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Proposed Amendment to Charter to delete Ambassador Role

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Proposed Amendment to Charter to delete Ambassador Role




As Members of SecondPride 2010 in good standing we wish the current SP Committee to consider placing the following amendment to the Charter before the General Membership for General review, debate and vote:

The Elswit Quimby Ambassador Amendment

1. Delete "A Second Pride Ambassador" and "The Second Pride Ambassador Role" under Staff Roles
2. Delete Ambassadors under Term Limits
3. Under Elections, delete Ambassadors, and change Section 2 and 3 to reflect the Chair and Committee members are elected by the registered general membership at large.
4. Also under Elections, delete ambassador reference in item 9.
5. Also under Elections, delete last two sections under Application Forms.
6. Delete reference to Ambassadors under "General Voting"

We find the aggrandizing of any member for doing their job in past Prides unneccessary, elitist and confusing. Leading to special privledges and the possibility that past tenure gives special weight to an individual's opinion or standing. It is quite easy to look us up if any current Chair needs advice. More to the point Pride does not need a formal memorialized group who think they have a special right to say "When we did it...."

For those of you who are concerned, we bring this forth under no duress or obligation to anyone but ourselves.

Capabilitytodd Elswit & Eric Quimby


Last edited by Eric Quimby on Mon Sep 14, 2009 3:47 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : typos)
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Proposed Amendment to Charter to delete Ambassador Role :: Comments

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Post on Mon Sep 14, 2009 3:25 am  Capabilitytodd Elswit

I Capabilitytodd Elswir Concur

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Post on Mon Sep 14, 2009 12:31 pm  Gast

That Idea would only work if the subsequent committees would promise to include the then general membership in ALL there more important votes. It is in my opinion not a natural thing for a committee to seek advise or help. Every committee tents to reinvent the wheel a new.

There for I would say no to this proposed charter change.

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Post on Mon Sep 14, 2009 2:03 pm  Guest

Although I'm new to Second Pride, I concur with this proposal. However, I can also see that committees must agree by Charter to include the general membership in all important votes. I see few benefits, if any, of having a such a group defined in the Charter. However, I definitely see how it could foster cronyism.

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Post on Mon Sep 14, 2009 3:42 pm  Guest

At this point I would have to agree was well. It was never taken seriously anyways... More as an "ennemy" group for some reason when it didn't have to be. So I guess the occasion you're giving them will just be jumped on as quickly as possible as it looks just too beautiful.

Only if you do take back the old charter rule that includes the full membership in votes... you're in for danger in the case one does what happened in the past (invite all his friends in the group since the start, just in case it's needed one day..). And on the fisrt disagreement: massive TP and the committee itself was dissolved just because the "membership" had spoken. When none of them had any experience or full knowledge of Second Pride at all. Just think about this and place a fail safe before you do I would suggest.

This will also mean that Second Pride will be totally different each year, to the point where one might question if it has any relation at all to what it has been before and if it should even still be called Second Pride. Unless each committee votes for a new name each time. As Stryker said: "It's not a natural thing for a committee to seek advise or help. Every committee tents to reinvent the wheel a new." And we've had only proof of that so far.

Had we no charter, what the founders of SP created would exist no more today. And whether one likes it or not, each committee inherits and benefits not from their own work, but the one that was done by the previous committee, who are the ones who gave the current value to the name "Second Pride". So it is handed to people who inherit other people's work. I can't picture any successful company or group in RL actually doing that... I guess we might be the only ones. And completely shutting out the people who actually accomplished that work in the past opens the door to virtually any change they are willing to make, regardless of keeping any stability.

Don't get me wrong, change can be good, when you consider the risks and make sure it goes smoothly. But I guess might confuse regular sponsors who could think odd to have to deal with totally different people each time and that their usual deals have changed, yet again from the previous year. That sends to them a sense of insecurity and unstability, as they will never know what to expect next. But I guess we won't know until it's tried.

Appart from that, well, I guess we've all had enough. I just hope this committee can also focus on the same thing I and the others did: To leave something good to the next group. Then it should all go well.

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Post on Tue Sep 15, 2009 11:58 am  Shawn Mission

Definition of Pride:
1. A sense of one's own proper dignity or value; self-respect.
2. Pleasure or satisfaction taken in an achievement, possession, or association
3. Arrogant or disdainful conduct or treatment; haughtiness.
4. An excessively high opinion of oneself; conceit

It is interesting after reading this posting and then applying the above meanings of Pride. I think these posts cover them all. I for one would strive for #1 & #2. Whereas, #3 & 4 will destroy everything the current and prior committees strove to accomplish. Gentlemen/Ladies the Second Life Festival strives to show chase our communities achievements, diversity, and most importantly Pride in ourselves. Only when setting aside our differences and working together as a homogenous community can we achieve this goal.

The Ambassador group was created with good intentions and was meant to provide the current committee with resources and support from those who had to fight the wars in past Festivals. This like many other endeavors confirms the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. It is not the Group but individuals (whether with good intentions or spite) that diminish the effectiveness of the Ambassador Group. The Second Life Festival committee has the responsibility to organize, plan and implement the current year Festival. Having personally participated in two previous year Festivals it is a daunting and at times frustrating endeavor. Nevertheless, the Pride we achieve in ourselves and our community at the close of each Festival makes all the effort worthwhile.

The Committee is the governing body for the Festival but the general membership (and if I am not mistaken all members of the Ambassador Group are considered general members) is the community at large and their input and support is crucial for the success of the Festival. I have felt all along that ALL Festival meetings should be open to anyone as they are an integral part of our gay community. If the current committee approves the proposed Amendment, which is their right under the Charter, then the inclusion of general membership voting in the future is essential in reflecting our communitys decision rather than a decision by a few individuals.

The Second Pride Avatar was created by the Second Pride Festival to formalize the name Second Pride to ensure continuation of the entity Second Pride Festival from year to year and serve as the banker for future festivals. Second Pride is owned by me but in reality belongs to the Committee. I strive to stay out of the politics of the day and only intervene when a decision outside of a formal committee discussion and vote affecting the Second Pride Avatar is made or a questionable financial transaction occurs. If I could pass the Second Pride Avatar to a group, I would. However, ownership of an avatar is assigned to a real life person by Linden Lab and not a group so it is not possible. If the committee desires and a formal vote is made to eliminate the entity Second Pride in this years or subsequent years festivals I will follow that decision, have the current Treasurer transfer the funds to an entity appointed by the committee without reservation.

All I ask is that we think about the long-term effect of decisions that are made rather than heat of the moment decisions for the short term. Most importantly, is our decision for the good of the community or for a smaller group of individuals?

Shawn Mission

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Post on Tue Sep 15, 2009 1:36 pm  Gast

No one is forced to remain in the ambassador group.

I think the group of former members of the SP committees supplemented with individuals that are appointed by committees do have a task with in the organization. I rather not see that go away.

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Post on Tue Sep 15, 2009 5:52 pm  DannielScarlet Destiny

Well said Shawn !

Members ,Committee and Fellow Ambassadors,

I write this in part out of dismay and sadness, but also with optimism
that the future of Second Pride will continue for many years to come,
growing and becoming a formidable group serving the LGBT commuity in
SL and helping individuals in their RL. The SP group has been a
significant part of my life in SL from the time I joined and hope that
it will remain so. Despite the fact that I am about to be homeless in SL
and my busy RL, I have decided to make the time to give my views on
this subject.

Recent events have had many repercussions, some good and some not so good.

Firstly I will address the Eslwit Quimby proposed amendment.

I will state that I am not in favour of this and give my reasons below.

This group was created in SP2009 to bring together former chairs and
nominated individuals whose experience and knowledge could be called
upon by the committee and general membership for advice.

The role of the ambassadors was incorporated into the charter by the
2009 committee and the ambassadors at that time, including my
esteemed fellow ambassadors CapabilityTodd Elswitt & Eric Quimby
(both putting in an enormous amount of time and effort along with
others to ensure past occurances did not happen again), who have now
proposed this amendment. I am unsure why now they have decided to
table this amendment but it has been proposed and now must be debated.

Firstly I must dispute that this group is elitist with special
privledges this group is here to help and advise / guide the
presiding committee and to protect the continuance of Second Pride
under the Charter. Some recent events may appear to have been seen as
interference but without knowing the full extent under which action
was taken / posts made, I see no real basis for this proposal. Any
actions / posts were made to reflect non-compliance with the charter
as a pose to abuse of position.

I completely agree that the current charter needs to be amended and
clarified in various places as recent events have shown. The original
architects drew up the current charter from the experiences of past
years and this year it has again been shown that it is not perfect,
and may never will be, as SP grows over the coming years needing
amendments to current situations.

I perceive this group as being similar to The Parliament of the United
Kingdom or even The House of Represantatives in the United States
each have an upper level (The House of Lords and The United States
Senate) and lower level (The House of Commons and United States
Congress).

The Committee and Ambassadors may well be seen as similar entities
with the Ambassadors group ensuring that the Committee follows the
rules as set out in the charter, but ultimately all being held
responsible to the general membership, just as both the British
Institution of Parliament and the U.S. Institution of the House of
Representatives is ultimately responsible to the general population of
each country.

Abolishing this group could give rise to the possibility of the
committee being given an open season to do whatever they wish without
necessarily bringing forth the issues to the general membership. In
the extreme, it would be possible for the amendment of the charter to
completely change what Second Pride was meant to essentially be and
I take this opportunity to remind all of the mission statement as
given in the current charter and un-amended since the inception of
this group:


MISSION STATEMENT

We, an organized non-profit group of international people from the
Second Life LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) community
including friends family and allies, commit to the mission of
organizing, supporting, and facilatating "The Second Pride Festival"
in Second Life, through the organization of various events throughout
the term of the committee to raise funds in order to hold this
Festival.

Our right to act is based on our freedom to assemble, to celebrate who
we are, people who have risen above hatred, misunderstanding and
ridicule from past social injustice. "The Second Pride Festival" will
provide the venues that enable us to assemble as a people with Pride
from all countries around the world.

Taking away the Ambassadors group, who have the experience from their
term in office, would be unwise, Ambassadors are there as a double
check, and should the committee feel that an action / post was not
needed or necessary then debate should be the start of a solution
rather than the possibility of strife within this group. Strife will
only lead to separationindeed in the extreme a committee that may
proceed to take control of SP in ways that would not be beneficial to
its members. We must all remember that Second Pride is owned by
no=onewe serve Second Pride. Abolishing the Ambassadors group may
well lead to autocratic rule without the possibility of recourse by
anyone until the next committee is elected ultimately ending in a
dwindling membership from over 500 members at its peak during 2009
(and I hope that this can rise this year) to next to no-one.

To date there have been no public meetings whereby the general
membership can be made aware of the current committees goals and
ventures. Indeed it is only as ambassadors that we are aware of what
is happening and put our faith and trust in the committee to make SP
grow in the way it should. This committee has great vision and amazing
people putting in a great deal of time and effort lets share this
with the membership !

I will fully admit that the committee of 2009 did not hold enough
public meetings, and because of this, I went and talked to many of the
members who volunteered to help, bringing in and making all my friends
aware of the group which partly helped in bringing so many forward at
election time to stand for Chair positions. In 2009 , Zack and myself
had to look for members to join the committee not a good situation
to be in.

I bring forward now the thought of Stryker Jenkins and Gordon Nadezda.

Without including the membership in votes on all issues leaves the
committee to do as they please with the ambassadors group in place
there will be a check that the fullfilment of the mission statement is
carried out...I will however state that not necessarily all meetings
be open.there will inevitably be issues that should remain within the
committee only.

Let us not lose the possiblity of keeping the name "Second Pride"
for without it...the LGBT community in SL will inevitably be without
a good source of support and help.

I shall end here quoting a part of a recent post made by a fellow member Doc Spad


Second Pride means so much to me and should for all of us. I trust
that we can all put behind us any petty differences and create an
organization that is strong in it's resolve to tackle some of the
issues that our current forward thinking and progressive leadership
have outlined. It's important that we allow for a smooth transition
from board to board and that mechanisms for succession are foolproof
so that Second Pride continues to move forward seamlessly from year to
year. The charter needs clarity. The charter needs to be forward
looking. The document that guides us needs to address all
possibilities and create stability.
I have come to realize that many of our current board members possess
suburb organizational and technical skills that we should all welcome.
As a community I trust that we can all support our current leadership
and take advantage of their energy, foresight, and vision. I look
forward to being part of an active, effective, and strong organization
that we ALL can be proud of.

As I have said once before when quoting a fellow memberit could not
have been said any better !

Thanking you,
DannielScarlet Destiny

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Post on Wed Sep 16, 2009 1:01 pm  Lemonodo Oh

Let's suppose Ambassadors are serving in ways under the Charter that are arguably beneficial. Providing a term term limit preserves the benefit, yet is in harmony with this proposal.

Here's what a two-year term limit, same as Committee member, might look like if I take my current situation. First of all, there is no indefinite grandfathering in of any kind of privilege for having served one term back in 2009. And second, I still have incentive under the Charter to participate in immediate transition and growth in 2010 and 2011. At the end of 2011, I term out, but that gives me incentive to run again in 2012.

To be clear about my take on this proposal as written to delete the Ambassadors, I think it isn't quite right for us, but I think imposing reasonable term limits achieves fair resolution.

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Post on Thu Sep 17, 2009 5:23 am  Doc Spad

I've spent the last 30 minutes reading the prior posts on this issue....damn...we seem all over the place.... although one common thread seems to be the preservation and positive growth of Second Pride....a great place to start!
Two perspectives:
1)The ambassadors offer continuity to the organization...they offer experience and can be a great resource to a new board.They can provide a history that can save a new governing body "wasted time" as it tries to accomplish it's goals. It's sorta like having grandma living with a family. Her advice and guidance can be invaluable....but the final decisions for the family are still the responsibility of the parents. When she meddles too much.... well that brings us to the second perspective.
2)The ambassadors can resist change and obstruct a newly elected boards' objectives. Even when the new leaders were elected on a mandate of change. They can use their unique access and contacts to thwart a new boards forward momentum. To get back to grandma...it's sorta like that mother in law that sticks her nose in everything the family does and ends up undermining the parents and their role.

I think the ambassadors are important to keep in the mix.... I think they should be able to attend all board meetings and offer their advice.... but that is it...advice...all votes should be by the newly elected board, after all, they ARE the ELECTED representatives of the membership. They could and should listen to their "elders", but they are the ones that have the ultimate responsibility. Imagine if our legislature were hamstrung by their predecessors' "veto". Can any of you imagine George Bush looking over the shoulder of Obama....telling him what HE should or should not do??? (Talk about the blind leading the blind....sorry). My point is... that when you elect a new leader... you elect a NEW leader. If he's smart he'll listen to his predecessors and learn from their experience..... but the buck stops at his desk. And we do have to remember that the membership did elect a new board.
There is a reason that we keep grandma in the backseat on long trips..... we can still listen to her and she may know all the shortcuts.....but she can't reach the steering wheel.
So lets let the board do the driving...and let the ambassadors provide their ideas and guidance...and we might just end up getting to a new destination that we can all be proud of.

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Post on Thu Sep 17, 2009 6:23 am  Guest

Well said Doc,

I think what shoul be clarified in addition to your post is that by charter the ambassadors, when not united, cannot stop the committee. One or two alone can only make their opinions heard and I think this freedom ofopinion should notbe censored.

There is a way the committee can be called back on their decisions, but that takes more effort and unity than a few people, and cannot be made just by anyone. Which means it's a failsafe but one that was effectively used only once, and since the committee itself agreed to come back on its decision it should be safe to say it's not a bad thing in the end when not abused. And so far it hasn't been.

I beleive Lemonodo's idea above your post is quite reasonable to reach and meet what you would like to see happening.
But censoring the opinion of others because they're not appreciated is not a way Second Pride should continue to follow any longer.

Needless to remind the committee is elected to ensure the happening of the festival and influence the future and growth (not change) of the organisation.
Why would any group of individuals be able to decide those org level changes? That was never why the committee was elected to do alone without others.
Imagine we delete the role. How would all the current chairs feel if the next elected committee was to decide to modify the full concept once again? And choose not to follow or listen to any advice by the people you are today cheering for their amazing efforts, and that all this was to be thrown away, disrespected and to be forgotten?

Perhaps you'd say that group simply benefitted from the reputation of the name that they didn't help build, and changes it to be what they wanted despite the felt need for continuity.
In that event I would be tempted to ask why they choose to run for office after having had all the time to read the charter and know how things worked if they were planning to be disregarding all of that. Why not have then simply started their own concept, their own name, and benefit from what they will have built and their own reputation to grow.

Second Pride doesn't belong to anyone and is purely democratic, this is why the membership, the Ambassadors and the committee are included in its charter. The charter was built not in any of those groups favor to give it more advantage than another. I beleive the committee group currently has enough power to be doing all that it wants regarding decision for their current year.

It is when one groups wants to make decisions about change, not for the year they were elected to run, but for Second Pride as an entity and on the long run, that the organisation protects itself. Because the charter that one group is continuously calling flawed was designed to prevent any such hijacking from one of the 3 groups (members, Ambassadors or Committee) alone to be making decisions that would favorise them over one of the other 2 groups in long term perspective.

I beleive we can see today that the charter is indeed working as it should. Serving only the interest of Second Pride not to be owned by anyone.
Nothing is stopping the committee from running SP2010 they way they see fit. It is because we see that they cannot make changes alone, without approval and agreement with the rest of the membership and the ambassadors that we should realise that the concept of democracy is working.

The reason why parties are getting angry at eachother here is only because decisions regarding Second Pride as an entity are being made or tried to be made without everyone's agreement or consent... And the issues at stake are not about SP2010 related items, but Second Pride itself. Which once again, even if it means making one of the 3 groups frustrated not to be able to take just any decision it wants alone, is simply Second Pride defending itself to remain a democraticly run organisation... I see no flaw in the charter about reaching this simple goal. One cannot go against democracy for decisions regarding the organisation as a whole.

The only flaw there is is in the collaboration regarding Second Pride business, when one or more individuals are not willing to follow the advice of even the Chairman of SP2010 himself, that is to work TOGETHER in this process and bringing unity to the group.
Then again maybe an example should be set first for the rest to follow.



NB: The democratic system on which Second Pride was built, in order to allow it to defend itself from being run by individuals or groups alone on the long run except for the years they were called upon to rule. Is a system that was based on the Swiss democratic system. But of course adapted for Second Pride since we're obviously not running a country here.
(Switzerland is located in the center of Europe and surrounded by France, Germany, Italy, Austria. It has been in the Top 10 richest countries in the world for years and still is today)

Source: http://www.democracy-building.info/switzerlands-political-system.html

It is astonishing how little the rest of the world knows about the way Switzerland runs its politics. Even its next-door neighbors in Europe, though vaguely aware that it is a deeply decentralized country, do not really understand the other, more important part of the Swiss system -- the part that could turn out to be a model for everybody's 21st century democracy.
Brian Beedham, United Press International, in a book review on Gregory Fossedal's The road to full democracy.

Switzerland is a small country located in the heart of western Europe, at the intersection of German, French and Italian language and culture. Switzerland has been multicultural in its own way for centuries. Democracy and Direct Democracy in particular, has a long, but not undisputed tradition in this country. Switzerland's unique political system is today world's most stable democratic system, offering a maximum of participation to citizens.

Switzerland's Direct Democracy is not the result of pure tradition and harmonic development, however. Much to the contrary, the very basics (decentralisation of power) and the unique instruments of Direct Democracy (frequent referendums and popular initiative) have been established through hard political struggle, including a violent Revolution in 1798, decades of rioting (1830's and 1840's: the term putsch for a violent overthrow of government is one of the few Swiss German dialect words that have been adopted in a large number of foreign languages ...) culminating in a short civil war in 1847.

*This section is for information only as to where the inspiration came to ensure Second Pride's democratic system that focuses on making diplomacy required in the group for decisions that do not concern only 1 year Term but the organisation as a whole.

Yes I take Pride in being a Swiss citizen and I never have hidden I was one, if your read to the right of my post it has always said where I lived RL. In Geneva, home of many World Organisations, Red Cross, UN, and where many democratic and peace treaties were signed.
Despite what some of you might think, I am not about war or quarrels. I live in a place were democracy is loved and cared for, and if I had not been this kind of man, for the two years where I was active on the Second Pride committee, I would have been able to try to turn this organisation to be my own or to be submitted to me or a group.

But I think no one here can say me or my co-workers did that. Instead we established rules that forced us to get out of committee at one point, and to let others humbly provide their stone to the organisation for their elected year(s). I have followed my life principle not to let myself be run by other men and to be able to have my voice heard when I beleive it should be, without refusing the decision that will be in the end taken, as long as it is democratic, I fold to the majority.

Second Pride has been given the chance to benefit from a similar system. You might have noticed in the text above that when speaking of the country it is pointed out that it multi-cultural and trilingual, still we manage this way to get along and not to force any of our 3 language groups out... When it's no secret we have our share of daily disagreements.

Second Pride is also multicultural, and the LGBT community of Second Life is even more !
This is why today I posted this, So you know where I come from and for what I stand.. You can choose to think differently, but is your own opinion really above the one of the rest? If I helped to instate rules that would even prevent my own opinion from being more important or overrule the one of others when diplomatically taken, why should yours have to benefit from that right?

Good day to all.

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Post on Fri Sep 25, 2009 1:28 am  Jordyn Carnell

Doesn't anyone write briefly?

The currently elected committee needs to draw from the experience of those who built the organization which they inherited. At minimum, someone should be around to share the institutional memory, and who has a stake in seeing things not slide backwards. And that inevitably is those who came before.

This is a emeritus role, and valuable to the organization in avoiding past mistakes, building on past successes and maintaining and expanding positive relationships with the broader community.

I am AGAINST the elimination of the Ambassador role.

JC

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Post on Fri Sep 25, 2009 2:08 am  Guest

Jordyn Carnell wrote:Doesn't anyone write briefly?

The currently elected committee needs to draw from the experience of those who built the organization which they inherited. At minimum, someone should be around to share the institutional memory, and who has a stake in seeing things not slide backwards. And that inevitably is those who came before.

This is a emeritus role, and valuable to the organization in avoiding past mistakes, building on past successes and maintaining and expanding positive relationships with the broader community.

I am AGAINST the elimination of the Ambassador role.

JC

I have no problem with the organization recognizing a former Committee member's service, and if a former Committee member wants to share his/her experience, that's great! But, as you said, it's an emeritus role, and it should be treated as such, with no special powers above that of a regular member. In fact, I wouldn't call it an Ambassador....the definition of the word doesn't fit it's purpose. This role is more like a consultant.

As I've suggested in another thread, I believe that, if the organization were to create an actual set of Bylaws (separate from the Charter), Bylaws that clearly define how the organization conducts its business, the Committee would have no need for Ambassadors (or whatever they should be called). The Bylaws would be a more reliable source of the organization's institutional memory.

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Post on Fri Sep 25, 2009 2:46 am  Jordyn Carnell

Gordon Nadezda wrote:

I have no problem with the organization recognizing a former Committee member's service, and if a former Committee member wants to share his/her experience, that's great! But, as you said, it's an emeritus role, and it should be treated as such, with no special powers above that of a regular member. In fact, I wouldn't call it an Ambassador....the definition of the word doesn't fit it's purpose. This role is more like a consultant.

As I've suggested in another thread, I believe that, if the organization were to create an actual set of Bylaws (separate from the Charter), Bylaws that clearly define how the organization conducts its business, the Committee would have no need for Ambassadors (or whatever they should be called). The Bylaws would be a more reliable source of the organization's institutional memory.


Hi Gordon!

It's my thinking, that until such a time as such a bylaws exist (Including or excluding such a role - with it's limits enumerated) I'd prefer changes not be made piecemeal. I'd prefer a rather a more thoughtful tool be created.

JC

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Post on Fri Sep 25, 2009 2:48 am  Guest

Jordyn Carnell wrote:


Hi Gordon!

It's my thinking, that until such a time as such a bylaws exist (Including or excluding such a role - with it's limits enumerated) I'd prefer changes not be made piecemeal. I'd prefer a rather a more thoughtful tool be created.

JC

I'm certainly not suggesting anything piecemeal or less than thoughtful.

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Post on Fri Sep 25, 2009 2:57 am  Jordyn Carnell

Gordon Nadezda wrote:

I'm certainly not suggesting anything piecemeal or less than thoughtful.


Woops..

Sorry. Didn't mean to imply you were, I was reflecting on the original proposal.

Which for anyone else reading this thread, I'll say again: Construct the organization right as a whole, rather than "Jenga like" pulling out pieces as we go along. I'm thinking the law of unintended consequences applies here.

JC

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