Governing the WDM
The responsibility for governing the WDM is held by our Board of Directors. There will be more about museums and governance in future blog posts. For now, governance is simply the process of decision-making and decision implementation. It is the way in which the Board of Directors exercises its authority, control and direction over the WDM.
The Board of Directors is the ultimate authority within the Museum. As a group, Board members provide leadership and ensure accountability. The responsibility for daily operations is delegated to the CEO.
The WDM was established on April 2, 1949. This was when the Saskatchewan Government passed The Western Development Museum Act. We are an arms-length agency of the Crown, reporting to the Ministry of Parks, Culture and Sport. The Museum is also a registered charity (Charitable #: 119293215 RR0001).
There are currently seven members serving on the Board of Directors. Each member, including the Board Chair, is appointed by the Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan through an Order in Council. The Board elects its Vice-Chair and Secretary from within its ranks. Board members serve a three-year term and can be reappointed for any number of terms. Currently, our Board members come from all parts of Saskatchewan. In addition to Regina and Biggar, we have a Board member from close to or from every community with a WDM.
The Board has chosen to govern through a policy governance framework. Through this framework, the Board defines the WDM’s future and uses policies to guide the work of the Museum. The CEO is responsible for interpreting the policies and overseeing our day-to-day operations. The Board uses the model of Policy Governance© established by John Carver. Through this model, the Board defines four sets of policies that guide both the Board’s and CEO’s work. The Ends Policies outlines what the WDM is expected to achieve. The Governance Process policies direct how the Board conducts its work. The relationship between the Board and the CEO is outlined through Governance-Executive Relationship policies. And Executive Limitation policies establish the boundaries and authority of the CEO. Combined, these policies hold the Board accountable for their work. They also hold the CEO and the WDM accountable for making an impact in our communities.
From time to time, the Board creates ad hoc committees to work on specific projects. There are currently no standing committees. One committee currently in place is the Ad Hoc Committee on Linkages. This committee is developing a plan to help the Board connect with the WDM’s diverse communities.
The Board of Directors’ governance function is distinct from the staff’s management function. Our purpose is to define the future on behalf of the WDM’s moral ownership (people of Saskatchewan), paint the target toward which staff should shoot in terms of the benefits to be produced, the people to be served, and the cost of meeting these goals and to ensure that that future is achieved in a legal, ethical, and prudent manner.
Nancy Martin, Board Chair
The WDM’s Board of Directors meets at least four times every year. Meetings rotate between each WDM location. This helps the Board get to know the staff, volunteers and uniqueness of each location.