Election of the permanent committee chair (by email ballot) is ongoing.

So is discussion of whether to hold a physical meeting prior to the party’s national convention in May.

Here’s a publicly viewable archive of the committee’s email discussions.

And here’s an email I just sent pursuant to that discussion:

I’ve seen two main arguments offered for an in-person meeting.

The first is that more can get done in a shorter period of time because of time limits built into the agenda (and into venue reservation times, people’s travel plans, etc.) and a hypothetical sense of urgency created by those time limits.

While e-meetings do lack the sense of urgency because no one is going to miss a plane and the venue isn’t going to kick us out, they do have agenda-based time limit functions which the chair enforces unless the body chooses to extend time.

Email work has a hard time limit once email balloting begins, and both prior to and during the balloting, each member is free to spend as much or as little time as he or she wants considering or debating the proposal.

So I don’t find that argument persuasive.

The second is a more motivational/personal kind of thing — that in-person meetings are conducive to the members “gelling” as a working group, learning to work and play well together.

I DO find that argument persuasive as far as it goes, but I’d offer two counter-arguments to consider:

1) We are not a long-term body. About four months from now, we will cease to exist as a group. It’s not like we have to get along for the next 20 years to get our job done. I’m as irascible as anyone “in this room,” and I’m pretty sure that I can get through the next four months without killing any of my fellow committee members.I’m also pretty sure that any work-related conflicts are going to happen whether we have a physical meeting or not. The only difference there is that in email or e-meetings, any of you with a sudden and uncontrollable committee-work-related urge to throw a cup of hot Starbucks at someone or something won’t be able to throw it at ME.

2) While I do love you all, even the ones I don’t know well yet, a physical meeting entails considerable expense, including but not limited to possible venue rental, document printing, etc. (does LPHQ cover that?), and probably at LEAST several hundred dollars in personal travel/lodging/food spending, not to mention time wasted getting from Point A to Point B and back, by most or all members of the committee. I knew that such an expense was a possibility when I applied for the committee. I managed that expense last time, and if necessary I’ll do it this time. But as a matter of costs versus benefits, I just don’t consider it a wise use of either party or individual resources.

Imported from the original KN@PPSTER