Re: [802SEC] Term limits
Comments interleaved below.
At 23:36 11/02/2005, Grow, Bob wrote:
We discussed possible changes on term limits at
a prior EC meeting, though I doubt that all requirements of 126.96.36.199
were fulfilled. Out of fairness to all, if we are going to change
this, it should be resolved by November 2005 at the latest.
I want to try to determine the preferences of
the EC on this matter before advocating any specific change in
At present, the specific text within 7.2.2
"An individual who has served as Chair or
Vice Chair of a given Working Group for a total of more than eight years
in that office may not be elected to that office again."
One common rationale would be the desire to
retain the services of a willing and capable officer rather than that
officer being arbitrarily forced out. There is less than universal
agreement on what approach to take for this, but I remember four clear
1. Leave term limits as is.
Rationale: Term limits do open up
leadership opportunities for people. It is too difficult to
overcome the power/influence of incumbency without term
These are (I believe) fundamentally bogus arguments.
Firstly, it isn't 802's goal to create leadership opportunities for
people; it is our goal to make standards. Therefore, our leadership
should be chosen on the basis of what will best serve that goal, not what
will best serve the personal development of individuals involved in the
process. If individuals benefit by having access to leadership
opportunities, that is just fine, but it isn't, and shouldn't be, our
Secondly, if it is too difficult for an unsuitable incumbent to be
removed, then we should address that problem directly, rather than
applying a blanket rule that (a) means that it could still be up to 10
years before an unsuitable incumbent was removed, and (b) discriminates
against the continued service of incumbents that are eminently suitable.
In other words, if you believe the inability to remove unsuitable
incumbents in a timely manner is the problem, then applying a term limit
is not the solution you want.
2. Strike the entire paragraph.
Rationale: The rules allow replacement of
WG officers at any plenary meeting (7.2.2). Working Groups in the
past would have liked to have kept a term-limited
I believe this would be an appropriate change (but also see
3. Change to read: "An
individual who has served as Chair of a given Working Group for a total
of more than eight years in that office may not be elected to that office
Rationale: Term limiting the Chair only
still opens up leadership opportunities at the top, allowing either a
Vice Chair to move up or someone new to take the Chair position. A
Vice Chair may with to continue in his/her role rather than take the
Chair position. WGs with multiple Vice Chairs arbitrarily limit
those people by term limits even though they may be changing
responsibilities within the WG (Moving from 2nd Vice Chair to 1st Vice
Better than (1), but still based on the same bogus arguments as (1), and
therefore inappropriate given the alternatives.
4. Change to read: "An
individual who has served as Chair or Vice Chair of a given Working Group
for a total of more than eight years in that office may only be eligible
for election to that office again as the result of a motion passed by 75%
of the voting members present."
Rationale: Just as we currently grant the
WG the ability to elect a new Chair at any plenary session by 75% vote,
the WG should have similar latitude to retain a Chair independent of term
This would have the advantage over (2) of actually addressing the
"unsuitable incumbent" problem identified in (1) in a useful
way, so my overwhelming preference would be for this solution, although I
would also be happy with (2).
However, we should fix the wording of (4) to say "at least
75%"; sometimes it is tricky to hit that 75% figure right on the
nose, and especially so if your number of voters isn't divisible by 4...
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My preferences lean toward options 4 or
3. (Just to be clear, I find it inconceivable that I personally
will ever test the term limits.)
Comments and preferences appreciated.