Emergency Election

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Craig Stallion
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Emergency Election

Post by Craig Stallion »

I have a couple of real quick questions regarding the elections that are coming up that might be of value to anyone that might be running and to the membership at large. This excerpt is taken from the rulebook on the SLSA website and, until now, what has been done to fill a vacancy that occurred between election periods.

(b) Should a vacancy occur in the membership of the Executive Board between elections, such vacancy shall be filled by resolution of the Executive Board in a unanimous vote, with that Directors seat being open for election at the next general election.


That being said, this begs the question what the policy will be for these elections. Will this election follow this rule in regards to the duration of the tenure of these newly elected people, that is to say, will their seat be up for grabs at the next scheduled election, at the end of this season? Will they fill the duration that the original seat they are taking over for was slotted to fill? Remember that Sierra Sugar, Portia Roelofs, and Seano Osumi were elected back in December. Portia and Seano's seats were decided to be filled at the next available election since it fit with time. Sierra's seat should be up for election at the end of this season while Carenahh and Ritch's seats should stay on until the election where Radical and Milo's seats are filled. Will they stay on for the full slotted 6 months from the date that they are elected, the typical length for a director's position assuming normal circumstances.

The list of possibilities could go on and on and I think that it is only fair to make it known to possible candidates what situation they are getting into. Will they only serve until the next election or can they expect a longer term?
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Abel Halderman
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Post by Abel Halderman »

Hi Craig. Let me try to answer, however mind the fact that this will be only my opinion on the case.

I got a university degree and what we have been told over and over was that in a modern society a political system is based on formal rules which are written. Most of current modern countries base their law codes on over 2000 years of written law history. It may sound funny to compare a RL country's law and SLSA rulebook, but in the end if it's to work it has to be made the same way, considering all possible situations that might cause conflicts or unfairness. Being aware of that, let's please take a look at SLSA rulebook. We may discuss the rules on competitions, however I think we will all agree that they seem pretty complete. When it comes to rules on Executive Board of Directors however, our code is full of holes. It could have worked when SLSA was made of 100 people with only few active members, but right now... guys, we have over 300 members and the group of active ones has grown up rapidly in the last couple of months.

Now, the rule you quoted, Craig, is one of the holes. The rulebook doesn't say what to do if there are only 2 directors left, it doesnt say what happens if there is only one! Do you think that SLSA board should make decisions being made of two people? I dont think it should. I dont think the board should vote on ANYTHING including filling the open spots. In fact I think the only thing that could have been done was announcing the new elections. There are no deadlines in the rule book either, that would force directors to fill spots right away, either.

Having said that, I also have one thought in my mind: I do understand that positions of Directors are filled but volunteers. Their only interest is to help SLSA and they do not expect anything in return. Thats why they should be respected as group members giving the most to the community. Being a Director is also an honor and responsibility. Responsibility is the key here. Directors are the most busy members of our community. Their private SL sucks sometimes, they dont have time for anything but taking care of current situations happening in the organization and preparing next events. It's hell of a work, I know that, I have seen that. On the other hand it's crazy to go on like that. We do need to think about the future, too. Directors should. At the same time Directors have no time for that. Something has to be changed here. Maybe it should have been changed when the board was made of five active directors? The board has simply too much to do to make changes in a rule book or think about the future. The system is a reason why some of them can easily burn out and resign. Clear rules should make a friendly environment to work for the community.

What I have on my mind here is making the rules more accurate and also some of important rules are missing. For example: there is not a single word about a position of advisor in our rule book and it seems like an advisor practically do and should do an important and formally responsible work for the community. There is not a single word about what happens if there is only one director left. Should he or she vote on open spots alone? What if one of two current directors resigned today? What happens if a director leaves SL? Is it like death in RL? Shouldnt the spot be filled then?
The rulebook says: (a) The directors shall be elected by majority vote of eligible members and shall hold office for a period of six (6) months. Yet, there is not a single word about what happens to spots that were filled during the 6 months period. Will those directors remain? The directors doesnt mean the board of directors as a whole. So should we think that its about individual directors? If so, all democratic idea of SLSA election fails because there always will be some people resigning and in some time there will be no reason to make elections at all because the all spots will be filled by the resolutions of Executive Board.

What I mean saying all that: we need a constitution, a real one. I would love to see a group of people, not necessarily directors, but advisors and people having sincere interest in the future of SLSA, working together on making a constitution. Lets help the board and the community. Lets work something out and show it to the board of directors. They would decide if its a crap or something valuable. Lets just discuss it. If any of you is interested in this idea, please IM me in world or send an e-mail to abel@khartgallery.com.

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Poid Mahovlich
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Post by Poid Mahovlich »

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Colleen Brennan
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Special Election

Post by Colleen Brennan »

I don't see any harm in getting a fully staffed Board back up and running and then even having another election if it is determined the positions filled should be temporary. The number one thing I am concerned about is that if nothing is done to fill these positions the workload for those board members remaining will be overwhelming and when they step down there will also be a lack of transition of any people of experience. For those reasons I am all in favor of filling the positions now and reallocating the workload and getting some experience in place. Whether people elected now will have to stand for reelection can be determined either way. I have no problem with getting things normal again and then returning to regular elections.

As far as any kind of Constitution changing I am inclined to think that should wait until there is a regular election and things are back to normal. Of course the way to make a change would be to present an idea to the board and then let them vote on placing it before the group.

I don't think we need to worry about the end of democracy if someone is appointed. The reason for the appointment is to keep things running smoothly. If we are worried someone on the board would want to be SLSA dictator then just be very careful about who you vote for. Vote for people who realize being on the board is a responsibility and a duty. I think this describes all Board members I have known to date. It is a sacrifice to serve on the Board. Anyone seeking a board position will most likely have as their prime motivation to make SLSA continue to be the fun entity it has always been.

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Radical Twang
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Post by Radical Twang »

Craig, as you know, the seating works as 3 members stick for 6 months, while two remain for 3.

That being said, Milo and I will stick to our time, which will finish up around July 1st, also allowing the 3 new elected to finish up in just under 6 months, being October 1st.

Waiting around for the next scheduled general election would cause to much work, and strain on Milo and myself, and it's in everyones best interest if we get the new directors up as soon as we can, to prevent the SLSA from folding.

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flynn_sheridan
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Post by flynn_sheridan »

Having written most of the rules/bylaws that SLSA uses, I know that they are far from perfect. Part of that comes from any system of rules and that they are a work in progress; not all things can be anticipated. We, the founding board, never anticipated that two or three directors would leave office during their tenure, thus leaving us (especially Milo and Rad) this situation. Which is basically a mess (and yes I would have used a rather darker expletive). I fully understand how difficult it is for them and empathize with them if they walked away and told all of us to go to hell.

I have three comments to make regarding this.

First, it is written in the SLSA rulebook that when changes to the rulebook are necessary then the membership of SLSA is petitioned and the resolution is voted on (See below). This is the way to having a special election. I can foresee that this modification would be approved. [And for clarification the "Executive Committee" is the Board of Directors (even if there was only one left), "Special General Meeting" can mean just about anything as long as members are notified what form it will take in advance (A notecard is as good as any other means of communication)].

********
MODIFICATION OF THE CONSTITUTION:

(a) The Constitution may only be changed at a Special General Meeting of the Association, by proposals from the Executive Committee, or by proposals made by half of the members of the SLSA, such proposed amendment to be approved by a two-thirds (2/3) majority of eligible voting members.

(b) Changes to the Constitution shall be sent to eligible voting members not less than seven (7) days prior to the Special General Meeting.
********

Second point. As I said at the HOF Grand opening, being a Director is a BURNOUT job. Why? Because everyone (yes that is an exaggeration, if the shoe fits wear it) expects the Directors to do all the work. And then we sit on the sidelines and armchair quarterback their decisions.

All the competition surfers need to step up and start volunteering their time and energy. So that the Directors can handle other things, like they were meant to.

Third point. We, the founding board, never (and I repeat) NEVER expected SLSA to be the one and only group that held surfing competitions. There is a very vocal minority that wants significant changes to SLSA. Maybe they are necessary, and SLSA should change with the flow ( SLSA is not the same group of people we founded it for, not a positive or negative, just an observation). And then perhaps another group should form to take the lead and make those changes happen. Perhaps, it is time for another group, with a different set of rules to replace SLSA.

I do fully agree changes need to happen. Perhaps SLSA can meet those changes. I do know that Milo and Rad are trying their best. Do I hope they will pause and take a step back to make those changes within the rules of SLSA? Of course! And with that small step, I will support them all the way. As I said at the beginning, the rulebook/bylaws are a work in progress, they always will be, and should be. SLSA is an open association and should try to meet the needs of all competitive surfers.
In the immortal words of Socrates, "I drank what?!"

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Crusader Arado
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Post by Crusader Arado »

Second point. As I said at the HOF Grand opening, being a Director is a BURNOUT job. Why? Because everyone (yes that is an exaggeration, if the shoe fits wear it) expects the Directors to do all the work. And then we sit on the sidelines and armchair quarterback their decisions.

All the competition surfers need to step up and start volunteering their time and energy. So that the Directors can handle other things, like they were meant to
.


I had no idea there were so many things happening that board members were burning out. I've only competed once but in regards to point two above, I would be happy to step up and help out, just not sure what to do or who to talk to, figuring out the rules and guidelines is important, but keeping things going seems to be the higher priority and anyone volunteering there time should be welcomed. i know i don't really have any standing or say here but I really would hate to see SLSA go away cause no one would help, or tryed to make things harder for those working on it. anyway, surfing is the real issue, and making it fun, loose and kick ass should be the focus, let me know if i can help[/i]
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Colleen Brennan
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Special Election not a Modification of Constitution

Post by Colleen Brennan »

Flynn,

I have considered your points and I do not see where the special election fails to follow the rules. Rather than criticize your founding rules I think they are properly flexible to handle the current situation.

The Rules state that when thee are vacancies the Executive committee should appoint replacements with unanimous vote. The rules do not however state the method they should use to do this. Since the rules are silent on the subject except for unanimous consent they can use virtually any method they choose to nominate for unanimous vote.

I actually appreciate the transparency afforded by having a special election. It is a courtesy extended to the members to solicit their advice and consent on who the board should choose. It seems apparent the the election is "special" in the sense that it is legally more like a survey of the members to see who they might desire to fill the vacant positions. Legally the choice of the members as determined by the "special election" would then need the unanimous vote of the existing board so that they may take their seats.

Flynn, it seems that rather than being flawed as you think, your rules at founding should be complimented for being flexible enough to handle even this difficult and unforseeable situation. Additionally, the exisiting board should be complimented for arriving at a viable and legal solution.

With that is mind let us proceed and use Flyyn's actually good rules to fill the vacancies and get a functional board working again. If anything, that should help to significantly reduce the burn out effect as well. A full board can more evenly allocate work distribution.

I guess all we have to do is realize that this is not so much a "special election" as it is a survey of our opinion before the board exercises its power under the rules to make appointments with unanimous consent. That seems easy enough to accept. So Flynn the way I see it you should actually be patting yourself on the back for coming up with rules that let the Board get through this situation! They do not at all in any way prevent the current solution.

Pardon my rambling everyone, but lets not forget Flynn's most important rule of all, which is to have fun surfing. A fully staffed Board will just make this all so much easier.

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Abel Halderman
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Post by Abel Halderman »

Do flexible rules mean rules that everybody can interprete them way they want? Does it mean that we can interprete them the way we actually need in a current situation? Flexibility when it comes to rules? Why would we need them then?

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