Board Elections and Appointments
League board members can be both elected by the membership and appointed by the board. A majority of board members must be elected by the membership in elections that are held in even-numbered years.
How Candidates Apply
- Applicants must review the requirements and accept the responsibilities (see below).
- Candidates write a statement of qualifications addressing the seven qualifications below, showing how she/he meet the qualifications for serving on the League board.
- Send the statement of qualifications, a resume, a 200-word profile and a photo (300dpi) to Board Chair, Karen Jenkins (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- The League Board Governance Committee will determine if applicants are qualified to be placed on the ballot.
- Profiles and photos of each candidate will be included in the League's magazine with voting instructions.
- The new members of the League Board of Directors will be seated in March of the following year (2017).
The Board of Directors of the League of American Bicyclists should be composed of persons who understand and embrace the League’s mission to lead the movement creating a Bicycle Friendly America for everyone. As leaders, our commitment is to listen and learn, define standards and share best practices to engage diverse communities and build a powerful, unified voice. Directors should be knowledgeable about the issues facing our world to provide insights into how the bicycle can be utilized to address them. For the Board to be effective, members must be willing to demonstrate their commitment to the mission through regular attendance of board meetings and active participation in one or more board committees.
There are two components to this qualification: volunteer service and leadership. The minimum qualification is prior service on a non-profit or for-profit board and/or a senior leadership position at a non-profit or for-profit organization. A high qualification would entail a history of board service including: leadership positions in large regional, state or national non-profit organizations with the same order of magnitude or larger than the League – national in scope with professional staff and budget in the millions
Membership in the League is a minimum qualification. Additional factors to be considered include: length of membership, attendance at League‐sponsored events, participation at the National Bicycle Summit, completion of League‐sanctioned training, and/or volunteer service on a League Committee. High qualification is many years of ongoing participation in the League’s activities.
The League board is responsible for the following to maintain a sustainable and robust organization.
1. Determine mission and purpose. It is the board's responsibility to create and review a statement of mission and purpose that articulates the organization's goals, means, and primary constituents served.
2. Select the chief executive. Boards must reach consensus on the chief executive's responsibilities and undertake a careful search to find the most qualified individual for the position.
3. Support and evaluate the chief executive. The board should ensure that the chief executive has the moral and professional support he or she needs to further the goals of the organization.
4. Ensure effective planning. Boards must actively participate in an overall planning process and assist in implementing and monitoring the plan's goals.
5. Monitor and strengthen programs and services. The board's responsibility is to determine which programs are consistent with the organization's mission and monitor their effectiveness.
6. Ensure adequate financial resources. One of the board's foremost responsibilities is to secure adequate resources for the organization to fulfill its mission.
7. Protect assets and provide proper financial oversight. The board must assist in developing the annual budget and ensuring that proper financial controls are in place.
8. Build a competent board. All boards have a responsibility to articulate prerequisites for candidates, orient new members, and periodically and comprehensively evaluate their own performance.
9. Ensure legal and ethical integrity. The board is ultimately responsible for adherence to legal standards and ethical norms.
10. Enhance the organization's public standing. The board should clearly articulate the organization's mission, accomplishments, and goals to the public and garner support from the community.
To fulfill these responsibilities, board members with the following professional skills are desired:
- Advocacy, particularly in a leadership role in a local or state bicycle group
- Board and staff development
- Executive recruiting
- Human resources
- Strategic planning
Minimum qualification is experience in one of the above areas. High qualification is proven expertise in one or more of these skill areas.
Ideal candidates will possess the following qualities:
- Integrity: Demonstrating a zero tolerance for unethical behavior, both for themselves and their colleagues.
- Independence: Having no unique business, financial or personal relationships — or hoped-for-relationships — that create even the perception of a conflict of interest.
- Mature Confidence: Speaking out and actively participating in board and committee deliberations.
- Corporate Manners: Recognizing the difference between productively participating in discussions and counter-productively dominating deliberations through the volume or length of comments. Must be able to work with other members to create workable compromises.
- A Sense of Context: Making relevant, informed comments focused on the specific aspect of the issue being considered. Must be able to stay on topic.
- Courage: Willingness to do the right thing/make the right decision even if it is difficult or unpopular (i.e., no fence sitting).
- Commitment: Understanding that being an effective board member requires the time, the heart, and the standards to make the enterprise successful.
Candidates may be asked to provide references. A high qualification would be references from a variety of sources demonstrating a number of these qualities.
As a non-profit organization, the League depends upon funding from a variety of sources to execute its valuable programs. In addition to giving their valuable time and insight, the League Board leads by example by being a 100% giving board. Every Board member is expected to:
- Provide financial contributions commensurate with their individual ability. At a minimum, board members are expected to pay registration to the National Bike Summit and their travel and expenses to attend Board meetings which occur two times each year.
- Introduce and expand connections with potential donors, business and political leaders, and other sources of support for the League.
The League's code of ethics:
1. Consider myself a trustee of the League and will do the best I can to ensure it is wellmaintained, financially secure, and operating in the best interest of our members;
2. Not use my service for personal financial gain;
3. Respect and support the majority decisions of the board;
4. Approach all issues with an open mind, and will be prepared to make the best decision for everyone involved;
5. Conduct myself in a respectful way, and extend that respect to all board members and staff of the League;
6. Not violate the trust of those who elected me;
7. Accept our differences, but do not feel that those differences are unimportant, or that they should be ignored or treated as if they did not matter;
8. Not make public statements critical of members or their committees;
9. Keep confidential information confidential; and,
10. Always work to my best ability to help make America more bicycle-friendly
Yes. Eight of the 15 board members are directly elected by the membership. The value of appointing members to the board is that particular skills and attributes that the board needs can be recruited – and remember, the majority of the board members making the appointments are always going to be elected. To vote in the 2016 election, you must be a registered League member by Nov. 1, 2015.
The six regions into which the League membership was divided for board elections were arbitrary and unwieldy; board members struggled to truly “represent” their regions. Under the new system, both elected and board-appointed members are responsible for considering the needs of all League members, and indeed all cyclists. Our appointed board members have always had strong ties to the bicycling community and impressive bicycling credentials. At the same time as we made this board change, we also reinvigorated the State Ambassador program to better connect the League to state and local activities, clubs and advocacy groups.
In April the League announced the opportunity to apply for open board positions via the League's website, E-news and social media.
Once applications are submitted by July 1, the nominating committee will evaluate each candidate based on seven specific qualifications and their capacity to provide high-quality, national board service. Committee members take this responsibility extremely seriously, to ensure that all the candidates have the basic qualifications necessary to serve the League well, regardless of their specific platform or views.
Each member of the governance committee will make an independent recommendation that will be tallied and sent to the board as a recommended list of candidates. They will approve the nominations for the upcoming election. Those not selected will be thanked and invited to continue to play an active role in the League.
Yes. The Bylaws include a provision for additional candidates to be nominated by petition. Candidates who are not deemed qualified by the Governance Committee will be informed on October 1, 2015 to give them time to organize petitions. To be added to the ballot, a potential candidate must obtain signatures of 5% of the League membership.
There is no single or right way to govern a national membership group; the hybrid approach of having some appointed and some elected board members is common and the use of a board nominating or governance committee to manage the election process is standard. In our own small world of bicycling, IMBA, Adventure Cycling and People for Bikes all have different board selection approaches — none as transparent as the League.
The League moved to a preferential voting system for the 2011 board election. We tested our system by conducting a survey for our members on our website. We asked you to rank a list of 10 cyclists from 1 to 10, and then used the principles of instant runoff voting (IRV) to determine the all-time best cyclist, and the four runners up, in a trial run of how we’ll elect our five board members. Here’s how the vote was calculated.
We thank the experts over at Fair Vote for their technical assistance in this test vote; they supported the count for the 2011 board election and will do so for the 2012 election -- which begins January 3, 2012. Their profiles will be posted before the voting begins.
In the first ballot, Eddie Merckx had a simple majority of the first place votes, with 68 votes of 133 cast. He’s our best cyclist of all time, and was elected to the five member “best cyclist” board.
First ballot, number of first-place votes:
Eddie Merckx 68
Fausto Coppi 1
Gino Bartali 1 J
acques Anquetil 2
Jeannie Longo 16 L
ance Armstrong 18
Marshall “Major” Taylor 26
None of the Above 1
Bernard Hinault, Francesco Moser, and Graeme Obree received no first-place votes.
With Merckx already elected to the board, we turned our attention to the second slot. Merckx’s name was removed from all the ballots, redistributing those 68 first place votes to the second name on each of those ballots. While Lance Armstrong had fewer votes than Major Taylor before Merckx’s votes were redistributed, he had the lead when the second ballot began, and he would never look back. Here’s how the vote looked at the beginning of the second round.
First place votes at the beginning of the polling for the second slot
Fausto Coppi 13
Jacques Anquetil 4
Jeannie Longo 30
Lance Armstrong 38
Marshall “Major” Taylor 35
Gino Bartali 5
Bernard Hinault 7
There was no candidate with a majority, so we began removing the cyclists with the fewest first-place votes from the ballots, and redistributing their first place votes to the next cyclists on those ballots. First Obree and Moser, who got no first place votes, were removed, then Anquetil, Bartali and Hinault. Armstrong, Taylor, Longo, and Coppi all gained votes as the runoffs were calculated, but their relative order never changed. Coppi was eliminated in the fifth runoff, leaving three candidates:
First place votes for the second slot, after the elimination of Fausto Coppi
Jeannie Longo 36
Lance Armstrong 50
Marshall “Major” Taylor 46
There were more than enough votes in play when Jeannie Longo was eliminated to put Major Taylor over the top, but her ballots were split equally between Armstrong and Taylor, and Armstrong won the second slot by 4 votes over Major Taylor, almost exactly the difference between the two men at the beginning of the ballot.
Armstrong was then eliminated from all of the ballots to conduct the runoffs for the third slot.
The third election was very similar to the second — cyclists were eliminated in the same order, and Major Taylor led from the first ballot to the last.
The instant runoff system played a more interesting role in the election of the fourth candidate to our “board,” following the election of Merckx, Armstrong, and Taylor (and their elimination from the ballots for the remaining two slots.
Vote distribution at the beginning of the fourth runoff election:
Bernard Hinault 22
Fausto Coppi 32
Gino Bartali 6
Graeme Obree 6
Jacques Anquetil 18
Jeannie Longo 46
Bartali and Obree were eliminated first, with the order of elimination being unimportant, since six additional votes would not have saved either man from being the next to be eliminated.
Fourth “board” slot election after the elimination of Bartali and Obree
Bernard Hinault 25
Fausto Coppi 35
Jacques Anquetil 20
Jeannie Longo 50
Jacques Anquetil gained only two votes in the redistribution process, and was the next to be eliminated. Jeannie Longo’s commanding lead suddenly evaporated, as 17 of the redistributed votes went to Fausto Coppi, with only 1 to Longo, and 2 to Hinault. (You’ll note at this point in the process that the total number of votes is shrinking a little, as some ballots are “exhausted” as a result voters who did not rank any of the remaining cyclists.)
Fourth “board” slot election after the elimination of Bartali, Obree, and Anquetil
Bernard Hinault 27
Fausto Coppi 52
Jeannie Longo 51
Hinault’s 27 votes could have cast the result in either direction, but at this point you had to suspect where things were headed: a voting block of fans of European men’s road racing was now setting the pace. And indeed, Coppi received 2/3rds of the reallocated ballots, to win the fourth slot by a 10 vote margin.
Vote counts at the beginning of the runoff for the fifth slot
Bernard Hinault 31
Francesco Moser 1
Gino Bartali 11
Graeme Obree 8
Jacques Anquetil 28
Jeannie Longo 50
Jeannie Longo began the balloting for the fifth board slot with a commanding lead. As her competition were dropped, one by one, she slowly added to her vote total, but Hinault was gaining ground, buoyed by the same voting block that had pushed Coppi into the fourth slot. She did attain the required majority in the final ballot, winning 67 votes to 62 after the elimination of Jacques Anquetil.
Top five cyclists of all time, as voted by League of American Bicyclists members:
1. Eddie Merckx
2. Lance Armstrong
3. Marshall”Major” Taylor
4. Fausto Coppi
5. Jeannie Longo