#01: Election of board members by SPI membership

John Goerzen jgoerzen at complete.org
Fri Mar 21 15:11:57 UTC 2003

On Tue, Mar 11, 2003 at 02:11:22PM -0600, John Goerzen wrote:
> On Mon, Mar 10, 2003 at 10:07:47AM -0600, John Goerzen wrote:
> > 01 Election of board members by SPI membership

OK, discussion seems to have died off, so let's fire it up again :-)

I propose the following:
 1. Board members and officers both serve for a term of two years.

 2. In one year, officer positions are voted on; in the next year,
    "non-officer" board seats are voted on.  For the purposes of this
    proposal, the Secretary position is not an officer.

 3. Elections are held once a year.

 4. On the year when "non-officer" board seats are elected, all candidates
    are grouped into a single vote, and the top x winners get a seat on the

 5. On the year when officer seats are elected, two votes are held: one for
    president and one for treasurer.  The winner of the president vote
    becomes president; and the second-place finisher becomes VP.  The winner
    of the treasurer vote becomes treasurer.

 6. After each year's elections, the board shall pass a motion selecting
    a secretary from the non-officer members of the board.  The board may
    replace the secretary at any time it desires by appointing a new
    secretary from the non-officer members of the board.

 7. No person may run for more than one seat in any given election.

Now, my rationale, keyed to the points above:

 1. I think two years is a reasonable compromise.  Board members currently
    have a term of three years.  If we set everyone to a term of one year,
    we'd either have all board members and officers up for election
    simultaneously, or have to hold two elections each year.  I dislike both
    of those options; the former because it leads to a lack of stability,
    and the latter because it leads to a continuous campaign season.

 2. We've talked a lot about different ways of selecting the officers. 
    We've discussed having the board appoint officers; having the top
    vote-getter in a general election becoming president; holding separate
    officer elections at the same time as regular board member elections;
    and other similar schemes.  None of these seemed to me really quite
    right.  Having the board appoint officers puts less direct control
    in the hands of members.  Having the top vote-getter become president,
    the next VP, etc. may result in people not qualified for an officer
    position becoming an officer and again will not let the membership
    express preferences for a particular office.  Holding officer elections
    the same time as board member elections complicates the situation where
    someone may want to run for both, necessiting conflict resolution rules.

    This proposal, I think, solves all of these problems.  If board members
    want to run for an officer position; fine, we'll just fill the
    newly-vacant seat(s) with our regular procedures.

 3. See #1.

 4. I think this makes sense.  There's no need to vote on individual seats.
    Haven't heard any disagreement with this option either.

 5. I framed the VP thing this way because I can't imagine anyone wanting
    to run for VP instead of president, but I'd imagine candidates for
    president would be happy with VP and the corresponding seat on the
    board.  Plus, the #2 candidate in such an election would have a high
    likelihood of being well qualified for the position.

    I frame the treasurer position separately because it requires a
    different skill set, and someone qualified to be president may not
    be qualified to be treasurer, and vice-versa.

 6. Since the secretary position is largely one of helping out the board,
    I think it makes sense that they choose the secretary.  I'm not sure
    whether we should restrict this to the elected members of the board
    or open it to any SPI contributing member.  Thoughts on that welcome.

 7. This means that you can't run for both president and VP, and has no
    other effect.  This means that we don't have to engineer a conflict
    resolution mechanism in case someone wins both elections.  Also, I think
    that candidates should focus on a particular election anyway.

-- John

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