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RE: [802SEC] 802.20 affirmation

There following were the reasons why I voted against the confirmation motion:

1) It seemed to me that the candidates had not demonstrated a significant track record of participation in the work of the study group/working group (and by "significant track record" I mean the kind of track record that would result in an individual gaining voting rights in an established WG); and

2) It seemed to me that the candidates had no significant track record of participation in the recent work of 802; and

3) I have never been comfortable with the concept that membership in a new WG can be obtained by a first-time 802 participant; however, in the case of previous new WGs, we have not seen the unprecedented number of new voters that we had last week in 802.20, so this had not hitherto been a significant enough issue to call attention to the need for a change in rules. I am very uncomfortable indeed that a decision as important to the running of a new WG as electing its officers was taken last week by a voting membership of which significantly more than half were first-time participants in that activity.

So, to answer the question as to what would need to change for me to be prepared to affirm a future set of officers elected in .20, or in any other new WG for that matter, the answer is that they would have to be able to show a "significant track record" in the WG and/or the SG meetings that were its precursor, and similarly, the voting membership that elects them would have to be able to show a "significant track record" of participation in the WG and/or the SG.

Both Bob O'Hara and Geoff Thompson have raised the question as to what the rules say with regard to criteria for determining whether a candidate for WG office is or is not suitable. The reality is that the rules are largely silent on this issue, other than the last para of 3.2 Membership, which requires Exec members "...prior to confirmation...[to] file with the Recording secretary a letter of endorsement...[that] shall contain at least the following: 1. Statement of qualification based on technical expertise to fulfill the assignment...". So technical expertise is clearly identified in our rules as a requirement, although no guidance is given as to the criteria by which that should be judged. The only other requirement I could find is that Exec members are required to be IEEE or IEEE Computer society members or affiliates  (but I suspect that this should now read "IEEE SA" rather than "IEEE or IEEE Computer society", so this itself may be another bug).

However, it is clear that any individual voting on such a question must apply *some* set of criteria, otherwise they would be unable to determine how to vote, so it would seem clear that individuals are free to choose whatever criteria might be appropriate to them, and past experience of 802 and/or of the relevant Study Group seem to me to be at least as reasonable as any other criteria for judging relevant technical expertise, and maybe significantly better criteria than most.

Moving on to wider questions of what the current LMSC rules do/do not say on membership, voting, and election of officers, it seems to me that at least the following anomalies/problems exist:

1) As pointed out above, while 3.2 clearly requires that a statement of technical expertise is a requirement for SEC membership, it doesn't identify how that expertise might be assessed, so presumably a statement of the form "I have no such expertise" could be acceptable under the current rules. I don't believe that to be appropriate. Also, the otherwise complete silence on the subject of what constitutes acceptable credentials for WG office;

2) In passing (but not directly relevant to the current topic), 3.4 states that voting on the Exec is by a simple majority. As at least some RR motions require other than a simple majority, and the text of (for example) 3.6.2 of our rules requires a 2/3 majority, this appears to be a straightforward bug.

3) 3.1 Function (of the Exec) states that one of the Exec functions is to "b) Appoint the initial Chairs of the Working Groups and Technical Advisory Groups. (The Chairs of Working Groups and Technical Advisory Groups are confirmed or elected by the Working Group and Technical Advisory Group members themselves.)". The initial statement clearly places the responsibility for appointment with the Exec; however, the subsequent statements in parens appear to be at odds with this initial sentence. This is also at odds with 5.1.2 which states that "LMSC Working Group Chairs and Vice Chairs shall be elected by the Working Group and confirmed by the LMSC Executive Committee. ..... Initial appointments, and temporary appointments to fill vacancies due to resignations or removals for cause, may be made by the Chair of the LMSC, and shall be valid until the end of the next Plenary session." Further, 3.2 seems to imply that the WG/TAG Chairs are appointed (presumably by the SEC) and affirmed by the WG/TAG.
So we seem to have three possibilities as to the proper procedure for appointing an initial WG chair: 1) that Chair appointments are made by the SEC (and confirmed by the WG); 2) that the WG elects, and the SEC confirms; and 3) that initial appointments may be made by the SEC Chair, but only for 1 Plenary session period. This means that there is at least one possible interpretation of our current rules (using the text of 3.1) that would indicate that the procedure conducted by the 802.20 WG was actually not the correct way to determine its Officers.

4) The by now well known problems with the text of 5.1.3, some of which may be fixed by Matt's proposed rule changes. These include:
        a) The ability for people to gain WG membership at a single session, which I (and some others on the Exec) consider to be undesirable. Also, the confusion between "session" and "meeting" in the first sentence of, leading to the conclusion that only those people present at the first meeting of the initial WG session gain a vote;
        b) The fact that, if anyone does happen to gain membership of a new WG "at its initial WG meeting" (sic), they must immediately lose membership again, as they cannot, by definition, meet the requirement for qualifying attendance at 2 out of the last 4 Plenary sessions;
        c) The fact that the second sentence of incorrectly interchanges the terms "session" and "meeting" . The resultant text means that there are a wide range of possible interpretations of the requirements for qualifying attendance at a session, ranging from a participation requirement of 75% of one meeting during a session at one extreme, to a participation requirement of 75% of all meetings during a session at the other extreme.
        d) In, it is not clear that "participating" refers back to the definition of that term in

5) The first para of 3.2 states that "Membership [of the Exec] is retained as in Working Groups (see Retention)." This is an interesting statement, as it has at least two consequences:
        1) It appears to require all Exec members to maintain voting rights in a WG *by attendance at WG meetings* in order to maintain their position on the Exec;
        2) It appears to have the same bug that exists in 4) b) above, namely that as currently stated, the rules mean that a Chair of a new WG would immediately lose membership of the Exec after being appointed, unless they happened to have valid membership of some other 802 WG at the time. The obvious let-out of the person concerned using his/her Chair's discretion to maintain his/her own voting rights doesn't work here, as the reference to "retention" is specific.

I suspect that the real intent of 3.2 is that an Exec member maintains Exec membership by attending (75% of) Exec meetings during a session, but that is not what the words say. Interestingly, the SEC Chair doesn't seem to have the same discretion in allocating SEC voting rights as the WG Chairs do in their WGs.

So, what can we conclude from the above that is relevant to the current situation?

- Indisputably, the current rules in this area are an almighty mess, and the fact that we have any coherent policy for assessing voting membership in any of our WGs is only as a result of established practice and the use of the Chair's discretion, and not of the wording of the rules as they stand. However, given the fact that the 802 rules have superior authority to any WG rules, whether that established practice is at all valid is itself an open question. Hence,  right now, I believe the only valid path for gaining membership in any WG is at the discretion of the relevant WG chair.

- Arguably, under the provisions of 3.1 and 3.2 of the rules, the responsibility for initial appointment was ours (the SEC's) all along. If we take this view, then the election in 802.20 should never have been characterized as anything more than offering the SEC a preference, as the procedures used by .20 were never discussed and/or approved by the SEC, and the SEC did not delegate its authority.

- Arguably, 5.1.2 called for a WG election to take place. If we take this view, then the rules called for the Exec to affirm .20's election result; however, the Exec clearly has the option of declining to affirm, so even here, it should never have been the expectation that the election in .20 was anything more than a recommendation to the SEC that it could take or leave.

- Indisputably, the rules do call for candidates for WG Chair to give a written "statement of qualification based on technical expertise to fulfill the assignment", and to be IEEE/Computer Society members, *before* they are affirmed. My personal view is that the test of technical expertise would have been satisfied by candidates that could have shown a "significant track record" (as I have defined above).

- Even if we had voted to affirm the appointments on Friday, the .20 WG Chair would by now no longer be a member of the Exec, as (under the provisions of 3.2) his lack of past participation in the WG would lose him his Exec membership. (Strictly speaking, this also applies to those non-WG Chair SEC members that do not currently attend the meetings of a WG.)


At 10:22 16/03/2003 -0500, wrote:



At least for me there were many reasons why I abstained on the confirmation vote.  The experience issue was part of it, especially as it relates to the membership rules change.   But certainly this is not the whole story.  One of the key reasons for me was that someone from the audience was will to come up to the mike and go on record that they believed there were improprieties in the election process for 802.20.   (taken from the draft minutes).  Clearly there was doubt in my mind based on many issues concerning the validity of the process followed or I would have affirmed.  What I would suggest is that maybe we need an SEC conference call to try and draft a more explicit statement on what happened.  If you and Geoff will be in NJ next week, perhaps we can all get together and host one.  But honestly, I think each of us probably has a different perspective on what was said and what influenced their vote.  I think the most important thing to do is to endeavor to make the minutes publicly available as soon as reasonably possible.  However I recognize that completing the minutes is not an easy job, and it may take a while till they are available.  Once the minutes are available we can simply reference people to those minutes, and the e-mail trail on this reflector.  For the moment, rather than give an official opinion, you can always provide your personal view of what happened with the caveat that it is your personal view.  Just a suggestion.




Matthew Sherman
Vice Chair, IEEE 802
Technology Consultant
Communications Technology Research
AT&T Labs - Shannon Laboratory
Room B255, Building 103
180 Park Avenue
P.O. Box 971
Florham Park, NJ 07932-0971
Phone: +1 (973) 236-6925
Fax: +1 (973) 360-5877

-----Original Message-----
From: Bob O'Hara []
Sent: Saturday, March 15, 2003 5:18 PM
To: Paul Nikolich;
Subject: RE: [802SEC] 802.20 affirmation




Even this, relaxed, statement is not supported by what was said at the meeting.  All that I recall that was said was that they did not participate in the study group. 


-----Original Message-----
From: Paul Nikolich []
Sent: Saturday, March 15, 2003 1:17 PM
To: Bob O'Hara;
Subject: Re: [802SEC] 802.20 affirmation



I did not mean to indicate the candidates had zero experience in 802.  Howver, you are correct that the statement reads that way.  I modify my statement as follows: "In my view, the decision was made because the candidates were not qualified due to a lack of sufficient experience in 802."



----- Original Message -----
From: Bob O'Hara
Sent: Saturday, March 15, 2003 4:07 PM
Subject: RE: [802SEC] 802.20 affirmation
I'm sorry Paul, but that point was never made during the meeting and can't be assumed to be part of anyone's decision yesterday.  I certainly don't agree with it.  I believe that the decision was made for entirely unsupportable reasons.  The only point that was made regarding the individuals elected by 802.20 was that they had not participated in the study group, not that they had no experience in 802.  Certainly, the elected chair of 802.20 had previous experience in 802 and extensive experience in other standards-making organizations.  Your position is not a reflection of the facts.
Regarding the decision of the SEC not to affirm the elections of 802.20, there was no evidence presented of any irregular procedures, failure to follow published procedures, or irregularity in the voting.  My position, as I stated at the SEC meeting, is that all procedures were followed scrupulously and the elections, which I observed as an SEC member, were without protest by any person present at the 802.20 meeting.  As far as I can tell, the decision not to affirm was made on the unsupported allegations of two individual participants in 802.20.  Are we prepared to invalidate every other working group decision that requires SEC affirmation with the same level of evidence, i.e., two allegations unsupported by any evidence?
Indeed, no concrete guidance was provided to the appointed interim chair of 802.20 on how not to wind up in exactly the same situation when the next elections are held.  Is the SEC prepared to affirm the elections, if the same candidates are nominated and elected at the July meeting?  Is a single 802 meeting experience enough?  If not, where is it written in our Policies and Procedures (formerly our Rules) that you have to have some number of meetings under your belt before you can become an officer of a working group?
I can't support the opinion you offered as to why the election of the officers was not affirmed by the SEC.  If asked, I will offer my own, quite different, opinion.
 -Bob O'Hara
-----Original Message-----
From: Paul Nikolich []
Sent: Saturday, March 15, 2003 11:55 AM
To: IEEE802
Subject: [802SEC] 802.20 affirmation
Dear SEC,
People will want to know why the SEC did not affirm the 802.20 officer candidates presented to at the closing plenary meeting.  I have already had two inquiries.  In my view, the decision was made because the candidates were not qualified due to lack of experience in 802.