[Linux-aus] Refactoring Linux Australia

Pia Waugh greebo at pipka.org
Mon Dec 12 06:49:02 UTC 2005

Hi James, all,

<quote who="James Purser">

> With elections coming up and so on, I think it's time that solid models
> be put up for people to examine and discuss. We've had time to think
> about what we would like to see LA do and achieve and how we think it
> could be done, now is the time to really get down to the nuts and bolts.

I would actually disagree. We have an election in a month and a half. It
took _months_ to do the last constitution change to make the organisation
viable as an online org, to start now, and have the changes finalised in
time to have proper lead time for the AGM would mean having them finalised
and sent to the membership within a couple of weeks. I don't think this is
the right time. I think we should do the elections and if changes are need,
start planning early in the new election year for it. I would feel rushed
for any of these changes, especially when the only concrete constitution
changes thus presented are to lengthen the time for office bearers, which I
also disagree with as per my previous emails.
> Committee: 7 members (4 Office Bearers(2 year terms), 3 Ordinary
> Committee Members(1 Year Terms)): I've explained my views on this before

Lets keep the enthusiasm real, and the continuity real. Forcing contintuity
is not necessarily useful, and sometimes you _do_ need a shakeup. Why
codify something that would be an expectation anyway when things are going
well, and that would be a drag if a shake-up was needed.
> Paid Positions: Part Time Accounting Help only. Beyond this I don't
> think LA is at the stage where we really need to look at full time GMs
> or the like. If we continue to grow then yes I can see a need maybe
> three to five years down the track.

Agree. We contract stuff out that we need done, such as some accounting here
or there, or some legal advice, as we've been doing. When (if?) the org
figures out more revenue streams that could be tied into the role without
detracting from LCA, (ie - the employee has to at least earn their keep :)
then lets think about it. We don't have enough to do to warrant it at the
moment. I'm personally hoping the election brings in people who are willing
to spend time keeping the org running, enthusing people to do cool stuff,
supporting its sub-cttes and the other stuff we put down on
http://wiki.linux.org.au/Ctte/CtteResponsibilities. It is less work than we
had the year before and before that where the ctte did everything and burnt
out. Lets find something for an employee to _do_ before we look at hiring
one :) And no, saying they can do "admin" doesn't count ;)

> Sub-Committees: This idea I love. If the Committee can delegate to
> Sub-Committees for various duties including Press Management, Advocacy,
> Grants and so on, this reduces the need for paid staff and involves the
> membership more in the governing process.

And this is already happening, and already codified in the constitution, no
changes needed there :)
> Paid Membership: I don't think this is a good idea at the moment.
> Charging for memberships could turn off those who would otherwise be
> willing and able to get into the org and start helping out.

I don't think it is a good idea yet either for two reasons:

        1) currently people join because they care, or out of curiosity. If
they pay then firstly we'd lose some people, and secondly they'd be
expecting something for the money. A hat, a discount, whatever. I don't
believe the ctte has the time to manage such "value return". Perhaps that is
an idea for a part time person :) But not yet. Lets have the discussion and
be clear about what the membership money would be used for, and what would
be a reasonable expectation from members for money at the moment before we
take this step. LA is in my belief still in early development and big fast
changes is dangerous.
        2) Lots of people contribute to LA already in so many ways. I think
encouraging in-kind membership, aka - encouraging members to contribute with
their skills and time is more interesting at the moment :)

> In my opinion, the above presents a good way to start Linux Australia's
> journey into the future. Up until now LA has done well under good
> leadership and enthusiastic supporters, we need to be able to continue
> to encourage this while allowing for a more diverse membership and the
> changing goals of Linux Australia.

Yep, agree :) We also need to constantly revisit what is useful to our
community, and ensure that LA is representative and supportive of the
community. I think the current structure has been relatively good for that,
and would hope that the new ctte is keen to continue to be transparent and
accountable to the community, as these are the keys to a successful and
sustainable representative organisation. I've seen many orgs fall over, and
I believe these two things along with properly documentation of the
organisation (through a website, constitution or policies) lead to an org
that people can trust, get behind, and together achieve big things.

Rock on Australia (and NZ :). I'm looking forward to this election and
seeing some keen beans get involved. I'm also looking forward to the AGM and
catching up with a bunch of you at LCA :)


Linux Australia                                         http://linux.org.au/
   "Is kneeling a criteria for talking to you?" - Philip Lindsay to Jeff

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