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As of today, the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s (MCC) board of directors does not have the quorum it needs to operate. A quick look at the MCC website shows that the board of directors looks like this:

What’s wrong with this picture? It’s missing all four public (non-government) board members. And the MCC board of directors is required by legislation to have at least one public member to form a decision-making quorum.

When I first wrote about this back in July, three of the four public MCC board seats were already vacant. In September, I revisited the issue, noting that Senator Bill Frist’s term would expire in October and that without further action, the MCC board would be without the quorum it needs to operate. Senator Bill Frist’s term officially ended today; the MCC board is effectively paralyzed.

In the midst of major U.S. development policy reform that emphasizes the very principles upon which the MCC was founded—select countries, economic growth, country ownership, policy reform, transparency, and measured impact—it is shocking that the equally innovative MCC board structure would be allowed to lapse.

So there’s my doom and gloom for the Halloween weekend ahead. The flicker of hope is that  the White House has nominated two public board members—Ambassador Mark Green and Alan Patricof—who now await Senate approval. Still no word on whether Lorne Craner will be re-appointed for a second term or who might replace Catholic Relief Services President Ken Hackett on the board. Importantly, the MCC board had the quorum it needed for its September meeting and signing of the MCC Jordan compact earlier this week and the next MCC board meeting isn’t until December.

Nevertheless, the MCC board plays an active role in MCC decision-making and there are critical decisions that must be made at the December board meeting, including selecting countries that will be eligible to apply for FY2011 funds. For that (and a host of other good reasons), the MCC must have a functioning board in place.