WASFF Chair

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Executives on the WASFF board must win two elections: first, they must win an election (normally at the WASFF AGM, normally held at Swancon) for a three-year term on the board; second, they must win an election within the board for the position of chair. Thus, the chair will usually be on the board for three years (or a multiple thereof), but might not necessarily be chair for all three years.

The role of the WASFF chair is not to act as a president, setting policy, and requiring everybody else to toe the official line. Rather it is to coordinate, and to encourage consensus to emerge.

The chair has a number of duties, some more official than others. Some of these duties will change hands from year to year -- they do not necessarily have to be done by the chair.

  • Set agenda, venue and date for the WASFF board meetings. In many organisations these things are done by the secretary (in WASFF's case the secretary is called the Administrator). In WASFF's case they are done by the chair merely as a matter of convenience.
  • Send notification for WASFF board meetings. One week's notice is usually considered adequate. Notification should include agenda. Notification is usually sent to the WASFF email list, which includes the entire board plus a range of ex-board members and interested persons. Again, this could be done by the administrator if more convenient.
  • Shepherd on-line motions. The WASFF constitution says "A resolution in writing signed by an absolute majority of the Board Members shall be as valid and effectual as if it had been passed at a meeting of the Board Members duly convened and constituted. Every such written resolution shall be placed in the Minute Book of the Board." The way we implement that is that board members can move motions via the WASFF email list. The chair can set a deadline for "votes" and if a majority of board members "vote" in favour, the motion is passed. At the next board meeting, we note under General Business that the motion happened, including its wording and "votes". This mechanism is good for non-controversial but time-sensitive matters. It's not so good for matters that are likely to require discussion, because discussion is more time consuming and more difficult on-line than in person.
  • Ensure printed material is printed for board meetings. This includes past minutes, agenda, and motions on notice, etc. (Could be done by administrator.)
  • Chair WASFF board meetings. These traditionally happen once every two months, on the third Sunday (varied as convenient for all attending). WASFF board meetings are usually fairly informal, and seldom need recourse to rules of order. But the chair must ensure that discussion is long enough to take into account all perspectives, but does not drag on needlessly long. He/she must ensure that motions that need a vote get a vote.
  • Set agenda, venue and date for the WASFF AGM. The AGM is usually held at Swancon, usually on the third day or on the Sunday, usually in the morning, allowing at least four hours. If the Swancon is a Natcon, the WASFF AGM should be before the Natcon AGM, so that the winning bid for the Swancon two years' hence can bid for Natcon if they so desire.
  • Send notification for WASFF AGM. This must be sent at least two weeks prior, and must be sent to the Swancon email list and the current Swancon web site. It should also be posted on the WASFF web site. It must include agenda, past minutes, and motions on notice.
  • Ensure printed material is available for the for WASFF AGM. This must include agenda, past minutes, motions on notice, financials. You'll want at least 30 copies of each. (Could be done by administrator and treasurer.)
  • Chair the WASFF AGM. This is a much more formal affair than board meetings. You will need to read up on the section of the by-laws re standing orders. You should also have access to a guide for meetings such as Renton, "Guide for Meetings and Organisations", volume 2.
  • Ensure minutes are done for AGM and board meetings; proof read. Forward these out to relevant parties (the WASFF list or the Swancon list). In many organisations the secretary/administrator simply publishes these him/herself; in WASFF, the chair is an extra proofreading step to minimise time spent modifying minutes before they are accepted at the next meeting. Board minutes are usually also accompanied by an action list; this simply lists all the actions assigned to people as of the end of the last board meeting. you should endeavour to publish this list no later than two weeks after the board meeting, as it serves as a memory jog to all as to what they're responsible for doing.
  • Clear the PO box. This should be done once a week. Cleared items should be scanned and emailed to relevant parties. The bulk of material is bank statements, which should be emailed to the WASFF treasurer and to the convention treasurer when appropriate. (Also to the convention chair if they're interested.) This job is properly part of the administrator's role (in which case the administrator should also email copies to the WASFF chair), but for the past few years the WASFF chair has found himself near the box once a week, and the administrator has not.
  • Mumfan, Silver Swan, Chair's award, life members. The Mumfan is awarded more often that not (but should only be awarded if there is a suitable candidate). The Silver Swan, Chair's award and life memberships are awarded rarely.
  • 20-year and 33-year badges. Get a list of who's owed one; give them out at the awards ceremony. Follow up later with those not present at the awards ceremony.
  • Liaise with everybody about everything. The chair should endeavour to be in touch with the financial matters of WASFF and its subcommittees, be appraised of the activities and discussions of the CSC, generally have an idea of community sentiment, etc. It's impossible to know everything (partly because we are a broad and diverse community, and we communicate in multitudinous ways), but a broad overview is very much a good thing.
  • Ensure that everything gets done. That doesn't mean that you have to do it yourself, but it does mean you have to watch for gaps in coverage: whenever there's something that needs doing, you have to ensure that someone will do it.
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