Instructions from the Board on how to report. Sent to all committees. Email addresses removed.
Greetings Officers and Committee Chairs of the Society. The deadline for quarterly reports to the Board is fast approaching, and in an effort to make everyone's job a little easier, the Directors have requested some changes in the way we report. Much of what is in this letter is the same as when it was written last year, but some things have been changed. Please read through the entire letter. I Headers and Footers, and Attached Documents Please include headers and footers which indicate the title of the report, the date, and page numbers. For example, a header in the upper right hand corner might read, "Secretary's Report 7-1-00." The footer in the lower right had corner would give the page number. Any attached documents should be clearly labeled and referenced in the text of the report. II Deadlines and Late Reporting The Directors are very unhappy with late reporting. Because packets containing materials for the quarterly meeting are sent to the Directors immediately after the deadline for submissions, if a report arrives in Milpitas after the deadline, the Directors will not receive it until the Friday before the quarterly meeting when Renee Signorotti physically hands it to them. This gives them little or no time to consider the material in the report. Therefore, any report which is not received by the deadline will probably not be considered at the quarterly meeting, but will be considered at the next quarterly meeting. We urge you to get your reports in on time. The deadlines for the meetings have now been fixed as the first of the month of each meeting. For example, the deadline for the October 2000 quarterly meeting is October 1, 2000, the deadline for the January 2001 quarterly meeting is January 1, 2001, etc. These are hard deadlines and a paper copy of your report must be in the Milpitas office on that day. Faxed copies will not be received by the office unless prior arrangements are made with Renee Signorotti. If, for some reason, you will not be able to meet the deadline, please call the office and speak to Renee. III Addenda to Reports If something of importance arises between the deadline and the Board meeting, you can always issue an addendum to your report. It is important to make the new material clear to the Directors. There are two ways to do this. The first is to produce a new and separate document (i.e., a "memo") clearly marked "Addendum to the (date) Report for (Office)." The second is to produce the original report with updates printed in a different typeface; however, if the report is lengthy, this could be problematic, and you should use the first option. IV Emailing Reports While it is very convenient to email your report, either in the body of an email or as an attachment, this will not count as having your report in to the office on time. Please make every effort to have your report in the mail in a timely manner. Notwithstanding the above, it is to your advantage to have your report in the hands of the Directors as soon possible. In addition, it makes everyone's job easier to do. Therefore, it is *requested,* but not *required,* that you email your report to firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as it is completed. This gives the Directors several extra days to review your report and to plan accordingly. V Policy Manuals For policy manuals and other long and/or complicated documents, the deadline is the fifteenth of the month prior to the meeting. For example, if you wish a policy manual to be considered at the January 2001 meeting, it must be received by the corporate office no later than December 15, 2000. If a policy manual or other involved document arrives after that date, you should expect it to be remanded to the next meeting. Again, it is requested, but not required, that policy manuals and other involved documents be emailed to email@example.com to give the directors as much time as possible to consider your suggestions. VI Format of the Report Reports to the Board should include the following sections (in this order): (A) Action Items, (B) Policy Interpretations, (C) New Policies, (D) Commendations, (E) General Status Report, (F) Publishable Summary, plus, when necessary, (G) "Under the Rocks." A Action Items Action Items are matters on which you are requesting Board action or a ruling from the Board. They should be numbered and short --one or two sentences describing *exactly* what you are asking the Board to do. Any necessary explanation can follow the actual action item in a separate paragraph. The Action Item, but not the explanation, will be printed in the Board Report and in the Minutes along with whatever action the Board took; hence the need for brevity. B Policy Interpretations Policy Interpretations are explanations of the Society's rules and of existing policy. This is not the place to ask the Board to approve new policies. When making a policy interpretation, please include a citation of the rule or policy you are interpreting. Interpretation of the Society's rules will be made primarily by the Society Seneschal, Exchequer, Chronicler and Marshal. However, there may be cases where some other officer will make an interpretation of existing policy. Policy interpretations will be upheld or not upheld by the Board. Policy interpretations should be numbered and short--one or two sentences describing exactly what decision was made. Any necessary explanation can follow the actual policy interpretation in a separate paragraph. They will be printed in the Board Report and in the Minutes along with the Board's action on the interpretation. C New Policies New Policies are exactly what they sound like--new policies for your office that you are asking the Board to approve, or changes to existing policies. These Board-approved policies will go into the Precedence of Law; therefore, please be certain that any policies that you submit for the Board's consideration should have that sort of force, and provide the Board with an explanation of where this policy will go in your approved policy manual. If you are changing an existing Board-approved policy, please quote the current policy in full. This is not the place for guidelines or suggestions, but for things that will be enforced in all kingdoms. New policies will be approved or not approved by the Board. New policies should be numbered and short--one or two sentences without explanation. Any necessary explanation can follow the actual policy in a separate paragraph. They will be printed in the Board Report and in the Minutes, unless they are simply too lengthy to include, along with the Board action on the policy. Note--this is not the place to present a new policy manual--that is a separate item in the agenda (see below). If you do not have an approved policy manual, please do not present new policies to the Board. They cannot be approved unless there is a manual where they can be placed. D Commendations Commendations are your chance to thank those who have worked with you and have done a spectacular job. They will be printed in the Board Report, depending on space availability. E General Status Report General Status Report is the meat of what you have to tell the Board. For officers, it may be helpful to list by kingdom and give the status of affairs in each one. This is also where you give plans for your office or committee. This will not be printed in the Board Report and in the Minutes. F Publishable Report Summary The Publishable Report Summary is a one-paragraph, one or two sentence, concise version of what happened in the SCA in your office or committee in the last quarter. Please cast it in the third person. This will be printed in the Board Report. G Under the Rocks "Under the Rocks" is a euphemism. It is an extremely optional and, most important, confidential section of the report which will be discussed by the Board in either the Friday session or Executive Session. It is the place for letting the Board know about things which should not be made public, usually concerning personnel or legal matters. Most officers should never have Under the Rocks items for the Board to consider. Under the Rocks items should be placed on a separate page. This will not be printed in the Board Report or in the Minutes. (doh!!!) VII Misuse of "Action Items", "Policy Interpretations", and "New Policies" There is significant confusion among officers and committee chairs regarding Action Items, Policy Interpretations and New Policies--this is one reason we have expanded the prior categories of "Action Items" and "Policy Decisions". Action Items are those items which require the Directors to actually do something (sign a warrant, make a motion, etc.). Before you submit an Action Item, carefully consider what you are saying and whether you are actually asking the Board to do anything. At one quarterly meeting, one officer's report contained FIFTEEN "action items", almost none of which required the Board to do anything. Unfortunately, the Directors are required to go through the report, Action Item by Action Item, dealing with each individual item until all are addressed. This took up a fair amount of time. All these items also had to be put into the Board Report and the Minutes. Please, the Board does not need to know you are considering instituting a new paper filing system or a new email address as an Action Item. These are not matters which require Board action or need to be addressed at a high level. They can be covered in your General Status Report. If you need guidance in this aspect of your reporting, contact your Ombudsman, the President, the Society Seneschal, or the Secretary. Policy Interpretations are explanations of the Governing Documents of the Society, or interpretations of other rules or existing policies. They must include a citation as to what existing rule or policy is being interpreted. Upon submission of a Policy Interpretation, the Directors will either uphold or not uphold the officer's ruling. Very few officers will ever be placed in the position of interpreting what the rules say. The Society Seneschal does this with some degree of frequency, the Society Exchequer will have to interpret financial policy, the Society Chronicler will rule on current publishing policies, and the Society Marshal rules on fighting issues. Interpretations of existing policy for an office may have to be made by other officers. We urge you all to carefully consider any policy interpretations or new interpretations of the rules before they are implemented and/or submitted to the Board for their consideration. There have been several instances where an officer sent in a policy decision, only to have it not upheld. This was usually because (a) it was not really a policy decision since it did not involve interpreting the rules or current policies or (b) it was not a well-thought-out policy decision. If you need help or guidance, contact the officers listed above. New Policies are individual policies that have become necessary for the governing of your office. They should have been discussed with your subordinate officers and should be "rules" that will bind all the kingdoms, not suggestions for possible ways to get things done. These policies will become part of your existing policy manual, so you should be prepared to tell the Board where in the manual the new policy should be placed. If you find that you have a great number of policies to introduce, you should consider whether it is time to revise and update your policy manual. VIII Clarity in Reporting One more thought on Action Items, Policy Interpretations, and New Policies -- they need to be clear and concise. Do not use rambling or ambiguous language. Tell the Board (and the world) exactly what you are proposing or have done. The reason for this is that these items are entered into the Board Report and the Minutes and anyone reading them, now or in the future, needs to know exactly what was meant and what was done. Consider the following two examples of New Policies: Example One--"We have sometimes under 18 year olds at events and I have been thinking that toe rings might be a good idea to be worn if you're under 18 so we know who they aren't and that way when they take their shoes off we know how old they are and if they're over 21 or not and kids wear them anyway and we could do fund raising selling them but sales tax might be a problem and the state won't let us do it and some people over 25 don't like toe rings so I'm not sure. Can you maybe do something about all of this?" Example Two"I ask that the Board rule that all entrants to an SCA event who are under the age of 18 shall wear toe rings. The reasons for this proposed policy are as follows... If you were a Director, with which example would you rather deal? Also, bear in mind that humor must be clearly marked. One of the officers sent in a truly hilarious "April First" report in the same typeface and format as the usual report--several of the Directors did not notice the real report which followed. Again, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact your Ombudsman, Carol O'Leary, Lee Forgue, or Andrew Smith. IX Policy Manuals Officers' policies approved by the Board have now been placed in the Precedence of Law above kingdom law. Therefore, any office which has policies which are meant to apply to all kingdoms should have a Board-approved manual. These manuals should contain only policy (no suggestions or guidelines) and, if they need to be approved, should be presented to the Board by the fifteenth of the month before a Board meeting. If your office does not have a policy manual, you may wish to prepare one. If your office has a manual which has not been approved within the last five years, you may wish to review, revise and resubmit your manual for approval. The reason for this is it is the Board's stated policy is that all policy manuals must be reviewed and reapproved by the Board at least every five years. Policy manuals sent up for Board approval will be placed in the agenda under "New Business", so please let Renee Signorotti (Corporate Officer) and Andrew Smith (Corporate Secretary) know if one is in the works. If you have any questions about this, please contact the usual officers. Thank you so much for your cooperation in this matter. Most cordially, Andrew Smith Lee Forgue Duke Andrew of Riga Mistress Eilis O'Boirne Executive Assistant to the Board VP for Operations