Tuesday, June 12 GA

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Tuesday, June 12 GA

Postby GrameenEugene » Tue Jun 12, 2012 11:30 pm

Work session on combining (idea 1) Getch's idea for a Tuesday "Committee Night" when all committees meet nearby one another to replace the present Tuesday GA and (idea 2) various proposals for a "SpokesCouncil" happened before the GA and the discussion continued on into the GA. Sue, Fergus and Jan helped facilitate. Fergus's notes.

Perceived problems tonight's discussion might help resolve:
1) need for better networking, co-ordination and information sharing between committees
2) perceived problems with our facilitation process
3) need for a process to deal with problems like the struggle resolving the issue of the OutPost
4) frustration with consensus

Pre-meeting discussion focused on the unsuitability of our present GA process for the task of deliberation. Our GA is better suited to decision making than discussion. Discussion would be better done in a smaller group which includes feedback from all the active committees and working groups. Our GAs get bogged down when we try to introduce new information and also discuss it. GA discussions should be informed discussions which have been thoroughly researched. If the GA bogs down, it probably means more deliberation in a smaller body is needed. Best use of the GA is setting overall OE policy. Ordinary details of normal operations could be done more efficiently in a smaller, representative group. One problem with the present GA where everyone represents themselves only is that 3/4 or more of OE is not heard. A representative SpokesCouncil could better represent our entire membership- but only if everyone were attached to a group which was represented, each group communicates well with their representative, and we agree that we're ready to make the change from direct to representational group process, a big step. The GA should remain the final authority on all matters. A SpokesCouncil could either be simply an opportunity for networking (Sue), could take on everyday operational tasks (Jan) or could oversee facilitation, set the GA agenda and prepare proposals (Fergus/Getch). Jan fears that a SpokesCouncil only designed to network would not attract enough participation and would go the way of previous committee co-ordination efforts. It would be up to the GA to determine which committees or working groups should be represented on the SpokesCouncil.

Preliminary take on the SpokesCouncil was that it could either serve as a simple networking opportunity, an intermediary between committees and the GA, or be seen as a parallel body to the GA with its own responsibilities for operations. If it were only for networking, the SpokesCouncil wouldn't need a decision making process. If it took on decision making responsibilities, decisions could be taken similar to the GA (what exactly is that...?) or be more along the lines of a simple majority or supermajority. A functional SpokesCouncil would need to be 15 or smaller, so some committee combinations were in order. In any case, a SpokesCouncil could facilitate planning, networking and information gathering.

Suggested committees to be represented: Newsletter/Media; Welcoming; Foreclosure/Economic Justice/Collective Visioning; Library; Nonviolence/Sugar; MAAGIC; Com Com; Finance/Fundraising; Medical; Facilitation; Kitchen/Bad Ass; Homeless Task Force; Fed Up/Actions; Legal/Research; Hearts & Minds; At Large Groups of those who don't identify with one of the other groups.

Committee Night could take place outside after the weather clears up, perhaps in a real park with grass and no traffic noise. We'd likely need a bigger indoor space than OE V. The Willakenzie Grange Hall could work. Tuesday night Committee Night would not necessarily replace a regular committee meeting, though it could.

Committees would interface with the SpokesCouncil & the SpokesCouncil would interact with the GA.

Range of opinions on these suggestions. Young Joe was adamantly against a SpokesCouncil, but since he's missed the last 50 GAs, might be a little out of touch. Others seemed willing to consider it. Rather than answers, we came up with these questions:
* What would be the different and separate roles of the GA and the SpokesCouncil?
* Is it realistic to expect all committees to meet on Tuesday?
* Should Committee Night and/or the SpokesCouncil meeting replace the GA?
* How would decisions be taken in a SpokesCouncil?
* Should the Committees and SpokesCouncil meet simultaneously or sequentially?
* How should committee reps be selected? Should the job be rotated or not?
* How can we prevent a representative body from turning into a hierarchy?
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