General Assembly 2017: new members, new roles and new directions
The members of the Free Software Foundation Europe held their General Assembly on October 15 in Edinburgh, Scotland. The annual meeting is held to discuss strategies for the upcoming year and set the course for the overall direction of the organisation. Amongst other things an overall Code of Conduct for the FSFE was adopted, Patrick Ohnewein was elected as the new Financial Officer, and six new members joined the association.
After years of dedicated work Reinhard Müller stepped down from his role as the FSFE's Financial Officer. The organisation thanked him for his long time contributions to the FSFE and is happy about his ongoing support as a valued member of the FSFE's financial team. Reinhard was replaced in the role of Financial Officer by Patrick Ohnewein who was elected for office during the 2017-2019 term. The FSFE's incumbent president Matthias Kirschner and vice president Heiki Lõhmus were both re-elected for their roles during the 2017-2019 term.
Aside from the official elections, the General Assembly also took some important decisions for the future of the FSFE. You can read the full official minutes online and a summary about the accepted proposals hereafter
- To increase diversity and to make sure the FSFE is an organisation people like to get involved in, a Code of Conduct for all FSFE events, online and offline was adopted.
- The executive was asked to make a proposal for the 2018 budget for identifying strategies for increased diversity in the FSFE community and the FSFE membership, by having a budget for counseling on diversity and a time budget for staff to get involved in this issue.
- The FSFE applies as a member of European Digital Rights (EDRi).
- The FSFE should create an explicit financial reserve ("Rücklage") of 100.000 Euro. (Due to a generous heritage towards the FSFE, the association received an extraordinary surplus in 2016. These circumstances allow a financial reserve that is otherwise not allowed for a charitable organisation.)
Several proposals were received and discussed prior to the assembly, two of which were adopted and agreed to by the members. The proposals instruct the organisation's executive to prepare necessary changes to the constitution that reform the organisational structure. Specifically, it was agreed that a constitutional change to remove the Fellowship seats should be prepared. These Fellowship seats were introduced to give the FSFE’s sustaining donors access to the General Assembly. But instead, we like to bring in more of our active volunteers into the FSFE's General Assembly. Means the Fellowship seats will be implicitly replaced with a structure and procedures to accommodate a wider base of active members and a separation between membership and the governing organs (introducing a board of directors or enlarging the executive council, or similar). The exact details of those changes should be prepared and proposed for adoption by the members at the 2018 general assembly.
- Pablo Machón and Martin Gollowitzer withdrew their membership. The Chair thanked them for many years of active work for the organisation.
- Amandine "Cryptie", Polina Malaja, Ulrike Sliwinski, Jan-Christoph Borchardt, Max Mehl and Erik Albers have been granted membership.
Twelve out of 28 members attended the assembly in 2017. Eleven members were absent but represented by members present by delegating their votes.