I am 39 years old and am currently employed in the Television Broadcast Industry. I have been actively doing genealogical research for 24 years and I have sponsored the Brazos County TXGenweb site since 1996. In 1997 I was appointed Assistant State Coordinator of TXGenWeb by then State Coordinator Mike Basham. Tragically Mike suffered a heart attack and passed away in Sept 1997 and with the approval of the TXGenweb Project volunteers I became the State Coordinator of The TXGenWeb Project. I served as State Coordinator until Sept 2002 at which time I decided it was time to step down and let someone else lead the project. We held the first elections for State Coordinator in Texas and I believe that Texas continues to this day as one of the best state projects in The USGenWeb Project.
My philosophy concerning the Advisory Board is very simple. Support the local volunteers, give them any tools that they need, promote the project, and get out of the way and let the volunteers do what they do best and that is bringing and presenting free genealogical resources and information to the Internet.
The Advisory Board has 5 specific duties as prescribed in the bylaws:
1. "addressing any problem issues as they arise"
2. "aiding the state projects upon request"
3. "overseeing elections"
4. "advising and mediating, if necessary, any grievances or appeals"
5. "appointing a Webmaster to maintain the national website"
In my opinion the advisory board should be primarily concerned with project improvement and promoting cooperation and communication between the state projects. The board should of course do the basic things as mandated in the
bylaws such as seeing that the national web site is maintained, elections are conducted, and that the state projects are in compliance. Above and beyond those few basic things the board should be promoting the project and trying to be creative not destructive. They should be coming up with new ways we can better serve our customers.
I think that in the past Advisory Board members have interpreted the first duty "addressing any problem issues as they arise" as a blanket power to get involved in every aspect of running this project. In my opinion a problem issue is one that hinders or hampers the volunteers of this project from accomplishing their mission of bringing and presenting free genealogical resources and information to the Internet. I do not believe that the Advisory Board needs to be proactive and seek out issues to discuss and things to change just for the sake of change if they are not interfering with the volunteers work.
This is the criteria that I use and will use if elected to determine if the Advisory Board needs to be addressing an issue.
The first thing that I would like to see done is for the new National Coordinator to immediately adjourn the continuous
meeting that the board operates in. Taking a page from the Texas Legislature the board should only have a meeting once every other month, if that often, to entertain and vote on motions and conduct any business that needs to be done. In between meetings topics certainly would be discussed publicly and motions formulated in advance and refined so that when
meetings are held we don't have endless debate over silly things like motion wording and what potential effect this and that will have. These things will have already been discussed. The National Coordinator's time must be freed up to do other things like speak to groups and do interviews to promote the project. Since the National Coordinator must preside at board meetings this will allow the National Coordinator to be free to do other things than count motions and
respond to endless questions concerning parliamentary procedure.
Many volunteers seem preoccupied with trying to change or tweak the structure of this project. I think that we need to keep our eyes on our mission and if we do that many of the percieved problems will not seem nearly as important.
The bylaws that we have are far from perfect but I think they have served us well for the last 10 years and I believe they can continue to serve us well for the next 10 years. I served on the original bylaws committee that worked together to create what we have today.
You have to remember that at the time that the bylaws were written we had an appointed National Coordinator and an appointed advisory board and no written operating guidelines. To the credit of the NC at the time she pushed to get some formality to this whole deal and give the volunteers a say in how the project is run. So the bylaws that were written became a hybrid of traditional bylaws and operating rules because at the time the volunteers demanded details. We struggled to find the right balance and to tried to purposefully keep some items vague to allow room for growth.
The biggest problem with the bylaws is that subsequent Advisory Boards simply took them at face value and did not begin to create operating procedures or guidelines to fill in the gaps as is beginning to happen now 7 or 8 years later. So instead of looking for ways to work with the bylaws and compliment them with procedures the main thing that has happened is that critics have complained about how bad they are and how hard they are to change.
I think the bylaws have served the project well and who would have thought back in 1998 that the project would be celebrating ten years in 2006 but that is where we are. Have the bylaws out lived their usefulness, perhaps but I think that we need to fill in the gaps with a complete set of operating guidelines before we scrap the current bylaws and return with a much more vague outline.
The bylaws make provisions for amending them and I strongly believe that the process should be followed. Many people complain about the bylaws but few try to amend them to support their complaints. If a large number of volunteers agree with your opinion about amending a certain aspect of the bylaws then the process is quite simple. Introduce your idea to your state mailing list. If there is support then write an amendment and have your state sponsor it and put it out there for other states to consider. If five other states support it and sign on as sponsors then it will be put on the next ballot. If a large number of volunteers support the amendment they will vote for it if they don't support it they will not vote for it. Ultimately the volunteers of this project are in control and change will not be made without their support. I will vigorously oppose any attempts to make changes to the structure of this project that bypass the procedures prescribed in the bylaws.
BYLAWS AMENDMENT PROPOSAL ON THE BALLOT THIS YEAR
ARTICLE V. COMPOSITION OF ADVISORY BOARD
ARTICLE XIII. SPECIAL PROJECTS
I am in favor of this amendment, and will be voting Yes.
NEW USGENWEB PROJECT LOGO ON THE BALLOT THIS YEAR
I was not and am not in favor of the project having multiple logos. I made my opinion known on several lists when the opinion poll was taken as to whether we should conduct a search for a new logo but the volunteers voted to have multiple logos so here we are. I feel very strongly that our logo needs to be simple, clear, concise and professional and I will base my vote on those qualities.
My name is Trey Holt and I would be honored to have your vote and serve you on the Advisory Board so that you can continue to do what you do best, bringing and presenting free genealogical resources and information to the Internet.
If I can answer any questions or concerns that you have please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org