Thread Links Date Links
Thread Prev Thread Next Thread Index Date Prev Date Next Date Index

Re: [802SEC] Term limits

Bob -

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 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 March. 
At present, the specific text within 7.2.2 reads:
"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 alternatives:
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 limits.

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 focus here.

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 Chair.

I believe this would be an appropriate change (but also see below).

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 again."
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 Chair).

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 limits.

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... ;-)

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.
--Bob Grow
---------- This email is sent from the 802 Executive Committee email reflector. This list is maintained by Listserv.