Monday, December 28, 2020

Election Reform Community Update

This past June, the PSF Board of Directors opened a discussion to solicit feedback on the topic of election reform. The discussion was a lively one and touched on the following topics:

  • PSF Director term limits
  • PSF Board geographic makeup
  • PSF Board employer limits
  • PSF membership diversification
  • Revamping PSF membership levels
  • General discussion on election procedures, ballot, and voting
Over the course of the last few months, the PSF Board has discussed these topics to identify opportunities for both short-term and long-term reform.

Short-term reform: PSF Director Term Limits and Employer Limits

The Board is discussing bylaw changes that we will introduce to the community for comment around February 2021. These bylaw changes would investigate PSF Director term limits as well as PSF Board employer limits. We believe that these changes can have an immediate impact on the makeup of the Board, and depending on the community’s feedback, could be decided by the next public vote in 2021.

Longer-term reform: Diversifying the PSF Board and voting membership

Two efforts are well underway to address longer-term reform to help diversify the PSF Board as well as the voting membership: the Diversity and Inclusion Workgroup and the Community Leadership Council.

In 2016, when staggered 3-year terms were introduced for PSF Directors, a significant motivating factor for this resided in the need to continue to promote the sustainability of the PSF. High board turnover every year minimized the contributions any one Director could make as onboarding and becoming familiar with the duties of a Director can take a few months. Additionally annual turnover was a significant burden to the PSF staff. Together these both impacted the ability of the PSF to fulfill its larger mission.

In this same vein, the PSF is implementing the creation of a Community Leadership Council (CLC) to help promote the sustainability of the PSF as well as to increase the global outreach of the PSF.

The goal for the CLC is to start in 2021 and the proposed final format will be discussed in the January 2021 PSF Board meeting. The CLC will offer members opportunities for leadership development. Of particular importance, recruitment for the CLC will heavily focus on regional representation where the PSF Board is currently lacking. To assist with the execution of the CLC, the PSF will be seeking the expertise of the newly founded Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Workgroup led by PSF Director Marlene Mhangami.

The PSF recently published a blog post announcing the D&I Workgroup to the community. In short, we believe that the collective expertise of the D&I Workgroup will greatly help the PSF in its ongoing efforts to promote diversity and inclusion in the community.

Takeaways and Next Steps

A forthcoming update on the timeline for the CLC will be published on the PSF blog in early to mid 2021. Reports will also be made available from the D&I Workgroup in the monthly PSF Board minutes. Should anyone wish to collaborate or provide feedback to the D&I workgroup you can contact ``.

As for other next steps, the PSF Board is committed to continuing to have open and transparent discussions about issues that relate to our mission. We will continue to host open discussions on our Python discuss page. We will additionally host virtual PSF member meetings in early 2021 that are accessible for all timezones (e.g. one meeting for Americas/Europe/Africa time zones, one meeting for Eastern and Asia/Oceania/Australia time zones). When the times and dates for those virtual meetings have been decided, we will post them to the blog.

Lastly, the PSF in the continuation of our mission has an end of year fundraiser where we are actively working to offset the financial setbacks from the global pandemic. Please consider donating, any size donation welcome! Some of the PSF Directors (myself included!) are running matching campaigns too.

We thank the community for weighing in and providing this crucial feedback as we continue to evaluate mechanisms for how to best fulfill the PSF mission. We send our best wishes to you all for a safe end of 2020, and a safe start of 2021!