News brief: Moderator special election planned for 2020 General Assembly

News brief: Moderator special election planned for 2020 General Assembly

UUA Board of Trustees asks potential candidates to delay running until role is better defined.

Elaine McArdle
UUA Co-Moderators Mr. Barb Greve and Elandria Williams

UUA Co-Moderators Mr. Barb Greve and Elandria Williams at the 2018 General Assembly in Kansas City. (© Christopher L. Walton/UUA)

© 2018 Christopher L. Walton


The Unitarian Universalist Association Board of Trustees is asking UUs who are interested in becoming UUA moderator to wait until a 2020 special election to run for that office.

In early 2018, the Board of Trustees reported that it did not have a candidate to nominate for the 2019 moderator election, which had been scheduled for the General Assembly in Spokane, Washington. Although the Moderator Search Committee conducted a thorough search for candidates, no one was willing to undertake the role, the board said. Moreover, a number of potential candidates had many questions about the structure and expectations of the position, including whether two candidates could be elected and serve as co-moderators, the committee said in its December 2017 report to the board.

Candidates can still run by petition for a six-year term in the 2019 election if they file a petition by February 1, 2019. However, in a December 10, 2018, announcement, the board asked that potential candidates postpone running in 2019 and instead wait until a special election that will be held at General Assembly 2020 in Providence, Rhode Island.

An additional year will allow the board to revise the moderator role description with input from the Moderator Search Committee and from the Commission on Institutional Change, and will allow potential candidates to discern whether they wish to fill that role, the board said.

Currently, Mr. Barb Greve and Elandria Williams serve as co-moderators after being specially appointed by the board to fill the vacancy left by the resignation of Jim Key in May 2017. Key died two weeks later. (Williams is formally completing a term as a trustee in June 2019; Greve, who was appointed to fill the vacant moderator position after Key stepped down, was elected by GA to complete the last year of Key’s term in 2018.) If no one files to run for moderator by petition by the February 1, 2019, the board said it hopes to appoint Greve and Williams to continue as co-moderators for one additional year, until a special moderator election in 2020.

The UUA moderator is the chief governance officer for the association. The moderator chairs the UUA Board of Trustees, facilitates the business sessions at the annual General Assembly, serves as an important interface with congregations, and consults with the UUA President in developing a common vision for the association. It is the highest volunteer position in the UUA.