By Donya Parrish, MCU VP- Risk Management
Most supervisory committee members know they have responsibility for the credit union’s financial records and the internal controls to protect the assets at the organization. But many are not aware of another power the committee holds — to remove board members if necessary!
While not used often, or even rarely, this power was given to a committee outside the board for a reason. It helps keep balance and makes the board accountable. CUNA’s Credit Union Supervisory Committee Handbook calls it “exceptional powers with respect to elected officials.”
The authority is stated in both the Federal CU Act and the Montana CU Act, and both also provide that a membership vote be held in a short period after the removal when all details are presented by both sides.
Now, before you think this might be a responsibility that is too powerful, keep in mind that the board of directors appoints the supervisory committee members AND also has the power in both acts to remove supervisory committee members. While a board removing a supervisory committee member only requires a majority vote, the supervisory committee removing a board member requires a unanimous vote. It is an important power and should not be taken lightly.
While we strive for productive and healthy relationships in all our credit unions, it doesn’t always stay that way. Being aware of the checks and balances that exist can be a positive and hopefully help all parties work toward the resolution that is in the best interest of your members.