Governing Your AKC
Each March, Delegates representing the AKC Member Clubs elect individuals from among their own number to serve as voting members of the AKC Board of Directors. In order to understand the significance of this process, it is important to understand how the AKC is governed.
There are three distinct, but interrelated, groups of individuals with roles in the governance of the AKC: the Delegates, the Board, and the Management. Each has duties and powers specifically defined in three documents listed here in order of precedence: New York State Not-For-Profit Law, the AKC Charter, and the AKC Bylaws. Robert's Rules of Order applies in some instances where a matter is not covered in the basic documents.
Section 701(a) of New York State Not-For-Profit Law definitively and unambiguously places the responsibility for managing AKC with the Board. The AKC Bylaws in Article IX also places "the general management of the business and affairs of the AKC" with the Board. The Bylaws also give the Board enumerated specific responsibilities and powers, e.g. supervision and control of the stud book, the registration of dogs, all AKC publications, approval of events, and election of officers.
The Board establishes a mission for the organization and makes policy decisions, both of which must be consistent with objectives enumerated in the Bylaws. It elects executive officers to fulfill this mission and to develop procedures to implement Board policies. The President, Chief Operating Officer, Executive Secretary, and Chief Financial Officer, perform duties assigned by the Board. The President also appoints Vice Presidents and Assistant Vice Presidents and assigns them duties to further the mission and policies established by the Board.
Once the Board has thus empowered management, it is best to allow management to carry out their responsibilities without day to day involvement of the Board or Delegates.
The specific powers and duties of the Delegates are also enumerated in the AKC Bylaws. The Delegates have the power to adopt and amend the Bylaws and the Rules, as long as these remain consistent with New York State Not-For-Profit Law. Delegates also have the power to elect Delegates or Delegate Committees. Individual Delegates or Delegate Committees may offer advisory opinions to the Board on management issues. However, the final authority and responsibility for such issues must remain with the Board. Finally, Delegates elect the Board of Directors. It is through this election that Delegates have their greatest effect on the governing of AKC. As the Board members are Delegates, elected by the Delegates, it is the Delegate body that ultimately determines how AKC is to be governed. It is therefore crucial for clubs to select experienced and knowledgeable individuals to represent them as Delegates and for the Delegates to elect Board members who share their philosophy and vision.Only when the three groups charged with the governance of AKC, the Delegates, the Board, and Management, perform the duties assigned to them in the organization's governing documents, will the AKC prosper and The Sport of Purebred Dogs be maintained and advanced.