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RE: [802SEC] 802.20 affirmation

For those who may have been wondering exactly what it means to confirm
an election, I believe the text below from Robert's Rules (1915 Version,
Public Domain) is the relevant text.  Note that I am home and left my
current version of Robert's Rules at work.  If anyone sees any
differences, please forward them to the reflector as part of the basis
for discussion.



39. Ratify. This is a main motion and is used when it is desired to
confirm or make valid some action which requires the approval of the
assembly to make it valid. The assembly may ratify only such actions of
its officers or committees, or delegates, as it had the right to
authorize in advance. It cannot make valid a viva voce election when the
by-laws require it to be by ballot, nor can it ratify anything done in
violation of the laws of the state, or of its own constitution or
by-laws, except that it may ratify emergency action taken at a meeting
when no quorum was present, even though the quorum is provided for in a
by-law. A motion to ratify may be amended by substituting a motion of
censure, and vice versa, when the action has been taken by an officer or
other representative of the assembly. It is debatable and opens the
entire question to debate.

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: Roger B. Marks [] 
Sent: Monday, March 17, 2003 8:50 AM
Subject: RE: [802SEC] 802.20 affirmation

I am in Japan, where I've just spent my day in a conference. I can't 
get away from the 802.20 issue; people here have heard what happened 
and are asking me why the 802 SEC would invalidate the elections. I 
still don't know. Since I have nothing better to do here, I'm trying 
to understand it.

I am not comfortable with the SEC Chair's explanation that "the 
decision was made because the candidates were not qualified due to a 
lack of sufficient experience in 802." Here is why:

(1) I don't recall the issue of 802 experience being mentioned during 
the SEC meeting.

(2) What most strikes me about the explanation is that it focuses not 
on the process but simply on the results. The SEC Chair is saying 
that the SEC rejected the 802.20 elections simply because it did not 
like the outcome; in particular, it did not find the elected 
candidates to be suitable for the office to which they were elected 
(because of their lack of 802 experience). My intuition suggests that 
the SEC would not want to go on record as saying that it invalidated 
the elections because of the outcome. But maybe I am wrong about this.

(3) The SEC voided all three 802.20 elections, not just the one for 
the 802.20 Chair. I don't recalling hearing any discussion of the 
candidates for the two Vice Chair positions, only that there were 
three candidates for each. I don't know which, if any, of the six 
Vice Chair candidates had 802 experience. Perhaps some SEC members 
knew more about this, but I don't recall the SEC probing the issue in 
the meeting. So, I think that the SEC Chair's explanation fails to 
explain why the SEC voided the two Vice Chair elections.

For all I know, it might be that, in one or both Vice Chair 
elections, none of the three candidates had 802 experience. If that 
was the case, was there any point in holding the election?

(4) There is no 802 or 802.20 rule requiring 802 experience of a 
Working Group officer. The document "Nominations and Elections of 
Officers for IEEE Working Group 802.20 at the March 10-13, 2003 
Meeting" was issued on March 5. That document included the following 

"Officer Candidate Eligibility
Individuals running for office must be members of 802.20. Anyone 
running for office must, therefore, satisfy the membership 
requirements by the time the elections are held. In addition 
candidates for Working Group chair need to be prepared to submit a 
'Letter of Support' from their company to the LMSC chair, as 
specified in the LMSC Rules."

If a Working Group announces a specific statement of candidate 
eligibility, shouldn't individuals be able to accept that those are 
the conditions? How can it be right to turn around later and say, 
"No, I'm sorry, but you should have realized that you are, in fact, 
unacceptable to us."

(5) Since Friday morning, I have been hearing this idea of the SEC 
voiding the 802.20 chair election because the chair-elect was not 
sufficiently experienced in 802. However, I heard no mention of this 
issue before the elections. Why did 802 experience become an issue 
only afterwards? There is an inconsistency here.

(6) The election process allows the Working Group to choose the 
leaders it believes are most suitable. Voters can make their choice 
based on the criteria they prefer. Presumably, some voters will 
consider 802 experience before they cast their ballot. However, they 
will consider other issues also. 802 experience may  not be at the 
top of some people's list, because any new chair will soon attain it 
anyway. I was named to chair a Study Group at my first 802 Plenary 
and named to chair a Working Group at my second. I learned the ropes. 
If we are worried about someone's experience, then let's provide some 

So, I am still unable to understand why the SEC took this 
extraordinary action that has caused so much surprise around the 
world. I think the world wants, and deserves, a better explanation. I 
think the SEC owes one to the members of 802.20, and it's going to 
need one in order to figure out how to get 802.20 elections that it 
can accept.


At 2:17 PM -0800 03/03/15, Bob O'Hara wrote:
>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. 
>  -Bob
>-----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
>To: <>
>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.
>--Paul Nikolich