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How should we stagger trustee terms?

Ideally, terms for one third of the board should end each year. Staggered terms ensure that the whole board doesn’t rotate off at the same time. Typically, it is only necessary to manage this actively for the first “class” of trustees. With staggered terms at the outset, one third of the trustees serve an initial one-year term, one-third serve for an initial two-year term, and one-third serve for an initial three-year term. After this initial term, trustees can be given one or two additional two-year terms.

The simplest way to stagger the initial terms is to draw lots—literally, putting slips of paper in a hat and letting trustees pull a number. One third of the trustees start with 1-year terms, one-third with 2-year terms, one-third with 3-year terms. Then, when these initial terms are complete, the trustees can each get two more terms of two years. The intention is not that those who draw a “1” only serve for one year and then leave the board forever. They could keep serving, but just not rotate off at the same time as all the other trustees.