On 28 September 2017, the Drupal Association held its third open board meeting of the year where community members listened in via zoom and in person. You can find the meeting minutes, board materials, and meeting recording here.

The board meeting was kicked off by an update from Dries Buytaert, followed by an Executive update from Megan Sanicki, Executive Director, and a Drupal.org update from Tim Lehnen, Director of Engineering. We also thanked and celebrated Tiffany Farriss, Vesa Palmu, and Jeff Walpole whose terms on the board end in November.

Dries Buytaert moving from Chair to Founding Director position

One of the key announcements made during the meeting came from Dries Buytaert, who announced that in response to the Community Discussions findings, he is stepping down from the Drupal Association Chair position. He will remain on the board in the Founding Director position.  This will go into effect in November when board seats expire and Adam Goodman will step into the role as interim Chair, which is also in response to the community’s request for a neutral, outside expert to lead the board. To learn more about the Community Discussions, go here.

Adam Goodman is a leadership professor from Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois, USA. He's advised the Drupal Association on and off for the past 8 years, helping us evolve from a volunteer board to a strategic board. In this role, Adam will further evolve the board so it can orient itself around a new chairman structure.

Since Adam is a paid consultant, the Drupal Association needs to change its bylaws to allow Adam to sit on the board and be paid for his service. In addition to this change, we are doing a general update of the bylaws to include:

  • Eliminate non-existent committees like the HR committee

  • Modernize the tools we can use for online voting. Today we can use teleconferencing, but we also need to be able to use video conferencing.

To learn more about this board meeting, please watch the recording and stay tuned for an update on other improvements we are making in response to the community’s input.


davidhernandez’s picture

I suggest in the future referring to the chair of the board as Chair and not Chairman.

alexdmccabe’s picture

+1 to that from me.

megansanicki’s picture

Thank you for pointing that out. You are right and I can make that change right now.

Megan Sanicki
Executive Director
Drupal Association
twitter: megansanicki

alexdmccabe’s picture

Thank you, Megan!

davidhernandez’s picture

Thank you.

rubyji’s picture

This move to separate Dries' powers is welcome and overdue, but I don't understand the timing or this interim arrangement. Why not just announce that he would be stepping down, and schedule an election for the next board meeting?

I've worked in nonprofits for about 25 years and I am very uncomfortable with the idea of having a paid board chair, even if temporarily. If we need a management consultant, pay him to do that. This really blurs lines of accountability and responsibility.

farriss’s picture

The transition of an organization beyond its founder is an important time for any non-profit. In our case, we have the added challenge of establishing what the role is of the Chair separate from the additional responsibilities and roles Dries has as project founder and technical lead, roles which he retains. The board determined that the ideal first-non-Dries Chair needed to be a neutral expert who was familiar with our community, but with no direct interest in it. This is important at least initially as we establish the Chair as a peer to the rest of the board and (re)define its responsibilities.

No current board members met that criteria and, after researching potential options, it became clear that anyone who did meet that criteria (outside expert with no direct interest in Drupal) would reasonably expect compensation (even from a non-profit board of our size). This arrangement is temporary, as once the precedence and responsibilities of role as Chair are effectively established separate from Dries and Drupal's larger governance process has concluded, it is expected that any member of the board would be able to fill it.

We see this move beyond Dries as Chair as a sign of maturity for the organization in combination with other work that the Board has been doing to understand where Drupal and the community are headed and establish the strategic frame for how the DA fits into achieving that vision. It is important that this change of leadership not disrupt that strategic work and ideally we would find someone who was already familiar with that work.

Adam Goodman, by virtue of his deep experience with the Drupal Association Board and his academic, professional and board experience is an unparalleled choice. The compensation represents a marginal increase over existing engagement contract and is extremely reasonable. His selection was a unanimous decision. Further, the arrangement term is flexible such that whenever the DA is at a point where the board determines that Adam has fulfilled his goals as interim Chair, it can be concluded.

As to timing, November is the typical time that we add new Director Class members to the board. In order to serve as chair, Adam needs to be added to the board and that is the logical time to do it. It also provides time to make the necessary bylaw changes.