‘Owners' deserve bigger voice

The Green Bay Packers are expected to name a new president sometime this year, but only after that person is voted in by the team's executive committee and board of directors. If the Packers are truly a democratically run organization, than the shareholders should be allowed to vote as well, insists PackerReport.com's Matt Tevsh.

The annual Packers shareholders' meeting will be held on July 25, a day when Bob Harlan and other team officials will be giving their annual reports to what is expected to be a large crowd at Lambeau Field.

Those fans in attendance will no doubt want hear an update on the search for a new team president. Nearly two months from the stunning announcement that Harlan's successor John Jones would be put on a paid leave of absence, all has been quiet, at least publicly, on a replacement. Harlan was set to retire at the end of May, but could be staying on for up to a year.

Meanwhile, there has been no word on Jones' status, either. The Packers did not rule out a return for him in some capacity with the team, but it seems apparent that such a situation would be unlikely.

At the center of confusion are the faithful Packers' fans, many of whom hold ownership in the team through the purchase of stock. As has been documented time and time again, the Packers are the only publicly-owned team in the NFL, making their organizational structure a little different than all the others.

Not only have these shareholders contributed their money and devoted their interest to the Packers, but by owning a portion of the team, they also have voting rights. They are able to elect a board of directors that in turn elects a seven-member executive committee that effectively runs the Green Bay Packers Corporation.

With the search for a new team president high on the agenda for everyone, the Packers should consider making a historic move this year to extend voting privileges a little further for shareholders. They should let them vote directly for the new president.

If the Packers are the most democratically run team in the NFL, they can hold an "election" for the most powerful position in the organization, no different than how the United States chooses a president. The team's seven-man Executive Committee could present its top two or three candidates and have the people decide by proxy vote. The Packers owe their fans at least that much if they must remain mum on just what exactly happened with Jones.

Such a move would not only be profound, but it would also be appropriate. While the shareholders' stock has no financial value, an extended voting power would give shareholders a truer feeling that they are making a difference. They deserve that considering they have always answered the call in times of financial crisis. Remember the Lambeau Field stadium referendum that Brown County voted through just years ago? Had that been voted down, the Packers would have been in big trouble.

This time the Packers are in a different dilemma. Money will not solve their crisis and, quite frankly, they should not ask for any more support financially from the fans than usual. Thus, giving the shareholders a bigger say in choosing the new president is the next logical step. Make the change!

Matt Tevsh

Matt Tevsh is a regular contributor to PackerReport.com and Packer Report. E-mail him at matttevsh@hotmail.com.

Packer Report Top Stories