[OSGeo-Discuss] a question about speaking out for, or as part of, the Foundation

Frank Warmerdam warmerdam at pobox.com
Mon Mar 13 17:46:39 PST 2006

Jo Walsh wrote:
> These are my questions:
> - Would Markus be empowered to sign our letter, in his capacity as a
>   board member of OSGeo? 


Markus can certainly sign the petition.

> - Would it make a difference if he signed, "on behalf of", or just
>   "board member"?

He could sign "as a board member" without further approval I think.
Signing on behalf of the foundation is more questionable, and would
generally require an act of the board.

> - If Markus is not so empowered, is there a way in which he can be
>   empowered, that does not involve a full board telecon to decide?

An unanimous vote of the board by email would be fine to authorize
him to do so on behalf of the foundation.

> - More generally, if one of us has a message that would travel better
>   if it was "on behalf of OSGeo", is there a process for deciding on
>   whether the message is a good fit? Is this a situation where the
>   board collectively is the only authority empowered to speak out?

I think that political statements of the foundation ought to be approved
by the board unless they are a clear re-iteration of a position already
taken and published by the board.  So, to restate the position of our
existing letter shouldn't need an act of the board.

/me reviews the statement of support.

Well, on a review of the statement of support, and the petition on
petition.publicgeodata.org, I think his signing could be considered
a restatement of the position of the approved statement.

But it would be safest to have it approved by the board.

I am personally of the opinion that we need to be fairly conservative
about the foundation taking official positions on things, and anyone
speaking "on behalf of the foundation".

Note that projects or committees (such as the free/public geodata
group at OSGeo) are a reasonable place to develop statements of
support, or other policy.  But they likely ought to be forwarded to
the board for approval.

Best regards,
I set the clouds in motion - turn up   | Frank Warmerdam, warmerdam at pobox.com
light and sound - activate the windows | http://pobox.com/~warmerdam
and watch the world go round - Rush    | President OSGF, http://osgeo.org

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