Monday, October 23, 2017

What's Up with #UBCBoG's Governance Committee?

Since my term on UBC's Board of Governors the governance committee has met only half as often as most of the other committees of the board. At least, that the best that I can figure out. The committee meets off schedule and in variable locations. Here are the listing of meetings since my term began.

Governance Scheduled Committee meetings Board  Meetings
06-Apr 14-Apr
24-May 06-Jun 14-Jun
12-Sep 21-Sep
22-Nov 28-Nov 05-Dec

I've also been tracking the public notification of when and where the governance committee is to meet.  It's hard to figure out from what gets posted online. The informed public can learn, with sufficient time to make arrangements to attend, when most of the other committees like property and finance are being held.  It's pretty simple actually. Most committee meetings happen exactly when and where the long term schedule says they will: about a week prior to the main board meeting. Not the case for governance.  The standard one week notice seems to be in effect.  However, with the variable meeting schedule in play the net effect is less public notice then should be accorded this very important committee of the board.

With all the fuss these past several years about UBC's Boards problematic approach to governance issues one would think every effort would be made to make transparent the workings of the board's very own governance committee.  Especially given the fact they are supposedly working on a governance review. But this committee doesn't meet on schedule with the other board committees and the result is a lack of public transparency.

As one of BC's most important public institutions we have a duty, a fiduciary duty, to act in the best interest of the citizenry of BC. One of the ways to do that is to demonstrate through our actions that we are governing with the most open, transparent, and democratic practices available to us.   

We should be giving full, proper prior public notice of all of the meetings of the board.  All board committees should meet on the same day in a publicly accessible location.  Meetings must be scheduled in the public, not private, interest. To do otherwise is to obstruct appropriate public review.

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