moving forward

From: David Graham <cdlu(at)railfan(dot)ca>
To: spi-bylaws(at)lists(dot)spi-inc(dot)org
Cc: Michael Schultheiss <spi(at)amellus(dot)com>
Subject: moving forward
Date: 2006-08-02 15:03:07
Message-ID: Pine.LNX.4.55.0608020932060.15404@baffin
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On Wed, 2 Aug 2006, Michael Schultheiss wrote:
> I'm interested in participating

Cool. Three replies on list, and some on IRC means there's enough interest
to move forward.

> >, and would you all prefer
> > general concensus or a formal committee with public participation or some
> > other structure to take on the work of this committee?
> What's the downside to a formal committee?

A committee is only needed to submit a final proposal to SPI's membership
to be voted on. In the interim, open discussion is ideal.

I don't want anyone to feel that their voice doesn't matter because
they're not on the committee. It should be open to all interested members,
and that list varies. If we decide to move forwardw with it as a formal
committee, as it has been, I won't be too bothered by it, but it's been
dormant for around 3 years and I wouldn't mind toying with the structure
to make it kind of have a life of its own.

The process we need to follow is to edit the by-laws until we have a
general concensus on a new set, then send it off to legal@ to be
approved/sent back, and then an ad hoc committee can be formed to present
these results to the board to present to the membership for a referendum.

We have, somewhere, the recommendations of the last sitting of the by-laws
committee that nearly went to referendum a few years ago, but got held up
by the need for a legal review. This would be a good starting point,
though I would not be adverse to rewriting the bylaws entirely from

In the interim, the membership committee will need to be active in
ensuring that inactive contributing memberships are dropped. Article 3,
paragraph 7 of the by-laws requires this: "If a contributing membership is
not renewed, the member's status will be downgraded to a non-contributing
member." And it is imperative to be done on an on-going basis to ensure
that when a vote does happen, quorum is not unattainable.

Unfortunately, the 9th paragraph of article 3 reads: "To become a non
contributing member, the applicant must apply for a non-contributing
membership. This membership will not expire." And the first paragraph of
article 12 reads: "These by-laws may be altered, amended, repealed or
added to by an affirmative vote of not less than two-thirds of the
members." This last part does not specify "contributing memberships",
which makes our vote quorum fairly unattainable, considering only 1/3 of
even contributing memberships voted in this past election.

I'd like opinions on whether we can interpret this paragraph to mean
contrbuting memberships, as would be suggested by article 5, paragraph 1:
"Any contributing member of SPI is eligible to vote. Non contributing
members of SPI may not vote. Each voting member shall have exactly one
vote." Or are we stuck with requiring a 2/3 majority of votes from people
who are not allowed to vote?

- -
David "cdlu" Graham - cdlu(at)railfan(dot)ca
Guelph, Ontario -


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