This Is our Village

Saturday, February 18, 2012


Hi all,
In a Comment on this BLOG, a Blogger asks if husband and wife teams are legal on the UCO Board. My response to this question was; it is not illegal, but is it wise?
Following is an article which is right on point. Please read it carefully, and consider it well when you vote. Frank Cornish has had his turn on the UCO Board, four years worth. Please vote for Barbara for VP to bring in new ideas!
By Barry VanderKelen
When a married couple serves on a nonprofit board together, do their duties to each other conflict with their duties to the organization

Is there a hierarchy of duties that gives higher priority to a spouse? According to California law, spouses are obligated to give each other mutual respect, fidelity and support. 

Spouses have a duty to act in the highest good faith and fair dealing with each other and are forbidden from taking unfair advantage of the other. 
Does this mean they must vote alike as board members? Is this especially true if one is an officer of the  board

Members of boards of directors have three duties to the nonprofit: care, loyalty and obedience. Directors will exercise best judgment on issues affecting the organization; they will put aside personal and professional interests; and they will make sure the organization stays true to its mission. 

Does this mean spouses are not allowed to confer before a vote? A careful reading of family and corporations law does not indicate it is a conflict of interest for spouses to serve together on a nonprofit board. 

If they do serve together, however, they must take special care not to let family matters influence organizational matters, and, conversely,
they must not let organizational matters harm the spousal relationship .

 The greater danger to the organization is when the couple does not act independently. 

On small boards, any guaranteed voting bloc hampers the effectiveness of the board. 

On larger boards, a couple seen as a bloc might find their input discounted. 

If fulfilling the duties to the organization causes problems at home, or if fulfilling duties at home prevents spouses from being effective board members, one or both people should resign from the board. Not doing so risks both their relationship and the organization.


Barry VanderKelen is Executive
Director of the San Luis Obispo
County Community Foundation.
He can be reached at
barry@sloccf .org.


  1. Now that I know it is legal for married couples to both serve on a board I agree with the article that it probably would be unwise. Frank should allow Dave his last term and then run. Dave Israel has done a fantastic job and should be allowed to continue bringing CV into the 21st century. I have lived here 8 years and he is the first president who is available at all times to all people. Vote For Dave Israel.

  2. When my late husband was president of UCO during the 1990's, I served on the Board and on many committees. I would never have considered being an officer while he was president. I don't think it's a healthy situation for the organization, nor for the marital relationship if each has different ideas which more than likely will happen from time to time. Not until his passing did I become a VP. I saw the stress that goes into the presidency and turned down running for that office. Re-elect Dave Israel -- your best and only choice, in my opinion.
    Ruth Bernhard

  3. Family must come first and last and be as one, no arguments can be tolerated.

  4. Now I know why some people have a ridiculous long running grudge over nothing. I cannot imagine them functioning with more stress.

  5. Hi concerned unit owner,
    February 19, 2012 9:36 AM,

    VP Cornish made it abundantly clear to me some 8 months ago, that I "would be reelected to office, over his dead body"!

    This was during an outburst of cursing and explosive rage!

    This was witnessed by many in UCO.

    Dave Israel

  6. After reading Dave's comment re Frank how could anyone even think of voting for Frank! What a nasty individual. That's not who I want to represent me for the next two years. Dave has my vote and hopefully anyone who has seen the improvements in the village will vote with me.

  7. Barbara Cornish is a smart, capable voice in the Village. It may not be illegal for husband and wife to serve, but both of them in high-level positions at the same time is likely to compromise decisions--and even if it doesn't, many will be quick to accuse. I've seen this in corporations where the relationship became divisive within the organization (colleagues questioning whether spouses colluded to influence a key decision or exchange privileged information inappropriately). Barbara and Frank should reconsider for their own sake and in the interest of smooth operations within UCO. Barbara will make a strong VP.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.