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OAN Bylaws

OAN members to vote on bylaw revisions

At the 2017 OAN Convention, members will have the opportunity to vote on bylaw revisions that are intended to modernize the association's governance structure. The most significant change would call for representation on the OAN Board of Directors based on industry segments, rather than geographic regions.

"To be effective, the OAN needs to make sure it is representing the wishes of the industry, and Oregon's nursery industry is very diverse in terms of production types and retail versus wholesale," OAN President Mark Bigej said. "That's why we recommend implementing a board structure that makes sure every segment of the industry is represented in the decision making."

The changes were recommended initially by a Board Composition Task Force that Leigh Geschwill appointed during her year as OAN president (2015–16). The Task Force was led by Bigej, who was serving as president-elect at the time.

After the task force made its recommendations, they were discussed at last year's OAN Convention. Following input from members and approval from the OAN Board of Directors, the recommendations were translated into specific bylaw language. The board approved the specific bylaw changes at its September meeting and agreed to forward them to the membership for final approval.

Under the OAN bylaws, all members in attendance at the Annual Meeting, which takes place at the OAN Convention on November 4, shall be eligible to vote.

Members have several ways of learning more about the proposed changes:

  • The Board Composition Task Force report can be downloaded here.
  • The bylaw changes can be downloaded for review here .
  • A recent memo to the Board of Directors can be downloaded here.
  • A mailing soon will be sent to all OAN members detailing all the changes, including a comparison of the language before and after.
  • A webinar will take place sometime in October, where they can hear presentations on the changes and have the opportunity to submit questions. Watch for details.
  • A landing page with all of these materials has been created at

Different segments would be represented on the board, based on each segment's proportional size within the Oregon nursery industry, as determined by USDA statistics.

"Some have asked what this means for the chapters," Bigej said. "We want them to be as vital as possible. It's just that they would no longer be the source of board representatives. We found that directors from industry segments would be more representative."

The number of seats per industry segment could change over time as the industry changes. Initially, there would be 10 industry representatives on the board — two greenhouse operators, one retailer, one associate member, and six nursery growers.

The six nursery growers would consist of three container growers, two field grown/bare root growers, and one field grown/ball and burlap grower. Each would serve two-year terms, but during the first year of phase-in, some would serve for one year so that terms would be staggered.

All of these directors would be suggested by a nominating committee, nominated by the board and elected by member ballot. A board nominee qualified in more than one industry segment would be eligible to represent any of those segments.

In addition to the 10 directors representing industry segments, the board would continue to include seven Executive Committee members as it does currently. They include a president, president-elect, vice president, secretary, treasurer, past president and member at large. The president-elect, vice president, secretary and treasurer are elected each year; the president-elect becomes president the next year; the president becomes past president; and the member at large is appointed by the incoming president.

Other proposed revisions would update the bylaws to bring them in line with current Oregon law.

Board Composition Task Force History

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