Just some thoughts on that issue.
Am 25/08/10 15:54, schrieb Andreas Jaeger:
Last years election of seats for the openSUSE board showed that our election rules are not complete. So, before the elections this year start, I propose that we refine the rules and like to start with this post a discussion on how to change them.
I see the following situations not handled:
* Less candidates than seats for a category (Novell/non-Novell) * Equal number of candidates and open seats for a category (Novell/non-
Novell) * a board member resigning * a board member disappearing and not engaging in the board * a board member getting hired by Novell or leaves Novell
We also need to clarify when the new board constitutes.
We should have a light weight process that is not overly complex and results in endless votes. We vote for people that volunteer their time for the openSUSE project and don’t get any material benefits for it. So, let’s keep that in mind when discussing alternatives.
Also, currently the board has five elected seats (three non-Novell and two Novell) that get elected, so it could be that we have enough non-Novell candidates but not enough Novell ones etc. To make this text easier, I will not mention this everytime.
I have a first proposal before discussing the situations: The board should be allowed to appoint people to board seats until the next board constitutes.
The alternative would be to have a special election when a seat becomes empty. I fear that this just overly complicates the process.
New rule: Appointment: In case that board seats will get appointed, they get appointed by the board. Appointed seats are only appointed until the next election. The board can appoint also non-Novell folks on Novell seats and vice-versa.
I suggest also to not only have self-nominations but that people can nominate others – and the election officials will then ask the nominated person whether they stand up for election.
Other possible variants (alternative or cummulative). I especially think it not appropriate that someone should have all the work of getting into how the board is running (technical, social non written rules, the written rules) if she or he is going to stay just for a few months.
# A earlier date for the regualar half-board elections ealier but not quite immediately (e. g.: Up to tree/six moths earlier especially if the former member leaves in 7 mouths before the next regular election) # A election for the new seat ealier but not quite immediately (e. g.: Within half a year of the leaving of the former member.) # Running the board in the time within just with the rest of the members. The vote of the missing member could be ## just leaved out ## be taken by the members form the same group (Novell/not Novell)
New rule: Nominations: The election officials will take self-nominations, nominations by others and can nominate people for election. The election officials will contact the nominated people and ask them whether they stand for election.
If this is handed in a way that combines openness and not embarrassing a potential candidate or the board, this may lead to good candidates and avoiding frustrating nomination processes.
This is a sorry state since it means that not enough openSUSE members are willing to volunteer for the board. In that case, the board should appoint people to join the board and it can put Novell employees on non-Novell seats and vice-versa. With the next election, the seat distribution would be fixed again.
New rule: Insufficient Nominations: If there are fewer nominees for elected Board seats than required to fill all seats, than the board will appoint these remaining seats.
Go on with a smaller board is not an alternative?
The question remains what to do with the candidates that volunteer, let’s handle them in the next case: Equal number of candidates and seats
One option here is to just declare the candidates as new board members. This would be the simplest process.
In other situations, you have a vote of confidence where people give a yes/no vote for the candidates.
One suggestion is a yes/no/abstain vote for the candidates and a candidate needs more yes than no votes to be elected. If somebody does not get elected, the seat gets appointed (see insufficient nominations). Since it could happen that one category has enough nominations but not the other, the voting would be different for both categories and this makes the whole process complicated. So, I suggest to change the rule to have just more than 50 per cent yes votes.
Yes. I do not think that a member that has gotten less than 50 per cent yes votes in a situation like that will have a real standing if she or he has to make a important decision.
New rule: Equal number of candidates of seats: If there is an equal number of candidates and seats, voting occurs as normal but each candidate needs to have more than 50 per cent yes votes. In case that seats do not get elected, the board will appoint them.
A second election for this seat or just leaving it not be used for the comming period may be better variants.
Board member resigning
The board should appoint somebody.
New rule: Resigning: If a board member resigns, the board should appoint a new board member. Removal of board member
This is something that’s not covered yet as well. What happens if a member disappears virtually? Or what if a board member goes wild?
Even for the president (see: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pr%C3%A4sidentenanklage) and the chancellor of Germany or a member of the Constitutional Cort of Germay http://bundesrecht.juris.de/bverfgg/__105.html are ways to get them moved out.
Rules for cases like that that should be there.
But I think as long as the new rules are not approved by the members of openSUSE: Something like a reverse election or just leaving the 'funny' board member formally on the board and getting she or him formally be known of the decisions that have to be - that may include the lesser risk.
New rule: Removal: In the event of repeated absence without contact, or other serious misconduct or negligence, a Board member may be subject to removal. Before any other process occurs, the Board member in question will be personally contacted by the chairperson to try to resolve the situation. If this contact does not successfully resolve the situation, the Board member in question may be removed by unanimous vote of the other members of the Board. The board should appoint a new board member.
Go on with a smaller board or a reelection (see above, depending on the time left) are not possible variants?
Getting hired by Novell or leaves Novell
The elected seats are currently either Novell employee seats or non-Novell employee seats. Should a board member resign if he gets fired or hired by Novell? IMO the board should stay functional, the seat was elected. So, again let’s use a pragmatic approach:
New rule: Change of employment: The board member will continue to stay in the board until the end of the term and the next election the distribution of seats gets fixed again.
An alternative would be that this would be a member with a voice but not a vote. The vote could be manged in the time being by the rest of the members from the same group (Novell/non Novell).
If all runs well, I would think of no real differences as the other members will still hear his voice.
But if it comes really to a difficult situation Novell (as the main sponsor in many ways) may still be holding their/her influence.
There was some confusion when the new term starts, let’s rectify it.
New rule: Constitution: A new board term should start on the first of January, the elections should be finished 14 days before. In the case of delays, the new board will start 7 days after the election results are published. Amendment
How can we change the rules? Should the election officials be in charge of them or the board itself? As member of the election officials for the 2009 board election, I propose this change but I suggest that anybody can propose changes but that the board has the final say on them.
New rule: Amendment: Changes by the election rules can be done by vote of the board where 2/3s approve including the chairperson.
A bit more democratic but maybe more effort taking alternative would be to set the changes into live temporarily but to make a constant decision with the voting of the new members by the openSUSE members in the same process.
So, once there’s consensus about my changes, I propose that the board approves them as stated in the Changes of elections. Conclusion
The current openSUSE Board election rules are available in the wiki.
If anyone has difficulties to find them in the "openSUSE:"-namespace, here is the link: http://en.opensuse.org/openSUSE:Board_election#Election_rules
Did I miss any case in the elections? What would you differently than I proposed?
Btw. I read the Fedora guidelines on Board elections and also read also what Jono Bacon wrote in “The Art of community management” on governance. Published also via: http://lizards.opensuse.org/2010/08/25/revising-the-board-election-rules/
Just my humble thinking/brainstorming about that matter.
Wishing you (plural) success Martin