Re: [DRAFT 1] Bylwas Revision: COMMITTEES

From: Lynn Winebarger <owinebar(at)se232(dot)math(dot)indiana(dot)edu>
To: Nils Lohner <lohner(at)spi-inc(dot)org>
Cc: spi-general(at)lists(dot)spi-inc(dot)org
Subject: Re: [DRAFT 1] Bylwas Revision: COMMITTEES
Date: 1999-04-10 21:45:36
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On Thu, 8 Apr 1999, Nils Lohner wrote:

> Committees are an extension of the board of directors and take care of the
> day to day operation of the organization. They are set up to deal with
> ongoing issues within the organization.
> [is there a better wording for this? I'm trying to say that you should not
> set up a committee for i.e. one trade show, but should set up a publicity
> committee that coordinates shows etc.]

I think this sounds about right. I wasn't sure about the "extension to
the board of directors" part until I remembered SPI is a non-profit and
the board is legally source of all power (so this sort of translates
representative power from the membership's voting into a more legally
binding form). Uh, plus Darren Benham's suggestion for the one-time

> Committees are governed by the board of directors and are accountable to
> the board and the membership.
> [should this be further defined? I'm thinking of where they send the
> minutes, and where they get their direction from... 'governed' can mean a
> lot of things, and I'm not sure if I should narrow this down, or leave it to
> the charter.]

I'm not exactly sure what you mean by "governed", to tell the truth.
but the rest looks good.
> Committees may propose resolutions and motions within the scope of their
> charter. Discussions should be held in a public forum, but the committee
> may have private discussions if they are deemed necessary.
I think there should be some kind of open record keeping directive,
but I'll leave that for the charter section.
> Charter
> -------
> The committee charter completely describes the rights and responsibilities
> of the committee, as well as its structure, membership policies, and any
> other relevant details. Charters are issued and revoked by the board of
> directors. The charter shall be put before the membership for review and
> discussion before it is voted on by the board of directors.

I think this sounds about right in that it describes "meta-rules" for
charters. I think there should also be a mandate that the charter
provides a proactive (yeah, it's a management word, but I couldn't think
of a better one) process for providing information to the members/public.
I think this will help avert some of the non-open character of some things
in SPI previously (which I think probably arose from lack of time more
than a desire for closedness), by making the committee leadership find a
volunteer to specifically deal with it on a timely basis.

> The charter shall also define the membership structure of the committee.
> Both contributing and non contributing members are eligible to serve on
> committees.
> [I've changed my mind. I think that non contributing members should also be
> able to serve on committees... I don't think they'd get selected for highly
> political committees, but would get selected for i.e. a publicity committee.
> That way then can contribute. In fact, I'm sure this is a good idea- gets
> the non contribs more involved, which is a Good Thing (tm).]

I agree that non-contributing members should get to participate in
some committees. But since committees will largely be volunteer-filled, I
think it would be best to allow charters to specify that only contributing
members may join. But serving on a committee (or a "subcommittee" for
even more particular chores) should count towards becoming a contributing

> ----------
> - does this cover everything? Darren made a good point, saying that only
> the basic definitions common to all committees belong in here, and I agree.
> I'd been trying to do that, but it's easy to lose sight of that goal.
I would be inclined to list some basic committees that should never be
allowed to dissolve completely, but then I might be paranoid ;-).


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