FAQ – AGA Governance Review

  1. Will there be a leadership path from the chapter level to the national level in the new governance model?
    Yes! The proposed model provides multiple leadership opportunities. A member may serve on the National Council of Chapters (NCC) or directly on AGA’s National Governing Board (NGB) after serving in a chapter leadership role. A member may also decide to run for a director position on the Board after serving for a year on the NCC. A member may lead or participate on a National board, committee, or task force. The proposed NGB will have more chapter representatives than our current National Executive Committee (NEC). And a member may serve on the Board in more than one position over time.  The structure will appeal to young professionals as there are fewer layers in the leadership progression. A new Leadership Development Committee, replacing the existing Nominating Committee, will serve year round and provide mentoring to members. All of these potential positions are great opportunities to grow yourself professionally, serve AGA, learn more about how the association works, and for those who desire to work strategically, to help move AGA forward.
  2. What about AGA’s sections and regions where the RVP and/or SVP really work well to help the Chapters?  Will they go away?
    Yes. The RVP and SVP levels may work (or have worked) for you in your region, but the current model is inconsistent and is not working in many AGA regions. Currently, our volunteer leaders are over-extended and many are “recycled or drafted” to serve and are going backwards on the leadership path (e.g. they were an SVP and are now RVPs again just so the position is filled). We believe enabling our volunteer roles to be more relevant and meaningful will be more rewarding to the individuals serving and will maximize their impact on our chapters. Today, 40% of AGA’s chapters are struggling and/or inactive and the majority of these chapter leaders report communication “through the layers” is not working. Many chapters in a region are so spread out geographically that the RVP can’t/doesn’t have time to visit and help all their chapters. The new model will put members/chapters closer to decision makers while also keeping the leaders in their chapters, supporting growth and membership. The new structure aims to empower and strengthen chapters via a National Council of Chapters (and a direct voice) to the Board, more representation on the Board, and improved communication between national leaders and chapters.
  3. Who will support me and my chapter?
    AGA staff and volunteers will provide increased direct services to chapters by removing the layers that today, seem to slow down or hinder communications.
  4. Will AGA still be run by volunteers or will they all be replaced with staff?
    Yes, the proposed National Governing Board (NGB) and National Council of Chapters (NCC) and our past national leaders council, committees, boards and task forces will still be led by and made of up of volunteer leaders and subject matter experts. Our volunteers from all levels of government (federal, state, local, tribal, higher education, etc.) tell us that they are swamped with work, understaffed in their offices, and are having a tough time juggling personal, work, and AGA activities.  We also hear from volunteers that they don’t have time for AGA’s administrative regional and national roles.  AGA members want to give of their talents to AGA in a way that is more impactful to their colleagues in the financial management community and their workplace

    Today, active volunteer leaders are turning away from chapter leadership positions to serve in regional/national roles.  The chapters, that had thrived under their leadership, then start to struggle without their active participation. Many of these leaders are serving multiple chapter roles at once and for repeated terms, and they are burning out.

    AGA has staff members available to help chapters, who are experienced with membership/chapter issues and questions about CGFM, have assembled best practices from across all our chapters, and are more available and better equipped (with materials, processes and technology) than volunteers who are busy with their “day jobs”.
  5. How will chapters have a “say” in what goes on if we lose our vote by no longer being on the National Board of Directors (NBD)?
    The new structure includes more direct chapter representation on the National Governing Board (NGB) than currently exists on the NEC. Instead of four (4) representatives for chapters, there will be eight (8). Plus the President-Elect for the Board will chair the National Council of Chapters (NCC). More than 50% of the voting body of the proposed Board will speak for chapters. In addition, the National Council of Chapters will provide input to the NGB on strategic issues and serve as forum for the pulse of the membership. They ARE the decision making process and will communicate chapter needs and concerns.

    In addition, chapters aren’t losing what they aren’t exercising. Less than half of today’s NBD members eligible to vote actually attend NBD meetings and 30% of those send proxies who might not be able to make a decision on behalf of their voting member if new information is presented at the Board meeting. Those who do attend have a cursory knowledge – at best, of the topic that will be voted upon. It is unrealistic to expect current NBD members to be able to cast an informed vote on strategic issues that will impact the entirety of AGA when they aren’t actively meeting and studying the issues at hand. The NBD meets once a year for two hours and is not able to make decisions or strategically guide the organization in that time. At least 100 people are brand new to the Board each year and serve a one-year term; the level of constant turnover doesn’t allow the Board to focus on longer-term vision or responsibilities. The NBD today, doesn’t function with the roles and responsibilities of a true Board.

    The NEC meets five times a year currently, has strategic discussions about the needs of AGA and the future of the association, and debates and discusses topics in depth. The NEC is supported by committees who focus on discrete aspects of the association to inform the NEC. Today, the NEC is providing the strategic leadership that a Board should be providing to the association. In the new structure chapters will have more control – chapters may lose an individual vote, but the chapters will get greater representation. Having a National Council of Chapters that can provide a continuous voice and/or have direct representation on the Board, will be more impactful to AGA and rewarding to the members who serve. 
  6. As an NBD member, we keep the NEC in check.  How will that happen in a new model?
    TRUST. We all need to trust our elected officials to do the best thing for the organization and its members. The new Leadership Development Committee will be more active in mentoring, recruiting and selecting leaders who will be fully engaged, involved and informed in strategic planning and decision making to guide the organization forward, and they will be transparent to the membership about their activities.
  7. How will the new Leadership Development Committee (LDC) be different than the current Nominating Committee
    The LDC is envisioned as a standing committee with a primary emphasis on identifying, vetting, recruiting, training and evaluating potential Board members. Co-chaired by the Past National President and Past National Treasurer, the committee will work with the National Governing Board to establish position criteria, qualifications, and perspectives for achieving a balanced Board. Members will work to match Board needs with skilled, strategic leaders for AGA’s future. Committee members will provide mentoring advice and guidance to help position future leaders.

    The LDC will be proactive, working year-long to seek out and encourage leaders to nominate themselves for NGB positions, as well as provide mentoring to those members who seek to serve the NGB in the near future.  The LDC will have a greater role than the current Nominating Committee which meets for just a few months a year to review nomination submissions and select the slate of officers. The Committee will work in the fall to select president-elect, treasurer-elect and at-large members of the Board and in the spring to select chapter representatives to the Board from the National Council of Chapters.
  8. Who will support our chapter if we don’t have regional vice presidents or senior vice presidents?
    AGA staff will continue to provide excellent chapter service. During the last three years, we conducted research via in-person interviews, surveys, and group discussions.  We also collected input from you and your peers.  There was a great deal of consistency across these data sources which indicated that most chapter leaders go to staff before going to the volunteer leaders for assistance. By eliminating structural layers that haven’t consistently been adding value for chapters, staff time will be freed up to provide more direct assistance to chapters. The National Council of Chapters will also be an excellent resource for facilitating connections and communication of best practices and lessons learned between chapters and promoting chapter health and growth.
  9. With a new governance model, what will change for my chapter?
    Your chapter will continue to be supported by staff. Leadership meetings (e.g. SLMS) will be held each year to train and inform chapter officers. While chapter presidents will not serve on the Board of Directors, they will have a greater voice through the National Council of Chapters meeting four times/year and via more chapter representation on the board. Communication between national leaders, staff and chapters will be more direct. Chapters will know that their elected board members are informed, engaged and committed to strategically leading the organization.
  10. Tell me more about why PNP/PNTs and SVP Appointeds don’t have a role on board in the new structure, and CPAG/PCB chairs do?
    In accordance with good governance practice for associations, the goal of the Governance Committee and NEC was to keep the total number of Board members as low as possible to a manageable number (e.g. the average size of most Boards is between 11 – 15). Two-year Board terms are also more desirable to be appealing to both young professionals and senior officials alike. Eliminating the Past National President and Past National Treasurer Board positions was recommended, and instead have the President and Treasurer serve two-year board terms. The PNP/PNTs will remain active as co-chairs of the Leadership Development Committee and on the PNP/PNT Council, and will attend the July Board meeting immediately following the end of their term. In addition, the Past National Treasurer will remain on the Finance and Budget Committee for a year to support the new National Treasurer in an advisory role.

    Senior Vice Presidents appointed by the National President were removed from the proposed structure, both to keep the total number of Board members to a manageable number and to eliminate the practice of a president choosing someone to serve with him and to reverse the old-boy network image the NEC may have had in the past.

    The chairs of the Corporate Partner Advisory Board and Professional Certification Board have served on the NEC without voting rights for several years. The proposal gives them voting rights to reflect our changing environment and their groups’ increased role in the organization. Corporate partner sponsorship and engagement provide 1/3 of the organization’s revenue and the CGFM certification is a huge part of what makes AGA unique. Value on both these roles are documented in our strategic goals.
  11. Will the new governance structure cost or save money for the Association?
    The estimated budget impact of the new structure is an annual increase of approximately $22,000 as a result of sending National Council of Chapters (NCC) representatives to the Sectional Leadership Meetings (SLMs). AGA’s budget will now support three members from each chapter attending SLMs instead of two – the NCC representative and two chapter executive committee members.  We will spend less supporting the regional and sectional layers of the organization, but those funds will be redirected to provide for more direct support to chapters. It’s important to note that the structure change was not proposed for budgetary reasons—change was recommended to better meet the needs of our members and chapters, and to bring AGA into alignment of with 21st century association management. In addition, there will be a one-time increase of $15,000 to the 2019-2020 budget to allow regional and section leaders to attend SLMs in addition to incoming National Council of Chapter members.
  12. When will the governance change take effect? 
    Approved by the National Board of Directors in July of 2018 with amendments made to AGA's National Bylaws, the new governance model will take effect July 1, 2019. A transition timeline which documents how the changes will phase in is available on our Governance Review web page.