oregon Region employees, and the remaining three At-Large positions from a pool containing Southern Oregon, Columbia Plateau, and Eastern Oregon Region employees.

This change will require approval of new By-Laws. If the By-Laws are adopted by the membership, we would need to hold elections for the entire Board of Directors. While it is always a bit chaotic to go through that process, it will be important to set the new structure up for success by ensuring the membership officially endorses its elected Board. Officers will still be appointed by the Board of Directors once all of the positions are elected by the membership.

Please be sure to read the proposed OCEAN By-Laws in preparation to vote at the OCEAN Annual Meeting at CONNECT 2015. Changes have been highlighted in yellow, and comments or questions can be sent to info@oceanconnect.org.

We look forward to your feedback and to presenting this new structure to you at CONNECT.