The Role of a President
Happy holidays brothers and sisters.
On many occasions, I have remarked that it is a privilege to serve this great local. The individuals who serve in an elected or appointed position at Local 11 – myself included – all do so out of a sincere desire to help grow and better our union. It’s a job I take extremely seriously.
The union’s president has many roles and responsibilities, some of which are official, while others are ceremonial. I thought I would take the opportunity to briefly review a few of these responsibilities. For the record, and although I’ve never seen it, I’m sure the guidebook that President Biden is trying to follow is a lot lengthier and more detailed.
Basically, the President enforces our constitution and bylaws, and enforces any penalties when these documents are not followed. He, or she, appoints committee members and makes sure that the committees are doing their work and he appoints delegates to trade, council, or political bodies. He does much of this work in conjunction with the Local 11 Business Manager (currently Joёl Barton).
The president runs the union’s meetings, making sure that everyone’s voice is heard and – most importantly some would say – ensuring that we wrap things up by 11 pm, as per the IBEW constitution and our bylaws. He is a voting member of the union, but his vote does not carry any more weight than any other member of Local 11.
The president oversees the union’s books and accounts, also in conjunction with the business manager. The president authorizes the disbursement of all union funds and makes sure that our treasurer is doing his or her job correctly. It falls to the president to ensure that our officers and employees are bonded to protect Local 11 against potential financial loss.
When an officer is not present, the president appoints a member to serve pro tem (for the time being). If an officer fails to perform the duties of his or her office for two consecutive meetings, the president can declare that office vacant, but it falls to the executive board to fill the vacancy. Then of course there’s the catch-all phrase: “the local union president shall perform all other duties incidental to the office and other duties assigned by the local union provided they are not in conflict with the IBEW Constitution or local union bylaws.
It all sounds pretty straightforward, right? Well, yes and no. Even after 3 years in this position, I learn new things about my role every day. I’m as grateful for those times when members tell me I’m doing a good job as I am when they give me constructive feedback on how I could be doing it better. As I said before, the goal is to serve the members and grow our great union.
Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you and yours a safe and happy holiday season and a prosperous new year in 2022.
Gaylord “Rusty” Roten
President/Senior Assistant Business Manager