[Linux-aus] Candidacy Support Statement - President or Ordinary Council Member

James Polley jamezpolley at gmail.com
Fri Dec 2 16:57:33 AEDT 2016

On Fri, Dec 2, 2016 at 10:51 AM, Nathan Bailey <nate at polynate.net> wrote:

> On 2 December 2016 at 10:18, Anthony Towns <aj at erisian.com.au> wrote:
>> So, for what it's worth, these things seem exactly in line with what I've
>> seen from past councils over the past decade and a bit -- the council
>> gets the boring, less visible work; council members have other things
>> crop up that distracts them; and the best stuff is done by people who
>> aren't actually on the council.
>> It (still) seems to me like it'd be best for the council to recognise
>> this reality and go with the flow, rather than trying to resist it...
> Or to propose a new model that actually puts council in a role of driving
> a leadership agenda, rather than just management/support role.
> I think this is the crux of Kathy's platform - if council is to lead, then
> other approaches must be identified to get the work done.
> And for essential work, volunteers aren't an appropriate solution -
> because they get busy, interrupted and sometimes don't have the required
> skills.
> Have a volunteer team is great, but the buck needs to stop somewhere, and
> that's going to either be with staff or a contractor (or, as with the
> membership database problem, it never gets done).

Just to provide some historical context (I don't mean this to be an
argument for or against any of the proposals that Kathy/Hugh have
presented, or for/against what Nathan has said here), I'd like to point out
that a proposal that "puts council in the role of driving a leadership
agenda" is not really a new model - it's more of a reversion to the prior

You can read more context in the list archives, starting at
http://lists.linux.org.au/pipermail/linux-aus/2007-February/015125.html. To
summarise, the body now called the Council used to be called the Committee,
and its name was changed (at the 2008 AGM, following this conversation) to
the Council. The intention behind the change was precisely what Nathan has
identified here - the Council would provide oversight and support to the
subcommittees, who did most of the work.

Just to be clear, I don't intend to say that Kathy's second proposal should
be taken as a reversion to a previously-rejected model; I think that what
she's proposed is quite different from what's been done before; and even if
it wasn't, I don't have a problem with changing back to an old model if
that's what's appropriate for the times. I read Kathy's Scenario 2 as more
of an evolution - moving even more of the administrivia away from the
council members, so that they can spend more of their limited volunteering
time focusing on strategic leadership.
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