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USA Rugby has two new board members in Jim Brown and Julie Lau. They were put forth by the nominating committee and approved by the board. At Saturday’s biannual Congress meeting, they were ratified by Congress by comfortable margins.
The third candidate put forward by the nominating committee, Jim Eats, was not approved by the board, leaving one seat open. This may mark the first time a nominee didn’t get past the board approval portion of the process, so Eats’ denial is noteworthy.
Heading into the weekend, there was optimism that significant changes to the bylaws, most notably the board seating process, would be agreed upon. There was never going to be a vote, as there’s a mandated 45-day period concerning amendments to the bylaws.
However, several Congress members hoped to come to a consensus on the weekend, so the bandied about amendment’s approval would be imminent. No consensus was reached.
Congress also failed to assign terms to the new board members and sort out Paul Santinelli’s future. Most of the seats left open by the exodus following Rugby International Marketing’s collapse weren’t due to come open, and in the case of a resignation, the replacement’s term is dictated by the time left in that of their successor.
Some of the seats have longer terms left than others. To date, none of the new board members, Santinelli, Gus Pichot, Lau or Brown, have been assigned to a specific seat, so none of them know exactly how long they’re to serve. Congress chose to kick that can to the first meeting of 2019.
Congress also needs to make a decision on Santinelli specifically. Depending who you talk to, he was either elected as a transitional member to help populate the board temporarily until more board members could be added through the normal process, or he inherited a seat and would take over the remaining term limit per the bylaws.
Congress also failed to come to a consensus on another bandied about potential amendment, that which would give Congress a second representative to the board. This change was part of the independent review done by SRI, which is still being kept partially behind closed doors, as Congress is yet to see it in its entirety.