[eDebate] Question re: topic balloting

Martin Harris mharris02
Tue Apr 25 22:22:29 CDT 2006

   I am pretty sure the constitution has been changed since 2003, although that is the last updated date on the bottom.  I suspect it might not be current.  I remember a summer meeting maybe where the website/email thing came up.  I think it was modified then.  Second, I remember a summer meeting about 9 years ago, when your father was one or two terms removed from president, that a discussion about what goes into a constitution and bylaws was had.  To paraphrase, organizational charters, constitutions and by-laws are frequently like enabling legislation.  They set out broad strokes, but not mechanisms to fulfill them, otherwise they become unwieldly.  Hence the way in which the topic committee operates is not and ought not be fully scribed in the by-laws, much less constitution so as to maintain flexibility, adaptation and expirementation.  The constitution empowers the topic committee to draft topics, how they go about it is maleable based on circumstances.  Third, unless it was an artifact of the topic committee meetings I went to, Steve usually closes session by seeking input of the current committee membership on who will be chair the next year.  I remember it being phrased in Bay Saint Louis roughly as "I will be glad to serve again if that is what people on the committee desire, but if anyone else wants to, or needs to for CV purposes, I would happily support a new chair."  Amazingly given all the glory, praise and worship that the chair receives, no one stepped forward, and everyone seemed to be happy with Mancuso's process. 

Finally, as almost every year, I seriously encourage any and all who can come to KC to make a visit.  The topic committee really is everything advertised in openness.  I have been at least five times since '98 and have always felt welcomed and listened to.  I know people are busy, have committments, and it isn't easy to get time to go to KC for a week, but it really is one of the few opportunities the organization has to do work.  It is the foundation for a YEAR worth of debates in the crafting of resolutions, and is the same timeframe every year.  If people didn't plan for it THIS year, they should consider planning for it next year.  

Martin Harris
Unaffiliated U.
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