`Standing resolutions'

Ian Jackson ijackson at chiark.greenend.org.uk
Tue Dec 16 22:22:13 UTC 2003

Many board resolutions authorise immediate one-off action, or state a
one-off decision, etc.  But many others stand, potentially

We have a few organisational problems with such resolutions at the

 * They're not easily found in the morass of general stuff.

 * When they are amended, the current state of affairs has to
   be pieced together by inference from the texts of the resolutions.

 * There is no process for regularly reviewing them.

I'd like to propose that we adopt a process which I've seen work well
in another organisation (a college student union, as it happens):

Resolutions which are not one-off become `policy'.  Such a resolution
will state that it creates policy in the rubric, and give the new
policy a short name.  A separate list of the policies is kept
(probably this is easiest done by separating policies and resolutions
on the web pages).  Policies come up for renewal every few years (3?),
so the list of policies has to have a `last renewed' date; when a
policy is more than 3 years old, it gets put onto the agenda for the
next board meeting where it can be amended, or renewed on the nod, or
allowed to lapse.

A policy is considered to have lapsed if a board meeting with the
policy on the agenda fails to either renew the policy or explicitly
postpone its consideration.

Policies would include many resolutions.  Starting at the bottom of
the list of resolutions, for example:

 1998-09-24.2: Powers of the Treasurer
 1998-09-24.iwj.5: Procedure about resolutions (as amended)
 1998-11-16.iwj.2: Position and Promises about Intellectual Property
 1998-11-16.iwj.1: Framework for Associated Projects
 1999-08-12.iwj.1: Appointment of Debian Project Leader as Adviser
 1999-08-13.nl: Guidelines for Equipment and Service Donations

Policies ought to be displayed sorted by short title, and policies
which related to specific associated projects ought to have the
project name at the start rather than in the middle.

I'm not sure how much support this would need in the bylaws.  It might
be possible to implement it entirely with a board resolution.


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