Archiving the Future: How the LA&M board is chosen

Many people were surprised by the choice of Executive Director for the Leather Archives & Museum. So I did some research about how their Board of Directors works and possibly how the selection was made.

When work on this article was starting, you were not able to find out the terms of the board members nor the by-laws but now both can be found here, and here,

In order to attend a board meeting, you have to be a member at the $200 voting membership or above, This just allows you to attend. You do not get to sit at the table unless granted permission to nor do you have a chance to say anything or comment at any point unless so deemed by a board members as they follow Robert’s Rules of Order. Board member related inquiries can be sent to Board President Bob Behr at

Two meetings a year are virtual while alternating with two meetings a year physically at the Leather Archives and Museum. During the virtual meetings, the board members can still meet at the LA&M but almost no one does as was evidenced by the recent virtual Special Election to vote on the Executive Director where only one did. A similar occurrence transpired over the Executive Director interview weekend where only those four board members on the Search Committee attended while the rest of the board members came together as a group for 45 minutes to virtually hang out with each candidate.

In order to run for the board, you are encouraged to be a member at the $200 voting membership or above. Another board member can nominate you or you can put yourself forward. At this point, a potential nomination is brought through a committee the board appoints for discussion and approval. If you are approved, then it goes before the general membership for a vote. As a voting member, you can vote the person up or down. Email votes are sent to the executive director who then tallies them. Not many members who can vote do so. Board members are expected to make a substantial financial contribution every year or have connections to bring in other large sums of money.

Basically, the procedure is that the board nominates those it would like to have on it and that can meet the $200/year membership fees.

You do not need to be a $200 voting member to serve on a committee. Membership on a committee is at the discretion of the President of the Board to appoint or from the committee chair in consultation with the president as per the current president.

Currently, the board is all white. One male is straight, there are two females and the incoming non-voting Executive Director is an openly bi-sexual male with all the other nine board members being cisgender gay men. A listing of board members can be found here:

Gary Wasdin, the incoming executive director, says that both he and Behr, in addition to a majority of the board, are committed to working on a plan to bring more diversity to the Board and the direction that the Leather Archives and Museum is headed.