Author Topic: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion  (Read 179890 times)

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Offline Pezzer

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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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Offline Radien

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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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Offline JeffT

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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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Offline superjaz

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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 »
superjaz, that is jaz with one z count um ONE z!
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Offline Radien

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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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Offline Radien

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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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Offline Radien

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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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Offline superjaz

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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 »
superjaz, that is jaz with one z count um ONE z!
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Offline staze

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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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Offline staze

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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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Offline staze

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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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Offline staze

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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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Offline Radien

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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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Offline DancingTofu

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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?
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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.
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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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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. =/
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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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2007, 8, 9, 10: Fan Creation Manager. 2011: Writing & Editing Coord (Publicity).

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 »
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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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2004: Beta Station Coord. 2005: Fan Creation Station Coord.;pre-event assistant to the con chair.2006: Fanfic Mgr/C.S. Coord.
2007, 8, 9, 10: Fan Creation Manager. 2011: Writing & Editing Coord (Publicity).

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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Offline staze

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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.
-Staze
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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!
Ellen. 2003: Fanfic panelist & contest judge.
2004: Beta Station Coord. 2005: Fan Creation Station Coord.;pre-event assistant to the con chair.2006: Fanfic Mgr/C.S. Coord.
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Offline staze

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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
-Staze
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Offline DancingTofu

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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.
moderators gonna moderate </shrug>