[Foundation-l] Seat and Donations (SPLIT from: EFF & Bitcoins)

Birgitte_sb at yahoo.com Birgitte_sb at yahoo.com
Fri Jun 24 17:57:38 UTC 2011

On Jun 23, 2011, at 9:54 PM, Milos Rancic <millosh at gmail.com> wrote:

> On 06/24/2011 01:58 AM, Kat Walsh wrote:
>> It also wasn't an easy decision to make. The question came down to
>> this one: do we necessarily refuse someone as a candidate solely
>> because they were proposed by a funder?
> As a Nominating committee [1] member, I have to say a few words about
> this time, as NomCom was in function at the time of Matt's appointment.
> Sorry, but I have to say this: I was and I am much more worried about
> Board's collective dilettantism than about hidden agenda.
> Most importantly, there were rules which *Board* was made about
> necessary qualifications. Summarized (the bottom of the page [1]), it was:
> * fundraising experience
> * 501(c)3 governance experience / board development / non-profit law
> * deep knowledge and experience outside North America and Europe
> * gender equ[al]ity
> I mean, those were Board's rules and after NomCom suggested to the Board
> to keep current members (at that point, Stu and Jan-Bart) for the sake
> of continuity, NomCom members started to qualify candidates with numbers
> from one to four, according to their qualities.
> There were, of course, some unacceptable candidates, no matter how
> strong they were, but our work created a wishlist, and we could go from
> the best placed, to the bottom.
> According to the rules created by the Board, Matt would get 2 from the
> most of us (no "deep knowledge and experience outside North America and
> Europe", nothing related to the gender equality -- he is not a woman, as
> well as he is not women-rights activist) and he wouldn't pass. We had a
> lot of 4s and 3s in the list.
> The second very problematic issue is that NomCom wasn't asked about
> Matt's appointment (AFAIK, we knew the fact two days before it was
> publicly announced), while we had a small (and positive) discussion
> about Bishakha more than half year later.
> Speaking for myself, I wouldn't have anything against Matt and it is
> likely that I would support him because of the similar reason why I
> supported Stu to stay at the Board. (Although, unlike the cases of Stu
> and Bishakha are, I am presently very unsure about Matt's contribution
> to WMF and I would like to hear it. It is possible that I've missed some
> of his emails and actions.)
> However, the most important issue in relation to all of those
> appointments is that Board itself was highly disorganized. I mean, why
> to organize NomCom when the only product of NomCom's work was to propose
> keeping current members and not to do anything else? Why making rules
> and then at the first occasion nullify them?
> So, in relation to the question "do we necessarily refuse someone as a
> candidate solely because they were proposed by a funder?" -- I would say
> that we had a lot of other candidates and that it was far from being a
> valid question.
> [1] http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Nominating_Committee

I also sat on NomCom during this time period. I cannot agree that Matt's appointment was more problematic than Stu's or Jan-Bart.  Frankly all the appointed board seats are problematic, and I cannot understand how you can focus on Matt's appointment alone as a significant issue, nor how you reach the conclusion that disorganization on the part of the board had any significant role in the problems of appointed board seats.

I am going to be frank and clear about how the issue appears to me: The bylaws, in regard to appointed board seats, are unredeemably flawed.

I find it offensive that any appointed Board Member should be singled out and undermined merely because an impossible appointment process failed to offer them greater legitimacy. All the appointments fell so far short of the outlined process that I believe concluding one appointment to be less acceptable than the others is impossible to objectively judge. Yes Bishakha's seat was settled with more active discussion from NomCom than any of the others.  However the outlined process for appointed seats is not at all what occurred.  I suggest you re-read the by-laws (pay attention to the time-line as well), consult your notes and dates, and honestly tell me how the board might have believed that NomCom had any hope fulfilling the official process at the time of Matt's appointment.


More information about the foundation-l mailing list