Seneschal’s Spotlight: Business Meetings

I wanted to cast a spotlight on our Business Meetings because there are some misconceptions as to their purpose and who is “allowed” to attend. In order to address some of this, I had started including the following paragraph at the end of the information about the next Business Meeting:

The Officers of the Debatable Lands are elected by the membership and is made up of members of the populace, just like you. The Officers are responsible for ensuring that the policies of the Kingdom and Barony are followed and are accountable to the populace of the Debatable Lands. The Business meeting is open to everyone in the Barony and attendance by the populace is encouraged. Have a thought you’d like to share with the Officers? Email seneschal@debatablelands.org.

This is absolutely true. Everyone is invited to attend Business Meetings and everyone is encouraged to do so. Attending gives you the opportunity to understand more about the non-profit business side of the organization and an opportunity for the populace to hold us accountable as Officers.

To give you an idea of what happens at an Officer’s Meeting, here is an annotated version of the general Agenda that we follow for each meeting:

Meeting opens at 8:00 p.m
The Seneschal announces that we are going to get started. This is done as close to 8:00 p.m. as possible. Prior to the Seneschal starting the meeting, they will have already checked off who is in attendance and listed who else is attending the meeting. This is to create a record of which officers have attended, if there are any proxies (which I will explain in a moment), who those proxies are, and to ensure that the record of who attended the meeting is as accurate as possible.

Proxies are someone that is representing the officer for the purpose of the meeting. They would also carry the vote of that officer and cast it appropriately for any known business.

This is a copy of the attendance record for a recent Business Meeting. As you can see, we have run remote sessions in the past, but we have not done that for a while. Look for an announcement about that coming up soon.

Approve Minutes
The Officers of the Barony are responsible for reading the minutes of the previous meeting prior to the next meeting. The minutes are made available prior to the following meeting, at least three days before the meeting. They are posted again the day of the meeting. Anyone attending the Business Meeting should also take the time to review the minutes. This will help give you a sense of context to some of the discussion and will also allow you the ability to ask any specific questions that you may have about what was done in the previous meeting.

Officer’s Reports
Each officer of the Barony then gives a report that is recorded into the minutes. Often when an officer is unable to attend, they will send a pre-written report that is then either read into the minutes or included in the minutes as a cut/paste of what was sent by the officer. This is where we talk about what we’re doing, what plans are coming up, events that have just happened or may be coming up. Anything that pertains to the officer’s area of responsibility.

What about Guilds?
Guilds are defined in Corpora as:
E. Unofficial Entities
In many kingdoms, there are groups in which many people participate but which are not formally recognized by the Society. These can range from highly structured guilds to loosely associated camping groups. Entities that fall into this category can have many names, including but not limited to households, guilds, ships, and clans. Although these entities are not recognized by the Society in any formal way, some kingdoms have awards that can be given to these groups. Because they are not official Society groups, unofficial entities cannot sponsor Society events.

This does not mean that guilds are not important, because they are. This means that guilds are free to structure themselves in any way and are free to engage the populace in whatever way that they believe best serves the populace. It also means that guilds can dissolve or create themselves as needed without paperwork or any official intervention. People who are not members of a guild are in no way restricted from doing any art or science for which there may or may not be a guild for. It’s a learning opportunity like so many things in the SCA. We encourage guilds to report at the Business Meeting, but they must contact the Seneschal prior to the meeting to be placed on the Agenda.

What about Baronial Positions?
These positions include Gold Key, Iron Key, Steward, Signet, Dark Pages Editor, Historian, and Minister of Youth. These are also unofficial positions, some of whom report into the Exchequer because they have Baronial property that must be accounted for and reported on yearly. We also encourage Baronial Positions to report at Business Meeting, but also must contact the Seneschal prior to the meeting to be placed on the Agenda

After Officer’s Reports a number of things may be on the Agenda:
Reports from Guilds and/or Positions
Event Reports – Income generated (or not generated) by any events held since the last Business Meeting. Given by the Exchequer.

Letters of Intent – We choose our Officers by vote. The way to get on the ballot is to send in a letter of intent to the Office you wish to volunteer for, copying the Seneschal. The Seneschal’s office requires a letter to the Seneschal with a copy sent to the Baronage. ANYONE may vote in an election for any position as long as an officer does not call for an Officers Only vote.

Event Bids – Any event bids that you have to bring before the Officers. It is preferred to have event bids at least two weeks prior to the Business meeting so everyone has time to review it and include a link to it in the published agenda. Only members of the Financial committee may vote on the final approval of funding for any event.

Budget Meeting – We hold our annual budget meeting in April of each year and everyone is invited to come and discuss how we are planning to spend money in the barony in the upcoming year. This is also a great place to discuss what kind of fundraisers can be done for the Barony prior to clearing it with the Kingdom Exchequer. Only members of the Financial committee may vote on the final passage (or not) of the budget. BUT everyone may put in a funding request and may engage in the discussion about how Baronial funds are to be spent to ensure that their opinions are heard.

How to know what to vote on?
Our Baronial Policy states:
Unless otherwise stated, decisions of the officers are by consensus of the people attending a scheduled officers meeting at which a majority of the Officers are present. An individual may cast only one vote. Officers may be represented by proxy.  Only the members of the Financial Committee may vote on financial decisions.  Any Officer may call for an Officer Only vote, in which case each Office gets one vote, with a simple majority of the votes cast deciding the issue.

Close Meeting
To close the meeting, someone must move that we vote on closing the meeting, then second it. Then a vote of simple majority is taken and the meeting is adjourned if the majority agrees to it.

So, while this is very long and digs a lot into how we as an organization structure things down to the Baronial level, I hope that I have answered most questions that people may have about attending the Business Meeting. It is a completely open meeting that anyone may attend and you are encouraged to participate in this part of the organization just as you are welcome to participate in any other aspect of the organization.

If you have any questions, or need more information, please contact me, Odriana vander Brugghe at seneschal (at) debatablelands (dot) org.

Call for Letters – Seneschal

After nearly four years serving this fine Barony, it is time for me to step down as your Seneschal. I am officially calling for letters and requesting that letters be sent to me (seneschal at debatablelands.org) and the Baron (baron at debatablelands.org) and Baroness (baroness at debatablelands.org) by 28 December 2019.

The job of Seneschal is rewarding and unexpectedly difficult at times. Take time with your decision and ask many questions. There are quite a few former Seneschals in the Barony still participating (Baroness Hilda being one of them) that are your resources for the reality of the everyday job. If you are interested in becoming the Seneschal and want more information about what the job entails, please contact me directly and I will be happy to talk with you about what the needs are and how the Seneschal serves the Barony. There are also online resources such as the Seneschal’s Handbook (http://socsen.scaserver.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Seneschals-Handbook-January-2018.2.pdf) that you can use to inform yourself before making a decision.

I don’t have the words to truly express what an honor and a privilege it has been to serve the Barony as its Seneschal for the last several years. I am thankful and grateful that I was blessed with such a strong foundation of Seneschals throughout the history of the Barony and to have the support of my Deputies, THL Muirgheal and Maighster Liam. I have always believed in the exceptionalness of the Debatable Lands and still do. You are all amazing, talented, intelligent, and skilled people in your own ways and having a vantage point where I could best see so many of you was one of the great joys of my life.

My term is officially over in February, however, I want to ensure that there is enough time for people to make informed choices prior to submitting a letter. Again, remember that the deadline for letters is 28 December 2019. Thank you all for your time and for allowing me to be your Seneschal for the last four years.

~Odriana



PIE CONTEST! At the Harvest Revel Barony Meeting 11/3

Pie Pie Pie! Oh boy, what flavor?

Our Barony Annual PIE Contest is on for the Harvest Revel on Sunday 11/3! Who can enter? EVERYONE! And if you’ve never encountered the Debatable Lands Harvest Revel Meeting PIE contest before – just about anything counts as pie, if you can name it pie…. Pumpkin roll? Spatially challenged pie. Cookies? Crustless mini-pies. Pork roast? Deconstructed meat pie. A bowl of apples? Procrastinated Pie. BRING IT ALL! Sweet, savory, and everything in between!

The categories this this for the pie contest are (drumroll…): Signature Pie, Showstopper Pie, and Period Pie 

How does it work? You make a pie, you decide the category (don’t worry, it’s super informal and just-for-fun), we all feast like Confectionary Royalty! Make sure to bring enough or cut it small, since the judges are YOU! Yup, it’s populace vote (tokens in a cup)! Each meeting attendee gets 3 tokens – one vote per category. Gluten free pies always go over well if you are so inclined. The prize is GLORY and your recipe in the ALTHING (and maybe some trinket)!!

Please be mindful of common allergens, and make a note on the provided card if you use them. Folks in the barony are allergic/sensitive to gluten/wheat, nuts of various types, onions and garlic, among other things. Thanks!

Contest will run from noon to around 3pm.

[Here’s the Facebook event for the meeting, if you have Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/566290307444855/

Chronicler position

My term is coming to an end and I am looking for a replacement when I step down. I’d like to hear from anyone interested in the position.

Email me at Chronicler@debatablelands.org, or contact me on Facebook, if you have interest in the job yourself or if there’s anyone else you believe would do well at it please have them contact me.

Drottin Skjoldrbjorn
Chronicler

Chronicler Call for Letters

Good evening Debatable Lands!

The time has come to end my first term as Chronicler. While if no Gentle steps forward I will continue to serve as the Barony’s Chronicler, I am not actively seeking a second term and assuming someone else would like the experience I will happily discuss with them the responsibilities that accompany the office.

The next issue of the Althing will be the last of this term and I would like to thank everyone that helped me succeed. From officers submitting reports to those members of guilds and the general populace that have submitted content, thank you so much.

The vote for the next Chronicler of the Debatable Lands will be held at the December business meeting. This meeting is on December 4th and all are welcome to attend no matter if you’re an officer or not.

No matter the outcome I will hold the office until December 31st and the changing of the guard of the pen will happen with the turning of the new year.

All letters of intent are due to the Senechal Meesteress Odriana no later than 7 days prior to the meeting on November 27th. She can be reached by email at Senechal@debatablelands.org.

Please contact me at Chronicler@debatablelands.org if you have any questions regarding the position or, as always, to submit content if you’d like to include in my final issue.

As always, thank all of you for everything,

Drottin Skjoldrbjorn
Debatable Chronicler

Business Meeting Tonight (Additional)

The Business Meeting for the Debatable Lands will be TODAY Wednesday, 2 October 2019 at the Allegheny Unitarian Universalist Church (416 W North Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15212 – map. From 8p until 10p.

UPDATED Agenda

The Officers of the Debatable Lands are elected by the membership and is made up of members of the populace, just like you. The Officers are responsible for ensuring that the policies of the Kingdom and Barony are followed and are accountable to the populace of the Debatable Lands. The Business meeting is open to everyone in the Barony and attendance by the populace is encouraged. Have a thought you’d like to share with the Officers? Email seneschal@debatablelands.org.



A&S in October

There are a wealth of opportunities to explore A&S this month with folks from the barony! See below for announcements and teasers of fun things to come:

Sewing circle: Thursday October 3rd at 1105 Shady Ave starting at 7:30. There will be scroll case construction, but feel free to bring other things, if you don’t want to work on scroll cases. Donations of medium sized material scraps or precut cardboard are appreciated; we already have a nice supply to start. If you wish to donate items for scroll cases, but don’t plan to attend, please email sewing at debatablelands dot org to arrange to hand-off.

Scribal opportunities in Bellevue: Mistress Graidhne continues to host scribal gatherings on Wednesdays weekly from 6-9pm. Address is available in the Dark Pages. There is talk of a special meeting at the Cathedral of Learning on Thursday, October 10th!

Brewing Guild: Please note that the October Brewers Guild meeting is being moved from Wednesday, October 9th to *Saturday* October 12th! We will be having a marathon session of wine racking and/or bottling at not one but *two* houses! Jorundr & Muirgheal and Alaric & Elsbeth will be hosting throughout the day. Details to come. Hope to see you there!

Artisans Play Time at Agincourt: October 19th at the Monroeville-Pitcairn Sportsmen’s Club, 505 Mosside Blvd, North Versailles, PA, 15137. The site will open at 9:00 a.m. and close at 9:00 p.m. Come and display your art, discuss your art, bring your current projects to work on! We’ll do our best to have good lighting and outlets available.

Fiber Guild: Two fun adventures this month! Explore Russian Distaff Spinning at the regular meeting of the fiber guild, tentative date of October 15th. Then, later in the month, the fiber guild takes a trip to the Carnegie Museum of Art! Tentative date: October 20th. Keep watching for more info!

Woodworking Guild: October 24th: Planning Meeting: These meetings are weeknight evening meetings, for the purpose of deciding what we want to work on next and when we’re going to do it. 7pm to 8:30pm at the Panera in Oakland. October 27th: Workshop Days: These meetings are on weekend days, for the purpose of making things. Sunday, from 10am to 2pm, in Ishiyama’s shop (1105 Shady Avenue, 15232).

Social event shared to the group hosted by Gardner of Elygh and THLady Bugga Bilibit: October 26th: Pittsburgh Pennsic Pile Pick-up Practice and Potluck Picnic. Hurdy Gurdy, recorder, shawms, sackbuts and crumhorns? Bring an instrument, we’ll read through the Pennsic Pile in an ad hoc manner. There will be a couple copies of the music available but bring your own if you have it.

Scribal East: October 31st meeting will be held at the home of Lady Ceindrech and Lady Libby in Monroeville, starting at 7:00 pm. Their address is available in the Dark Pages. Disclaimer: The ghouls and goblins may spook the scribes! If the date changes, there will be another post!

AEthelmearc AEcademy: November 2nd. This is a great opportunity to travel and learn so many new things from around the Kingdom! More info at AEcademy.net