Re: Changes to the GNOME Foundation Bylaws from 2002

On Tue, Oct 2, 2012 at 1:11 AM, Behdad Esfahbod <behdad behdad org> wrote:
> I think Tobias's message missed out some context, so I'll try to fill in from
> what I've been hearing as a foundation member.  Note that I'm not on the board
> right now and have not been for over two years, and this is my personal
> understanding of the situation.
> So, I *think* Tobias is not proposing any significant changes to the bylaws.
> He's proposing to change the canonical source of the bylaws to the
> ReStructured-Text document that he sent, which includes all the amendments to
> the original bylaws and minor modifications to adapt to the new format.  See:
> One comment below:
> On 10/01/2012 10:00 PM, Germán Póo-Caamaño wrote:
>> I wonder what is the rationale behind the following change:
>> @@ -458,7 +522,7 @@
>>  Election and Term of Office of Directors
>>  -----------------------------------------
>> -1.      Each of the directors shall hold office for one (1) year.
>> +1.      Each of the directors shall hold office for one (1) year, or a
>> period of up to two (2) years as determined by the Board and announced
>> prior to an election being called.
> Back in the days, Board terms were aligned to calendar years.  Ie. a new board
> was running January to December.  Around 2008ish(?) board decided that it
> would be much easier if a new board could take sit at GUADEC instead.  So we
> wanted to change the term of one board to shift the phase.  This was against
> the bylaws and needed an amendment.  Our lawyers (James Vasile?) recommended
> that while changing the bylaws, we change it in a way that would accommodate
> similar changes in the future.  Hence the wording that you see.  This is not
> new.  This was voted on IIRC and approved, and used, years ago.
> behdad
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> foundation-list mailing list
> foundation-list gnome org

I was on that board and I can back up Behdad's statement here.  The
change in wording from 1 year to a range between 1 and 2 years has
already been done unchallenged (though someone could have rightfully
challenged it at the time) and this change is simply putting into
effect wording in our bylaws that would allow it without a vote.  It
allows the board to be more flexible based on issues we have dealt
with in the past but in practice we would rarely go beyond a 1 year
term.  I believe pursuant to the document  any member who can get 10%
support can always challenge the extension of the term period before
the elections if they wish.  Also being that this is a per election
decision that can't be amended without a vote during the term, there
is little chance for abuse.

This seems to be the biggest change in the document along with a
couple of places specifically specifying notification via e-mail as
well as snail mail for various functions (mostly dealing with removal
of members or directors).  Since this change still requires snail mail
and just adds e-mail I am all for it.  I would reject any changes that
allowed e-mail exclusively as it has been documented how spam filters
have in the past dropped important mails from the foundation to
myself.  This is not the case of the current wording so I think the
changes are good.

All in all while I wouldn't characterize the changes as minor I would
say that they are changes that incrementally make the document and the
policies therein better and I don't see any reason for myself to
object to them.

John (J5) Palmieri

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