U.S. Rep. Steve LaTourette (R-Bainbridge Township) can spend any night at the museum, he likes, seeing as how he was recently appointed to serve on the Smithsonian Institution’s Board of Regents.
LaTourette serves with two other House members and was asked to serve by House Speaker John Boehner.
Serving as the Board’s Chancellor is John G. Roberts, Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Among the other 15 regent members are Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.
Regents who are representatives and senators serve for the durations of their elected terms.
However, says LaTourette, the board is hardly all show and no go. The Board of Regents is entrusted with the governance of the Smithsonian Institution and overseeing its mission.
“Our job is oversight of the (Smithsonian’s 16) national museums and galleries and the National Zoo,” he said. “We meet quarterly.”
LaTourette said also that he considers his appointment to be “a great honor.”
“It’s something that I’m really excited about because the Smithsonian is the nation’s museum,” LaTourette said.
The regents play a major role, serving on committees where a lot of work is done and where they discuss ideas, objectives and make strategic policy decisions, also says Linda St. Thomas, the Smithsonian’s chief spokeswoman.
“It’s much like a major university’s board of trustees,” she said.
Regents also elect the Secretary, set the Secretary’s compensation, and annually evaluate the secretary’s performance. With input from the Secretary, Regents evaluate and establish compensation for the senior leadership team and plan for management development and succession.
Regents likewise hold management accountable for performance and regularly assess their own individual, Board, and committee effectiveness, the official web site says.
On the Smithsonian’s official web site is a page dedicated to the regents. The web site is available at www.si.edu/Search/Index/default/1.
- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn