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voting membership rules

Title: voting membership rules

I am a rookie Working Group Chair in need of some advice.

In constructing rules for 802.16, my greatest challenge is voting rights. I simply can't decipher the 802 rules on this. Several of us spent over an hour with Jim Carlo in Montreal without resolution. I've been worried that I am overcomplicating the situation, but I have concluded that the situation in inherently complicated.

I have looked at some other WG rules and have not found a clearer explanation. I'd like to know more about how you interpret the rules in your group.

Here are the key 802 statements:

"... Thereafter, voting membership in a Working Group is established by participating in the meetings of the Working Group at two out of the last four Plenary sessions... Membership starts at the third Plenary session attended by the participant. One duly constituted interim Working Group or task group meeting may be substituted for the Working Group meetings at one of the two Plenary sessions."

"Membership is retained by participating in at least two of the last four Plenary session meetings. One duly constituted interim Working Group meeting may be substituted for one of the two Plenary meetings."

(1) First let me put off the question of interims and make sure I understand the basic idea. I understood from Jim that lists are updated only in conjunctions with plenaries, that new members are added at the opening of the plenary meeting, and that expired members are deleted at the end of the plenary. I think that these statements follow from the rules.

Here are a couple of simple scenarios and my interpretation of the rules:

Meeting:     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9
Attendance:  x  x  x  -  -  -  -  -  -    x=attendance
Status:            v         n            v=becomes voter; n=becomes nonvoter

Meeting:     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9
Attendance:  x  x  x  -  -  x  -  -  -    x=attendance
Status:            v            n         v=becomes voter; n=becomes nonvoter

I think I understand everything to this point.

Here's a slightly more interesting case:

Meeting:     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9
Attendance:  x  x  x  -  x  -  -  x  x    x=attendance
Status:            v            n    v    v=becomes voter; n=becomes nonvoter

Here someone loses voting rights after meeting 7 and regains them in time for meeting 9.

One scenario that also follows from the rules is:

Meeting:     1  2  3
Attendance:  x  x  -     x=attendance
Status:            v     v=becomes voter; n=becomes nonvoter

In other words, you become a voting member at the third plenary even if you don't attend it. I think  the requirement that people petition for membership at the meeting is in conflict with this rule, so I don't plan to implement this petitioning requirement.

(2) Now we introduce the interim meetings, and things get trickier. The problem is that the rules don't specify WHICH interim meetings are eligible. For example, if someone comes to an interim in 1981 and then turns up this November, does he become a voter the next time he shows up at a Plenary? A more typical example is this: a guy comes to a March Plenary and a May interim. Is he a voter in July? Does this violate the clause that "Membership starts at the third Plenary"? It seems to; you could establish voting membership from scratch in 4 months. How do you guys handle this?

One of the rules I'm considering is allowing an interim to substitute ONLY for the preceding Plenary.  This would require a minimum of 6 months to gain voting rights. If I don't do this, I'll probably let the interim credit be applied to either the preceding or following Plenary but not to any other.

(3) This is a comment, not a question: I think that the rules should be revised to take into account the existence of and importance of interim meetings. Like many other groups, we are planning three interims a year. People can maintain membership by attending two out of four plenaries, which is three meetings every two years. Three out of twelve, in my opinion, is insufficient to justify continued voting rights.

The voting rights rule reduces the incentive for people to attend interims. At our interim last week, we ended up with less than a quorum. It didn't hurt us much, but it could in the future. For instance, my project plan has us making our key decisions at a May 2000 interim. If we don't have a quorum, we could have real problems.

I'm getting off the topic, but I'd appreciate any advice on how I can keep from being completely hosed if I don't have a quorum. Right now, I have two ideas:

-Make decisions by letter ballot.
-Get the inactive voting members off the rolls by:
    -deleting members who fail to vote in letter ballots.
    -offering inactive members the option to resign.
    -ensuring that the rules are interpreted to delete inactive members. See (4) below:

(4) For a new WG, 802 doesn't include any specific rules except that:

"All persons participating in the initial meeting of the Working Group become voting members of the Working Group."

Strictly interpreted, the rules says that my voting members (who became so by attending last July) will lose their voting rights at the end of the November plenary if they don't attend; they will not have attended two of the last four. Of course, there have only been two, but the rules don't provide any kind of allowance for that. One might say that one of two is enough, given that there have only _been_ two. However, I prefer the stricter interpretation and plan to use it. Note that people who lose voting rights after November can regain it fairly quickly:

Meeting:     1  2  3  4
Attendance:  x  -  x  -      x=attendance
Status:      v   n    v      v=becomes voter; n=becomes nonvoter

I know you have higher-priority issues on your table, but I'd appreciate any thoughts you can offer.


Dr. Roger B. Marks  <>          
Chair, IEEE 802.16 Working Group on Broadband Wireless Access
National Wireless Electronic Systems Testbed (N-WEST) <>
National Institute of Standards and Technology/Boulder, CO
phone: 1-303-497-3037  fax: 1-303-497-7828