While working on the articles in the LPedia on the Libertarian Party of Florida’s conventions, I watched the videos of the business meeting of the 2015 convention. There was a long discussion about whether posting to a FaceBook group constituted public notice about an agenda item for the business meeting. Eventually it was decided that it did. I wondered if most members of the party actually had access to that FB group.
I then looked at the Governing Documents of the LPF, and noticed that the question of public notice is a bit murky, and scattered throughout the documents. Additionally, the current system doesn’t really allow for easy access to certain things, like the calendar.
So I’ve made the following proposed addition to the Standing Rules to be brought up at the 2018 annual convention:
ARTICLE XVI Libertarian Party of Florida Website and Public Notice
Section 1. – Public Notice
All required notices in the Constitution of the Libertarian Party of Florida, the Bylaws of the Libertarian Party of Florida, or the Standing Rules of the Libertarian Party of Florida must be made on the web site of the Libertarian Party of Florida (lpf.org). Meeting notifications shall be made by utilizing the Event Calendar (see Section 2). Social media, email, and other such avenues may be used to supplement the notice on lpf.org, but cannot replace the required notice.
A Change Notification email list will be created and maintained. Any time a change is made to lpf.org, an email shall be sent to the subscribers notifying them of the change. This email list shall have an open and free subscription policy.Changes to County affiliates, the party leadership, the party committees, and the governing documents shall be reflected on lpf.org within one week of the change occurring.
Section 2. – The Event Calendar
The Event Calendar maintained on lpf.org shall provide notice of all meetings of the Libertarian Party of Florida Executive Committee, Committees, the Annual Convention, and other such meetings. Any notification deadline specified by the Constitution of the Libertarian Party of Florida, the Bylaws of the Libertarian Party of Florida, or the Standing Rules of the Libertarian Party of Florida, must be met by placing an item on the Event Calendar.
County affiliates are invited, but not required, to add their meetings and activities to the Event Calendar. If the county affiliate lists their events and activities on the Event Calendar, they shall promptly inform the Libertarian Party of Florida of any changes to their schedule.
The Event Calendar will include an iCal, GData, or similar feed so that it can be displayed within an existing personal calendar.
Some of this is already happening, but has not been memorialized in the Governing Documents. This means that this could stop being done at any time. The rest of it is leveraging technology so that it’s not necessary to physically check the state web site on a regular basis.
The responses against this proposal that I’ve seen so far fall into two camps:
- We already do this. OK, that’s fine. The parts that you claim you already do, keep doing. All this motion does is memorialize your actions so that a change in leadership doesn’t actually change the way the organization functions. A change in the way the organization functions will need to be ratified by actions of the EC or the libertarians of Florida. Is this really a problem? And if so, why?
- I’m not sure we can do it. I’m not sure which part can’t be done. From what I can tell, the LPF web site is built on WordPress, the same software that drives this blog. One of the nice things about WordPress is that it’s very well supported. Lots of people write plug-ins and add-ons for WordPress. I know that most calendars include an iCal or other mechanism that lets you share the calendar as a calendar, incorporating it into another calendar. Both Google Calendar and Outlook are fine with displaying external calendars. The other option is the change notification email list. In reality, it doesn’t need to be a list, just a subscription add-in to the site. Whenever the site changes, the subscription add-in would automatically send out an email. None of this technology is brand new; it’s all tried and tested (in internet years), yet we’re hesitant to incorporate it in the LPF site.
It makes me wonder what the underlying rationale is for not wanting the public to know when things are posted, when things change, and what meetings of the LPF are coming up.
After I submitted the above proposal for the 2018 LPF Convention, I also sent an email to the Rules Committee, the Secretary, and the Communications Committee. They’ve got plenty of time to evaluate the proposal and tweak it to be acceptable to them before the convention.