Should FAN Allow People in Member NAs to Be At Large Members

People currently in neighborhoods where there are FAN neighborhood associations aren’t allowed to vote in FAN at-large votes. For example, since Friends of Hyde Park is a member of FAN anyone that lives in Hyde Park isn’t allowed to be a member of FAN or vote in FAN votes. I’ve had several people say that they would be more involved in FAN if they could vote directly in FAN votes. By allowing them, it would let people be more involved in FAN and feel included, instead of being excluded from the group. Most of the time FAN NAs don’t have time to have their own votes on issues that come up with FAN and this would give people that live in those areas a great way to have their voices heard.

We also have about 60 people that have signed up to be FAN members, but we had to tell them they can’t be members. I think anyone that lives in Austin should be able to be a member of FAN at least. We’d immediately grow our numbers by that number of people by allowing this change to our bylaws.

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Having the ability to participate in FAN member NA votes, and directly in FAN at-large votes seems to have merit for those so motivated, and I thought was already happening. We should respect the wishes of at-large members in setting policy here, and consider how all this might lead to the potential for a broader at-large voice in the process.

I dare say, FAN member NA’s participants will not have a full voice until FAN amends some practices on timing of votes, but correcting that should be a parallel activity with the Assembly of Delegates, and not a deciding factor.

So let’s talk about the logistics of these issues, because tangential neighbors / members won’t have much frame of reference until we lay out how it works on paper.

I’ll write out here how we’re operating currently in lay terms, but here is a copy of the Bylaws if anyone wants to peruse there. Someone correct me if I misspeak or leave something out:

When we take a vote on an issue, e.g. -resolution or officer/election, we don’t support that issue as an organization unless there is 60% supermajority support of those Delegates that decide to vote on the issue at hand - The bylaws only require us to consider a basic majority of the Delegates who cast a vote, and that the count of that total Delegate vote must meet a quorum. While we uphold a simple majority for a quorum, the Board of FAN agreed to rely on a supermajority threshold to support a position last year.

Tallying the Majority:
We first need a quorum of Delegates to vote on an issue and count it as a valid vote, and we count abstention votes toward that quorum.

The overall count for a majority is the total number of Delegates who cast a vote for an issue.

  • Each member NA gets 1 Delegate/vote

  • At-Large members get 1 Delegate/vote

  • We currently don’t utilize the At-large Delegate structure and instead conduct a vote of those At-Large members. If the Vote of that block passes the supermajority 60% threshold, then we count the yes/no position as the vote toward the “Delegate” in that block.

So currently there are 11 NAs, which means there would be a maximum of 12 votes we could consider when we include the At-Large block vote. A supermajority of 12 is 7. But since some of the vote/meeting timings of member NAs who don’t utilize online voting also don’t line up with FAN vote timings, then we don’t always get that total 12 count of NA Delegates casting a vote on an issue, and in that case the supermajority is calculated based on those who do cast a vote.

A quorum is 6 of those 12 Delegates, so the smallest supermajority we would accept is 4 of those 6 Delegate votes.

Membership representation in those votes:
We don’t audit our member NA’s for a count of their memberships, but lets suppose that each NA has 20 voting members.

We are just 5 shy but for rounding, let’s say that FAN’s At-Large member count is 300.

So even in the case where 6 Delegates cast their vote, and 5 of them are NAs that would mean that (5*20) 100 members are represented by the 5 separate NA votes. then 300 members are represented by the 1 At-large block vote.

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@alyshalynn,it might be worth pointing out that if DANA votes, and they do consistently, then X,XXX members are represented by that vote. If FoHP votes, and they do consistently, then XXX members are represented by that vote.

Currently we essentially have the FAN Board acting like the “Executive Branch”, and Assembly of Delegates, acting like the “Senate” - and in that model Rhode Island and California both get the same number of votes. Perhaps something else would be a better fit for FAN, because “at-large” is unique, but as a member of DANA, whose vote is most underrepresented by the Senate system, I’d say I’m okay with that, because if we went to a member count “House or Representatives” model then start-up member NA’s would never have a voice.

Thanks for elaborating @Phil_Wiley, I was trying to keep it short and sweet and your additions underscored the crux of what I was trying to bring to light - representative voting can be squishy, and we want to be sure everyone understands their voice in the matter.

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