The Presidential Search Committee (PSC) met June 13 via conference call.

The PSC had a conversation about confidentiality in our search process. We are in the position of needing to balance transparency to our denomination with the confidentiality that is naturally required in personnel issues. We decided to try and always articulate our expectations of one another and of those we engage in conversation with, e.g. references. The expectation should be that anything with a name on it should be explicitly confidential, and other things that we expect to be confidential should be explicitly flagged as such.

GA Workshop:
Presidential Search Committee Hearing
Thursday 12:30 pm Omni Narragansett AB

The PSC discussed the upcoming General Assembly and reviewed the agenda and the PowerPoint presentation for our workshop. EW is making handouts and cards and we will be sharing a booth with the Commission on Social Witness. MJ will have buttons so that we are easily identifiable. We discussed our plenary report and set times for when we will meet at GA.

Our next phone call: Friday, July 11. Next in-person meeting: October 24-25, Atlanta GA

We solicit feedback on the following job description through this survey:

President of the Unitarian Universalist Association

The President of the Unitarian Universalist Association is the public, spiritual, and executive leader of the UU movement and our association of congregations.

The President:
• Serves as the Executive under Policy Governance, with responsibility for interpreting the Association’s Ends as set by the Board.
— Accountable to the Board, which is the designee of the General Assembly, in relationship to Executive Limitations policies.
—  Acts as head of the UUA Staff.
—  Effectively manages and deploys the resources of the Association in service of the Ends.

• Serves as ex officio member of the UUA Board.

• Acts as the prophetic voice and face of Unitarian Universalism.
—  Speaks to Unitarian Universalists and on our behalf.
—  Represents Unitarian Universalism in the public square and with other faith leaders.

• Extends and strengthens Unitarian Universalist institutions.
—  Inspires generosity rooted in Unitarian Universalist values and relationships.
—  Provides a pastoral and ceremonial presence in support of beloved community.

• Provides leadership for the Association’s Ends of transforming power, privilege and oppression.

Our ideal candidates will:
• Be able to authentically and accountably represent and embody the whole of our movement and its diverse members.
— Have a broad, intersectional cultural competence and a commitment to grow and develop it.
— In personal and professional relationships, embody standing on the side of the love.

• Live a liberal religious spiritual life in word, deed, and personal practice.

• Be resilient with a strong sense of self and an established support network.

• Be capable of engaging with power, money, and people who hold them.

• Be passionate about Unitarian Universalism, its institutions and covenanted communities.
— Have a vision for the growth of our movement.

• Be a faithful risk-taker in service to a compelling vision

Potential nominees must be:
• A member in good standing of a UUA member congregation.
• Able to travel extensively.
• Able to spend a significant amount of time in Boston.
• At least 18 years of age.

Our ideal candidates will possess the following skills, knowledge and attributes:

• Excellent written and oral communication.

• Impressive leadership skills, including especially the ability to manage a complex organization, delegate to others, and assess and plan for effective work.

• An understanding of systems theory and organizational development
— Understands both the explicit and implicit ways the Association works

• Ability to inspire others, including (but not limited to) staff, donors, and leaders.

• Emotional and pastoral intelligence and good listening skills.

• Talented ordained or lay preacher.

The members of the Presidential Search Committee are stewards of a process, and not advocates for a particular outcome.  We acknowledge that there is a value in diversity of leadership, and we also maintain that in our process, we will consider people with regard to their qualifications.  We are committed to engaging in the conversation about what kind of leader our time calls for.  We invite people to nominate diverse candidates for this position in the context of our commitment to becoming an anti-racist, anti-oppressive, multicultural Association.

We are not limiting our qualifications to a particular type of leadership, but we expect that successful nominees will have been involved at some level in Unitarian Universalist leadership. We will be relying heavily on Unitarian Universalists to be the “eighth member” of our Committee, helping identify qualified leaders and encouraging them to apply.

We are committed to a process that is as open and transparent as possible, given the demands of confidentiality required for a personnel matter.  We also seek a process accountable to communities of people whose identities marginalize them in our society.  We intend that the criteria we use for selection will be public and that every member of the committee will review every application.

The Presidential Search Committee (PSC) met in Houston on May 16 and 17 in Houston, TX at First Unitarian Universalist Church – Museum District.

May 2014 UUA-PSC-FB-Cover

Liz Jones, Michael Tino, Joanna Fontaine Crawford, Wayne Arnason, Matthew Johnson, Elandria Williams. Not pictured, Jacqui C. Williams.

The meeting agenda had both open public and closed times. During the open times, guests could observe the committee at work and a time was also set aside for public comment/questions. During the public times on both Friday and Saturday, there was one (different each day) observer.

LJ and JFC compiled things mentioned in interviews for the job description; the committee discussed these at length. Based on those interviews, a draft of the Job Description and Committee values around selecting candidates was created. The job description first will be shared publicly on Thursday, May 22, on the online UU webcast “The VUU,” and on; it will also be included in the content of our workshop at GA. Anyone wishing to offer feedback on this draft should fill out the survey which will also be published on the Presidential Search blog.

EW prepared a summary document about the proposed selection process based on responses from the interviews. This was discussed and a rough outline was agreed upon. EW and MT will create a detailed process which will be shared publicly online and at General Assembly 2014. This will include our timeline, how to submit nominations, the application process, and when potential applicants can meet with the PSC.

Plans were made for General Assembly 2014. Our workshop is at 12:30-1:45 on Thursday in Omni Narragansett AB. We will ask for time during a plenary session for a report to the Assembly. We will also have a table outside of the exhibit hall for materials. These materials will include postcards with the ways to connect with us (survey link, hashtag, facebook page, blog address), and handouts with the job description, values statements and timeline/process.

Everything printed will also be available on the blog and Facebook in digital format.

We discussed ways to get out our information in an effort to encourage as many nominations and applications as possible. Ideas include a video, district and regional newsletters, a scheduled collegial conversation at Professional Days before GA 2015, a plenary report, a suite/time to meet with interested people, and a GA booth shared with the nominating committee.

Fall 2014 In-Person Meeting: Oct 24-25 in Atlanta.

The Presidential Search Committee met via Conference Call on April 18.

The PSC discussed issues around making our meetings open to the public. Liz shared an email from the Open UUA committee and her response, which was that we are in process with this, and operated somewhat analogous to the way a search committee in a church would work. Liz also shared the Moderator Search process with the PSC; theirs involved no public meetings.

Due to the need for privacy, especially on behalf of potential candidates, the PSC will set aside times in our meetings that are open for public observation. At this time, only “in person” meetings will be open to the public.

Our next “in person” meeting will be May 16-17 in Houston. Meetings will be held at First Unitarian-Museum District. Schedule:

Friday 9-5 with a lunch break. 3:00 – 5:00 open to public, with 10-15 minutes for public comment/questions.

Saturday: 9:00 start. 9:30 – 11 public observation.

Campaign Finance and Election Practice: The UUA Board’s suggestion is for campaign finance reform to be done as a rule, not a bylaw; they suggested this happen at GA 2015, not this summer.

The PSC reported on the research interviews about the job description. Most have been completed and the files will be shared so we can read them before the May meeting. At that meeting, a job description will be put together so that it may be shared at General Assembly for feedback.


The UUA Presidential Search Committee met 3/14/14 via conference call.

The PSC discussed the document on the topic of proposed campaign finance reform, prepared by Wayne and Matthew for submission to the UUA Board.  We clarified that the intent of the document is to offer the Board an option whereby the General Assembly doesn’t need to be involved in setting the exact numbers of campaign finances, as these might change over time.  Also discussed was making clear in the proposal our motivation in being involved with this topic: our concern in having the broadest possible pool of qualified candidates.

PSC members checked in on our progress on interviews and surveys for creating a Presidential job description; deadline for interview responses is April 18.

The PSC GA Workshop is scheduled for Thursday at 12:30pm.  Discussion was held concerning the content and the details (e.g. Powerpoint, who will bring the projector, etc.)

In May, the PSC will be meeting in Houston at Northwoods UU Church. Discussion was held concerning logistics.

Discussion was held concerning transparent communication and any publicity needs so that those who are interested can know what the PSC is doing. Members agreed to promote the Facebook PSC page; Matthew is also talking to UU World about a possible story.

The process check noted that we were able to move briskly but inclusively through the agenda.

The UUA Presidential Search Committee met 2/14/14 via conference call.

PSC members checked in on the assignments we took on at our last meeting, particularly the calls/emails that have been made with individuals and groups to gather feedback about the job description of UUA president. Deadline for all responses and interviews is April 18.

Members discussed the Policy Governance briefing; all present felt that it was extremely helpful, as was the introduction to the UUA Governance Manual.

We have not yet formally heard back from Jim Keys and the UUA Board regarding campaign finance and practices other than to acknowledge our letter.  It was reported to be on the agenda for one of their telephone meetings soon.

Elandria has submitted workshop information for General Assembly and requested an AV cart.

Matthew sent out some info on estimated costs and budget and reported that we are in good shape for our budget re: GA and our May meeting.

Once we have a firm time for the GA workshop, we will work out the schedule for when we will be meeting. It was noted anecdotally that it will be important to openly address rumors and assumptions at our GA workshop, as we are already seeing evidence of such. In addition to the public blog, members discussed inviting denominational press to cover our process a little bit to help dispel rumors and introduce our committee and our process.

Our in-person meeting will be May 16-17 in Houston; members are checking available flight times.

Liz covered the process observation for this meeting and checked in with quieter members.



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