Message to ISAC Membership Regarding 2020 and Future Elections
Tuesday, February 4, 2020
As many will recall during the 2018 ISAC Council elections, ISAC returned to an earlier practice of assigning categories to open Council positions. This was done to ensure diversity of discipline and viewpoints on Council as the Bylaws expressly state “Candidates shall represent as broadly as possible all aspects of cytometry.” Concerns were raised to Council about this change and after consideration ISAC Council created an Election Process Review Task Force. The TaskForce was asked to study and debate election procedures and provide Council with recommendations for the future election process. The TaskForce met multiple times and consulted with members of the current Nominating Committee and Council. A final report was presented to Council at their January 14, 2020, meeting where it was discussed and approved with some minor modifications.
The primary goals of the Election Process Review Task Force’s recommendations were to safeguard the integrity and transparency of the election process and the constitution of a representative Council. It was strongly felt that the range of candidates should, as far as possible, reflect the breadth of interests and expertise within the Society. Accordingly, it was agreed the Nominating Committee should consider both the “breadth and balance” of the nominee list. The Nominating Committee should also actively consider diversity when selecting candidates in recognition of ISAC’s goals to be both inclusive and diverse. When considering Council diversity, this is being defined not only in terms of the individuals but also in terms of their geography, gender, ethnicity or race, age, scientific and technical expertise, and institutional type.
To summarize the approved recommendation:
- It was agreed an “open” ballot format should be used; where the final list of Council member candidates is compiled for the ballot process without placing either selected or nominated individuals into any form of descriptive category.
- No changes were made to the nomination by petition process whereby Membership can directly nominate an individual be placed on the ballot after obtaining the written or electronic support of General Members.
- It was agreed that while the Nominating Committee must nominate at least two representatives for each open position, they were free to nominate more than two individuals for those positions if they felt this was necessary to ensure the breadth, balance, and diversity of Council.
- The Nominating Committee must supply the Society Office for review by Council, a list of candidates for each open position, a statement from each candidate indicating willingness to serve, a brief biography, and a description of how the candidate proposes to further the goals of the Society including supporting diversity and inclusion.
- The TaskForce strongly recommended that a process be initiated to review the entire Bylaws, Constitution, and Policies and Procedures in order to bring them into alignment with current practices.
- Finally, it was recommended that the Nominating Committee closely monitor this year’s election including the pre and post-election activities and if they felt any problem developed, these issues should immediately be brought to Council’s attention.
In summary, the Society will be returning to an open ballot election process with no categories for open Council member positions and the electorate will be free to vote for whichever nominees they prefer up to the number of vacant Council positions. The Bylaws clearly state and successive Councils have strongly felt that the breath, balance, and diversity of our membership is one of the most important aspects of our society. Flow cytometry generally and ISAC specifically synergistically brings together many different people and disciplines. So, while the Nominating Committee must nominate at least two representatives for each open position, they are free to nominate more than two to ensure broad representation of viewpoints on the ballot. This approach ultimately places a trust in the Electorate who will be responsible for maintaining the breath, balance, and diversity of Council.
Paul K. Wallace, past president and chair of the election task force
Andrea Cossarizza, president