Factom leadership and decision making vote

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Should ANOs continue to remain part of the community decision making process?


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  • Total voters
    17
  • Poll closed .

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Factom finally seems ready to decide on a new leadership structure. Different ideas are shaping into governance proposals. It’s a time of necessity, with varying options to choose from. However, as engagement on recent discussions has dwindled, we’re still facing uncertainty. Proposals that have been reasonably thought through and detailed are failing because of the inability to agree on the details as distinct from their overriding worth. This leaves the community without a clear sense of what to focus on and without a conclusion.

This major timed discussion thread is aimed at establishing a community mandate for the direction of our collective governance efforts. It’s also here because the positive & negative implications of a new structure are pretty enormous and there’s no easy way back once we have it.

The vote has two phases. The first phase, in this thread, is a majority motion that asks a simple question. “Should ANOs continue to remain part of the community decision making process?”. More explicitly, it asks if ANOs should continue to participate in many of the processes that they ultimately hold authority over by having a vote to cast. This does not affect special mandates for any entity such as grant management.

The second phase is initiated when the majority vote concludes. We will start a preferential vote which uses instant-runoff voting (IRV). The forum has no built-in functionality for this, so it will be done manually and verified through a script. This may be a bit “clunky”, more details to provide complete transparency will shortly be provided. It will be used to determine a winner from the options below:

If this first vote ends in YES, ANOs will rank the following options:
  1. ANOs hold all decision making authority alone (status quo)
  2. ANOs share decision making with a single person (e.g. director)
  3. ANOs share decision making with a multi-member body (e.g. steering council)
  4. ANOs share decision making with an entity not described in options 2 & 3.
If this first vote ends in NO, ANOs will rank the following options:
  1. All decision making should be conducted by one person
  2. All decision making should be conducted by a multi-person body
  3. All decision making should be conducted by an entity not described in options 1 & 2.
For a decision tree showing how this voting may work please see: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1Sj4t3Rswlc4b0RC_0p1sAovbQJZjWd0aa2NU6x4w9JA/edit?usp=sharing
or the PDF version https://drive.google.com/file/d/10WuCrUFQgSL7e21j3u99IEgxXhg7pUOl/view?usp=sharing

Please note that this vote is an anonymous vote.

A "NO" vote would completely disenfranchise ANOs from community governance decision making.
This would not take effect immediately at the conclusion of the vote, but would instead occur once "something else is adopted" and the required functionally was in place. As indicated in the decision tree, if ANOs choose to remove themselves from governance decision making (forum votes, grants, ANO accessions/removals, etc.), the next planned vote provides multiple rankable choices on what entity would assume total decision authority for the community.

---similarly---

A "YES" vote keeps ANOs as part of the community governance decision making process.
And in the next planned vote, ANOs will rank multiple options on how ANOs will remain involved in decision making.
These options include ANOs retaining complete (100%) decision authority, or alternatively sharing decision authority with another entity(ies), such as a multi-member council, single director, or something else.
 
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Chappie

Factomize Bot
This thread is a Major Timed Discussion and I am designed to help facilitate efficient communication.

Only ANOs may take part in this discussion and vote. Unless this discussion is ended early or extended, it will end in 8 days after which a vote may take place. After 18 hours from the start of the thread or any point up until 24 hours are left in the discussion, you can make a motion to end the discussion immediately or extend the discussion beyond it's initial time frame by selecting the pertinent button at the top of this thread. If someone "seconds" your motion, a poll will take place and if a majority of voters vote yes by the time the discussion is scheduled to end, the time period will be extended for 72 hours.
 
Do we really need to add more choice at this point and include ANO decision making into a vote?All whilst another process is already running.

To me this is a bit typical to our inability to get to decisions. The more you include in proposals the bigger the risk it will fail. The council approach has failed in its 1st pass. The director approach is running and AFAIK that has not a lot of protocols/governance set in stone for a reason.

Can we please simply follow that through and not take another turn and have more lengthy discussions about our failures to decision making?
 
I do think that everyone expected the ANOs to continue to work with whatever we add. I'd point out too that ridding ANOs of final decision making authority will damage our argument for being distributed. Even adding the structure is a bit of a risk, but likely manageable as long as ANOs have the final word.
 
Also I believe FCT holders should be able to respond in discussions like these.
They can.

Can we please simply follow that through and not take another turn?
Eh, when the Director idea was pitched during the council vote, you didn't hear me say it should be pulled.

The most recent vote for the Director didn't even reach the minimum turnout required. Because engagement is so low, we don't know if any proposal will make it. After this vote, instead of having two camps, we'll have one camp that accepts what the direction will be.
 
Also I believe FCT holders should be able to respond in discussions like these.
We do need to add FCT holders and burners to decision making, but it should be part of the current process, for fear of more complexity.

edit: I meant it should not be part of the current process, as it adds too much complexity. Sorry.
 
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I think ANOs being included/excluded is a bit odd regardless.

They run the nodes and it is POA, so they decide. If that is to be changed that needs to be a process, with a clear outlook/roadmap and incentives. Just asking the decision makers whether they should be removed from decision making is both odd and skewed of you ask me. It is not a simple thing to decide upfront.
 
Why I would vote YES

1. Mandates and participation


You only need strong, centralized decision-making for a few things. Strategy, funding and resource management. That’s it. We need a strong mandate for someone/something to decide who or what needs funding, provide a budget, and award work on a rolling basis.

ANOs having a 0% vote has no benefits for all our supplementary processes. Efficiency changes, node upgrades, tokenomics, rebrand votes. There’s no good way to enforce those. They need sufficient buy-in and involvement, which under a 0% ANO vote only decreases because participation will decrease.

It’s far better and easier to implement strong mandates in a shared decision-making structure, which fosters some level of participation, creating that buy-in we need.

It pains me that we could already have had a suitable framework active and now be working on code for our tokenomics proposalwhich is ultimately what we need most.

2. The veto effect

Any 100% entity potentially comes with all sorts of conflicting interests and nepotism concerns, so we talked about vetoes.

Vetoes have a weakness. Like in point 1, they depend on the activity and participation rates of the parties with that veto. With a 0% ANO vote, the already disengaged ANOs have less reason to participate, which strongly weakens the veto.

You counteract this very easily by keeping a shared decision-making structure to stimulate participation and/or move vetoes away from just ANOs to other bodies (open membership committees, at least as a bridge until we have token holder votes).


Tldr; with strong mandates in areas that matter most (strategy, resources), you never need a 100% decision-making entity that reduces the buy-in for decisions it can’t enforce. To better protect against strong conflicts of interest, keep the parties with vetoes engaged and active, which is again better done in a shared decision-making structure.
 
They can.
Okay should have said vote I guess. The first question is vague right now (see next post). So we ask the parties that have sole decision making power, but couldn't do so for last year and with a protocol at drift, whether they want to have some of their power in decision making removed? I think that is a question that would concern EC burners and FCT holders as well in a vote.


The most recent vote for the Director didn't even reach the minimum turnout required. Because engagement is so low, we don't know if any proposal will make it. After this vote, instead of having two camps, we'll have one camp that accepts what the direction will be.
An informal vote, that had one faulty abstenation, and also had a clear majority into a direction. I see members that drafted the council approach using that as justification for failure. No it says nothing about any outcome. But if the person puting that up for a vote decides to continue, I can only applaud him. To me all of this is the simple addition of why our system fails, and has been failing for so long (please remember that several parties have mentioned the exact problem over the course of last 2 years, yet here we are with a decision tree based on a question that is vague and to which the only outcome can be Yes in its current form).
 
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Just for clarification, the Yes/No question really is:

Should ANOs be involved or being able to cast their vote in every single decision?

If not, I really do not see the point to the question in the first place. No matter what solution you choose we are PoA. Nothing technical could change that quickly. Every single option that would be chosen automatically includes ANOs in decision making in the end, since we are PoA and even in the most directional solution it would include soft decision making of ANOs. That could become very hard as they have eventual control, by means of their nodes. That will not be gone in any case presented, so asking a vague question to the parties in control is odd, because the outcome will be an automatic yes with the way it is currently asked.
 
An informal vote, that had one faulty abstenation, and also had a clear majority into a direction. I see members that drafted the council approach using that as justification. To me all of this is the simple addition of why our system fails, and has been failing for so long (please remember that several parties have mentioned the exact problem over the course of last 2 years).
The delay really comes from submitting counter-proposals and now needing to wait for a rush job that we don't know will pass.

We wasted 5 weeks in this bull run by creating a false dichotomy between two ideas. Apparently you also conclude the outcome is always the same. ANOs have a final say and no entity can enforce PoA-based decisions. Just slap a roadmap/funding/hiring mandate on the council and we could have been up and running already.

Anyway. This poll isn't rocket-science. If people want you as a Director, that's what this will reveal and we can all rally behind it. If not, we empower the council structure with the strong mandates people seem to want, and have it ready in 3 hours.

Whatever the outcome, the first order of business should be to match the tokenomics proposal to it and get it up and running.
 
A qualified, experienced Director will outperform a three-person Steering council made up of less qualified, but well-intentioned people. In the future, when the protocol is hopefully in a much better position, I am not opposed to moving to a 3 person steering Council. However, right now we need to put decision-making power in the most capable person's hands. The direness of Factom's situation dictates this.

Whatever the outcome, the first order of business should be to match the tokenomics proposal to it and get it up and running.
I agree this needs to be at or near the top of the list, but we have way more problems than just the tokenomics, as evidenced by Sphereon not feeling comfortable with Factom right now. The fact that people are not super worried about end-users not feeling comfortable using Factom blows my mind. I think we'd at least all agree that we are screwed without usage/entities actually using the protocol.
 
I don't think it is very fair to blame a counter proposal that seeks clear direction after a proposal was put forth that has been worked on for more than half a year.

Also please don't make this about me. Multiple nominations are in, including yourself. I haven't even reacted to it, as it has impact on professional and personal life and is not something to decide overnight unless it is an immediate no like David.

Yes me personally as well as Sphereon is a proponent of any nomination as a director, simply since we want a person with a proper mandate to make day to day decisions, backed by most ANOs, in order for us to consider the protocol as a serious partner. Instead of a protocol that needs to discuss with every single ANO on every single decision and thus fails to come to consensus time and time again.

I agree the 2nd part that follows in the decision tree isn't rocket science. These are SMART. The first question only has the outcome yes, otherwise the concept of PoA can go overboard. So I would love to see that clarified because I must be really bad at reading.

Whatever the outcome, the first order of business should be to match the tokenomics proposal to it and get it up and running.
Yes a proper proposal with the right incentives across the board is indeed very much needed. Together with strategy, mission and above all focus.
 
Recent minor and unofficial discussions and polls have seen less and less standing party engagement and participation, producing outcomes that have been both less and less representative and unofficial.This major discussion vote is proposal agnostic, and aims to provide:

* clarity about which decision making model the standing parties want
* a mandate for its implementation

Therefore none of this excludes the proposal for an Executive Director; what it does do is start to clarify what ANOs want and look ahead in terms of the options and implementation. It seeks to clarify and improve the pace of our decision making at a time when we are not making the progress we should. We cannot continue to only consider the immediate next step. We need to be both more decisive and more strategic.

As for the appropriateness of the question it is there to serve the purpose of enabling the next stage discussion and debate. While this first voting decision point is simple, it’s critical to inform how the community should proceed. We need to get this right, and it needs to be representative - this should be what we all want so we can unite collaboratively behind a specific direction.Whilst it may seem a strange question it is important to get this foundation right. Is it a difficult question to answer? It should not be.
 
Based on Niels' point about this vote really being about whether ANOs should have decision power in day-to-day matters: I hope that this will turn out to be a 'No'. Until now ANOs have spent massive amounts of time discussing day-to-day matters and we have seen lots of initiative slowly being washed out. If the Factom protocol gains momentum, our current model does not scale. Whether we have a council or a director structure, we need to get away from a model where everyone has to have a say in everything. It is not efficient.
Whether we go with a council or a director structure, those who would be handed the responsibility should a) be possible to remove by the ANOs b) realize this and make sure they have the necessary amount of backing at all times. Yes, there will be decisions that are not popular with everyone. But that would be the case, even if ANOs get involved in every decision.
 

Chappie

Factomize Bot
We are now 18 hours into the discussion. You may now make a motion to extend this Major Discussion by an additional 72 hours or end this conversation by selecting the pertinent button at the top of this thread. This option will end when there are 24 hours left in the discussion.
 
Hi Hinamatsuri,

Thank you for your post. You make some really good points.

You are right that ANOs spend massive amounts of time discussing day to day matters which is why ideally we should move to a point where such things are managed by the people most experienced and capable to deal with them. A number of the subsequent options seek to enable that, including a centralized authority such as a director (and whatever structure they would install) and a representative body such as a Steering Council, or some other construct.

You make the point that those who would be handed the responsibility should be able to be removed by the ANOs so that ANO backing for decisions is more assured. This is fundamentally important. It follows logically from a Yes vote but not so logically from a No vote. This is because the Yes vote then enables the next logical step of understanding and deciding what such balance of power should be.

Excluding mandates we put with people, this vote asks if ANOs should be reduced to merely an 'auditing' role without being able to formally partake in processes. Just a monitoring role entails less involvement and ownership of decisions and could enable a centralized entity to abuse the system if we do not diligently participate and we have not been good at that.

It is a vital first question, one not to be seen as a distraction from the "director vs council" debate. It is the central question for our current community because we cannot just skip ahead to creating a council or director. You are right that we must address “how do those that currently hold all the power to make decisions want to make decisions in the future?" There are only three realistic answers to this question: 1) they retain the entirety of this authority, 2) they share this authority, or 3) they abdicate this authority to something or someone else.

As such a NO vote points us toward abdicating this authority it precludes the strategic and overarching control which Paul referred to.

This then has to be the starting point, and it's the most important question. Without the answer to the above question all other proposals are just personal random opinions not tied to any objective or mandate.
 
Can I get the clarification I asked for? Currently I can interpret the vote in multiple ways.

1)
Are we voting whether ANOs should be involved and have a vote in every day decision making?

2)
Are we voting whether 1) is also expected from them


1 and 2 would be a definitive No for BIF. @Hinamatsuri already summarized why.

3)
Are we voting whether ANOs will still have eventual decision making power, meaning it could overrule any solution we implement for day to day operation?

That would be an automatic Yes, given we are Proof of Authority in the first place. I don't see how anyone could vote otherwise tbh. That however leaves only 1 and 2. But those are already more or less contained in the follow up questions. We either vote for current system, a completely new system or for leadership in the form of the council with committees or in the form of a director. If we vote leadership it doesn't make sense to involve ANOs automatically in every day decisions. That is why you choose leadership.


So depending on how je interpret this question we would vote yes or no, meaning we would have to abstain and also believe others would interpret it as they see fit.
 
I am not sure we really need ANOs to have a say in everything to get things done. We need to do the work, and just get a sign off on the work. In the end, ANOs have an effective veto by simply refusing to upgrade the protocol to implement stuff they don't like.

One of our issues is that we are trying to build a traditional company with traditional decision making out of a distributed project. We really need to leverage our developers to push more on chain, and leverage the fact that developers and the ANOs effectively implement governance, even today. So how we organize our efforts can be independent of the underlying governance that must agree to keep the protocol functional.
 
Hi Mike,

I appreciate the intention of this vote, but it is difficult to understand the implications of a Yes and a No, when the line between them are blurry.

In your initial post you say:
The first phase, in this thread, is a majority motion that asks a simple question. “Should ANOs continue to remain part of the community decision making process?”. More explicitly, it asks if ANOs should continue to participate in many of the processes that they ultimately hold authority over by having a vote to cast. This does not affect special mandates for any entity such as grant management.
I interpreted this to mean that a 'No' vote means that ANOs cede decision power over day-to-day matters, but not that ANOs are completely excluded from governance - as you mention special mandates - thus including a scenario where ANOs can vote out the leadership structure that handles day-to-day matters. However in your latest post you write

You make the point that those who would be handed the responsibility should be able to be removed by the ANOs so that ANO backing for decisions is more assured. This is fundamentally important. It follows logically from a Yes vote but not so logically from a No vote. This is because the Yes vote then enables the next logical step of understanding and deciding what such balance of power should be.
Based on this it seems like a 'Yes' can mean that ANOs can then have decision power over something like 2% to 100% of decisions, based on follow up discussions, whereas 'No' is ANOs to something like 1% to 2% of decision power, as they will be reduced to choosing whether to run the software or not. Is that a correct interpretation? If not, can we get more specific on the distinction between a Yes and a No?

For example I do not believe any leadership structure should be able to remove ANOs. However I would like a leadership structure that approves grants without voting from the ANOs and I would expect ANOs to follow that decision in the same way they follow the grant vote decisions. Would that be a Yes or No?
 
One more thing that has less to do with the implications of Yes and No (and therefore in a separate post):
Excluding mandates we put with people, this vote asks if ANOs should be reduced to merely an 'auditing' role without being able to formally partake in processes. Just a monitoring role entails less involvement and ownership of decisions and could enable a centralized entity to abuse the system if we do not diligently participate and we have not been good at that.
My take on this is that until now no-one from the protocol side had clear responsibility when something went wrong, i.e. unsuccessful grants. If we go forward with any kind of leadership structure with a strong mandate, whether a council or a director, there will be someone to point to whenever things go wrong. So it will incentivize those who receives the responsibility to manage the protocol diligently, as long as they know they can be removed if they do not.
 
I am not sure we really need ANOs to have a say in everything to get things done. We need to do the work, and just get a sign off on the work. In the end, ANOs have an effective veto by simply refusing to upgrade the protocol to implement stuff they don't like.
100% agree

One of our issues is that we are trying to build a traditional company with traditional decision making out of a distributed project. We really need to leverage our developers to push more on chain, and leverage the fact that developers and the ANOs effectively implement governance, even today. So how we organize our efforts can be independent of the underlying governance that must agree to keep the protocol functional.
I would agree in principle, except we have failed spectacularly last 1.5 year at it. Nobody is suggesting to go down for instance a director route and stay at one director/CEO/whatever for eternity. However we do need someone that is both accountable and not afraid to break a few eggs to get things moving into a direction. That doesn't happen automatically and it also doesn't happen if ANOs remain the sole decision makers as all they have to "fear" is fellow ANOs who are almost all in hibernation.

It needs someone setting out the lines, rallying the troops, ensuring incentives are aligned and next to direction we need a form of speed/agility at this point. Let's not try to adjust our current structure with some small changes at this point in time. Let's get the ball rolling and get to a state that is more in line with idealism.

If you ask me this is a classic idealism vs realism problem. The protocol is shaped more towards idealism albeit with several flaws like not including standing for other parties. We do need more realism short and medium term to get into a shape where we can be big enough to reshape into the idealistic situation.
 
There is absolutely no need to invent multiple interpretations of this very simple question.

The question up for vote is fundamental, and a yes/no answer structure sufficiently captures 98% of how a reasonable person would interpret it.

A decision tree is also provided to clarify how the question should be interpreted if needed.
 
Whut, there are 2 people basically stating the same thing. It is a binary question which simply leaves out nuances. Sorry to break it to you but it simply is a very bad question to start a discussion based on. Way too broad. And if you simply take the question from the title, the obvious answer will be a yes, so it doesn't make sense.

Guess it nicely sums up our problems though.
 
Can I get the clarification I asked for? Currently I can interpret the vote in multiple ways.

1)
Are we voting whether ANOs should be involved and have a vote in every day decision making?

2)
Are we voting whether 1) is also expected from them


1 and 2 would be a definitive No for BIF. @Hinamatsuri already summarized why.

3)
Are we voting whether ANOs will still have eventual decision making power, meaning it could overrule any solution we implement for day to day operation?
I'm just going to assume this also covers @Hinamatsuri's recent post.

The vote asks the following:

Can ANOs still formally participate in governance processes, excluding mandates? That would be your options 1 & 2.

To put this into crude percentages. Do we want a 100% entity where ANOs only monitor/check off, or do we want a shared structure (e.g. 32-68%) where ANOs still participate except for those areas that are mandated.

Here's a good example of where that choice become relevant:

I am not sure we really need ANOs to have a say in everything to get things done. We need to do the work, and just get a sign off on the work. In the end, ANOs have an effective veto by simply refusing to upgrade the protocol to implement stuff they don't like.
No one really disagrees there anymore. We need a mandate for a party that handles the grant system and has funds available to attract work, delegate and achieve results; subject to auditing.

You can do this in both systems. With formal ANO participation and without formal ANO participation.

To me, there are clear benefits to keeping formal ANO participation in some areas. Two reasons:

1. There's increased buy-in for decisions requiring PoA if ANOs are involved. The last two years have worked very well in terms of upgrading and respecting decisions.
2. Non-PoA decisions (e.g. rebrands, funding from an already minted pool / treasury) have better monitoring. ANOs are generally pretty weak auditors; no longer requiring any formal participation will only worsen it, which is very risky.
 
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Whut, there are 2 people basically stating the same thing. It is a binary question which simply leaves out nuances. Sorry to break it to you but it simply is a very bad question to start a discussion based on. Way too broad. And if you simply take the question from the title, the obvious answer will be a yes, so it doesn't make sense.

Guess it nicely sums up our problems though.
I’m sorry you feel frustrated.
If you have questions, could you reply to this post and and clearly list them?
If you think it would help, I’ll try to answer those that I’m able later tonight.
Thank You
 
I have always pushed back on the idea that every ANO needs to be an active participant in decisions. About the only thing ANOs really need to do is update their software on time, and keep their nodes running. The Developers need to develop. And to be practical, they need to be supported by the protocol, or by an entity that has a large stake in the protocol. Historically, the latter gave way to the former, but it can be a mix.

Someone needs to make decisions. This is mostly happening informally in back channels today among active people. So bring some of that into the light, and make decisions more publicly. However we want to do it.

In Summary, let's do what we want with governance. But we should also be clear that the very clear, absolutely true reality is that the ANOs deploy the code and ultimately have the distributed say as to what the protocol does. And we all have an interest in making the protocol useful to support our businesses, and the token stable to provide resources to maintain the protocol, and distribute access to the protocol.
 
I'm just going to assume this also covers @Hinamatsuri's recent post.

The vote asks the following:

Can ANOs still formally participate in governance processes, excluding mandates? That would be your options 1 & 2.

To put this into crude percentages. Do we want a 100% entity where ANOs only monitor/check off, or do we want a shared structure (e.g. 32-68%) where ANOs still participate except for those areas that are mandated.

Here's a good example of where that choice become relevant:
Thx for the clarification. I think this simply should have been made clear from the get go, hence why IMO it was a bad question to start out the discussion of our future in this way. To be clear I am all open for the follow-up question in the flow diagram, but IMO that simply is the important question to answer.

If at Sphereon we assign a new CEO he/she is not a major shareholder probably. In day to day operations, me being the CTO with distinct responsibilities, am accountable to that CEO. Heck he could even fire me or demote me as CTO if it came to that. @mboender @Sebastian and me also being shareholders also means the opposite thing. As shareholders we are not involved in day to day decisions (yes people have problem separating out distinct roles with different views on problems), but we are involved with general direction of the company and we can certainly appoint a new CEO if we wouldn't like what was happening. We could even limit the mandate for the CEO upfront, like for instance only being able to make financial decisions below a certain amount. In the end the shareholders still have full control of what will happen in the broad sense, simply not in the day to day operations.

A director/CEO (in Sphereon or for the protocol) wouldn't last long in whatever setup you choose if he/she makes all decisions unilaterally. A good director makes sure every involved party is served well and involved where it needs to be. That means employees, management, shareholders, clients and partners. Above all the role ensures to put the company/protocol first. So decision making still is happening across different layers if the CEO or Council doesn't deem it a trivial decision

Given the Protocol is Proof of Authority the ANOs are the one with the power regardless very much akin to the shareholders example above. Whatever solution we decide upon in the end the ultimate power remains at the ANOs. Given the background of the question really is how much control ANOs want to relinquish in day to day decisions the more reason to include voting of others as well instead of the ANOs voting whether they want to give up some of their "control".

Also IMO it clearly shows this stems from what is basically already lied out in the different approaches. It is rather natural that with a director the ANOs relinquish more day to day decision making and have someone accountable. The council with committees approach somewhere in the middle and keeping current situation at the opposite end. The only real problem is with the council approach about how much autonomy it would get, because it is a solution in the middle that could easily erode.

So the natural approach should have been to ask question 2 first and then based on the outcome and more discussion start talking about the amount of control ANOs would relinquish in day to day operations.
 
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I’m sorry you feel frustrated.
If you have questions, could you reply to this post and and clearly list them?
If you think it would help, I’ll try to answer those that I’m able later tonight.
Thank You
No need. Handwaving concerns by multiple people, even indicating they cannot vote isn't helping at all.
@WB already nicely answered the question.
 
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