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

Helena Mitasova hmitaso at ncsu.edu
Wed Oct 25 21:07:18 PDT 2017

unfortunately it looks like I won't be able to make tomorrow, although I
will try to connect.

I mostly agree with Michael and I don't think we should repeat the election
for the many reasons that CRO has highlighted.
The rules for the next election will need to be revised and updated by the
new board in response to CRO comments and suggestions.


On Wed, Oct 25, 2017 at 5:41 PM, Michael Smith <michael.smith.erdc at gmail.com
> wrote:

> I should be able to make it tomorrow but I will publish my thoughts here.
> 1) while we have had something more involved in previous years, the end
> result was the same. I’d really hate to change the process again so quickly
> although I do like the template idea. Maybe via form on the wiki or
> something. But if people really don’t like the new process I’m not that
> against changing it but if we do change it, imho it needs to be done right
> after the election and not close to next years process.
> 2) I still feel that nothing bad was followed here. I think recusal from
> CRO after nomination is reasonable as long as it’s before voting or setup
> etc.
> 3) since these are all voluntary positions, I feel that any one should be
> able to withdraw if that’s what they feel is necessary. We don’t know what
> all went into the decision but I believe that anyone nominated would act in
> a heartfelt and considered manner. If Jeff felt the need to withdraw, I
> think we need to respect that, even if during the election. The end result
> is the same as if he withdraws after, except that some people had more info
> to make a decision.  This could happen to anyone if their circumstances
> changes. It’s something I think we have to allow for as real life can
> interfere with our best intentions.
> Finally I agree with the decision to not redo the election. If there was
> something that interferes with integrity of the election, then there would
> be cause but these are just, frankly, almost to be expected issues. We are
> just fortunate that we haven’t been as affected by these in previous years.
> Michael Smith
> OSGeo Treasurer
> > On Oct 25, 2017, at 2:00 PM, Vasile Craciunescu <vasile at geo-spatial.org>
> wrote:
> >
> > 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 support.
> >
> > 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.
> >
> > Best,
> > Vasile
> > CRO 2017
> >
> > [1] https://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Election_2017
> > [2] https://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Membership_Process
> > [3] http://www.osgeo.org/about
> > [4] https://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Membership_Process#Positive_Attributes
> > [5] https://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Membership_Process#Responsibilities
> >
> > _______________________________________________
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> > Board at lists.osgeo.org
> > https://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/board
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Helena Mitasova
Department of Marine, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
North Carolina State University
1125 Jordan Hall
NCSU Box 8208
Raleigh, NC 27695-8208

email: hmitaso at ncsu.edu
ph: 919-513-1327 (no voicemail)
fax 919 515-7802
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