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Advisory Board Minutes - January 2005

Approved March 15, 2005

Call to Order - January Session

5 January 2005) The January 2005 meeting of The USGenWeb Advisory Board was called to order by National Coordinator Shari Handley.

January 2005 Meeting

Call to order
Continue with closed-session hearing
Reading, correction, approval, or disposition of minutes (when available)
NC Report
New business
BRC request
Non-responsive State Coordinators
Policy Statement: County sites vs. Archives as repository of collected data
Evaluation of special projects
Application received for possible new special project
PR committee
Begin Grievance Hearing in Closed Session when disciplinary hearing complete

Approval of Minutes - December 2004 Minutes (5 January 2005) By general consent, the minutes of the December 2004 meeting of the Advisory Board were approved as written.

NC Report

(5 January 2005) We welcome Mike St. Clair to the position of Recording Secretary for the Advisory Board. Please join me in thanking Mike for his willingness to serve the project in this capacity.

Bylaws Revision Committee: The BRC continues its task of reworking the bylaws revision. There is a mailing list available (the USGW_WEB-L list) which serves as an open forum for communication between the membership and the BRC. To subscribe, send an email containing only the word "subscribe" to List archives can be perused at

The closed-session disciplinary hearing will reconvene shortly, after a short break for the holidays. It has been slow going due to some requested recesses, as well as some new time constraints on my part. I am grateful to Darilee for volunteering to step in as moderator/chair of the hearing. It is anticipated that, with Darilee's help, work on the hearing can move at a more steady pace toward a conclusion.

Logo Contest: The EC is working on setting up a poll to determine our membership's wishes regarding a logo contest coming up this summer. The poll will take place, tentatively, February 9 through 23. More details will be forthcoming as the schedule is worked out.

Shari Handley
National Coordinator
The USGenWeb Project

EC Issued a Call for Volunteers

(5 January 2005) The USGenWeb Election Committee is looking for two volunteers who would like to serve on the committee.

The "job" includes developing a working relationship with Project members, SCs, and/or Archives personnel to maintain current Project Membership and Registration Lists, and to assist in all polls and elections, especially during the months of June and July when the EC hosts the USGenWeb Project's Annual Election.

Volunteers will have the satisfaction of joining an excellent team to handle a difficult and important responsibility. The following seats are currently open:

Archives/Special Projects - One Year Replacement Term January 1, 2005 - December 31, 2005
Archives/Special Projects - Two Year Term January 1, 2005 - December 31, 2006
NOTE: You do *not* have to be a member in any of the above regions or projects to be eligible to serve in a particular seat. Final determination of placement will be made by the EC.

Any member of the USGW Project who is eligible to register to vote is eligible for membership in the EC, the exception being that no Advisory Board member may serve as a working member of the EC. An EC member who is elected to national office may continue to serve on the EC until seated on the AB. Members do not have to be registered to serve.

The EC is looking for team players who will check and respond to mail daily, and recognize the confidentiality aspects of the work. This is a busy but harmonious committee, and the work is very rewarding!

If you are interested in volunteering, please send a note to: Tina Vickery with the subject line, "Volunteer EC".

Please include a brief description of your current USGW participation, including URLs of any sites you maintain, plus any other information you would like the EC to have.

Final selection and placement will be made by the EC and presented to the Advisory Board for confirmation.

More information about the EC is available:

Thank you for your time, and please consider volunteering!

Tina Vickery
Chair, USGenWeb Elections Committee


4th Quarter Report from Election Committee

(5 January 2005) From the USGenWeb Election Committee by way of NC Shari Handley:
DATE: December 31, 2004

The Membership List containing 2211 names was uploaded at the end of September, for the October Newsletter. There were slightly over 40 bounces.

Voting on the RAL Poll began. Passwords were sent to 2130 registered members on September 29. There were approximately 40 bounces.

The Results were released on October 11.
Charles Barnum 19
Scott Burow 53
Jason Mendenhall 14
Betsy Mills 76
Phylis Rippee 50
Mike St. Clair 64
Sharon Tabor 30
Denise Wells 38

Total votes: 344

October 5 - The EC was contacted by the ME SC regarding conducting a SC election for that state. The EC agreed to conduct the election, and on October 6, EC Member Tina Vickery, a ME volunteer and voter, was unsubbed from the EC List until the conclusion of that election.

Mid-October - The EC began fourth quarter updates. Due to a combination of vacant EC seats and non-responding SCs, the EC completed updating 16 states by visiting each county individually, within those states, and compiling fresh member lists. Departing members were notified they had been removed from the Registered lists, and new members were encouraged to register.

October 30 - New EC members Laura Blair, John Jackson, D. Joshua Taylor, John Slaughter, and Lorraine Newsome were welcomed to the committee. The EC regretfully accepted the early resignation of newly confirmed member Mari Byers, who withdrew for personal reasons.

November 1 - The EC prepared an updated membership list to send to Larry for the Nov/Dec Newsletter, which eventually was sent to 2191 members.

November 10 - The ME SC election concluded. Tina Vickery was elected new SC of MEGenWeb. Tina was re-subbed to the EC list.

The EC temporarily adjourned during Thanksgiving week, Nov. 21-27, so our members could enjoy time with family and friends.

December 15 - In accordance with EC Procedures, Shari Handley and Cyndie Enfinger conducted elections to elect new EC officers for the year 2005. The EC congratulates Chair-elect Tina Vickery, and Pub/Sec-elect Deb Haines.

December 9 - The EC regretfully accepted the resignation of John Slaughter, who left for personal reasons.

A personal note from the departing EC Chair: I have very much enjoyed these past two busy but very interesting years with the Election Committee. My hat is off to every EC member for his dedication and hard work which, along with an incredible sense of humor, has seen the committee through some hectic and occasionally difficult times.

No one person can create a successful EC; nor can fifteen individual members. This is a committee that thrives on teamwork. The members have functioned as one unit, always going the extra mile to see a job to its successful conclusion. I am very proud to have been a member of this team, and I would like to personally thank each and every member who served. I would also like to personally thank Larry Stephens for his tremendous support and assistance to the committee, and to me personally. It's been a joy, and I know I am leaving the EC in very good hands.
- Ellen Pack

Respectfully submitted,

Tina S. Vickery, Chair
USGenWeb Election Committee

Request from BRC to rescind motion 04-13d

(5 January 2005) Shari Handley delivered to the AB the following request from the Bylaws Revision Committee after which the Board discussed the the issue.

The Bylaws Revision Committee requests the Advisory Board rescind motion 04-13D.

Adopted by vote of 12-0 .....that the proposed revisions be reworked in such a way that they can be presented to the general membership as separate amendments, in order that the general membership may vote to accept, or reject, each individual amendment.

Numerous times during the revision process the committee chair has posted (to numerous lists) the excerpt below from the adopted parliamentary authority indicating the bylaws revision vote should be presented as the current (original bylaws) .... a single yes/no vote to adopt or reject.

>From Sturgis pg 209- "A revision proposes, in effect, a new set of bylaws, and the revision is presented, considered, and voted upon under the same procedures as those followed for the adoption of the original bylaws."

The BRC is very concerned with the end result if the membership votes on each article as individual amendments. The revision is intended to "replace" existing bylaws. More than two years work has consistently supported a single vote on a revision as defined at . The process has eliminated one current article combining its content into another article and partial text from other articles has been combined into other appropriate articles/sections.

The desire that members have maximum voice regarding each article by vote puts the right of the organization to function effectively from a cohesive "set of bylaws" in jeopardy. The adoption of 04-13, although legal, is contrary to the parliamentary authority.

Approved by;
Roger Swafford
Ron Henson
Paulette Carpenter
Don Kelly
Sharon Tabor
Bob Sweeney
Denise Wells
Vicki Shaffer
Gloria B. Mayfield
Dennis Muncrief

Opposed by;

Not voting;
Shari Handley (NC ex-officio)
Bettie Wood

(6 January 2005) Shari Handley called for a vote on whether to rescind motion 4-13d.

(9 January 2005) The rescission failed with 0 "yes" votes, 12 "no" votes, 1 abstentions, and 3 members not voting.

Those voting YES: none

Those voting NO: Angie Rayfield, Linda Blum-Barton, Darilee Bednar, Gail Meyer Kilgore, Cyndie Enfinger, Jan Cortez, Kathi Jones-Hudson, Don Kelly, Larry Flesher, Teri Brown, Betsy Mills, David Morgan

Those abstaining: none

Those not voting: Richard Howland, Denise Woodside, Bettie Wood

Additional Comments:


Appointment of Grievance Coordinator
7 January 2005) Betsy Mills has offered to be the AB's "Grievance Coordinator", and I have gratefully accepted. USGenWeb members with a grievance should be encouraged to submit them first to Betsy. She will then submit the grievance to the AB and the mediation procedures passed last January will be initiated. Betsy will then periodically check on the mediation to ensure that it is progressing. She will also be the contact point person for any grievance for which mediation has failed. Her basic job will be to ensure that grievances do not fall through the cracks and that every effort is made to bring them to a conclusion that is acceptable to all involved and to set up a method for parties involved in a grievance to be able to check on the status of their grievance.

Thank you, Betsy, for volunteering to help us streamline this part of our operations.

Shari Handley
National Coordinator
The USGenWeb Project

Discussion of Missing Contact Information for Some SCs/ASCs

(10 January 2005) Shari Handley pointed out that a number of State Coordinators and their assistants had not provided contact information as required in Article XII, Section 4 of the Bylaws. She provided a chronology of her efforts to obtain the required information during the last two quarters of last year and reported that 91 of our 96 SCs, ASCs and Special Project Coordinators had responded leaving 5 who had not yet responded. After discussion, several board members volunteered to help obtain the required information.

(27 January 2005) Shari reported that there now remained only 3 ASCs who had not responded. No other action was taken on this matter.

Announcement: Updates of Alaska's State Pages
(10 January 2005) Darilee Bednar announced that Alaska's State Website had occurred at

Announcement of Breach of Ethics
(14 January 2005) Shari Handley announced that an unnamed project member had discovered the passwords to some project lists and published them on the Internet. She asked that the AB consider taking action against that individual, and suggested they be ejected from USGenWeb. Some discussion ensued. Some board members suggested it was a serious lapse to have the passwords accessible to be found. Some suggested the publishing individual was also at fault, but no member of the board formally moved that any action be taken against either party.

Discussion of Wording for Logo Poll
(17 January 2005) Shari Handley proposed a possible wording for the poll and asked for discussion. The board discussed several alternatives.

(22 January 2005) Shari Handley passed on a suggestion for the poll wording from the Election Committee. She then asked the board to express their preference between and the EC proposal, which read:

a draft resulting from AB discussion which read:

Should one or multiple logos be used by the USGenWeb Project? One or Multiple

and a draft resulting from the AB discussions which read:

(1) Should The USGenWeb Project have only one official logo design, which each member site shall be required to display prominently, or should there also be additional approved logo designs from which members can choose? One Logo Multiple Logos

(2) If this poll determines that most respondents want multiple logo choices, then how many alternative logo designs should be available to choose from?(in addition to the one "official" logo): 1, 2, 3, more than 3

(23 January 2005) Shari Handley announced the results of the vote:

Voting for the EC version were 3 - Betsey Mills, Don Kelly, ????

Voting for the AB version were 9 - Jan Cortez, Bettie Wood, Angie Woodfield, Cyndie Enfinger, Kathi Jones-Hudson, Larry Flesher, Teri Brown, Linda Barton, Gail Meyer Kilgore

Creation of Grievance Committee
(18 January 2005) Shari Handley proposed the creation of a committee chaired by Betsey Mills to hear grievances that failed to reach a resolution during mediation. The following guidelines were outlined.


The committee of three, plus the original parties to the failed mediation, will be subscribed to an empty list. The committee will hear the grievance and evidence, ask any questions it needs to in order to get as clear a picture of the situation as possible, and issue a ruling which would be binding upon all parties to the grievance.


Either party to a grievance may ask for an appeal of the Grievance Committee ruling. The Advisory Board is not obligated to hear an appeal. If an appeal is filed, there will be a simple poll of the Advisory Board asking if the appeal should be heard. A simple majority of those voting will rule as to whether an appeal will be heard by the full Advisory Board. If the majority of the AB decides NOT to hear the appeal, then the ruling of the Grievance Committee will stand and will then be final. If the majority of the AB decides that an appeal WILL be heard, both parties will be asked to submit one written statement, explaining their position and why they feel the ruling should or should not be overturned. These statements will be posted to the AB's executive session list, and a decision will be made based on the information provided in the statements. A 2/3 majority of the AB members voting will be required to overturn a ruling of the Grievance Committee.

Discussion ensued and the following board members volunteered to serve on this committee: Angie Rayfield, Jan Cortez with Denise Woodside, Don Kelly, and Bettie Wood as alternates.

Proposed Bylaw Modification
(27 January 2005) Betsey Mills announced that in accordance with the procedure provided in the bylaws for modification of bylaws, more than 5 states were sponsoring such a change. She provided the following background:

Due to the division of the USGenWeb Census Project and the failure of several mediation attempts, it has become a problem for the USGenWeb Project Advisory Board to seat a Census Project Representative as required by the USGenWeb Project bylaws. In addition, the Special Projects represent a smaller portion of the membership of the USGenWeb Project and should not have a greater representation than the State and Local Coordinators on the Advisory Board. Therefore, the ARGenWeb Project is sponsoring the following amendments to the USGenWeb bylaws. We would ask that all the Special Project Representative positions currently on the Advisory Board be eliminated at the end of their regular term, with the one Special Project Representative to take his/her place on the USGenWeb Project Advisory Board effective September 1, 2005.

These amendments are being co-sponsored by the MSGenWeb, TXGenWeb, DEGenWeb, MIGenWeb, ORGenWeb and WIGenWeb Projects. These states join the ARGenWeb Project and respectfully request that this matter be considered "urgent" so that this may be placed before the membership as soon as possible rather than waiting for the regular election period.

David Morgan then provided the wording for the proposed change, which was later modified slightly as described below.

Current Article:


The Advisory Board membership shall consist of: the National Coordinator, four (4) State Coordinator Regional Representatives, eight (8) Local Coordinator Regional Representatives, one (1) representative each from The USGenWeb Archives Project, The USGenWeb Census Project, and The USGenWeb Tombstone Project, and beginning in 1999, one (1) at-large representative. All shall have voting privileges except the National Coordinator who shall vote only in the case of a tie. The regions from which State Coordinator and Local Coordinator Representatives are elected shall be decided by the Advisory Board on an annual basis.

Strike "one (1) representative each from The USGenWeb Archives Project, The USGenWeb Census Project, and The USGenWeb Tombstone Project," and replace with "one (1) Special Projects representative elected by members of the special projects."

The amended article will then read:


The Advisory Board membership shall consist of: the National Coordinator, four (4) State Coordinator Regional Representatives, eight (8) Local Coordinator Regional Representatives, one (1) Special Projects representative elected by members of the special projects, and one (1) at-large representative. All shall have voting privileges except the National Coordinator who shall vote only in the case of a tie. The regions from which State Coordinator and Local Coordinator Representatives are elected shall be decided by the Advisory Board on an annual basis.

In addition, the Section 3 of Article XIII regarding Special Projects would need to be amended:

Current article:


Section 3. The staff members of The USGenWeb Archives Project, The USGenWeb Census Project, and The USGenWeb Tombstone Project shall each elect one Special Project Representative to serve as a voting member of The USGenWeb Project Advisory Board.

This amended section would read:

Section 3. The staff members of any special projects (as defined in Section 1) shall elect one Special Project Representative to serve as a voting member of The USGenWeb Project Advisory Board.

Extensive discussion on this issue continued through the end of the month, but no action was taken before adjournment of the meeting

Motion 05-01
Vote on whether to consider bylaw amendment as "urgent"

(27 January 2005) Motion was proposed by David Morgan. After discussion, it was moved by Jan Cortez, and seconded by David Morgan that the Board declare the amendment as Urgent..

(31 January 2005) Discussion continued through the end of the session with no vote being taken.

The full text of all BOARD-L messages can be viewed in the threaded list archives for this list, located at

Mike St. Clair, Recording Secretary

Please remember that minutes are a record of what was done at the meeting, NOT what was said by members or guests. If you have any questions or comments about the minutes, please write to Greta Thompson.

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