[OSGeo-Discuss] Elections 2017 from the CRO point of view

Helmut Kudrnovsky hellik at web.de
Wed Oct 25 13:52:38 PDT 2017

[forwarding it to OSGeo discuss] 


thanks a lot for your hard work as CRO and considerations to keep the _community_ in balance!

Kind regards

OSGeo charter member

>Dear Board directors and dear members of OSGeo community,
>This year elections [1] will end in less than 7 hours and it is time for
>me, as CRO, to make a short assessment and to issue a few recommendations.
>As you all know, during the process we had a few situations that caused
>tension and discontent to an important number of our members. I will go
>through the most important ones.
>1. This year membership process [2] was a very lite one. The basic rule
>for becoming a charter member was to be nominated by one existing member
>and to be seconded by at least one other existing member. This lite
>approach was in line with the new OSGeo Vision and Mission Statement
>which is focused on being inclusive [3]. However, during the nomination
>period, many of our members considered the new membership process way
>too inclusive/lite, causing a diminution in the importance of the
>charter member position. Another subject that produced criticism was
>related to the fact that some of the nominations were considered short
>in content and did not offer enough information on the "positive
>attributes" [4] that a potential member shall have. Finally, one of the
>charter member responsibilities [5], "Be aware of and protect against a
>takeover of OSGeo by single group or viewpoint.", was also a subject of
>dispute. My recommendations for the future board are to: (a) Change the
>existing membership process with another one more balanced, that assures
>both inclusiveness and a consistent weight for the charter member
>position. Of course, this new mechanism should be discussed with the
>community; (b) Impose a a very light template for the new nominations.
>This way, all the nominations will be consistent and comparable. (c)
>Rephrase responsibility no. 3 of the charter members. The meaning should
>be kept bu the wording should not sound that martial.
>2. Jeff was nominated for the board of directors while was serving as
>co-CRO. Even if the nominee steeped down immediately from the co-CRO
>position, the access to the cro at osgeo.org was immediately cut-off and he
>never had access to the electronic voting system, criticism over the
>potential conflict of interest and elections credibility was raised. My
>recommendation for the board is to make a specific rule that a
>nomination/candidacy for/from a person that is acting as CRO or has any
>other role in the election management is not acceptable.
>3. During the voting period Jeff sent a request to withdraw from the
>elections due to the negative feedback. This also started a vivid
>debate. My recommendation for the board is to create a clear rule
>stating that an accepted nomination cannot be withdraw after the start
>of the voting period. Of course, elected persons can always resign for
>various reasons.
>Regarding the current status of the elections. 311 from a total of 390
>members voted (80%). Due to the final reminder sent today there are
>chances to improve the voting participation.
>In my previous message I was proposing to accept Jeff's withdraw request
>but to continue the elections without any modification to the voting
>list. After more study on different voting systems and after going
>through your feedback, my decision and proposal for the board is not to
>admit the request from Jeff. Such requests are not possible in this kind
>of elections elsewhere. It is true that we have no specific rule for
>that in our bylaws. As I mentioned before, this should change. After the
>release of the elections results, and if Jeff is elected, it's up to him
>to decide if he goes on with the mandate or if he is resigning. This
>decision should be a very fast one, without further discussions on the
>mailing list, with all the possible arguments being already on the table.
>The other option that the board can consider is to entirely restart the
>board elections cycle (or only the voting part for the remaining 8
>nominations). Even if this looks like the most correct way to go,
>looking on how the elections went before and after Jeff announcement, I
>can say, without disclosing anything about the final results, that the
>announcement did not changed the way people were voting. Of course, this
>is not a fact, is just my conclusion after looking at the trends. After
>the elections, beside the final numbers, I will also publish the
>evolution of the votes (every single vote and the timestamp, anonymized
>of course). Other important reasons for the board not to start new
>elections are: (a) The community is very irritated about this never
>ending stories and people are waiting to move forward and do the things
>we usually do. For most of them, the arguments for restarting the
>elections are not strong enough; (b) Four of our current board members
>are also running in this elections. Although that personally I have no
>doubts that each one of them will position/vote/decide correctly, only
>in the interest of the community, some objections on the
>position/vote/decision impartiality can be raised.
>In any case, the board should have an opinion before the results are
>made public. To give time to board members to react, I plan to release
>the results of the vote on Thursday 17:00 GMT. If needed, more time can
>be allocated. However, deciding on the way to go further after seeing
>the results can only escalate the possible conflict of interest.
>I'm asking the board for a position not because I'm running away from
>the responsibility (my position was clearly presented) but because we
>have no specific rules in our bylaws for the current situation and the
>CRO has really no legal obligations, the board members being the one
>that are legally responsible for the foundation decisions.
>Personally I have to apologize again to you for the length of this
>message. I was not able to convey this in a more condensed way. I think
>the most important challenges for the near and medium future are to
>restore the trust of our community in the way the organization is
>managed and to reconcile what is now, in my opinion, a divided
>community. Of course, achieving this is not easy, will require a better
>communication and the prevail of arguments over emotions, but, under
>such a vibrant, passionate and transparent organization like OSGeo this
>is surely possible.
>As CRO, I did my best not to express any personal opinion, to focus
>strictly on facts and rules, to be calm and impartial. Not sure how well
>that went by the end but I want to assure everyone that all my actions
>were perform in good faith and to the extend of my knowledge. I'm
>thankful for all the people that assisted me along the way with
>technical support (Jeff, Jorge, Jody, Werner). I will also would like to
>extend my gratitude to all the people that publicly or privately
>expressed support for the CRO activity. It was highly appreciated. For
>me this will be the last term as CRO. Not because this year was a little
>bit more challenging but just because I did this three times and someone
>else should take the lead. Of course, that person will have my full
>I will finish this by thanking all the people that voted and expressed
>opinions on this list. Direct involvement and dialog are the only
>options to move ahead as a community.
>CRO 2017
>[1] https://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Election_2017
>[2] https://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Membership_Process[https://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Membership_Process]
>[3] http://www.osgeo.org/about[http://www.osgeo.org/about]
>[4] https://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Membership_Process#Positive_Attributes[https://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Membership_Process#Positive_Attributes]
>[5] https://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Membership_Process#Responsibilities[https://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Membership_Process#Responsibilities]

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