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Re: voting membership rules

Roger -

Your message annotated, preceeded by >>


At 23:56 23/09/99 -0600, Roger B. Marks wrote: 
> Gentlemen:
> 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
> 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."

>> One of the key statements that you have missed is that the Chair also has
the power to grant membership as he/she sees fit.

>> The rules are not entirely clear as to which meetings constitute "the last
four".  When you are at a Plenary meeting, does that meeting count as one of
"the last four"? or are they the four most recent (and completed)
plenaries?  I
believe that the correct interpretation is the latter. 
(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

>>I believe this is correct.

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
petitioning requirement.

>>Wrong.  The granting of membership occurs at the start of the third plenary
attended (assuming the "last four" rule has been satisfied); so in this case,
the individual will gain voting rights only on attendance at plenary meeting 4
or 5.  This is clear from the first passage you quote.

(2) Now we introduce the interim meetings, and things get trickier. The
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
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
third Plenary"? It seems to; you could establish voting membership from
in 4 months. How do you guys handle this?

>>The substitution rule (you can substitute one interim for one of the
plenaries) is reasonably clear on this, but I agree, if there has only ever
been 1 interim and that occurred in 1981, then there is the possibility of
mis-interpretation.  I believe that what the rule should clarify here is that
the only interim attendances that can be substituted are the ones that have
occurred during the time-period betweem now and the first of the last four
plenaries.  In other words, the test for gaining membership becomes:

>>"If you are building membership, and you are attending a plenary meeting,
you have either attended two out of the last four plenaries or have attended
one of the last four plenaries plus one interim meeting that occurred in
between any two of the last four plenaries, then you have achieved voting

>>Similarly, for maintaining membership:

>>"If you have either attended two out of the last four plenaries or have
attended one of the last four plenaries plus one interim meeting that occurred
in between any two of the last four plenaries, then you have maintained your
voting status."

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
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.

>>I believe that is a tighter constraint than is currently applied in other

(3) This is a comment, not a question: I think that the rules should be
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
continued voting rights.

>>This seems at variance with your statement on substitution.  If you believe
interims and plenaries are of equal importance, surely you should be
in the direction of giving equal credit for attendance at either.  If you are
suggesting a "mininum time served" rule should be imposed, then it would be
better separated from the meeting rule.

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.

>>It is not unusual for interim meetings to be non-quorate; this does not stop
the working group from functioning.  If decisions need to be taken, then the
interim meeting's decisions can be ratified at the next plenary (if the issue
can stand a 2 month delay) or ratified by email ballot (if more urgent).

I'm getting off the topic, but I'd appreciate any advice on how I can keep
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:

>>I don't see anything to prevent you doing all of the above.  But as
earlier, non-quorate interims do not prevent work from being done.

(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
> voting members of the Working Group." 
> >>I believe as WG chair you have the right to define such a rule if you see
> fit (see my comment above).

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
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

>>Not quite...I believe the strict interpretation is that he/she only
becomes a
voter at meeting 4 if he/she attends the meeting and it is a plenary (see
earlier).  But as this is a startup situation that is not handled by the
I guess you get to call the shots.  (Typical software bug handles
normal cases, but not the exceptions...)