So, you will all remember that OTW, the parent organization for AO3, has had numerous organizational problems both in the past and continuing today (rampant cronyism, sockpuppetry, and trolling, plus fiscal irresponsibility of trying to run a 6-figure-a-year organization without a budget
, lots of other things) that resulted in heatedly contested elections in 2011
and again this year
And, yay, the two spots that were up for election this year, we got two very great candidates (new blood not swept up in the disfunctionality! with experience in nonprofits!).
What we were not
told was that there were more than two slots open on the board
. And so you know what the board did? Before the new members took office? They filled one of the other
open spots by appointing one of their dear friends, Andrea H., whose time on the board was just up, who was up for reelection, and came in last place
out of six. It was unanimous (including Andrea's own vote)--there was one abstention (but zie wasn't against, zie said with a smiley face!).
This all took place in an open board meeting, an online chat with non-board-members watching. When several of them vocally protested this move, for numerous reasons including the obvious conflict of interest of Andrea voting for zirself
, and also asking why zie
was appointed instead of the people who came in third and fourth on the vote, they were shut down.
Now, they board certainly had the right
to appoint someone to fill a vacancy in their midst. However, for various reasons, it was a very shitty thing to do--it was such obvious cronyism that it boggles the mind. The Board's powers to appoint replacement board members is in place so that if someone resigns halfway through their term you don't have to hold a special election just to fill that seat. But holding an election to fill open slots, not filling all of them
on purpose, and then appointing your friend who stood for election and lost
to one of the slots you purposefully did not fill ... wow. It's such a breathtaking abuse of the bylaws that I can't remember having seen it's like.
Quoth M. J. MacRae (who is, by the way, the one who trolled the chats): "We appreciate that you have questions, however, if we can't deal with our business in open because of people speaking out of turn then we will have to move to closed. As we said, please hold questions to the end... I will start a queue [for questions] if we have time." (Translation: We're fine doing our business in the open as long as nobody speaks up, but if you don't like anything we do that gives us an excuse to shut everyone out and go behind closed doors so nobody will see our shenanigans.)
When people refused to be shut up, MacRae then declared that they were moving to a closed session because people were being inappropriate (hah!) and got up on zir high horse about how the observers in chat didn't understand the ethics of the situation. (Excuse me while I fall over laughing about MacRae, who sockpuppeted and trolled the elections process, lecturing anyone
about ethics. For any reason.)
All in all, they took my (already low) expectations and went way
under them. Like, this is lower than I thought they could go! Wow!Screencaps of the travesty are available here.
Reactions: Someone started putting together a google group
to keep an eye on the board and discuss what could be done about them. Someone else formally requested
the board hold a vote of no confidence (i.e. a vote of all members to ask if they wanted to remove anyone from the board). Various other people got mad on tumblr about it.
But, there was a good result in the end!
Andrea Horbinski, Soledad Griffin, Jessica Steiner, Eylul Dogruel, Cat Meier, and M.J. MacRae tendered their resignations from the Board effective 15 December 2015
. This is the ENTIRE board
besides the two newly-elected people, Atiya Hakeem and Matty Bowers, whose terms begin December 1
Guys, this is a really good thing. Because the committees and the rest of the organization--i.e. the functional, sane part of it--is still there. The archive and all its volunteers? Still there. The people doing legal advocacy? Still there. Fanlore and all its volunteers? Still there. The only thing that's gone are the people up top who were so incompetent at running a non-profit that they couldn't even come up with a budget, and so defensive and cronyist about it that they trolled their own elections process. Atiya and Matty both have actual experience at running non-profits, they're both committed to changing the responsiveness of the board and getting things done according to best-practices, and now they have a clean slate to work with instead of being two people out of eight, with the other six committed more to covering their own asses than doing what's best for the organization. They can actually focus on getting stuff done, instead of having to battle the existing board.
Were it me, I would see what the procedure is for getting the rest of the people who were running (except Andrea, obvs.) to fill some of the remaining slots. They were all good, enthusiastic, experienced people.
I'll be watching, closely, but I've got more hope now than I think I've ever had that things will be done right