[Linux-aus] Representation: remote vote, face2face meetings

Mon Feb 3 23:59:01 UTC 2003

Apologies for snipping out all of aj's mail,
I cheerfully acknowledged reading his inspired me to write,
but I snipped b/c I wanted to keep this to a sort of sensible length.

I believe that everyone agrees each region needs a voice
in LA and that some changes need to be made to do this.

One proposal (1) is to make a subcommittee with reps from
each LUG as an Advisory Board. I've worked in a volunteer
organisation before where this kind of arrangement worked
rather well. However, advisory boards tend to be rather
toothless and thus rely on mutual respect when dealing
with the main committee. This is possible, but perhaps
unreliable and prone to breakdown in cases of conflict
between AdBoard and ExecBoard.

Another proposal (2) is to simply require a member of the committee
from each region and merely expand the committe places to the number
required to make this happen (9?). 

As many have noted, under the current
structure this creates a difficulty, b/c whilst there are
good people from every region it will create odd elections
and tradeoffs in elections (trust me, I've seen this happen
in volunteer orgs too) which often generates a bad taste
in people's mouths too. 

In particular the harsh truth is that in
volunteer organisations the distribution of active people
who would make good execs and have the time and energy
to take on the task is rarely geographically convenient.
Thus for example, by electing a President from WA,
you might be losing a Treasurer from WA, which is not
sensible, as finding the right person for the job is
considered important, otherwise these positions would not 
be specifically named in the constitution.

I'd air the proposal (3) that the the exec positions 
(e.g. President, VP, Secretary, Treasurer etc.)
remain open to a free vote but the number of "ordinary 
committee members" be expanded, such that there are
enough places to have one from each region (and thus
we can mandate that there is one from each region).

It should be noted that this will not satisfy everyone
as it is always possible for a region (and everyone fears
it would be NSW) to run the board in the exec positions
and have too much power on the committee. However, it is
possible to have enough faith in the electorate and candidates 
of LA to believe that this would not happen.

I am still not entirely sure which option is best,
although I think that the option (2) is clearly the worst
and we should collate other proposals as well before decision 
time comes. However, what is clear is that before we fix the 
constitution we will need to fix the voting system (and clarify 
membership) to make sure the choice is made.

I'll try to make a constructive post about that tomorrow
(unless some one beats me to it, being constructive that is,
not posting) ;)

thanks to those who read this far,


Indranath Neogy
<indy at the-tech.mit.edu>

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