Bylaw amendment 1
- Proposed: January 16, 2012
- Voted on: n/a
- Vote result: Withdrawn
As per section 9 in the SkullSpace By-Laws, notice is hereby given of a proposed amendment to the by-laws, to be voted on in the meeting of February 7th. The Amendment itself is at the bottom of this email, and a rationale for this amendment follows:
A problem that has come up recently is that members would like to trade work for membership dues. Up until now we have had a policy that everyone pays their membership dues, no exceptions. This made sense when we were first getting started (as we couldn't afford to not do this), but might not anymore. We currently *can* afford to do this for a few members, and there are things that need to be done (cleaning for one) that no one really wants to do. I've talked extensively with directors of other hackerspaces around the world and many of them embrace this kind of arrangement. One space in particular that has a good, working system is AHA, All Hands Active, Ann Arbour's Hackerspace.
The way most hackerspaces operate (and most corporations in general) is that the board of directors are not necessarily the officers. The board exists to make the large, important decisions, and the officers exist to both make the smaller, day to day, decisions and to do the actions required for either decisions. In short: directors direct, officers do. In the SkullSpace by-laws it explicitly states that officers must be directors.
At All Hands Active, there are five directors elected yearly (just like SkullSpace), but they only currently have three officers (officers can be created/destroyed whenever). Those officers are given explicit duties, an explicit monthly budget (if required), and in exchange for completing those duties, are given free membership (ie they don't have to pay dues). One such officer is dubbed the "Shop Mama", whose duties are; 1) Check hackerspace at least 3X/week for messes; clean messes ifnecessary, cat herd / publicly shame mess makers into doing it themselves is preferred 2) Check hackerspace assets (tools, parts, materials) 1X/week; order new parts or materials as needed; repair machines as needed; add new machines as able 3) Initiate, organize, and execute (through delegation and cat herding) 1 project per month to improve the hackerspace’s functionality and/or aesthetics The Shop Mama is also given a budget of $250/month, to be spent on repairs/cleaning supplies as necessary.
More information on the officers of AHA are here: https://docs.google.com/a/andreworr.ca/document/d/1FZttWnydMAIgY_LrXzIRxtUdJqW1a_2m8TYXV92Z9YE/edit?hl=en_US&pli=1 (thanks to AHA for sharing this with us)
If we transition to a system like this, we can have an officer position for "Custodial Engineer" or something and give them explicit duties to empty the garbages and clean up messes (also yell at people who leave messes), etc, and in exchange not require them to pay their monthly membership dues. This would basically solve the problem of hiring cleaners, and be done in a way that fits in with our by-laws and policy (if this amendment gets accepted). It would also allow for the removal/replacement of officers who aren't doing their duties, and the creation of new officers if our needs as a group changes.
Anyways the proposed amendment itself is to change Section 5 (Officers) to read just this:
- The board is to appoint persons from among the members to officerships as
needed. Officers may be awarded free membership in exchange for successful execution of responsibilities as defined by the board.*
It removes the explicit officer positions and duties from the by-laws. These would be kept as part of the policy document. I would also add to the policy document that any changes to officerships are voted on by the members at a normal meeting. The current by-laws can be reviewed here: http://www.skullspace.ca/wiki/index.php/Bylaws#Officers