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The Indispensable Role Of The Chapter Executive Director

Jim McLoughlin

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The purpose of this blog message is to identify the appropriate role of the chapter Executive Director, which is concisely stated within the following model chapter Executive Director job description:

 

Chapter Executive Director: General Duties & Responsibilities

 

The Executive Director shall serve as the chapter COO . . . .

 

The Executive Director's fundamental responsibility is to act as a "steward" of his chapter's mission statement in the following ways: to ensure the chapter has a valid mission statement (as presented in the January 6th blog) in place and if not to lead the effort to correct this oversight through board action; then, to support the implementation of the chapter's mission statement by serving as a regional spokesman to best ensure that no superintendent is unfairly dismissed; that fair employment practices are established through educational writings and forums; that agreed to separation agreements are honored; that effective outreach programming is established for all chapter members in need; and that binding arbitration would be used to settle employment disputes throughout the chapter's jurisdiction.   (See July 24th blog message.)

 

Thereafter, the Executive Director shall contribute to policy-making and execute decisions made by the Board of Directors; shall be responsible for the administration of the chapter; and shall promote the game of golf and the golf course superintendents' unique role within the Game.

 

To the best of my knowledge, not one single chapter's bylaws, constitution, or mission statement contains the above job description.

 

Chapter Executive Director Employment Status

  1. Only about half of the GCSAA chapters have engaged an Executive Director and those that do have done so without the benefit of a job description similar to the model presented above.
  1. Consequently, the present array of chapter Executive Directors that have been so randomly hired serve as the equivalent of office managers - a worthy position in its own right - but not up to what is needed to serve as stewards of their chapters mission statements; and their members suffer accordingly. (See Jan 6th blog message.)
  1. To further accentuate the problem, many chapters find themselves overpaying their faux Executive Directors at the going salary range for the position ($30,000 to $40,000/yr.), but are receiving only +/- $20,000/yr. of office manager service. A mis-use of funding without any reward.

FYI: Chapter Boards should not steward their own mission statements because board members have not been prepare to do this and because they turn over too frequently - while Executive Directors are and don't.

  1. If a chapter has too few members to justify hiring and paying for its own Executive Director (and there are more than a few of these situations) - itis recommended that one Executive Director be hired to serve a combination of several neighboring chapters.

 

Without a true Executive Director serving as a steward of their mission statements, the chapters become the equivalent of a ship sailing the high seas without a navigation system.

 

FYI: While the PGA sections' mission statements remain incomplete, through the years their Executive Directors have intuitively grown into the equivalent of the model job description presented above. Accordingly, no course administration dares to mistreat a PGA golf professional because it will pay a price. Golf course superintendents deserve the same protection.

 

The Challenge Of Hiring A Chapter Executive Director

 

Hiring a COO anytime, anywhere is a challenge that GCSAA chapters are not equipped to do effectively on their own. Accordingly, I would recommend against chapters trying to hire Executive Directors to fill the above job description on their own because I have not seen a chapter do a good job of this in my 30-plus years of monitoring the matter chapter by chapter.

 

Next week's blog message will detail a recommended search process for hiring a qualified chapter Executive Director.



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