Board members are charged with overseeing the financial well-being of an organization or company. A board consists of a president, treasurer, secretary and at large board members. At large board members are not a staple for each organization or corporate board of directors. When appointed, these positions serve a specific purpose as reflected in the at large member’s duties.
On government boards especially, members are appointed from different districts and sectors, or to represent different groups. In such a board configuration, the at large board member is appointed to represent the interests of all groups. They are, in essence the control for the board, voting in the best interests of everyone represented. These members serve a term that is similar to that of a regular member. In some board configurations, a board member at large is appointed to represent a certain group or issue. Such an at large member serves a term that is limited by the issue for which he was appointed. Such a member also has restrictions on his voting privileges.
At large board members are appointed with voting restrictions outlined in the organization bylaws. The at large member is often restricted from voting on certain issues or on measures that are beyond the scope of the issues she was appointed to handle. Sometimes at large members are allowed to vote during general meetings but not in committee meetings. The voting restrictions are easily changed with a resolution and amendment to the organization charter.
An at large board member appointed for a specific purpose receives the position because he has something that the board sees as being useful in its decision-making. This could be experience, expertise or a special insight. One duty of an at large board member becomes educating the board with this special information. The at large member, like regular members, must attend all meetings and participate, using his knowledge or special insight in the best interest of the organization or group he was appointed or chosen to represent.