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Colleagues, Matt Sherman has raised some good points for us to consider.
As our now longest-term member of the SEC, I believe I can speak to the intention of the current rules based on prior discussions going back to when the rules were created. The intention behind section 188.8.131.52 was that all attendees who participated in the first official plenary meeting would be automatically granted full voting rights (membership) on a grandfathered basis (as though they had attended the two prior plenaries) so that there would be a pool of eligible members (voters) to allow for quorum establishment and transaction of committee business. Otherwise a new working group would be unable to transact any business for two meetings, something that was deemed unacceptable. There was consideration given to having a participation requirement based on the preliminary activities of an initial Study Group, but my recollection is that study groups were viewed as possibly transitory and unstable entities, which were subject to changes and might not be fully attended by the major players until such time as a PAR was officially approved. So the intention was that the fairest basis was to allow everyone who was willing to commit to active participation at the first official meeting should be treated as equal participants and granted full membership.
Every new Working Group and TAG that has come aboard has had this same basic rule, so it has worked fairly well. However this is the very first instance that I’m aware of, in which all of the officers elected had not been participants of the prior Study group which created the PAR. With the exception of Peter Tarrant, who led the Hi-Speed LAN Study Group that ultimately morphed into 100BASE-T and 802.12, the person who was chair of the Study Group has always been elected to Chair the Working Group or TAG. There was some serious controversy about that particular dynamic as well.
I personally believe that the correct course for us will be to maintain the voters list from the Dallas meeting and run a roll call election at the July plenary. Anyone who qualified as a voter in Dallas should be entitled to vote in SF whether they attend the interim or not. Once the outcome is officially recorded, the SEC can address any remaining issues of block voting based on the data, rather than on a lot of hearsay and opinion. At least there is some opportunity in the meantime to find some compromise solutions which may allow the problem to solve itself. Time heals all wounds. J
I wish to call to your attention to a particular section of Robert’s Rules. That section is the following from Article IX of Robert’s Rules (10th edition):
“If a bylaw is ambiguous, it must be interpreted, if possible, in harmony with other bylaws. The interpretations should be in accordance with the intention of the society at the time the bylaw was adopted, as far as this can be determined. Again, intent plays no role unless the meaning is unclear or uncertain, but where an ambiguity exists, a majority vote is all that is required to decide the question. The ambiguous or doubtful expression should be amended as soon as practicable.”
I am of the opinion that our “bylaws” (the LMSC P&P) are in fact “ambiguous or doubtful” regarding the process of obtaining membership at the start up of a working group. In particular we have from section 184.108.40.206 titled “Establishment”:
“All persons participating in the initial meeting of the Working Group become members of the Working Group.”
On the other hand we have from section 220.127.116.11 titled “Retention”:
“Membership is retained by participating in at least two of the last four Plenary session meetings. One duly constituted interim Working Group or task group meeting may be substituted for one of the two Plenary meetings.”
As was so well explained by Tony (thank you for the excellent analysis) in an earlier e-mail, these two rules clearly seem to be at odds with one another. Setting aside for a moment the question of whether or not we intended “meeting” or “session” in section 18.104.22.168 (a topic for yet another interpretation) these two rules seem to conflict with one another. Even taking the liberal view that meeting means session, after the first session the general rules would kick in and all “members” would seem to lose their membership in the WG.
All this said, we already have a P&P change ballot which should “fix” this problem by the end of the July meeting. My concern is for the beginning of the July meeting. Given what happened in March to 802.20, I would like to have a clearer interpretation of these “bylaws” so that we don’t have a repeat of the last meeting. As indicated by Robert’s Rules, an interpretation can be established by majority vote. I believe a motion could be put forward and then approved electronically prior to the July meeting. But before I do that, I wanted to open this issue for debate prior to making any motions so that I can make sure I make the right motion (or perhaps chose not to make a motion at all).
Any comments on this topic?