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English Country Dance Restructuring Committee Report

Group of Five accomplishments of the past year:

We last met as a community a year ago to discuss possible restructuring of the organization and oversight of this group. Up to now these responsibilities have been carried out by five individuals (the "Group of Five:" Liz Donaldson, Roger Broseus, Stephanie Smith, Tom Spilsbury, and Will Strang). These five originally stepped up and took this on voluntarily. At the 2009 meeting, we approved them to continue in a more formal capacity as an interim committee, until we could set up something the whole group would approve. While this group has functioned as an ad hoc organizing committee, and has provided us with weekly dances and special annual events, the membership felt we have an opportunity to do more. Now can be a time for our community to develop mechanisms and procedures to achieve a number of important things. Our new structure should welcome a variety of people into leadership positions, increase the transparency of our community's functions, and provide for continuity and growth into the future. Thus the restructuring committee has been guided by the three goals of inclusiveness, transparency and continuity throughout our discussions.

To meet those goals, a call was made for volunteers to form a restructuring committee. This committee has met 5 times over the past year. Meeting attendees included: Liz Donaldson, Roger Broseus, Stephanie Smith, Tom Spilsbury, Laura Schultz, Melissa Running, JoAnn Morris, David Shewmaker, and Michael Barraclough). Over the course of those meetings we did a number of things. We spoke to members of and/or looked at the websites and documents of other ECD communities in the San Francisco Bay area, Seattle, Michigan, Amherst, Philadelphia, Westchester, and New York to discover how they organized themselves. We looked at these groups to find the best features of their organizations that would fit with our structure within FSGW. We discussed the strengths of our community and its current organization so we can be sure to preserve those things, and we took a hard look at the areas where improvement is needed. We had hoped at this juncture to be able to present a fully fleshed-out structure and a new slate of candidates for a governing body. But once we got into the process, we found it to be significantly more complex than we had anticipated. So we are not as far along as we'd hoped to be.

In this meeting we want to present to you the results of our work so far, and our plans for the next six months, and ask for your input and feedback.

First, we note that we have bylaws already in place, as we are part of FSGW. Therefore anything we do must be within those bylaws. We also looked for a fluid structure with good flexibility to meet changing needs and circumstances. We plan to revisit the structure regularly to make sure it's doing what we need it to do.

Based on our research and discussion we want to suggest the following:

Structure and responsibilities of the EC~DC would be, according to our proposal:

Of the five committee members, two would have designated roles: chairperson, and finance person.

The chairperson would be responsible for seeing that all needed tasks were accomplished (~bottom line person), and would be the liaison between the ECD community and FSGW.

The finance person would be responsible for budget and accounting for all FSGW ECD events.

The five committee members would work together to see that all needed tasks are accomplished — on the principle that they are responsible for doing *or delegating* (to individuals or subcommittees) the various tasks.

Possible subcommittees include:

Some of these subcommittees already exist functionally. An important and ongoing job of these subcommittees is the recording of current policies and procedures, or a formulation of policies and procedures where they do not yet exist. This would allow others to step into these roles over time, and provide a starting point for modification of policies and procedures where needed.

More about the Nominating Committee:

Goals for the next half year:

The Restructuring committee will mandate the Group of Five (proto-ECDC) to:


Melissa will start here

Areas where we need input AT THE MEETING are:

  1. 1) We propose to affirm the "Group of Five" for an extension as our official leadership during the transition period.
  2. 2) Is this a good starter model for right now to allow for fresh input and opportunity for many to serve and contribute while preserving continuity? (longer-term feedback option)
  3. 3) Is late September a good time for an annual meeting?
  4. 4) Terms of service on the EC~DC, and term limits: we are thinking one-year terms of service by default, because the members' meetings would be annual, and that we should aim for a max of three years consecutive service where possible, and that we'd leave that flexible because it's more important that a max of three people should rotate off the committee in any given year. Reactions? Alternate suggestions (with rationale)?
  5. 5) Do you have any questions for the structure committee?

Please send feedback afterwards as it occurs to you.

Restructuring committee: contact Melissa [email]

Group of Five: Stephanie is main contact, but any of us are happy to receive feedback, comments, kibitzing, etc.

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