[volunteers] Fwd: Re: Thursday meeting notes -- forwarding to SVLUG for archival

Mark Weisler mark at weisler-saratoga-ca.us
Fri Dec 28 08:45:48 PST 2007

I am forwarding this message to Volunteers so that it can be archived with 
other volunteers information. Some of you will already have see this and it 
is not new. It summarizes the method I suggested for shaping our governance 
----------  Forwarded Message  ----------

Subject: Re: Thursday meeting notes
Date: Saturday 15 December 2007
From: Mark Weisler <mark at weisler-saratoga-ca.us>
To: "Edward Cherlin" <echerlin at gmail.com>

On Saturday 15 December 2007 12:22:33 Edward Cherlin wrote:
> SVLUG Governance Unofficial Meeting
> held at Daystar (Thanks, Lisa)
> Thursday, Dec. 13, 2007
> 19:00-21:30
> Facilitator:
> Andrew Fife (Thanks, Andrew)
> Attendees:
> Edward Cherlin
> Bruce Coston
> Daniel Gimpelevitch
> Lisa Corsetti
> Rick Moen
> Paul Reiber
> Warren Turkal
> Darlene Wallach
> Mark Weisler
> (I'm short one. My apologies. Who's missing? Would anyone prefer to
> receive notes at a different e-mail address?)
> Ground rules
> Raise hand
> New comments = new information
> No insults or accusations
> No directly addressing individuals
> Try to say on topic
> Thrashing, not recorded, including question of Heather Stern's e-mail
> Ed Cherlin volunteered to keep notes, 7:25
> Agenda 1
> Mission statement brainstorming
> Advocacy
> 	Education
> 	Promotion
> Being a support resource
> Diversity
> Community
> Cooperation with other orgs
> Contribution to Free and Open Source Software (Free Software is a
> trademark of the Free Software Foundation)
> Leverage SV
> We tossed out all of the above and voted on "Furthering the
> understanding and use of Linux for and from Silicon Valley." (Thanks,
> Rick)
> This statement is agreed in principle, except for the term Linux,
> which is proposed to be changed to GNU/Linux or FOSS or something
> else.
> Informational vote Aye 8 Nay 2
> Dissenting opinion: "We promote Linux."
> Ed Cherlin raised a "point of order": are we operating by majority rule?
> Darlene proposes consensus.
> Long discussion of consensus, majority rule, recording informational
> votes with possible dissents.
> No conclusion.
> Proposal for next meeting. Thursday, January 10, 2008, same time, same
> place if possible. Members to check for other possible locations.
> Adjourned 21:30
> My comment: Re-inventing four different wheels so we can sit there
> spinning them.
> Please note that this is not a complaint. I fully expected to "waste"
> at least one whole meeting on these group dynamics. We actually more
> or less agreed on something, although I am not clear on its relevance.
Let me answer that as I feel I am somewhat responsible for the agenda and 
suggesting we discuss the mission or purpose of SVLUG.

I suggested the agenda, which included discussion of mission, activities, 
etc., as a lead-in to by-laws. I didn't want us to just skip immediately to a 
discussion of by-laws when there was also a seeming presumption that we would 
become a 501(c)(3) corporation with all the overhead that entails. We had not 
and have not established that our LUG should be a 501(c)(3). We might have 
made by-laws that were inappropriate for our LUG.

So I wanted to suggest taking us through some classic steps used in strategic 
planning that might conclude in making by-laws, perhaps even in written form.  
That suggested process is summarized as:

Charter (consisting of...)
* mission statement ("what we're about, why we exist")
* values
* vision statement (optional, what we want to "look like")
* activities
* assets (characterization of...)
* organization (maybe officers, board of directors, etc.)
* relationships/groups/entities
* Timely Matters
* Style and Tone
* roles and responsibilities
* by-laws

The idea is that by going through this process we attain what the MBAs call 
congruence or alignment between the major elements of our charter.

If we do not go through this process we run the risk of unnecessarily creating 
a 501(c)(3) corporation when we don't need one and other acts 
of "misalignment". 

This is a fairly classic boardroom consulting approach modified slightly for a 

I don't want to harp on this but I believe this approach will lead us to a 
governance framework. We've taken the first step (pretty much, with a little 
dissension) by adopting (at least in our working group) a mission statement 
but if we keep going top-down with the bullet points we'll wind up with 
by-laws and other useful items.
> My question remains: What exactly is the question before the House?
In my view, the question is, "How shall SVLUG be governed?" and the way to 
figure this out is to follow the steps above.

The process could go quickly for an organization as relatively simple as 
SVLUG. I'm open to other approaches.

Mark Weisler 
"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our 
people need it sorely on these accounts." ---Mark Twain---
PGP: 0x68E462B6  http://pgp.mit.edu:11371/
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