Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

On Procedural Showdowns

Notwithstanding that I've been the instigator of more than one floor fight at WSFS on procedural issues, I actually would prefer to avoid them whenever possible. We have so little time for substantive in-person debate during the few hours of the WSFS Business Meeting that I'd like to reserve more of it for discussion of substantive issues. And I've been known to avoid such issues myself.

A few years ago, the WSFS Mark Protection Committee passed a rule that required all of its members to recuse themselves from eligibility for the Hugo Award, as if they were Hugo Administrators. I opposed that rule, and the following year was behind a motion to the Business Meeting declaring that WSFS committees could not adopt rules more restrictive than the WSFS Constitution and Standing Rules. The Chair of that meeting ruled that no single WSFS Business Meeting could give orders to the MPC, because the MPC's authority is derived directly from the WSFS Constitution. (Thus any orders would have to be treated as constitutional amendments.) I appealed that ruling and it was overturned, and the original motion passed.

However, the MPC that year (to whose chairmanship I was returned, having been turfed out the previous year) did not recognize that ruling directly, and it still doesn't. Instead, we rescinded the Hugo eligibility rule. This leaves some ambiguity, and preserves the MPC's stance that it is the only permanent body of the World Science Fiction Society. A single Business Meeting may request that the MPC take action, but it cannot require such action without amending the WSFS Constitution. Yes, I'm aware that this means that I took opposing stances on the same issue depending on my personal and my official capacities. It's not the first time that I've done this, and it might not be the last one, either.

As I said in a comment to my discussion of the YA Hugo Name issue, I've decided that what the KC Business Meeting did was attempt to write a blank check to the following year's Business Meeting, in contravention of a constitutional provision. Even had the KC meeting adopted the proposal unanimously (which it did not), blank checks are not permitted, because without a specific provision otherwise, you cannot suspend your own constitution.
Tags: business meeting, hugo awards, mpc, worldcon, wsfs

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