DECISION MAKING STRUCTURE FOR THE CREATION OF EALDORMERE
The Crown has delegated the responsibility for setting up the political structure of Ealdormere to the Council of Ealdormere. The Council, as specified by the Charter 1S both too large and too small. It is too large to make up all the rules, ceremonies, procedures and decisions, and it is too small to be fully representative. Organization theory, and practical experience, teach us that such enter- pr1ses are best cone through a series of committees, with an agreed structure in place for consultation and decision making.
The Council, and ultimately the Lieutenants of Ealdormere are responsible to the people of Ealdormere and the Curia for producing a mutually acceptable, workable, principality within two years. We need to get a fast, but sure, start. The following proposal has been submitted to us by Lady Susanna the Unyielding, who has worked for a number of years with federal parliamentary committees. This proposal is based on her experience with these procedures (and as we all know, parliamentary committees is where the real work gets done!). I have added some suggestions of my own, based on my own work as an organization analyst, and my committee experience.
I offer this as a starting point, which can be modified or strengthened as the Council sees fit.
Why this Process will work
This process works because it meets the necessary criteria of:
• allowing wide and ongoing consulation with everyone in Ealdormere
• leaving the final1 decisions completely 1n the hands of the Council
1 "Final" in the sense that these decisions go to Curia for approval
• delegating specific tasks to specified small committees I who will do the actual work
The committee can be held accountable to the Council for work done or not done.
• providing for conflict resolution in all situations I
SOME OF THE FIRST DECISIONS FOR THE COUNCIL
1. The decision making process.
This scheme, or a similar one should be agreed on.
2. A fund for Ealdormere should be set up. One Council member should be in-charge of collecting and disbursing money from the fund. (This would be the Exchequer.)
3. An organization for liaison throughout the principality must be set up (se below under decision making structure).
4. The Council must know on what areas the principality can act and where it is governed by the bylaws and Corpora of the SCA, or the law of the Middle Kingdom
5. the groups of Ealdormere must be informed on the decision making process, and the kinds of committees required
6. there needs to be vehicle for conveying this information (eg. principality newsletter, Council minutes)
DECISION MAKING STRUCTURE
Figure 1 illustrates a proposed structure for the Council. Solid lines show responsibility for decision making. Dotted lines show responsibility for information exchange.
There are four distinct entities shown:
To them I would add the Lieutenants.
A summary of these entities follows, and the committees, sub-committees and liaison officers are discussed in more detail under separate headings.
NB: ONE individual, including Council members, should only be allowed to hold ONE position in the decision making process, that is, EITHER liaison officer OR committe member.
Susanna's proposal does not cover the role of the Lieutenants. As I see it, Aedan and I are responsible for seeing that this all gets done properly, and for submitting the decisions of the Council to Kingdom Curia. We would ensure that the process is fully consultative and that it conforms to Middle Kingdom law, the Corpora and bylaws, but also that the process continues expeditiously. It would be a mistake for us to become deeply involved in the content of the laws, ceremonies, procedures etc. because of our committment to the process. (Like anyone else we can always bend the ear of a liaison officer when we have good ideas).
In the case of a dispute in the Council, I would expect the Lieutenants to adjudicate.
Nothing should go to Curia without having been signed by the Lieutenants and the Crown Principality seneschal.
All official submissions and and representations to Curia must go through the Lieutenants.
This protects the Lieutenants and the seneschal, who are held responsible for what comes out the Crown Principality, and ensures they are fully aware of all developments. This protects the people and Council of Ealdormere from being misrepresented.
The current composition of the Council is defined by the Charter. We could decide to add to it. Some further break- down of responsibilities within the Council, for reporting and administrative purposes, may be useful.
The Council defines the number and functions of the committees, and how the membership and chairmen are to be appointed.
Committees are created with a specific mandate, eg. writing the laws, determining the arms, etc. The committee structure should cover every aspect of what is needed to ensure Ealdormere becomes a principality.
All committees need to be given hard and fast deadlines. 2
Committees need not all be appointed at once.
A final committee to coordinate the various drafts into one coherent document is desirable.
2. Deadlines should be treated the way you do in a responsible mundane job. You keep them, or you bring up problems and negotiate well in advance of a deadline.
Subcommittees are useful where the main task can be broken down into meaningful sub-tasks. They should always be smaller than the main committee.
Each group should designate a liaison officer (and alterinate) to transmit Council and committee information to their group and send all reactions, suggestions and ideas back to the Councilor committee.
A member of the Council can be appointed for help that group designate liaison officers and them if they miss too many deadlines (ie, one missed deadline, since this could really hold things up).
A liaison coordination committee should be set up to coordinate the efforts of the liaison officers.
THE DECISION MAKING PROCESS
Liaison officers should be appointed as soon as possible.
A liaison coordination committee should be appointed immediately to coordinate the efforts of the liaison officers.
A committee to report on the areas in which the principality can act should be appointed immediately (Susanna).3
3. This may have been taken care of already by Baron Aedan. If this committee needs to be a continuing one, it would most likely have a close relationship to the Lieutenants, part of whose job it is to see that we stay within the proper bounds
The decision making process starts like this:
1. The liaison officers explain the process to their groups and solicit ideas on the decision making process, the kinds of committees, funding. They take written applications for committee positions.
2. The liaison coordination committee sorts out the above information and the Council decides the number and functions of the committees and how the membership and chairman are to be appointed
3. Once a committee is operating, they contact the liaison officer to broadcast their mandate and ask for suggestions from the general populace.
4. The liaison officers send written suggestions to the chairman of the committee and the committee sorts them out and decides how to proceed.
5. When the committee has a draft document, they send it to the Council who may ask for revisions I
6. When the council is satisfied with this draft edition, they return it to the committee who in turn send it to the liaison officers
7. The liaison officers consult extensively with their group, probably requiring written submissions at this stage. They then send all suggestions to the committee.
8. the committee reviews all suggestion and incorporates those they feel are useful, and then sends a revised draft (the proposed edition) to the Council
9. The Council reviews the proposed edition, may ask for changes and then approves the "final" (called "preliminary" below) edition
10. the preliminary edition is submitted to Kingdom Curia, who may ask for changes the document would go back to the commitee, then
11. In the event of changes, to the Council, and then back to Curia
12. the approved final edition is printed in the principality newsletter.
1. ALL THE ABOVE STEPS SHOULD HAVE DATES FOR COMPLETION.
2. All drafts, minutes, and other documents that are passed around must have a publication status. This protects us from any individual misunderstanding, or any publication circulating, the status of whose contents are unclear.
Possible statuses are:
DRAFT- What the committee circulates to itself or to liaison officers for general public consultation. A document may go through 2 or 3 drafts.
PROPOSED- What the committee submits to the Council for approval after it has incorporated suggestions from the populace and Council
PRELIMINARY- What the Lieutenants submit from the Council to Curia
FINAL- What the Curia has approved. What the principality newsletter prints as law, policies, etc.
Recommendations on Committee Membership
1. Small committees work best. 5-7 members is considered an optimum number.
2. Council appoints the chairman of each committee, not necessary from Council membership.
3. The membership of each committee is selected by the chairman from the WRITTEN applications collected by the liaison officers. Selection is subject to final approval by Council.
Applications for committee membership should list the applicant's qualifications and experience, both mundane and SCA
By asking for WRITTEN applications (not simply filling out a form), we should be able to avoid many of those who volunteer, but don't work. The applications will also give the chairman and Council a good idea of who would be most useful where.
4. It should be made clear to everyone by the liaison officers, that a committee membership can entail considerable travel, at the personal expense of the committee member, and other costs such as telephone and copying, and postage expenses.
5. Membership should come from all areas (but we must balance travel and time considerations).
6. Membership should be for the duration of the existence of the committee, except for resignation or prolonged absence, or a vote of the Committee, or a decision of the Council.
7. If a member misses more than 2 (3?) meeting, they are considered to have resigned, and the chairman, after consulting the other members informally may appoint someone else.
8. In cases where the committee ceases to function due to procedural conflicts or personality clashes, the Chair- man is to make every effort to effect a resolution of differences. If this cannot be done, the Council must adjudicate, including replacing members.
Recommendations on Committee Procedures
1. Every committee should have a specific mandate, and I should stick to that mandate. If there is a grey area, the chairman should consult the Council.
2. The Council should prescribe some basic procedures every committee must follow. Failure to follow these procedures could lead to disbanding the committee or removing the chairman and appointing replacements.
3. Every committee is to have a recording secretary, a vice-chairman (to replace the chairman in the chairman's absence), and if any money is used, an exchequer
4. Susanna advises that chairman should follow Robert's Rules of Order when adjudicating procedural disputes. Copies are available in most second hand bookstores.
5. Hopefully the committees will operate by consensus. If not the Council must establish if the committee can make decisions based on a simple, 1/2 or 2/3 majority.
6. A quorum should be established (3 is recommended).
7. Vague resolutions will not get the work done. When a need is identified, an action item should be defined, with a person who is responsible for the delivery, and an action date.
8. Minutes must be kept for every meeting, even just to say there was no quorum.
9. Minutes must contain the following items:
b. all decisions taken by the committee
c. action items, who accepted them and the due date
d. subcommittees created that meeting
e. what was delegated to a subcommittee
f. a record of all votes ie. names listed for and against
g. the time and place of the next meeting
h. the reports from subcommittees, appended to the minutes of the meeting when they are tabled in the main committee
10. The secretary must send minutes of all committee meetings to the Council in general or specified members thereof. This ensures that the Council knows what the committees are doing.
11. There should be date by which minutes must be circulated.
12. Committees should be given the power to ask liaison officers to "liaise", whenever they wish to do so.
13. Committees should always agree to a time and place for the next meeting before they adjourn. If they cannot, they should formally assign the power to call the next meeting to the chairman, who should informally canvass the members to determine a convenient time.
14. Meetings should be held, where possible in conjunction with an event (eg immediately prior, the morning after) This allows more efficient use of time and travel money.
15. All meetings should be CLOSED except where the committee wishes to consult the general public--which isn't really necessary as that is the job of the liaison officers. These committees are to be WORK committees.
16. Meetings should be held in all ends of the principality
1. Each group, established or incipient should designate a liaison officer and alternate
2. This individual should not hold another group office, but it may be convenient for the group to appoint the liaison officer to the executive of the group for communication purposes
3. The liaison officer has no decision making power, but is the core of the communications network.
4. The liaison officer keeps his/her group up to date on the decisions and needs of the Council and committees, solicits suggestions from his/her group, and feeds back to the committee secretaries, in writing on these suggestions.
5. Liaison officers should consult the executive of their group as to whether consultation should be done imme-diately after general meetings (best) or they should call special meetings (for emergencies only).
6. any disputes are to be settled by the Council member who is responsible for that area, and then if necessary, by the Council
7. All liaison officers should be told of the following BEFORE they accept the job.
• the deadline requirements
• the amount of paperwork (vast)
• the possible postage and photocopying expenses they I may have to underwrite
• the total lack of decision making power
• no committee membership possible
• the number of people who may criticize their work
8. Liaison officers need only be affable, diligent willing to forgo committee memberships.
1. It may prove sensible for a committee to delegate some tasks to a subcommittee of two or three people/
2. Subcommittees should always be smaller than the main committee.
3. Each committee should have not more than three subcommittees as responsibility becomes two diffuse with more.
4. Each subcommittee should be chaired by a member of the main committee.
5. The membership of the subcommittee should be chosen by the main committee.
This membership could be drawn from the general populace. Main committees should only consider manning the subcommittees from their own membership when the de- legation of tasks ensures that the main committee will be dormant until the tasks are completed.
6. The liaison committee of the Council should be able to help with suggestions on committee membership
7. Subcommittees must keep the same kind of minutes as committees
8. The minutes should be tabled at the next meeting of the main committee
9. Subcommittees cannot create further subcommittees.
10. Subcommittees report SOLELY to the main committee who may or may not accept their recommendation.
11. Subcommittees may not contact liaison officers-only main committees may do so.
12. Subcommittees exist solely at the pleasure of the main committee who may create or disband them as it pleases.
13. Subcommittees may appeal procedural disputes or personality clashes to the main committee which adjudicate the problem as it sees fit. There is no appeal to Council on subcommittee problems.
1. There should be a policy on what gets printed in the Principality newsletter, what gets circulated only in the minutes, and what should be printed in the group newsletters. This policy should take into account the desire to make the principality newsletter the official policy organ, and desire to be consultative, and to keep the citizens of Ealdormere as fully informed as possible on the progress towards principality.
2 . Distribution of written information:
The more people we can send information to the better. If the money is available, all members should receive updates, Susanna thinks. This would entail each group drawing up a list of members.
Alternatively we could ask people to subscribe to the above information and cover our costs that way. Responses should still be given directly to the local liaison officer. Either suggestion would require a mailing committee.
3. The Council, each committee and every liaison officer should have a postal address printed in all (sic Susanna) newsletters frequently.
4. Council members are inevitably going to end up as informal liaison officers. Susanna thinks they should be ruthless about this. ("Don't tell me, tell X, your liaison officer".) Or alternatively, just pass on suggestions they feel are important.
5. Liaison officers should be instructed to bend over back- wards to consult as widely and extensively as possible with every member of their group who looks even faintly interested. The hope here is that everybody will be so sick of being consulted that by the end of two years, they will gratefully accept the final decisions of the Council (ultimately, Kingdom Curia) with relief.