Summit Part 1: Governance

Kent James kent at
Tue Oct 21 14:07:48 UTC 2014

On 10/21/2014 5:28 AM, Patrick Cloke wrote:
> Kent did not include it in this email, but the gist of the plan (to my 
> understanding) was to have this initial set of people serve 1 year 
> terms and then to define longer terms and guidelines in some sort of 
> charter. I think we discussed 2 year terms at the Summit with ~half 
> the Council up for election each year, but 3 year terms is reasonable 
> as well!

Patrick is correct. Time was limited, and we needed to accomplish the 
essential business of simply having any governance in place first, with 
details to flesh out in a charter. Longer terms are clearly part of the 
plan. It will be easier to get people to agree to longer terms once we 
have a better idea of the work involved.

Although there may be cases where the selection of the Thunderbird 
Council ends up being contentious over some aspect of project direction, 
the more normal problem is just motivating people to serve on the 
Council, along with encouraging emerging leadership. So we need both 
some regular turnover so that emerging leaders can be added, but also 
terms that are short enough that people are willing to commit. 2 year 
terms, with perhaps a limit of 4 consecutive years, I believe is about 

On the term of the Council Chair, that is ultimately a decision of the 
Thunderbird Council. We set an initial term of 3 months simply to give 
us time to discuss the role of the Chair, not with any expectation that 
the Chair would rotate every 3 months. We did agree that the person who 
is the Chair needs to be able to use that title publicly within Mozilla 
as the person who can speak for the project, but we did not want to see 
the Chair promoted publicly as the personality behind Thunderbird.


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