[Foundation-l] Foundation Discretion Regarding Personnel Matters

Mike Godwin mgodwin at wikimedia.org
Fri Dec 14 12:20:16 UTC 2007

Nathan writes:

> It seems as though it would have benefited the organization to
> have simply stated at the time of separation between WMF and Ms. Doran
> that there were personnel issues which the Board was bound to
> disclose.

We could not have stated such a thing because it would have been  
legally incorrect to do so.

> Additionally, a heads up about imminent disclosure would also have
> been in order given the fact that you consented to an interview with
> the Register (of all publications) and presumably were aware that the
> story would be published.

You may be sure that the question of whether to respond at all to the  
Register was fully discussed internally.  Part of the problem here, I  
think, is that you are presuming we knew enough about what the  
Register was going to write to provide you with adequate information  
to respond to the story.  I believe, for various reasons, that this  
was not the case.  Please believe me when I say that I prefer to  
disclose pretty much everything, and that I prefer that responses to  
attacks of this sort come from the community in general rather than  
from me in particular.

Please also understand that I retitled this thread for a sound legal  
reason.  You needn't take my word for it.  Talk to any other lawyer  
who handles personnel matters.

>  If the WMF is unable to comment any further because of
> continuing legal constraints (which is completely possible) that too
> would be pertinent information.

I believe that's what I said.

> If you intended to convey this in your
> response below, it isn't clear  to me.

Here's what I wrote:

>> Now,
>> you may disagree about this, and I respect your disagreement, but
>> please understand that even a community-oriented, volunteer-driven
>> enterprise can't always share all the information it has regarding a
>> personnel matter. There are legal constraints that apply to the  
>> Board,
>> to staff, and to anyone acting formally on the Foundation's behalf.

I actually used the words you used -- "legal constraints."

But I'll say it again.  There are legal constraints on what we can say  
about a personnel matter.



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