US Coins

ANA Board continues to struggle with management approach

Tragically, the American Numismatic Association has not learned from its past. Following are excerpts from an Editorial published in the Sept. 22, 1997, issue of Coin World:

“The nine elected leaders of the coin collecting hobby’s largest organization, the American Numismatic Association, are facing a critical decision early in their tenure: selecting a new executive director. ...

“The executive director of the ANA is responsible for the day-to-day management of the organization and its staff. Equally important is the high profile this position commands in representing the coin collecting community at all levels: locally, nationally and internationally. ...

“The ANA Board needs to revisit the boundaries it expects its executive director to operate within. As with many non-profit organizations, ANA’s charter is clear that the ultimate decision-making and fiduciary responsibilities rest with the elected, lay leadership. However, the ANA in the last 40 years has evolved into a complex entity rendering a multitude of services that necessitate a professional staff and a national headquarters, both of which require full-time, professional management. Throughout the past 40 years, ANA’s governance has struggled with management approaches and has at times tipped the balance to micro managing, only to experience major swings to macro managing in jumps and spurts. Most of the abrupt swings in management approaches have been the result of strong personalities resident on the board of governors or embodied within an executive director.

“It is essential that the ANA Board of Governors define the executive director’s role and deal with the details of job description before the interview process begins. To do less will open the selection process to personalities and political factions, neither of which the organization and hobby need at this juncture.”

The only thing that has changed is the time line. It’s 14 years and five executive directors later, with several interims between. Still, the ANA Board has not developed a formal job description for the executive director other than the “duties” identified in the association’s bylaws.

Beyond developing a detailed job description and setting measurable goals the executive director is to accomplish, the board should also develop a formal process for annually assessing the executive director’s job performance. The annual review should be conducted by the board or a designated board committee and should not be contracted to an outside firm or delegated to subordinate ANA staff.

When goals are not met and deficiencies are detected, a mutually agreed upon plan to remedy the situation should be developed. If after a specified time no progress has been made, termination would be appropriate. Under such a process, there would be no surprises. ¦

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