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  • Procedure for the Formation of a Transition Team

    In consequence of adopting the new structure and methodology by the leadership teams, the Structure Team proposed a procedure for the formation of the Transition Team. The Transition Team will be tasked with providing guidance and processes to transition into the new structure.

    The process outlined below was debated and voted on by the leadership teams, and adopted with 23 votes cast, and all in favor.

    Process

    • The Transition Team will consist of 9 members, which includes 3 leadership liaisons (one from each leadership team, chosen by that team), and 6 people to be elected from the community and/or leadership.
       
    • Nomination or self-nominations should be open to anyone from the current Leadership and the community at large.
       
    • How will the nominations be conducted and by whom?

      The Structure Team will conduct the nominations process, which consists of:
      • putting out the call for nominations (providing a form for that)
      • contacting nominees who did not nominate themselves to confirm their interest
      • setting up interviews with the nominees and carrying them out, and making those results available to all leadership team members
      • discussing the candidates within the team
      • create a short list of candidates to share with the leadership - LT can comment.
      • voting on the candidates will be done by the entire leadership on a private ballot form. The votes will be counted by the Secretary of the Board as well as two community members, also to be chosen during the nominations process
      • contacting all nominees to thank them for their interest
      • announcing the results

    With the agreement on this process by the leadership teams, the Structure Team will prepare a call for nominations and follow the timeline below to proceed with the process.

    Timeline:

    • Call for Transition Team nominations July 7 - July 21
    • Transition Team selection (interviewing, creating shortlist, vote) July 28 - August 11
    • Transition Team is announced August 12
    • Structure Team is dissolved August 12

    Forum discussion thread: http://forum.joomla.org/viewtopic.php?f=704&t=890511

  • Joomla Event Traveller Programme (JET) Now Open for JWC15

    The Joomla! Event Traveller Programme (JET) is pleased to announce that we will be taking applications from the worldwide Joomla community for the upcoming Joomla! World Conference, to be held on November 6-8, 2015 in Bangalore, India.

    The JET Programme is an initiative that was created to support active project volunteers and community members who have dedicated time and energy to make Joomla better, and who would like to attend larger Joomla events, such as the Joomla! World Conference and J and Beyond. The JET Programme will cover the cost of the admission ticket and will provide assistance with travel and lodging for the conference.

    The Deadlines

    July 15: Deadline for application
    July 25: Recipients selected and notified
    July 30: Public announcement in a blogpost on joomla.org
    September 30: All tickets must booked

    Application Criteria

    The criteria to be followed by the JET Team for the election of candidates is as follows:

    • Applications of the candidates will be arranged in accordance with the contributions made to the Joomla project (especially during the last year) based on the information enclosed in the application and duly proven with recommendations from team or working group leaders.
    • Subsequently, all applicants will be accepted in order of appearance in the final list until the estimated budget for this edition of the JET Programme is reached.
    • This is an opportunity for the entire Joomla community, however, priority will be given to those participants who have not yet received a JET recognition.
    • The JET Team will give special consideration to well written applications that include details and timeframes of their participation in the Joomla project.
    • You must have a valid passport and be eligible for any necessary travel visas. Please contact your local Embassy to know if a travel visa is required. Expenses to acquire any travel documents are not included with the JET recognition.

    We encourage you to apply using this form http://events.joomla.org/jet. Please note, these criteria and conditions must be met. Please read the guidelines carefully. Good luck!

    The JET Team

    The Joomla Event Traveller Programme team members are:

    • Dianne Henning (JET Team Lead, Community Leadership Team)
    • Guillermo Bravo (Community Leadership Team)
    • Roland Dalmulder (Production Leadership Team)
    • Jess Dunbar (Production Leadership Team)
    • Saurabh Shah (Open Source Matters)
    • Radek Suski (Joomla Events Team)
  • Questions on Structure Reform

    And a Small Guide to Volunteering and Liability

    In the past weeks a member of our community raised questions about the structure reform and of potential issues with liability.

    In the process of investigating these claims, and in dialogue with our Law firm (www.wtplaw.com) and our insurance broker (www.austin-co.com), I realized that very few of our volunteers actually understand the liability question that follows from being a volunteer in a non-profit like Open Source Matters.

    In the next section I will explain the claims made and the answers and then move on to a general informational chapter on Volunteering & Liability.

    The claim made against the Structure Proposal was focused on the question if new OSM Directors being elected in each department and operating as Department Coordinators would have a double role that would make them count as Employees under the New York State law. A consequence of that would be that they would no longer be independent Directors of the board, and that it would also constitute a problem in terms of liability.

    However, going over the claim with our lawyers and insurance broker there are some key elements.

    • All volunteers in Open Source Matters from working groups to directors are in fact Volunteers and not employees.
    • All volunteers, and specially Officers and Directors (D&O) are covered by our insurance – which is a standard non-profit organization insurance as its normal in the US (coverage for all + special D&O coverage).
    • Officers & Directors of the board can be volunteers on multiple levels in the organization without becoming “employees” or “dependent” as long as they are volunteers and not paid employees.
    • Even _if_ they were a “dependent” Director i.e. an Employee representative in the Board of Directors they would still be OK and would still be covered by insurance.
    • Even _if_ they were to be counted as Employees they would still be covered by our insurance
    • Even _if_ they would be to have a double role that would make them employees and so not independent directors the remaining 4 Officers would still constitute independent directors and yet the board would have at least 1 independent Director, which is all it needs in reality.
    • Even _if_ a double role would have made a Director count as an employee this would already have been the case in OSM since day 1 when OSM was created.

    To clarify some things about volunteering, liability and background:

    Open Source Matters Inc. is based in New York in the USA.

    There is a federal law called the Volunteer Protection Act that in much detail protects volunteers against liability and claims when doing voluntary work. (http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/PLAW-105publ19/pdf/PLAW-105publ19.pdf)

    That means that the Act provides liability protection for volunteers under the following conditions:

    • The volunteer was acting within the scope of the volunteer’s responsibilities in the non-profit organization or governmental entity at the time of the act or omission;
    • If appropriate or required, the volunteer was properly licensed, certified or authorized by the appropriate authorities for the activities or practice in the State in which the harm occurred, where the activities were or practice was undertaken within the scope of harm occurred, where the activities were or practice was undertaken within the scope of the volunteer’s responsibilities in the non-profit organization or governmental entity;
    • The harm was not caused by willful or criminal misconduct, gross negligence, reckless misconduct, or a conscious, flagrant indifference to the rights or safety of the individual harmed by the volunteer;

    The Act does not affect that “liability of any non-profit or governmental entity with respect to harm caused to any person,” nor does it affect a governmental entity or non-profit’s taking civil action against any volunteer of the non-profit. For more information, see US Public Law No: 105-19.

    A bit more background etc. can be found here: http://www.npccny.org/info/gti2.htm

    New York has its own amendments and state laws too, as do all US states – in general any Federal law will supersede any state law but there are some modifications here.

    If you read the following publication (I would suggest first couple of chapters and then go to Page 74) http://www.iyi.org/resources/mentor/pdf/Liability%20Laws%20Overview.pdf.

    General chapters give a good understanding and as you can see on page 74, for New York there really aren't many changes that affect us (as we are not voluntary fire fighters).

    However N.Y. Not-for-Profit-Corp. Law § 720-a confers qualified immunity for uncompensated officers and directors of certain not-for-profit corporations as of 2002, and can be read in detail here: http://www.dfs.ny.gov/insurance/ogco2002/rg203061.htm

    Full law text for 720-a can be found here: http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/nycode/NPC/7/720-a.

    The full law text for Not-for-Profit Corp. Law for New York can be found here: http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/nycode/NPC.

    A general and in detail read on liability for not-for-profit organizations and insurance of same can be read here: http://www.icnl.org/research/journal/vol4iss2_3/art_3.htm.

    A copy of our insurance policy for Open Source Matters, Inc. can be found here https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B5YM847DtmTJM0NHTXAxSmdJQms&authuser=0.

    It has been highlighted to underline the sections that are interesting in relation to this post.

    Regards,
    On behalf of the Structure Team
    Ronni K. Gothard Christiansen

    Discussion topic on this blog post at http://forum.joomla.org/viewtopic.php?f=704&t=889488