[DRAFT 1] Bylwas Revision: COMMITTEES

Lynn Winebarger owinebar at se232.math.indiana.edu
Sat Apr 10 21:45:36 UTC 1999

On Thu, 8 Apr 1999, Nils Lohner wrote:

>  Committees are an extension of the board of directors and take care of the 
> day to day operation of the organization.  They are set up to deal with 
> ongoing issues within the organization.
> [is there a better wording for this?  I'm trying to say that you should not 
> set up a committee for i.e. one trade show, but should set up a publicity 
> committee that coordinates shows etc.]

   I think this sounds about right.  I wasn't sure about the "extension to
the board of directors" part until I remembered SPI is a non-profit and
the board is legally source of all power (so this sort of translates
representative power from the membership's voting into a more legally
binding form).  Uh, plus Darren Benham's suggestion for the one-time

>  Committees are governed by the board of directors and are accountable to 
> the board and the membership.
> [should this be further defined?  I'm thinking of where they send the 
> minutes, and where they get their direction from... 'governed' can mean a 
> lot of things, and I'm not sure if I should narrow this down, or leave it to 
> the charter.]

     I'm not exactly sure what you mean by "governed", to tell the truth.
but the rest looks good.
>  Committees may propose resolutions and motions within the scope of their 
> charter.  Discussions should be held in a public forum, but the committee 
> may have private discussions if they are deemed necessary.
    I think there should be some kind of open record keeping directive,
but I'll leave that for the charter section.
> Charter
> -------
>  The committee charter completely describes the rights and responsibilities 
> of the committee, as well as its structure, membership policies, and any 
> other relevant details.  Charters are issued and revoked by the board of 
> directors.  The charter shall be put before the membership for review and 
> discussion before it is voted on by the board of directors.

   I think this sounds about right in that it describes "meta-rules" for
charters.  I think there should also be a mandate that the charter
provides a proactive (yeah, it's a management word, but I couldn't think
of a better one) process for providing information to the members/public.
I think this will help avert some of the non-open character of some things
in SPI previously (which I think probably arose from lack of time more
than a desire for closedness), by making the committee leadership find a
volunteer to specifically deal with it on a timely basis.  

>  The charter shall also define the membership structure of the committee.  
> Both contributing and non contributing members are eligible to serve on 
> committees.
> [I've changed my mind.  I think that non contributing members should also be 
> able to serve on committees... I don't think they'd get selected for highly 
> political committees, but would get selected for i.e. a publicity committee. 
>  That way then can contribute.  In fact, I'm sure this is a good idea- gets 
> the non contribs more involved, which is a Good Thing (tm).]

    I agree that non-contributing members should get to participate in
some committees.  But since committees will largely be volunteer-filled, I
think it would be best to allow charters to specify that only contributing
members may join.  But serving on a committee (or a "subcommittee" for
even more particular chores) should count towards becoming a contributing

> ----------
> - does this cover everything?  Darren made a good point, saying that only 
> the basic definitions common to all committees belong in here, and I agree.  
> I'd been trying to do that, but it's easy to lose sight of that goal.
   I would be inclined to list some basic committees that should never be
allowed to dissolve completely, but then I might be paranoid ;-).


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