Friday, January 22, 2010

What/who is Council?

After a few years on Council, one of the things that has become apparent to me is that much of our membership doesn't understand Council. I mean, they have a vague understanding that it is the board of Equity, and yes, they see the election notices every three years and many of them even vote, but we still remain a bit of a mysterious black box. So, I thought I'd start off with an introduction to Council itself.

Equity is owned by its members, around 5800 of them, scattered from coast to coast. Because Equity was set up in the first place was to provide services and benefits to those members, the choice of benefits and services that Equity provides, and the allocation of resources among them, is rightly determined by those members.

This is wonderful in theory, but putting it into practice is not easy. First off, you can't gather 5000+ people in one place every month or so to vote on things. And if we tried to poll the entire membership each month on all the various things that need deciding, well, you can imagine what a boondoggle that would be.

So, through the Constitution, the membership has created a board and authorised it to govern the organisation on behalf of the full membership. That's Council. It's much easier to get 22 people together each month. Having a board is how most sizable organisations operate. However, where Equity differs from most is the way in which that board functions.

More soon...

Friday, January 15, 2010

Greetings and Salutations

I've been batting this idea around for a while. Not because I think the membership can't wait for the next instalment of my immortal prose – not even I do that – but because I think this is a logical extension of the changes Council began in the last term.

Council has embarked on several initiatives to improve communication with the members, but most suffer from the same drawback: they are all largely one-way. Sure, you can write me or any of the other Councillors a note, and absolutely we will reply, but it's not much in the way of open communication. You know a question has been asked or input offered, and you have the response, but no one else does. Hence, this blog. It's an opportunity to not only let you know what Council has been up to, but also to allow for feedback in an easily-accessible format.

In truth, it's probably about time. The ability to do this has been around for a while now, but hosting a three-year-long discussion can be immensely time-consuming. Most of you will know that being President of Council doesn't mean I have a lovely corner office in a corporate tower somewhere, and legions of staff to assist with every little thing – I am a member pursuing a theatre career, same as you. However, we are now at the beginning of a new term, with new energy and initiative, so let's give it a go.

Discussion will be geared toward Equity members, so other readers with questions about Equity should visit our website.