Special Election for NASW Board; Governance Committee Update

Dear NASW Community:

The NASW Board of Directors has received resignation letters from the Co-Chairs of the NASW Governance Committee, Nsikan Akpan and Mollie Bloudoff-Indelicato. Additionally, Nsikan Akpan resigns as NASW Secretary and from the NASW Board. We thank both Nsikan and Mollie for their dedication as Governance Committee chairs and their tenures of leadership in our community, and to Nsikan for his service on the NASW Board since 2016.

The board will shortly elect a new secretary from among current board members. Candidate recruitment and the timeline to fill the newly vacant board seat will be announced June 11, with a special election to be held during the annual meeting in October. The Governance Committee will select new Co-Chairs in due course. Details on all of these items to come.

The Governance Committee is among NASW’s critical committees. It is charged with reviewing and offering recommendations for updating the bylaws under which NASW operates, as well as myriad other policies and procedures central to the organization. Recently, the Governance Committee, at the board’s request, has been engaged in assessing NASW procedures for processing Member violations of our Conference and Meeting Code of Conduct and other complaints, outlined in Article VII of the bylaws for Membership Sanctions.

These thoughtful and complex discussions are ongoing between this Committee and the Board. Resolving these difficult questions requires healthy debate over how to balance two important, but competing, values that go beyond the minimum required by laws applicable to NASW: 1) the desire for a level of confidentiality that does not suppress reports of unethical behavior and 2) the desire to craft policies that allow for reasonable due process. Nsikan and Mollie together cited a strongly held position regarding the appropriate application of democratic principles and the trajectory of the deliberations as reasons for resigning their roles. The Governance Committee is unanimous in support of Nsikan and Mollie's principles and equally grateful for their leadership.

Yet, this important task remains. The Governance Committee has expressed to the NASW Board its willingness to work together towards a solution that aligns with the values of our community. Likewise, the Board is dedicated to all dialogues necessary towards solving this important question. All of us are committed to crafting and implementing sound policies and processes that create safe and welcoming spaces for NASW Members and our guests.

We are, after all, an organization governed by peers and colleagues in service to one another. To that end, the NASW leadership is also working on ways to better share ongoing dialogue on this and other NASW policy deliberations. Please stay tuned on ways you can lend your voice in deciding how our organization should best take action on violations — and your ideas for cultivating community values and rules that will be shared and respected by us all.

Respectfully,

Siri Carpenter, for the NASW Board

May. 23, 2019