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FSF board shares next steps in board nomination process

by Free Software Foundation Contributions Published on May 10, 2022 03:06 PM

BOSTON, Massachusetts, USA -- Tuesday, May 10, 2022 -- The board of the Free Software Foundation (FSF) today published a board matrix of fundamental requisites and valuable attributes that will be used to evaluate nominees for the FSF board of directors. Nominations are not yet open, but the board also published a preview of the form that associate members will soon use to submit their nominations of candidates for the board.

"As we prepare to add new directors to the FSF board, the board needs to state the requirements and qualities that should be used to assess nominees," said FSF president Geoffrey Knauth. "Current board members who wish to continue to serve the FSF will also be reviewed based on these expectations, once new directors are on the board."

Both the board matrix and the draft nomination form are tools for a new community engagement process adopted by the FSF board on January 18. They follow a consultant-advised process of strategizing about making FSF governance and recruitment practices more transparent and participatory. The two documents will guide associate members of the FSF in evaluating board candidates, a historic change for the FSF.

The board matrix lists the three fundamental requisites for board members. It also lists other qualities considered valuable for board members to have when it comes to expertise, capacity, relationships, and diversity, as well as skills and experiences. Of these additional qualities, the board will periodically consider its current composition and choose a few to highlight as desirable in current board candidates.

Current associate members are eligible to nominate potential board members. They may also nominate themselves.

Discussions on the nominated board candidates will be held in a private forum open to the eligible participants. The discussion platform is being developed by the FSF staff, who will also moderate the discussions with the help of volunteers. Staff, voting members, and board directors are excluded from participating.

"The board matrix and the nomination form are key elements for the new nomination process, which in future years we hope to be able to use again and again. We welcome community reaction and feedback before we launch the new process this summer," Knauth said. "These efforts are important steps toward making FSF governance and recruitment practices more transparent and participatory, and systematically ensuring a commitment to the FSF's values and principles."

The FSF expects to launch the new process to nominate and evaluate potential new board members this summer with the goal of increasing the size of the board from the current number of six directors. After new directors are selected, the FSF will run a similar review process for all sitting directors.

These steps toward a new recruitment process are the latest governance-related improvements made by the FSF board, coming after the Board Member Agreement and the Code of Ethics, published on December 16. The FSF would appreciate feedback on any of the processes, documents, or forms by June 1st. Detailed information about the nomination process, and following steps, will be published to the FSF Web site at https://www.fsf.org/about/staff-and-board/board.

About the Free Software Foundation

The Free Software Foundation, founded in 1985, is dedicated to promoting computer users' right to use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute computer programs. The FSF promotes the development and use of free (as in freedom) software -- particularly the GNU operating system and its GNU/Linux variants -- and free documentation for free software. The FSF also helps to spread awareness of the ethical and political issues of freedom in the use of software, and its Web sites, located at https://www.fsf.org and https://www.gnu.org, are an important source of information about GNU/Linux. Donations to support the FSF's work can be made at https://donate.fsf.org. Its headquarters are in Boston, MA, USA.

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