Month: August 2016

Opposition Statement from 6 Past Presidents, etc.

Dear IEEE Member,
As you are likely aware by now, voting in the annual IEEE election has begun. Members are asked to vote on a constitutional amendment that would fundamentally change IEEE.  The matter that has become quite contentious within the IEEE leadership. You may access the ballot at www.ieee.org/elections.

The overwhelming majority of IEEE’s technical societies, 26 of them, plus many sections, have expressed opposition to the constitutional amendment at the level of their leadership.  Six past IEEE presidents, among other leaders (see the signatories below) have also expressed their opposition.
Why is there such widespread opposition?  Because, among other reasons, the amendment would enable:

  • a small group to take control of IEEE
  • transferring of power from over 300,000 members to a small group of insiders,
  • removing technical activities representation from the Board of Directors, thereby diminishing the voices of technology in steering IEEE’s future,
  • removing regional representation from the Board of Directors thereby making it possible that, e.g., no Asian or European representatives will be on the Board of Directors – thus breaking the link between our sections and the decisions the Board will make,
  • moving vital parts of the constitution to the bylaws – which could be subject to change by a small group, on short notice.

The opponents feel that the risks and detrimental effects of the amendment would far outweigh the purported benefits.  The existing IEEE constitution offers alternative, less complex ways of accomplishing the intended improvements while maintaining members at the core of the decision making process.

Additional reasons for opposing the constitutional amendment and the proposed restructuring may be found at the “Loyal Opposition’s” website and at the Washington, DC Section’s website. It is important that IEEE members be informed about the possible consequences if this Amendment were to pass. The possible benefits of the amendment are discussed at the amendment website.

Please share this message with other members, and please VOTE AGAINST the amendment!  IEEE members may access the ballot via the Access Ballot button here.

Charles K. Alexander 1997 IEEE President
W. Cleon Anderson 2005 IEEE President
Marc T Apter 2013 IEEE-USA President, and
2004-2005 IEEE Vice President, Regional Activities
Anthony C Davies 2003-2004 IEEE Region 8 Director
Harold Flescher 2003-2004 Division IV Director, and
2009 Technical Activities Vice President
2011-2012 IEEE Treasurer
Jim Isaak 2002/4 IEEE Division Director, and
2010 Computer Society President
Tony Ivanov 2016 IEEE Washington DC Section Chair
Michael Lightner 2006 IEEE President
Roberto de Marca 2014 IEEE President
Troy Nagle 1994 IEEE President
John Vig 2009 IEEE President

 

Why I am going to vote NO on the constitutional amendment (M.Lightner)

Abstract

As an IEEE Life Fellow, 2006 IEEE President and CEO, former VP-TAB, VP-PSPB, VP-EAB, President CAS and many, many more positions I have a clear view of the power and value of IEEE.  IEEE is designed to have members become volunteers and volunteers become leaders. Many great ideas in IEEE have come from members and volunteers. IEEE is a bottom-up, grass-roots, volunteer-led organization and these characteristics are what allowed IEEE to have such an impact on my career and those of hundreds of thousands more.  I view the proposed constitutional amendment as a fundamental threat to these key characteristics of IEEE.  I do not want a corporate board. I do not want a command and control structure for IEEE. Therefore, I will NOT vote for the amendment and urge you to vote NO as well.

 If you have more time

I want to begin by saying that I hold the current IEEE leadership in high regard and don’t believe anyone is behaving except in IEEE’s best interest – in their opinion.  I happen to have a different opinion on what is in IEEE’s best interest and would like to say why I am voting no.  First, some background. I am a Life Fellow, have been an IEEE member for over 45 years, have served as CAS society president, division director, VP TAB, VP PSPB, 2005 Pres-elect, 2006 President and CEO, 2007 Past President, VP EAB and a myriad of roles in committees in my society and at the board and organizational unit level.  During this time, I served on the Board of Directors for ten years.

However, for the first half of my time in IEEE I was not even aware there was a Board of Directors, never paid attention to who was President, I did not know there was a TAB until I was a society president and only then learned of some of the other organizational units.  The point of this is that I was highly engaged, involved in conferences, journals, committees, felt I was making a difference to IEEE and my profession and certainly benefited from IEEE.  Why was this possible? Because IEEE was set up to be highly driven by volunteers at the grass roots level. New ideas came from grass roots volunteers and IEEE was organized to enabled this.

In the second half of my time in IEEE I was much more connected with the “higher” levels of the organization.  I believe that some very good things were facilitated by these higher levels, but many of the key ideas came either from grass roots volunteers, or came from volunteers at the higher levels based on their experience at the grass roots  their experience making things happen.

In short, IEEE is NOT a typical business organization and its’ unique and powerful character comes from being different.  We don’t have a ‘corporate board’. We don’t have a ‘command and control’ structure.  Sometimes this slows us down, other times it gives us the wisdom to make the right decisions.  We are an organization that inherently is successful when we enable members to be volunteers, when we enable volunteers to be creative and serve their particular community, be it technical, geographic or both.

Does the proposed constitution change mean that what I think has been most powerful and important about IEEE would immediately disappear?  Not necessarily.  However, the nature of the organizational hierarchy would change and the ability of the new Board to continue to make changes would be essentially unchecked. The board would have much greater power and authority and much less representation of the membership.  As stated at the beginning, I don’t believe that any of these changes would be done with malicious intent.  But, they would be done with a much more corporate/command and control mindset and, I believe, this would change the essential characteristics of IEEE.  The IEEE that was a continuous enabler of my career would fade away.

I don’t believe that a member-as-customer model is the correct one for IEEE. Based on my experience enabling members to be volunteers and enabling volunteers to create and lead IEEE is the correct model and the model that makes us a special professional organization.  If you see IEEE as belonging to the members, as being member and volunteer driven, as being an organization that fosters professional growth from student member to member of the Board of Directors, I urge you to vote NO on the proposed constitutional amendment.

Sincerely,
Michael Lightner, IEEE Life Fellow

2006 IEEE President

Vice President for Academic Affairs
University of Colorado System
Professor of Electrical, Computer, and Energy Engineering
University of Colorado Boulder

Victorian Section Executive Committee

On August 15 2016 the IEEE elections process will start. In addition to the election of our top officer, the ballot will ask members to vote on a proposed amendment to the IEEE Constitution. The amendment is proposed by the IEEE Board of Directors but has been strongly opposed by a number of past IEEE Presidents and by a large number of IEEE Societies as well as other organisational units. On August 2nd the IEEE Victorian Section Executive Committee, after due deliberation, took the view that the proposed changed were not in the best interest of our members and voted to oppose them. We encourage members to inform themselves on the vote and urge our members to vote against the constitutional amendment.  (See: http://www.ieeevic.org/constitutional-changes-information/ )

Resolution of the Victorian Section Executive Committee

At the August meeting of the IEEE Victorian Section Executive Committee we discussed the proposed changes to the IEEE Constitution. All IEEE members globally will be asked to vote on these changes over the next few months. At the meeting the committee passed the following resolution:

“That the Victorian Section Committee, after due deliberation, has voted its opposition to the proposed constitutional changes for the following reasons:

(1) Currently the IEEE is a bottom-up organisation run for the members and the societies as well as the broader IEEE corporate agenda. The proposed amendments to the constitution alter the balance within the IEEE between the Board and other groups.

(2) Technical and geographic representatives will find it harder to have their voice heard at the Board level. Division Directors will be removed from the Board under these proposed changes. It is no surprise then that apparently the majority of societies have voiced opposition to the proposed changes. Regional Directors are the connection with volunteers and resources and they too will be removed from the Board.

(3) How the Board of IEEE will be set up to have a wide possible representation of IEEE interests is not explained by the proposed changes – we know it will be people nominated by the Board itself but it is quite uncertain what the criteria are for the Board to nominate people and who can aim to serve on the Board.

This motion is to be distributed by e-mail to all IEEE members in Victoria before the start of the vote. We encourage members to inform themselves on the vote. Based on our consideration of the issue, the Victorian Section Executive Committee urges members to vote against the constitutional amendment.”

TAB Amendment Presentation

Apparently, the IEEE (major) Technical Activities Board (TAB) is not being given the right to post the presentation from their 2030 Ad Hoc committee that resulted in a vote by TAB to ask the Board of Directors to withdraw the 2016 Constitutional Amendment.  This is directly contrary to the policy being used to protect advocacy statements from being placed on the IEEE web sites and in the Institute “the Board has an obligation to share it’s decision with the membership”… apparently the TAB board is being blocked from meeting that obligation by the IEEE Board or Staff (observations of status by Jim Isaak)   Here’s the emails that support this conclusion, and a pointer to the “Secret” TAB Presentation (secret only because IEEE refuses to share it with the members.)

From: Emily Sopensky [mailto:emily@iriscompany.com]
Sent: Sunday, July 31, 2016 12:34 PM
To: Marc Apter; Martin Schulman
Subject: FW: TAB report

Marc and Marty

The VP TAB is being blocked from putting up these slides on an ieee website.

Emily

From: tab-tab16@ieee.org [mailto:tab-tab16@ieee.org] On Behalf Of Jose M F Moura
Sent: Sunday, July 31, 2016 10:43 AM
To: tab-tab16@IEEE.ORG
Subject: Fwd: TAB report

Dear TAB Members
I have not been able yet to get the attached posted on a website as promised in my email of 20 Jun 2016.

Find attached the slides presented at the June 17 TAB session on the Amendment and IEEEin2030 as per Motion 5 approved by TAB.

Best regards,
Jose’ M F Moura
IEEE Vice President Technical Activities

——– Forwarded Message ——–

Subject: TAB report
Date: Mon, 20 Jun 2016 19:43:31 -0400
From: Jose M F Moura <moura@ANDREW.CMU.EDU>
To: tab-tab16@IEEE.ORG

Dear TAB Members
I attach the report requested by motion 5. The slides of the presentation by TABin2030 Chair will be posted shortly.

Best regards,
Jose’ M F Moura
IEEE Vice President Technical Activities

the TAB report is here: v5.open_release_TABin2030_for_TAB-meeting-Jun-2016.