First, Brian Mitchell has been reelected as President of Open Source Matters (Joomla) for a second term. As of this writing there has not been a public notification on the Community Portal or Twitter. So, congratulations Brian! I’m glad to see that we are getting some needed consistency for the project. Make no mistake, this isn’t a complaint against the other candidate Hugh Douglas-Smith but upending leadership after only one term has proven to be unproductive.
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Now let’s get to some suggestions to finally remedy the election process at Joomla. There have already been some modifications to the original process but I think there are fundamental issues at play.
At the heart of these issues is how terms are defined. Right now there is an election process for half the board every six (6) months. That has proven to be very distracting to the board, and unnecessary for the voting community. The process takes approximately two (2) months per election, so we are looking at approximately four (4) months a year dedicated to elections. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that other work isn’t getting done, but one shouldn’t underestimate the time which the politics of politics takes.
The solution is simple, two (2) year terms with all board positions elected at the same time. One year is way too short to accomplish either an agenda or build a coalition – remember that EVERYONE from the board on down is a volunteer. This would reduce the time spent on elections by 75%. All that energy could be spent for leadership, community building, and of course moving the project forward. And no matter how well intentioned everyone involved is, it would also provide the space to make difficult decisions.
Changing the terms would require and update to the by-laws however I feel this is the beginning of what could be a well constructed argument for making a stronger election process with empowered leaders.
A smaller issue is the impression of commitments to the board member roles by board members. I feel that if you are going to run for any position, that is the ONLY position you should be running for, additionally, if you choose to run for a position and are an existing board member, you should resign from your existing role.
Harsh? Not really, this is typical in many types of elections in the United States. This would also signal others to take up roles and provide an opportunity to move “up” within the Joomla hierarchy if so desired. Also, it would definitely clean up the additional mess caused by having special elections to fill vacancies.
Joomla needs a longer term and empowered leadership to deal with the innovation and community challenges it faces today.