Bylwas Revision: COMMITTEES

Nils Lohner lohner at
Thu Apr 1 18:30:44 UTC 1999

In message <Pine.LNX.4.03.9903300821400.18796-100000 at>
, Chr
istoph Lameter writes:
>I would rather favor having individuals making those decisions. Committees
>are useful if you want to slow down any possible dangerous decisions or 
>if power needs to be controller but Committees are not useful for day to
>day operations. I would like this to be as non-political as possible. So
>far we have had a pretty informal structure and it worked mostly.
>Could we make all of this as simple as possible? This looks more and more
>to me as if we are building a big administrative apparatus.

Yes, simplicity is definitely a goal, but you have to leave room for the 
organization to grow and mature, so a certain complexity is needed.

>I would like to see a list of jobs for individuals within SPI and then a
>responsibility to the BOD.

  Here I disagree a little (we had this discussion on IRC, I'm repeating 
here for everyone elses benefit).  It may be easier with individuals, but 
I think you need a committee so that there is always someone else who can 
also do the work.  Off course the committees should be more or less 
reactive, depending on what they are in charge of.  This is left up to 
their charters I think...


>On Tue, 30 Mar 1999, Nils Lohner wrote:
>> This is the beginning of the discussion for the committee article of 
>> bylaws.  Here are some basic principles which I feel should apply to 
>> committees.
>> - they should take care of most of the day to day operation of SPI
>>   [this takes the workload off the BOD]
>> - their rights and responsibilities should be completely described in 
>> their charter
>> - they should be governed by the board of directors
>>   [what does this really mean?  I'm not sure yet... but that's who they 
>> should 'report' to]
>> - the BOD should be able to issue charters (i.e. create committees)
>>   [I'm thinking that if the consensus is that a new committee is 
>> the BOD can issue a charter.  The membership should definitely have 
>> input here though. how? By helping write the charter.]
>> ----------
>> - how are leaders appointed?  I'd say by the BOD, possibly the 
>> - how are members appointed?  BOD?  Leader?  Membership?
>> - should non-contributing members be able to serve on committees? 
>> [incidentally, that would automatically make them contributing 
>> members...!!]
>> - what do we do if a committee is no longer necessary?  disband it.  
>> BOD vote?
>> I'm sure there are other issues here that I'm not addressing... please 
>> bring them up if you think of them!  As I think you can see, this 
>> discussion is one step closer to the voting discussion, as this will 
>> up a lot of issues regarding who controls what and why. I think that 
>> we're done with this discussion, the voting discussion will be a lot 
>> easier because the political infrastructure will be in place.
>> Enjoy...
>> Nils.
>> -- 
>> Nils Lohner                         Software in the Public Interest, 
>> E-Mail: lohner at          PO Box 1326 
>> Board Of Directors <board at> Boston, Ma. 02117 USA
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