Author Topic: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion  (Read 179913 times)

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Offline COMaestro

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Offline DancingTofu

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

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

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

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

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

Offline DancingTofu

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


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

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

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

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

Amendment: Vice Chair is the runner-up in the Chair election.
nae.
They are two completely different positions.
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Offline superjaz

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

Case in point

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

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

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




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Offline TomtheFanboy

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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




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

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

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

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Offline Mr_Mustash

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

@ JeffT:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

:)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Offline Nroseseeer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My take on each position is this:

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

The Following are my thoughts:

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

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

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

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

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

Offline BigGuy

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

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

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

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

...other than more bag stuffing.

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

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

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

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

On the original proposal I would vote no. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About the bylaws themselves:

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


Regarding Facilities Liaison and Treasurer:

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

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


About board representing the staff:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Offline melchizedek

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Offline kalira

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

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

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

Offline kalira

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

Offline Hawkeye

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Offline TomtheFanboy

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

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

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

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

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

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

Offline TomtheFanboy

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

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

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

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

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

Offline TomtheFanboy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Possible solution -- board nominates, staff votes.

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

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

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



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


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

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

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


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

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




(Edited on 8/8/08 at 4:06pm for spelling and clarity)
« Last Edit: August 08, 2008, 04:05:35 pm by Radien »
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Offline kalira

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Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
« Reply #90 on: August 08, 2008, 04:07:16 pm »
Quote
Anyway, I suggest using this method solely for the positions of Facilities Liaison and Treasurer. What are your opinions?  I particularly want to hear what the board thinks of this idea.

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

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

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Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
« Reply #92 on: August 08, 2008, 09:06:42 pm »
Possible solution -- board nominates, staff votes.

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

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

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



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

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

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

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


[EDITED to fix HTML error]
« Last Edit: August 08, 2008, 09:08:11 pm by DancingTofu »
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Offline babysugarbear28

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

Offline TomtheFanboy

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Also, a quick update on the bylaws themselves:

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


Addendum:

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

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


Addendum #2:

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

Download VotingRightsBylaws.doc

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



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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If it becomes a problem in the future we can try voting in an amendment that will clarify the nomination process for both the membership and the board.
« Last Edit: August 11, 2008, 08:46:27 am by TomtheFanboy »
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Offline DancingTofu

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

Quote
Officers-elect shall take office the day after they are elected.
This should be separate from 4B7.
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Re: A proposition to change staff's voting rights - open discussion
« Reply #99 on: August 11, 2008, 08:13:24 pm »
I don't think that 4B1 needs to be re-written so much. I think you should just remove the portion about the board and leave it at that. The nominations can be covered later.

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

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

(DancingTofu mentioned this too)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let me try;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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


Edit: Typo, wrote "Secretary" when I meant "Treasurer."
« Last Edit: August 11, 2008, 10:35:41 pm by Radien »
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