Terms of Reference – Ecosystem Science Council
An open and transparent election for members of the Ecosystem Science Council is the chosen method with a view to ensuring that the Council has the support and mandate of the wider ecosystem science community. The process should also aim for a Council that has diverse and balanced composition as outlined in these Terms of Reference.
To these ends the Council will be selected through a two‐part process:
- an open vote for nominated candidates by registered people throughout the Australian ecosystem science community, which will identify the first half of the required members of the Council;
- selection of the remaining candidates, from amongst the existing nominees, by the previous Council with a view to the next Council meeting desiderata for diverse composition of In the case of the inaugural Council, this selection will be completed by the existing Steering Committee for the Plan.
Details for this process are as follows:
Council will make an open call for nominations to fill vacant places every 2 years. Council will commence the election process by at least September of the year preceding positions falling vacant.
- The call for nominations will be open for at least 1 month, and may close at least 1 month prior to the election. This call will be spread widely throughout the ecosystem science and management communities through existing communication channels, networks through professionals societies, key organisations, emails to previous registrants for voting and on the ESLTP
- People may self-nominate
- Nominations will include: (1) a one-page summary of the candidate’s CV, (2) a statement of their motivation for serving on the Council and capacity for the role (no more than 2 pages); and (3) a signed statement indicating that the candidate subscribes to the principles and ideals outlined for the Council, and that they are willing to commit the required time and energy to undertake the Council’s work.
- Council may circulate the list of nominees confidentially to representatives of discipline societies and other stakeholder groups inviting their comment especially on overall mix of the Council’s membership, and to elicit further nominees after close of nominations where representation is not balanced or if there are too few suitable nominees. If necessary the Council will postpone the timeline of vote as needed.
- Council reserves the right to declare a nomination ineligible if the nominee’s statement of motivation and capacity is not aligned with one or more of the first five key directions in Foundations for the Future (see “Purpose of the Council” in these Terms of Reference). Decision of Council in this matter will be final and not subject to challenge or review.
Registration for voting:
- Any person who identifies themselves as a member of the Australian ecosystem science community is eligible to vote.
- An online registration process will be open for at least one month prior to the vote taking place.
- Registering voters will need to provide basic contact information including an institutional email address (e.g. University, employer), State, category of work, and primary affiliation. Where an institutional email cannot be provided, a brief description of the voter’s connection with Australian ecosystem science will be requested.
- Council may rule a registrant ineligible if they are not Australian citizens or residents, or if they have reason to believe one individual is registering from more than one email address, or if they do not identify themselves as a member of the Australian ecosystem science community, but not for any other reason.
The voting process:
- All information submitted by nominees will be made available to registered voters at least 1 week prior to the vote
- The vote will be open for at least 1 week
- Each registered voter may only vote once
- For each nominated candidate, the voter will judge the level of suitability for the role of Council member, from the following categories: Excellent, Very Good, Good, Acceptable, Poor, Not suitable, or No Opinion*
- Each candidate will receive a rank corresponding to the category for which they receive the largest number of votes, and a subscript plus or minus according to whether there were more votes above or below the most common category. “No opinion” votes will not be counted during this ranking procedure
- According to the voting results, the six highest-ranked people will become members of the inaugural Council, and for all subsequent elections the three highest-ranked people will become members of the Council:
|Total Council member seats vacant||Number of Council members to be identified by vote||Number of remaining members selected for diversity complement|
|Inaugural election (early 2015)||11||6||5|
|Second election (end of 2016)||5||3||2|
|Third election (end of 2018)||6||3||3|
|All further elections will alternate between 5 and 6 member seats vacant, with 3 members to be identified by vote.|
* This method of voting meets six essential demands:
- Elicit honest voting,
- Be meaningful,
- Resist manipulation,
- Heed the majority’s will
- Avoid Condorcet’s paradox, where in the presence of at least three candidates, A, B, and C, it is entirely possible that in head-‐ to-‐head encounters, A defeats B, B defeats C, and C defeats A, so transitivity fails
- Avoid Arrow’s paradox, where in the presence of at least three candidates, it is entirely possible for A to win, yet with the same voting opinions for B to defeat A when C withdraws
(For more detail see: Michel Balinski, Rida Laraki. Judge:Don’t Vote!. Cahier de recherché 2010-27. 2010).
Selecting the final complement of Council members:
- At the completion of the vote, the sitting Council including retiring members will decide the remaining members of the Council from among the existing nominees
- In selecting the final complement of members, the Council must take into consideration the purpose, guiding principles, roles and responsibilities, and desired diversity of composition of the Council, to ensure that the final Council as a whole group can best meet these requirements.
- At the completion of the voting and selection process, nominated officers of the Council will contact all nominees to advise of the outcome as soon as After this, an announcement will be made to the wider ecosystem science community
- If a sitting member cannot complete their term, Council may select someone to fill their place for the remainder of That person need not necessarily have been a previous nominee, but they cannot continue to an additional term without participating in an open nomination and selection process.
- A vote for officers (chair, deputy-chair, secretary and treasurer) will be conducted by the Council after each election of new members, or as needed if an officer retires their position
- Each position will be decided by a majority vote of the Council
- If a standing officer has not fulfilled the requirements of their role for an extended period of time for unaccounted reasons, or has otherwise given rise to dissatisfaction among a majority of the Council, then Council members may move to depose them and appoint an alternative. Such matters will be decided by a two-thirds majority vote of the full Council.
The existing Steering Committee for the Ecosystem Science Long Term Plan is responsible for coordinating the process for the selection of the inaugural Council.
Suggested timeline for the selection process:
|Preparation||July to August||Council prepares for an election|
|Nominations and registration for voting||September 1||Nomination and registration period opens|
|September 30||Nominations close (after 1month period)|
|Review of nominees and registrants||October (Week 1)||Council reviews nominations and make any exclusions|
|October (Weeks 2-3)||Consult with stakeholders (wide range of discipline societies and institutions)|
|October (Week 3)||Registration closes (after 7 weeks)|
|Council reviews list of registered voters and makes any exclusions|
|October (Week 4)||Council finalises list of nominees and circulates widely|
|Election process||November (Week 1)||Voting open for 1 week|
|November (Week 2)||Results of election compiled|
|Finalise Council and Officers of Council||November (Week 3-4)||Completion of the appointment of remaining Council members, by the sitting Council|
|Announcement of composition of the new Council|
|December (Week 1)||Appointment of Officers by the new Council|
|December (Mid)||Terms of service for outgoing Council members conclude|
|January (Meeting 1)||Incoming Council members will begin their term|