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The TES Elections.

The TES elections are coming up, and last night was the Meet the Candidates meeting. Many people will start posting who their preferred line up of candidates are (see lolitasir's here.)

My line-up and comments, which won't mean a lick to non-TES members, are behind the cut. These are my opinions only, and I ask that people respect that, just as I would respect anyone who disagrees with me. In kind, I ask that anyone choosing to comment on this post will keep any discussions civil and respectful.


There are three people running for arbiter - 007, Lady Velvet Eagle, and Michael G. My vote is for Velvet.

I was disappointed to discover that none of the three candidates actually understood what the arbiter position is, and what their function would be. The only person who came closest was Velvet - she described how if an arbitration would to occur, she would do her best to judge fairly. In addition, I trust in her ability to organize and lead the grievance committee when formed.

The other two candidates seemed to be running for a TES Judge, or superhero, position. The arbiter is not the go-to person for disgruntled members. The arbiter is not an ombudsman. Arbitration occurs when someone brings something to the board, the board votes against that person, and thus that member can then seek arbitration to get a second opinion. That's it.

I trust in Velvet's ability to be fair in any such cases that might appear before her. I was also relieved by her honesty in a question asking whether there are situations in which she might have to recuse herself from a particular arbitration - she said yes, if she is too close to a person involved. The other two candidates felt they would never have to recuse themselves.


There are two people running for parliamentarian - Mark and Nayland. My vote is for Nayland.

There are many ways to look at this particular election. In one respect, it is a vote for experience vs. new. Mark has been around TES for 15+ years, and has spent many years of that involved as a high-level volunteer and/or board member. Nayland has been coming to TES for approx. 4 years and has been a member for 2, and has not led any committees as of this time. What he does have is parliamentary experience on other boards.

However, I think this vote should be viewed in a different light. Both of these candidates have a different opinion on what the position should entail.

One take on this position is as a person who "guides the TES ship." In this perspective, the parliamentarian takes an active leadership role in steering the direction that TES should be going. This means going beyond the duties outlined in the TES bylaws, and acting sometimes as a President of TES, making the position the most important one on the board.

The other view is precisely how the bylaws outlines the position. The parliamentarian in this view serves to facilitate the business of the TES board of directors. The person in this position acts as a moderator, making sure that meetings run smoothly, in order, that everyone's opinions are heard, and that the business of TES occurs in a professional, business-like manner. The parliamentarian in this case does not effect policy, instead, they facilitate the board's ability to make policy.

Based on the candidate statements and the Meet the Candidates speeches, I believe Mark seeks the 1st definition. Nayland seeks the latter.

I believe the parliamentarian should be the latter. And thus, Nayland gets my vote.

TES Board

There are 8 candidates running for 5 open board seats. Eric Wolfsbane, Goddess Coko, Hawkeye, Lady M, Richard Cordage, Sandra, Thrash, Wes Baron are running.

I am voting for four - Goddess Coko, Lady M, Richard Cordage, and Thrash. I am intensionally not voting for a 5th board member.

Seeing as there are many candidates, I will try to keep my comments brief:

Goddess Coko - I know her to be a hard worker for TES, and came into the Meet the Candidates night with many strong ideas of how she would like to improve TES. I know her as a team player and will do the job very well.

Richard Cordage - I saw how hard he worked at TES Fest and on the operations committee, and he has stepped up as co-faciliator of TES-TNG. He also came with good ideas and convinced me that he is a team player.

Thrash - Thrash has worked tirelessly for TES for as long as I can remember. It is clear that he is running because of his love for TES; there is no ego involved here. He has demonstrated an ability to work with anyone, to be level-headed, and he is a workhorse. No question here.

Lady M - I was very disappointed that she did not attend the Meet the Candidates night because I know the least about her. I know she worked hard and well as vending coordinator for TES Fest, and other people enjoyed working with her. For that reason she is better than the other candidates, and she gets my vote.

Eric Wolfsbane - I do not trust him, and I believe he is running for personal interests. I do not trust his capability to work for TES, nor to be able to keep TES first and his personal interests second.

Hawkeye - My trust in Hawkeye is even less. It was clear that his reason to run was personal - he wants to bring TES to NJ. He was banned from a local playspace, and thus is running on a platform to bring TES meetings and parties to NJ. I have worked with him in the past, and did not find it a good experience.

Sandra - No candidacy statement, and she opted not to attend the Meet the Candidates. No.

Wes - Here is where I am so conflicted. There is no one in this organization except for Jeff who works harder for TES. And I truly believe Wes loves TES with all his soul, and he wants nothing but to see TES continue and succeed. I know this, and I thank him so much for all his work.

The flip side of that is that he has been so involved with TES that any disagreement with him is seen as a disagreement with TES as a whole. There is a reason why I would like to see term limits installed within TES - when someone has been on the board for many consecutive years, often they lose their ability to be objective about it. They identify with TES so strongly that any disagreement becomes a personal affront. And I see that happening here.

I believe Wes does not treat the volunteers he disagrees with well. He is known to publicly insult volunteers who he feels is not performing to his own level of standards, often with foul language. He is known for making the lives of those who disagree with him difficult, and has inspired several volunteers to quit working for TES and not return.

I believe Wes is a great treasurer, and a tireless worker for TES. I also believe he needs to have a year off. And yet, there is no one else running who would be a better board member.

Thus, I am not voting for Wes in hopes he wins the one-year board slot.


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 13th, 2008 05:29 pm (UTC)

I only wish the men of GMSMA had ever been so engaged in and serious about that organization's elections and board candidates. There was only contention once, and we have The Renegades (still going strong -- well, as strong as GMSMA) thanks to that philosophical schism.

I wonder what accounts for the difference?

Aug. 13th, 2008 05:31 pm (UTC)
TES had its own schism about 10 years ago and that resulted in the formation of DomSubFriends. I think the community is better off with the two groups (in addition to all the others).
Aug. 13th, 2008 06:44 pm (UTC)
I think there is a huge difference between the TES and GMSMA elections, and it shocked me when I learned about it.

TES allows anyone who has been a member for longer than a year to run. Simple as that. Anyone can put their names in the hat. Yes, we sometimes get an outsider with interests counter to TES, or the above nominee who is choosing to run on the strength of her (exceedingly common) name, but all in all it works.

GMSMA however has a committee that decides who will be running. I sat on that committee once, and it astounded me. The committee actually goes through the membership roster and looks for people they feel would make good members, and then are tasked to reach out and convince them to run. This committee also reviews the applications received from others, and if no one knows the person or they feel the person wouldn't be right, they decide to exclude them from the election.

I couldn't believe it! I mean, of course GMSMA is dying when the very structure of the group prevents new blood from getting involved!

When offering my protests on the process to the committee head, I was actually asked "What, you mean just let ANY GMSMA member off the street run for the board? Are you kidding?"

And that was when I just walked away.
Aug. 13th, 2008 05:34 pm (UTC)

Oh, and the Grammar Nazi would not vote for you because of your effect/affect mistake. Paragraph 11.

Aug. 23rd, 2008 10:53 pm (UTC)
I think your view of what the Parl. job is fundamentally flawed. The P is a Board Member, with all the responsibilities that come with it. I served with 2 of them and they did committee work and ran meetings like any other board member. If someone thinks all the job requires is to show up once a month and run a board meeting, then it will be an extreme disservice to the organization. Not to mention unfair to the other board members. Mark elaborated on his LJ here:

Aug. 24th, 2008 04:43 pm (UTC)
I don't have a problem with the parliamentarian serving on a committee or opening a TES meeting. What I do have a problem with is the parliamentarian spearheading TES policy, guiding the TES board to what they should be doing. What Mark proposes is being "President" of TES - Jack Jackson was the last president, and it should remain that way.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )