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TDG Executive & TDG Members

Each TDG will be governed by a written constitution. This constitution sets out the various electoral rules for the executive committee. These elections will be held every year.

The executive committee will be communicating with the members about the date, time, place, and method of voting. And there might a reminder for members to be wary of campaigning—and not to vote for a member who seems to be campaigning. The members of the executive committee should be good examples of the no-campaigning culture. While their office has given them a higher profile in the community, they should meekly rely on their past work to keep them in that office.

As well, the executive committee should be reminding members to define what constitutes good character and capacity for governance and then cast vote to the neighbor that best defines those characteristics.

All TDG members residing in the TDG are eligible to be voted for. Voters write in the name(s) of their preference on a ballot.

The votes are counted. Based on the vote tallies, the local TDG constitution determines the members of the executive committee.

The executive committee will have almost full control of the affairs of the TDG until the next election. The only things they cannot do are: 1) amend their local TDG constitution and 2) merge with an adjacent TDG. The executive committee can set up the processes for these actions to happen, but these actions will require a majority vote from the membership at a specially called meeting.

The executive committee will assign officers and sub-committees as it sees fit.

The TDG constitution recommends that executive committee members strive for a unanimous decision on all their matters. If the members are in a good consultative mindset, this should happen quite often. If not, a majority vote shall prevail, with the minority backing the majority decision. If too many votes are required, more study of consultation is probably in order.

How will the executive committee find this consultative nature? Well, it goes back to the elections.

Let’s imagine this voting result in a particular TDG neighborhood. Barney gets 25 votes, Betty gets 17 votes, Wilma gets 32 votes, and Fred gets 16 votes. Three other neighbors get three votes each. The four highest votes are people who have built rapport with some of their neighbors. These four people are likely to be of a consultative mindset. In essence, the TDG election picked “from among the best.” Wilma, with her 32 votes, became the neighborhood representative.

But what if Wilma is not of a consultative mindset? In the next year, Wilma will have a higher profile in the neighborhood. If she is showing an arrogant attitude, some of the neighbors who voted for her will cast their vote to someone else in the next election. 

But what if Wilma really doesn’t want the neighbor representative job, which will require about 20 hours a month. If she doesn’t or can’t put in this effort into the position, the neighbors will elect someone else in the next election. A year of a few ineffective neighborhood representatives does not stall the workings of the TDG.

What if Wilma likes the neighborhood representative job and serves well? Chances are good that she will be elected again. But all neighborhood (and higher tier) representatives should anticipate their service might end at the next election. The TDG has ways of moving people in and out of governance.

And this movement is good. The executive committees will always be a combination of old guard with knowledge of the past and new blood with new ideas, perspectives, and energy.

There is no parachuting of candidates in the TDG. Only residents can vote and be voted for in any neighborhood election. In the higher tiers, all representatives must also be residents in the area of those electoral units. 

Some neighborhoods may keep the same representative for 10 or 20 years. Other neighborhoods may change out their representative every year.

Some neighborhood representatives won’t advance any higher in the TDG. They will stay at this low level. That is OK.

A few neighborhood representatives will find their way into the highest tier. But their starting place will always be earning the trust and respect of their neighbors.

Some rank-and-file TDG members may aspire to be the neighborhood representative. But the neighborhood elections will make this decision, not a well-run campaign.

And many rank-and-file members will be happy that they are not elected. Some people just don’t like meetings that much. That’s OK. They can still vote wisely.

Some representatives will have a flair for TDG governance. The TDG will become a bit of a career to them. They will consider their TDG service as an important part of their life. As long as the neighbors keep voting them in, there is nothing wrong with that.

Some representatives will not have this flair. They probably won’t go much higher.

Many TDG members won’t have the lifestyle to serve well as representatives. The lower-tier positions will require free evenings and weekends and being close to home to attend meetings. Many occupations are not designed for this public service. Ideally, employers should schedule an employee’s time to serve on the TDG; but this may not happen. Even though many of these TDG members likely won’t get elected, they still have an important role to play: attend TDG meetings when possible, send a little money, and—most importantly—vote wisely in the annual elections.

Some rank-and-file members might find themselves elected but can’t understand why. Their neighbors may have seen something in them that they cannot see in themselves. These representatives will serve as best they can. They might be reelected next year. Or might not.

Many citizens will get a little experience in TDG governance sometime in their lives. This experience will give them an innate understanding of why the TDG works so well. They will be good ambassadors for the TDG when they are out of office.

Published in Medium 2021

Amending the TDG Constitution

Merging TDGs