Russ. As you say, we have conversed quite a lot in recent weeks and I am totally and utterly surprised by what you've said here. You and I both know that not all of the trustees operate in the best interests of the Hackspace membership; we also both know that some biases have been too big to ignore for some trustees when working on Hackspace grievance issues and that emotional responses have gotten in the way of best practice for the trustees sometimes - this is not at all right in my view.
You told me the Hackspace was founded on trust and mutual respect, but recent trustee behaviours (e.g. the blatant and targeted touting for people to ask for this EGM and certain of the resolutions) fly in the face of this; likewise the weak governance of a poorly structured grievance procedure enabling unverifiable and unjust warnings at times or grudges to be harboured - I question if this is being used to protect fiefdoms and punish people unfairly.
You told me that having a board of 9 was useful because someone usually had the time to chip in - I am sorry, but to my mind chipping in just is not good enough and a grievance panel must be properly constituted. This "usually has time to chip in" also indicates there are not enough people to cover all bases in a properly structured manner. The grievance process needs a clear separation of duties for trustees and a layer of independence to ensure fairness and consistency of treatment for all.
For a trustee to serve more than two consecutive terms without a break before standing again stunts good governance, thwarts fresh ideas and gives some people an elevated opinion of their importance - no one is indispensable and frequent churn is a good thing and goes on in many other places very successfully outside of the Hackspace. With a membership of more than 1200 people I find it difficult to understand that finding candidates would be a problem.
I know you and Jonty go way back and recent events cannot have been easy for you or ignored (links with the above for good governance). You told me you had questioned your own biases and I think that is a good thing. Surely though for you to orate your views in the way that you have here is a step too far for the chairman about to host this EGM, the clearly contentious issues and potentially handle peoples' proxy voting.
I think all voting for each and every resolution should be made online for fairness and complete transparency when it comes to one member one vote. I know you always aspire to do the right thing and I urge you to do the right thing in this case - move all voting online and relinquish proxy voting. The proxy voting mechanism is misleading and it is easy to click the button - where one would expect to see more information it simply tells you that you have given away your voting without realising what you were doing.......can this be right - not at all and it should be removed. With an electronic vote there is no need for proxy voting and you having the proxy voting (per your own bias review) may not be in the interests of the Hackspace.
The trustee’s mailing list post contains misleading and unsubstantiated information. Also, it should be noted that the required drafting in of former trustees (close knit group from the Hackspace early and smaller days) and apparently five days of negotiation where one or two trustees looked to force the views into the public domain is really quite shocking. Further, I would like to highlight the same names repeatedly commenting on the list and shutting down those who don't support them.
RussLet’s speak in a timely manner. I am available much of today and tomorrow evening. Please call me to arrange – you have my mobile number from previous emails.Regarding the grievance procedure - I will not name names in a public forum.
Regarding the Hackspace grievance procedure approach - because grievances have always worked in a way is most definitely not a reason to continue that way. I know the Hackspace is run by volunteers, however in one breath you state you need extra resources because of your perception of the time this procedure takes (an appropriately structured procedure would in all likelihood reduce the time and effort) then in the next breath you say the trustees cannot deliver because there isn’t enough resource.
Regardless of whether it is a volunteer organisation or not the trustees have an obligation to provide a safe and fair environment for all and even application of the rules. In the current environment I know of members that would not appeal for fear of being the next target and would not volunteer information for the same reason. Are you able to demonstrate 75% support for the warnings issued please.
My point about the voting put simply is that there should be one method of voting for this EGM rather than many – this only confuses issues and makes it harder for people to have their say. Online voting would de-personalise the issues and that makes the whole thing more fair and reasonable.