Talk:Bylaw Changes

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Notes on voting in new members from meeting on 2009-6-30:

  • Majority of non-abstaining nay votes will cause vote to fail
  • Minimum 2 nays to table membership vote
  • A membership vote can only be tabled once. A second tabling causes a membership vote to fail.
  • Given less than 2 nays, majority of non-abstaining yay votes will cause vote to pass

We may need to clarify whether this only happens at a meeting, or other venues/methods of voting. It seems we'll have different rules for several kinds of votes. Dickie 10:19, 1 July 2009 (CDT)

The wording could be changed here to be closer to RRO: http://www.robertsrules.org/ In specific, by RRO, you can't Table something that has been voted on. Similarly you can't Withdraw a motion that has already gone to vote. You can 'Reconsider' a motion that has already failed. I would suggest changing this so that for Membership proposals/motions, 2 Nays results in a failed proposal that must be Reconsidered in X amount of time by any board member. Omegix 17:23, 1 July 2009 (CDT)

A Board member should be expelled if there is a majority vote from all members (as opposed to just a Board vote). Perhaps more control should given to the members instead of solely with the board. Open the power so the board is not the only influence. Members may want to have a say on who is becoming a member or changes to the facilities. This is one step to maintain a balance of power between the board and everyone else. PsychoAU 10:32, 10 July 2009 (CDT)

  • There is some balance of power already in place in that all members vote on who is on the board. This more or less makes the board a group of representatives for everyone. The current board of course is not this way due to how new the organization is, but will check at next elections. I do however agree with PsychoAU's suggestion of all members having a say in expelling a board member as they originally elected them. --strages 11:02, 10 July 2009 (CDT)
    • Perhaps by a 2/3 Petition of the Members? --Omegix 09:02, 14 July 2009 (CDT)
    • With the board only being active for 6 months, I don't think the general membership needs the ability to kick out a board member in that short of time. The Charter members and the rest of the board are watching them anyway. If it really bothers some of the members, have them notify the Charter members. --Brimstone 09:51, 14 July 2009 (CDT)
    • Where did this 6 months thing come from? I didn't read about that anywhere. --Jimshoe 10:42, 14 July 2009 (CDT)
      • The general membership should always have the ability to remove a board member. There has to be a majority vote for removal, so there wouldn't be the possibility of personal vendettas affecting a board member's status. The "Charter Members" and the "Rest of the Board" are the same group of people right now. The board keeping tabs on itself without accountability to the rest of the group is not something that is favorable and can very easily lead to corruption. Checks and Balances and what not. -- PsychoAU

Roles Placed on the Secretary

I don't think it will be too much to handle once the bylaws are fixed. Right not its difficult to keep the rules straight. Taking notes, sending out emails to new applicants, these are easy enough tasks. But when you get into the Secretary has to call to vote things, and write proposes, these seem like things everyone can do. --Jimshoe 18:07, 13 July 2009 (CDT)

Membership application

The whole reason we had a vesting period for keyed access is because we needed to be sure the member was going be active and that the member was trustworthy enough. I just don't think you can fully express both of these things in the time it takes to become a member. Remember we don't only have the shops things in the building, but we have items from all members, which we need to protect. --Jimshoe 18:07, 13 July 2009 (CDT)

  • The implementation of this part of the bylaws is entirely contingent on having a better security system in place with cameras so that, should something disappear, we can go back and see what happened. This is not specified in the bylaws.--Opticron 20:53, 13 July 2009 (CDT)
    • I don't think its a good idea to base the bylaws on the idea we will always have better security. This seems flawed. --Jimshoe 10:42, 14 July 2009 (CDT)

Resignation of board members

I think we need a rule, stating that board members need to come to at least half of board meeting. Something like that. Then we wouldn't have this problem. --Jimshoe 18:07, 13 July 2009 (CDT)

  • The argument here was that it is very possible to have a board member that is unable to physically come to the shop at any regular interval, but is active everywhere else. Do call-ins count as being there? --Opticron 20:58, 13 July 2009 (CDT)
    • It comes down to, if board members aren't fulfilling their board obligations, then they don't need to be on the board. I missed last meeting, I'm not saying kick me out. I'm saying if I started missing every meeting, we need to remove me and get someone new in. --Jimshoe 10:42, 14 July 2009 (CDT)

Section 2.2 - Board Members

I don't see why we need to say that the board will have 10 members. The original Bylaws say, no more than 10 and no less than the number of Board Officers. I just don't think its a good idea to limit ourselves to such a high number for board members. If something happens and we only have 9 members, what do we do? --Jimshoe 18:07, 13 July 2009 (CDT)

  • Having a variable number of board members makes the voting pretty complicated. This statement is provided in the charter members section to address this problem: "Charter members must fill vacant board positions in the event that a vote does not fill all 10 vacancies." --Opticron 21:00, 13 July 2009 (CDT)
    • However, as Charter members are not an elected position, there is the possibility of a board consisting of a majority of non-elected representatives. If only 2 new people wanted to be on the board next time, and charter members filled the rest, there would be issues with that. There is an argument that a charter member can't fill the vacant position unless voted on my the regular members, but in that event, what would there be to vote for instead? If 2 new people wanted in, and 8 un-elected, charter members were going to fill the rest... it's put up for a vote... what's the alternative? We would still end up with a board that consisted of a majority of non-elected representatives. I think the "we have to have 10" thing was a by-product of just how many people there happened to be at the time of the founding. First of all, I think it should be an odd number to prevent ties, and second, I think it should be less than 10. If more common decisions can be put to the general membership, then this would only leave the major decisions to the board, which would prevent there being fewer than 10 becoming an issue. Does any of this make sense? -- PsychoAU
    • My problem with charter members taking over the board if no other members want to, is that we have charter members that don't have a lot of knowledge of whats going on. One at least that doesn't even live in this state. It seems that we can run with at least 3 board members. --Jimshoe 10:42, 14 July 2009 (CDT)
      • I am really feeling more and more strongly about there not being an odd number of board members. After talking with Ray about it, he feels that there wouldn't be a situation where there would be a tie on the board. I think that the "Puppies & Sunflowers" way of looking at it is just setting things up for trouble if there were a tie. Even the Supreme Court only has 9 members. I think that Jimshoe's idea of 3 board members is a bit low, but I just want to see an odd number. Make it 9 or 11 or whatever, just make it odd to completely rule out the possibility of a tie. There is no reason to require 10, hoping all the while that there is never a tie. We don't know what the board will look like from one election to the next. Why not account for it now instead of having to make corrections when it is too late? -- PsychoAU 16:07, 16 July 2009 (CDT)

Section 2.4 - Active and Inactive Members

"Charter members are permanently active." Are they? So I can drop off the face of the earth for a year, then come back and have full benefits? It seems like there needs to be something limiting the abilities of inactive charter members. --Jimshoe 18:07, 13 July 2009 (CDT)

  • Again, this should be worded to allow for the possibility of all of the charter members being gone. The shop should be allowed to live on past the original founders. -- PsychoAU

Section 3 - Resignation and Expulsion

"A member may be abruptly terminated without warning" by who? I'm guessing the board needs to have a meeting on this? Or would this be a 1 man job, then the board takes a look at the derision later? --Jimshoe 18:07, 13 July 2009 (CDT)

Section 1 - New Members

Correct me if I'm wrong. But 2 Nays and the vote comes up next meeting, even in there are 8 Yays? Also, it seems like we are still saying everyone on the board must vote, is that correct. If so, does everyone need to be at the meeting for this to happen? --Jimshoe 18:07, 13 July 2009 (CDT)

  • You are correct in that 8vs2 yields a postponement. There is nothing in the revised section saying that every board member must vote. It is assumed that many on the board will not. Applying the voting steps in the New Members section, in order, will yield the correct result. There is no requirement of a quorum for a new membership vote. A quorum is required for other board votes (though we may not be that far yet). --Opticron 21:07, 13 July 2009 (CDT)
    • If I'm not at the meeting, how does my vote count? Will I be able to vote outside the meeting before hand? I don't have a problem with this. But everyone needs to be giving the chance to say Nay on new members. --Jimshoe 10:42, 14 July 2009 (CDT)
      • The bylaw changes only state how the votes are tallied. They do not state the method of voting. This means that the method can be defined elsewhere and that method can specifically allow pre-voting and remote voting. --Opticron 10:50, 14 July 2009 (CDT)

Section 2 - Board of Directors

  • What about abstaining? --Jimshoe 18:07, 13 July 2009 (CDT)
    • When voting for a new board, there is no abstinence. You are required to cast your vote for ALL candidates, or to not participate in the vote at all. It was stated this way on purpose. --Opticron 21:10, 13 July 2009 (CDT).
      • You can't just say, it was stated that way on purpose, without explaining the purpose. Please explain. --Jimshoe 10:42, 14 July 2009 (CDT)
        • Sorry if I was a little vague. This method gives every candidate the same number of votes, which makes the determination of winners easier. Otherwise, we'd have to deal with more corner cases than we do already. The forced vote for all or none is how we are mitigating some of those corner cases. --Opticron 10:55, 14 July 2009 (CDT)
  • The 3 month minimum membership requirement before being eligible for the board should be removed. Any member should be eligible for the board at any time. The majority vote from the members at the time of board election will ensure that there is no room for people who would not represent the shop well. If a majority of the people want someone, then there is something to that. One person may contribute in 1 month what someone else contributes in 6. If a majority of the people feel that a person would be a good representative of the membership, why should a time limit block their will? I say let anyone who has gone through the membership process and has been vouched for by existing board members be able to run for a board position. Let the members decide through their votes if they feel that person would best represent them. A democratic, majority vote is the best method of electing board members. If they don't get the votes, then the people don't want them on the board... no matter how many months they have been here. -- PsychoAU 18:13 16 July 2009
    • The board should only contain people who truly want to be involved with the direction and organization of the shop. As we tried to make clear at our meeting, the board is not a higher class position, if anything, it's a lower class position. Unfortunately, most votes are popularity contests. They shouldn't be, but for most people, that's how they turn out. If people voted correctly, then there is no strong reason for having an arbitrarily vetting period for board members. Because of this social effect, the bylaws need to protect the people against themselves. Even to join our own US House of Representatives, you have to be at least 25 years of age. --Brimstone 23:45, 16 July 2009 (CDT)
      • I thought the entire basis for many of the bylaws changes was the idea that the general membership knows who they want to represent them. Now it sounds like on this issue the membership suddenly can't be trusted to make their own decision. Can you explain your position further? -- PsychoAU
    • I believe it's the motivation behind the decision that's in question. The motivation for setting a time limit for board eligibility boils down to our desire to see new members assimilate into the organization. This includes getting to know people and demonstrating their dedication and dependability. We have compromised by shortening board member terms. A single member, depending on the date of their admittance, would have to wait a maximum of nine months. In my opinion, a member with a long-term dedication would not be adversely affected by this wait. The debate of what is a fair length of time could go on forever, and it may very well be reduced. The potential exists for someone to hang around the shop for months without becoming a member, eventually putting in an application, and immediately running for the board with a considerable following that would vote for them. They could have contributed a lot, too, though not bound in the same sense regular members are. There will exist a scenario to challenge every line we inevitably put in the bylaws. However, in this specific scenario, we would hope that someone so dedicated would have applied long ago. Dickie 09:01, 17 July 2009 (CDT)
      • How would that person in your example not have been assimilated into the group if they have been contributing for months and have people who would support them? The only contributions that a member is bound to is a monthly pledge. Again, you mention how we *hope* certain things would have happened. Being idealistic is not a good way to frame an organization. Yes, every scenario has a challenge for every line. As it should be. Nothing should be put into the bylaws document without being up for scrutiny and questioned. Just because something sounds good at the time does not make it good policy. --PsychoAU 09:16, 17 July 2009
        • The person in question should have become a member ASAP if he was considering running for a board position. Our bylaws are open for anyone to see and that requirement is specifically enumerated. That person was negligent in doing their homework, and so would not be eligible to become a board member for the 3 month period following the grant of their membership. If said person doesn't pay attention to the rules that directly affects his/her goals, we probably don't want them to be a board member, anyway.
          • "We probably don't want them to be a board member." Wouldn't that be decided by a vote at the election? The idea is the people decide what they want, not the existing board or any other sub-group. To prevent it from even getting to a vote is my point. Let the people decide what they want. Don't make the decisions for them. You can't revise the bylaws to say that the people decide the direction of the shop through their election of representatives, then decide they can't be trusted with that decision. -- PsychoAU
  • Will board nominees be able to vote as well? So you would vote for yourself, of course, but would also have a yay or nay on the others that are up? This would make sense since nominees are still members and should still have the right to vote. -- PsychoAU 12:57, 17 July 2009 (CDT)