By Donya Parrish, MCU VP–Risk Management
The question comes up occasionally about who is able to attend credit union board meetings. The answer is pretty simple: elected board members! While it may be common or a long-standing tradition to have senior credit union staff or supervisory committee members attend the monthly meetings, their attendance is at the discretion of the board and the board chair. A board may feel they need to limit attendance at times for the discussion they are having or that attendees are distracting from their agenda.
As NCUA noted in this 1993 legal opinion letter (yes, it is still a valid opinion, even 27 years later), “discussion among the board members may be stifled by the presence of others, even supervisory committee members. The board is best able to judge who should be allowed to attend its meetings, and when individuals other than board members should be excluded.”
NCUA went on to state that “we do encourage FCU boards of directors to invite supervisory committees to attend board meetings whenever possible, in order to further the supervisory committee’s understanding of the board’s performance, and assist the supervisory committee in discharging its general oversight duty.” We know the supervisory committee and board often have a strong working relationship and that information sharing supports that.
So, how does the supervisory committee fulfill its duty to have oversight of the board? According to the above-referenced letter, and most likely your bylaws, they have a right to review any and all board minutes.
As for credit union staff or executives, they may be asked to attend and excused after their presentation or relevant portions of the meeting are completed. That is a reasonable expectation, so if all parties go in with the board’s authority in mind, it could avoid hurt feelings or complaints.