Sunday, August 24, 2014

The SP Election 2014: Some Reflections

The Second Pride elections this year are well underway, the candidates have declared themselves and the discussion has started in the Second Pride discussion forum (url). The forum will be closed at midnight Friday August 29th, so head on over and join in.

There are six candidates for the nine positions on the Second Pride board, all the six candidates are running unopposed. This, however, doesn't mean that there aren't some interesting complications.

Let me start by informing you about this years line-up. After that I will share some of my thoughts on the situation.

As I said, there are nine positions according to the bylaws

1. Chairman
No candidate

2. Secretary & Co-Chair
Ezziedq "Ezzie" Mirabella
New election

3. Treasurer
Marge Beaumont

4. Events Director
LLedge Eames
New election

5. Community Relations Director
Karl Kalchek

6. Building Director
Jak Calcutt

7. Security Director

8. Marketing Director
No candidate

9. Communication/IT Director
No candidate


My first reaction, when I saw the candidates that had declared themselves, was sadness and astonishment that there were not more candidates and not candidates to all positions on the board.

On second thought, however, I realized that it is a major undertaking to commit oneself to a year long duty of service to the LGBT community in SecondLife. As a candidate one promises the electorate that - if elected - one has the ability and willingness to put ones time and efforts to the cause of Second Pride. Many of us have restrictions set by family, work or health that prevent us from making such a commitment, we should therefore cherish and be grateful to those that are able and willing.

Another reason for the lack of candidates must certainly be the ugliness that occurred before, during and after the last election. Even if someone was willing and able to run, they must have considered the slander, the backstabbing and the malicious rumor mongering that has occurred repeatedly in our community over the last year. It takes a special kind of brave person to risk having their first and second lives scrutinized, exposed and/or maligned by anonymous or semi-anonymous "detectives", blogs and avatars on social media, especially since it is virtually impossible - or extremely complicated - to hold them accountable in criminal or civil action.

My second reaction was a feeling of reassurance and gratitude that four of the board members of the previous board had been brave and strong enough to decide to run again. All four have proven their capacity for the job in the past difficult year when Second Pride was at the brink of imploding completely through the undermining work of the destructive forces. I also welcome the new candidates, Ezzie and LLedge. Fresh blood with new thoughts and ideas are valuable for any organization that wishes to evolve and move with the times.

Although all the present candidates can now be certain of being elected as they are running unopposed and it only takes one vote to get elected, which I will supply if no one else does, there is the matter of the three vacant positions to consider. Most important of these is the position of chairperson. My friend Dodo Ahanu has raised the question in the discussion forum and has asked the candidates how they view the vacancy on this position.

I don't entirely share the views that have been expressed in the discussion forum and would therefore like to give you my interpretation of the situation, which is not entirely covered by the bylaws as a situation like this has not been foreseen.

In my opinion, based on what is available in the bylaws and a general knowledge of rules governing associations, this is how the situation of the vacancy on the chair position should be handled.

First of all we need to recognize that even if the position of chairperson is only one of the nine board members, this position is special. The chair is "first among equals", with a special significance and special powers. We then also must recognize that there is a difference between a general election and a by-election.

An association must have a chairperson and this chairperson should be elected in a general election. I have no qualms whatsoever about the positions of Marketing Director or Communication/IT Director being filled in a by-election after a "call for directors" by the elected board, but that is not acceptable for the position of chairperson.

After the general election we will have a vacancy in the position of chairperson, but we will have elected a Secretary/co-Chair, whose job description contains stepping in as chairperson if there is none. As an association must have a chairperson, the elected Co-Chair therefore automatically becomes chairperson.

The board then, through a "call for directors" has to fill the position of Secretary/Co-Chair along with the other two other vacant positions.

I would appreciate your thoughts and input on my reasoning.

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