[Foundation-l] Welcome to our three new board members

Brad Patrick bradp.wmf at gmail.com
Fri Dec 8 16:52:26 UTC 2006

As will be made clear from the revisions to the Foundation Bylaws and 
the Board Expansion resolution adopted by the Board, your position is 
overstated.  Your call did not fall on 'deaf ears' - far from it.  You 
were heard.

The Board will be composed of a majority of individuals from the 
community.  That does not require election of all board members, as you 
would prefer, only some.  Given the fiduciary responsibility required of 
all board members and the need for diverse talents, it is logical and 
effective to appoint some persons and not rely on an open election 
process for each position.

Also, Board positions have terms now.  They are not indefinite, as 
Michael Davis, Tim Shell, and Jimmy Wales were in the past.  All will be 
subject to reappointment at the conclusion of their term, unless they 
resign earlier.

The Board will also be expanded in size.  At this time, the number is 
now 7, up from 5.  It will increase further in the next year, probably to 9.

Your "principle" - that a "financial supporter" of the Foundation is 
ineligible for board service - would seem to exclude a 
disproportionately large number of very good people, including those who 
may consider running for election.  It is also a rather short-sighted 
view in light of the amounts of money at issue to support of the 
Foundation (which include my paycheck and yours) to insist on a board 
composed of elected individuals with no guarantee of any particular 
business acumen.  Experience shows it may be rather difficult to recruit 
business folks to stand for election, rather than appoint them to 
fulfill a need at the board level.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, your desired direct election of 
all board members exposes the danger of pure democratic rule - tyranny 
of the majority.  It is possible, however remotely, that elections could 
be hijacked by elements external to the Foundation's best interests.  
Appointment through the election process rather than election as of 
right prevents this from happening.

Each of these points was debated extensively by the Board during its 
last two face-to-face meetings in October and December.  I am proud of 
our Board, and for the deep consideration they have given to these 
governance issues.

Brad Patrick

Tim Starling wrote:
> florencedevouard wrote:
>> Tim Shell has chosen to resign from the board, effective 15th of
>> december. At this date, he will be replaced by Jan-Bart de Vreede.
> Out with one financial supporter of the Foundation and in with another. It
> seems my calls for democratic selection of Board members fell on deaf ears.
> I have nothing against Jan-Bart personally, just as I had nothing against
> Tim Shell. No doubt there were other factors that went into his selection
> besides his role in the Kennisnet hosting arrangement. But I have trouble
> believing that he would have been selected without it. I oppose his Board
> membership on principle, just as I continue to oppose that of Michael Davis.
> -- Tim Starling
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> foundation-l at wikimedia.org
> http://mail.wikipedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l

More information about the foundation-l mailing list