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Over the past few weeks, the Transition Task Force has been asking more detailed questions of Alex Halpern (legal advisor to Shambhala). We have learned more specifics about the different legal roles of Interim Board and the Process Team, and wanted to share those.
The purpose of the Interim Board is to oversee the finances, legal issues, and employees of the Shambhala organization (Shambhala USA, Shambhala Canada, and indirectly Shambhala Europe and their subsidiaries around the world). As such, they typically delegate the day-to-day operations of the organization to employees and volunteers, and their work is focused on oversight. There is a lot of good information online (for example, this site) about what non-profit boards generally do, and we expect the Interim Board to be fairly traditional. This is part of what the Kalapa Council did. However, in other respects, the Interim Board is very different from the Kalapa Council.
The Interim Board will not include Pillar heads. As a board, it will provide oversight and make major legal, personnel, and financial decisions. But it will not be as involved in the day-to-day operations as the Kalapa Council was. Furthermore, the Interim Board is not expected to need to start any new major initiatives, nor will it be empowered to make changes to the legal structure of the Shambhala organization. Because of this, we expect the Interim Board members will only need to spend a few hours each week on their role.
The Interim Board is also expected to work with the Process Team, in relationship to that part of the Process Team’s work that involves the board and employees of the Shambhala organization. The Interim Board will be expected to respect the work of the Process Team, but also be held responsible for maintaining the financial and legal health of the Shambhala organization. We will encourage the board to maintain a role of oversight rather than getting involved in hands-on implementation and, as an “interim” board, to avoid being too ambitious before a longer-term leadership approach is resolved.
Importantly, the Interim Board will continue the partnership between Shambhala and An Olive Branch, and receive the results of that partnership. The Interim Board will also receive the report of the investigation by Wickwire Holm. The Interim Board will be strongly encouraged to be fully transparent with the community about both of these.
Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche is the head of the Sakyong Potrang. In this position, he has appointed and removed members of Shambhala’s governing board, known as the Kalapa Council. On the day the Interim Board members officially take their seat, the Sakyong will formally waive his power to appoint and remove board members for a period of one year from that date. At the same time, the Kalapa Council members will all officially resign and the Interim Board will take on all legal and financial responsibilities for Shambhala. It is anticipated that at the conclusion of this year-long period, the Sakyong, or whomever is designated to lead the Sakyong Potrang, will work with the Interim Board and the Process Team toward the result of a strong, healthy, and diverse organizational structure for Shambhala.