At its meeting on August 19th, 2021, the USA Cricket Board agreed to take a number of steps designed to improve its governance structure, restore a more harmonious working environment, and address the issue of the delayed 2020 Board election.
The Board reflected on its effectiveness since incorporation and the lessons that could be learned from recent challenges, and agreed to the following measures:
- Constitutional Review Working Group (CRWG)
The Board agreed to immediately appoint a CRWG to review and suggest clarifying amendments and improvements to the USA Cricket constitution.
The members of the CRWG are: Jagan Jagannathan, Brian Walters, Samantha Ramautar and Sujal Shah (from law firm Morgan Lewis LLC).
The CRWG has already had its first meeting and intends to meet regularly so that it can complete its work by no later than Friday, September 17th.
Among other issues, the CRWG will be seeking to clarify ambiguity in the constitution which gave rise to the recent lawsuit, determining how best to address the cut-off date for registration to be eligible to vote in future Board Elections; how to improve the definitions and clarify the voting rights for ‘Clubs’, ‘Leagues’, ‘Academies’, ‘Other Organizations’ and how compliance can be assessed; and how to realign the terms of directors to ensure that the principle of staggered terms remains and to address challenges brought about by the extended terms of the sitting directors.
The proposed clarifying amendments to the constitution, together with the explanatory rationale, will be presented to the wider membership for approval.
- Delayed 2020 Board Election
The Board agreed that the NGC will be asked to oversee the delayed 2020 Board Election at the same time as it oversees the upcoming 2021 Board Election in November/December 2021.
As such, the NGC will conduct a ‘double-election’ in accordance with the improved and amended constitution. The elections will begin in mid-November, take place simultaneously and be completed by mid-December 2021.
All newly elected directors will therefore be seated on 1 January 2022.
The NGC will be in contact with those candidates who were earlier screened and proposed for the 2020 Board Election to assure them that they remain eligible to stand in the upcoming election and of the specific process and timeline that the NGC will follow.
In order to preserve the integrity of these elections, the Board also agreed that:
- The NGC will review the membership data against the revised and approved constitutional criteria in order to determine the eligible voter list.
- Once the NGC has determined the eligible voter list based on the revised criteria, the actual election will be carried out by an independent election company.
- Prior to the election results being published, they will be independently audited by an independent audit firm with relevant expertise in overseeing similar elections.
- 2021 Annual General Meeting
The Board agreed that the 2021 Annual General Meeting should be held in December 2021. Further details of when and how this will take place and how members can participate will follow in due course.
- Grievance and Ethics Committee
The Board agreed that its Grievance and Ethics Committee will be appointed as soon as possible to assist with the smooth resolution of future internal disputes. A formal advertisement targeting those with relevant professional skills and expertise will be issued shortly.
- Alternative dispute resolution
The Board agreed that an informal alternative dispute resolution process will be established to avoid future internal disputes escalating to expensive and time-consuming litigation.
- Independent Ethics Officer
The Board agreed to appoint an Independent Ethics Officer as soon as possible to help manage issues arising under the Code of Ethics. A formal advertisement targeting those with relevant professional skills and expertise will be issued shortly.
When in place, the Ethics Officer will be asked to review the existing Code of Ethics and relevant forms and processes to ensure best practice.
- League Committee
The Board agreed that a League Committee comprised of representatives of the biggest Leagues in each Zone will be appointed as soon as possible to seek constructive views, ideas and feedback from this key stakeholder group.
- Membership Portal
Now that most of the technological challenges appear to have been resolved and payment received from the majority of the registered members, the Board agreed that the Membership Portal should be re-opened allowing for new Leagues, Clubs, Academies and Individuals to join. A further release announcing this step will be issued shortly.
The names of all those Leagues, Clubs and Academies that have paid the membership fees within the required period will be published on the USA Cricket website in due course.
- Code of Behavior and Induction Programs
A code of behavior will be established for the Board of Directors, Sub-Committee Members and members of management. This Code will address issues such as the importance of respecting alternative perspectives, dealing with disagreements, preserving confidentiality, and managing conflict.
In addition, the Board agreed that an induction manual should be prepared and an induction process carried out for all individuals appointed to the Board or to any of its Sub-Committees or management.
- USA Cricket Selection Policy
The Board noted that the Cricket Committee was reviewing the Selection Policy and agreed that, as part of that review, all coaching and selectorial appointments should be considered to identify and find ways to best manage any potential conflicts.
Reflecting on all of the various measures, the USA Cricket Chairman, Paraag Marathe, explained, “The Board recognized that there are fundamental governance steps and processes that need to be implemented to enable USA Cricket to operate effectively and harmoniously as we pursue our ambitious growth objectives. That includes addressing critical areas within our constitution that require clarification to preserve the integrity of future Board elections, and to determine an acceptable path forward that addresses the delayed 2020 Board Election.
The Board recognizes the importance of making these improvements as quickly as possible and to putting past differences behind us so that we have the best possible chance of collectively achieving the strategic objectives set out in our Foundational Plan. We thank the wider cricket community for its patience and understanding as we build a more robust governance environment which will serve the membership well in the future.”