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Board Chair

The board chair is appointed at the board's first meeting in any year. However, in an election year, the appointment must be made at the first meeting after the triennial election. 

A non-candidate for the position of board chair should be asked to chair the meeting. It cannot be the principal, staff or student representatives. If it is to be a person who is not a trustee, i.e. the minute secretary who is a paid employee, then the (interim) board chair when vacating the chair should say something like "I shall suspend normal meeting procedures at this point and ask Mrs Brown to run the election process". The board chair can decide who, but like all rulings from the chair it can be challenged by the board, in which case the board chair will put the decision to the vote without further discussion. The result of the vote is binding. If it is a tie the board chair has a casting vote on this matter. Convention says the board chair will cast his/her vote for the status-quo. In this case the status-quo will be what the board chair had decided in the first place.

When the result of an election for the board chair is declared the handover would be immediate. In the case of a board chair not continuing in office it is reasonable to do the transfer at the end of the meeting. In other words let the retiring chair run the meeting and hold the election as the last item of business. The outgoing person retires gracefully with handshakes all round. Even if the incumbent wants to remain the election can be held at the end of the meeting. However if the majority of the board wants to hold the election earlier in the meeting they may challenge a ruling, vote accordingly, and it will happen when the majority decides so.

In the event of elections for other positions on the board the board chair will conduct them if elections are required. The temporary person (Mrs Brown in this example) will not do anything other than run the election for the board chair.

The board will decide how the voting will be conducted. The board chair should lead by setting out the procedures but challenge and majority vote will decide the board's actions and procedures.

There appears to be no set procedure except that the person in the chair (or running the election process) does not have a casting vote to break a draw. We take notice of the rules concerning the breaking of ties in the board of trustees election processes. If there is a tie for last place on the board, the tie must be broken by "lot". "Lot" means by chance. The most common scenario is by tossing a coin (tossed by someone other than a candidate). The person tossing the coin should say which person is heads and which is tails and then flip the coin in the air and let it fall to the ground. The result will be as the coin lies. The same shall apply in all elections.

If the incumbent is defeated the handover occurs there and then.

For further information ring the Governance Advisory and Support Centre on 0800 782 435 (option 1)

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