wiki:projects/leadership-committee/dec-2011/notes

LC Notes Dec 2011

Decision-Making Process Discussion (raw notes)

  • translate the broad goals identified by the membership into projects for the year
    • LC needs to decide upon the projects for the year
    • proposals should be made before the LC meeting, but by who?
      • Louis: it's great to have participation; limiting who can make proposals can in some ways limit participation. LC members, staff members, support team members, and MFPL members can make proposals
      • Mallory: agree, though someone from the LC needs to represent the proposal. Any proposal needs to have one LC member to sponsor it

  • WHAT HAPPENS WITH PROPOSALS/PROJECTS THAT COME UP LATER IN THE YEAR
  • direct the implementation of the programs
  • The LC should take responsibility for how things are implemented and have full authority to stop work towards those decisions. The LC members themselves don't actually have to implement the programs.
  • direct the implementation of the projects and who is in charge
  • Liz: there are problems with how the broad goals are made in the membership meeting; there aren't any discussions ahead of time
  • Daniel: how does LC interact with the more basic structure for the membership? Can the LC put forward a proposal into the membership meeting
  • Liz: we should get membership involved with figuring out the broad goals of the organization far in advance of the membership meeting
  • Mallory: let's ratify Jamie's proposal right now, but from here on out we can reassess.
  • Alfredo: under this proposal, what would have been the involvement of the LC in the LaNeta convergence project?
  • Jamie: for both LaNeta and Occupy, both of those would have been written as proposals in a brief paragraph form and submitted to the LC for a decision whether to proceed. The decision to submit them to the LC would be made by the director(s) in consultation with staff based on whether the project fits within an already approved project area (or not.) With both situations they would not have fit into something that the LC hadn't already approved so it needed to go to LC; there might be other areas where new projects fit into already approved areas, the decisions would just get made, the LC would then give analysis about whether that should have gone that way.
  • Daniel: scope is important; there could be projects that fit within a larger area but are beyond the scope.
  • Alfredo: general feeling is that any project proposal that would significantly alter the composition of membership, the application of resources, or anything similar needs to have a PLAN (not just a proposal) approved by the LC.
  • Jamie: we're going to have to figure that out through practice. The LC needs enough detail about the project in order to approve it; on the other hand, the staff (or the implementers) can't forsee enough detail to present to the LC. Must be a balance between enough detail for LC to make responsible decisions, but with every project there's so large an amount of unknown...
  • Daniel: we don't want to have staff taking a lot of time writing proposals instead of doing actual work
  • Alfredo: what decisions fall under this rubric? What about very urgent decisions? Who makes them?
  • Liz: that's not about a new project or initiative so doesn't need to fall under this
  • Jamie: Alfredo is raising a whole other set of decisions that need to be made
  • Liz: staff is expected to make those decisions
  • Jamie: we might want to formalize some of those other decisions that Alfredo is raising; the general tendency is that the LC is empowering the director and/or the staff to make those decisions but there must be a process for LC to evaluate and critique this
  • Alfredo: those are not operational decisions; they're political decisions. THere are some places where you fight and others where you give in; the whole movement can hear about this and have opinions.
  • Jack: the evaluation process is key for all of this, both the split-second decisions made outside of LC and the proposals.
  • Mallory: use phone calls for more decision making: for the quick decisions, for a final discussion before approving proposals, and for a mid-year LC meeting
  • Alfredo: propose that we name an emergency subcommittee of the LC to make the decisions and take responsibility for them along with the co-directors; having been in the hot seat, it's important to have a political discussion with 2-3 people
  • Hilary: I like the idea of some sort of reporting system; a quarterly check-in for staff to report back to the LC on what's been going on, a chance to check-in on the work that the LC is supposed to be doing during that time
  • Daniel: generating notes all the time might be a good method of communication to the LC. Possibly the weekly staff meeting notes could be sent to the LC list.
  • (group generally agrees; also discussion of monthly or quarterly reports)
  • Idea of a quarterly check-in with staff & LC with moderate
  • Mallory: I see the real concern for LC members who aren't participating; that makes quorum very difficult. There needs to be a way for someone to hound people OR after someone hasn't participated a few times there has to be some sort of accountability
  • Daniel: there has to be stronger language in here about attempt to reach consensus; the way it's written it sounds like there's always just a vote. Like the process of stand aside and block; if there is a block, go to a vote. That makes reaching consensus feel much more like there's general agreement. You have to feel very strongly to block a proposal, or else you should stand aside. We don't want a minority that constantly feels outvoted.
  • Liz: we're talking about decisions that are extraordinary and don't come up often, right?
  • Jamie: we have proposals already that we're not going to decide on today.
  • Liz: sounds like we need a phone meeting for those.
  • Jamie: I have no idea how frequently we're going to need to have these types of questions come up.
  • Mallory: Five days seem like a long time. Maybe we can do proposal and modification in a 72 hours; the five day is only if someone has a block to put the brakes on something.
  • Hilary: we're creating new responsibilities; we should fold this into a description for Leadership Committee, explain responsibilities and consequences for non-participation.
  • Jack: are we definitely doing consensus?
  • Jamie: combining consensus with voting in a formal sense is completely nonsensical; the whole concept of consensus is that you don't vote. Having said that, the value of consensus is that if you're in a strictly voting environment you don't have to make an effort to change a proposal so that everyone's behind it. That's really difficult to formalize in the structure, but we absolutely want to make that part of the culture of the LC that whenever there's opposition to any proposal put forward we put effort into addressing concerns so everyone can agree.
  • Alfredo: you need to say unanimous vote, not consensus.
  • Enrique: I'm worried about someone who doesn't have the will to deal with coming to a decision stopping the decision.
  • Jamie: this proposal allows one person to delay a decision by 5 days, but decisions still move forward if 2/3 of those present approve it.
  • Daniel: unanimous decision doesn't leave room for someone to stand aside; if someone doesn't strongly support something and doesn't want to vote for it but doesn't want to block it then there's no way for someone to stand aside. Then people might not vote and we won't have quorum.
  • Jamie: people can abstain and abstentions count towards quorum.
  • Jack: people should clearly say yes, no, or abstain when folks are trying to cast a vote.
  • Jamie: we need a committee to work on the membership meeting: what will it look like? Will it be in Detroit near the AMC? How do we integrate members in Mexico and otherwise internationally? How does it reflect/impact the structure? A huge task, but it needs to be done in a very public way. That's context for proposing that Jamie be director until the membership meeting.
  • (Discussion of who is legally responsible for MFPL actions)
  • Jamie: in past cases the gov't/police go after the people who have access to the info/encrypted password, e.g. support team

PROPOSALS: description of the project, what goals it relates to and a bit on how, the resources that it will take, possible risks or unknown, needed timeline for the decision to be made

  • there should be an opportunity for the LC to ask clarifying questions
  • we need to establish a timeline for the decision making process itself; no matter what the urgency of the process you need to give at least X amount of time for all LC to give feedback or ask for a slowdown.
  • There can be just one delay allowed for each proposal
  • 72 hours for clarification or responses OR 5 days with a discussion at the end, with a decision at the end:

DECISIONS: We need quorum of 50% of LC; we need 2/3 support for approval. In person it makes sense; via email, if 2/3 of the people who respond say yes AND 50% of LC responds then it passes; if we get less of either then it doesn't pass. (see above for more on this, specifically "unaninmous decision" instead of "consensus" and abstention counting towards quorum.

DIRECTOR DECISION:

  • Jamie will remain as co-director until the 2012 membership meeting. (Unanimous vote by 9 LC members.)

EMERGENCY SUBCOMMITTEE OF LC

  • committment from Alfredo, Mallory, Jack, and Daniel S. to be on the emergency subcommittee that Jamie can contact for split-second

PROPOSAL FOR GOING OVER THE EXISTING PROPOSALS

  • Jamie: we need an LC call in the next week or two; want to rewrite proposal on the membership process project and the structure of MFPL; also want to put the structure proposal on the table so it can be modified by the LC. Have us address the structure proposal first (excluding what we've already approved)
  • Hilary: are the other proposals ready to go out?
  • Jack: more comfortable if they're brought into line with the structure we decided on for proposals
  • Mallory: some of these bullet points include many projects; would be up for helping to shape these into proposals that can be worked on in a clear way.
  • Jamie: we need two more phone calls, one for structure and one for the revised proposals. Not everyone on LC needs to be on the phone calls, they can be put to vote via email but the discussions don't need quorum.
  • Hilary: put out the revised proposal to the list before the phone calls so that folks can post questions
  • (discussion of when we should talk about the structure and other proposals, whether there should be separate calls)
  • Staff will revise proposals and submit them to LC list as they're ready, LC will read and respond, we will schedule 1-2 calls to decide on structure and proposals in January.

OUTSTANDING QUESTIONS: Who are propsective co-directors? How do we prepare for the next membership meeting?

Last modified 8 years ago Last modified on Dec 26, 2011, 4:56:58 PM