Subject: Procedural housecleaning 1: subcommittee rules
Hello UBL TC, For the last two years we've been running our subcommittees based on a set of rules we adopted at our first meeting under the OASIS umbrella in November 2001 and amended a couple of times since to try to cope with changes in the OASIS TC process and in the implementation of the Kavi collaborative management system. We've now gotten to the point where neither I nor the subcommittee chairs can remember from one occasion to the next exactly what our subcommittee rules are. I propose to clean up and revise our subcommittee procedures and put them all in one place on the TC web site where we can find them when we need them. The purpose of this message is to put you on notice that I will be asking for action on this at the opening TC plenary in San Francisco Monday 3 November and to provide an initial draft for your consideration. Note that it is not my intention to begin a discussion of this on the mail list, just to provide materials we can work with at the meeting. I do invite your thoughts and comments by private mail, but I'm not going to have a lot of patience with people who comment without going back and reviewing the original resolutions (see links below). There is some new stuff here, but most of it just collates decisions we came to a long time ago and don't need to revisit. If I can't get general agreement on what follows in fairly short order at the opening plenary, I will break out the discussion into a separate midweek administrative meeting where people who care about such things can put on their hip boots and wade right in. Jon ================================================================== ESSENTIAL BACKGROUND 1. Procedural context OASIS TCs operate under the OASIS TC process. According to that process, anything not explicitly specified in the process or in the OASIS By-laws is governed by Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised. So with regard to subcommittees, we are not operating in a vacuum but rather in the voluminous context of what Robert's has to say about committees. Note that we decided early on that UBL subcommittees would operate under Robert's Rules of Order Revised (RROR) rather than Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised (RRONR). This is because RROR, published in 1915, is in the public domain and available in an electronic version. It is also because RROR is less than half the size of RRONR. But the TC itself runs according to RRONR. As far as I can recall, this distinction has never made a difference to us in practice, and if we're lucky, it never will, but there it is. 2. History The initial "Standing Rules for the Conduct of UBL Subcommittees" were adopted at the UBL TC meeting 1 November 2001 and were posted to the ubl mailing list on 6 November 2001. Modifications to those rules were posted to the ubl list 16 September 2002 and became effective 21 September 2002. A further revision was posted to the ubl list 31 March 2003 and became effective 6 April 2003. Minutes of the OASIS UBL TC Meeting, 2001.10.29-11.01 6 November 2001 http://lists.oasis-open.org/archives/ubl/200111/msg00005.html TC membership, attendance, and quorums 16 September 2002 http://lists.oasis-open.org/archives/ubl/200209/msg00000.html Adding prospective UBL TC members to UBL subcommittees 31 March 2003 http://lists.oasis-open.org/archives/ubl/200304/msg00000.html 3. Subcommittees under the TC process When we started the UBL TC, the OASIS TC process said nothing about subcommittees, because the people who designed that process knew that in its more than 700 pages RRONR says just about everything it's possible to say about committee formation without limiting the ability of individual TCs to create subcommittees structured optimally for their specific programs of work. But continued embroidery on the TC process has produced the following otiose addition: (n). TC Subcommittees The TC may by resolution create a subcommittee (SC). The resolution must be minuted, and must include the name, statement of purpose, list of deliverables, and name of the chair of the SC. All of these items must fall within the charter of the TC and conform to OASIS policy. The deliverables of the SC are made only to the TC. Members of the SC must first be members of the TC. An SC member may resign from the SC and remain a member of the TC. The only really important thing to watch out for here (in fact, the only substantive thing that's not already implicitly or explicitly given by RRONR) is that subcommittee members have to be TC members. This means that subcommittees can't have invited experts from other OASIS TCs and that we have to engage in some contortions to deal with the very common case of technical experts who are willing to contribute their time to specific subcommittees but don't have the resources to attend TC meetings on top of that. What follows has been assembled from the past resolutions relating to the conduct of UBL subcommittees and then revised to remove obsolete language and accommodate intervening changes to the TC process and the OASIS web infrastructure. ================================================================== REVISED UBL RULES FOR TECHNICAL SUBCOMMITTEES 1. Definitions a. "TC" when used without further qualification refers throughout to the OASIS Universal Business Language (UBL) TC. b. "OASIS member" means any person eligible to participate in an OASIS TC under the provisions of the OASIS TC process. c. "TC member" and "prospective TC member" are used in the senses defined by the OASIS TC process. d. "Technical subcommittee" means a UBL subcommittee created to perform the normal technical work of the UBL TC. The term "technical subcommittee" specifically excludes the UBL administrative, marketing, and liaison subcommittees. 2. Chairs and co-chairs a. The chair or co-chairs of each UBL technical subcommittee shall be appointed by the TC and can be removed by the TC. b. If multiple co-chairs are appointed to lead a technical subcommittee, each co-chair shall have equal control over the subcommittee portal and roster, and each co-chair shall be empowered to independently exercise the responsibilities of the subcommittee chair as specified in these standing rules. c. In every meeting of technical subcommittees led by co-chairs, one of the co-chairs shall, with the consent of the subcommittee, act as chair for the duration of the meeting, and that person shall be considered the chair in all procedural matters relating to that meeting. 3. Membership a. The initial voting membership of a technical subcommittee shall be determined either through direct appointment by resolution of the TC or, by resolution of the TC, through appointment by the chair of the subcommittee or the chair of the TC. b. Members of the UBL TC may become voting members of a UBL technical subcommittee by applying to the subcommittee chair. Appointment to a technical subcommittee becomes effective when entered in the subcommittee roster. Subcommittee members may also be appointed by resolution of the TC. c. Members of the UBL TC may become observers in a UBL technical subcommittee by applying to the subcommittee chair. d. Prospective members of the UBL TC may become prospective members of a UBL technical subcommittee by applying to the subcommittee chair. Prospective membership in a technical subcommittee becomes effective when entered in the subcommittee roster. Prospective members of the UBL TC who are enrolled as prospective members of one or more UBL technical subcommittees become voting members of those subcommittees when their waiting period for TC membership is completed. e. A voting member of a UBL technical subcommittee who participates actively in the subcommittee but cannot also participate regularly in TC meetings may request a change of status to nonvoting member in the TC while retaining voting membership in the technical subcommittee. Such a change removes the member from the number used to calculate a quorum in TC meetings. Nonvoting TC members who later wish to resume voting status shall be treated as if they were new prospective members of the TC, except that their status in any technical subcommittees of which they are already voting members shall remain unchanged. f. Voting members of a technical subcommittee may be removed from that subcommittee only by resignation or by resolution of the TC. Failure to respond to email queries from the subcommittee chair or TC chair shall be considered equivalent to resignation. 4. Meetings a. Phone meetings of a technical subcommittee shall be open only to voting members of the subcommittee and persons specially invited by the chair to provide expert input. Technical subcommittees may also meet in person at times and places to be determined by resolution of the subcommittee or the TC. The attendance of observers at face-to-face meetings of technical subcommittees shall be at the discretion of the subcommittee. b. The meetings of technical subcommittees shall otherwise be governed by Robert's Rules of Order Revised and such other standing rules as the TC may determine. 5. Inquorate meetings The voting members of a technical subcommittee assembled at a regularly scheduled and noticed but inquorate subcommittee meeting shall be authorized to operate as an ad hoc working group chaired by the subcommittee chair or by a chair pro tem. elected by the members present. Actions taken at such a meeting shall not be binding upon the subcommittee, but agreements arrived at in such a meeting may be submitted to an email vote of the subcommittee at the discretion of the chair. 6. Email votes Chairs of technical subcommittees shall be authorized to conduct business by email in the manner specified in the OASIS process for TCs, with the exception that the default five-day voting period for email ballots may be shortened to as little as 48 hours for technical subcommittee email votes at the option of the technical subcommittee chair. This change must be clearly stated in the call for a vote and properly noticed by email at least three days prior to the call for a vote. In email voting, a majority shall be more than half of all the votes cast, excluding abstentions. Votes and abstentions shall be recorded through posting to the technical subcommittee mail list. There shall be no quorum requirement for email votes.