OKAU Board nominations

As discussed in the recent Board meeting there was an action for me to post on the process for rotating new people in through the OKAU Board.

My suggestion was that two people each 3 month period would be obliged to vacate their their position. At this time any other nominations would be received for the positions. Those who previously held the position would also be available for nomination. As such, reelection of the previous Board members could happen if no other nominations were received, assuming they had put themselves up for nomination.

There are around 8 board members at this point so this sort of process would allow for a complete renewal/reinstatement of the Board each 12 month period.

Views were expressed from others on the existing Board that such a rapid or recurring rotation of Board members may be disruptive. Other suggestions included four, six or 12 month rotations for facilitating a similar process.

This blog post intends to collect comments from the OKAU community on what processes could be considered. If a number of processes are nominated then a public upvote process can be used to determine the approach that will be taken (at least in a trial format).

Sound ok? Please leave your comments!

Hoots! Steven



7 thoughts on “OKAU Board nominations”

  1. If my understanding is correct, each position on the board would be held for 12 months. Seems normal and fair. What i like about what you describe is that you would rarely have a situation where you’ve got all new blood with no knowledge of what’s going on and how to handle the organisation. And there would be potential for constant influx of new energy. But grooming people to fill these ever opening positions would have to be a thing.

    1. Yep – that is what I was thinking when suggesting the three month rotation. However, keen to get any other suggestions for alternative approaches.

      For example, we could retire half the Board every six months in a similar way. That would reduce the frequency of running nominations and elections.

      Or, we could retire the entire board Annually and do wholesale nominations – it could be standard practice for exiting Board members to ‘buddy up’ with those taking their position in order to handover and provide some continuity.

      Also – there is the question of voting. Who gets to vote? We don’t actually have a list of members. We have some people in roles, so I was suggesting those folk as the ‘voters’. Of course, we could easily establish a membership list to solve that problem. If that were the case, do we do free membership? Do we do a nominal fee, such as $3.50 (indexed to the price of a flat white in Melb CBD)? Or, do we do a town hall style election? One where you need to be ‘in the room’ to vote, virtually speaking of course.

  2. Hi Steven,

    For the benefit of people such as myself who have never had anything to do with Boards in the past, can you describe the role and responsibilities of OKAu Board members please? Is it the same in every organisation or are responsibilities determined by each organisation?

    thanks Rosie

  3. Hi, I’d like to reiterate my concern raised at the board meeting that this proposed process would create a lot of administration and could either create a lot of churn on the board with the attendant loss of institutional knowledge or, if no new board members nominated, cause admin to no end. I’d like to see the term extended to at least 6 months. That said, I totally agree with Steven that it’s important to have some process in place. It’s not healthy for an organisation to have a group of limpets on the board with no opportunity for change! Fiona

  4. I’m too cynical to think that contributing here will be meaningful given there are private discussions happening elsewhere, but share it here as Steven asked me to, so at least now this position is represented here 🙂

    This view won’t be reflected in discussions among those people who opted into a closed management system, so how widespread it is isn’t possible to know, as most wouldn’t take the time and effort to engage as I am, if they’re already feeling disengaged.

    I think a cooperative would be a better as a formalized structure for open knowledge aus, but I respect that a different decision has already been progressed. I think a rotating board wouldn’t overcome power imbalances, as few would opt to nominate, so I agree with Fiona that the administrative hassle means longer terms make sense.

    1. Thanks Cobi,

      To clarify and comment on some of this for the thread…

      ‘private discussions happening elsewhere’ – I think you are referring to the basecamp project that was setup for community and collaboration discussions. Private is a fair assessment, but the discussions aren’t closed. Anyone can join in that basecamp project and contribute comments. It isn’t anything too special, just a few discussions and not a lot of activity. The mail list is more active, for sure.

      ‘those people who opted into a closed management system’ – I’d like to clarify that the basecamp project is not intended to ‘manage’ OKAU, and it is actually open for anyone to join in too. However it is true that it is not open for anonymous access. Managing OKAU, inasmuch as that is occurring, is via the Board meetings which we are discussing here openly. The Board meetings themselves are via hangout on air and open for people to comment as they run. The only reason we are trying to use basecamp is for collaboration – similar to how a phone call between people helps them collaborate. It does require people to ‘dial in’, but the intention is not to be a closed group 🙂

      ‘I think a cooperative would be a better as a formalized structure for open knowledge aus’ – as mentioned in the list discussion, I don’t think a cooperative was dismissed for any major reason. There is just a practical step to take in forming an association and then doing the work to setup the sort of rules that would support a cooperative association. Without people involved there wouldn’t be either an incorporated association or a cooperative, so a chicken comes before the egg in such a case.

      ‘longer terms make sense’ – coolio, thanks for the input 🙂

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