Wednesday, September 25, 2013

@modo_carcoop Special General Meeting had a close call 15-14 vote #coop #democracy

This is my report on the Special General Meeting of Modo the Car Co-op, held recently on September 23, 2013. We voted on eight resolutions proposed by the Modo Board, for changing the co-op's rules:
  • Resolution 1: Correction of oversights or typographical errors; clarification; and removal of obsolete or redundant items
  • Resolution 2: Create a Nominations Committee and define its accountabilities
  • Resolution 3: Create alternatives to in-person voting at annual meetings for elections
  • Resolution 4: Create an option to use alternative voting systems in elections
  • Resolution 5: Permit the co-op to pay interest on members’ shares
  • Resolution 6: Permit an organization to become a Business Member of the co-op, and to appoint a Delegate to represent it
  • Resolution 7: Authorize the Board to invest funds with reference to an Investment Policy
  • Resolution 8: Change the name of the co-op to Modo Co-operative
Brief Summary of Meeting:
  • We passed each of the 8 resolutions by more than the required 2/3 super-majority vote.
  • On Resolution 7, I proposed an amendment to require a member approval vote on future changes to the Investment Policy. Amendments are decided by simple majority vote. With 14 in favour and 15 opposed, we did not adopt my amendment. We then unanimously approved the Board's original Resolution 7.
  • There was significant opposition to Resolution 6 (letting businesses that use Modo become voting members of Modo), but it passed by a vote of 25 in favour, 7 opposed.
Discussion of Resolutions 3 and 7:

Monday, September 16, 2013

#CIRA election: Why I'm voting for @KevinSMcArthur, Jim Grey, Ryan Merkley, Ruth Corbin

The Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) is holding its annual board election. I'm voting for these candidates:
Members' Slate:
- Kevin McArthur

Nomination Committee Slate:
- Jim Grey
- Ryan Merkley
- Ruth Corbin
If you're a CIRA member, you can vote Sept 16 - 23 (deadline: 11am Pacific time Sept 23). If you have a .ca domain, you can join CIRA for free at (and vote next year).

How I chose who to vote for:

I based my decision mainly on how the candidates participated in the election forum.

I especially like Kevin McArthur's advocacy of board transparency, which I strongly support as a way of increasing accountability of CIRA to its members and to the Canadian public. I voted for Kevin in 2012 and 2011 for similar reasons.

As for the Nomination Committee's candidates, my preference tipped toward Grey and Merkley for their replies to the forum question on what to do with CIRA's financial surplus, and toward Corbin for participating in the forum and not giving responses that I found disappointing.

How to improve CIRA's election process:

There is not enough voter engagement, nor enough sources of insightful assessments of the candidates. (There should be much more insight available than my blog post above, but if it's out there I can't find it.)

I have been recommending various improvements to CIRA, so instead of repeating them I'll link to them:

1. The latter half of this blog post last year.

2. The paper We Want Our Co-ops Back.

Friday, September 13, 2013

@modo_carcoop Investment Policy should be approved by Members #coop #democracy

Two weeks ago I blogged about the upcoming (Sept 23) Special General Meeting of Modo the Car Co-op, to vote on the Modo Board's proposed rule changes. I supported Resolution 2 (to create a nominations committee) and Resolution 3 (to enable voting via internet) as changes that would strengthen member democracy.

Recently I studied Resolution 7, which would authorize the Board to invest Modo funds with reference to an investment policy. It would change the existing Rule 10.02:
"Without the approval of the Members by special resolution, the Directors shall not invest a total of more than $25,000 of the funds of the Association in securities or classes of securities other than those in which trustees are permitted to invest trust funds under the Trustee Act."
To become:
"The funds of the Association shall be invested in accordance with an Investment Policy approved by the Directors that defines permitted investments and sets investment limits for permitted investments." [emphasis added]
To maintain democratic accountability to us Modo members on how our accumulated funds are invested, I recommend changing the word "Directors" to "Members" in the above proposed new rule. [Update 2013-09-20: amended wording in second comment below] So the Board could propose future changes to the investment policy, but those changes would need to be approved by a vote of the members.