Author Topic: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion  (Read 179832 times)

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Offline Radien

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*Update 8/15/08*

Click to download the finalized copy of the proposed amendment

The rest of this post is old and the proposal text is NOT updated, but I am going to leave it as it is since I don't have time for more changes.  For the most up-to-date info, download the above file.  If you want to follow the discussion that has taken place here, then read on...


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For those of you who attended the meeting today (Sunday August 3rd), you may have been there when I proposed a change to Kumori Con's bylaws. It specifically affects the general staff and what they can vote on.  The board requested that I post it on the forums so everyone has a chance to discuss, ask questions, and make suggestions.

I decided to post in the public General Discussion forum. This seemed appropriate, because my purpose with this amendment was to make the election process more open to the public, so why not do the same with the proposal itself?  Non-staff may not be able to vote, but their voices can certainly be heard.  To start off, here is the proposal in its current form (it has received changes since the original was proposed at the last meeting).  There is a summary at the end for those who need it.

This proposition will be put to a vote at the final pre-con general meeting on Saturday, August 16th, 2008 at the Doubletree.

Quote
Proposition to Extend Staff's Right to Vote in Elections


This proposition would amend Kumori Con's bylaws with the following changes:

All previously board-elected positions will become staff-elected positions, following the exact same election procedure as the regular staff-elected positions. *

**

The Board will initially have the exclusive right to nominate candidates for Facilities Liaison and Treasurer before the election begins (and before a new board is elected). For each of those two positions, if less than two candidates are nominated by election day, the right to nominate will be extended to the staff membership.

Since this amendment would remove most of the voting boundaries between elected positions, both the Board and the general staff would be awarded the ability to remove an individual from office. Removal by the staff would still require a simple majority vote. However, to balance the Board's newly given ability to remove any officer regardless of election procedure, the 2/3 majority requirement would be increased to a 3/4 majority.



Summary:

As it currently stands, there is a separate, private meeting that takes place after the public elections, giving the board a chance to consider applicants for the four board-elected positions and vote on them.  Regular staff are not currently allowed to attend or vote at this election.  This amendment would effectively make that meeting public, extend the right to vote to all staff, and give staff the opportunity to hear all candidates.  The board would retain the right to nominate for Facilities Liaison and Treasurer, since those two positions deal with sensitive materials.

------------------------

This document does not yet represent the exact wording that would be used in the bylaws themselves; I am not an expert in legalese and wanted first to write it in a way that everyone could understand.  Suggestions for clarity are welcome, but first I would like to hear what people think about the intent of the proposal.

Please discuss!


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Update:

I've created a change log to keep track of changes to the proposal. If this part confuses you, please disregard it for now.

Since this is my proposal, I'm going to freely make changes to address the contributions of people who have taken part in the discussion.  I'm going to try to flow with what the public wants, since we're all voting on it a week from Saturday. Asterisks = ommissions, underlined = additions.


* Change #1 on 8/5/08 @ 10:54pm. Removed:
Quote
(except the Vice President, which will be noted below).

The Vice President's election will be merged with the President's election.  The first runner-up in the President's election will be appointed to Vice President. Consequently, the President's election will always require at least two nominated candidates."

(On 8/6/08 at 9:22pm, I changed the quote tags to make sure no one mistakenly thinks that the summary is part of the actual proposed amendment)

** Change #2 on 8/10/08 @ 5:52pm. Removed:
Quote
The elections for the previously board-elected positions will take place at a separate public meeting at least two weeks after board elections.  There should be enough time between the two elections for additional nominations to be considered.

Change #3 on 8/10/08 @ 5:52am. Added the passage beginning with:
Quote
The Board will initially have the exclusive right to nominate candidates for . . .
« Last Edit: August 15, 2008, 03:55:09 pm by Radien »
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Offline Radien

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Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2008, 11:18:02 pm »
Apologies for the double-post, but I wanted to separate my opinions from the proposal itself.


So, here are my thoughts on this:

This proposition came about because a number of us believe that the current election process for board-elected positions is not working very well, and it's time for a change. Turning it into a general election would not only increase staff involvement in the election process, but also allow staff to learn more about the people who take on these positions, their goals, and what they plan to do (and have already done) to meet those goals.

In short, even if the results of the election don't change much, this should produce better communication between the board and the staff, and bring a wider variety of viewpoints to attention. I am also hoping that it will encourage there to be more candidates for these positions, increasing our pool of skills and talent, and taking some of the burden off of board members who are taking on too many responsibilities.

I encourage everybody to give this a lot of discussion in the next two weeks.  If some really good points are made, I might amend the above proposal before it is put to a vote.

Also, the board would like me to remind you that anyone who has registered as staff can present a similar proposal if they think they know of a better method, either now or later.
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Offline JeffT

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Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2008, 12:32:37 am »
I see lots of benefits to this. However, I am wondering, why have the vice chair election done differently than the other positions? The chair and vice chair have different roles, and a person may want to run for one but not necessarily the other. I especially see this in somebody just wanting to run for vice chair.

Even besides that, this means that a single staff vote will have two consequences and it doesn't allow people to differentiate the purposes for their votes. For example, what if a candidate for chair is very popular, and gets a landslide vote? That means only a small minority of the voters will have "participated" in the vice chair vote. Not only that, but it's arbitrary--it's like saying, if for some reason you do not agree with the majority who will vote for the winning chair, then you get to influence the vice chair position, but otherwise, you don't? It leads to weird strategic voting situations.

Why not just include the vice chair as one of the staff-elected positions like all the others, and do that vote after the chair? That way, a candidate who runs for chair can then run for vice chair if they don't win. And, a candidate can run for only vice chair specifically. And, all the staff members get to cast a meaningful vote for both. I see that as much more effective at selecting the best candidate for each, than having the vice chair selected almost by "accident".
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Offline superjaz

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Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2008, 07:00:06 am »
First off I think this is a great idea, the position that are proposed to be added to staff vote are all one that have had trouble being filled in the past, by making it somthing that staff can vote for, I feel it will bring the positions to more to light and more interest, and the con can chose better who they want to represent them.

(in no way is this a diss at the current staff I know you guys work hard)

I agree on the vice chair thing, I'm not sure I just want it to be a runners up thing cuz it seems most years we are very lucky if we have 2 con chair nominations,
I feel that sinces it is such a position that needs to work with the chair  such a way might not be best
« Last Edit: August 05, 2008, 04:22:47 pm by superjaz »
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Offline Radien

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Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2008, 10:36:03 am »
JeffT:

When I was discussing ideas Vallie prior to typing this up, she and I thought it would be a good idea to make sure the vice chair would be willing to take on the chair position by combining the two races. However, that was under the assumption that our vice chair position is more similar to the chair position than, for instance, Vice President of the United States to the President of the United States.

Your suggestion makes sense.  Since there is a gap between the two elections, anyone who runs for chair and doesn't get it would have time to decide whether they want to run for vice chair. (assuming they are nominated again, of course)

Your second suggestion is a lot like a "two-round" election.  After the chair is elected, the runners up would compete for vice chair. However, I like your first suggestion best (partially because it's simpler).

Superjaz:

You're right; the prospect of becoming con chair right off the bat might scare off somebody only wanting to be vice chair, even if they totally understand that vice chair may succeed the chair if s/he has to step down for whatever reason.

I'd be fine with changing that passage. Anybody else have an opinion on that (or anything else, for that matter)?
« Last Edit: August 04, 2008, 10:37:14 am by Radien »
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Offline babysugarbear28

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Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2008, 01:12:15 pm »
As is stands right now the Con-Chair appoints someone to be his vice doesn't he/she? Funny thing is the vice job isn't as much like the con chair job as people would like to think. The vice takes care of all the little things that aren't being done by the departments while they lack people so things like staff hotel room rates were first taken care of by dawn then handed over to someone else when he filled the position. Vice does a ton of small things like that and the big question is...

What if the two people running for con-chair don't get along and one person wins chair and the other takes vice? It helps no one to have a con chair and a con vice that can't work together especially as much as the two positions have to deal with eachother.

I don't like the idea of combining the two races though I do like the idea of making the second election more open to the staff members so that we do have a better idea of who is doing what and who they are. Even if the first step on the second election isn't to open the voting to the staff members just yet, just knowing more about the candidates and why they were chosen for a position helps us all out and makes the board members seem alittle more personable and not so "scary". It makes it a tad bit easier for us all to interact with these people when they don't come off as the mysterious big bad board members. I don't find these weirdos scary but I know alot of people who do just because they aren't as involved in this process.

Offline Jamiche

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Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2008, 02:40:18 pm »
Currently, the vice-chair is voted on by the elected board members (the four directors and the con chair).  The chair can make a recommendation, but they do not have the only say in it.

As it stands in the current by-laws, while the general staff doesn't get to vote, they are the ones who nominate the candidates for the position... we didn't just pick anyone we wanted.  It was the same process as the elected positions, the only difference was it was the board who did the final voting.


« Last Edit: August 04, 2008, 03:15:55 pm by Jamiche »
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Offline Radien

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Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
« Reply #7 on: August 04, 2008, 02:59:01 pm »
What if the two people running for con-chair don't get along and one person wins chair and the other takes vice? It helps no one to have a con chair and a con vice that can't work together especially as much as the two positions have to deal with eachother.

I have a rather unforgiving answer to this:

Anybody elected to the position of con chair or vice chair should be ready and willing to work alongside people they disagree with, without acting on personal grudges. If you don't know how to compromise and mediate, you don't belong in a position of such power as chair or vice chair. The highest ranking person at the convention should be someone who can interact diplomatically with any other board member (and, ideally, any staffer).

If they can't, then the board and/or staff may very well enter gridlock, and if that ever happens, it really doesn't matter what other skills they brought to the table.


...Beyond that, Babysugerbear, I agree with everything else you said. :)


(Gotta go; I'll respond to Jamiche later today.)
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Offline JeffT

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Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
« Reply #8 on: August 04, 2008, 08:03:07 pm »
JeffT:

When I was discussing ideas Vallie prior to typing this up, she and I thought it would be a good idea to make sure the vice chair would be willing to take on the chair position by combining the two races. However, that was under the assumption that our vice chair position is more similar to the chair position than, for instance, Vice President of the United States to the President of the United States.

Your suggestion makes sense.  Since there is a gap between the two elections, anyone who runs for chair and doesn't get it would have time to decide whether they want to run for vice chair. (assuming they are nominated again, of course)

Your second suggestion is a lot like a "two-round" election.  After the chair is elected, the runners up would compete for vice chair. However, I like your first suggestion best (partially because it's simpler).

Oh, I wasn't aware I had posted two differing suggestions. :P

Basically, I was simply suggesting that the vice chair is just like all the other staff-election board positions. And, like all positions, candidates can run for more than one. You could run for both chair and vice chair. You could run just for chair. Or you could run for just vice chair. In other words, the runners up for chair can run for vice chair, but would not automatically be nominated as such. Also, nominees for vice chair would not automatically be nominees for chair. And, the chair election would be held first.

The only thing this doesn't allow for is if a candidate wishes to run for both positions, but would prefer vice chair even though they are willing to do chair. For this to work, and presuming that the candidate didn't want to sacrifice the possibility of being chair just for a shot at vice chair, the candidate would run for chair, perhaps get elected, and then remain in the nomination for vice chair. If they won, they would step down from chair. Then we would re-do the chair election. But I don't see that as being very common.

One general thing to keep in mind is that if the chair position becomes vacant, the vice chair does not fill it for the duration of the year; only until the special election for a new chair.

Anybody elected to the position of con chair or vice chair should be ready and willing to work alongside people they disagree with, without acting on personal grudges. If you don't know how to compromise and mediate, you don't belong in a position of such power as chair or vice chair. The highest ranking person at the convention should be someone who can interact diplomatically with any other board member (and, ideally, any staffer).

If they can't, then the board and/or staff may very well enter gridlock, and if that ever happens, it really doesn't matter what other skills they brought to the table.

I definitely agree with this. Since this was in response to Rachael's comment, let me elaborate a bit.

Not speaking for Rachael, but when I read her comment, what came to my mind is something like the following situation: Two people are running for chair and vice chair (one of them preferring chair and the other preferring vice chair) and both have a good expectation of winning, and would like working together. (Or they are running for "chair" if it is a combined vote.) The staff membership may prefer this chair/vice chair pairing but if the vice chair is determined by the second-place winner, then who should the staff vote for? If they vote for the person who prefers chair, the person preferring vice chair may get few votes, leaving a third candidate who may not have majority approval to get the vice-chair position. It leaves people having to think about strategic voting rather than just voting their preference. (Although in a majority vote system where there are more than two candidates, strategic voting situations can still happen, it is far less common and is only rarely a significant issue.)

If the vice chair election is separate, it allows the winning chair to endorse a vice chair, while letting the staff decide.

Those are some of the reasons I don't like the second-place vice chair system, but I think that that can be separated from the proposal of having the vice chair be a staff-elected position.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2008, 12:33:20 am by JeffT »
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Offline TomtheFanboy

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Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
« Reply #9 on: August 04, 2008, 09:41:42 pm »
I always vote strategically. Then again, I do most things strategically.  ::)

Now that I've read the arguments for and against it I'm just not sure about the unified election for chair and vice chair. Vice Chair is a hard position to define due to the WIDE variety of stuff they've done in the past. The only thing we haven't asked of a Vice Chair is to literally take over because the Chair quit. Sure Dawn stepped in but we all knew Mike was coming back.

I also worry about the perpetual lack of candidates. Look at our elections the last couple years. Brownie vs Mike, Meg vs Waffles, **self-censored**.... a lot of the people who run tend to do so out of a spirit of competition. This would assuredly put an end to casual candidates but I'm not sure how much that'd help.
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Also, just checking since there was never a new org chart made >_>
but the Facilities Liaison is currently appointed by the board but does not receive a vote in board decisions. Correct?
.
.
.
I hope that the Board has time to discuss this and actually comes here to post complaints/suggestions so we can have a REAL VOTE at the next General Meeting.
SATURDAY, AUGUST 16th.
That's plenty of time to modify and sharpen this thing into a finely honed piece of legislature!
This isn't something that should be twisted into a "suggestion" or "request". It needs to be decided,
very clearly, so that we can all drop the discussion and get on with the con. If this isn't settled there'll be afar too much drama and distrust at the convention itself.
(sure people may be sore losers but that's the way votes work, the people with the least votes lose)

Yay or nay, we need an answer because during con we need to focus on con, then focus on nominations, then focus on platforms, then focus on votes. Definitely in that order.
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Offline JeffT

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Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
« Reply #10 on: August 04, 2008, 09:52:32 pm »
I always vote strategically. Then again, I do most things strategically.  ::)

Sorry, it's voting jargon. :) If you want more, check out the thread where I discuss the mascot voting.

Also, just checking since there was never a new org chart made >_>
but the Facilities Liaison is currently appointed by the board but does not receive a vote in board decisions. Correct?

The Facilities Liaison does have a vote, the same as the other 3 board-elected positions on the board. The org chart online had this shown incorrectly, which was an error (nothing was changed in the bylaws)...however, the error in the org chart diagram was fixed 9 months ago. :)

I hope that the Board has time to discuss this and actually comes here to post complaints/suggestions so we can have a REAL VOTE at the next General Meeting.
SATURDAY, AUGUST 16th.
That's plenty of time to modify and sharpen this thing into a finely honed piece of legislature!

Don't worry, I have brought this thread to the attention of the board on the directors mailing list (for those who weren't at the meeting Sunday). We realize the timeline and I hope we all do attend to it. :) This isn't out of the blue as working on problems in the bylaws has been something on our plate for a long time, which unfortunately has continued to be delayed, so I can understand the need to bring up this proposal (or others) at this time.
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Offline TomtheFanboy

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Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
« Reply #11 on: August 04, 2008, 10:01:02 pm »
Don't worry, I have brought this thread to the attention of the board on the directors mailing list (for those who weren't at the meeting Sunday). We realize the timeline and I hope we all do attend to it. :) This isn't out of the blue as working on problems in the bylaws has been something on our plate for a long time, which unfortunately has continued to be delayed, so I can understand the need to bring up this proposal (or others) at this time.

Two of you is a very good start. I can understand the bylaws getting pushed aside for other issues since the issues have been MASSIVE in some cases. This is the first time that there's been such an emphasis on speed since bylaw amendments became a thing to put together at this con. Hopefully the other "big issues" will be taken care of so next meeting can feature good news from each director and then a nice block of discussion, debate, and voting!

...and Jaki was quick to dodge my lurker bullets on an important issue like this. ;)
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Offline babysugarbear28

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Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
« Reply #12 on: August 05, 2008, 12:22:25 am »
*sniffles* my name is spelt Rachael...

Anyway thank you Jamiche for clarifying that for me. I wasn't sure about it.

Still though the vote for chair and the vote for vice should be two separate votes though you have the ability to run for both. Also I hope to see more staff activity when it comes to the run for vice and chair and alike... though me personally I will stick with reg for a year or two more...

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Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
« Reply #13 on: August 05, 2008, 12:33:29 am »
*sniffles* my name is spelt Rachael...

Oh sorry, I spelled it right in one place, wrong in the other. Sorry :( (fixing...)
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Offline DancingTofu

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Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
« Reply #14 on: August 05, 2008, 12:45:27 am »
*sniffles* my name is spelt Rachael...
It's funny, because I know 2 Rachels and they always complain that everyone always spells it Rachael, and today alone I've seen multiple occasions where you've had to correct people. :P

Anyway, on subject, this is a really major subject, one that must be handled tenderly for the sake of the convention.  I do think, however, that it would be better resolved after the convention, rather than trying to cram it into the final general meeting before the con.  It's quite necessary to debate the subject patiently; if we don't share views verbally, it could wind up with regret if the wrong decision is made.  If we try to rush the discussion, people may blunder through it and create rifts.
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Offline melchizedek

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Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
« Reply #15 on: August 05, 2008, 01:33:54 am »
I likey the idea of less board appointed positions.  Though not sure about the detail, hopefully if this goes through it'll make for a smoother 2009 than 2008.
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Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
« Reply #16 on: August 05, 2008, 03:04:42 am »
Wierdly, I don't have a problem with Vice Chair becoming more openly voted on.  Since Mike and I are both new to the con and work together alot, it may have discouraged people from coming to me with questions and concerns.  Alot of people see us as kinda one unit (which I find very odd.) 

Vice has to get along with every director.  Most of my work as vice has been dealing with interdepartmental matters.  I've actually done work for every Directorship except Relations this year.  Oh wait, I lie.  I did a little with Relations, but not much. 

Facilities has a vote, but no department.  I like keeping that board appointed.  Facilities Liasion makes no decisions about the hotel.  The Board makes all decisions and the liason does their best to carry out that will.  While I prefer having it Board appointed, I am not going to lose sleep if it changes.

Secretary ... I have no opinion on that at this time. 

Treasurer ... I am too tired to post coherently about right this one right now.  I tried to write it twice and, yeah, maybe in the morning :)
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Offline TomtheFanboy

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Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
« Reply #17 on: August 05, 2008, 07:03:15 am »
I think that if you have a vote on the board then you should be elected by the staff.
I didn't used to care because the Founders used to have votes. Once they stepped back to advisor status I felt that the rest of the board positions should be put on the same level. If the Facilities Liaison didn't have a vote then I'd be just fine with him being appointed by the board.

As for Tofu's comment about this waiting until later, there is no later. There is the next meeting, then the convention, then the elections.

One more thing in this proposition's favor that just came to mind, it sets a specific and public turn around time for the selection of the "secondary" positions. Two weeks is pretty safe, it gives people a chance to think over their being nominated.

Also, I have a feeling that the election will get the usual amount of people but the second election will get much less press. So it might end up that instead of the board alone making the decision, it will be the board and the dozen or so most interested staffers.

Remember, if this gets voted into the bylaws and doesn't work, it can be amended back the way things were at any point during the year.
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Offline Jamiche

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Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
« Reply #18 on: August 05, 2008, 09:40:42 am »
...and Jaki was quick to dodge my lurker bullets on an important issue like this. ;)

I post when I have something to say, so they are more meaningful :P

The post I made above was to clarify the process, not my take on the issue.  I think making the Vice-chair position open for staff vote is a great idea, but make it separate from Chair (as has been stated by others).

Secretary and Facilities - I can see both ways.  They have a certain amount of responsibilities (records, contract negotiations. etc), that makes me leery of a general staff vote (during general elections, there isn't much time to really question, discuss and think about a candidates qualifications), but it could be made to work.  It's something to think about, anyway...

Treasurer - personally, I don't feel this should be open to vote.  This position takes a lot of thought and discussion as to who we feel is responsible enough to handle it. and honestly.. I don't see that happening in a general election.  Usually, the election drags on, and by the end, people just want to get it over with (I know I do).

Like I said before, it's the general staff who nominate those for the board appointed positions.. we didn't just go out an pick them.  So, there is staff input there.  Staff were allowed the same opportunity to post questions for them to answer, and those who wanted to be involved in the process did so.  The only thing they weren't involved was the decision making process, and that was not done in one meeting... it was discussed for awhile before the appointments were made.

My 0.02 anyway.
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Offline Rathany

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Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
« Reply #19 on: August 05, 2008, 10:17:29 am »
As for Tofu's comment about this waiting until later, there is no later. There is the next meeting, then the convention, then the elections.



True, but I don't think the propsal works as it stands.  It needs revisions.  In my previous comment, I did not point out that I think that the new way to vote in Vice Chair is a bad idea.  Others have already stated so.  But I will toss my two cents in a say that under that system I would never have become Vice.  I would never have run for Con Chair.  (Ok, wait, maybe that isn't a problem for some of you ;))  However, as has been demonstrated, I was willing to take over Chair.  I would've been Chair for the rest of the year if it was needed of me.  (I liked the way the power went to my head.)

If he gets this re-worked for the next meeting, then it's a different proposal with different implications.  It may just be that he got started on this too late in the year for this change to happen.  Or, it might need to be something voted in just before elections for it to happen this year.  Though, that would cause alot of confusion at that meeting.

I don't mean to sound like I am saying 'too late, so sorry'.  I am not saying that it's impossible, I am saying that it is tricky.  If staff want some changes we should try to make this happen.  But, it's kinda crunch time we don't have many more chances for votes.  A less sweeping version likely has a better chance to getting the support it needs to get passed at this point in tha year.  And, also I like slower change.  If we want to move towards an all-member-elected-board, I'd rather see us convert just two seats this year and go from there.  

Oh, and @Superjaz:  The staff can nominate for Board appointed positions.  

« Last Edit: August 05, 2008, 10:21:55 am by Rathany »
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Offline DancingTofu

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Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
« Reply #20 on: August 05, 2008, 11:13:13 am »
The Vice Chair election is one of the ones where I'm very undecided on.  The problem is that I don't think it's really possible for anyone except the board to elect the best Vice Chair, simply due to the ambiguity of the position.  It's the responsibility of each individual board to define what that particular year's Vice Chair will be, because, if my understanding is correct, the Vice Chair serves as the position that fills in all the little cracks and keeps everything running smoothly. 

Think of it as a Train Engine.  The other Board members are like components, which combine to form a machine that should bring its 3800 passengers comfortably through the convention, going quickly and efficiently through the unwanted portions of the trip and highlighting the landscape of the situation.  The Vice Chair would then serve as the conductor; not a moving part of the machine, even when he/she is shoveling coal into the furnace, but always having a vital role in making the train operate properly.

Because a smooth con relies on a compatible board, I'm hesitant to take up a side on this.  It thus becomes questionable whether the staff would be able to consistently elect compatible members to the board.  No matter how qualified someone is, if they aren't compatible with the rest of the board, there will be time wasted, rifts formed, and progress lost.  I think that it is far too late in this con year to try to make a change this big.  It needs to be mulled over in depth by everyone independently and collaboratively. 
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Offline TomtheFanboy

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Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
« Reply #21 on: August 05, 2008, 01:05:40 pm »
The Vice Chair election is one of the ones where I'm very undecided on.  The problem is that I don't think it's really possible for anyone except the board to elect the best Vice Chair, simply due to the ambiguity of the position.

I'll give you the point that Board members are more familiar with ambiguity than the general staff.

I think that it is far too late in this con year to try to make a change this big.  It needs to be mulled over in depth by everyone independently and collaboratively. 

I don't care how much you don't like it, it needs to be voted on. Closure is a very important thing and getting the vote over with will give people that.

Make more arguments against the proposal and convince staff members to vote against it.
Don't try to brush it under the rug like so many other proposals.

Also, we can revise it! I could got edit the post right now! If you're on the fence on how to vote don't just put it off for another day. Procrastination has caused enough problems in the last month.
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Offline Rathany

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Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
« Reply #22 on: August 05, 2008, 03:20:41 pm »

Also, we can revise it! I could got edit the post right now! If you're on the fence on how to vote don't just put it off for another day. Procrastination has caused enough problems in the last month.

Tom you are not the OP and not the one who made the proposal.  Also, editing it will cause confusion.  It will make the comments on it not make sense.  Make your own version or have the OP post a revised version.  Then we can comment on the revised version.  Please do not edit the post. 
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Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
« Reply #23 on: August 05, 2008, 04:21:55 pm »
Oh, and @Superjaz:  The staff can nominate for Board appointed positions.  
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Offline TomtheFanboy

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Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
« Reply #24 on: August 05, 2008, 04:25:58 pm »
Geeze guys, it wasn't a threat. Don't insult me.
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Offline DancingTofu

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Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
« Reply #25 on: August 05, 2008, 04:36:56 pm »
I think that it is far too late in this con year to try to make a change this big.  It needs to be mulled over in depth by everyone independently and collaboratively. 

I don't care how much you don't like it, it needs to be voted on. Closure is a very important thing and getting the vote over with will give people that.

Make more arguments against the proposal and convince staff members to vote against it.
Don't try to brush it under the rug like so many other proposals
That's the thing - if it's simply shot down, it can't mature.  I'll be voting against this because it's too general, but if we simply rush and get it done with, it has no chance to develop.  I do strongly feel that the voting process does have problems with dealing with a convention of this size, which is why I precisely don't want this brushed under the rug.  I don't want there to be a sense of closure because it's not ready for closure - and I don't foresee it becoming ready before the next meeting.

I have been proposing that we schedule a meeting specifically to discuss and vote on this crucial amendment.  I'm certainly not trying to brush it under the rug or procrastinate; I'm trying to plan.  "Proper planning prevents piss-poor performance."
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Offline Rathany

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Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
« Reply #26 on: August 05, 2008, 05:20:59 pm »

I have been proposing that we schedule a meeting specifically to discuss and vote on this crucial amendment.  I'm certainly not trying to brush it under the rug or procrastinate; I'm trying to plan.  "Proper planning prevents piss-poor performance."

That is likely the only way an admentment could pass when it's proposed at such a late date.  But still, it needs revision and support.  One possible way to show support for this to the Board would be a poll or petition.  We are not going to hold a meeting without people saying 'I will vote for this as-is'.

How I would go about it?  Make two proposals, each with it's own poll.  One would be to make all 4 positions staff elected.  The other would be a comprised version where Vice, and possibly one other director, would become staff elected.  In both, axe the whole '2nd place Chair becomes Vice' thing. 

Since this was introduced so late in the year, this is going to need active and organized effort to get to a vote. 
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Offline DancingTofu

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Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
« Reply #27 on: August 05, 2008, 06:12:33 pm »
I would suggest that it be divided and voted on for each argument separately.


Thus, 5 amendments:

Amendment: Vice Chair becomes a membership-elected position.

Amendment: Secretary becomes a membership-elected position.

Amendment: Treasurer becomes a membership-elected position.

Amendment: Facility Liaison becomes a membership-elected position.

Amendment: Vice Chair is the runner-up in the Chair election.
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Offline TomtheFanboy

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Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
« Reply #28 on: August 05, 2008, 11:35:34 pm »
Well, so far it's been two days, we're only up to two pages of discussion.

Tofu, what do you mean it can't mature? You think that people forget about proposals that people made just because they were voted down? The only reason that the other proposals this year were not resubmitted is because they were rescinded by the people who made them.

It can be changed before the meeting, but that is the job of ONE person.
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Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
« Reply #29 on: August 06, 2008, 12:18:32 am »
Just to weigh in on it all...

I've liked Steve's idea since I first heard about it, and I'm very happy all around on the response to it. 

The proposal itself is a fluid thing.  When helping flesh out the proposal, both Steve and I saw a lot of room for compromise with the entire proposition.  Steve has already edited out the different treatment of the Vice Chair selection so it is elected the same as the other positions.  No big deal.  :)
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Offline Radien

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Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
« Reply #30 on: August 06, 2008, 12:46:44 am »
I've been a little busy for the past 36 hours, so I fell behind with replies.  My apologies.

I've read your responses, and I agree that one passage needed to be removed.  I've decided to strike the special clause for the Vice Chair from the proposal.  It was complicating the matter, and omitting it eliminates a number of problems. After hearing the discussion, I propose that we elect the Vice Chair in the same way as every other position. Since it's a previously-board-elected position, the election for Vice Chair would occur during the meeting following the Chair's election.




Since this was introduced so late in the year, this is going to need active and organized effort to get to a vote. 

I find this rather irrelevant, as I expect the proposal to go to vote regardless. "Because no one will vote for it" is not a valid reason for anyone to reject a proposal. If I thought the same, I could rescind the proposal, but I've quietly watched how con staff functions since '02, and I strongly believe that this format will benefit the con.

it needs revision and support.

Well, that's what this thread is for: two weeks of solid discussion, more than we'll ever get done at a general meeting.  Responding to that discussion is my responsibility. If I don't do my job of creating a proposal that will be accepted by the majority of eligible voters, it doesn't pass, and it's water under the bridge, until the issue resurfaces of course.

One possible way to show support for this to the Board would be a poll or petition.  We are not going to hold a meeting without people saying 'I will vote for this as-is'.

How I would go about it?  Make two proposals, each with it's own poll.  One would be to make all 4 positions staff elected.  The other would be a comprised version where Vice, and possibly one other director, would become staff elected.  In both, axe the whole '2nd place Chair becomes Vice' thing.

If someone else wants to make an alternative proposal, they are quite welcome, and have my blessing and possibly support. :)

However, I do not want to leave any major decisions left up to a forum poll. Forum threads are great for discussion, but a forum poll has no visible paper trail, and it's far too susceptible to ballot-stuffing from any old joe who comes across this thread. Trust me on this one; I've been frequenting internet forums for years, and admin'ed on two of them.




I would suggest that it be divided and voted on for each argument separately.

Thus, 5 amendments:

<etc.>

Personally, I believe that the essence of my proposal is the belief that board-elected positions do not produce a more reliable gauge of merit than a more general election, due to the current small size of the board and the frequency with which its members change.  We may find a better determinant at a later date, but right now I believe we *need* a general staff election for every role.  Fragmenting it would only confuse the issue.

The proposal also takes into account that the board does not lose their vote. It simply provides the rest of the staff the option to take part in the vote. Now, if the entire board shares similar opinions about a candidate, they may very well tip the scales.

Also, in considering the two voting bodies at the convention, remember that "no man is an island." Yes, we all make individual decisions, but the criteria on which we base our decisions are subject to a limited amount of information. This is why the general staff AND the board both turn towards our senior staffers (and sometimes ex-staff) for advice.

You see, the average convention voter only has time for a certain amount of research, so in most elections they listen very closely to the endorsements of past officers.  We only get a short time to learn about new faces, but past officers have had months or even years on the job to assert their reliability.  In this respect, the board holds a significant amount of sway, assuming the endorser already has the staff's vote of confidence.



That is why I think a general staff election will fly. After all, the board themselves owe their positions to our vote. So in a sense, their reliability is derived from the staff's reliability. The current system does more to complicate the issue than it does to provide protection.
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Offline babysugarbear28

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Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
« Reply #31 on: August 06, 2008, 04:51:47 am »
Jamiche has a point about the treasurer position though. You can't just throw anybody into a position that involves money.

At this point in the year I actually do feel it is too late to be considering something with such a mad dash to have it recognized and enforced. Had this proposal come up earlier this summer then I would have no problem with it being decided on by the last general meeting before the con.

I feel that with the lack of people commenting on this subject it has not matured enough nor has enough staff actually having looked into it to consider it wise to place this proposal before the other staff members and tell them "Vote now!" Also you are getting less of the staff's actual view on here as a large number of the staff hardly troll the forums as much as any of us if they even have a screen name on the forums at all. Regardless of all that most people don't even know the full extent of the four jobs that are in question.

As of this point in time I think it would be wise to open up the secondary voting by the board members for public viewing and questioning (as a lot of great questions can come up this way that would otherwise be brushed over or forgotten) but not open it up yet for the staff as a whole to vote on.

OR

Your other option is to have a smaller general meeting in October (before the election meeting in November) to discuss this issue and have it voted on then, when there has been enough time for proper consideration. There is no need to rush your proposal straight to voting at the next general meeting. Let the members of the staff have time to mull over it and give it consideration of their own before voting on an issue that you feel is so important. If you don't have time to chew your food before you swallow you might end up choking on it. I would much rather see this issue given time to be considered rather than rush it and watch it die or on the other hand be swept under the rug at the next meeting because there isn't enough time to give it proper consideration that I do believe it deserves.

Also Tom, no one here is trying to shoot down the idea or sweep it under the rug. Those of us who are really looking at this idea would like to have more than ten days to look it over and consider our options and the consequences/benefits of our actions in full.

Waiting till October gives you the ability to cover all your bases, have a great deal more involvement, allows people the ability to understand even more about the positions in question and decide for sure if they really do want such important decisions decided completely by the general staff. Not only that but having a meeting called in October ensures that the subject that you want discussed, deliberated and doesn't get swept under the rug especially with the high tension we are ALL dealing with right now trying to get everything in place for the convention itself.


The proposal also takes into account that the board does not lose their vote. It simply provides the rest of the staff the option to take part in the vote. Now, if the entire board shares similar opinions about a candidate, they may very well tip the scales.

Also, in considering the two voting bodies at the convention, remember that "no man is an island." Yes, we all make individual decisions, but the criteria on which we base our decisions are subject to a limited amount of information. This is why the general staff AND the board both turn towards our senior staffers (and sometimes ex-staff) for advice.

You see, the average convention voter only has time for a certain amount of research, so in most elections they listen very closely to the endorsements of past officers.  We only get a short time to learn about new faces, but past officers have had months or even years on the job to assert their reliability.  In this respect, the board holds a significant amount of sway, assuming the endorser already has the staff's vote of confidence.


My only real questions for you now... how would you weight the vote of the board vs the weight of the vote of the general staff? And would you need to meet quorum at this secondary election like we do with anything else we vote on? (seeing as it is hard enough to get most of our people together just once a month especially those on the outer lying areas, getting enough people together two weeks later would be a bit more difficult)

I've spent a while trying to think this all out... I hope that this early in the morning it makes sense to someone.

Offline Jamiche

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Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
« Reply #32 on: August 06, 2008, 07:41:24 am »
Few points:
  • General elections are slated for October.
  • To do the vote as suggested, with the director vote first, followed by the other positions, in two separate meetings, will still require the 2/3 of staff being present.  That's 2 meetings in a row that a majority of the staff will need to attend.
  • For us to vote on this at the next general meeting, it will require 2/3 of the staff being present.

I'm not trying to discourage this, I'm simply stating facts.  This close to con, a lot of people are getting ready for con, saving up to be able to go.  And as BSB said, how many troll the forums?  If you're serious about this, take it to the mailing list, direct them here... get people aware of the issue.  Otherwise, you run the risk if it failing simply because there wasn't a majority of staff.  You may also get more input, as more people are aware.
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Offline valliegirl

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Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
« Reply #33 on: August 06, 2008, 08:44:10 am »
I know that in "internet time" it seems like forever since the general meeting.  It's been three days.  We're already on the third page of discussion.  It's been replied to 32 times and viewed 140 at this point.  I don't see that as a lack of response...  A page a day is pretty decent response.  And the people responding all seem really passionate on the topic, which I'm impressed with as well. 

We still have ten additional days to discuss this here.  That's in no way pressuring people to VOTE NOW.  As it currently stands the proposal will be revisted at the next meeting on August 16th, and voted on at that point.  I'm sure much more discussion will occur between now and then, and I believe that this time frame is enough for the discussion. 

Also, a staff member cannot call a general meeting.  General meetings are called for and scheduled by the board.  I wish Steve had this idea earlier in the year.  He didn't.  He has it now, so now is when we're discussing it.

I do agree with Jaki that Steve should email the staff email list with a link to this thread, that way all staff are made aware of this discussion and can stop by when they have a moment to review. 

As far as worrying about turn out to the next general meeting, it's the LAST MEETING BEFORE CON!!! (read as happy excited!!)  Last meeting before con is historically the biggest turn out for staff that we ever get.  So, I'm really not worried about covering quorum.  If it doesn't happen, then something is wrong.

As far as getting enough quorum for two separate elections, if you tell them about it, they will come.  I don't believe we've ever had a problem with quorum at an election because if you tell the staff to show up and vote for their leaders, they'll be there...  Unless they have to work that weekend or something, but still the majority will show. 

I've found that we don't have a problem with finding people who want to vote.  In fact, usually the issue is deciding who does and does not have the right to do so. 
« Last Edit: August 06, 2008, 10:17:45 am by valliegirl »
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Offline JeffT

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Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
« Reply #34 on: August 06, 2008, 08:59:22 am »
    • To do the vote as suggested, with the director vote first, followed by the other positions, in two separate meetings, will still require the 2/3 of staff being present.  That's 2 meetings in a row that a majority of the staff will need to attend.
    • For us to vote on this at the next general meeting, it will require 2/3 of the staff being present.

    Actually, only one fifth of the staff must be present--the general quorum requirement. The 2/3 requirement, I believe, refers to the makeup of the actual vote. (Board quorum requires 2/3 of the board.)
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    Offline leashy

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #35 on: August 06, 2008, 09:19:58 am »
    Jamiche has a point about the treasurer position though. You can't just throw anybody into a position that involves money.

    Facilities, Treasurer, Secretary.. These are not "fun" positions... In the past we have had people run for con chair because they thought it was "cool" like a class presidency, they ran for the novelty of running rather than researching and putting thought into if they want the job or can do it.. Guess what, the staff DIDN'T vote for them.

    Kumoricon elections are not a popularity contest.  People are serious about them and really think about their voting decisions.  This is why we have time before the election both in the forums and in the meetings to nominate and hear why a person wants to run, what they bring to the table, and if can they do that job.  Don't underestimate the general staff, they are not going to nominate someone for treasurer just because they thought it sounded like a "cool" position and if they do and that person has no qualifications then guess what, they will probably not get voted in because as a whole we do not want to see the con fail or have it struggle in any way.

    I feel that with the lack of people commenting on this subject it has not matured enough nor has enough staff actually having looked into it to consider it wise to place this proposal before the other staff members and tell them "Vote now!" Also you are getting less of the staff's actual view on here as a large number of the staff hardly troll the forums as much as any of us if they even have a screen name on the forums at all. Regardless of all that most people don't even know the full extent of the four jobs that are in question.

    Then let's e-mail it to the entire staff.  Who knows maybe it will make more people passionate about the issue and want to show up and vote.  Because *gasp* there is someone who made a proposal that makes sense and is not out of spite and OMG is willing to stand up for it and have it go to a vote rather than back down as soon as someone tries to pressure them.  This is not a mad dash.  Yes there only happens to be 2 weeks between these meetings as opposed to a month but that is mooore than adequate time to discuss a proposal that is fairly solid to begin with.

    Waiting till October gives you the ability to cover all your bases, have a great deal more involvement, allows people the ability to understand even more about the positions in question and decide for sure if they really do want such important decisions decided completely by the general staff. Not only that but having a meeting called in October ensures that the subject that you want discussed, deliberated and doesn't get swept under the rug especially with the high tension we are ALL dealing with right now trying to get everything in place for the convention itself.
    Personally, I think it makes a lot more sense to vote on this now then scrambling to do it before the election.  If we do it right before election we will have to find another place to hold and additional meeting just for this issue when we are able to discuss it here, figure out the flaws, and then put it to an "official" vote next meeting in time to have everything settled by election so people can start to nominate and consider what they want to run for without a hiccup

    « Last Edit: August 06, 2008, 09:24:46 am by leashy »

    Offline Rathany

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #36 on: August 06, 2008, 09:29:53 am »

    Since this was introduced so late in the year, this is going to need active and organized effort to get to a vote. 

    I find this rather irrelevant, as I expect the proposal to go to vote regardless. "Because no one will vote for it" is not a valid reason for anyone to reject a proposal. If I thought the same, I could rescind the proposal, but I've quietly watched how con staff functions since '02, and I strongly believe that this format will benefit the con.


    No.  This is not irrelevent.  Is it reasonable to walk into the next meeting with a new proposal and expect an immeadiate vote?  Our SOP is to introduce at one meeting and vote at the next.  To pass this might require a special meeting, which means extra work for the Board and possibly financial cost to the convention.  I am not in favor of making a special arrangement, either breaking SOP or calling a special meeting, without a show of support.  I am not saying this to shoot anything down.  I am just showing what needs to be done to get this passed at this late date in the year.  Show me a proposal with support and I promise I will help make the vote happen.  

    To walk into our next meeting and expect full discussion and vote would mean putting off breakouts by at least an hour.  Maybe longer.  Also, we are doing bag stuffing.  We will likely have that going on concurrently with the meeting.  We have tons to do at that finale meeting without adding in the potential of hours of debate on this topic.  I must say that if this is to happen I favor a special meeting on the 23rd.  Introduce on the 16th, think and forum debate for a week, then vote on the 23rd.  

    As for forum ballot stuffing, check with Jeff but I am pretty sure we can check on the accounts voting in a poll.  This would be a staff vote, so one good way to control it a bit would be to put the polls in the staff only section of the forums.  I am NOT saying you have to do this.  I am just trying to find you ways to make this happen.  Anyway, I am sure Jeff will jump on this and soon as he is able ;)

    Saying that 'no one will vote for it' is not a good reason to reject a proposal.  I totally agree.  No one is talking about rejecting it.  We are just talking about whether this can get to vote in time for the next set of elections, which we are assuming that you want.  
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    Offline leashy

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #37 on: August 06, 2008, 09:50:11 am »
    No.  This is not irrelevent.  Is it reasonable to walk into the next meeting with a new proposal and expect an immeadiate vote?  Our SOP is to introduce at one meeting and vote at the next.  To pass this might require a special meeting, which means extra work for the Board and possibly financial cost to the convention.  I am not in favor of making a special arrangement, either breaking SOP or calling a special meeting, without a show of support.  I am not saying this to shoot anything down.  I am just showing what needs to be done to get this passed at this late date in the year.  Show me a proposal with support and I promise I will help make the vote happen.  
    He is not walking into next meeting with a proposal out of the blue and expecting it to be voted on.. Last meeting he walked in the with proposal, then presented it, submitted a copy in writing to the board and con chair and anyone else who wanted a copy.  Then, as prompted to by Jeff and Mike, he posted it on the forums immediately for discussion and revision.  Now at the next meeting, Saturday August 16th, it will be put to a vote.

    This is the proceedure (we learned it well from Michael Evans), this is what he was asked to do by the con chair himself. Now it gets voted on.  I don't see where you are saying he went wrong and why you think it is supposed to be granted more time.  These proceedures are set in place for a reason and as long as they are followed you or anyone cannot deny this issue from going to vote at the next meeting.

    And for that matter I cannot see why anyone is getting all up in arms in the first place.  THIS IS NOT A PERSONAL ATTACK, not on anyone, so stop trying to make it out to be.  This is a recognized flaw in the election process by an informed and long time staff member who wants to help the con function better in the next year as well as keep the staff more involved in the important decisions being made for the betterment of the con. Yes it is the last meeting before con, ok well maybe it will push back breakouts. BUT TOUGH COOKIES. We cannot deny a proposal because "it may take an extra hour" of meeting time not if it done correctly according to the bylaws.

    Sorry Dawn but it is not your decision to make whether it goes to vote or not.
    « Last Edit: August 06, 2008, 09:59:25 am by leashy »

    Offline Rathany

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #38 on: August 06, 2008, 10:20:19 am »
    No.  This is not irrelevent.  Is it reasonable to walk into the next meeting with a new proposal and expect an immeadiate vote?  Our SOP is to introduce at one meeting and vote at the next.  To pass this might require a special meeting, which means extra work for the Board and possibly financial cost to the convention.  I am not in favor of making a special arrangement, either breaking SOP or calling a special meeting, without a show of support.  I am not saying this to shoot anything down.  I am just showing what needs to be done to get this passed at this late date in the year.  Show me a proposal with support and I promise I will help make the vote happen.  
    He is not walking into next meeting with a proposal out of the blue and expecting it to be voted on.. Last meeting he walked in the with proposal, then presented it, submitted a copy in writing to the board and con chair and anyone else who wanted a copy.  Then, as prompted to by Jeff and Mike, he posted it on the forums immediately for discussion and revision.  Now at the next meeting, Saturday August 16th, it will be put to a vote.

    This is the proceedure (we learned it well from Michael Evans), this is what he was asked to do by the con chair himself. Now it gets voted on.  I don't see where you are saying he went wrong and why you think it is supposed to be granted more time.  These proceedures are set in place for a reason and as long as they are followed you or anyone cannot deny this issue from going to vote at the next meeting.

    And for that matter I cannot see why anyone is getting all up in arms in the first place.  THIS IS NOT A PERSONAL ATTACK, not on anyone, so stop trying to make it out to be.  This is a recognized flaw in the election process by an informed and long time staff member who wants to help the con function better in the next year as well as keep the staff more involved in the important decisions being made for the betterment of the con. Yes it is the last meeting before con, ok well maybe it will push back breakouts. BUT TOUGH COOKIES. We cannot deny a proposal because "it may take an extra hour" of meeting time not if it done correctly according to the bylaws.

    Sorry Dawn but it is not your decision to make whether it goes to vote or not.


    I am trying to help make this happen.  How are you taking this as an attack?  At the next meeting there will be a revised proposal, not the original one.  I did not say that we 'went wrong' I am saying that we are short on time to get sweeping changes made in time for elections, especially with plenty of time for debate and discussion. 

    How is agreeing that a special meeting for this is a good idea an attack?

    You are right that it is not my choice whether this goes to vote.  If the OP doesn't want my help in this matter he is free to say so. 
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    Offline leashy

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #39 on: August 06, 2008, 10:27:16 am »
    I am trying to help make this happen.  How are you taking this as an attack?  At the next meeting there will be a revised proposal, not the original one.  I did not say that we 'went wrong' I am saying that we are short on time to get sweeping changes made in time for elections, especially with plenty of time for debate and discussion. 

    How is agreeing that a special meeting for this an attack?

    You are right that it is not my choice whether this goes to vote.  If the OP doesn't want my help in this matter he is free to say so. 

    I know you are trying to help and thank you.  You said yourself though that "Our SOP is to introduce at one meeting and vote at the next."  so since it has already been introduced, why would it not be able to go up for vote at the next meeting?  Yes there will be revisions, that is what discussion is for, but not so major that it will need to be introduced again, that can be done on the forums and via e-mail by just submitting the final revision of the already introduced item before the next meeting.
    « Last Edit: August 06, 2008, 10:29:21 am by leashy »

    Offline valliegirl

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #40 on: August 06, 2008, 10:42:34 am »
    One thing I want to bring up, as multiple people have been discussing it, no matter what position, an election really is only as good as the nominees we have available.  If you have an election for Treasurer and five people who suck at math are the nominees, it doesn't matter whether its the board or the staff voting, our options suck.  

    What I would really like is an entire "revolution" within the convention.  I want for the people who love this convention and give a damn about it to stand up and run for a position next year.  Take a look at your own strengths and weaknesses, think about what position you may be best suited for, figure out if you've got the time and energy to take on this sort of responsibility, and if you are seriously wanting and able to do this, throw your hat in the ring.

    I do not want another year where we have one main contender for a position running either unopposed or against another person who doesn't want the job and is running on a lark.  Maybe a little rabble-rousing will wake up some people and make them really think about what needs to happen before the election for 2009.  

    However, I don't think the availability of options, or lack there of, should effect the discussion of who gets to vote in the election.  Maybe the conversation taking place will garner more options, maybe it won't.  But this is a discussion about who among us should be allowed to make the decision, not how nominations are made to begin with.

    Oh, and yes, I do intend to follow my own advice.  ;)
    « Last Edit: August 06, 2008, 10:45:52 am by valliegirl »
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    Offline valliegirl

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #41 on: August 06, 2008, 11:04:05 am »
    To walk into our next meeting and expect full discussion and vote would mean putting off breakouts by at least an hour.  Maybe longer.  Also, we are doing bag stuffing.  We will likely have that going on concurrently with the meeting.  We have tons to do at that finale meeting without adding in the potential of hours of debate on this topic.  I must say that if this is to happen I favor a special meeting on the 23rd.  Introduce on the 16th, think and forum debate for a week, then vote on the 23rd.  

    Considering that on a regular basis meetings start a half an hour to an hour late anyway, if everyone gets there and gets their stuff together early enough that we can actually start a meeting on time, maybe we could use that extra cushion of time to fit in this extra issue.

    Quote from bylaws:
    Per Article 5:
    E. Meetings and Notice

    Meetings of the Voting Members generally shall be held monthly, but may be held less than monthly. The annual meeting for the election of Officers shall be held in the fall of each year. Notice for the annual and regular meetings shall be given not less than seven days prior to the meeting or more than 60 days, and if notice is mailed it must be by first class. Quorum for meetings of the membership shall be one fifth of those eligible voting members.

    Per Article 8:
    A: Amendments

    A two thirds vote of the Board and a two thirds vote of the Membership at a meeting that meets quorum and notice requirements as defined in these bylaws shall be required to amend or replace the Articles of Incorporation or these Bylaws.


    I don't see anything in the bylaws that an amendment even needs to be proposed at one meeting and then voted on at another.  The next meeting meets the notice requirements, so as long as there is quorum, we can propose and vote on the amended proposal next meeting.

    We don't need a special separate one.
    « Last Edit: August 06, 2008, 11:06:56 am by valliegirl »
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    Offline Rathany

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #42 on: August 06, 2008, 11:38:22 am »
    I am trying to help make this happen.  How are you taking this as an attack?  At the next meeting there will be a revised proposal, not the original one.  I did not say that we 'went wrong' I am saying that we are short on time to get sweeping changes made in time for elections, especially with plenty of time for debate and discussion. 

    How is agreeing that a special meeting for this an attack?

    You are right that it is not my choice whether this goes to vote.  If the OP doesn't want my help in this matter he is free to say so. 

    I know you are trying to help and thank you.  You said yourself though that "Our SOP is to introduce at one meeting and vote at the next."  so since it has already been introduced, why would it not be able to go up for vote at the next meeting?  Yes there will be revisions, that is what discussion is for, but not so major that it will need to be introduced again, that can be done on the forums and via e-mail by just submitting the final revision of the already introduced item before the next meeting.

    Well, I guess I am being a little presumptive here.  Until we see the new proposal, who knows how different it will be.  Technically, it will be a new proposal, but we may be able to work around that to shorten the process.  

    For what it's worth, I think the idea of breaking it down into a separate proposal for each seat is the only way anything is going to get passed.  Most of the people I have talked to, including several board members, agree that Vice Chair should be elected differently.  (Seriously, have you met this year's Vice Chair?  Fer cryin' out loud...)  Other positions are more contraversial.  

    Also, amendements need to also get a 2/3rds Board Vote as well as Staff Vote.  Next board meeting is August 13th.  If people want a vote at next general, my recc is to make sure that the final proposal is posted at least a few days prior to the board mtg so we can talk about it and have the board vote done before the general meeting.  A final version by Saturday would be good.  Usually, the between meeting mulling and thinking and revising time would be a month.  In this case, it's more like a week.  This why we are all "OMG ... No time!  No time!"

    One thing I want to bring up, as multiple people have been discussing it, no matter what position, an election really is only as good as the nominees we have available.  If you have an election for Treasurer and five people who suck at math are the nominees, it doesn't matter whether its the board or the staff voting, our options suck.  

    What I would really like is an entire "revolution" within the convention.  I want for the people who love this convention and give a damn about it to stand up and run for a position next year.  

    Yes, we need more people who want to take Board seats and also upper management positions.  I'd talk more about this, but don't want to get too off topic.  Though, I will say that finding people who might want to run next year, talking to them about what the job entails and offering support is something the current Board has been working on.  Maybe we should all wear "Want My Position? Ask Me How" Tshirts next meeting;)


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    Offline Jamiche

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #43 on: August 06, 2008, 12:04:17 pm »
    Thank you, Vallie... that info is very helpful :)

    No one thinks this is a personal attack.  We are not being defensive, or trying to discourage this.  We are simply debating the matter.. isn't that what this thread is for?

    Yes, Steve presented this motion at the last meeting.. that meets the notice requirement if it is unchanged.  There have already been suggestions on changes to the proposal.  I would think that a small change, like the one in regards to the vice-chair election, would be minor enough to not have to resubmit the proposal.  But other suggestions, like Tofu's, differ significantly from the original proposal.  Obviously, he would need to propose it at the next meeting, and have it voted on the following.

    So, this is an open discussion to change staff voting rights... which change is it going to be?  Steve's?  Tofu's?  Or someone else's?  Right now, we are discussing all the options... a final consensus is going to need to be reached soon, or we are going to be debating all of this at the general meeting.

    The meetings have been getting more attendance, but how many have been staff, and not just interested attendees?  Keep in mind, this is a bylaw amendment, and that's a 2/3 vote.. we've had what, 8 or 9 people posting in this thread?  I'm pretty sure that's not a majority.

    I don't disagree that we need a change.. we need more people that are wanting to get involved in upper management, and yeah, the vote process could use re-vamping.  IMO, the vice-chair should be an elected position.  The other 3... right now, no.  And I disagree that a separate election should be held... if we are gonna do it, I say we do it all at once.  Yeah, dedicated staffers will do their best to show up it the meetings, but finances, previous commitments, work.. all of those can keep them away.  I applaud those who take the time and make the arrangements to come to the important meetings... let's make it easy on them and only ask them once.
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    Offline TomtheFanboy

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #44 on: August 06, 2008, 12:40:52 pm »
    .
    ..*omitted for space*
    .
    This proposition will be put to a vote at the final pre-con general meeting on Saturday, August 16th, 2008 at the Doubletree.

    Quote
    Proposition to Extend Staff's Right to Vote in Elections


    This proposition would amend Kumori Con's bylaws with the following changes:

    All previously board-elected positions will become staff-elected positions, following the exact same election procedure as the regular staff-elected positions. *

    The elections for the previously board-elected positions will take place at a separate public meeting at least two weeks after board elections.  There should be enough time between the two elections for additional nominations to be considered.

    Summary:

    As it currently stands, there is a separate, private meeting that takes place after the public elections, giving the board a chance to consider applicants for the four board-elected positions and vote on them.  Regular staff are not currently allowed to attend or vote at this election.  This amendment would effectively make that meeting public, extend the right to vote to all staff, and give staff the opportunity to hear all candidates.


    .
    .*omitted for space*
    .
    Update:

    Okay, I've started a change log to keep track of changes to the proposal. If this part confuses you, please ignore it for now.

    Since this is my proposal, I'm going to freely make changes to address the contributions of people who have taken part in the discussion.  I'm going to try to flow with what the public wants, since we're all voting on it a week from Saturday. Asterisks = ommissions, underlined = additions.


    * Change #1 on 8/5/08 @ 10:54pm. Removed:
    Quote
    (except the Vice President, which will be noted below).

    The Vice President's election will be merged with the President's election.  The first runner-up in the President's election will be appointed to Vice President. Consequently, the President's election will always require at least two nominated candidates."

    OK, there.
    Now we all can see his edit of the post. He was even nice enough to write his own time stamp on it.

    So right now, I think this is what is being voted on. Tonight we will hear from Radien to see if there are any definitions he'd like to add or changes he'd like to make. I don't think there will be much else though.

    Now I did some number crunching and according to my estimates we need 25 people to reach quorum.
    If 25 people show up we need 17 people to vote yes on it.
    We also need 6 of the board members to vote yes (out of the 9).

    Does the board have a form of quorum? I thought I heard something about 2/3 of the board being present. We need that much to vote yes so it's more important than usual that all the board members be present at the next meeting.

    I know that last meeting there were some unexpected problems, but I'm hoping that nobody on the board has other plans that weekend.

    One other note: It seems that so far we're about tied on the vote, but we also don't have very clear opinions from everyone.
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    Offline gemineye42

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #45 on: August 06, 2008, 01:28:05 pm »
    Alright.

    So, I haven't been back to these forums for several months since the drama with the current board and meg/myself/rian/etc.

    I had considered possibly coming back to the con for 2009 pending how the elections go this year. I can say with 100% certainty that if the Staff is allowed to appoint all Board positions, I will have no issue returning to the con for 2009 and continuing to volunteer my time and energy into making the con work and work well.

    The current amount of bureaucracy, crony-ism, and general BS with the entire structure of power within the con is just too ridiculous for me to handle right now. The staff needs rights and and most importantly the right to choose who they want to lead them. I fully support this motion and would be happy to attend any meeting at which it may be voted on.

    Thank you.

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    Offline Hawkeye

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #46 on: August 06, 2008, 03:53:48 pm »
    I agree with most of the points on both sides of the spectrum here.  I do agree that with the con coming up so close, I do not think it would be given proper consideration, and as such we should vote on this before the elections but not until after the convention is over.  I understand that some people think we will get shot down, but I actually disagree.  We have a board this year that is more open to discussion than boards in years past.  I also would like to remind everyone here on both sides of this argument that we do need to be mindful of not coming across as bitter or combative.
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    Offline DancingTofu

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #47 on: August 06, 2008, 04:48:09 pm »
    For the sake of having a decisive view out there, my current vote would be nae.

    This amendment is four amendments; thoroughness is important.  If divided into separate amendments, I would vote yae on some and nae on others.


    In the case that this amendment comes to vote and passes as-is:
    I will abstain from the vote when I don't have factual records that qualify them for the position.  I would advise that others do the same; certain positions shouldn't be determined by appeal.


    In the case that this amendment comes to vote and does not pass as-is:
    I will propose all five amendments as listed and vote differently on all of them.
    « Last Edit: August 06, 2008, 09:08:35 pm by DancingTofu »
    moderators gonna moderate </shrug>

    Offline superjaz

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #48 on: August 06, 2008, 07:17:41 pm »

    I will abstain from the vote when I do not KNOW that one of the candidates is fully-qualified from knowing them personally.  I would advise that others do the same; certain positions shouldn't be determined by influence.

    If that were the case no one would ever be elected, just because you work with some one at a con dosen't mean you know them personaly.  I know people who voted, and if this were the case they could not have voted for anyone.

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    Offline DancingTofu

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #49 on: August 06, 2008, 07:59:49 pm »

    I will abstain from the vote when I do not KNOW that one of the candidates is fully-qualified from knowing them personally.  I would advise that others do the same; certain positions shouldn't be determined by influence.

    If that were the case no one would ever be elected, just because you work with some one at a con dosen't mean you know them personaly.  I know people who voted, and if this were the case they could not have voted for anyone.
    Yes it does; it means you know what they are capable of.  This isn't a restriction, it's an advisory; by voting based on appeal, you distort the value of an informed vote, but that is entirely irrelevant to the discussion at hand.  I am stating my position on the issue because Tom pointed out that nobody was simply stating their positions.
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    Offline COMaestro

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #50 on: August 06, 2008, 08:30:57 pm »
    In the case that this amendment comes to vote and passes as-is:
    I will abstain from the vote when I do not KNOW that one of the candidates is fully-qualified from knowing them personally.  I would advise that others do the same; certain positions shouldn't be determined by influence.

    I take it you don't vote for the presidency or any political figures then, since you don't know them personally. This is the most ridiculous comment I've seen posted in a long time, and I include the spam forum in this. If everyone only voted for people they knew personally, there would be about 20 votes total. Sure, everyone in programming is pretty chummy with each other and can vouch for each other. The board members might get to know each other over the year working together, so maybe they can vote for their fellow board members, and any staffers immediately under them that they've been working with. But that would completely isolate any newcomers to the con who don't know anybody.

    Last year I got rather involved with the con as a volunteer and did my best to help out, to the point that I was allowed to vote for the board this year. How many of them did I know? None. Not one person up there would I say I "knew". Sure, I knew their names, maybe even chatted briefly with some of them. But that isn't knowing someone. Just like (I HOPE) everyone else, I listened to all the nominees spiels, and based on that and, where valid, past performance I made my decisions. You're SUGGESTING favoritism in the guise of condemning it!

    Sure, I'm not a staffer and I have no vote on this, but this proposal has merit and is simple enough to understand that is should be easy enough for a person to vote yea or nay in two weeks. I would recommend emailing the whole staff list so they can see the proposal and think about it. Just because people aren't posting doesn't mean they don't care about it or aren't interested. They may already know how they feel about the proposal and are just waiting to vote at the meeting. Perhaps they want to think on it for a few more days before posting their thoughts instead of rushing things and posting the first thing to come to their minds, which after further thought they may regret doing. Three and a half days is hardly an accurate accounting for whether people have taken a look at this or not.

    As for certain of the positions being too important to have just anybody doing, that's the whole point of the nomination process and also the statements by the nominees before elections. They get to convince you they know what they are doing. If they can't convince you, they probably aren't convincing many other people either. In that case, things move on without anyone filling that position until a new candidate comes forward. Just as if we hadn't filled a position this year. Obviously the Treasurer is a very high security position, as we don't want to elect someone who empties out the bank account and runs off. At the same time, I've never known if the people we currently have in such a position fall into that category or not. Again, the nomination process should weed such people out. That's why we all discuss after their statements the pros and cons and our feelings on the nominee.

    I think I see why the Vice Chair exception was made initially, and as I understood it, I figured the Vice would work closely with the Chair and would therefore need to be someone the Chair got along with and such. Looking through this thread though, it does not seem to be that important of an issue. But if it is, I think this can be handled simply with just a "Chair's nomination" tagline going to a Vice Chair nominee. That way the staff knows who the Chair favors for the position, but can still vote their own mind.

    Oh well, still a week to go before a final proposal should be handed to the board to speed up the board voting process. Let's see how things go on in that time.

    BTW - the board is THERE at the general meeting. Well, usually they all are anyway. Why must the board meet beforehand to cast their votes. Can't the board vote happen in public? I've never understood this.  
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    Offline superjaz

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #51 on: August 06, 2008, 08:53:41 pm »
    by voting based on appeal, you distort the value of an informed vote, but that is entirely irrelevant to the discussion at hand.

    (Umm, you brought it up but pointing out that someones post is irrelavant is a waste of valuable thread space in an important topic. anyhoo)

    @ Vallie ditto to everything you say, you are a cool head in what can quickly make tempers rise, these are the meetings that tons a peeps come to,
    I think if the meeting numbers are simler to previous year there will be quarem, regadless of how the vote goes, it will be a good representation of what the staff wants.

    As for the empasis on treasurer, yes it is an important position but so is every board position.  It seems to be implied that because they sign the checks, that if the "wrong" person is picked then armeggedon will happen.  But honestly ANY board OR staff position has that potential. 
    Sure con may not be broke but dosen't mean the con would be less screwed in such an event happening.

    Its happend in the past (not to armeggedon scale) with positions that are board elected, and our board handles crises as they arise, and the board still has the power to vote some one off the board if need be.  We are not asking to change the way the board is run but how its elected.

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    Offline DancingTofu

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #52 on: August 06, 2008, 09:06:50 pm »
    [a lot of text]
    I think that both of you misread my statement, and I worded it poorly.  I didn't mean that I had to be all chummy with someone or I wouldn't vote for them; that would DEFINITELY be favouritism; what I'm saying is that I don't vote based on appeal; I vote based on record.  I'm going to try to reword my statement above to clarify this.
    moderators gonna moderate </shrug>

    Offline leashy

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #53 on: August 06, 2008, 09:18:40 pm »
    For the sake of having a decisive view out there, my current vote would be nae.

    This amendment is four amendments; thoroughness is important.  If divided into separate amendments, I would vote yae on some and nae on others.

    Although the proposition discusses 4 different positions, the overall amendment is only one. Basically amending that all positions which are considered board positions and that have a vote on the board will be elected in the same way.  The only reason that it spells the positions out is so that there is no ambiguity within the amendment itself.  All legal paperwork does this just to make sure it covers all the bases and no one can find a loophole later.

    I am interested in which positions you believe should not be elected in that way DancingTofu and just if there is any spefic reason why such position needs to be singled out.  The point of this discussion is to gather ideas to help shape the proposed amendment to be as well-rounded as it can be.

    Offline DancingTofu

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #54 on: August 06, 2008, 10:30:34 pm »
    As seperate amendments, here's my vote and justification.


    Amendment: Vice Chair becomes a membership-elected position.
    nae.
    The vice chair acts as an intermediary between board members, who fills a number of roles and helps provide support everywhere it's needed.  The nature of this position makes it a position that requires a significant amount of compatibility with other board members.  With a growing membership, a general staff vote may compromise the effectiveness of this position.

    Amendment: Secretary becomes a membership-elected position.
    abstain
    I think this is fine either way; I won't tilt a scale when I have no substance to add.  The Secretary is a clerical position, so you should really just hope that all your candidates are good and one gets picked.  The Board can pick a good secretary just as well as the membership can.

    Amendment: Treasurer becomes a membership-elected position.
    unsure
    Argument A (for): The treasurer needs to be capable of budgeting in a manner that serves all facets of the convention appropriately.  The membership would be better served by this position if the candidates are voted on by the staff in its entirety.
    Argument B (against): Money-management skills are an obvious necessity for this position.  The treasurer should be able to prove to individuals that he/she is capable of budgeting over time, budgeting effectively, and budgeting evenly.  This can be done much more effectively when the treasurer only has to present data to the Board.
    [feel free to rebuke or build on either of these arguments; I'd love to have an opinion]

    Amendment: Facility Liaison becomes a membership-elected position.
    yae.
    The Facilities Liaison is (from what I can tell; the position is undefined in the bylaws so this may be inaccurate) a position that requires charisma and social competence that is well-signified by a large majority vote.  The ability to be elected by a large membership alone shows a certain degree of competence for this position, and I believe it would potential be better filled as a staff-elected position.

    Amendment: Vice Chair is the runner-up in the Chair election.
    nae.
    They are two completely different positions.
    moderators gonna moderate </shrug>

    Offline superjaz

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #55 on: August 06, 2008, 10:33:06 pm »
    Perhaps they want to think on it for a few more days before posting their thoughts instead of rushing things and posting the first thing to come to their minds, which after further thought they may regret doing.

    Case in point

    I worded it poorly.  I'm going to try to reword my statement above to clarify this.

    Poeple will read what is posted make sure what you write is what you mean before you post.

    @ Leashy I think you right, it sounds like only one amendment is really needed




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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #56 on: August 06, 2008, 11:13:07 pm »
    I worded it poorly.  I'm going to try to reword my statement above to clarify this.

    Poeple will read what is posted make sure what you write is what you mean before you post.

    Despite all that, I wanted to thank you for your decisiveness and clarification in your opposing the proposition.
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    Offline Radien

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #57 on: August 06, 2008, 11:14:13 pm »
    To tell the truth, I'm a little surprised at how complicated everybody is treating this proposition.  When you strip away my explanatory comments, the proposal is currently three sentences long. I'm not really introducing anything new here.  All I am proposing is this: make all elections the same. :)

    Some people have expressed concern over positions such as Treasurer and Facilities Liaison. However, I don't think the best way to protect those positions from hasty decisions is to leave them as they are. Currently, I think we should go with an across-the-board staff election for all positions, and then see whether it may be necessary to revise the idea again once we've seen it in practice. Remember, there are other ways to revise positions; not everything is set in stone after everyone's elected.



    My only real questions for you now... how would you weight the vote of the board vs the weight of the vote of the general staff? And would you need to meet quorum at this secondary election like we do with anything else we vote on? (seeing as it is hard enough to get most of our people together just once a month especially those on the outer lying areas, getting enough people together two weeks later would be a bit more difficult)

    I've spent a while trying to think this all out... I hope that this early in the morning it makes sense to someone.

    We would use the exact same method of election as the current staff-elected positions, including the quorum requirements (though the attendance won't be exactly the same since it'll be a separate meeting).

    That's why my proposal is so brief and to-the-point. I'm not really suggesting any new processes; the procedures are already in place.




    No.  This is not irrelevent.  Is it reasonable to walk into the next meeting with a new proposal and expect an immeadiate vote?  Our SOP is to introduce at one meeting and vote at the next.

    After I moved that we vote on it right away, the board requested that I take two weeks to revise and discuss it on the forums (and elsewhere if the opportunity arises). I immediately agreed. It was a speedy negotiation, and I was satisfied, because the board asked me to do something reasonable and promised that if I did, we could put it to a vote in two weeks.

    Thank you for offering to help with this proposition, but I am happy to continue to follow the procedure the board recommended at the meeting. :)

    I am attempting to post on the mailing list, but unfortunately the email they have on file for me is out of date. I will have to forward the message through somebody else for now.

    To pass this might require a special meeting, which means extra work for the Board and possibly financial cost to the convention.

    There's no real need for an additional meeting. It is already scheduled for a vote. Once I've officially finalized the proposal (I expect by Friday), the dialog should simplify greatly. It will boil down to the age-old debate format of "For" and "Against." If you are worried about long speeches, perhaps appointing a moderator would help?

    I know we all have stuff to do, but I think this is worth half an hour of our time. And yes, I do believe we can finish in half an hour, if the dialog is organized and we all give each other a turn to talk.

    Well, I guess I am being a little presumptive here.  Until we see the new proposal, who knows how different it will be.  Technically, it will be a new proposal, but we may be able to work around that to shorten the process.

    You don't need to wonder... the first page of this thread is being updated in real time. I don't plan on springing anything on the voters; that would be unwise. Actually, the version you see there now will most likely be the final version.  The only change I have made so far was to omit a couple of sentences about the Vice Chair position.  I wouldn't consider it a "new" proposal.



    So, this is an open discussion to change staff voting rights... which change is it going to be?  Steve's?  Tofu's?  Or someone else's?  Right now, we are discussing all the options... a final consensus is going to need to be reached soon, or we are going to be debating all of this at the general meeting.

    Tofu can make a proposal following mine if he likes. It's up to the board to decide whether to ask him to wait until the following meeting or not. Well, technically, there's nothing in the bylaws stating he has to wait. But he can do as I did, and agree to the board's request.

    I don't think we should expect to get a total consensus in this thread. It's in my best interests to know what people want, yes, but if I don't represent people well enough, that'll be reflected in the final vote.




    I have a few other questions to answer here, but I have a full-time job so I'm going to have to cut it short for today (I already skipped out on the dishes in order to attend to this thread  :-X).  Rest assured I am at least reading whatever everybody says, even if I can't respond to every individual statement. :)

    Also, as I mentioned previously, I can't access the mailing list right now (the email on file is outdated), so I'm going to have to forward it. Vallie will be passing it on to the list.
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    Offline valliegirl

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #58 on: August 06, 2008, 11:18:23 pm »
    Update:  Staff list has been made aware.  For some reason, Steve didn't have access, so I forwarded his notice to everyone.

    :)
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    Offline Mr_Mustash

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #59 on: August 06, 2008, 11:22:52 pm »
    OH GOSH! THE DRAMA KING IS BACK WITH HIS OPINION!!! QUICK EVERYONE RUN BEFORE YOU'RE ASSOCIATED WITH HIM!!!

    Anyway: I am all for making all positions staff elected. The board members are part of the staff (even though most of them do more work, but I kinda think that's because they won't delegate to us "underlings") and they should be treated as such. If we elect someone into a position I think we should be able to change our choice if they're doing a bad job.

    I think also the Vice-Chair should be elected separately from the Con-Chair. The Vice-Chair position is there so that people can talk to them if they have problems with the Con-Chair.
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    Offline JeffT

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #60 on: August 07, 2008, 12:55:09 am »
    I've given this issue great thought, actually for quite some time before the motion was proposed last Sunday. Drawing on my experience from attending 5 general elections (3 for Kumoricon and 2 for Sakura-Con), and some experience on the board of Kumoricon, and experience in how the general elections and board elections processes work, I think it would be best if all the board positions were staff elected.

    I think the process of general elections is solid enough that the staff will make at least as good a decision as the board in nearly all cases. This does not remove the influence of the board, as board members will retain a great amount of weight and influence during the discussion period for the candidates. I've thought about a large number of specific examples in the general elections and board elections in reaching this conclusion.

    I suspect this full change won't get the support it needs to pass so I would probably vote for moving some of the positions to being staff-elected if that's what ends up looking like will pass.

    When brought to a vote, a bylaws amendment should specify the exact text that will be added and/or removed. Interestingly, this is actually simpler than the summary! The amendment should specify words added or removed to articles 4.B.6 and 4.B.7. These two articles specify which board positions are staff-elected and which are board elected.

    If we will have two general election meetings, than the bylaws change is more complex, and needs to specify that there are two annual elections meetings. If all the board positions become staff-elected, than the description of the annual board meeting in the bylaws may also need to change. (I suspect it cannot be eliminated as it may be a legal requirement, but I'm not sure.) If this amendment passes, then the board should pass an additional resolution stating that membership ends at the conclusion of the second meeting, to ensure that staff vote in the second meeting as well as the first.

    Finally, if the amendment that passes does leave some positions board elected, then I would like to propose one additional change. It is that only the staff-elected board members would vote in the election for the remaining board positions. The ambiguity over whether this is allowed is one of the most significant problems with the current bylaws and caused some controversy last year. I don't have the exact wording yet but will have to come up with it in the next few days. There are a few technical matters to consider in wording this properly and ensuring it is consistent with other parts of the bylaws concerning voting and quorum at board meetings.

    Does the board have a form of quorum? I thought I heard something about 2/3 of the board being present. We need that much to vote yes so it's more important than usual that all the board members be present at the next meeting.

    I know that last meeting there were some unexpected problems, but I'm hoping that nobody on the board has other plans that weekend.

    Actually, although the bylaws are a bit ambiguous on this point, I think the best interpretation is that the board portion of the bylaws vote happens at a board meeting, not a general meeting. This need not be on the same day, and the votes can happen in either order. So even if we missed having 6 board members at the general, that wouldn't impact our ability to pass this. We have 2 scheduled board meetings left before Kumoricon, and could even do it after the con if need be.

    Its happend in the past (not to armeggedon scale) with positions that are board elected, and our board handles crises as they arise, and the board still has the power to vote some one off the board if need be.  We are not asking to change the way the board is run but how its elected.

    Actually, the bylaws specifies that a board member can only be removed by the body that elected them. If it was staff-elected, the requirement is a majority of those voting if notice is given of the removal (not just notice of the meeting but notice of the removal), and if it's the board, then the requirement is 2/3 of the entire board. So this amendment does have the effect that the board can no longer remove any board member, and it would have to be done by the staff membership. Last year shortly after the con, in a forum post (I'd need to go look for it), I proposed that this be changed so that any board member can be removed by either the board or membership. I'd still probably support this. But I'd probably wait on that until we propose other bylaws fixes later.
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    Offline Radien

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #61 on: August 07, 2008, 01:24:26 am »
    I intended to respond to people's questions and opinions in order, but I'm going to have to skip ahead to JeffT because I have some questions of my own.

    @ JeffT:

    First of all, I quite appreciate your support. I agree that the board has a large amount of sway when stating their opinion at meetings, though this is just a general recollection and I can't remember who supported whom each year.

    Secondly, you requested the exact wording of the bylaws. I read over the bylaws, and hadn't thought it was implied that I had to have the exact wording. No one asked for the exact wording when I submitted the initial proposal, so I assumed that the appropriate officers would interpret the proposal's stated intent and adjust the bylaws accordingly.  If that's not the case, I need to know exactly what is required of me, and when. Have I already met the "one week's notice" requirement, or do I need to resubmit it in legal wording?  The expertise of directors like you would be helpful to make sure we tie up loose ends.

    Side note: Yes, I know, my summary is now longer than the proposition itself. Sorry, I ramble sometimes when I try to explain things. :)

    As for the split elections: the scheduling of the elections *could* be put in the hands of the board to ensure meeting efficiency (just so long as the election model doesn't change aside from having a larger or smaller nomination window). After all, meeting timing and efficiency is usually one of the basic responsibilities of the board.

    Yes, there is some ambiguity in the bylaws. I read through them all (the document is actually quite short) and was slightly confused about staff's voting rights (it's easy to determine how elections are run, but not always easy to match it to the relevant clause in the bylaws). In general, the bylaws explain more about the board than the membership. Later in the year we might work on simply clarifying portions of the bylaws, in many cases without changing their intent.

    Actually, although the bylaws are a bit ambiguous on this point, I think the best interpretation is that the board portion of the bylaws vote happens at a board meeting, not a general meeting. This need not be on the same day, and the votes can happen in either order. So even if we missed having 6 board members at the general, that wouldn't impact our ability to pass this. We have 2 scheduled board meetings left before Kumoricon, and could even do it after the con if need be.

    Personally, I don't agree with this interpretation. It states that there is a vote and a 2/3rds majority is needed in both the board and the membership, but if the board meets elsewhere before the general meeting, and the board does not show a 2/3rds vote in favor of the amendment, then the staff vote is rendered pointless, except as a display of public opinion.

    Furthermore, if the board overrules the staff, I think it should be in person. If we're given a vote, and the board has the ability to override a 2/3rds staff majority, I'd like it to be in public so people have a chance to ask the board why they came to that decision.


    Actually, the bylaws specifies that a board member can only be removed by the body that elected them. If it was staff-elected, the requirement is a majority of those voting if notice is given of the removal (not just notice of the meeting but notice of the removal), and if it's the board, then the requirement is 2/3 of the entire board. So this amendment does have the effect that the board can no longer remove any board member, and it would have to be done by the staff membership. Last year shortly after the con, in a forum post (I'd need to go look for it), I proposed that this be changed so that any board member can be removed by either the board or membership. I'd still probably support this. But I'd probably wait on that until we propose other bylaws fixes later.

    I agree that this warrants attention should this amendment pass. I have some suggestions, but I will save them for a more appropriate time/thread.
    « Last Edit: August 07, 2008, 01:31:26 am by Radien »
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    Offline Radien

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #62 on: August 07, 2008, 01:36:42 am »
    Update:  Staff list has been made aware.  For some reason, Steve didn't have access, so I forwarded his notice to everyone.

    :)

    Just so everyone knows, I'm not receiving emails from the list at this time, either.  I've been having troubles with my online profiles, plus a recent email change on my part must have caused some confusion.  I will make sure to read through the digests if anyone posts in response (Leashy can alert me, I think).
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    Offline JeffT

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #63 on: August 07, 2008, 01:49:52 am »
    Secondly, you requested the exact wording of the bylaws. I read over the bylaws, and hadn't thought it was implied that I had to have the exact wording. No one asked for the exact wording when I submitted the initial proposal, so I assumed that the appropriate officers would interpret the voters' and adjust the bylaws accordingly.

    If that's not the case, I need to know exactly what is required of me, and when. Have I already met the "one week's notice" requirement, or do I need to resubmit it in "legalese"?

    I am not sure the bylaws amendment would give us the authority to write the exact wording based on a summary that passed. As it is a legal document, I believe amendments must be in exact wording form.

    Hey, people have claimed that the 16th Amendment didn't actually pass because there were very slight differences in punctuation (switching of commas vs. semicolons, or capitalization) between the different copies that the different states ratified. (Though I don't think any court or authority regards the differences in the 16th Amendment copies as being of any legal significance; I just thought it was an interesting illustration of the issue.) I think there is a legal understanding that amendments to bylaws or other similar documents must be exact.

    I think the notice requirement only applies to the notice of the meeting itself, and not the notice of the bylaws amendment.

    As for the split elections: the scheduling of the elections *could* be put in the hands of the board to ensure meeting efficiency (just so long as the election model doesn't change aside from having a larger or smaller nomination window). After all, meeting timing and efficiency is usually one of the basic responsibilities of the board.

    The timing can be put to the board but the authorization for the meeting probably needs to be in the bylaws, as the composition and election of the board is one of the basic elements of the bylaws.

    Yes, there is some ambiguity in the bylaws. I read through them all (the document is actually quite short) and was slightly confused about staff's voting rights (it's easy to determine how elections are run, but not always easy to match it to the relevant clause in the bylaws). In general, the bylaws explain more about the board than the membership. Later in the year we might work on simply clarifying portions of the bylaws, in many cases without changing their intent.

    I agree. A revised bylaws document might have many textual changes while not really changing much in the way we operate. Many ambiguities need to be resolved, even though some of them are edge cases.

    Personally, I don't agree with this interpretation. It states that there is a vote and a 2/3rds majority is needed in both the board and the membership, but if the board meets elsewhere before the general meeting, and the board does not show a 2/3rds vote in favor of the amendment, then the staff vote is rendered pointless, except as a display of public opinion.

    The reason for my interpretation is that there is a top-level section explaining the board voting procedure, what is quorum for such a vote, and stating that board voting occurs in board meetings. The clause "A two thirds vote of the Board" in the bylaws amendment article, therefore, I think should not be interpreted to be shared with the clause "at a meeting that meets quorum and notice requirements".

    Indeed, the staff vote is ineffectual immmediately if the board votes it down, but that isn't evidence of how the clause should be interpreted. It would still mean that the board could then pass it afterward, and then both requirements would have been met.

    Just so everyone knows, I'm not receiving emails from the list at this time, either.  I've been having troubles with my online profiles, plus a recent email change on my part must have caused some confusion.  I will make sure to read through the digests if anyone posts in response (Leashy can alert me, I think).

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    Offline Nroseseeer

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #64 on: August 07, 2008, 08:48:28 am »
    I received the email this morning and I've read through the posts and this is my opinion only.

    I feel that this issue should be voted on but not at the next meeting. Many people are working hard trying to bring the con together and while this amendment is important I believe it could wait until after the con. It could give more time for people to discuss points and make changes, without the pressure of the con on their shoulders.

    Also I agree with the amendment except in one place, I think that the vice chair should be a board vote. My reasoning is that the board can take the time to ask questions directly, and decide if the person will work with them. Instead if it is Staff elected the focus is more on talking to the staff, and while working with the staff is important, the Vice working between the Chairs is the main principal behind the position. However I think that this meeting should allow the staff to attend, eliminating the closed door meeting.

    Finally I think that part of the Amendment should hold that the elected members could be removed by EITHER staff or board. I feel that this is VERY important because of the by-laws that changing the voting will affect. If staff elects a treasurer that doesn't do their job very well and must be voted out the only way to vote them out is for the Staff to meet 2/3 majority and that might be difficult at some meetings with low staff attendance. If this change isn't added I would most likely vote down the amendment.

    Again this is my opinion, nothing else...
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    Offline Mr_Phelps

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #65 on: August 07, 2008, 09:27:02 am »
    This post is going to be rather long and I appoligize now for that, long posts always make my brain hurt…

    I’m going to start by saying that I’m against the current proposal as it stands.  This is not to say that I’m against moving to staff elected postions, just that I would like to see the proposal broken out into component parts.

    By bringing each position to a vote we can fully address each positions merits and pitfalls and give everyone a chance to voice an opinion.  Rolling them all into one means that even if a staffer only had reservations on one office, they would in good conscience have to vote no on all of them.

    My take on each position is this:

    Vice Chair:  Make it an elected position. 
    I am fortunate in that Dawn and I had worked closely during the previous year on registration and I knew that she would perform as Vice Chair as flawlessly as humanly possible.

    Secretary:  Make it an elected position.
    This is a position that has a lot of “behind the scenes” work.  Much of it dealing with the legal aspects of state and federal law.  So anyone running for this position is going to need to bear that in mind.

    Facilities Liaison:  Make it an elected position.
    I’ve been against making this elected until this morning.  I’ll go into the details below.

    Treasurer:  Still feel this should be board appointed.
    There are good arguments on both sides, but my biggest concern is that there have not been enough people working on the top level to have spread the knowledge of how things are done to just throw someone into the position without preparation.  We are going through the transition period where new people are starting to do the jobs that up till this year had been done by a fairly small group.  This is a good thing, as it means that we have enough dedicated staff who are willing to help keep the convention going.  But we still have had a challenging time finding assistants to each of the directors.  I’d like to see another year before transitioning this position to allow some staffers to step up and start learning the know-how of one of the truly vital parts of our organization.


    Jeff and I have spent quite a bit of time over the last year discussing how to change the elections in the bylaws.  His point is that in all staff elections dealing with either Kumoricon or Sakuracon the staff has made the correct choices.  My concern has always been that if there are no good choices there was not a way to leave a position open until a good choice was available.  Making these positions staff elected puts the responsibility on the staff to ensure that they have a person that they feel is up to the task.  I have stated many times that we have the best staff of any convention and I mean it.  I will put my trust in the staff to make the right choices.

    As for the timing…   I don’t see a problem with running one meeting for all the elections.  We will have a stated order of which positions are voted on.  Then if someone runs for two positions and gets the first one, they should bow out of the second one.  This means that anyone trying to run for more than one position will need to think out their options before the elections and be ready when the outcome is decided.  Personally, I couldn’t see trying for more than one spot.   There is so much work already that even if you don’t get the directorship you were aiming at, there will be plenty of spots in the org chart to fill.

    This would mean a VERY long election meeting.  But in reality, these are important decisions.  They deserve the time invested.

    I would have liked to get posts into this thread earlier this week, but the reality is that I haven’t had more than four hours of sleep a day for the past two weeks until last night and I’m finally rested enough to think coherently.
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    Offline Rathany

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #66 on: August 07, 2008, 10:39:10 am »

    Actually, although the bylaws are a bit ambiguous on this point, I think the best interpretation is that the board portion of the bylaws vote happens at a board meeting, not a general meeting. This need not be on the same day, and the votes can happen in either order. So even if we missed having 6 board members at the general, that wouldn't impact our ability to pass this. We have 2 scheduled board meetings left before Kumoricon, and could even do it after the con if need be.


    Doing the Board vote after might a good thing.  It would give the OP more time and also let the board hear the staff's debate points on each side.  Though, if debate really stays under half an hour I will be extremely surprised. 

    And, ok, I get that most people are against having a special general for this topic.  I was just thinking that it would give us enough time for debate and enough time for everything that happens at a regular general.  For now we will consider that suggestion discarded. 
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    Offline DancingTofu

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #67 on: August 07, 2008, 03:02:40 pm »
    I haven't really hopped on the discussion regarding 2 meetings for all the voting, but now that Mike's voiced his position on it, I agree, and want to add that having two meetings for the elections means that's another 2 weeks or 4 weeks before those Officers can start getting work done.  One long meeting makes a lot more sense than me, especially in the cases of people coming from Seattle and Eugene or further.
    moderators gonna moderate </shrug>

    Offline Hawkeye

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #68 on: August 07, 2008, 03:13:38 pm »
    As I've stated before, I feel that both sides have valid points, I just want to make sure that we have enough time to adequately discuss it before we vote on it, which I don't think will happen, but oh well.  You do the best you can.  Here's my take on it though.  I think that vice chair, chair, and secretary should all be elected by the general staff as the work they do is more generalized.  I do think that facilities liaison and treasurer should be board elected because they are so closely tied to the convention's money.  The board does need someone they feel they can trust in that regard, you don't want just anyone handling those issues.  A high level of trust needs to go into that.
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    Offline kalira

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #69 on: August 07, 2008, 04:21:26 pm »
    Quote
    "In the case that this amendment comes to vote and does not pass as-is:
    I will propose all five amendments as listed and vote differently on all of them."

    Someone beat me to it.  I agree these should be voted on separately.

    The Following are my thoughts:

    Vice Chair:  As this position has changed in scope to be an independent position vs more on an assistant role, I do believe that it should be member elected. 

    Secretary:  This probably should have always been member elected so I am OK with this one as well.

    Treasurer:  No way no how ever.  This position hold so much responsibility the board really NEEDS to do there homework on the person to be elected to make sure they don't take a nice long vacation to an island on the cons dime.  Nuff said.

    Facilities:  Same thing.  They have so much responsibility in making sure the con has a venue and dealing with contracts this should remain board elected as well.

    I will post more as I read through the rest of this. 

    Offline BigGuy

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #70 on: August 07, 2008, 07:10:32 pm »
    I don't know how to phrase this exactly and it is not an attack on anyone, but for the purpose of removing either board members or staff who are not doing their jobs or are making others jobs harder on purpose. What happens if the person in question has a large personal following not affected by their actions that will support them in a removal vote whether it's better for the con or not?

    Sorry if this is off topic or overly gloomy, but I'm curious and a bit worried.
     Any opinion and advice is welcome.
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    Offline TomtheFanboy

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #71 on: August 07, 2008, 07:34:13 pm »
    I don't know how to phrase this exactly and it is not an attack on anyone, but for the purpose of removing either board members or staff who are not doing their jobs or are making others jobs harder on purpose. What happens if the person in question has a large personal following not affected by their actions that will support them in a removal vote whether it's better for the con or not?

    I was going to say something but I can't justify it in any way.
    I'm glad we've gotten new input on this. The ideas are starting to coalesce into some very clear bodies and I'm interested to see what happens after the vote.

    ...other than more bag stuffing.

    Any chance that the next meeting will be in a bigger room?
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    Offline DancingTofu

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #72 on: August 07, 2008, 07:35:19 pm »
    I don't know how to phrase this exactly and it is not an attack on anyone, but for the purpose of removing either board members or staff who are not doing their jobs or are making others jobs harder on purpose. What happens if the person in question has a large personal following not affected by their actions that will support them in a removal vote whether it's better for the con or not?

    Sorry if this is off topic or overly gloomy, but I'm curious and a bit worried.
     Any opinion and advice is welcome.
    Actually, I do see the substance of this notion.  I simply think we have to rely on our ability to elect effectively; don't fix mistakes that don't happen, you know?  Perhaps a unanimous vote of the board (excluding the member in question) or an 8/9 vote of the membership could override a <2/3 vote of either in this case?  This won't be an urgent issue, so I think I'll look into effective impeachment processes and compromises and propose something in October.
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    Offline Rathany

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #73 on: August 07, 2008, 09:35:43 pm »
    I've talked with alot of directors and heard alot of POVs, and my view on all of this hasn't changed much.  But, I am still open to having my mind changed.

    On the original proposal I would vote no. 

    On the proposals as broken apart I would vote yes on some, and no on others.

    Making Vice staff elected:
    Yes.  I think that people seeing Mike and I as very similar and very close hurt my ability to do my job.  I need to be the one people can go to when they feel they can't go to Mike for whatever reason.  If Vice is Chair appointed and Board approved it's highly unlikely we will have a Vice that people will go to when people have problems with Chair.

    Secretary:
    Sure.  I don't see much reason why not.

    Facilities Liason:
    Nope.  This is a very odd Board seat.  As I've stated above, Facilities has no department.  They just take the will of the Board and try to enforce it.  This really needs to be a person who the board feels will work with them. 

    Treasurer:
    Nope.  This is a position where the board needs to be feel very comfortable and very trusting of the person ... or they would need so much oversight that it would create lots more work.  The position is too easy to abuse. 

    One point I have not seen brought up is that these Board elected positions are put in place by a staff elected board.  It's not like these jobs are appointed by a group of people who have been in power every year and can't be removed.  (Ok, we are not all newbies to the board, but it's not like we are the same 9 each year).  The staff elects the board.  I think it's reasonable that the staff elected board gets to choose people for these very sensitive positions. 

    Also, I am against the initial proposal for another reason.  I prefer slow change to fast.  If we are to see the Board become all elected, let's do it by changing 2 positions this year and 2 the next.

    BigGuy brought up the idea of removal.  That is another issue.  A director is removed by the body that elects them, either staff or board.  I would like to keep Facilities and Treasurer Board elected until we get new bylaws.  Bylaws that would hopefully make it that any Directer can be ousted by a 2/3rds Board or 2/3rds Staff vote.  Under current bylaws, I want the board to be able to remove them directly.  I also think that the staff should be able to oust any director if they feel the need. 
     
    « Last Edit: August 07, 2008, 11:47:25 pm by Rathany »
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    Offline valliegirl

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #74 on: August 07, 2008, 11:48:44 pm »
    Not to be even more of a downer, but...

    I'm not really seeing how keeping a position board elected keeps bad election decisions from happening.  I'm not saying that the staff have a perfect track record either, but everyone's talking as though keeping a position "board elected" makes it less likely for the person elected to totally mess things up. 

    We can elect a nominee who's been with the con for years, has a good work history, has even been in the position before, and things can still go wrong with that person that either leads to resignation or removal, dumping a mess load of work on those left behind. 

    And, honestly, I've seen people get elected and re-elected to positions when the work they did the previous year wasn't so great, whether because they were too busy to really commit to the job or were outright refusing to perform tasks that were their responsibility.  I'm not just talking about one person, there's multiple that fit into the category. 

    Once again, I'm not saying that the con staff won't make bad decisions.  It's happened.  But the board makes mistakes too. 

    What I'd like to ask everyone is why do we have less faith in a decision made by the conglomerate?

    Edit..  Since there's a misinterpretation as to what I mean by conglomerate, I meant the staff vote, which is all of us, board and staff together.
    « Last Edit: August 08, 2008, 05:04:14 pm by valliegirl »
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    Offline Radien

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #75 on: August 08, 2008, 01:10:50 am »
    Regarding the 2/3rds vote needed among the board as well as among the general staff:

    I would agree to having the board to meet separately, but I'd greatly encourage them to specifically address the results at a general meeting and summarize their positions. Basically, we have these rules in place, and that's fine, but right now it seems like nobody knows what anybody else is doing. That needs to change, and now's as good a time as any.

    About the bylaws themselves:

    Currently, I'm of the understanding that I can revise the wording of bylaws amendment up until the vote. Of course, I will post all changes to the proposal here, as immediately as possible. I'll also email the final copy to the mailing list sometime next week. My goal is to only propose changes that are absolutely necessary for this proposal.


    Regarding Facilities Liaison and Treasurer:

    It seems these are these two positions being debated right now. Personally, I would be quite pleased if anyone would make a suggestion for an alternate way to handle those two elections *other* than leaving them as board-elected.  As Vallie said, election by a conglomerate is not necessarily wiser or even safer. In the meantime, we should consider shared responsibility. It's everybody's con.

    For that matter, I strongly believe we need to add more checks and balances. Too many of our procedures are "bottlenecks" and "brick walls."  Remember, we DO have the option of giving the board the power to reject or remove officers with a sufficient majority vote. Yes, rejecting incoming officers is a rather serious response, but I think emergency measures should be intended only for extreme situations, rather than treating every election as a death trap from the get-go.


    About board representing the staff:

    Yes, the board is staff-elected. However, this does not necessarily mean we have put them on a pedestal above the clouds. Virtually all board members were regular staff at some point, and both board and staff are equally capable of going astray.

    Keep in mind: board-elected positions are voted on VERY soon after the new directors are sworn in.  At that time, many directors have only just started gaining firsthand experience as a board member.  Some of them may have wisdom and experience, but it's not necessarily because they're on the board. Often, it's because they learned a lot as regular staff.
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    Offline babysugarbear28

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #76 on: August 08, 2008, 02:39:15 am »
    It has been a little bit since I have said anything and I have given more thought to both sides of the argument at hand.
    As the proposal stands I have to say nae.

    Like the other nae sayers there are some positions that I feel would be great to move over to a complete general staff vote and there are others that I feel that should be waited on or not placed into the general staff's hands at all unless there is a change to the bylaws about being able to remove the board member in question.

    Vice Chair: Heck yes, since this will be an independent vote from the vote for the chair I think that it would be great. I think the position is general enough it could very well work. Also as Rathany stated it would make the job of the vice easier when it comes to public relations so they wouldn't be seen as a single entity with the chair him/herself.

    Secretary: Mostly clerical but some legal work, seems easy enough to place into the hands of the general vote. A person who wants this position can give evidence of their eligibility without giving away all their personal information. So on this one sure.

    Facilities: I am more reserved about this one because of the delicate ties the job entails. The person in question for this position has a huge amount of work to do and if they aren't doing their job this would be a hard position for the general staff be made aware that the person in question isn't doing their job or to be able to remove him/her in a timely manner.

    Treasurer: Once more I am reserved about this position because of the delicate ties with the money and the budgeting/financial skills needed to be able to fill this position. This position also requires a great deal more personal evidence of qualification than the other three positions, that may not be so easy to show to a large crowd. As it stands right now if this position were handed to the general staff and the staff chose someone who was unfit for the position or abused their power (because it can and does happen regardless of who voted them in) it would be hard for the general staff to remove them in a timely enough manner to prevent further damage. As it is now the board can more easily remove an offender from this position if it is deemed necessary before a large amount of damage can be done. With the bylaws not allowing a member of the board elected by the general staff to be removed with ease that really limits our ability to police ourselves. Beyond that it would be difficult for the general staff to know if the treasurer is doing anything wrong with the con's money without the board making it extremely public and that could very well become a slap to all of our faces when it may become harder for the legal financial part of Kumoricon to deal with businesses and hotels, ect. I mean you wouldn't want to rent an extra room in your apartment or a space in your hotel room to someone who you know has a record of not being able to budget or pay up for fear of being jipped out of your space/time/money. 

    With the current bylaws not allowing a member of the board, elected by the general staff to be removed with ease (as has been stated before, sometimes it can be difficult to meet quorum or the person may have a strong backing of people not being effected) or in a timely manner (as general meetings are usually once a month) I feel it is safer to allow this vote to remain in the board's hands where they can remove someone in a more timely manner than with the general staff until such an change to the bylaws occurs as say, the board being able to remove another board member although they were voted in by staff, is made possible. I feel given another year's worth of time we can smooth out the kinks in the bylaws and update things such as this that limits the ability to make this and the facilities manager a general staff voted position.

    Vice and Secretary are easy enough to transition but the Facilities and Treasurer need a bit more time to be transfered over if they can be transfered at all given the amount of delicate intricacies that both jobs entail.

    As for the annual election meeting. One meeting would be far nicer than two for those in the outlying areas who have to travel a great distance to get their vote in. Meeting two weeks later costs a great deal not only to the con (having to find another place to meet) but it also costs in transit. I am sorry I didn't think about that before when suggesting an extra meeting to discuss/vote on this subject. Also I know living out in Eugene can be hard to get to every event because each trip costs $45+ to get there and doing that even just once a month is tricky enough as is. Though elections drag on for what seems like forever it is better to get them all done at once than split them up. We get a better turn out at the meeting that way it seems.

    I guess that is the way I see it. I believe the overall idea is great but the ability to execute it to the fullest is still lacking in a few areas that could become major issues until a later date (and those areas of issue would need to be separate amendments) when things can be changed. It isn't so much the vote itself that is a huge deal, it is the minor details of removal in a timely manner and the ability to find out in the first place if a board staff member wasn't doing their job, that are the extreme hangups here.

    Once again I hope this makes sense to at least one person out there.
    « Last Edit: August 08, 2008, 02:41:43 am by babysugarbear28 »

    Offline melchizedek

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #77 on: August 08, 2008, 07:06:26 am »
    I understand the pros and cons a bit about keeping certian more sensitive positions board elected for ease of removal.  It is a valid argument.  No one wants to air dirty laundry.

    However, the board is in no way better people than the general staff.  I think we should give them a little more credit.  Someone can embezzle money as treasurer regardless of who elected them and I'm sure the staff and board would be willing to nix that person and get the stolen funds back right away just the same.

    Same with facilities, a member of the board could move to have said person removed and if the rest of the board is behind them and the communication is good I bet they'd support the board.  The only real change is that for the board to move to remove one of their own I think they'll need to communicate more and be more transparent to get the support of the staff.
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    Offline leashy

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #78 on: August 08, 2008, 07:17:53 am »
    To everyone who believes that positions like treasurer and facilities need to be separated.  The point of the proposition and changing things over to the same voting proceedure is to get a wider variety of qualified candidates to get in the running for the position.

    I am just going to put this out there.  If this were to pass then I would run for Treasurer for the next year.  Having had 8+ years of cash handling, 5+ years in money management 3+ years and counting working at a bank including being the vault custodian for over 1 year and responsible for loans and such currently and 2 1/2 years as Staff for the con, I would say I have a lot of qualifications to be considered for the job.  If the position was board elected would I be considered?.. Probably not.  Why?  Because the general staff never knows when these nominations are taking place, so unless you know somoene who knows that you might be a good candidate, you are left in the dark, leaving all of those qualifications not ultilized.  I personally know that I and others have backed away from expressing interest in certain board elected positions because we felt that someone who had more influence with the board would always get picked before us, or we just never knew when to express interest.

    I have said this before but the staff of kumoricon is not dumb, we take elections very seriously and only elect someone if we feel they can do the job.  If this passes, it would be very easy to amend other bilaws to require 2/3 staff OR board vote to get these people out if they are not doing their job.

    Edit-  oh and one more thought I had.  Remember that the treasurer is not the only person with access to bank funds.  There is always more than one person on a bank account to help keep things in check. 
    « Last Edit: August 08, 2008, 07:57:22 am by leashy »

    Offline kalira

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #79 on: August 08, 2008, 08:11:37 am »
    Quote
    To everyone who believes that positions like treasurer and facilities need to be separated.  The point of the proposition and changing things over to the same voting proceedure is to get a wider variety of qualified candidates to get in the running for the position.

    That is just simply not true.  The staff has every right to nominate whoever they feel would be good for the position.  This started last year. 

    http://www.kumoricon.org/forums/index.php?topic=5593.0 <-- The thread for who was nominated last year by staff and the canindates were chosen from those nomination. 

    Offline kalira

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #80 on: August 08, 2008, 08:51:11 am »
    There is one more thing I would like to add that probably should have been done in the past.  For the board elected positions, I believe that we do need to be more transparent about why we chose who we chose via a written statement stating why they are qualified.  Also, why we feel other candidates are not qualified or did not make the cut that year and each candidate should get a chance to speak not only before the board but the staff to state these qualifications and motivation for the position being nominated for. 

    Offline Hawkeye

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #81 on: August 08, 2008, 10:14:55 am »
    There is one more thing I would like to add that probably should have been done in the past.  For the board elected positions, I believe that we do need to be more transparent about why we chose who we chose via a written statement stating why they are qualified.  Also, why we feel other candidates are not qualified or did not make the cut that year and each candidate should get a chance to speak not only before the board but the staff to state these qualifications and motivation for the position being nominated for. 
    Thank you David for admitting that, I think a lot of us (myself included) have the feeling that some board members in years past have been less than willing (or so it seemed) to at least let us know why they chose someone and letting the prospective candidates meet with us normal staffers so the board can consider our opinions before they make the vote. 
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    Offline kalira

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #82 on: August 08, 2008, 12:18:21 pm »
    Quote
    Thank you David for admitting that, I think a lot of us (myself included) have the feeling that some board members in years past have been less than willing (or so it seemed) to at least let us know why they chose someone and letting the prospective candidates meet with us normal staffers so the board can consider our opinions before they make the vote.   

    Really, this has just never been an issue before.  Aside from this year, there has been the same treasurer each year and Facilities was Sean almost as long.  Aside from This years elections there was not really a need to fix the system until now.  Both before were founders, doing it since the begining and there was not much to say. 

    Quote
    Edit-  oh and one more thought I had.  Remember that the treasurer is not the only person with access to bank funds.  There is always more than one person on a bank account to help keep things in check.

    Again, this has just never been an issue before.  Historicly, it has always been a founder and the treasurer that had access.  Curently, it is Eric, Tara and a founder but this is the first year we have had a new treasurer. 

    Quote
    I would say I have a lot of qualifications to be considered for the job.  If the position was board elected would I be considered?.. Probably not.  Why?  Because the general staff never knows when these nominations are taking place, so unless you know somoene who knows that you might be a good candidate, you are left in the dark, leaving all of those qualifications not ultilized. 

    Again, this is just not correct.  Most of the nominations were taken at rant and rave as well as posted on the forums.  They were up for at least 2 weeks probably longer.  Also, they can be presented at the elections meeting.

    Quote
    Someone can embezzle money as treasurer regardless of who elected them and I'm sure the staff and board would be willing to nix that person and get the stolen funds back right away just the same.

    This could and probably would take months if you are really lucky, year or more if you are not.  Require lawyer fees and suites to be filed, charges to be pressed. 
    « Last Edit: August 08, 2008, 12:43:55 pm by kalira »

    Offline TomtheFanboy

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #83 on: August 08, 2008, 01:06:36 pm »
    Yes, we've always been able to make nominations for the Board positions. Personally I didn't think it did much but we were given a chance to bring candidates to their attention. I should know, I was nominated after all.  :o

    No matter what happens the next board should be more vocal about their choices, even if it just a meeting between them and the candidates (and founders I suppose).

    Oh, and I will totally nominate you for Treasurer, Leashy!
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    Offline kalira

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #84 on: August 08, 2008, 01:20:23 pm »
    Quote
    Yes, we've always been able to make nominations for the Board positions. Personally I didn't think it did much but we were given a chance to bring candidates to their attention. I should know, I was nominated after all. 

    No matter what happens the next board should be more vocal about their choices, even if it just a meeting between them and the candidates (and founders I suppose).

    I see that you defered but never accepted your nominations.  Were you really running but it never got uupdated?  (I was kinda out ofthe loop at this time so I have no clue what was going on.)

    Offline TomtheFanboy

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #85 on: August 08, 2008, 01:25:30 pm »
    Oh no, I deferred, utterly deferred. I was not involved from then on.

    I wasn't trying to imply that I had been left out of anything as a candidate. I was referring to the fact that some of the candidates were surprised when the winners were announced because they didn't know the board had even voted yet.
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    Offline kalira

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #86 on: August 08, 2008, 01:35:16 pm »
    So, it seems to me people want the following:  (note: this is aside from who should and should not vote on what position. )

    * Some form of list of requirements for board elected positions
    * A system of checks and balances to ensure safety of the con for those elected
    * Some form of meeting where the nominee for board positions where the staff can have input and q/a each candidate.
    * Some form of report after on why someone was chosen and list those qualifications to staff as well as why others were not chosen.
    * A better system for the nominations so everyone knows when, where, how to nominate someone. 

    Please add other thoughts for this so I can present these ideas to the rest of the board.
    « Last Edit: August 08, 2008, 01:38:29 pm by kalira »

    Offline TomtheFanboy

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #87 on: August 08, 2008, 01:58:43 pm »

    Please add other thoughts for this so I can present these ideas to the rest of the board.

    We have documentation for al ot of stuff from last year's elections.

    Directors
    http://www.kumoricon.org/forums/index.php?topic=5522.0

    Board Elected
    http://www.kumoricon.org/forums/index.php?topic=5593.0

    Elsewhere in that section we had separate threads for each of the positions that included the position's information in the bylaws.

    As for each position, I believe that the board positions were include in the old "3x5 card project". Whoever has that data should be able to help us define the positions. Shelton at least made power point presentation featuring the Ops Director's duties.
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    Offline babysugarbear28

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #88 on: August 08, 2008, 03:36:32 pm »
    I understand the pros and cons a bit about keeping certian more sensitive positions board elected for ease of removal.  It is a valid argument.  No one wants to air dirty laundry.

    However, the board is in no way better people than the general staff.  I think we should give them a little more credit.  Someone can embezzle money as treasurer regardless of who elected them and I'm sure the staff and board would be willing to nix that person and get the stolen funds back right away just the same.

    Same with facilities, a member of the board could move to have said person removed and if the rest of the board is behind them and the communication is good I bet they'd support the board.  The only real change is that for the board to move to remove one of their own I think they'll need to communicate more and be more transparent to get the support of the staff.

    I addressed this within my argument that regardless of who voted them in, if the board (whom i assume meets far more frequently than the general staff) does not have the ability to remove them even a motivated staff may not get together in time to prevent the person from doing further damage because of the legalities necessary for the removal of such a position. Honestly I feel we give our staff a lot of credit seeing as the rest of the board is already voted in by the general staff and it seems to be in wide but not total agreement that secretary and vice should also be voted on by the staff.

    Also Leashy with the experience that you have presented I do believe that you should run for Treasurer regardless of whether it is a staff voted position or a board voted one. Since we vote the people who vote in the other board members favoritism/influence is actually a lot less likely to occur than most would think and we could use new blood that still has experience enough to do the position.  Step up and try for the job with that amount of experience I believe you are a good candidate for the position and it never hurts to try even if you have to put a thread up that shows your interest.

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #89 on: August 08, 2008, 03:57:41 pm »
    Many of you have brought up that staff are free to make nominations for board-elected positions. This is true for the current system. In fact, the point is not even in contention.

    Here's what's in contention: after the staff make nominations, the system of election becomes a black box -- stuff goes in on one side, stuff comes out the other, but we don't know what happens inside. The staff has no way of knowing that all nominations were considered in earnest. Some of the candidates, in the past, have felt that they were left in the dust. Now, this brings up an idea I'd almost forgotten about, but it's starting to seem like a good idea...


    Possible solution -- board nominates, staff votes.

    One of the ideas on the original drawing board was that for particularly sensitive positions, the board would nominate the candidates, while the staff votes on them.  This would essentially be switching roles, with the idea that a small committee is good for producing nominations, whereas in an election, the more votes the better. (Using the current voting model, board members could still vote as regular staff)

    If the board ended up only producing one willing nominee for a position  (or none!), the right to nominate for that position would then be extended to the staff. This would motivate the board to come up with at least two viable candidates. (Now, the board could intentionally nominate a second candidate that no one wants, in order to rig the election, but I'm hopeful that we could never produce a board capable of something as underhanded as that)

    This would preserve some of the board's power to limit the options to only experienced candidates. It would NOT do much to bring in more new blood than we're already getting, because in most cases the staff would still be limited to making suggestions. The downside is that this would require a more detailed description of the election process.



    Anyway, I suggest using this method solely for the positions of Facilities Liaison and Treasurer. What are your opinions?  I particularly want to hear what the board thinks of this idea.


    Quote
    To everyone who believes that positions like treasurer and facilities need to be separated.  The point of the proposition and changing things over to the same voting proceedure is to get a wider variety of qualified candidates to get in the running for the position.

    That is just simply not true.  The staff has every right to nominate whoever they feel would be good for the position.  This started last year. 

    http://www.kumoricon.org/forums/index.php?topic=5593.0 <-- The thread for who was nominated last year by staff and the canindates were chosen from those nomination. 


    Actually, Kalira is correct. By making the process more public and well-known, a large portion of the purpose of this proposal is to open up the positions to new candidates. And I don't just mean nominations.

    Ideally, I desire that there always be a choice between two *qualified* candidates, if possible, without there being a clear-cut, no-contest winner before the dialog even begins. As it stands, many of the nominees for board-elected positions feel like independent candidates in a U.S. Presidential election: that they're only running on principle.




    (Edited on 8/8/08 at 4:06pm for spelling and clarity)
    « Last Edit: August 08, 2008, 04:05:35 pm by Radien »
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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #90 on: August 08, 2008, 04:07:16 pm »
    Quote
    Anyway, I suggest using this method solely for the positions of Facilities Liaison and Treasurer. What are your opinions?  I particularly want to hear what the board thinks of this idea.

    Huh..... that had never even crossed my mind before.  I will have to thinks this over a bit.  It is an interesting idea though

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #91 on: August 08, 2008, 04:28:11 pm »
    I agree, it's an interesting take on the idea, and one that would answer most people's concerns.  But my main objection is still there - it will take two meetings to accomplish.  That puts an unfair burden on out of town staffers, who have a genuine desire to be part of the process, to pay transportation costs to make it to another meeting.  Or the people who have to adjust work schedules.  So, the people who are allowed to vote are the ones who can afford to a) get there, and/or b) take time off work?
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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #92 on: August 08, 2008, 09:06:42 pm »
    Possible solution -- board nominates, staff votes.

    One of the ideas on the original drawing board was that for particularly sensitive positions, the board would nominate the candidates, while the staff votes on them.  This would essentially be switching roles, with the idea that a small committee is good for producing nominations, whereas in an election, the more votes the better. (Using the current voting model, board members could still vote as regular staff)

    If the board ended up only producing one willing nominee for a position  (or none!), the right to nominate for that position would then be extended to the staff. This would motivate the board to come up with at least two viable candidates. (Now, the board could intentionally nominate a second candidate that no one wants, in order to rig the election, but I'm hopeful that we could never produce a board capable of something as underhanded as that)

    This would preserve some of the board's power to limit the options to only experienced candidates. It would NOT do much to bring in more new blood than we're already getting, because in most cases the staff would still be limited to making suggestions. The downside is that this would require a more detailed description of the election process.



    Anyway, I suggest using this method solely for the positions of Facilities Liaison and Treasurer. What are your opinions?  I particularly want to hear what the board thinks of this idea.
    This is certainly something to be considered.  I've done my best to highlight the important parts in that to make it less of a block of text.

    Here's another idea:
    The person who held the position or Treasurer or Facilities Liaison for the previous con year nominates 2-5 candidates for the upcoming con year.  Prior to the con*, the previous board looks through each nomination, and any person who is disapproved by a 3/4 vote (the current Fac. Li./Treas. excluded) will not be included on the ballot; everyone else is voted on by the staff.

    This applies 3 opportunities for us to not pick the wrong person, and really only adds one step.  It allows the most qualified person around - the person who's faithfully executed the position for a full year or more - to nominate candidates.

    * This part couldn't be implemented this year, but definitely next year.


    [EDITED to fix HTML error]
    « Last Edit: August 08, 2008, 09:08:11 pm by DancingTofu »
    moderators gonna moderate </shrug>

    Offline babysugarbear28

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #93 on: August 09, 2008, 01:23:35 am »
    I do like both Radien and Tofu's ideas for the nomination of treasurer and liaison... That could very well work If the Board could come up with some good candidates based on public interest in the position and who the board thinks might work well. This way the general staff still has their vote and people won't be able to run just for the sake of running. Still remember that the change to the bylaws needs to be made for the board to be able to easily remove them if they still somehow after all those hoops and redtape manage to pull the wool over all our eyes (crafty buggers).

    Offline TomtheFanboy

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #94 on: August 09, 2008, 01:18:58 pm »
    What if the CURRENT Board members were the ones nominating the Treasurer and the Facilities Liaison.

    They've all got one year of experience on the board (at least) so they'll know who has been responsible this year. It shouldn't be too hard to discuss and Jeff already said they're having a couple meetings before the con (one may have already happened for all we know though >_> ).

    Most importantly they could announce their nominations at the end of the con or here on the forums like everyone else. Heck they could even write little blurbs about each of the candidates they picked to help the staff know them better. For the board members not running for positions the next year, this could be a way to keep them involved in the election process.

    Anyway, summary:
    The positions of Vice Chair and Secretary would be elected by the general Staff vote, using the nominations of the general staff.
    The positions of Treasurer and Facilities Liaison would be elected by the General Staff vote, but only using the nominations of the current Board Members.



    ....also, I just have to make one jab.....
    How sensitive can these positions be if I was nominated?  ;)
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    Offline Radien

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #95 on: August 09, 2008, 07:06:22 pm »
    What if the CURRENT Board members were the ones nominating the Treasurer and the Facilities Liaison.

    That's actually just what I was thinking of suggesting. :)

    Having the 2008 staff nominate the 2009 Facilities Liaison and Treasurer, for instance, would allow those positions to go to vote at the same meeting as the general election. It would save time, and would also address the issue of throwing newly-elected board members immediately into the nominations process.

    If not enough willing nominees are secured by the board beforehand, the staff would be allowed an opportunity to make nominations during the general election meeting.  If the staff doesn't make any nominations, the election proceeds with just one candidate. (Hopefully that would mean that everybody wants to see him/her elected :) )

    Anyway, summary:
    The positions of Vice Chair and Secretary would be elected by the general Staff vote, using the nominations of the general staff.
    The positions of Treasurer and Facilities Liaison would be elected by the General Staff vote, but only using the nominations of the current Board Members.

    Good summary. I'm not good at summaries. So... please read Tom's. ;)



    Also, a quick update on the bylaws themselves:

    I've printed out the bylaws and have been going through them, making comments. Most of the amendments proposed for the actual document would be the removal of passages that no longer apply. In many cases no additions are necessary. If possible, I will bring some printouts to the meeting which show the "before" and "after" of the document side-by-side, with helpful highlighting.


    Addendum:

    I'm operating with the copy of the bylaws posted on the main site under Documents, here. This is the most up to date copy, correct?

    Also, once I finish that comparison document I'll post it online, so staffers won't have to wait to read the paper copy.


    Addendum #2:

    The proposal has been updated. Please click to the first post in this thread to view. I am working on the wording for the actual bylaws, and have typed up most of the proposed changes. I will post more information tomorrow.
    « Last Edit: August 10, 2008, 05:50:07 am by Radien »
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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #96 on: August 10, 2008, 07:52:31 pm »
    The first draft of the amendment proposal is ready for review. If you don't mind a little legalese, please feel welcome to read it. :)  I have tried to be as clear as possible.  You will need a word processor capable of reading MS Word documents.  If you have trouble opening it, please PM me and I will work out another way to get the information to you.

    Download VotingRightsBylaws.doc

    As before, your input is welcome.  At this point I have mostly settled on the intent of the amendment; now I'd like to hear your nitty-gritty feedback about the wording.  One thing I'd like to point out is that I've decided to include language in the amendment that updates the Board's ability to remove officers. I hope this will quell the Board's fears about any unexpected obstacles that may arise in their duties.



    Also, I wanted to revisit a question that popped up earlier in this thread.  JeffT and some other Board members were discussing the question of whether the Board should meet separately to vote on the proposed amendment.  After rereading the bylaws, I strongly believe they should vote at the general meeting.  Here's what the bylaws have to say about it (underline added for emphasis):

    Quote from: Kumori Con Bylaws: Article 8, section A

    A two thirds vote of the Board and a two thirds vote of the Membership at a meeting that meets quorum and notice requirements as defined in these bylaws shall be required to amend or replace the Articles of Incorporation or these Bylaws.


    Here is my reasoning of why it should all be done at one meeting:

    • 1. The bylaws only specify one meeting and refer to all the meeting requirements in one sentence. If it goes to vote, that means that we've already met Board quorum at that meeting.  Why put it off if the Board is already there?
    • 2. Going by the voting rights we use in every other situation, the Board is *part* of the staff membership, and will therefore be taking part in the general staff vote. Why should they vote again in private when their vote has already been recorded?
    • 3. If the Board meeting is private, that means I won't be allowed to attend, and I won't be able to answer any new concerns that the Board may bring up.
    • 4. Likewise, other non-Board staff will be unable to shed light on any effects the amendment may have. This includes Vallie, who helped me write the proposal.
    • 5. Since the bylaws are designed to apply to ALL con business until further notice, the Board doesn't need to reveal sensitive information in order to discuss the proposal's ramifications.  Individual circumstances need only be referred to as hypothetical examples.
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    Offline TomtheFanboy

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #97 on: August 11, 2008, 08:30:14 am »
    Tom's rolling list of bylaw-edit comments.
    (I'll be editting this post bit by bit as I review.

    I don't think that 4B1 needs to be re-written so much. I think you should just remove the portion about the board and leave it at that. The nominations can be covered later.

    4B3 does need to be changed. However, I do not think there is any reason to change the vote fraction. The reason 2/3 works is that there is 9 board members. 3/4 of 9 votes is kind of impossible.

    I don't believe that 4B4 needs to be changed, though the process is different I believe the wording is still adequate.

    4B6 and 4B7 will of course have to be changed. 6 is not a problem since you just add vice and secretary. 7 should be cleaned up a bit. Let me try;

    Officers nominated by the Board: Treasurer and Facilities Liaison. In the event that fewer than 2 candidates for each office accept of these nominations, additional nominations will be opened to the membership.

    The only vague point there is whether the Board makes a nomination as one entity or if board members can make as many nominations asa they choose. I really don't think that matters though since their individual opinions can be made known during the election process.

    If it becomes a problem in the future we can try voting in an amendment that will clarify the nomination process for both the membership and the board.
    « Last Edit: August 11, 2008, 08:46:27 am by TomtheFanboy »
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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #98 on: August 11, 2008, 11:26:49 am »
    Quote
    4B3 does need to be changed. However, I do not think there is any reason to change the vote fraction. The reason 2/3 works is that there is 9 board members. 3/4 of 9 votes is kind of impossible.
    Where is the 3/4 figure coming from?  I used it in my idea for nominations because you're working with 8 individuals, so it's still 6 votes out of n.
    If you're excluding the officer pending removal from the vote, you should make note of that.  If not, use the 2/3 figure or 7/9.

    Quote
    Officers-elect shall take office the day after they are elected.
    This should be separate from 4B7.
    moderators gonna moderate </shrug>

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #99 on: August 11, 2008, 08:13:24 pm »
    I don't think that 4B1 needs to be re-written so much. I think you should just remove the portion about the board and leave it at that. The nominations can be covered later.

    You're right; it's unnecessarily bulky. I'll wipe that from the amendment and leave 4.B.1 unchanged.

    4B3 does need to be changed. However, I do not think there is any reason to change the vote fraction. The reason 2/3 works is that there is 9 board members. 3/4 of 9 votes is kind of impossible.

    (DancingTofu mentioned this too)

    I think the ratio needs to be changed to balance out the fact that the Board would now be able to override the staff membership's popular vote. Removing officers is not something that should be taken lightly. With a group of people this small, having one or two dissenting opinions is pretty significant.

    I changed the majority required to 3/4 because it's the next-largest commonly used ratio. 3/4ths of 9 is 6.75 votes.  That means that 6 votes is too few, while 7 is sufficient. The fact that it's not possible to get 6.75 votes is not terribly important. However, if we're quite sure that there aren't going to be new officers added in the foreseeable future, I can change the ratio to 7/9 to avoid confusing people (since the net result is the same, as long as there are exactly 9 Board members).

    Oh, also, there's nothing saying the officer up for removal can't vote on the decision, so you can effectively assume that one of those 9 Board members will be voting "nay." I think that's how it's always been treated. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

    I don't believe that 4B4 needs to be changed, though the process is different I believe the wording is still adequate.

    I think it needs to be clarified at some point, but you're right, it's not necessary for this bill. I'll cancel that amendment to streamline things.

    4B6 and 4B7 will of course have to be changed. 6 is not a problem since you just add vice and secretary. 7 should be cleaned up a bit.

    Let me try;

    Officers nominated by the Board: Treasurer and Facilities Liaison. In the event that fewer than 2 candidates for each office accept of these nominations, additional nominations will be opened to the membership.

    The only vague point there is whether the Board makes a nomination as one entity or if board members can make as many nominations asa they choose. I really don't think that matters though since their individual opinions can be made known during the election process.

    If it becomes a problem in the future we can try voting in an amendment that will clarify the nomination process for both the membership and the board.

    Well, I know I may have added a lot of language, but keep in mind that nominations weren't mentioned at all in the bylaws before this amendment. Now, however, we'd be using rules about nominations as a way of balancing out the powers of the staff membership and the Board.  Your wording is clearer in some ways, but it leaves out a lot of possible circumstances. For instance, having the Board decide on nominations as one instead of making nominations individually is a very large difference, because that would mean they'd be voting on who to nominate, effectively acting as a political party.

    Also, I think it's important to note when the board submits nominations, to make it quite clear that the old board nominates candidates for the new Treasurer/Fac. Liaison.

    Let me try rewording it again in a less roundabout way:

    "Officers nominated by members of the Board: Treasurer, Facilities Liaison. Current board members who wish to make nominations shall do so prior to the election.  In the event that fewer than two candidates accept nominations for a board-nominated office the voting members may make additional nominations for that office."

    Is that better? Also, if you noticed that I completely removed a clause, then read on:



    Quote
    Officers-elect shall take office the day after they are elected.
    This should be separate from 4B7.

    I've avoided changing the numbering of clauses as much as I can, but I agree that this one is important enough on its own to be a separate clause. It can be separated and renumbered to 4.B.8.  4.B.8 would then become 4.B.9.


    Edit: Typo, wrote "Secretary" when I meant "Treasurer."
    « Last Edit: August 11, 2008, 10:35:41 pm by Radien »
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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #100 on: August 11, 2008, 09:38:46 pm »
    i think that just letting the board nominate and the staff deside is just going to lead to the saim complaints that there arn't enough people, or the variety or selection.

    i would rather see the nominations opened up to the general staff and then let the current (or out going) board refine that selction down to a few people and then let that go back to the general staff for elections. this would mean that nominations for those positions couldn't happen on the day of elections since the board would need to meet and talk about the people (though honestly i would hope they would be reseaching and getting to know the cannidates)
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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #101 on: August 11, 2008, 11:02:35 pm »
    this would mean that nominations for those positions couldn't happen on the day of elections since the board would need to meet and talk about the people (though honestly i would hope they would be reseaching and getting to know the cannidates)

    I could change that clause to allow the Board to announce nominations at the election, but I was finding it difficult to make it clear that the old Board was making the nominations without concretely separating them from the new Board. I could push their "deadline" to the start of the elections for those two positions, but I want to make sure that anybody who reads it understands that the newly-elected Board aren't the ones making the nominations.

    Edit:

    I took a stab at it, and actually, it might work more smoothly this way.

    Quote from: Possible Amended Article 4.B.7 and 4.B.8
    Officers nominated by members of the Board: Treasurer, Facilities Liaison.  In the event that fewer than two eligible candidates have accepted nominations for a Board-nominated office in time for the election, the voting members may make additional nominations for that office.

    Officers-elect shall take office the day after they are elected.

    You have to know the context, which says that logically, an officer-elect who hasn't taken office yet can't make Board-only nominations. but once you've realized that, everything else falls into place.

    There will have to come a point where we tell the Board members and nominees "last chance," but the only thing that's important about that moment is that it will happen sometime between the start of the election meeting and the beginning of the candidate Q&A session. Whoever is presiding over the meeting would decide when that moment occurs (usually Con Chair).
    « Last Edit: August 12, 2008, 12:42:13 am by Radien »
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    Offline JeffT

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #102 on: August 12, 2008, 02:18:49 am »
    With the new changes to the amendment I am much less likely to support it. The new procedure for two of the positions, for the board to nominate and then the staff to vote from those nominations, is too complex and seems to have the drawbacks of both of staff-only voting and board-only voting, without any clear benefit.

    Even though I supported making any of the board positions staff-elected, I'd rather some of them stick to being board-elected for now, than to move to this board-nominate, staff-vote, procedure.

    If the board has a clear opinion on the best candidate, just let them vote, rather than have the opportunity to deliberately omit certain candidates. The proposed process creates a situation where the board (or board members) have a clear incentive to nominate a weak candidate alongside their preferred one. Although this was described as something that would be inappropriate by the board, that's not clear. It puts the board, or any board member, in a position where they have a conflict between making sincere nominations and using their influence to attempt to cause the best candidate to be ultimately elected. This creates doubt in the board's, or board member's actions, and these types of situations should be avoided.

    The bylaws do not currently mention nominations at all. By now mentioning them, there may be further implications in meaning that are not anticipated, and I would be uncomfortable making this change without more time for review, perhaps by a lawyer (which the current bylaws were--despite the document's flaws, I have found details in it that "seem" like they were added based on more informed legal advice or research, at least for those details if not the entire document). Whereas the changes in the bodies that elect certain positions involve only slight changes in wording, or primarily deletions, so I'm more comfortable making those changes on shorter notice.

    Considering that part of the proposal further, I would not want the current board to make the nominations, but would rather the new board do it. Outgoing board members are typically very exhausted and would be, all things considered, less likely than new incoming, or continuing, board members to make the best decision. Also, new board members have more recently had support affirmed by the staff.

    I don't like the change to increase the removal requirement from 2/3 to 3/4. 2/3 is enough of a hurdle to climb. Having two board members besides the person up for removal not needing to vote in favor allows for, for example, one person who will always support the person being removed, and another person aloof or missing the meeting. 3/4 might work OK, but I think that 2/3 is the best number. Note that raising it to 7/9 means that if one position is vacant, all of the remaining positions must vote for removal. So if we're increasing the number, definitely don't make it 7/9.

    If 3.D.6. is struck, then 4.B.1. should be reworded in a couple of ways: "2/3 majority" (or whatever fraction) should be "2/3". "Majority" meaning anything other than "more than half" is an error (albeit a common one). (Yes, our current bylaws have this error. Among many others.) And, it should say "of the entire board". So if less directors attend the meeting, that does not decrease the number needed to remove. 3.D.6. is worded just such so I think this is implicit, but a little less explicit than I'd like, and if 3.D.6. is struck, then if "of the entire board" is not added, it becomes a vote just of those present and voting, which would be definitely undesirable.

    I don't see any reason to make the elections take effect the next day--this seems strange. If time is needed to finish business, then make it 7 days, or 14 days, or something. But, I don't think this is necessary. Having it be "the next day" makes the transition strange--it will happen at some unspecified point in time (at midnight?) the next day. And it creates an uncomfortable "lame duck" period that lasts a few hours. At this point I'd be most comfortable with not changing the wording, and let 3.D.2. or 4.B.5. prevail. (Yes, the redundancy between those two is another flaw.) I think the transition happening at the meeting, where likely all current and new directors will be present, makes the most sense.
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    Offline TomtheFanboy

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #103 on: August 12, 2008, 10:10:14 am »
    If the board has a clear opinion on the best candidate, just let them vote, rather than have the opportunity to deliberately omit certain candidates. The proposed process creates a situation where the board (or board members) have a clear incentive to nominate a weak candidate alongside their preferred one. Although this was described as something that would be inappropriate by the board, that's not clear. It puts the board, or any board member, in a position where they have a conflict between making sincere nominations and using their influence to attempt to cause the best candidate to be ultimately elected. This creates doubt in the board's, or board member's actions, and these types of situations should be avoided.

    Aren't the board members in this position already due to the nature of their position?
    Great Power and Great Responsibility and all that. I should think that all board members only make sincere nominations, nobody should be nominating someone just because they're friends.
    I know that leashy is good with money and can be trusted.
    I'd hate to think that any of the Board's selections last year were decided by camaraderie rather than reason.


    Also, in response to the issues Pezzer brought up, that's another election. The whole revision process of the nominations has been to remove the need for a second election, especially a second election that requires the general staff to be present.
    As for the current board members being tired, yes that makes sense. However the only reason they are asked to make nominations for the Treasurer and Facilities positions is because the board is telling us that those positions are too sensitive to trust to anyone other than the board! The NEW board members will have just gotten the reigns of power and in most cases will just be normal staff members with a fancy title. The former (current) board will have had enough experience at their jobs AND will be trustworthy enough to make these judgments because they are still board members. That is, they haven't flaked out or gotten kicked out of the board itself.

    The 3/4 vote thing still rubs me the wrong way but it's not a deal breaker. They're right about needing clarity on the "full board membership" mention.
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    Offline JeffT

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #104 on: August 12, 2008, 01:08:09 pm »
    Aren't the board members in this position already due to the nature of their position?
    Great Power and Great Responsibility and all that.

    Yes, but one of the whole points of bylaws is to design a system least susceptible to abuse. Saying that board members need to be trusted doesn't change this.

    I should think that all board members only make sincere nominations, nobody should be nominating someone just because they're friends.

    My point is that the proposed board-nominate, staff-vote system produces a system where in some cases, the incentive is to not nominate sincerely. Although board members could always take irresponsible actions in any aspect of their jobs, here the system actually creates such an incentive rather than the board member needing to supply it on their own.

    It's fraught with opportunities for suspicion, politics, and lack of transparency, even more than just having the board vote. If the board has a preferred candidate, then it has a different incentive in nominating a first candidate than the second, and then again a different incentive in a second candidate than a third. Further, the board is put into a position where they will be under pressure to either nominate all the candidates that any staff members want (which means we will have to have open "pseudo-nominations" prior to the board's "real" nominations according to the bylaws--another reason I don't want to amend the bylaws to mention nominations, at least not on short notice), or the board will have to publicly exclude the weakest candidates, which creates far more hurt feelings and/or drama than simply selecting a single winner in private does.

    The NEW board members will have just gotten the reigns of power and in most cases will just be normal staff members with a fancy title. The former (current) board will have had enough experience at their jobs AND will be trustworthy enough to make these judgments because they are still board members. That is, they haven't flaked out or gotten kicked out of the board itself.

    Board members who have not been kicked off may still have flaked. It's true they are expected to make good decisions for the entire duration of their terms. But when designing the system (bylaws), if there is a choice between the old board and the new, the new is the clear choice. New board members may not have had board experience but they have had extensive staff experience, and some board members will be continuing a repeat position. From my own board experience, a new, just-elected board member is far better to make a good judgment than a burned-out, but more experienced outgoing board member. To me, having the old board do it is similar to suggesting a bylaws change to make the outgoing board instead of the incoming board elect the 4 board-elected staff positions--a regression and completely the opposite of the direction I'd want to move toward.

    In considering all these bylaws issues I'm not just thinking about clear-cut cases of abuse, like stealing money. I'm thinking more about the far more common cases of disagreements, burnout, and politics (which happen every year), how staff members build up experence from their first positions to board positions, how people work together, and how the board elections and general elections play out. I've observed at least 3 significant flareups involving boards (some of them second-hand so in those cases I try to observe what I can without drawing premature conclusions about any specific people involved), and drawing on the similarities between them.
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    Offline TomtheFanboy

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #105 on: August 12, 2008, 05:02:35 pm »
    OK, I see what you mean and I've already stated my opposing opinions.
    the only one I'll repeat is that if the NEW board makes the nominations we still have to deal with another election. If you're trying to gain quorum among the previous year's staff that will be messy. Perhaps the second election can be done among the staff who have already signed on for next year. Hmmm....


    Let's clarify something though, When Radien says that the board will be making the nominations, I don't think that it means the board will be acting as a single entity. I think that it means that only the board members have the right to make nominations. This means that if everyone disagrees the membership could be left choosing between 9 nominees for each position (7 if it's the new board). I do not see this as a risk of corruption.
    Of course if the idea is that the board sits down and has to AGREE on a set of nominations then we're back where we started with them choosing the treasurer and Facilities person. Then there would be no point in changing that bit and trying to take those positions away at all.


    « Last Edit: August 13, 2008, 07:10:36 pm by TomtheFanboy »
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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #106 on: August 12, 2008, 05:30:56 pm »
    OK, I see what you mean and I've already stating my opposing opinions.
    the only one I'll repeat is that if the NEW board makes the nominations we still have to deal with another election. If you're trying to gain quorum among the previous year's staff that will be messy. Perhaps the second election can be done among the staff who have already signed on for next year. Hmmm....


    Let's clarify something though, When Radien says that the board will be making the nominations, I don't think that it means the board will be acting as a single entity. I think that it means that only the board members have the right to make nominations. This means that if everyone disagrees the membership could be left choosing between 9 nominees for each position (7 if it's the new board). I do not see this as a risk of corruption.
    Of course if the idea is that the board sits down and has to AGREE on a set of nominations then we're back where we started with them choosing the treasurer and Facilities person. Then there would be no point in changing that bit and trying to take those positions away at all.




    You're right, I see the purpose of the previous board making the nominations is to avoid a second staff elections meeting.

    That just goes back to my preference to either make it just ordinary staff voting, or leave it board for now.

    The split process is problematic--because it's not as good to have the old board making nominations (or to have 2 meetings), because you either have the problems with the whole board agreeing on nominees, or you have all 9 or 7 making individual nominations and then there's no point to just not having it be staff elected, and because of the complexity it adds to the bylaws.

    I'm guessing that most of the people who won't vote for the amendment if it includes treasurer and/or facilities liaison also won't vote for the board-nominate, staff-vote version--best to either make all 4 position staff-elected, or have alternate versions for the change of 2 or 3 of the positions. (But, I could be wrong. ^_^)
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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #107 on: August 12, 2008, 05:32:53 pm »
    you know what I like?
     ??? ??? ???
    Candy!
     ;D ;D ;D
    Candy is good and I love candy

    especialy chocolate, mmmm yum! my fav trick is making chocolate disapear
    you know I wouldnt compleatly trust some one who didnt like candy (spec chocolate, tho not counting peeps with allergys)
    I once knew a girl who didn't like chocolate, and true enough, she tried sabatoging a friendship of mine
    ....
    true story
    anywho I hope I have the day of the meeting off so I can go it will be an intersting one I am sure
    « Last Edit: August 12, 2008, 05:34:01 pm by superjaz »
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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #108 on: August 12, 2008, 06:59:16 pm »
    Let's clarify something though, When Radien says that the board will be making the nominations, I don't think that it means the board will be acting as a single entity. I think that it means that only the board members have the right to make nominations. This means that if everyone disagrees the membership could be left choosing between 9 nominees for each position (7 if it's the new board). I do not see this as a risk of corruption.
    Of course if the idea is that the board sits down and has to AGREE on a set of nominations then we're back where we started with them choosing the treasurer and Facilities person. Then there would be no point in changing that bit and trying to take those positions away at all.

    This is 100% the case. In fact, when I say "the members of the Board may make nominations" I'd think the logical conclusion is that they are NOT trying to form some sort of consensus.

    In fact, I'm slightly bothered by the idea that the Board should always act as a hive mind... Courteous dissent is necessary for democracy to work! Gragh!

    There are other things I want to answer tonight, but I want to get that out in the open since I have a habit of taking so much time creating my responses that several people post while I'm still typing.
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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #109 on: August 12, 2008, 08:06:09 pm »
    Regarding nominations from Board members:

    JeffT, I have to admit I'm a little frustrated here, because these changes are attempts to make the proposal acceptable to everyone. I am willing to work with whatever response I receive, and I'm happy to listen to your concerns.  First, let me defend my ideas briefly.

    The point of the Board-nomination idea is that the staff would get a choice; any choice. Doing so would cause the person in such an office to answer to the staff to some degree. I don't see this as really being the case in the current system -- we know precious little about what some of the Officers do when we're not at the general meeting.

    As for the Board working together and nominating a weak candidate, that could possibly happen... but only if every single Board member was in on it, and all but two agreed not to initiate nominations at all.  I'd like to think that no Board is capable of this, but that may not be the case.

    If the alternative nomination process is too difficult, I may not be able to propose it, but mostly due to the necessary additions being too bulky.


    How others do it:

    I wanted to take a moment to point two things out...

    • Sakura Con makes *all* of its major elected positions staff-elected, including Facilities Liaison and Treasurer. Considering that they're a "Big Ten" con now, this is putting a very large amount of confidence in the general staff.
    • Sakura Con's Board of Directors does not have the ability to remove staff-elected Officers in any capacity, 2/3 vote or no.


    Anyway, I know that we don't agree with how Sakura Con does things 100% of the time, but they're a good point of reference as the other big Pacific Northwest anime con.  And in the case of staff-elected Officers, I think they've mostly got it right.


    Whether the bylaws are watertight:

    With all due respect, I don't think the lawyer who looked over the bylaws really finished the job. There is too much confusing and redundant language, and several parts are fairly vague. For instance, at one point it requires the Board to "give prior notice" without specifying any length of time required for the notice, which could be interpreted as "one hour's notice" and still technically be within the listed requirements.

    But oh well. They've held together until now, so further changes beyond this proposal can wait until later. If it's the difference between making this proposal viable or not, then I'll lean towards including less new language. Still, I strongly think we need to go over it in the coming year.


    My Suggested Alternative:

    Treasurer and Facilities Liaison could remain Board-elected.  However, if so, I would like to add something to the proposal which would at least make the system a little more transparent.  Here's what I'm thinking right now:

    The meeting for Board-elected positions should no longer be private. That doesn't mean holding it at a general meeting, but it does mean posting the time and the location publicly (on the site calendar), and allowing anyone who really cares about it to attend (provided they don't disrupt). This would make the process much more transparent, and it would sooth the worries of anyone who thinks that every nominated candidate is being considered.

    This change doesn't even need to be added into the bylaws, but I would want a public statement about the Board's intent to make the meeting open to staff who want to view it.

    Another suggestion: if sensitive matters need to be discussed by the Board, they could always agree to go to a private room briefly to make those matters known.  However, it is easier than you may think to speak about these matters without divulging the details, and I sincerely believe that the amount of information that must be kept 100% confidential is great enough to close an entire election from the public.  After all, U.S. Courts are often open to the public. Why not a fan-run convention?


    Please tell me what you think of this.  I'm still looking to hear opinions from Board members; some haven't posted here yet.

    Also, I would like it if some of you would go back and reread this short bullet list about why the Board should vote on this proposal at the general meeting. I am still planning on bringing it up at the meeting, and it would behoove you to consider those points. :)
    « Last Edit: August 12, 2008, 08:24:41 pm by Radien »
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    Offline JeffT

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #110 on: August 12, 2008, 11:44:20 pm »
    I still support making all the board positions staff-elected. However, I also still think that some "compromise" systems for the disputed positions (Facilities Liaison and Treasurer) are worse then either just board-elected, or just staff-elected.

    You're right, if the nominations proposal has board members individually making nominations, then the board only nominating weak candidates is not really likely to happen. But, in that case, it is not much different than having the positions be staff-voted outright. It's just more complex, but I don't see any benefit.

    That's why I suggest, have a version of the amendment which makes all the positions staff-elected, and have a version that simply changes fewer of the positions, leaving them board-elected. I'm advocating for changing all the positions to staff-elected, but that might not get the support it needs to pass, and I don't think the people uncomfortable with changing all the positions will be comfortable with the hybrid, compromise arrangements.

    I know that the bylaws are not watertight or even close. I know that our lawyer review must have only caught certain things, because there are a lot of flaws in there. (This happened before I joined the board so I don't know much about the drafting of our current bylaws.) My hesitancy in supporting the nomination change is that it complicates issues in the bylaws further without offering any real benefit over one of the simpler amendments.

    I also think it wise to add, that I think there's a philosophic disagreement here over issues of staff having say in matters. The way our con is set up, the best way for staff to have influence is to take on larger staff positions and excel in them. The staff body as a whole does not really vote on much--voting is not the primary way for staff to have influence. Rather, I see voting as a checks and balances system to keep the organization, at a very high level, on the track that people want it. Basically, the bylaws, and the board structure it defines, exist to ensure that we stay an anime con, stay non-profit, stay all-volunteer, and other high-level things--unless the vast majority of people want to move it in a different direction. It's very difficult to effect major change, even by several influential board members.

    Just because a position is board-elected does not mean that it does not "answer to the staff", nor that the staff do not have a say. The board makes many decisions behind closed doors because it doesn't make sense to expose many things to a large number of people--especially if they are sensitive matters--but many times even if they're not. The balance to this is that board members are up for re-election each year. This is why I support making all the board positions staff-elected. I think at the end of the year, it's pretty clear who has done a good job and who has not, and who would be a good candidate to move up to a board position. Between staff who have worked with the board members and candidates, and endorsements and comments from respected staff members (both on and off the board), I think the right decision will be made nearly all the time in a staff election. It's also why I disagree with how Sakura-Con uses 2-year terms. I think if a person cannot otherwise get re-elected in any given year, then the best person for the job, who can get elected, is more important than preserving "board continuity"--even if there is nearly total board turnover. (If the entire board did a bad job...)

    One note: Sakura-Con does have their Facilities Liaison on a 1-year, board-elected term.

    I didn't yet respond to your message arguing for both parts of the vote on the bylaws amendment to take place all at a general meeting. I am reconsidering my original opinion, and am undecided at this point. I am considering how the bylaws should be interpreted and whether there is room for it to be done either way.

    If positions stay board elected, then that needs to be done at a private meeting. The dynamics of staff elections are very different from board elections. The staff body as a whole are swayed by endorsements, and lesser comments, as well as by staff members' own personal experiences. Endorsements and comments often "summarize", so to speak, a person's experience with a candidate for which most people in the staff body as a whole may not have first-hand knowledge. Whereas among board members, much more detail is discussed typically in the open, throughout the year--at meetings, in person, on the directors' mailing list--this makes sense as board members have a special decision-making responsibility in the organization and there are only a few votes that make up the decision. For a critical decision like votes to elect other board members, it is inappropriate to air to the public this detailed information, especially when these are personal comments about specific individuals on staff.
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    Offline TomtheFanboy

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #111 on: August 13, 2008, 12:11:31 am »
    This is 100% the case. In fact, when I say "the members of the Board may make nominations" I'd think the logical conclusion is that they are NOT trying to form some sort of consensus.

    OK, first off when you quote someone that has put down two opposite choices, please only quote the one you are agreeing with.

    I don't think that you're going to be able to please any more people than you already have.
    I don't think that you should change any more of the wording. Those of us that have contributed to this debate have framed our own opinions up rather well, and you can take from each of us what you will for the unspoken masses. The board members that have not yet commented are probably so busy getting things in shape for the meeting on Saturday (three days away by the time I'm done posting) that they will probably not be posting anyway.

    What is your final nomination policy for Treasurer and Facilities? That is the last piece of the puzzle.

    Edit: Jeff finished his post while I was typing. Heh.
    As far as publicizing the Board's decisions, I know that there's all sorts of stuff in the background that doesn't belong in the public. If they do end up controlling the vote on some of the positions, I would appreciate if they include a little statement about why they chose whatever person gets the job. I don't want details from each member, but a little soundbite about the new board member and what set him or her apart from the other nominees. This should build confidence in their pick and help show people what they're looking for in the future. I'm sure someone on the board will be able to spin whatever decision they make.
    « Last Edit: August 13, 2008, 01:09:31 am by TomtheFanboy »
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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #112 on: August 13, 2008, 02:35:37 am »
    I also think it wise to add, that I think there's a philosophic disagreement here over issues of staff having say in matters. The way our con is set up, the best way for staff to have influence is to take on larger staff positions and excel in them. The staff body as a whole does not really vote on much--voting is not the primary way for staff to have influence.

    Perhaps there is somewhat of a philosophical difference. Ever since I was a wee babe of 20 at Sakura Con '00, my stance has been that saying "if you don't like it, join staff and fix it" is an inappropriate way to respond to attendee complaints (it's a good "by the way..." suggestion, yes, but never a response). However, being a philosophical difference definitely doesn't prevent ot from being a valid basis for change. The con is having problems, and they coincide with a significant drift away from ideals such as that.

    It's true that we don't really vote on much. And I believe that's largely because most of us know (or at least suspect) it won't do any good. If a staff member really wants to effect change, but doesn't have enough experience to run for office, they're pretty much sunk. When the staff votes, their power is concretely checked by the Board at every turn, but the Board is only really checked by the staff once a year. (Unless you count staff removal of officers...but that's a dire response which is counterproductive when used too often)

    One note: Sakura-Con does have their Facilities Liaison on a 1-year, board-elected term.

    I stand corrected.

    I wanted to research the election procedures of other cons, but Kumori Con and Sakura Con are the only two I found that put their bylaws/election procedures on the main site (to both conventions' credit).

    I didn't yet respond to your message arguing for both parts of the vote on the bylaws amendment to take place all at a general meeting. I am reconsidering my original opinion, and am undecided at this point. I am considering how the bylaws should be interpreted and whether there is room for it to be done either way.

    I think this interpretation is important as it affects one of the only concrete powers staff members have. Thank you for considering it. I want to bring it up at the meeting, but I'll try not to drag things out. It's merely bringing up one of the bylaws, not attempting to change it. :)


    If positions stay board elected, then that needs to be done at a private meeting. The dynamics of staff elections are very different from board elections. The staff body as a whole are swayed by endorsements, and lesser comments, as well as by staff members' own personal experiences. Endorsements and comments often "summarize", so to speak, a person's experience with a candidate for which most people in the staff body as a whole may not have first-hand knowledge. Whereas among board members, much more detail is discussed typically in the open, throughout the year--at meetings, in person, on the directors' mailing list--this makes sense as board members have a special decision-making responsibility in the organization and there are only a few votes that make up the decision. For a critical decision like votes to elect other board members, it is inappropriate to air to the public this detailed information, especially when these are personal comments about specific individuals on staff.

    I understand all the differences you mentioned, but none of the above gives me the confidence to believe that keeping it completely private benefits the convention, particularly the last sentence. Members of a volunteer, non-profit organization need to be able to give and receive criticism of each other in a way that does not require secrecy at every turn.

    ...To be frank, the Board never really manages to keep total secrecy, anyway, in which case discreetness often becomes nasty rumors, which are often far more problematic than the truth.

    As far as publicizing the Board's decisions, I know that there's all sorts of stuff in the background that doesn't belong in the public. If they do end up controlling the vote on some of the positions, I would appreciate if they include a little statement about why they chose whatever person gets the job. I don't want details from each member, but a little soundbite about the new board member and what set him or her apart from the other nominees. This should build confidence in their pick and help show people what they're looking for in the future. I'm sure someone on the board will be able to spin whatever decision they make.

    (quoted out of chronological order because of its relevancy)

    While I'm not looking for "spin," a diplomatic explanation is better than none at all. However, I think it should be expanded to briefly mention all the candidates who were nominated, to show that no one was dismissed without proper consideration.

    I think I will include this in my proposal, but it might be more appropriate to make it a separate proposal altogether. It wouldn't even be a problem if it were voted on at the meeting following the con, because it wouldn't have an effect until the meeting after the Board election. :)


    OK, first off when you quote someone that has put down two opposite choices, please only quote the one you are agreeing with.

    Sorry about that... >< I agreed with your evaluation of the second option, so I quoted the whole thing, but I should have split it into two quotes.

    I don't think that you're going to be able to please any more people than you already have.
    I don't think that you should change any more of the wording. Those of us that have contributed to this debate have framed our own opinions up rather well, and you can take from each of us what you will for the unspoken masses. The board members that have not yet commented are probably so busy getting things in shape for the meeting on Saturday (three days away by the time I'm done posting) that they will probably not be posting anyway.

    What is your final nomination policy for Treasurer and Facilities? That is the last piece of the puzzle.

    Point taken. :) The discussion has pretty much come to a close.

    I will present a final version of the proposal tomorrow evening. Remember, though, that "further changes" sometimes means rescinding previous amendments that were complicating the issue. I'm going to try to adhere to the "KiSS" rule in order to make it as easy as possible on the voting membership come Saturday.




    Thanks for everbody's input so far. I hope I haven't offended many of you -- though I'm fairly certain I've bored more than a few. ;)


    Edit: Fixed several typos.
    « Last Edit: August 13, 2008, 02:39:53 am by Radien »
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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #113 on: August 13, 2008, 06:10:36 pm »
    yay I have this day coming i can has vote time peasss!


    ....and candy

    ***edit***
    for some reason I thought this meeting was on sunday, and not sat
    sadly i work sat and can't make it, goodluck steve!
    « Last Edit: August 14, 2008, 06:31:07 pm by superjaz »
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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #114 on: August 13, 2008, 09:03:06 pm »
    All,

    So, this proposal does cross the lines of the law a bit...

    Mainly, the board cannot remove (unless you really read into part of the law a bit too much, because I don't think it means what it could mean) a member elected director.

    Chapter 65 of Oregon Corporate Law, relating to non-profit organizations, section 65.324 Removal of directors elected by members or directors.

     (1) The members may remove one or more directors elected by them with or without cause unless the articles of incorporation provide that directors may be removed only for cause.
          (2) If a director is elected by a class, chapter or other organizational unit or by region or other geographic grouping, only the members of that class, chapter, unit or grouping entitled to vote may participate in the vote to remove the director.
          (3) Except as provided in subsection (9) of this section, a director may be removed under subsection (1) or (2) of this section only if the number of votes cast to remove the director would be sufficient to elect the director at a meeting to elect directors.
          (4) If cumulative voting is authorized, a director may not be removed if the number of votes, or if the director was elected by a class, chapter, unit or grouping of members, the number of votes of that class, chapter, unit or grouping, sufficient to elect the director under cumulative voting is voted against the director’s removal.
          (5) An elected director may be removed by the members only at a meeting called for the purpose of removing the director and the meeting notice must state that the purpose, or one of the purposes, of the meeting is removal of the director.
          (6) In computing whether a director is protected from removal under subsections (2) to (4) of this section, it should be assumed that the votes against removal are cast in an election for the number of directors of the class to which the director to be removed belonged on the date of that director’s election.
          (7) An entire board of directors may be removed under subsections (1) to (5) of this section.
          (8 ) A director elected by the board of directors may be removed with or without cause, unless the articles of incorporation or bylaws provide that directors may be removed only for cause, by the vote of two-thirds of the directors then in office or such greater number as is set forth in the articles or bylaws. However, a director elected by the board to fill the vacancy of a director elected by the members may be removed by the members, but not the board.
          (9) If at the beginning of a director’s term on the board, the articles or bylaws provide that the director may be removed for reasons set forth in the articles or bylaws, the board may remove the director for such reasons. The director may be removed only if a majority of the directors then in office vote for the removal.
          (10) The articles or bylaws of a religious corporation may:
          (a) Limit the application of this section; and
          (b) Set forth the vote and procedures by which the board or any person may remove with or without cause a director elected by the members or the board. [1989 c.1010 §77]

    The relevant paragraph is number 2. Basically, only those that elected a director can remove them. Section 9 MAY allow for the board to remove a director elected by the staff, but I highly doubt that would stand up in court, as it's supposed to be a reason (like "if they die, or are unable to serve"), and not a method.

    I'll cover my thoughts about this motion at the meeting this weekend... I will say that I get the general impression from this thread that this motion is being driven by forces other than desire for transparency, and staff voting rights. =(

    Edit: for smiley in number 8
    « Last Edit: August 13, 2008, 09:52:39 pm by TomtheFanboy »
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    Offline DancingTofu

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #115 on: August 13, 2008, 09:31:45 pm »
    Hmm, staze, thanks for bringing that up.  That makes this whole motion a lot more serious.  I would absolutely oppose a motion that would disable the board from being able to remove the VP, Secretary, Treasurer, OR Facility Liaison when they need to.

    Quote
    If cumulative voting is authorized, a director may not be removed if the number of votes, or if the director was elected by a class, chapter, unit or grouping of members, the number of votes of that class, chapter, unit or grouping, sufficient to elect the director under cumulative voting is voted against the director’s removal.
    I read this over and over again and I couldn't make any sense of it, even simplifying it like so:
    Quote
    If [noun] is [verb]ed, [noun] may not [verb] if the [noun], or if the [noun] was [verb]ed by a [noun], the [noun], sufficient to [verb] the [noun] under [nounish verbing] is [verb]ed against the [noun]’s removal.


    Subsection 10 only applies to religious corporations?  Damn. :/
    moderators gonna moderate </shrug>

    Offline staze

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #116 on: August 13, 2008, 09:35:24 pm »
    DancingTofu...

    Yup. Basically, the only way you can make the board be able to remove a staff elected director is to say that the board is an "organization" within the organization. This is really reading far too into this, because everywhere else, the board is called "the board of directors"... so I think it would be misinterpreting the law to take it this way.

    and I'm totally against being a cult, btw. =P
    « Last Edit: August 13, 2008, 09:43:22 pm by staze »
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    Offline DancingTofu

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #117 on: August 13, 2008, 09:43:31 pm »
    Hmmm.  What if they remained Board Elected, but we had a system so that each board member acts in a manner similar to the electoral college, where they as individuals represent a larger entity's opinions, but their actual vote is technically their own?
    moderators gonna moderate </shrug>

    Offline TomtheFanboy

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #118 on: August 13, 2008, 09:59:55 pm »
    Well, as much as I support this thread, I do think that the board should have the right to remove any staff member at all if 2/3 of them agree upon it at a meeting of the entire board*. They are the people who are responsible for everything in an official standpoint.

    We can make an amendment in the bylaws that allows OTHER groups that power right? It says the word "only" but the board members are still part of the staff for voting purposes under article 2. Right?
    Couldn't we set up a special majority "either/or" sort of thing for votes to remove a board member?

    Or at least some way to strip them of power before the meeting where their removal is put to a vote. I'm all for a "powerless period" between when the vote is called and when the vote is actually decided, no matter who makes the decisions. It keeps things from getting damaged on their way out.



    *A meeting of the board can include members that are connect digitally, right?
    Telecommuting members can still legally be counted as present right?
    « Last Edit: August 13, 2008, 10:07:27 pm by TomtheFanboy »
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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #119 on: August 13, 2008, 10:05:32 pm »
    wow... that seems complicated to say the least. The electoral college can vote anyway they want, regardless of their state... they just usually vote the way their state wants.

    Who would the treasurer and secretary represent? Who would choose who they represent?

    I'm pretty sure that would just be muddying the waters, and create a greater conflict within the con, because a board member voted against the people they represented on logical, moral, or monetary grounds.

     For example... the staff would all say "we want to be paid for working for the con"... but the board says "no, that would bankrupt the con"... that's a dangerous situation. A lot of people are going to start yelling cabal!

    *sigh*

    I really hate to say this, but the way we have it now is not too bad. Yes, it should be transparent, and it should be handled in a more open way... but, with the board electing these positions, it allows for the quickest removal should the need arise, as well as a quick replacement by the board. But, that's not to say what we have is perfect... there have been some proposed ways to change things in the few bylaws drafts that have been passed around (last year)... some better than others. Some moved certain appointments to the founders, some removed voting rights of some of the board appointed directors to help prevent cronyism.

    I just really want to stress that this is a significant motion that would very greatly impact the running of the convention. And I can only see efficiency suffering as a result. =/

    That all said, I would like to make clear, and I will mention this at the meeting... I will not be accepting any nominations, nor running for any position, within the con next year, or at this time, for the foreseeable future. Some of you already know this... some may not. I only say this because I would like to maintain that I am trying to be as impartial as possible when discussion this issue, and lend no possible credence to the notion that I am arguing against the motion for my own personal gain. Whether other board appointed directors plan on running again or not is their choice to make, and I have no information with regards to that. So please, don't ask.
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    Offline staze

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #120 on: August 13, 2008, 10:17:23 pm »
    Well, as much as I support this thread, I do think that the board should have the right to remove any staff member at all if 2/3 of them agree upon it at a meeting of the entire board*. They are the people who are responsible for everything in an official standpoint.

    We can make an amendment in the bylaws that allows OTHER groups that power right? It says the word "only" but the board members are still part of the staff for voting purposes under article 2. Right?
    Couldn't we set up a special majority "either/or" sort of thing for votes to remove a board member?

    Tom, I'm not reading the law that way. If they meant the board, they would say the board. By creating another organization that contains the board members, but isn't the board, within the con, would be seriously skirting the law... and open us up to litigation in the case of a staff member or director being against the removal performed by that "shadow board".

    Even giving that power to say, the founders, would be asking for trouble. One, because for the most part, we're all pretty meek when it comes to removal, and two because the founders are seldom up on all that's taking place.

    The point of the law is to give the right to remove to the group that is knowledgeable and responsible for the given director. Theoretically, the staff should know more about how a director they appointed is performing than anyone (which, is certainly the case with the managing directors and the chair). But, since the treasurer, secretary, facilities liaison, and vice chair, have no official staff... who knows their (in)actions other than the board? What the managing directors, and the chair do is very transparent to all involved with the con. If the guests all suck, and there's only DBZ playing in the viewing rooms, you know who's responsible (Relations and the Programming director respectively). If more money than allowed got spent, or if paperwork didn't get filed, who's to blame? Maybe the treasurer and secretary, but it could be that actions were done without their consent... which then means it's someone elses fault... but to the staff, the buck stops with the directors. =/

    This is really a complex issue... and I can't tell you how many times the board has argued about this over the years. Even the founders argued about it. Several cons don't have elections at all (Fanime, the chair is elected by their "founders", and the chair appoints all directors. Kuwaii con, all directors are appointed by the "founders", who are based in Georgia... there is no chair, just a liaison to the founders). Efficiency, and fairness are two parts of a very contentious Venn diagram. The initial idea was to give the staff the right to vote for those that were their bosses, and those that were responsible for the content, and running of that specific year's con. All the others were there to make sure that incase of failure, the con still happened, and the organization survived.
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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #121 on: August 13, 2008, 10:25:24 pm »
    also, a few other points that aren't really controlling, but are worth consideration.

    1. The treasurer are secretary have their names on a lot of legal and financial documentation. Accounts, State paperwork, taxes, etc. These are things that mean that should the fit hit the shan, people are going to come looking for answers from them. That's a lot to be asking someone that may not grasp the full reality of their job. Does the staff plan on reviewing the resumes/credentials of those running for these positions?

    2. Continuity accounts for something. For the reasons above, it's not easy moving from one treasurer/secretary to another. The board is generally going to reappoint/elect someone from the previous year if they remain interested, and competent. Sure, that's cronyism to a certain extent, but it creates efficiency. I'm not trying to defend my job... I'm just saying, it plays a roll in decisions. Sure, the staff would probably do the same (look at Sak, and how long Rene has been financial officer)... but what happens if the staff want a whole new board because of some problem from the previous year... suddenly you are putting inexperienced people in charge of items they may not know about. And in the case of a contentious election... do you think the former treasurer/secretary are going to hang around? Can you force them?

    3. Facilities Liaison is an obvious why you want someone qualified. The idea that surfaced last time we discussed this was that one year's FL should be appointing an assistant that will take over the next year. So you build this hopscotch type of system, where each year you have someone that starts the previous year working with a hotel, only to work with that hotel full time the next year. It also creates qualified candidates should someone resign. It's something we're still kicking around.

    4. Vice chair. The idea has been that the VC should be the runner up. This used to be how the US did it back in the day. Unfortunately for them, they were often different parties, and had different ideals. This would often be the case for the con too. The VC is an extension of the chair, and fills in should the chair be unable to continue, or work for some amount of time. Shouldn't they get along? Anyone know how Roosevelt and Truman got along? Not at all. Hell, Truman didn't know anything about the Manhattan Project until after Roosevelt died. If the Chair and VC don't get along, do you think information sharing is going to be fluid? Should the members remove the chair, who would they be leaving in charge, someone that doesn't know what's going on. How can you enforce knowledge sharing?

    Add some more circles to that Venn... I'm sure there are more, but I can't think of them at the moment. =/
    « Last Edit: August 13, 2008, 10:30:30 pm by staze »
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    Offline TomtheFanboy

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #122 on: August 13, 2008, 10:31:53 pm »
    Tom, I'm not reading the law that way. If they meant the board, they would say the board. By creating another organization that contains the board members, but isn't the board, within the con, would be seriously skirting the law... and open us up to litigation in the case of a staff member or director being against the removal performed by that "shadow board".

    Yikes.

    Well then, the biggest and safest compromise seems to be leaving Facilities and Treasurer in the hands of the board and then move the rest over to general staff elections. That would maintain the power of the board to remove the people responsible for the big money. Though I still think that either way the board should maintain some sort of power of suspension over everyone, including those elected by the general staff.

    And in the case of a contentious election... do you think the former treasurer/secretary are going to hang around? Can you force them?

    True, we do have a history of sore losers at this convention. Most of the board members who ran for a second term or rand for a new position the next year and lost have completely fallen off the map. Sort of a "take their ball and go home" situation, only the ball is their experience.
    and in some cases all knowledge of their methods.  :-\

    Also, when the board makes their decision this year, maybe they'll take a note from all of this and have the membership invited to watch or give testimonials about the nominees. It could be like a sort of reality show. "So you think you can run a con?"
    I'd be glad to be the MC and provide entertainment while the board makes their actual final vote.

    We'll see how Radien amends his proposition.
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    Offline staze

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #123 on: August 13, 2008, 10:37:16 pm »
    please note, I just realized that some of the last couple posts may seem to paint the staff as unable to make fair/educated choices of directors. This is totally not the case, and not at all what I believe.

    I am only arguing that as Tom said, the Board is there to run the con, and be responsible for the organization. They have an extremely vested interest (legal in some cases, financial in most) for the organization running well, on time, and in a reasonable responsible manner. A staff member also wants the con to succeed, but cannot be expected, nor forced, to care about what should happen if we have issues with the bank, or finances, or the state, or the IRS. All they're interested in, generally, is making sure their area of the con runs well, and that they and others have a good time. The board is there to take all the "big" stuff, and deal with it so the staff doesn't have to worry about it. At least, that's the way I see it.

    And while I fully admit, we should share everything possible with the staff, for those that are interested, I also know that eyes glaze, and interest is lost when you start telling a group of people about something that maybe only a few people care about. Take a look around sometime when some specific part of the con comes up... some people are attentive, some are playing on their DS's. Tom's in the back filming. =P I'm making funny faces while taking minutes because it's what I do. It's not that we're not all listening, it's just that some of us aren't paying attention because it doesn't impact their job... or at least, they don't think it does.

    circles...
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    Offline TomtheFanboy

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #124 on: August 13, 2008, 10:46:50 pm »
    Take a look around sometime when some specific part of the con comes up... some people are attentive, some are playing on their DS's. Tom's in the back filming. =P I'm making funny faces while taking minutes because it's what I do. It's not that we're not all listening, it's just that some of us aren't paying attention because it doesn't impact their job... or at least, they don't think it does.

    Quoted for truth.

    I took special care to try and look at what everyone, board members and staffers, were doing last meeting.
    The games don't surprise me now as much as they did at the elections for the 2006 board, where a nominee was playing WoW the whole time.
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    Offline staze

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #125 on: August 13, 2008, 10:47:29 pm »

    True, we do have a history of sore losers at this convention. Most of the board members who ran for a second term or rand for a new position the next year and lost have completely fallen off the map. Sort of a "take their ball and go home" situation, only the ball is their experience.
    and in some cases all knowledge of their methods.  :-\

    Also, when the board makes their decision this year, maybe they'll take a note from all of this and have the membership invited to watch or give testimonials about the nominees. It could be like a sort of reality show. "So you think you can run a con?"
    I'd be glad to be the MC and provide entertainment while the board makes their actual final vote.

    We'll see how Radien amends his proposition.

    Yes, that's a big problem, but really unavoidable with a volunteer organization. Directors/Staff don't sign a contract saying they're responsible for training their replacement. They get "unelected", they leave pissed and drop off the planet. We've had chairs do that, and directors do that. =/

    I completely agree. In my opinion (and no one else's), this years board appointments should have been handled better. In the meeting tonight, I actually mentioned something similar to your idea, in that maybe the appointments should be like a trial... there's an audience, but they're non-participatory. The argument was brought up of executive privilege when it comes to discussion... but, you could have both. Open questioning and some discussion, then closed door discussion and voting. I'm not sure how that'd fly with everyone, but it's possible.

    Amendment of the motion is going to have to be extreme, since it will have to remove the board authority to remove directors, since it's illegal. That, in my mind, pretty much guts the motion. After that, it might as well be "Motion to amend the bylaws such that ALL voting board directors are elected by the voting members". Notice, the Founders are still board members, just non-voting. And they are defined in the bylaws... so you would basically have to remove them entirely from the bylaws to remove them from the board (there are several sections relating to the founder's rights on the board).

    As for whether the board could suspend someone... that also came up when discussing bylaws over the years... it's tricky, because it could be abused if it isn't strict... and, ultimately, it completely eliminates part of the law that says directors can be removed with or without cause. If you're suspending someone, you have to have cause, and eventual removal would stem from that cause. While it's legal to require cause, it's ultimately only going to potentially result in a repeat of this year's removal of Facilities Liaison. Lack of cause, and cries by the staff to state cause, and complication from different statements from different board members. =(

    *triple sigh*

    I hope, in some small way, I'm giving people a taste of what the board and founders had/have to deal with during the years... questions are always welcome, remember that. =)
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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #126 on: August 13, 2008, 10:50:32 pm »
    Quoted for truth.

    I took special care to try and look at what everyone, board members and staffers, were doing last meeting.
    The games don't surprise me now as much as they did at the elections for the 2006 board, where a nominee was playing WoW the whole time.

    Then maybe we need to have you in the front of the room filming the crowd... and have a camera locked down filming the board. Because the readings from the crowd are often more telling about an issue than readings from the board. =P you'd think, by reading the board, that I disapprove of everything, when really, I just make faces when thinking about things. I'm doing it right now, and there's not even anyone else in the room. =P
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    Offline staze

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #127 on: August 13, 2008, 10:55:59 pm »
    btw, I'm sorry I'm only now getting involved in this discussion. work/family have kinda been sucking up my time... and honestly, I had no idea until this evening and the board meeting, that the issue had become so contentious. =/  My bad.

    Oh, and really honestly, I just figured this was more drama... that was short sighted, and I apologize.
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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #128 on: August 14, 2008, 01:08:41 am »
    So, this proposal does cross the lines of the law a bit...

    Mainly, the board cannot remove (unless you really read into part of the law a bit too much, because I don't think it means what it could mean) a member elected director.

    That portion of the proposal was added to quell the worries of several Board members. I wasn't particularly fond of the idea myself, hence all the squabbling about 3/4 vs 2/3. The reason I didn't oppose it more specifically is because there's a considerable lag time required to assemble the general staff, and sometimes the Board really does have true emergencies to address, and not just matters of disagreement.

    Ironically, I'd already edited this and a number of clauses out of the proposal before this legal discussion began. I'm sorry that I didn't get it posted earlier on so I could have saved you all some breath. Still, it's important to know what's legal, and most of us -- even some Board members -- didn't know about that law.

    I'll cover my thoughts about this motion at the meeting this weekend... I will say that I get the general impression from this thread that this motion is being driven by forces other than desire for transparency, and staff voting rights. =(

    Of course, everybody always assumes ulterior motives...

    The bare truth of the matter is that while watching all the follies and drama that went on this year, I consoled myself in believing that if something was wrong, it could be remedied by simply waiting for the next election and trusting the popular vote to have a positive influence and decide what's best for the convention. When I started looking at the actual process, however, I began to question whether that was really the case.

    I just really want to stress that this is a significant motion that would very greatly impact the running of the convention. And I can only see efficiency suffering as a result. =/

    Personally, I think that what we are doing is far more important than how efficiently we do it. There are some conventions that intentionally stay small and "inefficient" because they are more intent on maintaining the same atmosphere than moving larger numbers of people through the gates. Explosive growth is exciting, but it can also be damaging, even when we're not breaking the fire code (and hotel elevators :) ).

    For the reasons above, it's not easy moving from one treasurer/secretary to another. The board is generally going to reappoint/elect someone from the previous year if they remain interested, and competent. Sure, that's cronyism to a certain extent, but it creates efficiency.

    We may want to consider two-year terms for specific Officers at some future date. It's something to keep in mind, even if we don't end up doing anything like that until 2010 or so.


    True, we do have a history of sore losers at this convention. Most of the board members who ran for a second term or rand for a new position the next year and lost have completely fallen off the map. Sort of a "take their ball and go home" situation, only the ball is their experience.
    and in some cases all knowledge of their methods.  :-\

    I, too, am very frustrated by this trend. I recently mentioned it to an elder of mine, who has served several terms as president of a small non-profit group in Eugene that's been around for several decades, and she was startled at how often people do this at conventions. Hate to say it, but I think it's mostly because we're run primarily by young people. And by young, I mean "under 40."

    And while I fully admit, we should share everything possible with the staff, for those that are interested, I also know that eyes glaze, and interest is lost when you start telling a group of people about something that maybe only a few people care about.


    Yes, but a lot of the people who prefer not to get involved actually have some pretty significant skills, or the ability to learn them. While it always seems that nobody really wants to be a Director, when thinks look dire and we don't have any candidates, usually people will reluctantly step forth. Sometimes they're very capable, or at least have a ton of potential, but have their own reasons for preferring to avoid a heavier responsibility... such as having a kid or getting married.

    If the entire Board up and disappeared right around election time, yes, we'd be pretty screwed. But if just a couple of them leave the picture, there's a good chance someone capable will come forth... even if it means putting down the DS. :P



    Okay. Time to put forth the proposal before I lose too much sleep. I don't want to make everybody wait until tomorrow, and I *did* promise it tonight. (though it's technically now "tomorrow"...)
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    Offline Radien

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    Final Proposed Bylaws Amendment
    « Reply #129 on: August 14, 2008, 01:54:08 am »
    Okay, I've finished.

    Click here to download the finalized Voting Rights Amendment Proposal


    I'm afraid some of you are going to facepalm at how simple this has ultimately become, but that's the beauty of discussion. Sometimes it's best to arrive at a good idea by burning through a number of bad ones. :) Hopefully, this amendment will represent the wishes of all parties as closely as possible.



    Now, there's another reason it is so short: I also plan on making another proposal at the meeting, but this one will be informal. I'm going to request that the Board promise to work out a summary of the results of the election for the two Board-elected positions, and report it at the following general meeting.

    It's more to keep us in-the-loop than anything else.  Think of it as a substitute for hearing the candidates' speeches. There are other ways this could be done, of course, so if you have any better ideas, please mention them at the meeting (or here if you really want to).

    (Edit: problems with URL/upload)
    « Last Edit: August 14, 2008, 02:29:51 am by Radien »
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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #130 on: August 14, 2008, 02:13:23 am »
    Quote
    An elected Officer may be removed by a 3/4 majority vote of the Board of Directors in office at any Board Meeting. An elected Officer may be removed by a majority vote of the membership attending a meeting where at least two weeks notice was given of the intention to remove the Officer.  Removal of a Founding Director as an Officer shall not affect the Founding Director’s position on the Board of Directors as a Founding Director.
    I thought you said you had removed this?
    moderators gonna moderate </shrug>

    Offline Radien

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #131 on: August 14, 2008, 02:29:21 am »
    I thought you said you had removed this?
    Oh, expletive... sorry, I'm having some trouble uploading it properly. Thanks for catching that early.

    I'm going to stop messing around with tinyurl.  Here's a direct link.  My original post will also be updated.

    http://bluecrescent.rpgcafe.net/VotingRightsBylaws-Final.doc
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    Offline DancingTofu

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #132 on: August 14, 2008, 03:08:35 am »
    Ah, that is a lot simpler, and I think I can comfortably vote in favour of this amendment at last!

    I am a little concerned with the fact that the board won't be able to remove the Secretary independently if this passes, because the voting membership, due to its size, has a much more delayed initiative.  I think that if we make sure to vote intelligently and openly though, it will work out fine.
    moderators gonna moderate </shrug>

    Offline melchizedek

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    Re: Final Proposed Bylaws Amendment
    « Reply #133 on: August 14, 2008, 09:00:52 am »
    Okay, I've finished.

    Click here to download the finalized Voting Rights Amendment Proposal

    I'm afraid some of you are going to facepalm at how simple this has ultimately become,
    Simple is good :D
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    Offline staze

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #134 on: August 14, 2008, 09:33:46 am »
    So, the question that immediately comes to mind is...

    How is electing the vice chair, and secretary going to solve some some problem that exists? In order to desire change, there must be something that created that desire.

    Is this simply fallout from how the board appointments happened this year, or is this due to who got elected to these positions? (yeah, I know, loaded question).

    The board not having the ability to remove the secretary is an issue. If the secretary doesn't do his/her job, legal matters don't get taken care of. Minutes don't get posted, contracts don't get signed, state paperwork doesn't get filed.

    *sigh* While I think this motion is significantly better in that it is simple, and does keep some of the efficiency of board appointments, it also seems like a compromise...

    two-year terms are generally a bad idea. Removal is a lot harder than election... both emotionally/mentally, and simple vote wise.

    But, I've said pretty much all I have to say on the matter... unless something really new comes up, I'll probably revert to lurk mode on this thread.

    See you at the meeting.
    « Last Edit: August 14, 2008, 11:18:38 am by staze »
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    Offline staze

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #135 on: August 14, 2008, 10:13:34 am »
    Of course, everybody always assumes ulterior motives...

    The bare truth of the matter is that while watching all the follies and drama that went on this year, I consoled myself in believing that if something was wrong, it could be remedied by simply waiting for the next election and trusting the popular vote to have a positive influence and decide what's best for the convention. When I started looking at the actual process, however, I began to question whether that was really the case.

    What happened this year would not have been helped at all by the general membership electing more people. What happened this year was tragic, and caused the board to remove someone for the first time. Before that, I had a personal argument with a director that got out of control. It really wouldn't have mattered who elected whom... unless the staff did not elect any of those that were involved, there was no one person that caused all of what happened...

    Personally, I think that what we are doing is far more important than how efficiently we do it. There are some conventions that intentionally stay small and "inefficient" because they are more intent on maintaining the same atmosphere than moving larger numbers of people through the gates. Explosive growth is exciting, but it can also be damaging, even when we're not breaking the fire code (and hotel elevators :) ).

    You're right... but what we're doing requires the ability to shift direction in the middle of something because it isn't working. Deciding to stay small, or get bigger, is really a choice of the board. And the majority of the board, is in fact elected by the staff. We have yet to have a board that believed staying smaller was better than growing (to my recollection).

    Really, I think the biggest argument against this motion, in any form, is the fact that those most qualified to determine whether someone is doing his/her job are those that work with/for that person. None of the 4 positions currently appointed by the board have any staff, and all they do, is work with the board. Therefore, the board should have the right to appoint and remove those people. As the legal authority behind the con, the board is responsible for the year, and the life of the organization. Waiting for a staff consensus to remove the secretary is only going to hurt the con, not help it. Sure, who elects that person doesn't really matter that much (except in the fact that the staff can't be expected to review credentials, or properly prepare said candidates for what the job really entails)... but who removes them does very much matter. And because legally the board can't remove them, then... we have a flaw.

    Please realize, the board has wrestled with this multiple times... these arguments have all happened before. =/

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    Offline valliegirl

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #136 on: August 14, 2008, 10:21:50 am »
    So, the question that immediately comes to mind is...

    How is electing the vice chair, and secretary going to solve some some problem that exists? In order to desire change, there must be something that created that desire.

    Is this simply fallout from how the board appointments happened this year, or is this due to who got elected to these positions? (yeah, I know, loaded question).


    While this is Steve's brain child, I've had a huge interest in this idea for many reasons, but the biggest of which comes from your own words:

    Elected directors should be elected, not appointed.  I want elections where a majority chooses between multiple persons who are truly interested in and capable of the positions they're vying for.  

    You've said previous that it's easier, if certain members of the board are interested in an additional term, to just give them the position.  While prior experience will always be a huge boon to that person's chances at re-election, it doesn't always automatically make them the best person for the job.  All candidates should be given considerations and then the body that elects them should vote based on total merit.  

    At this point, the best thing I can hope for to come out of all of this is that more people start paying attention.  I want the staff to have an active vested interested in what is happening with this convention at its highest levels.  And I want for the board, all of the board, to be accountable to those they serve.  I want for the staff to know what their rights are, and to exercise them.

    Those are my motives behind backing Steve.

     
    « Last Edit: August 14, 2008, 10:23:21 am by valliegirl »
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    Offline staze

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #137 on: August 14, 2008, 10:35:17 am »
    While this is Steve's brain child, I've had a huge interest in this idea for many reasons, but the biggest of which comes from your own words:

    Elected directors should be elected, not appointed.  I want elections where a majority chooses between multiple persons who are truly interested in and capable of the positions they're vying for.  

    You've said previous that it's easier, if certain members of the board are interested in an additional term, to just give them the position.  While prior experience will always be a huge boon to that person's chances at re-election, it doesn't always automatically make them the best person for the job.  All candidates should be given considerations and then the body that elects them should vote based on total merit.  

    At this point, the best thing I can hope for to come out of all of this is that more people start paying attention.  I want the staff to have an active vested interested in what is happening with this convention at its highest levels.  And I want for the board, all of the board, to be accountable to those they serve.  I want for the staff to know what their rights are, and to exercise them.

    Those are my motives behind backing Steve.

     

    I completely agree. In the years I've been with the con, I've seen a general lack of interest in taking the big step to run for a board position. Those that do run, usually do so half-assed, or in some silly way (read: Waffles. =P).

    Yes, all those that run for any position have the right, and must be, considered for a position. This years board appointments (I say appointments here because while it is an election, saying "board elections" is confusing with the staff elected positions), were handled less than ideally. And really, one of the big problems with this year is that, we should try to avoid any time where there is only one person running for a position. It's bad form, and really makes it hard for the electing body to say "no thanks" if that's the right thing to do. Delaying the election/appointment of a position potentially wastes time, and leaves a hole in the board... so the inclination is to appoint/elect, then deal with the fallout after. =/ At least stuff is getting done. =(

    And to be completely clear... the majority of the board (the 5 staff elected directors) did elect the remaining 4 positions. This wasn't some manifest destiny thing... and I am not the wizard of oz. =P

    And yes, just because they've done it in the past, doesn't mean they're the best. That's the incumbent argument. Sure, a Ted Stevens may have been doing the job for a long time, but that doesn't mean he knows that the internet aren't a series of tubes. =D  I fully admit, and really did at the time, that I'm not the best candidate for Secretary. The electing body of the board seems to have disagreed with me, because I got elected anyway. Go figure.

    The meeting part of the board electing it's remaining members should be semi-public, to allow for "greater transparency". Or, at the very least, as Steve said, the board should release something after the fact basically summarizing their elections. The biggest problem is going to be maintaining some semblance of "executive privilege" and the idea that the board should be able to speak freely about something without having to worry about offending someone down the road (which is why, you won't be seeing any video/audio recordings of board meetings =P). So, if we do the "summary" thing, we're going to have to work with Steve, or Tofu, or you, to figure out what you'd like to see in said "report", so that we don't have to try to figure it out and then be potentially wrong.

    At this point, I completely agree Vallie... the absolute best thing to come of any of this would be more interest. And that's why the "DS" comment. I would be as happy as a clam if the next election I had to help count votes for chair and there were 5 candidates, and we had to have a run off. It means people are interested, and taking part. THAT is really when the con is going to grow, and potentially break new ground. I personally think Mike and the board has done a great job getting the con into new areas... mini-events, sponsored events, etc.

    Thanks Vallie!

    (note: I said "we" to refer to the board several times. This is simply a habit, or rather, a simple way to describe the board. It in NO way implies a correction to my earlier statement about not running nor accepting any nominations for board positions).
    « Last Edit: August 14, 2008, 10:42:37 am by staze »
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    Offline valliegirl

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #138 on: August 14, 2008, 10:40:28 am »
    You're welcome.   :)
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    Offline staze

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #139 on: August 14, 2008, 10:43:06 am »
    sorry, just edited. =/
    -Staze
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    Offline RemSaverem

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #140 on: August 14, 2008, 11:26:38 am »
    Sorry for the delay in replying; I've been living in a tent in a rural area an hour west of Eugene, as staff at a Retreat, which also might preclude my coming Saturday.

    In addition to staffing KC Fan Creation programming every year since 2003, I've also been involved as a paid staff, board member, office manager, and/or secretary in multiple non-profit organizations, both local and national, in specific situations that yield some insight into the current discussions:

    (A) In one case I helped compose and pass the bylaws and charter that allowed formalization of 501(c)(3)  status for a local pacifist non-profit for which I was both board and staff for over 10 years.
    (B) In another case I was for 7 years both board and staff in a worker collective that ran multiple clinics and was involved in major (million$+) budgeting, policy drafting, grant proposal editing, and staff hire/fire/evaluation positions.
    (C) In another  case I was on the national board of an international pacifist organization for a full decade, also involved in major (million$+) budgeting and policy drafting. (And, by the way, though their meetings were everywhere from NYC to SF to Houston, since they had a Travel Pool and reimbursed 50-100% of my expenses every year, it cost me less than being staff at KC, even before gas became over $4/gallon!)
    (D) I also co-drafted a ballot measure that went to a municipal vote, regarding civilian review of police misconduct cases. Vastly outspent by the police union, we lost by approx. 284 votes, but we successfully planted the seed that led to Eugene's present civilian review system.

     
     In each of these settings, I have seen basically the same pattern. An idea burgeons among a small, tight-knit group of friends with a lot of zeal. They work together well because they know each other and trust each other already, and there are positive results. This draws fervor to continue and expand the project, and many new people want to join. The folks who started the project feel reticence to rescind control over it, and simultaneously need to recruit additional help but want to ensure it will be from folks who will "fit" with their image of themselves, get along with them socially, hold the same views politically, or something similar. So they set up structures that they think will protect themselves, their positions, and/or their project, and at some point, if there is enough growth to the project and/or its participant population, those structures either become obsolete in functionality, and/or, they feel exclusionary to the ardent newbies. Whether or not actual malfeasance or cronyism does occur, speculation about it, suspicion about it, a desire to guard against it, may emerge, with suspicion in both directions -- the founders wanting to be sure no one drops or hurts their baby, and the newbies suspicious (sometimes rightly so) about what goes on behind closed doors. (I say "sometimes rightly so" because at the worker-collective clinic where I was an employee-owner, one of the old-timers embezzled over 30 grand, and it wasn't handled the same way as it would've been if an "outsider" had done it, and all those involved in protecting the thief were her old friends.......)

     To continue, in each of these situations, including with KC, it is logical that, now that vastly more people and larger financial sums and greater public scrutiny are involved, there is a conmeasurate increase in participants' desire to feel included in various processes, confident in them, and informed about them. Sometimes some individuals may have some specific acrimony to work out, grudges they are holding, whether valid or exaggerated (or both). But largely in my two decades of experience in non-profits, these (actual, perceived, or anticipated difficulties, and emotional discussions regarding them) are just the norms. They should not be viewed as surprises. They should be systematically planned around--both for prevention and for redress.

    The facts of the matter at hand include that most of the time, very little is known by most of the actual or potential voting populace regarding the qualifications of and/or the prior work performance of those who are nominated, let alone those who (such as Leashy) have years of pertinent experience, but it's outside the realm of cons. Sometimes people who would technically be the most qualified and professional for various positions don't or can't run for them precisely because they are engaging the requisite practices in the world outside of cons. Sometimes people may simply not feel they stand a chance because they're not the "in crowd" of the con. No specific person or group is at fault for those being the case. They simply are recurring themes. And realistically, almost no one could accurate cite off the top of their head what any of the staff-appointed or board-appointed positions entail in terms of precise job descriptions, let alone what corresponding prerequisite experience should entail.

    Given all this, my gut-level, unexpurgated feelings include that:
    (a) Yes, Vice President should be elected by staff.
    (b) Yes, Vice President should be elected separately from the Chair position.
    (c) Staff and general members should annually be reminded in a thread of the precise job descriptions of each Board-level position, regardless of who elects said position.
    (d) Each job description should include a baseline level of minimum qualifications for applicants.
    (e) For Secretary, Treasurer, and Facilities Liason, those minimum qualifications should be carefully set by a committee including at least some of the founders, past holders of those positions, and current board members, with anyone else permitted to propose some of the qualifications.
    (f) For ALL positions, it should be prerequisite that each applicant be (1) someone willing, even eager, to be approached by any member of the board or staff with a legitimate inquiry or concern; (2) someone people generally feel comfortable to approach, safe that they will not be attacked or condescended to for doing so.

    (g) Job descriptions can be written in such a way that a minimum baseline of follow-through is required. For example, job descriptions can be written in such a way that, without requiring a vote, by staff or by board, it simply becomes the case that someone is considered to have vacated that position if they [fill in the blank], and someone is considered to have failed to uphold that position if they [fill in the blank]. That way, staff can vote for every position, without removing the board's ability to remove someone from office for abuse or neglect. It can simply be part of the job description that the board will monitor compliance with job descriptions. [Yes I've seen this in non-profit organizations. Yes it saves a ton of time and hassle and needless exposure of negative dealings and bad publicity.]
    (h) In the above context, I would support Secretary, Treasurer, and Facilities Liason becoming positions elected by staff. Board members would of cousre have clout in nominating.
    (i) If Secretary, Treasurer, and Facilities Liason remain Board-elected positions, any member of the con community should be present at their elections.
    (j) Each Board member, no matter by which body they are elected, should have an Assistant. They should be able to select their own Assistant, with ratification by the Board. This Assistant should be ready, willing, able, and fully trained, to fully take over the position if the person for whom they are Assistant were to have to leave, voluntarily or involuntarily. This Assistant should be held to the same prerequisites and performance standards as the person for whom they are Assistant.
    EDIT:
    [ADDED:](k) Staff should be allowed to participate in elections online, by phone, and/or by mail, through a system set up by and ratified by the Board.
    [Note that I am not saying all these should be part of a present proposal. Were it up to me, there would be 2 general meetings in October: One early in the month for reviewing the con and ratifying any proposed changes; one late in the month for elections, perhaps tied in with Samhain/Hallowe'en for a party. And both would have Skype-in options.]
    [END OF EDIT.]

    Hope this helps.
    Sent with love and with zero negative feelings towards any person or component of KC, simply based on a couple DECADES of experience in running non-profit boards!
    Love Ellen/Rem.

    [EDIT: ADDING: P.S. Re: Some things Staze wrote:
    (a) Imho, any time there is major contention between/amongst elected position-holders, an outside mediator should be brought in, i.e., a professional mediator from outside the convention (or any non-profit). This enhances the likelihood of successful resolution, and of meeting the crucial need for the process to be perceived of as fair and impartial, not only by the participants, but also by anyone else who could (or should) hear about the matter.
    (b) It is not true that the board-elected or board-appointed positions do not interact with anyone outside the board. They interact with congoers and staff on the forums, and in the course of their duties, e.g., clarifying minutes; giving reports such as on the status of the hotel search at meetings; being tracked down by those who turned in receipts but haven't been repaid yet; what-have-you. The Vice in particular I've been referred to on various occasions as in charge of various things (e.g., wheelchair access).


    « Last Edit: August 14, 2008, 11:53:10 am by RemSaverem »
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    Offline staze

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #141 on: August 14, 2008, 11:46:53 am »
    Ellen,

    You are mostly correct. The law states that you can define reasons for removal of board members in the bylaws/articles (not position descriptions) that would allow for the board to remove them. But, there are caveats to that. One, those provisions MUST be present in the bylaws when the position is filled by someone (you can't add things to the bylaws midyear allowing for removal of someone already elected), and listing reasons for removal in the bylaws, while a good idea, is inherently inclusive and not exclusive. The list of reasons for removal would have to be huge if it were to truly allow for the board to remove someone for negligence, etc. And with the smallest step outside those predefined reasons, the person that was let go would be free to litigate.

    Further, with passage of this motion now, and bylaws not going to be replaced until next con year, we will have a group of directors that are unable to be removed because said reasons wouldn't have been in the bylaws before their election. Catch-22.

    The Vice Chair being elected by the staff does make sense, with one hiccup. Should the chair turn out to be less than ideal, what creates the feeling that the vice chair, also elected by the staff, would be any better? Just the first thing that comes to mind.

    And yes, assistants are supposed to be mandatory. But, as usual, it was a bit of an un-enforced mandate. I have an assistant, Mike kind of has an assistant in Dawn... Eric has an assistant in Tara. Facilities never had one this year officially (to my knowledge), and Dawn I think has one, but I can't recall his/her name. Having assistants be board approved might be a bit much... but I can see the reasoning.

    The biggest problem with having them ready to take over is an assumption of assent. That creates issues when you have someone that wasn't elected being prepped so that they can take power should the need arise, without any checks or balances. I'm assuming you mean that they would be capable to taking power should the need arise, and they be elected to replace the outgoing director. Which has always been the goal in requiring assistants. I believe the final board meeting of the 07 con resulted in a suggested mandate for the 08 board to require assistants of the directors. Obviously, unless there are real consequences, such a mandate is voluntary at best. =/

    Thanks for the input, and the experienced voice.
    « Last Edit: August 14, 2008, 11:50:51 am by staze »
    -Staze
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    Offline Mr_Phelps

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #142 on: August 14, 2008, 12:04:11 pm »
    That is great input!  (REMSaveREM's post)

    This is exactly why I wish we would have started this topic two months ago.  We have seen tons of input and ideas getting debated back and forth, but it really deserves more time than most of the staff have to give at the moment.  REM's ideas about good solid definitions of the positions and expectations are spot on.  I wish I had known she was such a source as we would have pulled her onto the by-laws committee early.

    I really think we have more work to get this right, and not enough time before con to get it where it needs to be.  Please bear in mind that pre-reg numbers are already above the TOTAL attendee count the last time we were in this hotel and the numbers are still rising!  Any discussion on the amentment will have to be brief and to the point.

    My proposal is to get this out of the way at the start of the meeting.  We will have a 30 minute deadline for debate with speakers limited to two minutes per person.  Jo will help run this part of the meeting and keep us on track.  At the end of the thirty minutes we will vote, and see where that takes us.  Irrespective of the outcome, we will then move into the normal general meeting and stay focused on this years con tasks.  

    I still thank everyone for bringing this up and helping everyone work towards a solution we are all comfortable with.  This "IS" important!  I've never been very happy about how the elections worked out and I made mistakes in how some things were done, but I've never been a cat herder at this level before.  With your help we can make next year much more open and transparent.  
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    Offline RemSaverem

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #143 on: August 14, 2008, 12:13:08 pm »
    Staze, thank you very much for clarifying my memory of what we had in place in the non-profit I helped build. It is possible that I misremembered, or that the codes have changed since then (which was around 1993). I appreciate your thoroughness and attention to detail, and I understand about the catch-22.

    Please note that in what I added (editing my message) before reading your post, that with regard to having an outside mediator, it is of great benefit in the sense of protecting anyone connected to the dissonance, to have someone else from outside the organization involved, protecting here referring to guarding against misdirected accusations of unfairness of process, favoritism, etc.

    Also I had a typo above (course) and in (i) meant to say "should be allowed to be present" rather than "should be present".

    Thanks again!

    Mike, thank you for the compliment, and if it is possible to participate online (as I have no budget for attending meetings), I would be glad to help in any way with bylaws. Six years down the road it really does feel like home to be here!

    I 100% agree with having a time cap on this agenda item, given that it is the last meeting before the con.
    In fact, I am somewhat amazed that it is being given time before the con at all.
    Again, we might look at whether it is possible to have some kind of additional meeting for such matters -- after con, but before elections.

    Would it be possible to form a chat room specifically for bylaw revision discussion and voting, and to give a couple weeks' notice of when and how to access it? That way (so long as it is within hours a library is open), it would be something that potentially anyone could participate in, without extra expense, even if they don't have a car or their own computer.
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    Offline Radien

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #144 on: August 14, 2008, 12:28:06 pm »
    Is this simply fallout from how the board appointments happened this year, or is this due to who got elected to these positions? (yeah, I know, loaded question).

    The reason the proposal is for those two positions is this: originally, I had proposed that all four board-elected positions become staff-elected, and the two the Board objected to most were Treasurer and Facilities Liaison. Basically, those two were dealbreakers for a number of them.  You can actually see that dialog develop in the first half of the thread.

    The Vice President in particular, I think, should be elected. If I were to compromise even further, I'd drop Secretary and just propose that the VP be staff-elected, just because it seems bizarre to indirectly imply that the position needs to be guarded more closely than the Chair itself.

    I'm at work right now... more answers later. :)
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    Offline staze

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #145 on: August 14, 2008, 12:44:38 pm »
    The Vice President in particular, I think, should be elected. If I were to compromise even further, I'd drop Secretary and just propose that the VP be staff-elected, just because it seems bizarre to indirectly imply that the position needs to be guarded more closely than the Chair itself.

    I'd be cool with that. Just so long as it's not a runner up becomes the VP. =P
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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #146 on: August 14, 2008, 12:53:40 pm »
    Staze, thank you very much for clarifying my memory of what we had in place in the non-profit I helped build. It is possible that I misremembered, or that the codes have changed since then (which was around 1993). I appreciate your thoroughness and attention to detail, and I understand about the catch-22.

    Please note that in what I added (editing my message) before reading your post, that with regard to having an outside mediator, it is of great benefit in the sense of protecting anyone connected to the dissonance, to have someone else from outside the organization involved, protecting here referring to guarding against misdirected accusations of unfairness of process, favoritism, etc.

    Also I had a typo above (course) and in (i) meant to say "should be allowed to be present" rather than "should be present".

    Would it be possible to form a chat room specifically for bylaw revision discussion and voting, and to give a couple weeks' notice of when and how to access it? That way (so long as it is within hours a library is open), it would be something that potentially anyone could participate in, without extra expense, even if they don't have a car or their own computer.

    Ellen,

    Referring to your edit. I am not in any way saying that the board, does not interact with others. Or that more specifically, those elected by the board don't interact with the staff. What I am doing now is clearly interaction. What I am saying is that, compared to the chair, and managing directors, the VC, Secretary, Treasurer, and Facilities Liaison (hereafter, FL) interact VERY little with the general staff and congoers. They do interact constantly with the board. Therefore, the board's knowledge of their (in)actions is by far more accurate, and thorough than the average staffer or con-goer. It's relative... not absolute.

    What I "corrected" you on is simply the legal aspect. It would be exceedingly difficult to spell out enough causes for removal in the bylaws/articles to allow for the board to really have that ability. Sure, you can say "missing x meetings" or "death/dismemberment" which, is obvious... but saying "failure to update the board with regards to xxx and xxx on a bimonthly basis" is a bit specific to really give power so much as a sentence to point at, and the ability for said "misbehavor" to just barely meet, thereby stripping that "power" from the board.

    And for the bylaws thing... I'm guessing the last meeting of this board is going to be to pass on a recommendation for inclusions in the bylaws, etc. I fully hope that I can actually contribute something to a draft sometime between now and then... but I am not holding my breath. Hopefully, the future board will see it as necessary to have the drafting be a several step process, during which non-board members are involved during several steps of the way.
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    Offline RemSaverem

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #147 on: August 14, 2008, 01:55:31 pm »
    Thanks Staze, I understand what you're saying, and didn't mean to complicate the issue further; it worked for what we needed for our much-smaller group 15 years ago.....and we were a lot more vague. And never needed to use it!
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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #148 on: August 14, 2008, 03:01:12 pm »
    Thanks Staze, I understand what you're saying, and didn't mean to complicate the issue further; it worked for what we needed for our much-smaller group 15 years ago.....and we were a lot more vague. And never needed to use it!

    yes. Though, I would point out that if you had used it, and it went to court, you might have had issues. Which, given the contentiousness inherent in removing a director... I certainly would like to make sure there's no room for litigation if it came to that. Though, I'm not too sure what you could sue for given we're a volunteer organization. =P
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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #149 on: August 14, 2008, 10:11:02 pm »
    Actually, it just occured (or reoccured) to me that we're down to two changes.

    I think it would be pretty simple at this point to separate this into a vote for the VP to become staff-elected (or remain board-appointed), and another vote for the Secretary.

    I'm all for the VP becoming Staff-Elected at this point, but I'm halfway on where the Secretary should be.  I think that this opinion is probably not unique, and would like to be able to see (in the form of a vote) where others stand on the issue.
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    Offline staze

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #150 on: August 14, 2008, 10:19:19 pm »
    breaking them out to two votes is probably a pretty good idea. it certainly will also give the board more options when it considers it's vote on whether to pass the motion(s) or not.

    I wish we had more time to discuss this at the meeting...
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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #151 on: August 15, 2008, 12:46:31 am »
    Okay... long post is long!

    I responded to Con Chair Mike at the end of the post, so if you only want the "business" portion (plans for the meeting), skip to the bottom. :) The rest of this post is discussion of the proposal as before.


    What happened this year would not have been helped at all by the general membership electing more people. What happened this year was tragic, and caused the board to remove someone for the first time. Before that, I had a personal argument with a director that got out of control. It really wouldn't have mattered who elected whom... unless the staff did not elect any of those that were involved, there was no one person that caused all of what happened...

    No, it wouldn't have prevented it, at least not directly. That's not really what I'm aiming at. The problem that a number of staffers have had is that we want to know what is going on, at least enough to know who is doing their job well, and feel like far too much is going unsaid. Sometimes things happen that couldn't have been predicted, but the trick is to prevent recurring problems by making sure people are in the the right positions of responsibility.

    That doesn't necessarily mean removing and/or shunning anyone who makes a mistake. Sometimes people just have their forte`, and need to stick to it.  And sometimes people just get addicted to volunteering. They end up doing so much that it's not healthy for themselves, and sometimes it affects how well they do their job. Occasionally it causes burnout, something I'm sure we've all seen happen.

    Really, I think the biggest argument against this motion, in any form, is the fact that those most qualified to determine whether someone is doing his/her job are those that work with/for that person. None of the 4 positions currently appointed by the board have any staff, and all they do, is work with the board. Therefore, the board should have the right to appoint and remove those people. As the legal authority behind the con, the board is responsible for the year, and the life of the organization. Waiting for a staff consensus to remove the secretary is only going to hurt the con, not help it. Sure, who elects that person doesn't really matter that much (except in the fact that the staff can't be expected to review credentials, or properly prepare said candidates for what the job really entails)... but who removes them does very much matter. And because legally the board can't remove them, then... we have a flaw.

    The Board may not be able to remove staff-elected Officers on their own, but think about this: the Board consists of 9 members, which is also a healthy chunk of the staff vote.  Furthermore, it takes a 2/3 vote to remove an Officer. If 2/3 of the Board is in agreement that an Officer should be removed, the staff are likely to heavily consider their opinion. After that, the Board only needs to win over half of the staff... probably less than that, in fact, since the Board would be voting on the matter as well.

    Also, I think the current system already has a significant flaw: each Board Officer has their own additional responsibilities as a Director, but whether they have their own staff or not, all 9 Directors get a vote, excluding the founders. Currently, 4 out of the 9 voting Board members are appointed by the other 5 voting Board members.  That means that nearly half of the voting members on the Board are distanced from the staff membership by two degrees of separation.

    Personally, I think we should have a system that puts diminishing returns on decision-making power: the further away from the source of the authority (the voting members), the less power they have to override those that are closer to the point of origin.

    In that respect, perhaps 7 staff-elected Board members and 2 Board-appointed members would be a good way of doing that. Perhaps the revised amendment might end up being more balanced thanks to negotiation and compromise. This is why I like involving more people... I'm quite imperfect, as are we all, but we can account for each other's shortcomings in a constructive way. :)

    The meeting part of the board electing it's remaining members should be semi-public, to allow for "greater transparency". Or, at the very least, as Steve said, the board should release something after the fact basically summarizing their elections. The biggest problem is going to be maintaining some semblance of "executive privilege" and the idea that the board should be able to speak freely about something without having to worry about offending someone down the road (which is why, you won't be seeing any video/audio recordings of board meetings =P). So, if we do the "summary" thing, we're going to have to work with Steve, or Tofu, or you, to figure out what you'd like to see in said "report", so that we don't have to try to figure it out and then be potentially wrong.

    I mostly just wanted to hear about the people who ran and didn't make it, just so it's more widely known that they are taking an interest. Maybe that way someone can scoop them up and get them involved elsewhere in the con, to keep us from losing good people.

    If that separate proposal is going to confuse things at the coming meeting, however, I might just "can it" until after the con. I'd rather not waste people's precious pre-con meeting time on something that would only be relevant after the elections.



    RemSavarem:

    You've made a great number of useful suggestions, and I don't think I could do justice to them by attempting to respond in detail.

    But I can second a few of your thoughts: a lot of what you said definitely reflects what I've seen among the non-profit organizations in which I've participated, including conventions and other groups. Also, I agree we should put an emphasis on expanding job descriptions, mediating conflicts, and using the con's resources to get professional advice, such as legal matters and moderation.

    As soon as I invent a teleporter, I'll loan it to you so you can stop having to worry about the basic matter of transportation to meetings. ;)



    Actually, it just occured (or reoccured) to me that we're down to two changes.

    I think it would be pretty simple at this point to separate this into a vote for the VP to become staff-elected (or remain board-appointed), and another vote for the Secretary.

    I'm all for the VP becoming Staff-Elected at this point, but I'm halfway on where the Secretary should be.  I think that this opinion is probably not unique, and would like to be able to see (in the form of a vote) where others stand on the issue.

    I think your idea has merit. Perhaps we could vote on the current amendment, and then if it does not pass, see about voting on the two positions separately? I've already finalized my proposal, you see, and I don't want any confusion.

    I don't think there will be any problem with your follow-up proposal, but the question is whether the Board will allow that vote to occur at this Saturday's meeting, in the interests of time.



    My proposal is to get this out of the way at the start of the meeting.  We will have a 30 minute deadline for debate with speakers limited to two minutes per person.  Jo will help run this part of the meeting and keep us on track.  At the end of the thirty minutes we will vote, and see where that takes us.  Irrespective of the outcome, we will then move into the normal general meeting and stay focused on this years con tasks.

    Well, I did say we could get it done in 30 minutes, though I'd admit I was being particularly optimistic. I guess I will have to suck it up and hope I was right. :) I am very happy about the 2-minute rule, just because it would get more people talking while encouraging them to stay on-topic and avoid redundant statements. I'm glad you've decided to assign someone as a moderator... the biggest problem with starting a staff discussion is that there are so many of us, and we never know which direction the discussion will take.

    Just to make sure I comply with these rules myself, I'll take care to quickly run through the vital details right off the bat, and then limit myself to answering questions directed specifically at me during the all-staff discussion. The finalized amendment flier should be pretty useful, too, so I'll bring extra copies.


    (Edited for typos....as usual)
    « Last Edit: August 15, 2008, 01:07:24 am by Radien »
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    Offline Mr_Mustash

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #152 on: August 15, 2008, 01:06:29 am »
    Is there any way I can vote via proxy? I'm out of state and I won't be able to make it to the meeting.

     I think that this a very important issue that I've tried to make a stand for before and I would like to make my vote count on this one.
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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #153 on: August 15, 2008, 01:09:07 am »
    Is there any way I can vote via proxy? I'm out of state and I won't be able to make it to the meeting.

     I think that this a very important issue that I've tried to make a stand for before and I would like to make my vote count on this one.

    Hmmm... Skype, perhaps?

    Do Skypers get to exercise their voting rights? Sarah's been the only one to Skype in repeatedly, and there hasn't been occasion for a vote in that time.
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    Offline Mr_Mustash

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #154 on: August 15, 2008, 01:11:47 am »
    I could always send a confidential email to Staze (because the secratary usually takes the votes?) and hopefully that could be counted. Or someone could give me a phone call when it's voting time and I could tell it to him.
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    Offline TomtheFanboy

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #155 on: August 15, 2008, 01:16:42 am »
    In order to allow proxy votes we would have to amend the bylaws. ;)
    This is a bad time to do that.

    Radien, please take a stand with your proposal. You've had enough time to negotiate and attempt to placate your naysayers. Your proposed amendment has already been altered by more than 50% and at this point.

    Everyone is still allowed to voice their opinion as many ways as they want and as many times as they want but I think that you've been more than generous in your willingness to compromise. Don't feel obligated to back down anymore.
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    Offline Radien

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #156 on: August 15, 2008, 01:23:43 am »
    I could always send a confidential email to Staze (because the secratary usually takes the votes?) and hopefully that could be counted. Or someone could give me a phone call when it's voting time and I could tell it to him.

    Well, the thing is, that method wouldn't fly at an election, so I don't think it'd fly for a proposal. The reason I suggested Skype is because that would make you a participating staff member, and you'd be able to hear the discussion that goes on at the meeting, and not just what we've talked about in this thread.

    That's just my suggestion, though. We'd best hear from a Board member for a more official answer on whether Skype counts as "proxy."

    In order to allow proxy votes we would have to amend the bylaws. ;)
    This is a bad time to do that.

    Radien, please take a stand with your proposal. You've had enough time to negotiate and attempt to placate your naysayers. Your proposed amendment has already been altered by more than 50% and at this point.

    Everyone is still allowed to voice their opinion as many ways as they want and as many times as they want but I think that you've been more than generous in your willingness to compromise. Don't feel obligated to back down anymore.

    I've already finalized my proposal, Tom. :) I'm not uploading another copy, for which I'm relieved, because it's a pain in the rear. ;) What DancingTofu was talking about was his own separate proposal, or at least that's how I'm treating it.

    As for discussion, well, I feel obligated to do my best to communicate with everyone who wants to discuss my intent and purpose. Though I didn't respond to everyone, I at least read every post in this thread. (phew...)
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    Offline staze

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #157 on: August 15, 2008, 01:27:29 am »

    The Board may not be able to remove staff-elected Officers on their own, but think about this: the Board consists of 9 members, which is also a healthy chunk of the staff vote.  Furthermore, it takes a 2/3 vote to remove an Officer. If 2/3 of the Board is in agreement that an Officer should be removed, the staff are likely to heavily consider their opinion. After that, the Board only needs to win over half of the staff... probably less than that, in fact, since the Board would be voting on the matter as well.

    Also, I think the current system already has a significant flaw: who gets a vote. Each Board member has their own responsibilities, but whether they have their own staff or not, all 9 (non-Founding) Directors get a vote. Currently, 4 out of the 9 voting Board members are appointed by the other 5 voting Board members.  That means that nearly half of the voting members on the Board are distanced from the staff membership by two degrees of separation.

    Only going to respond to this section... cause the rest really is pretty self explanatory.

    I'd like to point out, that, while you are correct in that the board vote does account for a good chunk of the staff vote, and that when the board says "we think this", it does weigh very heavily with the staff, requiring a staff vote to remove someone means time lost while waiting for a meeting for removal, all the while said director that should be removed either continues to misbehave, or not do his/her job. Right now, we pretty much have a standing policy, and law requires, a decent amount of notice for meetings. And votes for removal must be conducted at meetings specifically called for that purpose (you can't remove someone at a general meeting that doesn't have "removal" as a (the) primary agenda item). Legally.

    An idea that got tossed around last time we were working on bylaws was to remove voting rights from some of the board appointed positions. This would be particularly poignant in the case of a chair appointed, board approved position as to prevent the chair from having "two votes". Ultimately, I'm on the fence about removing the vote of say, the secretary, or the treasurer/FL. While yes, it does prevent stacking of the board, it also diminishes the point of those positions. They really are meant to be "insular" in some ways. The managing directors are there to serve their staff. Programming is going to fight for Programming's rights, Ops for theirs. And that's not a bad thing... it's what they're there for. To fight for their department, and make sure they run smoothly.

    The Treasurer and Secretary are really there to make sure that the con is going to actually happen, and survive. If Programming and Ops get together, and decide they want to double their budgets because it would be "cool", someone has to be able to say "look, that's a bad idea" or "are you crazy, that would bankrupt us!!". Or Programming wanting to provide food for all the attendees... the FL and Treasurer are going to say "ummm, food would cost $42/person... that's kinda a lot of money for 4k people". The 3 of them (Secretary, Treasurer, and FL), really work for the "con" as a whole... which isn't just the staff, but rather the corporation, and the idea of the con. It's a bit difficult for me to explain outside of that abstract way I look at it.

    The majority of the board, is still staff elected. And the staff place in them the trust to run the con... which means, they trust them to elect those remaining positions. I don't know if anyone remembers board meetings from last year, but they were seldom without contention. Do you think that the 5 staff elected directors could honestly all agree, 100%, on who to have in what positions? And if they did, would that be a problem? If the 5 of them all agreed on that, then the 4 extra votes (if they feel liable to the ones that appointed them) don't change the results. However, if those 4 people were elected for the positions they were meant to fill, then they were elected to be able to do their jobs... and say "no" when someone asks for money that we don't have (Treasurer), or say "sure" when we need to file state paperwork (Secretary), or say "Catering is going to be $42/person for the VIP dinner" (Facilities Liaison) at which point, the treasurer's head explodes, but Relations says "okay, I have that in my budget" while the treasurer lays there bleeding.

    The board has a knifes edge to walk of being able to get along quite well, and being able to tell each other when they're wrong. I'm not saying that isn't possible with staff elected directors in all those positions... but I would wager that the balance would shift quite a bit.

    At this point, my gut feeling would be, move the VC to staff elected, and leave it at that. Then propose to the board that it needs to consider these issues with the bylaws drafting process, as well as address your (and others) concerns with regards to this year's board elections meeting, and the inherent lack of transparency.

    I think I'm done with the topic until Saturday. If you have anything you'd like me to respond to, you all should know how to email me (secretary@kumoricon.org). Now, I'm going to get some sleep.

    Have a great Friday everyone! And if you're in the Valley, please, stay cool. It's going to be hot tomorrow (today). See you all Saturday.
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    Offline staze

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #158 on: August 15, 2008, 01:34:49 am »
    Is there any way I can vote via proxy? I'm out of state and I won't be able to make it to the meeting.

     I think that this a very important issue that I've tried to make a stand for before and I would like to make my vote count on this one.

    EDIT!!!

    Okay, so, what I just said is wrong. Our bylaws do not say one way or the other... and, Oregon Law, Chapter 65, Section 65.231, does say that Proxies are allowed unless the bylaws do not allow them specifically.

    So, to do it...

          65.231 Proxies. (1) Unless the articles or bylaws prohibit or limit proxy voting, a member may appoint a proxy to vote or otherwise act for the member by signing an appointment form either personally or by the member’s attorney-in-fact.
          (2) An appointment of a proxy is effective when received by the secretary or other officer or agent authorized to tabulate votes. An appointment is valid for 11 months unless a different period is expressly provided in the appointment form.
          (3) An appointment of a proxy is revocable by the member.
          (4) The death or incapacity of the member appointing a proxy does not affect the right of the corporation to accept the proxy’s authority unless notice of the death or incapacity is received by the secretary or other officer or agent authorized to tabulate votes before the proxy exercises authority under the appointment.
          (5) Appointment of a proxy is revoked by the person appointing the proxy:
          (a) Attending any meeting and voting in person; or
          (b) Signing and delivering to the secretary or other officer or agent authorized to tabulate proxy votes either a writing stating that the appointment of the proxy is revoked or a subsequent appointment form.
          (6) Subject to ORS 65.237 and any express limitation on the proxy’s authority appearing on the face of the appointment form, a corporation is entitled to accept the proxy’s vote or other action as that of the member making the appointment. [1989 c.1010 §64]

    So basically, you would have to give the proxy a signed affidavit saying they had the right to vote for you. And that would be valid for 11 months (in our case, until the end of elections since you would cease being a member at that time), or until you attend a meeting, or you revoke it yourself.

    If, however, you are talking about remote voting, via Skype, email, PM, aim, etc. I'm going to have to say that's not allowed. Taking part via Skype is fine... but I have no guarantee you are Patrick King over Skype... and therefore, no idea whether your vote is honest.

    Obviously, you have no guarantee that your Proxy would vote the way you wanted either... but... that's the risk taken. =/

    If you do appoint a Proxy, they will need to get me that affidavit before the vote is taken.
    « Last Edit: August 15, 2008, 01:48:40 am by staze »
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    Offline DancingTofu

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #159 on: August 15, 2008, 02:16:20 am »
    All that said, I have a question for whomever would decide it:
    If this amendment does not pass, and I repropose it as two separate amendments immediately following the vote, would we be able to hold an immediate vote without discussion, since the discussion content would be the same (people have already and will continue to discuss separate positions as separate positions)?  I can make sure to bring a printed copy of the relevant section of the bylaws, before and after, for each amendment if that would be needed.

    Due to the phrasing in the bylaws, I'm pretty much sure it would be legal to hold a vote during the same meeting as when it is proposed, as long as the proposal and the vote are separated by at least an instant.  The fairness of voting on it at that same meeting is easily implied.


    Regarding proxies, would a proxy be able to vote, and also put in a vote for the person they are acting as a proxy for, even in a case where the votes differ?  If so, Patrick, I'd be more than happy to act as a proxy for you if you can get the affidavit to Staze in time and you wish it, and promise that I would honor your actual opinion on the matter to the best of my ability.  If not, you'll need to find someone else. :P
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    Offline staze

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #160 on: August 15, 2008, 10:47:56 am »
    Whether we vote on your amendments would be up to Mike, since it really is a time issue. We have the con to plan... voting on these things, that could have been brought up months ago, is kinda preventing con work from happening. =/

    And, as far as you being Proxy... there are a couple issues. One, he would need to get me the affidavit before you vote. Either by giving it to you, or by giving it to me. That makes it kinda hard given the time frame...

    Also, the only way you could really have TWO disparate votes would be if we voted via ballot, rather than acclamation (voice vote) or affirmation (hand vote).

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    Offline superjaz

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #161 on: August 15, 2008, 06:12:39 pm »
    If you do appoint a Proxy, they will need to get me that affidavit before the vote is taken.

    okay so just walking this thru, so I understand it right,
    so I type out a page saying that I give (i duno lets say Vallie) Vallie the right to make my vote for me at the meeting that is occuring on saterday august the 16th, and sign it and date it and vallie sign and date it, give it to valle and then she gives it to you.
    is that good enough? do i need to do anything else?
     Do I need a witness to sign as well, do I need a notery to indorce it? cuz Its friday night that might be a bit hard to do on a weekend
    superjaz, that is jaz with one z count um ONE z!
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    Offline RemSaverem

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #162 on: August 16, 2008, 02:58:28 am »
    Jaz/Staze:
    As someone who lives far away and usually doesn't have spare $, I too would be appreciative if there could be put into place, and advertised, some formal criteria for voting proxies.

    Among the considerations:
    --handwritten only, or typed but hand-signed?
    --handed in in person only, or handed in by email (an upload with a real signature) or fax okay?
    --notarized? witnessed? (good questions, Jaz!)
    --okay for other votes, but not elections? or also for elections?
    --by how far in advance do they need to be handed in?
    --will the secretary need to verify their legitimacy? e.g., through a follow-up contact and/or comparison to signature on staff form?

    Steve: Definitely keep me high on the list for the teleporter! ;) Thanks for the compliments/accord, and feel free to PM me later with whatever. Miss you!

    Staze: I'm with you on the following points:
    (a) There exists the possibility that some positions could be rendered as having official voice-but-no-vote status on the Board.
    (b) There will be times and issues wherein the individuals who have the most crucial data on which to base certain fiscal and fiduciary decisions are the Secretary, the Treasurer, and/or the Facilities Director.
    (c) Therefore, potentially scary financial consequences could emerge if the Secretary, Treasurer, and/or Facilities Director positions are demoted to not having votes on the Board.

    However:
    (c) realistically most likely would only come true if the other directors, who are staff-elected (or will be, if the proposed change around VP passes), either:
     (1) fail to bother to become aware of the potential dire consequences of their votes before voting--which would constitute negligence on their part;
    (2) fail to care about the potential dire consequences before voting--which would constitute malfeasance on their part;
    (3) are insufficiently informed by the Secretary, Treasurer, or Facilities Director before their vote, due to disorganization or lack of information gathering by the S,T, and/or FD--which would constitute neglect on the part of the S,T, and/or FD;
    (4) and/or are deliberately misinformed by the S, T, or FD--which would constitute malfeasance on the part of the S, T, and/or FD.

    Trust me; I have lived through the aftermath of the equivalent of each of these types of situations, in various of my non-profit experiences. None of us want to go there! Any of these, committed either frequently enough or on a matter serious enough, or a financial, legal, or publicity level serious enough, could end the con--for a year, or permanently. Really.


    Is it possible that any of these 4 major FUBARs could occur? Absolutely.
    Should we guard against such? Absolutely.
    Is it likely that such could occur? --Not if we've done a good job of researching, documenting, and clarifying (a) what each job description entails;
    (b) prerequisites for each job;
    (c) qualifications of each applicant;
    (d) the voting process most likely to prevent situations such as the above.

    Given this, imho, what is logically up for debate is which of the following, individually or in combination, is most likely to provide a genuine safeguard:
    (a) Maintaining status quo with regard to which positions are staff-elected vs. board elected vs. board or chair appointed;
    (b) Maintaining status quo, other than with regard to vice-chair;
    (c) Rendering all Board positions staff-elected;
    (d) Opening the election portions of Board meetings to staff (for voice but not vote);
    (e) Maintaining status quo vis-a-vis elections, but rendering Board-elected and/or Board-appointed positions voice-but-no-vote within the Board.

    Other hypotheticals within the realm of possibility (though I can't presently speak to their plausibility nor to their desirability) would include:
    (f) Have all Board meetings that are not Executive Sessions open to attendance by non-Board staff:
    (1) anyone who can make it, or
    (2) specific staff invited by the Board for specific reasons;
    (g) Within those meetings, have:
    (1)  those non-Board staff eligible to have voice but no vote; and/or
    (2)  those non-Board staff eligible to have vote but no voice;
    Re: (g) (1) or (2), these could be in general, or just on items particular to their department. For example, say the Board had to work on something particular to Gaming, and the Programming Chair invited the Gaming Coordinator and empowered that person to invite the person they've appointed  for the given subsection up for discussion, e.g., say, DDR....Say there was a big financial pinch, and the Board had to decide if they could afford to run another DDR tourney, and needed a sense of just how ardently popular and well-attended such was in the previous years....These non-Board staff either might be given the floor only to inform the Board (e.g., provide facts and figures from prior years, but not opinions); or they might be given the floor to advocate to the Board (with their personal values/ opinions); but not given a vote; this would be voice-but-no-vote. Or they might not be given time to address the Board, but be allowed to be silently present to witness the vote, without participating in it. Or they might not be given time to address the Board, but would be allowed to participate **only in the vote particularly relating to their specific area of work for the con**. That would be vote-but-no-voice.

    Hm, I guess I can be relied upon to complicate discussions to some degree, LOL!
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    Offline melchizedek

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #163 on: August 16, 2008, 06:43:01 am »
    I won't be able to make it to this meeting because of work, but I'll be voting for your proposal in spirit Raiden (seeing as it is too late for proxy)
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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #164 on: August 16, 2008, 09:02:26 am »
    I'd like to point out, that, while you are correct in that the board vote does account for a good chunk of the staff vote, and that when the board says "we think this", it does weigh very heavily with the staff, requiring a staff vote to remove someone means time lost while waiting for a meeting for removal, all the while said director that should be removed either continues to misbehave, or not do his/her job. Right now, we pretty much have a standing policy, and law requires, a decent amount of notice for meetings. And votes for removal must be conducted at meetings specifically called for that purpose (you can't remove someone at a general meeting that doesn't have "removal" as a (the) primary agenda item). Legally.

    Isn't it possible for the Board to suspend a Board member's position temporarily? I know the Secretary and Facilities Liaison were both suspended from duties for a month or so this last year, but I wasn't present and didn't know if this was a staff vote, board vote, or just a decision made on the spot. If so, however, then a staff-elected board member would be unable to do any further damage. Someone would be put into place while they are suspended and things move on until a vote for removal. I don't really see any time lost here.
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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #165 on: August 16, 2008, 10:23:49 am »
    Isn't it possible for the Board to suspend a Board member's position temporarily? I know the Secretary and Facilities Liaison were both suspended from duties for a month or so this last year, but I wasn't present and didn't know if this was a staff vote, board vote, or just a decision made on the spot. If so, however, then a staff-elected board member would be unable to do any further damage. Someone would be put into place while they are suspended and things move on until a vote for removal. I don't really see any time lost here.

    Correct me if I'm wrong here, but I think the suspension might have been Board-requested but voluntary, since both parties were cooperative (at the time). My memory of the language used is hazy, though, since it's been more than six months since that meeting.

    Other than that, thanks for all the posts, and I'll see you all at the meeting. :)
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    Offline RemSaverem

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #166 on: August 16, 2008, 01:34:16 pm »
    Sorry to have been unable to be there in person....how'd it go?
    What's the next step -- for staff, Board, anyone with interest generally in elections and/or bylaws?


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    Offline Radien

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #167 on: August 16, 2008, 02:16:39 pm »
    Sorry to have been unable to be there in person....how'd it go?
    What's the next step -- for staff, Board, anyone with interest generally in elections and/or bylaws?

    As of about 30 minutes ago, the vote was to table discussion until the next meeting, which will be the election in October.  Guy made the motion to table after all staff were allowed to speak, and it passed.

    DancingTofu wanted to make his alternate version of the proposal, but since he said that it would be directly regarding this proposal the Board counted it as part of the motion to table (probably to prevent confusion, and I agree with the Board on that one).

    (Edit: It seems that the way we're treating DancingTofu's proposal is a little weird since it's so similar...I'd better wait for further developments before saying anything more.)

    Before the motion to table was voted on, I made it clear that people who feel out of the loop on the discussion had a valid reason to vote to table. So that means that if people follow through, we'll have more discussion of this motion, possibly in this thread (or a new one).

    It's okay if this thread isn't continuously active until October, but I'll be reminding the staff of the proposal at key points between now and then (preferably, about the time the K-Con 2008 business begins to wrap up). I might bring it up at Rant and Rave if any of the attendees bring up something relevant to the subject (if they don't, I'll just leave it be). Of course, the Board are probably capable of doing that without me, to be honest.
    « Last Edit: August 16, 2008, 02:34:29 pm by Radien »
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    Offline RemSaverem

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #168 on: August 16, 2008, 02:25:31 pm »
    Can you summarize what folks talked about today? I'm honestly surprised the vote on vice chair didn't happen today and pass (simply based on this thread).
    Ellen. 2003: Fanfic panelist & contest judge.
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    Offline TomtheFanboy

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #169 on: August 16, 2008, 05:43:52 pm »
    Well, I'll have videos up eventually. Thought I did have a camera issue and I didn't get the first few people on camera.

    Basically everyone says no but they don't want to just get the vote over with and say no NOW.
    When I say everyone I mean the majority. I really don't understand the "logic" behind that but whatever.

    Vallie and myself stood up and wholeheartedly supported the amendment but nobody else did. The other speakers all had doubts and ifs and buts. There were less than ten people who wanted to get the vote over with.

    Fear of change is a more valuable sentiment than closure.

    Check the meeting thread for info on what else happened.
    http://www.kumoricon.org/forums/index.php?topic=7407.0
    « Last Edit: August 16, 2008, 06:02:32 pm by TomtheFanboy »
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    Offline DancingTofu

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #170 on: August 16, 2008, 11:53:15 pm »
    So, it turns out that what I was proposing was simply a "motion to sever".  What this means is simply that I was proposing that the amendment was two amendments, and should be voted on in the form of two amendments.  Standard procedure (by my understanding) is for this motion to occur at the meeting of the vote, and this motion will be voiced once again when the amendment comes to vote.


    The vote was tabled by Patrick's mind control powers; he wanted to be there for the vote really badly. ;P
    moderators gonna moderate </shrug>

    Offline staze

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #171 on: August 18, 2008, 12:17:03 am »
    Jaz/Staze:
    As someone who lives far away and usually doesn't have spare $, I too would be appreciative if there could be put into place, and advertised, some formal criteria for voting proxies.

    Among the considerations:
    --handwritten only, or typed but hand-signed?
    --handed in in person only, or handed in by email (an upload with a real signature) or fax okay?
    --notarized? witnessed? (good questions, Jaz!)
    --okay for other votes, but not elections? or also for elections?
    --by how far in advance do they need to be handed in?
    --will the secretary need to verify their legitimacy? e.g., through a follow-up contact and/or comparison to signature on staff form?


    At this time, there are no official requirements. I hope to have these addressed in the new bylaws, specifically to severely limit Proxy voting as it's just a huge quagmire. The law is all we have at this point, which is to say, a signed affidavit giving the right for a person to cast your vote must be delivered to the secretary (me) prior to any vote. That right will be voided upon any time where you request the right be removed, or if you attend a meeting and cast a vote yourself.

    Staze: I'm with you on the following points:
    (a) There exists the possibility that some positions could be rendered as having official voice-but-no-vote status on the Board.
    (b) There will be times and issues wherein the individuals who have the most crucial data on which to base certain fiscal and fiduciary decisions are the Secretary, the Treasurer, and/or the Facilities Director.
    (c) Therefore, potentially scary financial consequences could emerge if the Secretary, Treasurer, and/or Facilities Director positions are demoted to not having votes on the Board.
    Not just financial. The secretary is basically the clearing house of all the con business. Minutes from board meetings, Minutes from Founder meetings (should they happen), contacts (for potentially unannounced events, etc), insurance info, tax info, etc.

    The treasurer basically knows all the finances, and should they be unqualified, or malicious, they could ruin the whole organization faster than anyone else.

    I'm not going to touch on the FL, because it's a sticky subject given this year's drama.

    There are already non-voting members on the board... the founders. It had been discussed at several points to remove the vote of the secretary... it was in a draft of the bylaws from last year as a compromise between two sides of the issue (have the secretary be elected by the staff, and have the secretary be elected by the board. it ended up board elected, with no vote). *shrugs* I don't think voting is the issue here... as I said before, it seems painfully obvious that transparency is.


    However:
    (c) realistically most likely would only come true if the other directors, who are staff-elected (or will be, if the proposed change around VP passes), either:
     (1) fail to bother to become aware of the potential dire consequences of their votes before voting--which would constitute negligence on their part;
    (2) fail to care about the potential dire consequences before voting--which would constitute malfeasance on their part;
    (3) are insufficiently informed by the Secretary, Treasurer, or Facilities Director before their vote, due to disorganization or lack of information gathering by the S,T, and/or FD--which would constitute neglect on the part of the S,T, and/or FD;
    (4) and/or are deliberately misinformed by the S, T, or FD--which would constitute malfeasance on the part of the S, T, and/or FD.


    I totally don't follow. At this point, it sounds like the only way problems could occur is if the board doesn't take due dilegance and elects a Sec/Treasurer/or FL to the board without knowing whether they're qualified, or have the best interests of the con? Sure, that goes without saying.

    Is it possible that any of these 4 major FUBARs could occur? Absolutely.
    Should we guard against such? Absolutely.
    Is it likely that such could occur? --Not if we've done a good job of researching, documenting, and clarifying
    (a) what each job description entails;
    (b) prerequisites for each job;
    (c) qualifications of each applicant;
    (d) the voting process most likely to prevent situations such as the above.
    You're describing a PD. Something I've begged and pleaded for from every department for 4 years now.

    The (d) item is simple... we just need to make sure those voting know that "none of the above" is a valid option when voting for a position and no qualified candidates are on the ballot.

    Given this, imho, what is logically up for debate is which of the following, individually or in combination, is most likely to provide a genuine safeguard:
    (a) Maintaining status quo with regard to which positions are staff-elected vs. board elected vs. board or chair appointed;
    (b) Maintaining status quo, other than with regard to vice-chair;
    (c) Rendering all Board positions staff-elected;
    (d) Opening the election portions of Board meetings to staff (for voice but not vote);
    (e) Maintaining status quo vis-a-vis elections, but rendering Board-elected and/or Board-appointed positions voice-but-no-vote within the Board.
    No positions are board/chair appointed. The only one that's close is Vice chair, but that ultimately is a chair "appointment" with board confirmation... kinda like saying congress elects Supreme Court justices. Sure, the Executive Appoints, but Congress has to approve that appointment.

    In my opinion, option c is a bad idea... for reasons I've given. Option d is workable, but would require some planning to get it to work. Option e I don't understand at all, or rather, don't get how it's different than option d.

    Other hypotheticals within the realm of possibility (though I can't presently speak to their plausibility nor to their desirability) would include:
    (f) Have all Board meetings that are not Executive Sessions open to attendance by non-Board staff:
    (1) anyone who can make it, or
    (2) specific staff invited by the Board for specific reasons;
    (g) Within those meetings, have:
    (1)  those non-Board staff eligible to have voice but no vote; and/or
    (2)  those non-Board staff eligible to have vote but no voice;

    Sorry to cut out the description, but I wanted to make the post fit on one page. =) Yes, you bring up a good point, and ultimately, one that's entirely within the rules we have now. Anyone can be brought into the board meetings by the board directors. We had a non-director sit in on our last meeting because (s)he had information that needed to be shared with the board. Jaki would be more than welcome to bring in Mark. We may ask him to leave after he gives his report, but he's more than welcome to sit in and give his report. That's entirely at the will of the board.

    Hm, I guess I can be relied upon to complicate discussions to some degree, LOL!

    Indeed. But you basically have done something I'm unable to do on my own. Create a conversation with regards to these issues. Sure, I could sit here and stream of consciousness all the stuff that we've gone through while talking bylaws over the years, but that would cover a lot more than just these issues. By bringing up these points, you help focus the issue. I'd be happy to talk about this more at con should you/I find the time... or, perhaps we should look at having an informal meeting at con to discuss some of these issues with a larger body than just myself answering questions. =)
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    Offline staze

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #172 on: August 18, 2008, 12:25:00 am »
    Isn't it possible for the Board to suspend a Board member's position temporarily? I know the Secretary and Facilities Liaison were both suspended from duties for a month or so this last year, but I wasn't present and didn't know if this was a staff vote, board vote, or just a decision made on the spot. If so, however, then a staff-elected board member would be unable to do any further damage. Someone would be put into place while they are suspended and things move on until a vote for removal. I don't really see any time lost here.

    Not really. Rian and I were asked to step down for a month. It was not a formal suspension. The bylaws do not give the board the right to suspend directors... all they could do is remove them, or ask them to step down.

    The law does not give the board that right, whether elected by the board, or by the staff. Basically, if a director was elected by the staff, and was malicious, and the board asked them to step down until the situation could be addressed, they would be free to refuse, and the board could do nothing. Only if that director was board elected would the request for a voluntary "suspension" carry the weight of "please step down or we will begin proceedings to remove you".

    I am unaware if there is the ability to add that right for the board, but the law states:

    Code: [Select]
    65.167 Termination, expulsion or suspension. (1) No member of a public benefit or mutual benefit corporation may be expelled or suspended, and no membership or memberships in such corporations may be terminated or suspended, except pursuant to a procedure that is fair and reasonable and is carried out in good faith.
          (2) A procedure is fair and reasonable when either:
          (a) The articles or bylaws set forth a procedure that provides:
          (A) Not less than 15 days’ prior written notice of the expulsion, suspension or termination and the reasons therefor; and
          (B) An opportunity for the member to be heard, orally or in writing, not less than five days before the effective date of the expulsion, suspension or termination by a person or persons authorized to decide that the proposed expulsion, termination or suspension not take place; or
          (b) It is fair and reasonable taking into consideration all of the relevant facts and circumstances.
          (3) Any written notice given by mail must be given by first class or certified mail sent to the last address of the member shown on the corporation’s records.
          (4) Any proceeding challenging an expulsion, suspension or termination, including a proceeding in which defective notice is alleged, must be commenced within one year after the effective date of the expulsion, suspension or termination.
          (5) A member who has been expelled or suspended, or whose membership has been suspended or terminated, may be liable to the corporation for dues, assessments or fees as a result of obligations incurred by the member prior to expulsion, suspension or termination. [1989 c.1010 §48; 2005 c.22 §44]


    Basically, the board would have to wait at least 15 days before suspending someone... and obviously they could not expel or terminate them since the board rules override this.

    Yeah... obviously this was thought of when we thought about moving VC/Sec/Treasurer/FL to staff elected. =/
    « Last Edit: August 18, 2008, 01:42:51 pm by staze »
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    Offline staze

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #173 on: August 18, 2008, 12:27:24 am »

    Vallie and myself stood up and wholeheartedly supported the amendment but nobody else did. The other speakers all had doubts and ifs and buts. There were less than ten people who wanted to get the vote over with.



    Tom, in all fairness, you got up there and said, basically, "I support this because it's change, and change is good". e.g. Change for change's sake? =P
    « Last Edit: August 18, 2008, 01:41:35 pm by staze »
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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #174 on: August 18, 2008, 12:30:48 am »
    So, it turns out that what I was proposing was simply a "motion to sever".  What this means is simply that I was proposing that the amendment was two amendments, and should be voted on in the form of two amendments.  Standard procedure (by my understanding) is for this motion to occur at the meeting of the vote, and this motion will be voiced once again when the amendment comes to vote.


    The vote was tabled by Patrick's mind control powers; he wanted to be there for the vote really badly. ;P

    Yes, basically, when "old business" comes up again, and this amendment comes up again, at any point either before or after discussion (you might get some blowback if you do it during discussion), you can propose an amendment to the motion that would severe the two parts of it into VC and Secretary. Assuming that passes, the original Amendment would cease to exist, and it would then be two individual ones. You don't need to wait to see if the original fails before doing this... if you did, you might be forced to wait until the next meeting before it could be voted upon (entirely up to the Presiding Officer).
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    Offline valliegirl

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #175 on: August 18, 2008, 11:08:31 am »

    Vallie and myself stood up and wholeheartedly supported the amendment but nobody else did. The other speakers all had doubts and ifs and buts. There were less than ten people who wanted to get the vote over with.



    Tom, in all fairness, you got up there and said, basically, "I support this because it's change, and change is good". e.g. Change for change's sake?

    At this point, I'd be willing to accept that logic above dragging ones feet to make any changes whatsoever.

    There's plenty of things wrong with the current by laws.  Other members of the board stated a couple of meetings ago that they've been meaning to get them updated, but they've had other stuff to deal with. 

    So if the board isn't going to do it, it's up to staff to come up with ideas of their own.  I've glad Steve had the nerve to stand up and make a motion, any motion.  I'm glad he isn't backing down just because a few people disagree with him and is continuing through with it.

    We'll go to vote again at the election meeting.  Maybe tabling the motion is a good thing.  It gives us a better chance to prepare more concise arguments for the debate.
    « Last Edit: August 18, 2008, 11:10:06 am by valliegirl »
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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #176 on: August 18, 2008, 11:46:49 am »
    The vote was tabled by Patrick's mind control powers; he wanted to be there for the vote really badly. ;P

    if he honestly controled it, it would have passed and diet coke would have rained from the sky
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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #177 on: August 18, 2008, 12:29:23 pm »
    Come to think of it, this issue with previous significant theft that was mentioned at the meeting, what did the board do to remove the status that individual holds with our convention, and how long did/has it taken them to do so?

    If you're referring to the same issue I assume you're referring to the individual was not removed.  That individual quit the positions they held at the time and has not been a part of the convention since, and if I remember correctly they shirked their responsibilities as a director for quite a few months before finally resigning. 

    You say you don't want this power taken away so that you can use it when necessary, but what have you all done in the past when it was a necessary step to take?
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    Offline staze

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #178 on: August 18, 2008, 12:48:21 pm »

    At this point, I'd be willing to accept that logic above dragging ones feet to make any changes whatsoever.

    There's plenty of things wrong with the current by laws.  Other members of the board stated a couple of meetings ago that they've been meaning to get them updated, but they've had other stuff to deal with. 

    So if the board isn't going to do it, it's up to staff to come up with ideas of their own.  I've glad Steve had the nerve to stand up and make a motion, any motion.  I'm glad he isn't backing down just because a few people disagree with him and is continuing through with it.

    We'll go to vote again at the election meeting.  Maybe tabling the motion is a good thing.  It gives us a better chance to prepare more concise arguments for the debate.

    You're absolutely correct. Steve did the right thing by taking this all the way to the _current_ end. We'll revisit it in October where we'll take another vote.

    And yes, the staff have that right to come up with ideas for the bylaws on their own. And yes, time is always a good thing. =)
    « Last Edit: August 18, 2008, 01:01:12 pm by staze »
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    Offline staze

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #179 on: August 18, 2008, 12:53:29 pm »
    Come to think of it, this issue with previous significant theft that was mentioned at the meeting, what did the board do to remove the status that individual holds with our convention, and how long did/has it taken them to do so?

    If you're referring to the same issue I assume you're referring to the individual was not removed.  That individual quit the positions they held at the time and has not been a part of the convention since, and if I remember correctly they shirked their responsibilities as a director for quite a few months before finally resigning. 

    You say you don't want this power taken away so that you can use it when necessary, but what have you all done in the past when it was a necessary step to take?

    Can we please keep this civil? The discussion has turned now from discussion of the amendment now to you pointing fingers and accusing people of something (in the above post too).

    The issue of theft was many years ago, and was dealt with by that board/founders. There is nothing more to say about it, and nothing more will be said. I'm sorry.

    Please, can we put this thread back on topic, or lock it?

    -Staze
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    Offline DancingTofu

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #180 on: August 18, 2008, 01:11:06 pm »
    The vote was tabled by Patrick's mind control powers; he wanted to be there for the vote really badly. ;P

    if he honestly controled it, it would have passed and diet coke would have rained from the sky
    and the streets paved with strawberry crush pocky
    He didn't want it to be THAT obvious. ;P


    On a more serious note, we do need to stop pointing fingers and questioning motives.  No single person makes the con run; we as a collective do.  As a collective, it is trust in each other and uncircumstantial love for the event and the cause (that is, we work for the attendee, not the manager; that's the purpose of a non-profit organization) that makes us successful.  Sometimes we will need to remove someone who's had a negative effect, and it's necessary to plan for that, but it's not at all necessary for us to specifically look for the bad apples and develop negative interactions.

    There's not a lot of discussion left for this topic; I'd vote to leave it as a STICKY and UNLOCKED so that people with something to say can say what they should, but we need to end or move irrelevant discussion.
    moderators gonna moderate </shrug>

    Offline staze

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #181 on: August 18, 2008, 01:27:16 pm »
    second!

    And thanks Tofu for saying that... we're here for the con, all of us (if you're not, you're in the wrong profession/hobby... what with not getting paid and all).
    -Staze
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    Offline superjaz

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #182 on: August 18, 2008, 02:49:58 pm »
    He didn't want it to be THAT obvious.

    wow you must not know patrick that well
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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #183 on: August 18, 2008, 02:54:07 pm »
    I apologize if people feel the things I bring up are touching a nerve.

    However, I feel this is completely relevant.  It was made relevant when it was brought up at the meeting by multiple people as a reason to say no to this amendment.  

    The reason why the majority stated they wanted to table the motion was to further discuss and explore the reasonings behind both sides arguements.  So, let's talk about it.

    If you lock this thread, you're stopping that from happening.  

    If you believe that is the wisest thing to do, feel free.
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    Offline staze

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #184 on: August 18, 2008, 03:07:01 pm »
    I apologize if people feel the things I bring up are touching a nerve.

    However, I feel this is completely relevant.  It was made relevant when it was brought up at the meeting by multiple people as a reason to say no to this amendment.  

    The reason why the majority stated they wanted to table the motion was to further discuss and explore the reasonings behind both sides arguements.  So, let's talk about it.

    If you lock this thread, you're stopping that from happening.  

    If you believe that is the wisest thing to do, feel free.

    "It's not what you say, it's how you say it" to use the phrase. And I know a thing or two about being taken off context, or being interpreted badly over text. You're being aggressive, and accusatory in how you bring these things up, and still, you're saying that killing the tread would be killing free speech, yet I didn't kill the thread. I simply asked that it return to topic, and be civil... which Tofu also said (albeit, much better than I), and I agreed with. Enough is enough...

    As to what was brought up, as I said, I'm not going to discuss it. It was dealt with when it was an issue, years ago, and the matter is closed. I personally wouldn't have brought up the issue as a valid reason to reject this amendment, as it isn't relevant to the discussion. But, Tara's her own person, and she brought it up. C'est la vie.

    I've pretty much exhausted my reasons for my position on the measure. As Tofu said, if something new and exciting comes to the fore of this discussion, I'll be happy to weigh in if needed/desired. Otherwise, I likewise agree that the conversation has run it's course.

    See you all in 2 weeks, for what looks to be the biggest, and best Kumoricon yet!!!
    « Last Edit: August 18, 2008, 03:10:21 pm by staze »
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    Offline TomtheFanboy

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #185 on: August 18, 2008, 03:24:45 pm »
    Keeping this on topic is good. The whole point of tabling the motion was so that people could keep talking about it.

    Staze posted this from "the law"....
    5.167 Termination, expulsion or suspension.
    (1) No member of a public benefit or mutual benefit corporation may be expelled or suspended, and no membership or memberships in such corporations may be terminated or suspended, except pursuant to a procedure that is fair and reasonable and is carried out in good faith.
          
    (2) A procedure is fair and reasonable when either:
          (a) The articles or bylaws set forth a procedure that provides:
                  (A) Not less than 15 days’ prior written notice of the expulsion, suspension or termination and the reasons therefor; and
                  (B) An opportunity for the member to be heard, orally or in writing, not less than five days before the effective date of the expulsion, suspension or termination by a person or persons authorized to decide that the proposed expulsion, termination or suspension not take place; or
          (b) It is fair and reasonable taking into consideration all of the relevant facts and circumstances.
          
    (3) Any written notice given by mail must be given by first class or certified mail sent to the last address of the member shown on the corporation’s records.
          
    (4) Any proceeding challenging an expulsion, suspension or termination, including a proceeding in which defective notice is alleged, must be commenced within one year after the effective date of the expulsion, suspension or termination.
          
    (5) A member who has been expelled or suspended, or whose membership has been suspended or terminated, may be liable to the corporation for dues, assessments or fees as a result of obligations incurred by the member prior to expulsion, suspension or termination. [1989 c.1010 §48; 2005 c.22 §44]


    So that means our bylaws need to provide 15 days notice BEFORE anyone is suspended or removed from their position, OR "It is fair and reasonable taking into consideration all of the relevant facts and circumstances."
    The second item would include our usual general meetings, if the issue was brought before the members and discussed with the person present that would seem fair to me. If the case is good enough there would likely be some sort of suspension arranged and if the case wasn't good enough then it could be tabled.
    We could also write an amendment that is "fair and reasonable" that would enable the board to suspend, but not remove entirely, the staff appointed directors.

    I'm actually all for that. I don't think the board needs to lose the right to cut people off, I just want the right to choose all the people and have some say in removing them if I don't feel they are doing their job. Whether this proposition passes or not I'll probably have to write up that proposition to be presented in the future.

    Tom, in all fairness, you got up there and said, basically, "I support this because it's change, and change is good". e.g. Change for change's sake? =P

    In all fairness? I see nothing fair about your accusation. Please stay on topic.


    In other news, I'm looking for a fact.
    Has there been any single general meeting where the general staff (or the board at the general meeting) have not met quorum?
    I can't remember one but I want to be sure what we have on record.
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    Offline staze

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #186 on: August 18, 2008, 04:19:30 pm »

    Tom, in all fairness, you got up there and said, basically, "I support this because it's change, and change is good". e.g. Change for change's sake? =P

    In all fairness? I see nothing fair about your accusation. Please stay on topic.


    I paraphrased what you said... but if I misheard, I do apologize. It wasn't meant as an accusation, so much as to point out your argument for rather than against/neutral. And, hence the smily, it was said very much tongue in cheek... but, very well.

    As for quorum... there have been several board meetings last year where quorum was not met... which was the main driving force behind removing the founder's voting rights, to make quorum easier.

    At a general meeting... I don't recall specifically, but I thought there had been one case. But, I could very likely be mistakened.

    Yes, fair and reasonable would include General meetings, but that kinda kills the whole point. If we waited for a general meeting, then we could just as easily remove the person as suspend them. The argument made by several (former/current) board members was that speed and reasonable privacy were big issues when it came to removing people from the board should the need arise.

    Also, specificity overrides generality, you might say. The law regarding board director removal is very clear in stating that it cannot remove member elected board members. So, the legality of it suspending them is questionable. But, reading the law at this point, I can see no reason that the bylaws could not state, in essence:

    "All members of the board, unless otherwise stated in these bylaws, must be acting members of Altonimbus Entertainment. Upon any suspension of his/her membership with Altonimbus Entertainment, that board member must relinquish his/her seat on the board until such time as that suspension is removed, or he/she is removed from office by the body that elected him/her to the board".

    I'd have to pass that one by a lawyer, since it does smack of circumvention of the law... but, it could work. Though, it would give the board more power now than it has currently, as that power of suspension would allow for the chair, and managing directors to be suspended pending member review.

    I still hold that the Secretary, Treasurer, and Facilities Liaison should be board elected... but I'm less opposed to the idea of moving the VC and even possibly the Secretary to membership elected now. Assuming this passes the legal eye. I will get that info asap.

    -Staze
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    Offline staze

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #187 on: August 18, 2008, 04:36:51 pm »
    Though, I just realized, this still doesn't address the problem of the board having to take something that would otherwise be fairly quite, and bring it before the whole staff to digest and vote on. Suddenly the "with or without cause" becomes VERY MUCH "with cause". What would have been 9-14 people (with and without the founders) sitting around figuring out whether these issues could be resolved, it suddenly becomes an issue of "how do we present this to the staff without making ourselves, or the person that we're trying to remove, look like (a) complete jackass, and potentially fragmenting the staff (The Oregon Non-Profit Handbook specifically talks about this when discussing the idea of "with or without cause" being a good thing since it will help prevent factions from forming that may or may not agree with why someone was removed.

    And while conspiracies abound... we would need to address the idea of "staff stacking". e.g. votes on removal by the membership would need to take place prior to any new staff registrations (say you wanted to remove Jaki... but she didn't want to go. What would keep her from spending a bit of money, and bringing in several people to all register as staff, and swing the vote... there's nothing preventing that currently.)

    I have an email into TACS (Technical Assistance for Community Services. The organization that publishes the Oregon Non-Profit handbook, and is otherwise there to help Non-Profits) about the suspension idea... we'll see what they think.

    Thanks everyone!
    -Staze
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    Offline Rathany

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #188 on: August 18, 2008, 05:04:26 pm »
    Vote stacking is an issue.  I've had people say to me 'How do I become staff right now, before this meeting happens?'  I tell them that we don't do sign ups until after meetings.  Making that official might be a good thing. 

    [Editing to add]

    If we make this change we may want to extend voting rights of staff past con until November or some such, so we don't have a dead time with extremely few staff.  Also, if major motions come up, we can have more than 10 voting members.  This way people who are staff year to year can have un-interupted voting rights. 
    « Last Edit: August 18, 2008, 07:20:16 pm by Rathany »
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    Offline COMaestro

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #189 on: August 18, 2008, 08:22:11 pm »
    Vote stacking is an issue.  I've had people say to me 'How do I become staff right now, before this meeting happens?'  I tell them that we don't do sign ups until after meetings.  Making that official might be a good thing. 

    For the purposes of removal or suspension, I would think adding something to the bylaws stating that the membership as of the time the suspension or removal is addressed would be the ones to vote on the issue. Anyone who has signed up as staff after that would have no say in the matter. That would nullify any attempt to stack the vote. And really, this could be true of any issue. Since it seems every proposal that is brought up at a general meeting is not voted on until the next meeting, it could be ruled that only those who are staff members at the time of the initial proposal may vote on it. Admittedly, this involves a LOT more management and paperwork, and votes would probably have to be taken by signed ballot in order to double check that the member has a valid vote, which means a lot more time taken for everything. So, maybe not the best idea in the world, but it would keep things honest. Hope this makes sense, I'm a bit tired right now.
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    Offline Rathany

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #190 on: August 18, 2008, 08:48:24 pm »
    Vote stacking is an issue.  I've had people say to me 'How do I become staff right now, before this meeting happens?'  I tell them that we don't do sign ups until after meetings.  Making that official might be a good thing. 

    For the purposes of removal or suspension, I would think adding something to the bylaws stating that the membership as of the time the suspension or removal is addressed would be the ones to vote on the issue. Anyone who has signed up as staff after that would have no say in the matter. That would nullify any attempt to stack the vote. And really, this could be true of any issue. Since it seems every proposal that is brought up at a general meeting is not voted on until the next meeting, it could be ruled that only those who are staff members at the time of the initial proposal may vote on it. Admittedly, this involves a LOT more management and paperwork, and votes would probably have to be taken by signed ballot in order to double check that the member has a valid vote, which means a lot more time taken for everything. So, maybe not the best idea in the world, but it would keep things honest. Hope this makes sense, I'm a bit tired right now.

    It makes good sense to me and I think it's a good idea.
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    Offline staze

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #191 on: August 18, 2008, 08:56:03 pm »
    For the purposes of removal or suspension, I would think adding something to the bylaws stating that the membership as of the time the suspension or removal is addressed would be the ones to vote on the issue. Anyone who has signed up as staff after that would have no say in the matter. That would nullify any attempt to stack the vote. And really, this could be true of any issue. Since it seems every proposal that is brought up at a general meeting is not voted on until the next meeting, it could be ruled that only those who are staff members at the time of the initial proposal may vote on it. Admittedly, this involves a LOT more management and paperwork, and votes would probably have to be taken by signed ballot in order to double check that the member has a valid vote, which means a lot more time taken for everything. So, maybe not the best idea in the world, but it would keep things honest. Hope this makes sense, I'm a bit tired right now.

    Okay, this is going to be my last post for a while...

    COMaestro,

    You are correct, and it's a great idea. While I would say "oh god no" from a secretary standpoint (being the one that's going to have to do said paperwork), it does make it "fair". The primary concern would be those times after elections when there is a very small number of staff (relative to later in the year, when there are over a hundred). So, major motions could be passed early in the year with little trouble, while small things could get held up later in the year due to numbers.

    Now, you could say that this would force people to stand up and take notice of their rights and responsibilities to the con... as Vallie said earlier, that really would be the best thing that could come of all this: people taking notice.

    You also could solve some of this by giving people memberships for 1 year... so if you sign up in July, your membership doesn't end until the following June. That would, theoretically, even out the HUGE sine wave that is our staff membership... but, that's paperwork, or at the best, some website management (if it was doable, it would be nice so that someone signs up, and 11 months later, they get a friendly email telling them they're up for renewal). Yet another option would be to break the staff reg fee (in essence, dues) into parts... so that you pay once every 3 months or something (up the fee to $12 just to make it easy (though arguably, you could make it $10 since there is no meeting in September or usually December))... that would theoretically make people attend more meetings (to renew), and we could theoretically schedule major meetings for those respective months. =/

    *tries to think the worst*

    Yeah, really, the only issue with your idea is the whole "uneven" staff levels throughout the year. If it were to work, we'd have to level that out... that's the added bonus to the board, is year round, there are 9-14 members (well, there are 2-3 weeks currently between staff elections, and board elections where there are only 5-10 board members, but...) (please note, in both stated number ranges, 5 of those board members in the high range do not have voting rights).  

    The nice thing, should we look at taking your approach, would be that we already keep track of when people register for staff in the staff list. So, we wouldn't really need to take a roll call when the motion was presented... we'd just check names against reg dates at the actual vote. And yes, that would basically make us move to a ballot system rather than acclamation/affirmation. At least, for anything major like a bylaws change, or removal/election.

    Also note... while Oregon law prohibits the board removing staff elected board members (unless the idea proposed by Tom actually does skirt the law), having a "staff vote" on a position that can be removed by the board kinda undermines that staff vote. Sure, there would be hell to pay should the board willy-nilly remove an elected official... but, you get the point. =/

    The real thing I'd like to take away from all of this, is that things aren't quite as bad as I thought at one point. People really are taking notice of this stuff, and bringing up ideas to how they think things should be done. While _I_ might not agree with all of them, that doesn't mean nobody will agree... or that they aren't good ideas that should be explored on some level. hmmm...
    -Staze
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    Offline DancingTofu

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #192 on: August 18, 2008, 10:21:31 pm »
    It would be simple enough to post a half-page ballot image for people to print before meetings that would require a ballot vote and ask staff to print off at least one ballot.  Well, of course, if we made it a half page ballot, there would be two per page, so everyone who got the memo would have 2 ballots.  That would spread out the work quite a bit, and we wouldn't wind up with three or four times as many ballots as we need.  It's a simple matter of efficiency.  It wouldn't necessarily decrease the paperwork, but it would at least make one facet run a little smoother.


    Anyway, I've come up with a precaution that may work:
    Have all Board Members sign into contract agreeing to implied resignation in the case that they are found "embezzling funds, using equipment of Altonimbus Entertainment for any event not associated with Altonimbus Entertainment without explicit written board approval, or failing to perform his or her job as described in the Bylaws, except when temporarily excused from duties."

    I think that would be broad enough to be functional and specific enough to be legal.  I'm only putting this here for now; if it gets good positive feedback and is, in fact, both functional and legal, I will propose it formally.
    moderators gonna moderate </shrug>

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #193 on: August 18, 2008, 11:14:25 pm »
    I apologize if people feel the things I bring up are touching a nerve.

    However, I feel this is completely relevant.  It was made relevant when it was brought up at the meeting by multiple people as a reason to say no to this amendment.  

    I agree. If the overwhelmingly predominant reason given for blocking out staff involvement in any election is to protect a power that they are not using to begin with (and very unlikely to ever use in the future), then it's just a convenient excuse to avoid change. A Board member can't just say "we need that!" and not justify their requirements.

    To tell the truth, I don't want the process of removal to appear quiet and easy and "simple." It always seems to me to simply be hiding the fact that it's never simple. Looking professional in the eyes of others may make things easier, since we're dealing with industry representatives who like things to be clean and neat and generally corporation-like, but the pursuit of professionalism above all else is ill-advised. We're NOT professional, solely because we do this for free.

    I do not see the need to imitate a for-profit corporation... Kumori Con is a fan convention, not an expo. Interfacing with the fan base is *always* unpredictable. We're the mob; the screaming masses...that's the point. Insulating just a few of us from the rest makes it easier, but go too far and it's like pretending we aren't actually a fan base.


    The reason why the majority stated they wanted to table the motion was to further discuss and explore the reasonings behind both sides arguements.  So, let's talk about it.

    If you lock this thread, you're stopping that from happening.  

    If you believe that is the wisest thing to do, feel free.

    I can pretty much guarantee that doing something like that would be very unwise indeed.  I do not recommend using forum executive power to effectively block discussion on a staff-initiated motion.
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    Offline kalira

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #194 on: August 19, 2008, 12:09:24 pm »
    Quote
    To tell the truth, I don't want the process of removal to appear quiet and easy and "simple." It always seems to me to simply be hiding the fact that it's never simple. Looking professional in the eyes of others may make things easier, since we're dealing with industry representatives who like things to be clean and neat and generally corporation-like, but the pursuit of professionalism above all else is ill-advised. We're NOT professional, solely because we do this for free.

    I do not see the need to imitate a for-profit corporation... Kumori Con is a fan convention, not an expo. Interfacing with the fan base is *always* unpredictable. We're the mob; the screaming masses...that's the point. Insulating just a few of us from the rest makes it easier, but go too far and it's like pretending we aren't actually a fan base.

    I don't really understand what you are trying to say here.  Before I jump to conclusions or start filling in the blanks my self, please elaborate. 

    Offline TomtheFanboy

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #195 on: August 19, 2008, 12:42:55 pm »
    tried to post this a couple hours back..... had computer problems....

    I looked back over the footage and I can see how you would interpret what I said that way, I worded it poorly. I hadn't planned on speaking that day but I wanted to address the idea of the staff electing people who have their own interests at heart and not the convention's. So I wasn't concerned with giving other arguments or going into details on they WHY of my opinions.

    I think I'll bring in the URL files for the arguments I did get on film for easier reference.

    If the caveat I mentioned skirts the law too much then it's out. I'm sure I can figure out something else. Tofu's contract sounds good, like the "we can fire you whenever we want " clause a lot of employers use. But that might break the law for entities that elect officials the same way.

    If we manage to come up with a solid ballot system that we can utilize that will make future motions, elections, and calls for removal/suspension a lot easier. I can think of a few tricks using pdf files since I'm an acrobat technician.

    More interesting to me would be the possibility of using said ballots to allow remote voting for members who cannot attend the meeting. We could start out with just a sort of "send in" vote where they send their form in with a friend until we can come up with an electronic alternative. Like a pdf with a certified signature or a skype voice confirmation. Until then the paper ballots for people not present could be matched up with the signatures on staff sign up sheets if there is a question of authenticity.
    We could got the extra mile and require the 50 cent investment to mail in a vote, but I don't trust the postal system that much.


    Radien, time to update your signature again. Maybe suggest participation in the elections come October?
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    Offline JeffT

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #196 on: August 20, 2008, 03:04:56 am »
    I agree. If the overwhelmingly predominant reason given for blocking out staff involvement in any election is to protect a power that they are not using to begin with (and very unlikely to ever use in the future), then it's just a convenient excuse to avoid change. A Board member can't just say "we need that!" and not justify their requirements.

    The board has exercised the power this year, so I'm not sure what the actions of a past board in the non-removal of a board member would say about this or a future board being willing to exercise it.

    To tell the truth, I don't want the process of removal to appear quiet and easy and "simple." It always seems to me to simply be hiding the fact that it's never simple. Looking professional in the eyes of others may make things easier, since we're dealing with industry representatives who like things to be clean and neat and generally corporation-like, but the pursuit of professionalism above all else is ill-advised. We're NOT professional, solely because we do this for free.

    I do not see the need to imitate a for-profit corporation... Kumori Con is a fan convention, not an expo. Interfacing with the fan base is *always* unpredictable. We're the mob; the screaming masses...that's the point. Insulating just a few of us from the rest makes it easier, but go too far and it's like pretending we aren't actually a fan base.

    Industry vs. fan is really not the point nor relevant to this. Kumoricon, along with Sakura-Con (mentioning them because we have imitated them in many ways, and chosen not to in some other ways), are among the more open cons. Many fan-based cons have a permanent board, or a parent board above the convention officers, or a permanent chair/owner, which Kumoricon does not except for the founders who have almost no voting rights. For example, Fanime, one of the most "fan-based" cons on the spectrum of fan to industry, has a permanent board which appoints (board-elects) the chair, who then has complete hiring and firing authority for all staff below him or her. Kumoricon has consistently moved in the direction of being more open over the years, from merging the Altonimbus board and Kumoricon executives into one board, to removing the previously-permanent voting rights of the founders, to amending the bylaws to make clear that amendments must be approved by both the board and staff (this was previously ambiguous and it might have been interpreted as a power reserved only for the board), to opening staff nominations for the 2008 year for 3 out of the 4 board-elected positions.

    Asking the staff to attend a special meeting to vote for removal is one of the most demoralizing and draining things for the staff as a whole to have to go through. This isn't a question of being industry-oriented or for-profit vs. fan run--it's a question of does the whole staff necessarily need to be involved in this type of decision.
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    Offline TomtheFanboy

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #197 on: August 20, 2008, 10:30:34 am »
    For the record the sentiment among the disaffected staffers still among us is not so much that our bylaws have never been changed, but no such change has ever been enacted by someone not already on the board.

    Also, the example of the board exercising the power of suspension and removal last year does show their willingness to use that power. However the amount of time it took to to do anything with Sean the year before complicates matters. With Sean we had someone in both a board elected position, a staff elected position, AND a founder. It makes it hard to say what exactly should have been done in such a unique situation, so it makes a poor example. It's the one that is freshest in our minds though and it prompted many of the staffers that are involved in this debate to begin seeking ways to remove board members when needed.

    More staff are wising up to the rule of law so this sort of process is going to just get faster and more effective the more we work at it. If you read through there have been plenty of new ideas for amendments that temper and balance the powers of the board and the staff.
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    Offline kalira

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #198 on: August 20, 2008, 12:24:00 pm »
    Quote
    For the record the sentiment among the disaffected staffers still among us is not so much that our bylaws have never been changed, but no such change has ever been enacted by someone not already on the board.

    I am glad people are taking the initiative to help shape the bylaws in this way.  I think more staffers should stand up and voice issues they see with the bylaws. 

    Quote
    Also, the example of the board exercising the power of suspension and removal last year does show their willingness to use that power. However the amount of time it took to to do anything with Sean the year before complicates matters. With Sean we had someone in both a board elected position, a staff elected position, AND a founder. It makes it hard to say what exactly should have been done in such a unique situation, so it makes a poor example. It's the one that is freshest in our minds though and it prompted many of the staffers that are involved in this debate to begin seeking ways to remove board members when needed.

    With Sean, he quit and his powers were divided up.  After this year as well, there will not be this issues as all of the founders will be inactive as Staze is the last one on the board.  The only thing I see here is maybe we need to add something in regards to people holding too many positions at once unless in a temporary situation.

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #199 on: August 20, 2008, 08:46:18 pm »
    There is an unofficial tradition of only electing people to a single position now, that was brought up at last year's elections when Brenda ran for Ops and Prog.

    As long as we uphold that at the Board level I think that the Managers will be able to sort out everything below. I mean, I have two positions this year, and three last year and things worked out OK. It's just not something for a board member to do.
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    Offline Radien

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #200 on: August 21, 2008, 01:15:09 am »
    I don't really understand what you are trying to say here.  Before I jump to conclusions or start filling in the blanks my self, please elaborate. 

    I'm saying that in the rush to sweep problems under the rug to make things easier in the face of each coming convention, a lot of problems (especially disharmony between various staff) are left to fester, unaddressed.  Sometimes this "touch and go" approach seems to be done to simulate professionalism, but I think it only works to hide some problems from view while allowing them to continue underneath (there are ways this can happen whether the director is removed or not).


    The board has exercised the power this year, so I'm not sure what the actions of a past board in the non-removal of a board member would say about this or a future board being willing to exercise it.

    I was specifically referring to removal scenarios where the two-week time frame would be an issue. The only major argument that's been made about removal so far is that the staff-assisted removal process is too difficult and takes too long (two weeks minimum, as opposed to just one week for the Board, if all goes well). In other words, is the urgency there? Personally, I haven't been convinced that there is that much added urgency in dealing with any particular Secretary (or VP).

    Industry vs. fan is really not the point nor relevant to this. Kumoricon, along with Sakura-Con (mentioning them because we have imitated them in many ways, and chosen not to in some other ways), are among the more open cons. Many fan-based cons have a permanent board, or a parent board above the convention officers, or a permanent chair/owner, which Kumoricon does not except for the founders who have almost no voting rights. For example, Fanime, one of the most "fan-based" cons on the spectrum of fan to industry, has a permanent board which appoints (board-elects) the chair, who then has complete hiring and firing authority for all staff below him or her. Kumoricon has consistently moved in the direction of being more open over the years, from merging the Altonimbus board and Kumoricon executives into one board, to removing the previously-permanent voting rights of the founders, to amending the bylaws to make clear that amendments must be approved by both the board and staff (this was previously ambiguous and it might have been interpreted as a power reserved only for the board), to opening staff nominations for the 2008 year for 3 out of the 4 board-elected positions.

    Then I daresay I'd be even less interested in staffing at cons if we used one of those systems, because it's basically a sitting monarchy that grants freedoms by benevolence. Such a system may be common for conventions, but the fan convention phenomenon is very young in the greater scheme of things.

    Certain other non-profit organizations, on the other hand, have been around for multiple generations, and there's a lot we should be learning from them. I realize we've been making strides, but there have also been some areas that have stagnated just because no one was appointed or recruited for the task.


    Asking the staff to attend a special meeting to vote for removal is one of the most demoralizing and draining things for the staff as a whole to have to go through. This isn't a question of being industry-oriented or for-profit vs. fan run--it's a question of does the whole staff necessarily need to be involved in this type of decision.

    Actually, the question is whether we want to be involved in this type of decision for Secretary and Vice Chair. We're effectively asking whether those two positions are special cases.

    The staff is already effectively involved in that process for the five staff-elected positions, it's just that nobody has ever tried to remove a staff-elected director. So really, to be fair, we have almost no firsthand basis for evaluating the process. Personally, I think the way we manage our meetings has a HUGE part of it. At last Saturday's meeting, about 15-18 people got to have a say in less than 45 minutes time.  When people only have two minutes to speak, they're very careful not to be redundant.  I really appreciated the way Saturday's discussion was run, and it proves that staff input can be organized and efficient.

    My comparison of industry to fan base is an ideology, and you don't need to agree with it...it's just one way of looking at the bigger picture, and this would only be one aspect of it, regardless.


    Edit:

    Radien, time to update your signature again. Maybe suggest participation in the elections come October?

    To tell the truth, I think I'd best bring it back to my signature right after the convention. I try to put as much effort into enjoying the convention as staffing it, and right now I want to remember what I'm looking forward to. :)

    So, back it goes to my humble "costume progress" sig. ;)
    « Last Edit: August 21, 2008, 01:23:46 am by Radien »
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    Offline RemSaverem

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    Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
    « Reply #201 on: August 21, 2008, 01:28:52 pm »
    *Edit*
    When I wrote the below, I'd only read the message to which I was replying.
    Having now read the others, I add:
    I've been here since before the 2003 con, and I had no idea there had been "significant theft". That would have influenced my feelings on certain situations long ago.
    I agree that people should only have one significant role per con--EXCEPT that I believe that people holding staff positions should still be allowed to be panelists if they can manage both. Example: Guy runs AMVs, but still also hosts the Religion in Anime and Manga panel.
    Perhaps there may be a way that, without there being too much negative spin or publicity generated, a handful of staff trying in earnest to help with bylaw revision could be made aware of the specifics of the circumstances under which those who have previously had to be involuntarily exited (and/or regarding those who left voluntarily but had acted with malfeasance, embezzled, or whatnot)? Perhaps signing confidentiality agreements not to purvey the information to those outside the bylaw revision process or even to those outside the board?

    Now on to my reply to Staze's detailed reply to my prior post:
    Perfect answer, thanks!

    It might be easier to find a time for an online chat (yahoo messenger? Gmail chat?) than to find "spare time" at the con at the same time.

    The pieces of info that I didn't have previously are that the Secretary, and the Founders, already have the status of  voice but no vote. I'm honestly surprised that their presence within the Board is controversial or that there's a felt need to have a staff vote for Secretary, given that. That's why there was no qualitative difference for you to find between a couple of my options, below.

    I, too, would like to keep everything as logical, streamlined, and efficient as possible, while addressing whatever concerns are out there.

    I'm not sure what your acronym "P.D." refers to. Perhaps a "Personnel Director"? I would be in favor if the Board were to create such a position--though I can already imagine there would be internal dialogue whether that should be a board-elected position, a staff-elected position, or a position appointed by the chair and ratified by the board!
    (I would support the idea of a personnel director for staff, that was staff-elected, and another one for the board, that was board-elected or that was chair-appointed and board-ratified. This would be the typical arrangement in a larger organization using  a continuous quality control approach. However, there is a balance between becoming more efficient and feeling more micro-managed.)

    I'm totally glad to help. Truth be told, it is MUCH easier to design organizational structures in a linear fashion when first building an organization than it is once it's already developed entrenched patterns and constituencies, and at times, biases or misunderstandings amongst them. I should've spoken up way back when the founding meetings were happening. (I was at Josh's for some of the first meetings, but barely knew everyone at the time; I didn't let people know all my experiences in founding organizations and structures and being on boards, because I was so new to anime and Tunac.)

    Yes, None of the Above should be a voting option, as should No Confidence be for those running unopposed, especially but not exclusively if as an incumbent.

    When staff have input that would help the board, having their input could be incorporated by written reports (mailed, faxed, or emailed), or by Skype (etc.), if they are geographically/financially unable to attend in person. It's possible that, even if it is just momentary and confined to specific topics of their expertise, that having staff participate periodically in board meetings will help somewhat.

    Are any minutes from any board and/or founders meetings archived for non-board staff to be able to read? I don't know if that would answer whatever the concerns are for "transparency"? Personally I think that's a somewhat overutilized term that means different things for different people. Also we might need to consider whether board-level positions constitute, in the eyes of the law, positions covered as though they were paid employees, in terms of whether exit disclosures are protracted by law (i.e. whether the board would be legally prohibited from sharing with staff the circumstances leading to the involuntary discharge or even the voluntary departure of a board officer)??

    Jaz/Staze:
    As someone who lives far away and usually doesn't have spare $, I too would be appreciative if there could be put into place, and advertised, some formal criteria for voting proxies.

    Among the considerations:
    --handwritten only, or typed but hand-signed?
    --handed in in person only, or handed in by email (an upload with a real signature) or fax okay?
    --notarized? witnessed? (good questions, Jaz!)
    --okay for other votes, but not elections? or also for elections?
    --by how far in advance do they need to be handed in?
    --will the secretary need to verify their legitimacy? e.g., through a follow-up contact and/or comparison to signature on staff form?


    At this time, there are no official requirements. I hope to have these addressed in the new bylaws, specifically to severely limit Proxy voting as it's just a huge quagmire. The law is all we have at this point, which is to say, a signed affidavit giving the right for a person to cast your vote must be delivered to the secretary (me) prior to any vote. That right will be voided upon any time where you request the right be removed, or if you attend a meeting and cast a vote yourself.

    Staze: I'm with you on the following points:
    (a) There exists the possibility that some positions could be rendered as having official voice-but-no-vote status on the Board.
    (b) There will be times and issues wherein the individuals who have the most crucial data on which to base certain fiscal and fiduciary decisions are the Secretary, the Treasurer, and/or the Facilities Director.
    (c) Therefore, potentially scary financial consequences could emerge if the Secretary, Treasurer, and/or Facilities Director positions are demoted to not having votes on the Board.
    Not just financial. The secretary is basically the clearing house of all the con business. Minutes from board meetings, Minutes from Founder meetings (should they happen), contacts (for potentially unannounced events, etc), insurance info, tax info, etc.

    The treasurer basically knows all the finances, and should they be unqualified, or malicious, they could ruin the whole organization faster than anyone else.

    I'm not going to touch on the FL, because it's a sticky subject given this year's drama.

    There are already non-voting members on the board... the founders. It had been discussed at several points to remove the vote of the secretary... it was in a draft of the bylaws from last year as a compromise between two sides of the issue (have the secretary be elected by the staff, and have the secretary be elected by the board. it ended up board elected, with no vote). *shrugs* I don't think voting is the issue here... as I said before, it seems painfully obvious that transparency is.


    However:
    (c) realistically most likely would only come true if the other directors, who are staff-elected (or will be, if the proposed change around VP passes), either:
     (1) fail to bother to become aware of the potential dire consequences of their votes before voting--which would constitute negligence on their part;
    (2) fail to care about the potential dire consequences before voting--which would constitute malfeasance on their part;
    (3) are insufficiently informed by the Secretary, Treasurer, or Facilities Director before their vote, due to disorganization or lack of information gathering by the S,T, and/or FD--which would constitute neglect on the part of the S,T, and/or FD;
    (4) and/or are deliberately misinformed by the S, T, or FD--which would constitute malfeasance on the part of the S, T, and/or FD.


    I totally don't follow. At this point, it sounds like the only way problems could occur is if the board doesn't take due dilegance and elects a Sec/Treasurer/or FL to the board without knowing whether they're qualified, or have the best interests of the con? Sure, that goes without saying.

    Is it possible that any of these 4 major FUBARs could occur? Absolutely.
    Should we guard against such? Absolutely.
    Is it likely that such could occur? --Not if we've done a good job of researching, documenting, and clarifying
    (a) what each job description entails;
    (b) prerequisites for each job;
    (c) qualifications of each applicant;
    (d) the voting process most likely to prevent situations such as the above.
    You're describing a PD. Something I've begged and pleaded for from every department for 4 years now.

    The (d) item is simple... we just need to make sure those voting know that "none of the above" is a valid option when voting for a position and no qualified candidates are on the ballot.

    Given this, imho, what is logically up for debate is which of the following, individually or in combination, is most likely to provide a genuine safeguard:
    (a) Maintaining status quo with regard to which positions are staff-elected vs. board elected vs. board or chair appointed;
    (b) Maintaining status quo, other than with regard to vice-chair;
    (c) Rendering all Board positions staff-elected;
    (d) Opening the election portions of Board meetings to staff (for voice but not vote);
    (e) Maintaining status quo vis-a-vis elections, but rendering Board-elected and/or Board-appointed positions voice-but-no-vote within the Board.
    No positions are board/chair appointed. The only one that's close is Vice chair, but that ultimately is a chair "appointment" with board confirmation... kinda like saying congress elects Supreme Court justices. Sure, the Executive Appoints, but Congress has to approve that appointment.

    In my opinion, option c is a bad idea... for reasons I've given. Option d is workable, but would require some planning to get it to work. Option e I don't understand at all, or rather, don't get how it's different than option d.

    Other hypotheticals within the realm of possibility (though I can't presently speak to their plausibility nor to their desirability) would include:
    (f) Have all Board meetings that are not Executive Sessions open to attendance by non-Board staff:
    (1) anyone who can make it, or
    (2) specific staff invited by the Board for specific reasons;
    (g) Within those meetings, have:
    (1)  those non-Board staff eligible to have voice but no vote; and/or
    (2)  those non-Board staff eligible to have vote but no voice;

    Sorry to cut out the description, but I wanted to make the post fit on one page. =) Yes, you bring up a good point, and ultimately, one that's entirely within the rules we have now. Anyone can be brought into the board meetings by the board directors. We had a non-director sit in on our last meeting because (s)he had information that needed to be shared with the board. Jaki would be more than welcome to bring in Mark. We may ask him to leave after he gives his report, but he's more than welcome to sit in and give his report. That's entirely at the will of the board.

    Hm, I guess I can be relied upon to complicate discussions to some degree, LOL!

    Indeed. But you basically have done something I'm unable to do on my own. Create a conversation with regards to these issues. Sure, I could sit here and stream of consciousness all the stuff that we've gone through while talking bylaws over the years, but that would cover a lot more than just these issues. By bringing up these points, you help focus the issue. I'd be happy to talk about this more at con should you/I find the time... or, perhaps we should look at having an informal meeting at con to discuss some of these issues with a larger body than just myself answering questions. =)
    « Last Edit: August 21, 2008, 01:40:15 pm by RemSaverem »
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    Offline melchizedek

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