Presidential Search Committee Report, General Assembly 2018

UUA General Assembly Off-site Participation: Kansas City, Missouri | 2018

Part of General Assembly 2018 Event 303: General Session III

The following final draft script was completed before this event took place; actual words spoken may vary. Unedited live captions for General Session III (TXT) were created during the event, and contain some errors. Captioning is not available for some copyrighted material.

Barb Greve: Five years ago, you created the first ever Presidential Search Committee. The Committee was charged to present at least two names for election to the office of UUA President. Their final report is online.

Matthew Johnson and Jacqui Williams, joined by the other committee members, will give us highlights.

Matthew Johnson: What did we do over five years?

Jacqui Williams: We created a process.

Matthew: We researched.

Jacqui: Listened, a lot.

Matthew: Wrote a job description.

Jacqui: There wasn’t one.

Matthew: Encouraged.

Jacqui: Took suggestions.

Matthew: Recruited, widely.

Jacqui: Received eight applications.

Matthew: All white female ministers.

Jacqui: A group of powerful leaders.

Matthew: Reviewed.

Jacqui: Checked references.

Matthew: Interviewed.

Jacqui: Discerned.

Matthew: And nominated two.

Jacqui: We thought we were done.

Matthew: …Not exactly.

Jacqui: We improvised.

Matthew: Thankfully, there was another.

Jacqui: Then we stepped back and watched.

Matthew: After the election,

Jacqui: we researched.

Matthew: we interviewed.

Jacqui: we discerned.

Matthew: And reported.

Jacqui: Our committee was created because we, the UUA, wanted a different way of doing this.

Matthew: And we did a lot different.

Jacqui: But here’s the truth:

Matthew: The Presidential Search Committee was instituted as an attempt to change the entire system of electing a UUA President by changing only one small part of the system.

Jacqui: Our final report contains 14 recommendations.

Matthew: You should read them all.

Jacqui: Among other things, we call for:

Matthew: A much, much shorter election process, including congregational-based voting in the fall before the President takes office.

Jacqui: A closer relationship with the Board.

Matthew: Clearer authority about what happens if someone drops out.

Jacqui: No more running by petitions.

Matthew: Three candidates.

Jacqui: An opportunity for a team of people to run and serve together.

Matthew: And, a study of the whole area by the Board and the Staff—

Jacqui: including how we might have a fully publicly funded campaign and clarity about how and if a UUA staff person can actually run, among other questions.

Matthew: These and other recommendations are designed to provoke and encourage us to go further than we were allowed to go, to serve the association, our congregations, and potential candidates in ways that are more just, humane, and faithful.

Jacqui: We are very proud of our work.

Matthew: This was an extraordinary group of people to work with.

Jacqui: We look forward to how the next process unfolds.