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Archiver > BOARD > 2006-11 > 1163348653

From: "Mike Peterson" <>
Subject: [BOARD] Challenged NVGenWeb Election - Respondent NC Response,Section 1
Date: Sun, 12 Nov 2006 08:24:13 -0800


Mr. Smoot alleges that SWSC Rep Bettie Wood has assumed the role of NVGenWeb
`election boss', while recognizing that under Article VI, Section 3, of the
Bylaws, the Advisory Board is empowered to take certain actions, including
assisting states as requested. His claim states that there has been no
authorization for individual Advisory Board members to `use Art VI, Sec 3 to
take rogue actions outside of the authority of the Advisory Board.' This
assertion is in error. SWSC Rep. Wood has not assumed any role or duties
other than those delegated by the State Coordinator. No Advisory Board
authorization is required for a representative to assist states under
Article VI, Section 3.

In the absence of any state guidelines as to the manner in which the
election is to be conducted, and the fact that Parliamentary Law provides
wide latitude in each step of the nominating and electing process (Sturgis
p. 150), the manner is up to the State Coordinator to provide a fair and
equitable election process. Article XII, Section 1, empowers the State
Coordinator to oversee the state project, which would include handling any
issues that arise and would include handling any elections held within that
state project.

Control over the development and establishment of that election process can
be determined by an examination of who makes the decisions, and the manner
in which authority for the election is handled. Mr. Smoot appears to
believe that the Advisory Board as a whole, or Rep. Wood, or this
respondent, has imposed an election process upon NVGenWeb. He is again
incorrect. The State Coordinator of NVGenWeb has been responsible for the
manner in which this election has been conducted.

The evidence of the State Coordinator's exercise of control over the
election process is clearly established by her actions in the matter:

Mr. Smoot seems to ignore the statement of the NVGenWeb SC here:
where she indicates on the state list that she has requested the help of
Bettie Wood in conducting the election.

And here where she, as SC, called for a roll call related to the election:

or here, where she announces the known candidates and calls for any
additional nominees or volunteers:

or here, where she makes a call for volunteers for the election committee:

or here, where she indicates she has obtained four vote counters:

or here, where she has asked that Bettie Wood continue with the election:

or here, where, three days before the scheduled end of the election she is
still maintaining control of the process by reminding voters who have not
voted to do so:

or here, on the final day of the election, she again reminds voters to place
their votes:

or here, where she announces the outcome and totals of the vote upon it's

At each step of the process, including the approval of the timeline for the
election, the use of the mailmerge voting form, and of the webpage created
to inform voters of the candidates and the status of the election process,
approval by the State Coordinator was obtained prior to use in the election
process. The State Coordinator could have rejected any advice given, made
her own template or election page, or changed or altered the timeline
suggested by the volunteers. The State Coordinator did take actions
different than suggested by the volunteers in handling matters related to
the election as is her right as the one responsible for the election. The
State Coordinator has been in control of the election from its inception and
throughout the election process. The fact that she has deferred specific
roles to any individual does not negate or alter that control.

Mr. Smoot's challenge to the election process is a challenge to the
authority of the State Coordinator to conduct an election. Mr. Smoot seeks
to overrule the authority of the State Coordinator and to overrule the
majority of Local Coordinators who have not only agreed to an election, but
have publicly and privately thanked Ms. Wood and the other volunteers for
their willingness to assist the State Coordinator in conducting the

It is very important to note that Mr. Smoot does not object to the presence
of Ed Gordon, Gail Kilgore, or Maggie Stewart as neutral vote counters,
although none of them are members of NVGenWeb. He recognizes their
privilege and ability to assist as members of the USGenWeb Project and casts
no objection. It is apparent that the difference is that they are not
members of the USGenWeb Advisory Board. Mr. Smoot's claims are ONLY aimed
at Advisory Board members chosen by the State Coordinator to play some role
in the election, whether actively or passively involved.

Mr. Smoot apparently ignores the basic principle of parliamentary procedure
as stated in Sturgis (p. 8) that "All members have equal rights, privileges,
and obligations. Every member has an equal right to propose motions, speak,
ask questions, nominate, be a candidate for office, vote, or exercise any
other privilege as a member. Every member has equal obligations."

The rights, privileges, or obligations of any member cannot be curtailed
unless specific actions are proscribed within the Charter, Bylaws, or upon
disciplinary action of the membership. Mr. Smoot's multiple assertions that
actions by this respondent or Ms. Wood are prohibited (or not allowed) by
the bylaws is a misinterpretation and misstatement of fact. The bylaws make
no such statement at all.

Advisory Board members retain all the rights, obligations, and privileges of
membership except those proscribed by virtue of their election. Where the
bylaws are silent as to any restriction or proscription upon a member, they
remain intact.

If it is not objectionable for other individuals to participate in the
election at the request of the State Coordinator, it is not objectionable
for any specific individual to participate in the same manner unless the
action is proscribed or prohibited under the bylaws. No such proscription
or prohibition exists which prevents the State Coordinator from allowing any
member to assist when requested, whether or not that member happens to be an
elected member of the Advisory Board.

Mr. Smoot's acceptance of the other vote counters without comment, yet only
objecting to specific members based upon their election to the Advisory
Board of the USGenWeb Project is discriminatory; a practice prohibited under
the USGenWeb bylaws in Article IV, Section 2. It seeks to limit the ability
of a specific class of people, those elected to the Advisory Board, to
assist state projects upon request of the State Coordinator. This
limitation is without authority of bylaw or rule or color of law.

More importantly, Mr. Smoot's apparent desire to restrict the activities of
Advisory Board members in assisting states in conducting elections flies
directly in the face of the mandated duties of Advisory Board members as
stated in the USGenWeb Project bylaws, Article VI, Section 3. Specifically,
this section states "The responsibilities of the Advisory Board shall
include: addressing any problem issues as they arise, aiding the state
projects upon request, overseeing elections, advising and mediating, if
necessary, any grievances or appeals, and appointing a Webmaster to maintain
the national website."

The State Coordinator in this case requested help in conducting the
election. Both Advisory Board members and non-Advisory Board members
provided help. The nature of the help and assistance provided from any
person has been with the agreement of the State Coordinator responsible for
the election, and not imposed by anyone from outside NVGenWeb. With the
lack of bylaw or state procedures to handle election process in NVGenWeb, it
is the duty of the State Coordinator to provide an election to determine her
successor. The State Coordinator, in this instance, did so by using
volunteers and designating individuals to conduct the election under her

Scott Burow
National Coordinator
USGenWeb Project

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