Special Election to Fill AGU Board Vacancy Begins 4 November


Owing to unforeseen family circumstances, AGU Board director Chris Ballentine recently resigned. Chris was in his second term on the Board and was due to rotate off in December 2020.

AGU president Robin Bell asked the Leadership Development and Governance Committee to explore how best to fill the vacancy. The Leadership Development and Governance Committee recommended that AGU hold a special election.

Because the usual biennial process to identify and vet candidates takes almost a year, this special election pairs two candidates who are already familiar with how AGU works and can immediately contribute to the Board. The two candidates are Catherine A. McCammon and Georgios P. Tsoflias.


Catherine A. McCammon

Georgios P. Tsoflias

Past AGU Council member X X
Past section leader X X
Past Leadership Development and Governance Committee member X X

Catherine A. McCammon and Georgios P. Tsoflias both served as section leaders and on the AGU Council from 2010 to 2014. For the past 5 years, they have advanced and strengthened AGU’s governance model as members of the Leadership Development and Governance Committee. Their terms are now completed, and new committee members will be voted on by the Board and the Council in November. Catherine and George were not a part of the decision-making process once they were identified as candidates.

If you are eligible to vote, you will receive an email with a link to the voting site from Survey and Ballot Systems. The email will come from [email protected]. The election will remain open for 2 weeks, closing on 18 November 2019. If you have not yet renewed your AGU membership for 2019 and would like to vote, please renew now and ask for voting credentials.

While our thoughts are with Chris and his family, we are confident that Catherine or George will be an excellent addition to the AGU Board of Directors.

Don’t forget to vote by 18 November 2019!

AGU Bylaws and Precedent for Board Vacancy

The committee reviewed the AGU bylaws and how AGU handled the only other Board vacancy to date, which resulted in a special election in February 2017. Committee members explored six scenarios for handling this vacancy before making recommendations to the Board and getting their input. The committee recommended that a special election be held to finish Chris Ballentine’s term and established criteria to bring needed perspectives to Board discussions while allowing someone to contribute immediately. Candidates would need to be someone already familiar and supportive of AGU’s governance model, because 1 year is just too short a time to learn how AGU works and to add value to the Board.

The Leadership Development and Governance Committee reviewed a list of potential candidates and recommended four to the Board for input. The list included candidates on the 2018 AGU election ballot who did not get elected, Board members who rotated off in either 2016 or 2018, Council Leadership Team members who rotated off in 2018, and Leadership Development and Governance Committee members whose terms were completed.

These recommendations allow the vacancy to be filled immediately without affecting the rotation schedule of the Board. The Board agreed with the committee’s recommendations, and committee members have finalized the ballot and made plans for a special election.

Membership Vote

The AGU bylaws state that a vacancy on the AGU Board will be filled by a vote of the members (Article V. Board, Section 6. Vacancies). Current AGU members will receive voting credentials from our election vendor, Survey and Ballot Systems. The polls will open on 4 November 2019 and remain open for 2 weeks. If you have any questions or do not receive a ballot, please contact the AGU Member Service Center by emailing [email protected] or by calling +1-202-462-6900 (international calls) or +1-800-966-2481 (toll free for North America). The Member Service Center is available Monday–Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. eastern standard time.

Leadership Now and in the Future

The Leadership Development and Governance Committee is charged with ensuring that AGU has the leaders it needs to accomplish its mission and vision. The committee works year-round to help identify and develop volunteer leaders at multiple levels of the organization, as well as to nominate a slate of candidates for AGU’s election every other year. The previous AGU election took place in 2018, and 20.9% of eligible voters participated. The next regular election is scheduled for 2020.

More information about the candidates and the special election is online at AGU requests your support in filling the vacancy quickly by casting your vote.

The committee encourages all members to complete their profile at AGU Volunteer Central so they will be aware of opportunities that might interest them. Volunteer opportunities range from a few hours of time to a 2-year commitment. Members can also recommend someone else as a volunteer by using a simple online form.

Leadership Development and Governance Committee

The Leadership Development and Governance Committee is chaired by AGU’s past president, Eric Davidson, who became chair on 1 January 2019, when Margaret Leinen rotated off the Board. Current committee members are Bob Duce, Luis Gonzalez, Hans Lechner, Jim Pizzuto, and Sabine Stanley. New committee members will be appointed by the end of this year.

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