Planning Meeting FAQ

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Planning Meeting FAQ

Postby missfidget » Mon Jun 06, 2011 9:14 am

What is the difference between the "The "Planning Committee" and the planning meeting?
The "Planning Committee" consists of anyone who attends a planning committee meeting either in person or via conference call.

Who can attend a planning meeting?
Everyone is welcome to participate in planning meetings.

Do I have to show up to the meeting in person?

No, if you have a phone you can join the conference call. The number will be posted here, the PONY before hand

How do I find out about the planning meeting?

Check here, the PONY. It may also be announced in the Burning Pony Express Newsletter.

How long do they last?

Planning meetings can last 2 hours or more.

Who leads the meeting?

Someone physically present at the meeting with previous Planning Committee experience will volunteer to lead the meeting by introducing each agenda item, and managing the length of the discussions if necessary. Sometimes the host of the meeting leads the meeting, but not always.

Can I talk about anything I want?
Some meetings are  "new biz" and some are "old biz." To keep the meetings short and focused make sure you bring up your biz at the right meeting. Also, make sure you are talking about stuff that applies to event planning. "I love bacon and hate tadpoles" is not planning meeting business.

With everybody talking, how do I get heard? Is there a way to "raise my hand" while on the phone?
For speaking we use a system called "stacking." If someone talks about something you want to talk about, too simply say your name and the word "stack." Everybody, whether on the phone or attending in person can stack. Example, Ed says "We have a problem with people leaving bacon grease next to the potties" and you want to add to that, say  "Jane Doe, Stack." Your name goes on a list and during the next pause the person keeping the stack will call your name, and then names of other people who had stuff to offer on that point in the order they said "stack."

If I attend, do I have to say anything?

Nope, unlike PDF spectators are welcome at the planning meetings.

When I get a chance to speak, can I talk about anything PDF related that I want to?
No silly, because if everybody talked about whatever they wanted the meeting might go on forever. The meeting follows an agenda posted on the PONY beforehand. If something is important to you, make sure to get it on the agenda for the right meeting, before the meeting. Putting items on the agenda before hand also lets people joining the meeting "do some homework" about the item beforehand.

Is the planning meeting all Parliamentary Procedure Madam president legal talk?
Planning meetings are held in plain English. But that doesn't mean it's ok to curse, discuss irrelevant or illegal stuff or scream. It can be REALLY hard to hear people if you are calling in. Please speak slowly, clearly and at a consistent volume. Try to not juggle bells or eat chips while you are on the call to reduce background noise. Be as respectful and patient of other speakers as you would want them to be of you. Try to be brief and stay on topic. Use the best quality phone you have when you call in, it makes a tremendous difference.

Voting
Items requiring a decision by vote must be scheduled in advance for two consecutive planning committee meetings. The item for vote will be discussed at one meeting, and voted on at the following meeting. This gives the community a chance to continue the discussion online and think over important decisions, and prevents important decisions from being made in a hasty manner. All those participating in a meeting, both physically present and on the phone, may participate in a vote.
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Re: Planning Meeting FAQ

Postby TheMadHatter » Mon Jun 06, 2011 9:37 am

Thanks Miss Fidget. These are great.

One question, the meeting coming up this weekend is an "old biz" meeting right? So we'll be discussing things that went right and/or wrong at the spring burn and potentially how to correct those issues, not new proposals?

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Re: Planning Meeting FAQ

Postby Joanna » Mon Jun 06, 2011 12:21 pm

Traditionally, the post-burn meeting is for "old business," with "new business" saved for the meeting cycle for the new burn. But it's not really in writing anywhere and we haven't always followed it. The only thing that is pretty much "set in stone" is that post-burn reports, budget proposals, and budget voting all need to happen at certain meetings.

Also, the Fall cycle is shorter than Spring, so there is not an extra "open" meeting for general planning before the budget proposal meeting. The July meeting is for budget proposals and the August meeting is for budget voting.

So my personal sense is that the top priority for the upcoming post-burn meeting is to get the post-burn reports taken care of, but if that doesn't take a long time, there's no reason not to start on other items.

Open to input on that?
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Re: Planning Meeting FAQ

Postby Joanna » Mon Jun 06, 2011 12:25 pm

I recall at times we have had a maximum time allotted to each agenda item for very full meetings or "hot topics" that are likely to go on and on if not cut off. But I can't remember what that time limit is.

Does anyone remember?
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Re: Planning Meeting FAQ

Postby missfidget » Mon Jun 06, 2011 8:17 pm

hatter I do think this is "old biz" but as JB says, we can be flexible.
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Re: Planning Meeting FAQ

Postby Lady » Sun Apr 08, 2012 10:31 pm

[quote="Joanna"]I recall at times we have had a maximum time allotted to each agenda item for very full meetings or "hot topics" that are likely to go on and on if not cut off. But I can't remember what that time limit is. The time limit is 10 minutes for discussion. We've gone over before, or planned to discuss a hot topic longer ahead of time.
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Re: Planning Meeting FAQ

Postby TigerReborn » Tue Apr 10, 2012 11:50 am

Going to be an ass here:
If it can't be found in the PC minutes, then it's a new PC rule and should be taken up as such. Hey, it may even have been discussed, and everyone may remember it being so, but it needs to be on paper, otherwise its all just hearsay.

That said, time limited discussion (including the parceling of time for individuals to speak and holding them to it) is a mainstay in most organized meeting structures.

I'm a big proponent on parliamentary procedures, as I think everyone on the calls has figured out by now. If we set up a guiding rule structure, to be voted on yearly, it would help expedite the process and keep us effective (most rules structures require a set 50%+1 to set for the term, although having a hefty majority helps as then we all agree to abide by the rules we've elected).

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Re: Planning Meeting FAQ

Postby missfidget » Wed Apr 11, 2012 10:26 am

Devin,
If you are an ass by asking questions and seeking clarification, you're in good company. I've spent most of my time on the BOD doing exactly that. (And writing down and sharing as much as I can.)

From what I understand there are currently no bylaws for the PC. This FAQ is the closest thing to a "guiding rule structure. " I found this out the other week and informed the PC Coordinator right away.

I think what you are proposing sounds completely legit, will improve the PC's function and I am supportive of it. If I can be of any help to you in this or other endeavors, PM me. I look forward to meeting you and the PC Coordinator at the spring event.
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Re: Planning Meeting FAQ

Postby EmilyD » Wed Apr 11, 2012 12:24 pm

Thanks Fidget!

Devin is going to help me put together some rules to help with the structure of the PC meetings... They are just way too long and unorganized. Following Spring PDF, the first item of business I'm going to propose is a new structure for the meeting. :)
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Re: Planning Meeting FAQ

Postby Blue » Wed Apr 11, 2012 12:52 pm

Miss Fidget, I agree with your assessment. Devin, I support your efforts in this regard.

Just curious if either of you have thoughts about allowing anyone to call in to a Planning Meeting to vote on matters -- which is the way things are set up now. Seems someone could stack the deck, so to speak, to get their issue to go their way. Maybe it's just theory, but it could happen, no? Devin, with your expertise in corporate governance, I am especially interested in your thoughts on this issue.
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Re: Planning Meeting FAQ

Postby Just1K » Wed Apr 11, 2012 1:38 pm

Woah woah WOAH. Back the truck up. Did you just seriously mention CORPORATE GOVERNANCE expertise in reference to how PDF (or at least its meetings) should be run!?!?

Are.

You.

Freaking.

KIDDING?!


What part of "decommodify" did you fail to understand?
We stand ready to protect our culture from such exploitation. We resist the substitution of consumption for participatory experience.
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Re: Planning Meeting FAQ

Postby missfidget » Wed Apr 11, 2012 1:46 pm

Thanks Emily, and also Devin, for pitching into the unglamorous side of PDF, the devilish details. I can't wait for this creaky FAQ to be obsolete and go away!

What part of "decommodify" did you fail to understand?


Just1K if I am not mistaken Emily and Devin are considering drafting some "policy and procedures" for the PC, stuff like what happens if there is a tie when people vote. At some point PDF has to stop using "verbal institutional folklore" where info is whispered from one dying member to a new young one like in Fahrenheit 451.

curious if either of you have thoughts about allowing anyone to call in to a Planning Meeting to vote on matters


Inclusiveness is one of the 10 Principles, which are constantly used as touchstones for how our event functions and in shaping policy. I would be vehemently opposed to any proposal which closed the "Open Door" of the Planning Committee or made some participants more equal than others.

Further discussion of the specifics of potential new policy might be better addressed in a new thread as opposed to a FAQ. Discussions about removing inclusiveness from the event or from the 10 principles deserve their own thread, too.
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Re: Planning Meeting FAQ

Postby Just1K » Wed Apr 11, 2012 2:17 pm

Oh, I know. Emily and Devin rock some SERIOUS down and dirty socks, and I'm honored to have them on our "team". :)

It was the term "corporate governance" that hit me like a stinkbug in the throat (yep.. too much time on FB) and got me all rankled. Idea good, phrasing bad... having stuff written down... AWESOME!!!


xoxoxo
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Re: Planning Meeting FAQ

Postby TigerReborn » Wed Apr 11, 2012 3:57 pm

I'm going to give this more later, but right now, while I'm here:

Nonprofits are frequently also Corporations (either INCs or LLCs). My background is in Nonprofit Governance and Fundraising, in fact, it's what I do to keep my bills paid. There are many corporations out there that are not commodifiers, that believe in double or triple bottom lines. Corporations aren't inherently a problem, the bad ones are, but that's a distinction that doesn't fit on a bumper-sticker so often gets lost in the discussion.

That said, I'm also a big fan of how societal structures interact in the decision making process (ie politics) and will be trying to serve as TA for Emily when she builds the rules that she'll want to bring forward for a vote.

Blue: I am aware of vote stacking, I'm even aware that it has happened in the past. IMO (and only MO) every member of the PDF-universe is a participant and member of the community and therefore has earned the right to vote. If you call in, you're part of the Doacracy... that said, by pushing the votes to the back end of the discussion processes, people who aren't Do-ers tends to drop from the call before actually being part of a "stack."
I've also seen a number of attempts to host "PC Call Parties" for the purpose of stacking fall apart, right here in DC. So it's easier said than implemented, and in the preference for radical inclusion, we should be welcoming people to come in and vote, even if they're just there to vote 'No' to our pet projects. (I'd also rather have an uneducated voter go to the polls and do their civic duty than sit at home eating potato chips... I'm weird that way.)

I played around with a different structure at one point in time as a theory game, where a Burner Nonprofit was built instead as a Co-Op, where we all own a portion of the enterprise, that lapses back to the community every 2 years. The shares were bought automatically through ticket purchases (rolled into the price) or could also be bought without tickets as a stand alone "membership" cost. By being a Co-Op member, you gained the right to vote... it was a fun mental exercise, but I doubt it would work in reality.
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Re: Planning Meeting FAQ

Postby EmilyD » Wed Apr 11, 2012 4:05 pm

1. 1K, calm down... Devin's not trying to commodify PDF. He's really just trying help the BOD and PC run more smoothly, since non-profits are his day job. And I'm smacking down any suggestions that come off as too formal or procedural. After all, we're not professionals and need to make accommodations for everyone involved! (We're also Burners, so fuck that corporate stuff! :P ) And that bug thread is creeping me out btw... Yuck!

2. Blue, I understand your objective, but, as Devin stated, I don't really think it's of concern. Efforts to mobilize people to attend meetings (even my efforts to persuade with yummy baked goods!) have failed because people are flaky and don't want to sit through a 3-hour meeting just to vote on one topic. And if they do, they've earned the right to vote by calling in and participating, just like anyone else on the call!

3. And thanks, Fidget! I'm going to start a new thread separate from this once I start drafting new procedures and rules, after Spring PDF... :)

<3 you all!
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Re: Planning Meeting FAQ

Postby TheMadHatter » Wed Apr 11, 2012 8:21 pm

Stacking The Deck
This is actually something that has been on my mind a lot too. How things are set up now, the procedure goes:
1. Put forth a proposal Online
2. Meeting 1: discuss the proposal and poke wholes in it (or not), ask for modifications, get opinions etc.
3. before next meeting, adjust proposal based on feedback from meeting 1.
4. Meeting 2: Vote on proposal.

Technically, there should be very little discussion about the item being voted on (even though there is, which is one of the things that cause our meetings to go so long). So people calling into meeting two to vote, but not being on the call for meeting 1, not only causes people to vote without being knowledgeable about what they are voting on, also ask lots of questions about the proposal in meeting 2 causing meetings to go longer than they should.

It really hasn't been a bit issue as of yet, so I don't think we need to do anything about it, but the potential for abuse of the system is definitely there. I honestly don't feel it's wrong require people to be present for the discussion of a proposal in order to vote on it. Again, I don't think we are there yet, but I don't think it goes against the idea of Inclusiveness, it's just saying that you have to be inclusive throughout the entire process, not just show up for the voting part. Just my 2 cents.

Corporate Governance
I know that we like to think of our little party in the woods as a free for all away from the default world, but truth is we are a legal entity and because of that we're required to follow some crappy rules put forth by the default world. God forbid we as a company get audited or investigated and we don't have all our ducks in a row. So any structure we can put in place to make it easier to prove compliance with the law of the land I think is good step forward.

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Re: Planning Meeting FAQ

Postby Blue » Thu Apr 12, 2012 4:44 am

Thank you MadHatter, Emily, Devin, Miss Fidget and J1K for your replies.

J1K -- I did the exact same thing. Devin can even tell you my response was, um, less than enthusiastic initially hearing ideas about "Corporate Governance". Yes, the words freaked me out, seriously. But in my mind as I replaced those words with "Well Running Processes" or "Systems that make things go" at Playa del Fuego, the more I began to embrace that stuff done as an organization at PDF might not hurt from some inspection -- especially by someone who is both a burner and someone who does this as their job.

MadHatter -- I really appreciate your ideas on this. Good thoughts. Do you think the community is willing to consider what you are saying?
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Re: Planning Meeting FAQ

Postby rumrunner96 » Thu Apr 12, 2012 8:31 am

I actually stated to Victory at the last burn that PDF was getting too big for the "little party in the woods". A few people are typically easier to get compliance from with standards than large groups. Hence the drafting of the Sound Policy by the BOD. In essence, I agree with Hatter and Devin in that PDF could use and needs a bit of structure even if the words of Corporate Codification or Corporate Governance set you ill at ease. Remember they are just words and replace them like Blue did.
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Re: Planning Meeting FAQ

Postby TheMadHatter » Thu Apr 12, 2012 9:34 am

MadHatter -- I really appreciate your ideas on this. Good thoughts. Do you think the community is willing to consider what you are saying?


No idea. I think the first step would be to see if the PC regulars would even consider it. If it can't catch wind with the regulars then I think it's dead in the water before it even starts. If enough people think it's something that is required to prevent abuse of the current system, then maybe we can move forward with it. But truth is, in 5 years I've not seen a successful attempt to hijack a vote, so I'm not sure if it's even really needed... then again, do we want to take the chance that it becomes a problem when something huge is on the line? I don't know.

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Re: Planning Meeting FAQ

Postby reverend_dave » Thu Apr 12, 2012 10:05 pm

TheMadHatter wrote:But truth is, in 5 years I've not seen a successful attempt to hijack a vote, so I'm not sure if it's even really needed... then again, do we want to take the chance that it becomes a problem when something huge is on the line? I don't know.


What he said. There have been a number of issues, some affecting large numbers of people, but so far, we haven't had any successful "rock the vote" efforts (I think the most I've seen is 2-3 people, called in on a speakerphone). Admittedly, if Emily's efforts toward more manageable meetings work out and meetings start dropping below the 2-hour mark, we may get more people calling in.

What would be nifty (but I'm too darn lazy to do myself...): When we have a meeting, after the minutes go up, drop each "discussion" item (unless it's been withdrawn) into a thread on PONY, with a name like "April 2012 Vote : That thing we discussed in March" (with a body consisting of the minutes for that discussion item), so that, between the March meeting and the April meeting, it's easy to see what's up for a vote and the points of discussion already raised regarding those items.
Heck, we could encourage people with specific proposals to create items like "April 2012 Discussion: My Modest Sound Proposal (Eat the DJs)", in hopes that some of the questions can get answered before the meeting. (And if there's a provision for renaming threads, the thread can get renamed "June 2012 Vote: ..." after the meeting)
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Re: Planning Meeting FAQ

Postby rumrunner96 » Fri Apr 13, 2012 7:53 am

Good one Rev Dav. Do discussion on Pony and use time on calls for votes and minimal discussion. I know with MASH Camp, it seems we answered the same questions 3 to 4 times on different votes. The same items came up on each call and took way longer than needed. Using Dave's suggestion, if this occurs, would it be proper to state "This was covered on the Pony". Then would you get persons voting against because they do not want it to pass until they have read the Pony? Or would this minority be minimal?
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