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Re: [Fsfe-uk] AFFS conference, AGM, reform

From: Alex Hudson
Subject: Re: [Fsfe-uk] AFFS conference, AGM, reform
Date: Thu, 13 Jan 2005 17:43:02 +0000

On Thu, 2005-01-13 at 17:05 +0000, MJ Ray wrote:
> Alex Hudson wrote:
> > If people want a big discussion on the constitution, the affs-project
> > mailing list is the best place:
> I'd prefer a wider discussion on this and I don't want to obstruct project
> work, so please keep it on fsfe-uk.  I intend to announce it in other
> places once it's in the archive.

I'm not trying to redirect discussion on this item elsewhere. And, we're
hardly going to obstruct project work - affs-project is dead. But, we
did create it for the discussion of AFFS-specific issues, and I would
suggest that if people want to go over the minutiae of the constitution,
that is the place to do it, not here. 

> Similarly, I don't see why AFFS should reject willing ctte when it needs
> them, as long as they meet the basic standard in the constitution. Not
> holding a vote when there are enough vacancies avoids that embarrassment
> and also saves everyone some work.

True, but it also disenfranchises the AFFS member. Without an election,
not only can you not vote for your favourite candidate, you also cannot
withhold your vote for your least favourite. Members should be able to
reject potential committee members. I would much prefer to see someone
not elected, rather than committee deciding to vote someone off:
whereever possible, I think the golden rule should be that committee
does not determine the membership of committee.

> Although there is only one AGM a year (9a) and there must be elections at
> AGMs (6b), I don't see anything in the current constitution preventing
> another election if needed. 

You can't hold an election outside of an AGM. The postal system provided
is a postponed AGM election. There are no rules allowing election
outside of an AGM.  6b. doesn't just say AGMs will hold elections, it
says "members of the Committee shall be elected at AGM". The
constitution is built around this: if you say that we can hold elections
outside of AGM, you also blow out of the water the sections on due
notice of nomination, quoracy of election, etc., because they rely on
the election occuring at AGM: this is not an interpretation I could
agree to.

Anyway, whether or not we agree on interpretations, this is something
that we can clean up with an amendment, because we both agree on how it
*should* be (I think). 

> As you know, my interpretation of 6d is that it was intended to
> explicitly allow a postal vote for that but any failure to meet the
> condition leaves it undefined. 

Even if that was the case, it's still true that a postal vote could only
happen once a year in place of an AGM, because you can only make
nominations before an AGM. If nominations exceed vacancies (known only
10 days before AGM), we can either hold an election at AGM or a postal
election at some point after. We couldn't hold a postal vote whenever we
needed too.

Although I don't think we necessarily would have more than one election
a year, I do believe it's a practical problem because without an
operational committee, AFFS cannot effectively operate. We have a number
of ctte who are busy, who have left, who are planning on leaving - by
AGM it's likely we'll have two ctte with recently-born children. People
should be able to leave AFFS without the org collapsing, and vice versa
- AFFS shouldn't need to rely on people sticking around like that.

> Dissolution following an inquorate AGM would not be possible at
> present without another meeting more than 21 days later, not
> automatic.

Well, in theory; in practice, there wouldn't be much option. If we were
left with a lame-duck committee (say, four people) they wouldn't be able
to take valid decisions (IMO) and we'd have to wait a year for another
AGM - where again it wouldn't be certain we could elect people. I can't
see how we could sensibly continue in that situation.



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