CU Board Member Types Are Familiar
I always find it refreshing when I read Mike Welch's weekly column. Over the years, I have not always agreed with his comments or opinions and in fact, responded to those I strongly disagreed with. In one such case, several years ago, he commented on the Givers and the Takers on credit union boards. His wording implied that there were more "takers" than "givers" serving on these boards. I responded with a strong letter (which was published) supporting the Givers. In Mike's April 16, 2003, column ("Recognize Any of These CU Board Members?") he addressed this issue again with greater detail whereby he outlined typical board member types in addition to the Giver and the Taker. The difference is that now I agree with Mike's near complete description of board types. From my experience I've found these types particularly prevalent with credit union board members, and not among credit union national trade associations. As an individual who has served his credit union for nearly 50 years and on the board for 36 of those years and one who serves on eight other boards including financial, hospital, education, community, and cultural organizations, I have seen many of the board member types Mike described. However, more so in financial organizations than with the other groups. Perhaps the reason being the "power of the dollar" and the greed it brings out in some board members. One need only look at ENRON and WorldCom as examples of this premise. The types Mike described could include those board members who are Know-it-alls, Untrustworthy, or Two-faced. In addition, there is the most devious and vicious type, namely, the Conspirator or those who plan unlawful acts secretly because of their personal agendas. I have witnessed this type both as a member and nonmember of various boards. Fortunately, this is a rare type but nonetheless an existing type on some boards that usually results in bad blood amongst directors and moral and morale issues. Thank goodness the vast majority of board members are levelheaded, common sense type individuals whose sole purpose is to serve their members or shareholders in ways that are beneficial to them. As to the others, getting rid of them seems to be a very ticklish issue and as you stated most boards won't. Next time I attend one of my many different organizational board meetings, I will look around the table for the Jackass type Mike mentioned lastly which in my book encompasses all those negative types you described. Doing something about it is another matter. Frank De Mita Director Nassau Educators FCU Valley Stream, N.Y.