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3.7 Board Committee Principles: UUA Governance Manual

Board committees, when used, will be assigned so as to reinforce the wholeness of the Board’s job and so as never to interfere with delegation from Board to President.


  1. Board committees are established by the Board to help the Board do its job, and in general, not to help or advise the staff. Some exceptions to this policy exist due to constraints placed on the Board by Bylaws, or because the Board is still in discernment (See 3.8 below for more information). Committees ordinarily will assist the Board by preparing policy alternatives and implications for Board deliberation. In keeping with the Board’s broader focus, Board committees will normally not have direct dealings with current staff operations.
  2. Board members may serve on committees outside the Board, but only in their capacity as private individuals, and do not carry any Board authority in these roles.
    1. Board members may serve on staff operational committees at the invitation of the President.
    2. Board members may serve on General Assembly operational committees, at the invitation of those committees established by the General Assembly.
  3. Except as specified by the By-laws, Board committees may not exercise authority over staff. Because the President works for the full Board, the President will not be required to obtain approval of a Board committee before an executive action.
  4. Board committees are to avoid over-identification with organizational parts rather than the whole. Therefore, a Board committee that has helped the Board create policy on some topic should take special care to represent the full Board’s interest when monitoring organizational performance on that same subject.
  5. Special committees will be used sparingly and ordinarily in an ad hoc capacity for specific short-term objectives or to carry out special tasks that will facilitate the work of the Board. Although the CGO may create special committees, the CGO will consult with the Appointments Committee regarding any appointments the CGO wishes to make.
  6. This policy applies to any group that is formed by Board action, whether or not it is called a committee and regardless whether the group includes Trustees. It does not apply to committees formed under the authority of the President.
  7. All members of Board-appointed committees are expected to have reasonable competence in the area of racism and oppression. Members of the AntiRacism/Anti-Oppression Assessment and Monitoring Team (AR/AO AMT) and chairs of the Appointments Committee and Finance Committees must additionally have an understanding of change theories and demonstrated commitment to anti-racism and anti-oppression.
  8. Each Board-appointed committee, including Working Groups, is charged with developing standards and processes for embodying the commitment to antiracism, anti-oppression and multi-culturalism in its work, and to develop a plan for the ongoing training and education of its members.
  9. Unless otherwise specified by these policies or by the Bylaws or Rules of the Association, committee appointments are made for two-year periods, which can be renewed up to three times for a maximum of 8 years of service. Terms begin at the close of the regular General Assembly in odd-numbered years. When considering possible reappointments of committee members, the Appointments Committee shall take into account the goal that committee membership should reflect the full diversity of the Association, as stated in Policy 3.7.10, as well as the need for each committee to have the full range of skills and experience necessary for its work. The Appointments Committee may recommend a reappointment resulting in more than eight years of service when failure to allow a term extension would have a significantly negative impact on a committee’s ability to function.
  10. Whenever a new committee is named, the Appointments Committee shall develop a charge, including a statement of the committee's purpose and estimated duration, and forward that charge to the Board and the Finance Committee and monitor and address issues of committee performance.
  11. Committees will not be reimbursed for committee expenditures beyond their approved budget, without prior approval by the Vice President for Finance, the Chair of the Finance Committee, and the Chair of the Appointments Committee.
  12. If a Board-appointed committee finds that an individual member creates a working atmosphere that is unproductive, disruptive, or otherwise impeding effective committee functioning, the Appointments Committee urges the leader and members of that particular committee to speak candidly with the member whose behavior is problematic in order to identify desired changes. If the committee is not able to resolve the problem internally, the chair should contact the Chair of the Appointments Committee for help in resolving the problem.
  13. Committee members must comply with the Association’s Conflict of Interest Policy (Appendix 2.J, see Policy Section 2)
  14. Committee members must comply with the Association’s Whistleblower Policy (Appendix 2.K, see Section 2)

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Last updated on Tuesday, January 21, 2014.

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