NAI Elections

For complete information about NAI's elections policies and procedures, download the elections handbook.

2018 Candidate Statements

National Board of Directors
Includes Vice President for Programs, Treasurer, and Members at Large (Board-nominated and member-nominated)

Interpretive Naturalist Section
Zoos, Wildlife Parks, and Aquaria Section
Chesapeake Region
Sunny Southeast Region
Great Lakes Region
South Central Region

NAI Governance Documents

This year, NAI members will be voting on a revision of NAI’s Bylaws and the creation of a NAI Constitution as part of the regular election cycle.

As you may know, organizations find themselves revising the bylaws on a fairly frequent basis - usually because day to day practice has strayed from outlined procedure or a decision is made to add a committee, or any one of a number of common reasons.  NAI’s bylaws however required that even the slightest change go to the membership for a vote in a lengthy process that takes six months or more.  Our primary goal for this revision was to make the organization more efficient and able to adapt to a changing membership and evolving profession, to ensure that the document conforms to current best practice, and to streamline the document to make it more easily understood.

The revisions allow for changes in routine procedure while maintaining member control over the core foundational aspects of the organization, especially election of officers and directors of the board.  We encourage all members to review these documents before voting takes place in September/October.

NAI Constitution
NAI Bylaws

We will be discussing the revisions and what they mean throughout the summer.  A special email address has been set up – bylaws@interpnet.com – for you to contact the board and members of the Bylaws Task Force with any questions you may have.

Share your thoughts!

Read the NAI Blog for an update on the proposed Bylaws and Constitution.  Share your thought about the revisions, leave a comment, ask a question!

Frequently Asked Questions

1.  Why are we changing the bylaws?
One issue that NAI’s board of directors has wrestled with over the past six years is that of awkward governance documents that restrict our ability to respond to changing challenges and new opportunities in an agile fashion.  The last bylaws revision (2012) was done to change the board structure from elected officers and the board made up of the leaders of the sections and regions, to one in which the members of the board were elected as well and representatives from a new Advisory Council were appointed by the AC to the board to represent those units in policy matters.  This addressed the work overload for regional and sectional leaders who had two big jobs, but maintained a way for the units (now communities) to continue to meet and discuss issues and have an impact on board decision-making.

While this new board system has worked well, and is popular with the membership, the actual bylaws (written by a law firm) were constructed on a corporate template that could charitably be called “cumbersome.” Requiring a long process and a 2/3 majority positive vote of at least 10% of the membership (our last national election for the board was valid with only two votes to spare!) to make even the smallest operational change, the end result was that no changes could realistically be made no matter how small without going through the whole, long process.  Like many organizations, NAI gradually got out of whack between what the bylaws said and what actual practice had become, and so a bylaws revision was necessary.

2. Why now?
A major milestone like celebrating NAI’s 30th anniversary always presents an opportunity to reflect on the future – we know where we have been, where do we want to go?  And perhaps more importantly, how best to get there?  The bylaws revision is one important way to streamline operations and allow the board to be in a position to react to new opportunities as we move the association forward.

3.  What will change?
Not much, except that a lot of unneeded legal language irrelevant to NAI will be eliminated and pertinent clauses are rephrased in clearer, easier to understand language.  The big change is the creation of two documents out of one – the separation of core foundational elements of the organization into a Constitution (mirroring the Articles of Incorporation under which NAI was founded) and more streamlined Bylaws for operational aspects of the organization.  Also, more board members will now be nominated by the membership.

Specific revisions in the new Bylaws include:

  • An increase in the number of board members nominated by the membership to serve on the board (from 3 to 5) and a decrease in the number nominated by the board (from 5 to 3).
  • The board will be able to appoint one of its board-nominated members – this allows the board as a whole to recognize a need for expertise and fill it with someone who may not be as well known to the membership at large.
  • While it still takes a 2/3 majority of a vote of the members to change the Constitution, small changes to the Bylaws can be voted on by the board. 
  • The term “member in good standing” is defined.
  • The designation of President as Chair of the Board and Vice President for Administration as the Vice Chair was duplicative and removed. Now either VP-Admin or VP-Programs can conduct meetings of the board in the President’s absence.
  • The number of standing committees of the board was expanded from three to five, with the addition of a Personnel Committee and an Ethics Committee.
  • The fiscal year is no longer required to be January 1- December 31 but may be adjusted by a vote of the board based on the best interests of the organization. (The board is considering moving the fiscal year to a July 1 start to more accurately reflect the program year.)

4.  What does this mean to me as an NAI member?
You now will have more of a say in who represents you on the board.  Ambiguities are cleared up in definitions and processes, and the overall language of the documents is clearer and easier to understand.  

Important Dates

February 1
NAI Board of Directors appoints the Nominations & Elections Committee (“Committee”)

March 1
NAI announces the Call for Nominations for open positions

May 31
Deadline for submitting a nomination

June-July
Committee goes through the vetting process of those nominated

August 15
Committee finalizes the slate of candidates and notifies all those nominated

August 30
All candidate statements, bios and photos will have been posted on the NAI website

September 1
Electronic ballots mailed to all current members of NAI

September 21
Voting period ends (end of third week in September)

October 1
Committee Chair sends election report to the NAI Secretary for certification; all candidates are notified of results; results posted on NAI website and announced to members

Run for Office!

Interested in being a Board member? 
Review this webinar for information.

Board Job Descriptions

President
The President of the Board of Directors shall be President of the corporation, and subject to the direction and oversight of the Board of Directors, Shall: (a) exercise supervision over the business and affairs of the corporation; (b) see that all orders and resolutions of the Board of Directors are carried into effect; and (c) perform all other duties incident to the office of the President and as from time to time may be assigned to the President by the Board of Directors.

Vice President for Administration
The Vice President for Administration of the Board of Directors shall be the Vice President for Administration of the corporation, and preside of all corporate meetings in the absence of the President. The Vice President for Administration shall act as a liaison between the Board of Directors and any standing or special committees assigned to him or her, and perform such other duties as from time to time may be assigned by the President or the Board of Directors. The Vice-President for Administration shall appoint the chair of the Nominations and Elections Committee, subject to the approval of the Board of Directors. In the event of the prolonged absence or disability of the President, the Vice President for Administration shall be the acting President, and as such, the acting President shall have all the authority and duties vested in the President.

Vice President for Programs The Vice President for Programs of the Board of Directors shall be the Vice President for Programs of the corporation. The Vice President for Programs shall act as the liaison between the Board of Directors and any standing or special committees assigned to him or her, serve as the board liaison for the corporation’s program activities and the Advisory Council, and perform such other duties as from time to time may be assigned by the President or the Board of Directors. In the event of the prolonged absence or disability of the President, and if the Board of Directors determines the Vice President for Administration is unable to be the acting President, the Vice President for Programs shall be the acting President, and as such, the acting President shall have all the authority and duties vested in the President.

Treasurer
The Treasurer of the Board of Directors shall be the Treasurer of the corporation. The Treasurer shall review the complete books, record of accounts, and financial reports (including annual reports) prepared and kept by the corporation’s staff, and perform such other duties as from time to time may be assigned by the President or the Board of Directors.

Secretary
The Secretary of the Board of Directors shall be the Secretary of the corporation. The Secretary shall keep corporate records and minutes of all membership and board meetings and other duties incident to the office of Secretary. The Secretary shall collect and insure the publication of committee meeting minutes. The Secretary shall also perform such other duties as from time to time are assigned by the President or Board of Directors.

Member-Nominated Board Position
Attends minimum of two Board meetings, annual general membership meeting held during the NAI National Conference, and other meetings as necessary.
 Participates in task forces or committee work when applicable.
 Volunteers for and accepts assignments and completes them thoroughly and on time.
 Stays informed about the Association, board and committee matters. Prepares for meetings. Reviews and comments on minutes and reports.
 Is an active participant in the Board’s planning efforts.