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Ballot vote

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  • Joan Marie Verba
    The idea of increasing the number of Stewards is not one that has just come up in the past year. I discussed the matter at the members meeting at the 1998
    Message 1 of 3 , Feb 15, 2001
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      The idea of increasing the number of Stewards is not one that has just
      come up in the past year. I discussed the matter at the members' meeting
      at the 1998 Mythcon, when I was presiding officer (and David Bratman was
      still a Steward--I don't recall any reservations then, David, has one
      come up since that time?). The reason for the increase is the same now
      as it was then. We added Stewardship positions (namely, my current
      position as the Secretary of the Mythopoeic Press, because according to
      our bylaws, all persons in charge of official Society publications must
      be Stewards) and therefore we didn't have Steward positions available
      for traditional tasks. For instance, when we appointed the current
      Secretary for Mythopoeic Conferences last summer, we could not
      immediately make her a Steward because there was no "room." Once there
      was a vacancy, then there was "room" and we made her a Steward.

      I think that a publicity officer really needs to be in Council and at
      Council meetings and in touch with what the Stewards are thinking, and
      be a part of current Society activities and policy making.

      That's why I voted yes.

      Joan Marie Verba
      Mythopoeic Press Secretary
      Mythsoc List Administrator
    • David S. Bratman
      Joan Verba writes that the reasons for increasing the size of Council are to open up additional slots and to enable the Publicist to sit on Council. Those are
      Message 2 of 3 , Feb 16, 2001
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        Joan Verba writes that the reasons for increasing the size of Council are
        to open up additional slots and to enable the Publicist to sit on Council.

        Those are good arguments. My responses are:

        1) I believe, based on my experience on Council, that both the Council and
        some individual departments would benefit by these departments being folded
        in under other departments which would represent them on Council. I do not
        wish to discuss specifics in a public forum.

        2) For several years, a Publicist _did_ sit on Council. This post was
        allowed to lapse, and a non-Steward publicist eventually appointed in its
        stead. Why was this? Because, frankly, the level of activity of our
        Publicists was never worthy of a Stewardship.

        I know most of the Stewards, and I know they are quite capable of designing
        a shiny new Publicity Stewardship without fully considering whether it will
        attract anybody willing, let alone capable, of doing the job. Or fully
        considering the long-term impact of a mandated higher minimum size. And
        those Stewards I don't know may well not know the previous history of the
        position, on account of not having been around then. (Of course it might
        have been explained to them.)

        Regardless of Council size matters, were I a Steward I would argue against
        the re-creation of a Publicist unless and until we have full confidence
        that we can find someone with the talent and skills to do the job. And
        unless something's happened that I don't know about (which is quite
        possible: see below for other things I didn't know about), we most
        certainly do not.

        If you're just interested in the ballot arguments, stop here; the rest of
        this post discusses a different but related matter.

        Joan writes that the increasing of Council size was discussed at the 1998
        Members Meeting. I have no recollection of this, nor am I certain whether
        I was even present at that meeting. I was rather busy at that conference.
        (And if I wasn't present, that would explain why I don't remember it.)

        In any case, proposals for Council size enlargement were not under active
        consideration by Council at that time. If it was discussed at a Members
        Meeting where I was present, I would have felt it inappropriate for me as a
        Steward to argue in public against something being merely mooted as a
        future possibility.

        This enlargement proposal never did come before Council as an active or
        formal proposal while I was still a Steward. I heard well over a year ago
        (after my resignation) that Council was considering such a proposal, and I
        did make my suggestion (no. 1 above) informally to whichever Stewards I was
        talking to at the time. However, it was made very clear to me that
        enlargement was not a pressing need, but a matter that might be brought up
        soon in view of future needs. (No specific reference to a Publicist was
        made.) I felt it would be overkill to marshal formal arguments against the
        idea until it was active and put before the members, so I decided to wait
        until then.

        I tried to keep aware of the situation. Thus, soon after Mary Kay Kare's
        appointment as Secretary for Mythcons (someone else will have to tell me
        exactly when that was), I specifically asked a certain Steward the status
        of Council size, as with Mary Kay's appointment we appeared to have 12
        Stewards on a maximum roster of 11. This Steward told me exactly what Joan
        wrote here, that Mary Kay's appointment was being left unofficial until an
        imminently expected vacancy occurred.

        This Steward said nothing of any enlargement proposal, and I assumed the
        matter had been dropped.

        The first I learned that it was being brought before the members was when
        the ballot arrived late last month. That I waited a couple weeks after
        that is nobody's fault but mine, but that I did not learn of it until then
        is not my fault at all. I did not attend the Members Meeting at Kilauea
        because I had to leave to catch my plane home. Many other Society members
        were not present at Mythcon at all -- more than usual, as it was a small
        and distant conference.

        Thus, if any Stewards or others regret that I took this time and manner to
        raise my arguments against -- and indeed, one Steward has told me privately
        that had I had an opportunity to raise objections I could have been invited
        to write a "No" argument for the ballot, an invitation I would have
        accepted -- the fault lies in Council's insufficient communication with
        members.

        Members Meetings are a great sounding board for discussion, but they are
        very faulty as a way of gathering solid knowledge of members' preferences
        (as I learned while on Council - I have one great anecdote on that relating
        to the membership proposal), and as a means of communicating to the members
        they are completely insufficient.

        During my tenure as editor of Mythprint, I occasionally suggested that part
        of the Recording Secretary's duties should be to prepare brief write-ups of
        Council and Members Meetings for Mythprint. Nothing ever came of this. I
        would like to repeat this suggestion now. Most Societies -- The Tolkien
        Society, for instance -- report their formal doings in their bulletins. We
        should too.

        For reasons of my own background which I'll spare you here (this is too
        long a post as it is), I think I have the right to say that Council should
        communicate better with Society members.

        David Bratman
      • Trudy Shaw
        ... From: David S. Bratman To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com Sent: Friday, February 16, 2001 12:42 PM Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Ballot vote During my tenure as editor
        Message 3 of 3 , Feb 17, 2001
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          ----- Original Message -----
          From: David S. Bratman
          To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
          Sent: Friday, February 16, 2001 12:42 PM
          Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Ballot vote

          During my tenure as editor of Mythprint, I occasionally suggested that part
          of the Recording Secretary's duties should be to prepare brief write-ups of
          Council and Members Meetings for Mythprint. Nothing ever came of this. I
          would like to repeat this suggestion now. Most Societies -- The Tolkien
          Society, for instance -- report their formal doings in their bulletins. We
          should too.


          David Bratman

          --------------

          I can't really comment on the ballot item, as I don't know anything about it except what came with the ballot and what's been posted here (maybe that's a symptom of what I'm going to say). But I would like to voice my support for this one paragraph of David Bratman's post (above).

          Except for a lapse when I moved one time too many and we lost track of each other, I've been a Society member and a Mythlore subscriber for over 15 years. But as a chronically "funds-challenged" person (last time I bought a plane ticket was 16 years ago when I flew to California for my brother's wedding), I've never made it to a Mythcon. I registered for the one in Colorado, as that was one day's driving distance, but then changed jobs shortly beforehand so, of course, had no vacation time to take off in order to attend (the organizers very graciously refunded my deposit).

          Anyway, I'm sure there are other members who, for various reasons, can't get to Mythcons regularly. For a nationwide--even worldwide--organization, I think it would be essential to publish at least an abbreviated form of the minutes of any members' meetings. If this were done in Mythprint, which has a much shorter lead time than Mythlore, I'd certainly start subscribing to that publication again. I subscribed to it for awhile, but didn't find that much of interest to me, so have subscribed to only Mythlore since then.

          Getting hooked up to this on-line group has made me feel a little more "connected" out here on the plains, but knowing more about what's happening at the members' meetings would be a great help.

          -- Trudy Shaw



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