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What Sort of Society do we want?

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Governance Consultation Paper
Executive Summary

"Effective governance by a non-profit Board of Directors is a rare and unnatural act. ..."

The Governance and Constitutional Committee is putting forward a paper posing the question What sort of Society do we want? to the Members of the Society.

Discussion Paper

The Society is moving ahead in an increasingly professional way in its management structures and now faces a difficult question.

Should we continue to move forward, should we mark time or even perhaps take a few steps backwards?

The Committee finds itself in an unusual position of not being able to find a consensus among its members on an issue. We are now opening up the debate to the wider membership to determine if there is a general consensus among the Members on the issue. The results of the consultation will feed into our debate on the matter so that we can bring recommendations to you, the Members, and to Council as to the general direction we should be embarking upon at this time.

A feedback questionnaire has been developed to assist in this process.

At the heart of the debate is whether there should, or can, be honoraria remuneration for substantially increased work-loads when taking leadership roles in Society projects/initiatives when undertaken by elected persons. In the early days of the Society financial constraints precluded any such debate taking place. There were very limited resources and if an activity was to happen it mostly had to happen as a voluntary activity or fail to happen at all. Although the Society cannot be described as wealthy, the very stringent financial constraints of previous years is no longer the primary issue determining the outcome of this debate but one of ethics.

Several of the existing and upcoming initiatives/projects of the Society are substantial pieces of work that will have a very important impact on the Internet Community. We want to ensure these are properly handled and that the Society gets the full benefit of the best people for the job as well as the equally important aspect of raising the profile of the Society. Accountability is a core aspect of those undertaking this work, and while the dedication and commitment of the volunteers taking on these responsibilities offers considerable comfort in this area, it is very difficult to enforce such accountability in a non-professional (non-remunerated) environment.

Please take the time to read the paper, form an opinion, fill out the questionnaire and, by adding your comments, let us know your thoughts on the matter.

Governance and Constitutional Committee
August 2004

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