Re: #01: Election of board members by SPI membership

From: David Graham <cdlu(at)pkl(dot)net>
To: John Goerzen <jgoerzen(at)complete(dot)org>
Cc: Bdale Garbee <bdale(at)gag(dot)com>, spi-bylaws(at)lists(dot)spi-inc(dot)org
Subject: Re: #01: Election of board members by SPI membership
Date: 2003-03-12 01:36:40
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On Tue, 11 Mar 2003, John Goerzen wrote:
> I think that either way is going to lead to a lot of confusion, and we will
> have a particularly difficult bootstrapping problem (who gets voted on
> first?).

Logically, it would start that the three new board members we have now
stay on and the seven older members would be subject to election, if we
were to use a staggered approach. From there it would flow normally,
albeit it might take a while for it to reach half the board at a time.

> I think we could do one of these options:
> a. Elections are held once a year (or once every two years), at which
> point all board members and officers are up for re-election.
> b. Each member's term expires n years from the date they became part
> of the Board.
> Option A would be the easiest to implement -- we'd have a single election
> season, everyone's hat goes into the ring, and we can pick the top n choices
> for board members.

This is definately the option I'm for (once a year).

> Option B would provide a staggered approach, but I see its downside being a
> continual campaign season. Not all that good.

Another downside to a staggered approach is if the status quo isn't
working, it will take several elections to replace the whole board with
fresh blood. Impeachments/recalls should be fairly difficult and used in
the most extreme of circumstances, so should not be considered an
alternative to thorough elections.

> Also, we need to consider officers. The existing bylaws provide mechanics
> of taking a vote of the membership for officers, but not much guidance on
> how or when that is to be done.

If board members are selected using the condorcet system in the manner
they were last month, it could be fairly simple to work out officers -

outright winner - president
second place - vice president
third place - treasurer
4th-(8th-12th) - rest of the board

The secretary can rotate through the board or be selected by the board,
and officers can resign and be replaced between elections. The secretary
is a procedural rather than political role and doesn't really need to be
elected by the membership in my opinion.

> I think one solution is:
> Hold elections once every n years. All officers and board members
> are up for election at that time, using a single ballot. The top m
> selections are determined to be the new board members. The board selects
> from their number the four officers at that point.
> This resembles a parliamentary system.

The board selecting its own officers is certainly simple, but I don't
believe it's the best. I think it's possible for the membership to select
board members and officers all at once on one ballot and have a cross
between a parliamentary and presidential system.

> Another solution is:
> Hold elections once every n years. People may run for one of three
> officer positions and/or a board member position. The top n board member
> candidates are appointed, as well as the winners of the officer races.
> In the event that a single person runs both as an officer candidate and
> a board candidate and wins as an officer, the election for board
> candidates will ignore that candidate, and select the next highest
> candidate for the position. The board selects the secretary from their
> members.
> This resembles a presidential system.
> The first option is the easier one to implement and understand. The second
> gives the members more direct control, but at the cost of being more
> difficult to run. I'm not sure it's clear that cost is worth it.

Option 3 - selecting officers as part of the board election as I outlined
above is the simple to implement and understand and gives members very
direct control.

> The disadvantage of the first option is that it encourages politicing
> amongst the board at the very beginning, and may well lead to political
> parties within SPI. I'm not sure this is a good thing at all.

I also think hierarchal ranking reduces or eliminates the chance for
parties, but I would not be adverse to explicitly banning parties in the

David "cdlu" Graham cdlu(at)pkl(dot)net
Guelph, Ontario SMS: +1 519 760 1409


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