Leaks, Drips, and Spills

Friday, 14 September 2012 00:00

The Ongoing Sorry State Of OSM Governance

Allison Fine, one of the authors of The Networked Nonprofit described an uninformed, disconnected, and disengaged non-profit board that resonated perfectly with what I have been seeing and writing about the Open Source Matters, Inc. board. She said in her blog:

Most of all, too many boards are sets for kabuki theater; set dramas where all the actors know their lines; the chair gives an opening, the chief executive provides a summary of all the recent successes, the treasurer talks about the growing deficit, and the committee chair report out on their laundry lists of activities and programs. The meeting adjourns two hours later with very little accomplished except for a sense by the participants that they have done what they’re supposed to do.!
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I join you in that hope!

Sometime yesterday or today, the minutes for the January 24, 2012 OSM board meeting were posted. I noted several areas of concern with these minutes. In the past, it was clearly noted who had transcribed the minutes. While not required, it is a good idea particularly if some legality issue should arise that the minutes failed to document. Authorities could seek out the minute taker for clarification. Certainly a minor issue but one the Secretary of the board should consider for the future.

The bigger area of concern is one I have mentioned before. How do the board members of OSM ensure that decisions made are decisions of the board and not decisions of individuals on the board? Well, it is really quite simple and all boards practice it. It is even embedded within OSM's bylaws (emphasis mine):

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