These are the policies of the Barony-Marche of the Debatable Lands, as published in the June 2010 Althing.
POLICIES of the BARONY-MARCHE OF THE DEBATABLE LANDS
As passed at Officers’ Meeting June 2, 2010.
- The Barony's policies must be published in the Althing in full at least once every two years and published online at least once a year. When published in the Althing, they supersede all former Baronial policies. Changes or additions to these policies become official upon their publication in the Althing. Baronial policy is subordinate to Kingdom Law & Policy, Corpora, and civil law. It may not contradict them and need not duplicate them.
- The Officers of the Barony-Marche of the Debatable Lands are those required by Kingdom Law, the office of the Baron/ess, the Seneschals of the Barony's non-dormant subsidiary groups, the Captain of Archers, the Marshal of Fence, the Chirurgeon Liaison, and the Webminister. These officers constitute the financial committee of the Barony for the purpose of setting financial policy and approving financial activities.
- 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. 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.
- Officers serve for a term of twenty-four months from the Officers' meeting at which their appointment was approved. Notification of an Officer's intent to renew or resign must be published in the Althing at least two months before the end of the Officer's term. This notification must solicit letters of intent for a successor. Letters of intent must be sent to the Officer in question, as well as the baronial seneschal; if the office is the seneschalate, a letter must also be sent to the Baron/ess. Whether an officer decides to serve another term or a successor takes the office, either choice must be ratified by the officers. If no acceptable candidates are set forward, the Office shall remain vacant if allowed by Kingdom Law.
- If an Office becomes vacant, the Emergency Deputy will take over the duties of the office, and solicit letters of intent for a successor. Subsidiary groups are not required to follow this policy in choosing their seneschals and officers. A two-thirds majority of Baronial Officers may petition his/her Kingdom Superior to remove any Officer, or person in a Baronial position, though a proposal to do so must appear on the officers’ meeting agenda and in the previous Althing. In this circumstance, the agenda shall be published via print or electronic media for the populace at least 48 hours before the meeting. If an Officer is absent and not represented at three consecutive Officers' meetings, his/her Kingdom Superior may be petitioned by the Officers to have him/her removed.
- Whenever an Office or baronial position changes hands, the outgoing Officer is responsible for transferring all files and baronial property related to the office to his or her successor in a timely fashion. An inventory report must be filed with the Chamberlain or Exchequer at this time so the change of property can be verified. In the event of a vacant office, the Officers shall determine which Barony member shall temporarily take possession of the files and property of the vacant Office.
- Baronial policies may be created or changed by the officers. Proposed additions or changes to Baronial policies must appear on the agenda of the officers' meeting at which they are ratified, and in the previous Althing. In this circumstance, the agenda shall be published via print or electronic media for the populace at least 48 hours before the meeting.
- Expenditures greater than $75 must be approved by a simple majority of the Financial Committee. Expenditures of $75 or under may be authorized jointly by the Baronial Seneschal and Exchequer. Such expenditures must be reported at the following officers meeting. The Seneschal and Exchequer must be represented at any meeting of the financial committee.
- Officers will not approve expenditures for proposed events unless they are presented with a written event bid which contains, at a minimum, the names of the autocrat and the head cook, a site, a date, a break-even analysis, and a budget (if baronial funds are to be used). The event budget shall include estimates for income and for expenses by category based upon expected attendance, rates charged and any free admissions. After-budget expenditures are to be approved or disapproved at the Financial Committee’s discretion. If an event bid is declined at the Kingdom or Society level, the event bid is void.
- Event refunds requested before the event report is completed will be considered but not guaranteed. Refunds requested after the event report is completed will not be issued.
- Baronial Succession
- Requirements of office: The territorial Baron and/or Baroness (hereafter referred to as Baron/ess) must meet the requirements stated in Corpora and Kingdom Law, be 18 years of age or older as of the day the votes are to be tallied, and must be a resident in the territory of the Barony-Marche of the Debatable Lands. The Office of Baron/ess of the Debatable Lands is not subject to a term limit.
- When Selection of a New Baron/ess Will Occur: Selection will take place when a Baron/ess is removed, expresses a desire to retire, or wishes to take a consort.
- Removal of a Baron/ess: A majority of the Barony's Officers may call for the removal of the Baron or Baroness. The motion must appear on the officers' meeting agenda (via print or electronic media) and in the previous issue of the Althing. If the motion passes, the result will be announced at the next Barony meeting and in the next issue of the Althing. At the Barony meeting after that, those attending the meeting will decide, by majority vote, whether to petition the Crown for the removal of the Baron or Baroness.
- The Vicar: If a Vicar is appointed, the Vicar may not give Baronial Awards but may otherwise preside over Baronial Courts and functions.
- The Selection Committee: The Selection Committee is responsible for overseeing the election process. The selection committee consists of the Baron/ess (if there is one), the Vicar (if there is one), and enough officers in officer precedence order to bring the total to 5 with the Baron and/or Baroness together counting as one seat. If a member of the committee accepts a baronial nomination, or if his term is over and he is not planning to renew before the election process is over, he or she is replaced by the next officer in officer precedence order. Notification of the upcoming election and these policies will be printed in the first Althing following the appointment of the selection committee. The Committee members will elect a Chairman from among their members by simple majority vote.
- The Selection Process
- Eligible Voters: Any person residing in the zip codes of the Barony-Marche of the Debatable Lands who is 17 years of age or older (as of the day the votes are to be tallied) and is on the corporate membership list may vote. Under exceptional circumstances, the Selection Committee may consider a written request for a ballot from a person who would not otherwise receive one. Such a request must be received by the Chair of the Selection Committee by the date of the Nominating Meeting.
- Timing of the Selection Process:
- Announcement of upcoming election
- Approximately one month later, nominations*
- Approximately one month later, acceptance of nominations
- Two months later, ballots counted
- The Nominating Meeting: A Nominating meeting will be held as part of a general Barony meeting one month after the announcement of the election appears in the Althing and is made at a general Barony meeting. Candidates will be nominated by petition of the populace, either in writing or by voice at the nominating meeting. Written nominations must be received by the Chair of the Selection Committee at or before the nomination meeting. The Chair of the Selection Committee must notify candidates within one week of the nominations. To be considered, candidates must accept nominations in writing to the Chair of the Selection Committee within one month of the nominating meeting. Individuals or couples may be nominated, but no individual can occur on the ballot more than once.
- The Voting: A written ballot with the list of all candidates (a candidate pair is considered to be "a candidate" in this document) will be distributed by mail to all eligible voters. Each ballot shall be numbered and a record kept of the total number of ballots mailed, but no record shall be kept of which numbers were mailed to which voters. Voting will be as follows:
- A group status poll will appear on the election ballots; voters will mark their preferred option. Voters will mark those candidates they consider unacceptable as "UA". All other candidates are to be ranked in order of preference, with "1" being the voter's first choice, "2" the second choice, and so on. Any candidate may be left blank (unranked).
- Voters will have until the beginning of the next general barony meeting at least one month after the ballots were mailed to vote. Voters may return their ballots by mail or in person to the Chair of the Selection Committee. Voters shall not be required to write their names on the ballots. The Chair of the Selection Committee will hold the ballots unopened until the Committee meets to count the ballots.
- Tallying the ballots: The Selection Committee will meet during the general barony meeting of the voting deadline to open and count the ballots. Only ballots that remain unopened until tallying begins will be valid. Ballots will be tallied in the following sequence:
- Ballot numbers will be checked off on the master list. If any duplicate ballot numbers or numbers which are not on the list of those mailed are found, those ballots will be discarded. The group status poll will be counted first. If a majority of the voters choose not to remain a Barony, then the Baronial election process will be terminated and the election ballots will not be tallied.
- A valid ballot will include an unambiguous and legible ranking of listed candidates as directed in section V.F.4.a., including UA or blank responses. Invalid ballots will not be counted.
- Any candidate receiving "unacceptable" (UA) votes from more than 33% of the valid ballots shall be eliminated from consideration.
- The Selection committee shall tally each ballot as a single vote for the highest-ranked active candidate on the ballot. If any candidate has a majority (more than 50%) of the received ballots, that candidate shall be declared the winner. Otherwise, the candidate with the fewest votes will be eliminated from consideration, and the votes for that candidate will be redistributed to the highest-ranked active candidate on each ballot. (Any ballot that does not include a numeric rank for any active candidate will not be considered a "received ballot" for the purpose of calculating the number of votes needed for majority.) Repeat this sequence until a majority candidate is found. The majority candidate will be declared the winner.
- If there is a tie between two (or more) active candidates for the fewest votes in a round, all tied candidates will be eliminated from consideration. If there is a tie between the final two (or more) active candidates, the candidate with the fewest number of unacceptable (UA) votes on ALL valid ballots (not just those that have ranked an active candidate) will be declared the winner. If there is still a tie, all tied candidates will be presented to the Crown as acceptable, and the Crown of Æthelmearc shall be asked to choose between them.
- General Summary of Tallying. The voters rank candidates from most favorite to least favorite. Take the ballots and you make a pile for each candidate, based on just the first-place votes (ignoring all the other rankings on the ballots). Then eliminate the candidate with the fewest votes and re-distribute those ballots to the other piles, using the second-place votes. Keep eliminating the candidate with the fewest votes until one candidate is left. This is a summary only; actual tallying process will follow steps i – v.
- The Petition: The Chair of the Selection Committee will produce a petition in accordance with Kingdom law.
- Special Elections
- If an existing solo Baron/ess desires to take a consort, a vote on the Baron/ess's chosen consort will be held at the general Barony meeting scheduled for approximately one month after an announcement of the vote appears in the Althing and is made at a general Barony meeting. Should the consort be accepted by the populace, a petition will be prepared as in V.F.5. above.
- If one member of a couple serving jointly as Baron and Baroness resigns, is removed or is unable to serve, the remaining Baron/ess may continue in the position alone if s/he desires, providing s/he passes a vote of confidence from the Barony. This vote will take place at the general Barony meeting scheduled to occur at least one month after an announcement of the vote appears in the Althing and is given at a general Barony meeting, and not more than 6 months after the vacancy occurs.
- In either case, written ballots will be distributed, collected and counted by the Selection Committee at the Barony meeting, with the results to be announced that night. The proposal will be decided by majority vote of those attending the meeting, plus proxies. Written proxy ballots will be permitted.
- The autocrat of an event may require any person behaving disruptively to leave the event. If a minor is behaving disruptively at an event, the autocrat may require the adult(s) responsible for that minor to leave the event as well. It is the responsibility of the autocrat of any event for which the Nonmember Surcharge must be collected to determine the means of collection.
- The Barony-Marche of the Debatable Lands does not serve alcoholic beverages.
- Anyone that holds, stores, or maintains Baronial property, not to include files, must inventory it at least once per calendar year. The report should be given to the Chamberlain or Exchequer during the first two weeks of November. The report shall contain at the minimum: the name of the item(s), quantity on hand, a statement about the condition of the item(s) and location of where the item(s) are stored.
- The Barony reserves the right to accept or refuse any donation. Non-monetary donations (e.g.: equipment, supplies, items for resale) with a value over $100 require the approval of the Exchequer, who will issue the receipt. The donor is solely responsible for setting the value of the donation. No non-monetary item should be accepted prior to seeing the item.
*Note: Additional general Barony meetings may be called to facilitate the timing of this process.
Event Bid Policy
Event bids may be submitted by any member of the BMDL who wishes to autocrat an event. Event bids must also be submitted by members of other local groups who want the BMDL to sponsor their event. Event bids must be presented at a Baronial Officers' meeting (or, in special cases, at a regular Barony meeting, by pre-arrangement with the Seneschal) in order to be approved. Ideally, all event bids should be submitted six to twelve months in advance. All event bids must include the following:
Completed Event Bid form (available to download from Baronial website) or equivalent.
Proof of SCA membership for the Autocrat. This must prove membership at the time of the event; if the proposed Autocrat's membership expires prior to the event, he or she must renew promptly and show proof of renewal to the Seneschal as soon as feasible.
Ideal event bids should also include the following:
- Resumes for the Autocrat and Head Cook
- List of facilities available at the site (classrooms, fighting areas, extra rooms, etc.)
- Proposed event announcement including directions that conform to the guidelines set forth by the Kingdom Chronicler.
- Full list of sub-autocrats and their assistants.