#01: Election of board members by SPI membership
jgoerzen at complete.org
Wed Mar 12 14:43:29 UTC 2003
[ my chairman hat is NOT on for these comments ]
On Tue, Mar 11, 2003 at 11:10:59PM -0700, Bdale Garbee wrote:
> the board, and then have the board elect officers. In fact, I'm not sure they
> even require that the officers be members of the board. The officers need to
That makes some sense, too.
I see a lot of good ideas floating around. I think we have several separate
questions to answer. Let's try to take them in order so we can more
efficiently frame our discussion. The questions we need to answer are: 1)
do all board members get elected at the same time; 2) length of terms for
board members; 3) bootstrapping; 4) determination of the size of the board;
5) provisions for interim elections (if a member steps down or is recalled
in the middle of a term); 6) selection of officers (that can come later --
we have a separate topic for it)
So, for #1, our options are:
1. All board members up for election at once; top n winners get seats.
2. Board is split into separate "seats". Each seat has a given expiry
date. Half, a third (or whatever) expire for each election cycle.
Those that expire are up for re-election, and top n winners get
the open seats.
3. Board is split into separate "seats", with expiration times based on
length of service for current members.
My comments on these options:
1. To be effective, length of terms will have to be shorter than they are
now (they're three years at present). I'm not sure if one year is the
right number for this; presumably the three year value was to grant
a sense of stability to the board. As the board is more an
administrative than a political role, I don't see this as a big problem,
especially given greater recall powers.
2. A problem raised with this is getting rid of inactive members quickly.
Again, I think we need a separate mechanism to deal with that. Even
with annual elections, inactive members could hobble the board for
the greater part of a year.
I personally favor this option. I'd like to see half the seats up for
re-election each year. The benefits are that the membership will be
able to directly appoint half of the board each year -- enough to have
a major impact -- and yet there remains a stability because not all
seats will be open for election. The board gets to hear the voice of
the membership loud and clear on a more frequent basis than elections
every other year.
3. I think this leads to greater confusion, without the benefits of
#2. #2 strikes a nice balance between stability and reform.
I support elections annually. I do not support any mechanism that holds
elections more frequently or less frequently than that. I think more
frequent elections leads to a continual campaign season, and less frequent
elections leads to reduced accountability and sense of ownership among the
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