[Linux-aus] Refactoring Linux Australia
sridhar at dhanapalan.com
Sat Dec 10 09:11:02 UTC 2005
On Sat, 10 Dec 2005 10:37, Janet Hawtin <lucychilli at adam.com.au> wrote:
> There is always the risk that the paid folk end up in a tricky situation
> as they often have tenure and the committee doesnt.
> It is possible and seems common in student organisations that the paid
> staff end up engineering the direction of the organisation for goals
> which they deem useful as it is possible for elected committee members
> to have trouble getting a full understanding of the finances and
> secretarial aspect of the org. Especially if it is someone else's job
> to do so. (..end flashback of student era)
Unfortunately, this can be quite common in any organisation with a mixed
elected/tenured administration. Japan is a perfect example. The bureaucrats
hold a tremendous degree of power, but unlike in a country such Australia
they are highly respected for their efforts (*queue random joke about
Australian civil servants*). Consequently, such roles are highly coveted, and
attaining them is extraordinarily difficult (civil service exams, etc.).
What this means for LA is the following:
* We need to be _extremely_ selective about whom we choose for such posts.
* We need to accept the fact that 'bureaucrats' will be running the show - at
least the day-to-day running of the organisation.
* If managed correctly by elected office-holders, this can free them to focus
on strategy and longer-term policies.
* However, elected office-holders need to know where and where not to
interfere. We don't need a Hitler on our hands.
* A good way to start with this is to clearly define the roles and
responsibilities of elected and non-elected members of the administration.
* Elected and non-elected members need to co-operate, not compete.
* A bunch of other stuff that I'm sure I've missed.
Many of these points may seem obvious, but they are very easy to forget or
 Rather than invoking Godwin's Law, my analogy here is quite apt. Hitler
was notorious for being lazy when it came to matters that truly deserved his
attention (some accounts describe him regularly waking up in the afternoon),
and far too interfering in things which he knew nothing about (like military
strategy). The Allies didn't win WWII, Hitler lost it.
Sridhar Dhanapalan [Yama | http://www.pclinuxonline.com/]
0x049D38B4 : A7A9 8A02 78CB AB1B FCE4 EEC6 2DD9 249B 049D 38B4}
"Windows operations still involves too many reboots. ... [A] service may be
hung, and rather than take the time to find and fix the problem, it is often
more convenient to reboot. By contrast, UNIX administrators are conditioned
to quickly identify the failing service and simply restart it; they are
helped in this by the greater transparency of UNIX and the small number of
-- Microsoft, 'Converting a UNIX .COM Site to Windows', 2000-22-08
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