As Idex wrote today, the New York Diamond Dealers Club is having a vote, on Feb. 26, to change its by-laws to eliminate term limits for elected positions. (There are other changes as well, including having officials serve three-year terms and eliminating “staggered” terms. But the “term limits” one seems to have gotten the most attention.) This is a very thorny issue, but I’m going to try to be even-handed here …
Like Idex, I’ve heard from a few DDC members – who, to a person, don’t want to be quoted – that are quite upset about the elimination of term limits. They feel that change can be beneficial. and don’t like the idea of a “president for life” (or any other elected position for life.) They note current President Jacob Banda has served in office for four terms, or eight years — and that the maximum used to be three terms, but two years ago the by-laws were changed to allow for a fourth term, which Banda ran for and won.
Yesterday I spoke to Jacob, who, most agree, works hard and has the support of many members. He said he had “no position” on the by-law change, and isn’t sure whether he wants to run for President again, noting his job takes up a lot of time. He said he didn’t even want to run for a fourth term but was “pushed” into doing it.
And, as he notes, the club’s board voted 11 to 1 in favor to change the bylaws. One board member told me the change was drafted by the club’s lawyer, and said it was an attempt to reduce the expense of the elections. He argued that, as it stands now, there is no consistency in the rules – some positions are term-limited, some are not – so the board just felt they should be eliminated entirely, and concluded that everyone’s fate should be up to the members.
As this board member notes, quite correctly, the club is a democracy. The board approved the change; now the membership still can vote yes or no on the 26th.
DDC politics has a long lively history, some of which I cover here. There have been election campaigns where candidates have hired political consultants, and given out embossed umbrellas. But politics can bring out the worst in people – and, in fact, part of me is dreading posting this because whenever I write about Club politics it tends to tick somebody off. In any case, that rancor hasn’t gone away, but at least people still care enough about the Club to be involved in what happens there. That’s probably a good thing.
Comments welcome, as long as they’re civil …