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

Jody Garnett jody.garnett at gmail.com
Wed Oct 25 23:32:55 PDT 2017

I will be able to make it to for tomorrow 14:00 UTC, assume we are meeting
on the IRC channel.

1) Several recommendations were on offer

a) *Change the existing membership process with another one more balanced,
that assures both inclusiveness and a consistent weight for the charter
member position*

I believe that we can do a better job communicating our expectations from a
nomination to better match the "positive attributes" expected of charter
membership (perhaps example emails), and encourage members to respond with
more than a simple "+1" to better understand the strengths of those
nominated as a charter member.

I am not sure how we can encourage discussion, we are quite obviously
discussing individuals and have a chance of any discussion being taken
personally. Because of this handicap we must lean on the nomination process
to better represent the nominated individual.

I would also ask that we not summarize the membership process
<https://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Membership_Process> and instead trust our
voting members to review the page as written.

*(b) Impose a a very light template for the new nominations*

Agreed, To that aim I propose the following example email be added to the
membership process page for use in next years elections:

   - Please email cro at osgeo.org with *contact name*, *contact email
*and *paragraph
   and/or checklist describing why you are recommending this person and how
   they demonstrate the positive attributes expected of charter members*.


*I would like to nominate Jane Doe as a voting member:*

*Jane Doe*

*jdoe at osgeo.org <jdoe at osgeo.org>*

*Jane is a passionate researcher using open source as part of her thesis
work into rapid hydrology analysis. As part of her thesis she has developed
an open source plugin QGIS and become a passionate advocate speaking at GIS
Day and helping organize a local foss4g installfest event.*

*belief: Jane has demonstrated her belief in open source adopting the
principles of open geoscience for her research work. Her most recent paper
on aquifer depression provided a code examples of the analysis performed
along with the data used for her study.participation: Jane is a passionate
advocate speaking at GIS day and helping organizing a local foss4g
event.contributor: Jane has developed an open source QGIS plugin as part of
her ongoing thesis work. She has also taken part in code sprint activities
contributing to plugin documentation for the QGIS 3.0 release.volunteer:
Jane has devoted her own time to organizing a local foss4g installfest
event (link) and contributing to the plugin documentation for the QGIS 3.0
release (pull request).team work: Jane has demonstrated good teamwork
skills as part of the organizing committee for a local foss4g installfest

*(c) Rephrase responsibility no. 3 of the charter members*

Proposed wording:

*3. Our nomination process is inclusive by nature and we ask that care be
taken to preserve the long term goals and vision of OSGeo as an
organization. We seek to remain balanced, rather than driven by any single
group or viewpoint, and ask that you consider this balance during the
nomination process.*

(The wording is not perfect but it is a start).

*2) potential conflict of interest*

I am comfortable that any potential conflict of interest was handled
appropriately by Jeff withdrawing as co-CRO. I trust Jeff's character and
am satisfied with the response and clarifications offered on the discussion

I am in favour of accepting the recommendation that anyone acting as CRO,
or assisting with the elections in any capacity, is not eligible to accept
a nomination.

To that aim I propose the following wording for tomorrows meeting:

* - Email a nomination, consisting of name, current country of residence
and a paragraph describing why you think this person would make a good
Board member, to cro at osgeo.org <cro at osgeo.org> by the end of the nomination
period. - The CRO will double check with the person that they would like to
stand for election as a Board member, and understand that once nominated
they may not withdraw from the process out of respect for participants.-
The CRO will confirm they are eligible to stand for election, the anyone
assisting with the election process is not eligible to stand for election-
Remember that only the Charter Members are eligible for a seat on the Board
and voting but that anybody can nominate a board member. - The final list
will be collected at <insert wiki page here> *
*3) create a clear rule stating that an accepted nomination cannot be
withdraw after the start of the voting period. *

I added the sanity check to the nomination process example above, but like
Sanghee I am *uncomfortable asking a volunteer to hold to a commitment that
they no longer feel they can meet*.  I think the best we can do is ask for
that solid commitment during the nomination process, and ask that they
notify the CRO if their circumstances change during the election period.

While their name would still be on the candidate list we (ie the foundation
membership) would understand that the candidate is not in position to
serve. This kind of situation occurs in a normal democracy, and there are
lots of examples of democracies electing officials who died months before
an election.

I would like us to be clear as an organization that we respect our
volunteers and contributors. If any individual is unable to meet a
commitment we can be disappointed at a lost opportunity - but never
disappointed with the individual.

aside: I was (as indicated on email) impressed by Jeff's conduct as a
candidate, I feel we all lost an opportunity here.

*4) election result*

I understand why you would ask the board to consider the matter rather than
make a decision as CRO. I agree that a decision should be made prior to
announcing any election results.

I would like to avoid holding another election due to the frustration this
process has placed on our membership.

   - As a candidate seeking reelection I would like to vote +0 to accept
   the election result as provided.
   - If required, due to electronic voting rules in our bylaws I am willing
   to change this vote to a +1.

Once again Vasile you have done an exemplary job and I thank you for
running these elections.

Jody Garnett

On 25 October 2017 at 11:00, Vasile Craciunescu <vasile at geo-spatial.org>

> 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
> _______________________________________________
> Board mailing list
> Board at lists.osgeo.org
> https://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/board
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.osgeo.org/pipermail/discuss/attachments/20171025/c334b5e8/attachment.html>

More information about the Discuss mailing list