Reconciliation efforts are underway to salvage the Business Council of Alabama after a very public split with some of its most influential members.
Those close to the negotiations speaking on background say recent talks have been productive, but there are still many details that must be agreed upon before a reunification occurs.
The forced exit of President and CEO Billy Canary earlier this month was the first step toward restoring BCA’s reputation and mending fences.
Individuals who are negotiating rapprochement are looking to restructure BCA’s governance to ensure that any future leader will not exercise the unchecked authority wielded by Canary. They also want to make BCA more equitable, fair and balanced in its representation of its members.
Beyond the mechanics of structure is the need for a strong leader who can restore not only confidence in the once powerful organization but also one who can navigate the state’s political landscape while enduring the inevitable discord that comes with change.
There is a level of hope that an improved structure and new leadership might be in place by BCA’s summer conference, which begins August 10 at Point Clear. But even those involved in the process know it’s a tall order to fill given the short window of opportunity.
Perhaps the most significant challenge is identifying an individual who can articulate a vision for BCA, inspire confidence in its members and ensure elected officials that they are dealing with an honest broker.
There is much at stake in the upcoming legislative session, not only because it is the first year of the quadrennium, when hard tasks are generally achieved, but the 2019 session will also welcome many new legislators not necessarily in step with BCA due to a bruising primary season.
People may forgive, but they often do not forget, and there are many bridges to build.
Lawmakers will be wise to remember the warning of President Ronald Reagan, “Trust but verify.”
For a revitalizing transition to occur, a clean sweep of BCA’s leadership team is imperative, as those who served the old guard must be replaced or else it’s a false start doomed to fail.
BCA would be wise to move away from the partisan approach taken over the last eight years and look to establish relationships that favor business-friendly legislation without bright lines of division.
In business as in life, sharp breaks are sometimes required and often are inevitable, but this doesn’t have to be one of those times.
Now is an hour for wise deliberation, difficult choices and bold resolve to strengthen the entire business community and not merely to fortify the narrow interests of a few.
Over the last year, good and honest leaders called for BCA to do what was right. That fight hopefully can be put aside to now do what is best.