Dec. 14, 2009  

2010 Board Update

message-from-chapterA Note from Darcie Lunsford:

This is an update on the results of SPJ South Florida Pro Chapter’s Nov. 19 board of directors election.

As I informed all chapter members in my Nov. 25 note, several members and candidates who participated in the election raised questions about voting qualifications, related bylaws, and the necessary qualifications to hold seats on the board. Much of the discontent over the election process stemmed from antiquated and ambiguous bylaws that allowed for a confusing process and no clear way to resolve disputes.

I have worked with SPJ’s national office, the current chapter board, and the board-elect to address all concerns. The following 11 board members are eligible to serve and will take office on Jan. 1. This determination was based on the candidates’ member class at the time of the election and their employment as a writer or editor for a news, trade, specialty or online publication/web site, freelance writer or university faculty.

The lineup for the 2010 board is as follows:

* Darcie Lunsford – President
* [OPEN] – Executive Vice President
* Julie Kay – Immediate Past President
* Sergy Odiduro – VP, Programs
* Dori Zinn – VP, Membership
* [OPEN] – Treasurer
* Rachael Joyner – Secretary
* Jake Cline – Director
* Paola Iuspa-Abbott – Director
* Lisa Lucas – Director
* Jason Parsley – Director
* Lucy Reed – Director
* Sam Terilli – Director

The board has two open seats because 1) the newly elected President-elect resigned, and 2) the Treasurer-elect held a student membership and was therefore determined to be ineligible to hold office in a pro chapter. Consistent with our bylaws, as Executive Vice President I will assume the position of President effective Jan. 1 and the EVP position becomes vacant.

Over the next several months my objective as President will be to clean up and strengthen our bylaws to ensure a fair and open election process that engages and is accessible to all chapter members, which is the intent and spirit of the Society of Professional Journalists.

Once our bylaws are updated to reflect our organization and our profession’s core values then I believe that we should hold a special election to fill those two open seats to serve out the remainder of the term. Although our bylaws allow for appointments, I believe firmly that returning this decision of who is best to lead to chapter members — the ultimate ruling body of the South Florida Pro Chapter for which I am elected to represent and serve — is the only true way to restore credibility and openness to the election process.

Like Congress, SPJ is structured and intended to be a representative Democracy carrying out the will of our members while championing the broader agenda of professional journalism and a free press. Filling these seats will also require that we amend the bylaws to add a 13th member to the board, another legislative oversight that needs to be addressed. And I am sure as we go through this bylaw revision, we will find many areas that need reworking and updating. The bylaws are the operating framework for our chapter and give us, as elected leaders, guidance as we carry out our duties.

Thank you all for your continued commitment to SPJ. We will grow stronger as a chapter from the lessons learned in this election. I welcome your comments, questions, and — most important — your active involvement in 2010.

Happy Holidays!

Darcie Lunsford
2010 President, SPJ South Florida Pro Chapter

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