[Board] On constitutional re-engineering

Jo Walsh jo at frot.org
Wed Jun 17 03:46:20 PDT 2009

dear all,

At the Open Knowledge Foundation we recently
doubled the size of the board, and are undergoing
some constitutional re-engineering, thinking about
membership models, election v selection and so on.

This had me digging through the archives for peoples'
thoughts while setting up OSGeo[0], and it now has me
thinking about the membership and election model here.

Our model is overcomplex and is a PITA to administer
with the two rounds of elections each year, fatigue, etc.
Membership has an odd exclusiveness, with a social network
electing a few more to itself each year.

A suggestion of Martin Keegan's is that, instead of
Board members having fixed terms after which
they need to be re-elected (or re-selected), each year
every Board member must send a ping saying
"Yes, i am up for renewing my commitment for another year".

I know i have hung on during long periods when i have been
basically unavailable, because i didn't want to resign
and knew i would have more time and energy for OSGeo
in the future. This way would present an option to
step down gracefully and to easily re-present oneself
to the pool of candidates if things cleared up.

As far as membership is concerned, I think that
everyone who wants to be an OSGeo member, should be.
GNOME has a system whereby you ask for membership
pointing to SVN commits to one of their projects, then
there is a membership committee, which hopefully
just rubberstamps and enters you into a file.

I see quite a few people with "OSGeo Charter Member"
in their sigs and why not have as many people as possible
doing this?

If we went to a model like this then the burden of administering
the Board elections each year would be lesser, the timing
would be more consistent. I don't think it would be any
less fair. Members could also be invited to re-state their
commitment every year or two.

I wonder what others think and guess this should go
to the discuss list if it is worth while to discuss.



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