Cheques and balances at the BCMA

First I would like to emphasize that the following are my personal opinions, and I make no claim with respect to any official position of the BCMA.

Proper governance rests on adherence to our constitution and bylaws and a commitment to rules of procedure. It is contingent on duties of care, loyalty and obedience, properly applied constraints, and on disclosure, transparency, and accountability. All this requires a culture that promotes learning, objectives, risk taking, achievement, fairness, and criticism consistent with our shared values. From this, we must not shy away.

However benign, irregularities with­in the BCMA have included the convening of meetings absent adequate notice, the adoption of e-mail resolutions absent adequate approval by directors, disputed application of committee terms of reference and membership, and a board policy that in 2006 “revoked” the waiver of dues to which our most senior members are, under our bylaws, entitled.

Regarding our treasury, our board-appointed Governance and Nominating Committee, in my view outside of our bylaws, insisted on nominating their choices to fill Audit and Fi­nance positions. They did so even after I questioned whether our directors should propose their own overseers and, in so doing, inhibiting those less advantaged to stand from the floor.

Beyond the principles of transparency, accountability, and participation, such choices have concrete effects. We now have, on Audit and Finance, a nominee view that—des­pite our increasing millions in uncommitted reserves—any lowering of dues risks our members getting too comfortable with such relief.

Isn’t it time for a change? Let us move to better systems of checks and balances, such as Dr Charles Webb, my seconder, and I have proposed in a set of key bylaw reforms with members’ ballots pending.

A healthy balance should mean more than the accrual of cheques written by the membership.
—Jim Busser, MD
BCMA Honorary Secretary-Treasurer

Jim Busser, MD, FRCPC, MHSc,. Cheques and balances at the BCMA. BCMJ, Vol. 55, No. 3, April, 2013, Page(s) 136 - Letters.

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