History | Last updated by David Eads, 7 years ago

FreeGeek/Chicago Constitution


FreeGeek/Chicago is governed by a staff/board consisting of staff members (volunteers with a long-term commitment to FreeGeek) and a community council made up of interested volunteers. The staff board operates via consensus. The community council uses a simple majority vote. The community council may vote on resolutions and proposals to submit to the staff/board, and must vote to approve nominations for new staff positions.

Because staff are directly responsible for the well-being of the organization and volunteers, the staff/board gets the final say in most governance decisions. However, staff are expected to act in good faith with respect to community council proposals.

Notes and documentation of all formal meetings, decisions, and discussions by the staff/board and community council will be available to the public online.

Community Council


Community council meetings are held twice a month at a mutually agreed-upon time. Anyone may attend a community council meeting, but only volunteers who meet the eligibility requirements ("super-volunteers") may vote. Any attendee may suggest an agenda item, but the final agenda will be decided by super-volunteers present.

A quorum of three super-volunteers is required for any vote.

Super-volunteer eligibility

A volunteer is a considered a "super-volunteer" if:

  • They have completed 40 program hours
  • They volunteer 30 hours per quarter
  • They attend 3 community council meetings per quarter

Staff will ensure eligibility information is kept current and announced to volunteers.



The community council may bring resolutions and proposals for consideration by the staff. Any super-volunteer may raise a proposal during a community council meeting. Each proposal will be noted in the minutes and subject to a simple majority vote by super-volunteers present at the meeting. Should the resolution pass, it will be presented at the next staff/board meeting. The staff/board may veto any community council proposal with a unanimous vote. Proposals may be re-raised for consideration, within reason.

Staff Approval

The community council approves all nominations for staff positions with a two-thirds vote of super volunteers present at the approval meeting. The staff will propose a potential staff person at a community council meeting. The approval vote will be raised at the next community council meeting, and the staff will make a good faith effort to announce the proposal (via email list, to all volunteers during program hours, etc) to encourage meeting attendance.


The community council may engage in general discussion of any topic pertinent to FreeGeek/Chicago's mission and operations. These discussions will be transcribed and summarized in the meeting notes.


The staff/board consists of a small group of "key holders" who manage FreeGeek's finances, oversee day-to-day operations, and maintain FreeGeek's technical infrastructure. Staff members are responsible for making and keeping FreeGeek/Chicago an ethical and functional nonprofit organization.


The staff/board will meet at least once a month.


The staff/board is FreeGeek's primary decision-making body, and operates via formal consensus. Each staff member gets one consensus "veto" each five years. Unlike the community council, staff/board decisions require the consensus of all staff, regardless of meeting attendance.


The staff/board will consist of three to seven members.

Eligibility and limits

Potential staff members should be super-volunteers in good standing but the staff/board may nominate anyone for a staff position. Staff are expected to contribute at least 60 hours per quarter to FreeGeek, at least 40 of which should be spent during program hours.

A staff member may be removed via a unanimous decision of all other staff members and a two-thirds vote of super-volunteers on the community council. Grounds for being removed from staff include missing more than two consecutive staff meetings, low levels of involvement, and ethical violations.

After five years of service, staff members will be subject to re-approval by the community council.

Staff members may step down at any time, but must be re-nominated by the staff/board and re-approved by the community council should they wish to return.


The staff/board nominates new staff members via a consensus decision. If consensus is reached, the community council must approve the nomination via a two-thirds vote as described in the "Community Council" section of this document.


As of December, 2009, FreeGeek/Chicago has a "paper" board for legal purposes, currently consisting of Jim Craner, Ben Buckley, and David Eads. Until FreeGeek/Chicago is able to pay for staff positions, the staff and board will be the same body.

Amending the constitution

This constitution will be amended via staff/board consensus and a supermajority vote of super-volunteers.

History | Last updated by David Eads, 7 years ago