What do you think of term limits for the board of directors?

Your SF Bicycle Coalition board of directors is continually looking for ways to help the organization operate more effectively, including from a governance perspective.

We are currently considering implementing term limits for directors on the board. Term limits are generally considered a best practice – 72% of nonprofit boards have term limits, according to a BoardSource survey.

Currently, there is no limit on the number of years a director may serve on the SF Bicycle Coalition board. We are considering a limit of up to six consecutive years of service followed by a one-year mandatory break before the person is allowed to run for election again. We are proposing no limit to the number of six-year service periods.

Incumbents typically have an advantage in elections. Implementing term limits would: (1) create open seats to make it easier for new people to join the board, and (2) allow complacent directors to gracefully exit the board. Without term limits, power can get concentrated in a small group of people, limiting diversity and inclusion.

A mandatory one-year break between six-years of consecutive service has advantages including: (1) would allow productive directors who have worked hard for six years to take a breather and then come back refreshed, and (2) would create a gradual turnover of the board to help keep the board current in today’s changing world.

A downside to term limits is that institutional memory may be lost due to long-term directors rotating off the board.

What do you think of term limits for the board of directors? Please email us at board@sfbike.org by January 20, 2020. Thank you for being a member and sharing your thoughts!

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