ANST - GC Proposal
modius at cityscope.net
Tue Aug 26 05:44:17 PDT 1997
Greetings, as Ansteorra's rep to the Grand Council (GC) I am pleased
to submit this GC proposal to you all this comment. Please do so in copious
amounts if so warranted. I/we need your insight and comments
to make the GC work the way it was intended.
Don Modius von Mergentheim
Frequently Asked Questions about the World Proposal
A proposal for a new international structure for the SCA is being posted
widely throughout the Society. This posting is intended to answer some
questions you may have about the proposal.
1. Who is putting forward this proposal?
The proposal is being made by the "Grand Council" (GC), an advisory
committee to the Board of Directors of the SCA, Inc. Its membership is
drawn from all over the SCA, and its deliberations are available by
e-mail to any interested person.
The Board of Directors has *not* committed itself to this proposal; it
has merely agreed to put it before the membership for comment.
2. Why is this proposal being put forward now?
The Grand Council was asked by the Board to look at various ways that
the structure of the Society could be reformed to make it more
responsive to the membership. Since the GC includes members from
Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, and Sweden as well as the USA, the
ways the current structure is unresponsive to international members
became an item for discussion.
The SCA is increasingly international in membership, and if we wish the
Society to maintain a certain degree of unity of custom, some
adaptations must be made. This proposal is the GC's best attempt to
suggest how that unity can be maintained for a long time to come.
3. The World Proposal calls for multiple SCA corporations. What's
wrong with one big corporation?
The idea of multiple SCA corporations is nothing new. There have been
"local" corporations outside the USA for over 20 years, and there are
currently such corporations in Australia, Sweden, the Netherlands, and
parts of Canada. These corporations have been set up to meet local
legal or taxation laws, or to gain benefits available only to local
Currently, however, the US SCA, Inc. both controls the rules of the
medieval re-creation and in some areas serves as the umbrella group for
foreign branches (such as those in Ontario). Sometimes this works to
everyone's advantage. Yet the Board, Society officers, and Kingdom
officers based in the USA have more than once required foreign branches
to do things that were illegal or impossible in those countries. Corpora
itself contains requirements that are questionable in some jurisdictions.
For ordinary administrative matters, it would be better if the Society were
a federation of equal corporations.
If all corporations were equal, though, who would enforce the basic
rules of our re-creation? The GC believes this job should be given to
a new body called the World Council of the SCA.
4. How would the World Council be organized?
Each Kingdom and each Principality (not including Crown Principalities)
would be able to select one member, by a process agreeable to the people
of that kingdom or principality.
5. Why do Principalities have a seat on this council with Kingdoms?
A number of kingdoms cover very large areas and sometimes several
countries. In some cases, they have adapted to this diversity by
forming Principalities. Putting Principalities on the World Council
would better reflect the cultural diversity of the SCA.
For instance, if the World Council existed now and had Principalities
represented, it would have one member appointed by Australians
(Lochac), one by Swedes (Nordmark), two by Canadians (Avacal and
Ealdormere), and one by Alaskans (Oertha). (Of course Alaska is part
of the USA, but it is a very distinct part.) Without Principality
representation, none of these areas, all of which support thriving
Principalities, would be assured of any voice.
6. Would monarchs and Kingdom or Principality seneschals appoint World
If that was acceptable to the people of the Kingdom or Principality,
yes. The people of these areas could also opt for direct or indirect
elections or some other method of choice. They could change their
minds if they found their first choice was not working.
The intent of this rule is to avoid turning the World Council into a
permanent oligarchy of high-ranking people.
7. Would Kingdoms appoint the Principality members for its
No. That would defeat the purpose of representing the diversity of the
SCA. If a Principality does not care to exercise its option to appoint
a World Council member, no one can force it to do so.
7. What would this World Council do?
First, it would "own the rules" of our common medieval recreation.
Second, it would recognize local or national corporations that agree to
follow those rules.
8. What does it mean that the World Council will "own the rules"?
The World Council will do one of the jobs that the Board of Directors of
the SCA, Inc. does today: interpret and enforce the rules of the medieval
re-creation. In doing so, it would have the legitimacy that comes from
representing every realm in the SCA, whatever countries those realms are
It will also accept appeals from aggrieved parties who feel that the
rules of have been violated in their case. Like the Board today, the
World Council would be the ultimate court of appeal to the actions of
monarchs and Kingdom officers. A great deal of the current Board's time
and energy is absorbed by such matters.
9. What does the phrase "the rules of our medieval re-creation" mean
in concrete terms?
The "rules of our medieval re-creation" are found in the Bylaws and
Corpora; they include such matters as the selection of monarchs, the
granting of peerages, and the definition of certain ranks and titles.
Today the rules of the re-creation are mixed in with administrative
rules that have a legal or financial aspect. Under this proposal, the
rules applicable to the re-creation would be separated out and put in a
Great Charter. The Great Charter would include all the rules that all
SCA kingdoms and that all SCA corporations would have to observe.
Legal, financial, and taxation rules appropriate to different legal
jurisdictions would be in corporate documents of the corporations in
10. Would the World Council directly act as a court of appeal?
What's to stop World Council members from burning out from hearing too many
The GC proposes that the World Council would provide for the appointment of
Review Panels to hear specific appeals. Only occasionally, at its own option,
would the World Council itself hear appeals.
Some cases would depend not so much on the facts of the case as the meaning
and intent of the rules. The World Council would have the final say on these
Also, the proposal suggests that Kingdoms and Principalities be
encouraged to set up independent review bodies to rule on such matters
as banishment. If realms take this option (which might be difficult
in "King's Word is Law" kingdoms), one could hope that the number of
appeals to the World Council would drop.
11. Would the adoption of the World Proposal open up the rules to
This would be no more or less likely than it is now. The Board has the
theoretical ability to change any of our rules. To do so, however, it
would have to reach a consensus on radical change, and then convince
everyone else to go along with it. The World Council would face the
same basic situation.
12. What about membership?
Membership in any World Council-approved corporation would be the
equivalent to a membership in any other. Which corporation you
belonged to would be a matter of residence, not which passport you
hold. However, as a visitor to another country, your membership at
home would be recognized (e.g., you would get the "member discount" if
13. What about publications?
The current bundling of membership with subscriptions would have to be
reviewed, as would the financing and definition of official newsletters. The
multi-national nature of the SCA has required a number of modifications
of publications policy in the past and will continue to do so in the
future, whether the World Proposal is adopted or not. Even now, in Australia
the local corporation collects membership dues, produces the principality
newsletter, and distributes TI, a publication of SCA, Inc.
14. Who would control the money?
Legally, any group of people who hold money in common must follow the
rules of the jurisdictions they operate in. One of the strengths of
the World Proposal is the outright recognition of this fact. SCA
monies in, e.g., Canada would be handled entirely by Canadians by
Canadian rules. If Canadians bought services from the US corporation,
such as TI subscriptions, or inclusion in a North American-wide
insurance policy, there would be an exchange of monies.
15. How much would it cost?
See the Proposal itself for a detailed answer.
The short answer is, not a great deal. The World Council would not
necessarily be a corporation, it would not necessarily meet
face-to-face, it would not necessarily publish newsletters requiring
printing and postage.
16. How would the World Proposal be approved?
That's up to the Board. At the moment, the Board wants to see what
the membership thinks of the broad outline of the proposal. It has
made no commitment to any action as of yet.
17. Can't you summarize this more briefly?
How about: the SCA as a federation of equal corporations, all committed
to one basic set of rules, which are owned by all the realms of the SCA,
in whatever country they exist. Or, looking at things the other way:
the SCA as a federation of realms, all committed to one set of basic
rules, and administering its legal affairs through a number of different
corporations, each appropriate to its jurisdiction.
18. Why would this be worth all the trouble?
The multi-national SCA can't be administered by a single corporation,
and a corporation located in one country has a hard time dealing with
many different sets of laws and its duty to supervise the rules of our
A new way of assuring the continued unity of the SCA, in at least some
basic matters, must be found.
The GC thinks, and experience suggests, that members outside the USA
want to be part of a big international Known World; they don't want
their own SCA, they want to be partners in THE SCA. This new structure
would make it easier for them to do so.
The GC also thinks that US members like the international reach of the SCA
and would prefer to have the SCA remain an international organization.
Finally, the World Proposal would take considerable burdens off
the Board and make the administration of the SCA, Inc. considerably less
An outline proposal for a new international structure for the Society
Drafted by Will McLean (Galleron de Cressy)
This proposal is put forward by the Grand Council, an advisory committee to
the Board. It attempts to suggest a structure that will better meet the
current needs of the Society as a worldwide organization. Briefly, it
suggests that the administration of the Society be restructured as a
federation of equal corporations, each responsible for mundane administration
within its own jurisdiction, and each agreeing to follow the common rules of
our medieval recreation. Those rules would be controlled by a body composed
of representatives chosen by all the realms of the Society.
The proposal does not address all details of implementation, but
tries to give a reasonably complete discussion of the core issues. The
Board has taken no position for or against the proposal, and asks for
your comments before considering it further. At this stage, this is only a
proposal. If you have questions, comments or concerns, please say so.
Please send comments to the Directors at the corporate PO Box or to
directors at sca.org, the Grand Council at SCAGC-L at LISTSERV.AOL.COM,
or, better yet, both. You may send postal mail for the GC to:
Cyndi Baskett, P.O. Box 3460, University, MS 38677 (USA), or
Janna G Spanne, Nyckelkroken 50, 226 47 Lund, Sweden
Fax: +46 46 2224531 attn.: Janna G Spanne
A more detailed version of this proposal is posted at
http://www.sca.org/BOD/gc.intro.html, or available by e-mail from
mclean1382 at aol.com. You are both welcome and encouraged to post or reproduce
this proposal, provided you do so in full without alteration.
I. Issues addressed: members of the Society in non-US jurisdictions
have found it necessary to form a number of corporations, apart from the
Milpitas based SCA, Inc.. Current SCA governing documents do not
deal with this reality well. Where local corporations exist, Society
officers must often hold dual memberships. Only SCA, Inc. memberships
count towards branch totals. Corpora demands procedures that are
either pointless or illegal in foreign jurisdictions. Growth outside the US
is hampered by a real or perceived US centrism. And the Board is
badly overworked by its many responsibilities.
II. Actions proposed:
A. SCA governing documents revised. Document called the Great Charter
defines the elements of medieval recreation common throughout the Society.
Lesser Charters, defining medieval practices specific to particular realms
and controlled by the people of that realm, would also be permitted. Modern
administration defined in other documents.
B. Recognized corporations or other mundane governing bodies that agree to
follow the Great Charter would control modern administration within their
jurisdiction. They would make payments to support international SCA
rulemaking and support bodies.
C. All resident subscribers to local Kingdom or Principality newsletter to
count towards population requirements for branch status, regardless of
whether or not they are members of SCA, Inc.
D. A new body, the World Council, would control the Great Charter and
the recognition of SCA corporations. Each Kingdom and Principality may
choose one representative to that body.
E. Review, appeal and jurisdiction issues. 1. Realms permitted to set up
bodies for review of in-game matters, subject to appeal. 2. Local
corporations to have jurisdiction over violations of their governing
documents, performance of their officers, matters affecting their legal
or financial integrity. 3. World Council controls Charter, recognition of SCA
corporations, disputes between more than one SCA corporation where
parties are unable to agree. World Review Panel created to hear specific
appeals. Any interpretations of Charter it makes are sent to World Council
F. Proposal to be phased in gradually, with World Council and World Review
Panel beginning as advisory bodies to Board.
G. The most significant cost of this proposal might be $10,000 a year for
World Review Panel travel costs. Some revenues and expenses would shift
from SCA, Inc. to other corporations. Savings are likely for international
I. THE PROBLEM
In many countries a local corporation must exist before the Society
can be legally recognized or function within that country. In others,
only local non-profits qualify for important benefits. Often, the Board as
agreed that these local SCA corporations are desirable to meet the
needs of the Society, and recognized them on an ad hoc basis. However:
1. Currently, Corpora requires participants to be members of SCA,
Inc. to serve as officers or count towards membership requirements for
branch size. Where local corporations essentially support all local
operations, many participants must hold memberships in both
corporations. This is often seen as unnecessary and burdensome.
2. Corpora specifies that the appointment and removal of officers is
controlled jointly by the Crown and by officers of SCA, Inc.. This often
creates anomalies in foreign jurisdictions. For example, the Exchequer
of Nordmark might be considered either an officer of SCA, Inc. (In
which case he controls no money, since SCA, Inc. does not operate
or legally exist in Sweden.) or an officer of the Swedish Corp. (In
which case he is appointed contrary to Corpora.)
3. While there are now several corporations that support Society activities,
the rules of the game are controlled by only one, centered in the US. The
current structure often assumes that the whole Society should follow
requirements that meet US needs, but that hamper the growth of the Society
in other nations.
4. Currently, the Board of SCA, Inc. not only oversees operations within its
jurisdiction, but also controls and interprets the rules of the Society
worldwide, has sole responsibility for sanctions against improper Royal
actions, and determines which foreign corporations to recognize and what
their relation to the Society will be. The Board is seriously overworked.
The Board could develop a formal procedure for recognizing affiliated
corporations, give them control of mundane administration within their
jurisdiction, and rewrite Corpora to allow members of those corporations to
be considered members of the Society for purposes of satisfying branch
membership totals. While desirable, this would not fully address problems
3 and 4. The following proposal attempts to outline a more complete
II. OUTLINE OF PROPOSAL
A. REVISION OF GOVERNING DOCUMENTS
The governing documents would be recast so that Corpora no longer
mandates details of mundane administration, such as the appointment of
financial officers and the administration of local branches. Details of
modern administration would instead be contained in the bylaws and policy
documents of SCA, Inc., and other SCA corporations. To avoid confusion
with current Corpora, this proposal refers to the document that defines the
common elements of medieval recreation throughout the Society as the
Kingdoms and Principalities might also have lesser charters, specifying
medieval practices not contained in the Great Charter, but more permanent
than kingdom law. Unlike kingdom law, lesser charters could only be changed
by the manifest consent of the members of the realm.
B. MUNDANE GOVERNING BODIES
Where corporations bodies have been recognized as meeting the needs of
the Society, they would be given authority to determine details of mundane
administration within their jurisdiction, provided they do not conflict with
the Great Charter. They would control the appointment and removal of
their officers, and requirements for holding office
Such corporations would make contributions to support the body that
coordinates SCA activities worldwide. This would initially be SCA, Inc., but
eventually a successor body, as described below. SCA, Inc. could provide TI
and CA to these corporations at a reasonable price. Alternatively, the
production of SCA worldwide publications might be spun off to a separate
organization at a later date.
All resident subscribers to the local Kingdom or Principality newsletter
would count towards population totals for branch status, regardless of
whether or not they are members of SCA, Inc. Members of recognized SCA
corporations would qualify equally for membership discounts, if any, and
in their voice in the international SCA body.
Individual corporations might, within the limits of the Charter, have other
categories of membership, and might set membership requirements to
take part in their activities or hold office.
D. WORLD GOVERNANCE
Eventually, the power to interpret and amend the Great Charter, and to
recognize corporations as part of the Society, would be shifted from the
Board of SCA, Inc. to a new body, here called the World Council.
Every kingdom and principality (excluding crown principalities) could choose
one representative to the World Council, by any method demonstrably
agreeable to the members of the Kingdom or Principality. Kingdoms could
not dictate the selection method to be used by their Principalities.
The Council may need a small amount of administrative support.
E. REVIEW, APPEAL, AND JURISDICTION
1) Kingdoms and Principalities would be permitted and encouraged, but not
required, to set up bodies to review in-game matters such as banishments.
These bodies would need to meet reasonable standards of timeliness and
independence, and to be in place prior to occurrences they are asked to
review, rather than created ad hoc. Their interpretations of the Charter
would be subject to appeal. This could be done separately, but is
discussed here to lay out jurisdiction issues.
2) Mundane governing bodies would have jurisdiction over violations of
their governing documents, matters affecting the ability of their officers to
fulfill their obligations, and matters affecting their legal or financial
3)The World Council would have final control of the interpretation and
amendment of the Great Charter, the recognition of SCA corporations,
and matters affecting more than one SCA corporation when the affected
bodies are unable to come to mutual agreement. A World Review Panel
would be appointed to hear specific appeals. Where the review panel
must make an interpretation of the Charter to come to a decision, that
interpretation would be submitted to the World Council for
consideration and approval.
This proposal could be phased in gradually. Changes A,B,C, and E.1
would probably be made first, with the World Council and Review
Panel starting as advisory bodies, and eventually being given
independent authority once they had proved their practicality.
Most of this proposal could be implemented at little added cost to the
Society beyond the time and trouble to develop an implementation plan.
The main cost and revenue implications would be:
1) If the World Council is able to operate primarily by correspondence,
electronic and otherwise, the costs of that body should not be great.
2) The World Review Panel may require fairly frequent face-to-face meetings.
If three member sub-panels of a larger body meet about as often as the
current Board does, travel and lodging costs might amount to $9,000-10,000
a year. Greater use of local review might reduce the number of times such a
body must meet. The conservative estimate of additional expenses given
above comes to less than 50 cents per member per year.
3) Costs and revenues now going to some SCA corporations would shift
to others. During a transitional period during which the Board retained
ultimate authority, non-subscription revenues and costs for foreign
corporations might increase by $20,000 if all international members shifted
to those bodies. The increase would be reduced to $10,000 once formal
control of worldwide issues shifted to the new bodies.
Since this would replace direct payment to Milpitas for those foreign
members, their total membership charges could be about $26,000 less than
they are now. They would pay less because the new structure would more
fairly reflect support given to Society operations by their corporations,
because the wasted effort of overlapping memberships would be reduced,
and because their corporations are less dependent on paid staff.
The change would be less financially favorable for SCA, Inc.. Continuing
the somewhat extreme assumption that all international members shift to
other corporations, workload at Milpitas might be 10% less. This is
probably not enough to eliminate a staff position, although it would
postpone need for additional staff. During the transition, non-subscription
revenues to SCA, Inc. might drop by as much as $26,000, with a net
reduction in expenses of $3,000. This includes added expenses for the
World bodies. Once the transition was completed, revenues might fall
by a further $10,000. Thus net revenues to Milpitas would eventually
be $33,000 less.
While $33,000 is less than 4% of the 1997 SCA budget, it is not trivial. The
revenue shift could be covered in several ways. Stock Clerk prices might
be raised to more fully cover Stock Clerk expenses. Or, once the operating
reserve is funded, the $40,000 a year earmarked to build the fund would
APPENDIX: DETAILED DISCUSSION OF FINANCIAL IMPACT
Review Panel Costs:
Currently, the Board budgets the equivalent of about $725 per person per
meeting, mostly for travel and lodging. That figure also includes some
money for conference calls between regular meetings.
Assuming, conservatively, that each quarterly meeting of the review panel
was face to face, three member sub-panels of a nine member Review
Panel, meeting quarterly (that is, three members meeting each quarter),
would cost $8,700 per year.
Travel costs for representatives from outside North America would be more
expensive. If one of the members of the above panel was from overseas, he
might attend one or two meetings a year. If the average cost of his ticket is
US $1250, or $750 more than the average travel cost for American
members, that might add $750-1,500 to the cost, for a total cost of
International Costs Implications:
1600 international members and 700 foreign associate and family members
now pay about $36,000 to Milpitas in membership fees, not including the
amount allocated to subscriptions. Probably not all would shift to other
corporations, at least for some time. However, to the extent that they did,
Milpitas would lose this revenue. It would also lose some expenses:
perhaps $7,000 in phone and credit card charges, office printing and
postage, and at least $5,000 in international insurance expense, (or would
receive equivalent compensation from other corporations for coverage by
the Milpitas insurance). Milpitas registry workload would be 10% less: not
enough to cut a position, but enough to push the need for more staff at least
two years further into the future. The Milpitas share of new World expenses
estimated earlier would be about $9,000. So if all current non-US members
shifted to other corporations, net revenue to Milpitas would decrease by
Non-US SCA corporations might have costs similar to the Swedish
and Australian corporations. Aside from publications and insurance, both
of these corporations have costs equivalent to $2 or less per member (of
all types). The Swedish corporation has not found insurance necessary, the
Australian one pays about $2 per member for insurance, a cost similar to
that paid by SCA, Inc. If all the international members listed above shifted
to this structure, they would pay about $4,600 in non-subscription costs,
plus about $5,600 for insurance and their share of the World bodies'
expenses. Net non-US costs would decrease by $26,000.
If there is a transitional period, during which foreign corporations handle
their own operations, but SCA, Inc. maintains control of Worldwide
oversight and game issues, the foreign corporations might make payments
to SCA, Inc. to support this function. Since these functions would primarily
involve only the Board, Executive Assistant, and Society Seneschal, a
payment equivalent to about $4 per member seems reasonable.
The above calculations assume 200 current members of non-US
corporations, other than the Australian one, are not now members of SCA,
Inc.. Since they are already paying members of non-US Society
corporations, the only effect they have on these calculations is on the
amount paid to support World bodies.
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