Sunday, January 10, 2010

Announcing the new ROMA CURIATE ASSEMBLY

ROMA will now have an assembly that will meet once a month. We are going to be replacing the ROMA Senate meeting with a larger gathering involving senators, citizens and group officers. The first meeting will be 11am Sunday 31 January.

The ROMA CURIATE ASSEMBLY is the monthly meeting of ROMA Senators, officers, and Citizens. It meets in the ROMA Curia and replaces the former ROMA Senate meetings. The Assembly is a large body that consists of three parts, or “chambers”, each with their role to play in managing and maintaining ROMA. It is also a “think-tank” for proposing new ideas and discussing all aspects of the estate. The Assembly meets the last Sunday of every month.

Each part ("chamber") sits in its own designated area inside the Curia in order to make clear who is a voting member.

CHAMBER 1: The Senators (the Optimates)
The Senators have two main roles in ROMA: A) to serve as a direct advisory body to the Emperor, Estate Managers and owner of ROMA, and B) to serve as “point people” and organizers of many ROMA events and tasks. This latter role allows them to act as “patrons”, helping other Citizens in ROMA accomplish their goals and ideas for the estate. Senators are often also called upon to be the “public face of ROMA”, wearing their Senator title with pride amongst both their fellow Citizens and new visitors. All Citizens may approach ROMA Senators with issues and they will endeavor to find solutions.

  • The Senate has an executive officer (Princeps Senatus) and two Censors. All three are positions elected by active Senate members.
  • Senators have a lifetime appointment (unless they resign or are removed).
  • They are elected by their peers (following a period of training and mentoring).
  • Each Senator gets one vote in the Assembly on voting matters.
  • Senators can propose motions on which the whole Assembly can vote. The Princeps steers all motions, discussions, and voting.
  • Senators should offer to be the main point people and organizers of events and issues brought before the Senate if they are able.
  • Senators take their responsibly seriously as part of the public face of ROMA
  • Senate officers manage a "Task Board" like in the Collegium where they can keep tabs on the duties taken on by the Senators.
  • Senate “on call” buttons in the Tabularium facilitate contact between the Senators and the Citizenry.
  • Further Senate regulations and details are laid out in the Tabellae which will be updated shortly.

CHAMBER 2: The Group Officers (the Populares)
The second chamber of the Assembly is comprised of group officers from the various active groups in ROMA. The Senate officers and Prefect will keep a current list of active groups. Each group is able to appoint up to two representatives to sit in this chamber during meetings. They are called "Novi Homines / Novae Feminae" and speak with the authority of the group. They are present in the Assembly to A) facilitate communication between the various groups in ROMA, B) to brainstorm event ideas and solicit assistance from the Senators in organizing events and ideas, and C) to bring any public issues to discussion within the Assembly.

  • Each Official and recognized Citizen-Run Group can appoint up to two "Novi Homines / Novae Feminae" to attend the Senate meetings in official capacity.
  • Family groups themselves are not eligible for a "Novi Homines / Novae Feminae" slot because they are considered sub-groups within the Theatrum group (and sit on the Theatrum council), but the Theatrum group may appoint a Family member to represent the Theatrum in the chamber as one of their "Novi Homines / Novae Feminae".
  • Each group decides how long each representative serves.
  • Each Novi Homines or Novae Feminae gets one vote in Senate voting matters.
  • Each Novi Homines or Novae Feminae can propose motions on which the whole Assembly votes. The Princeps Senatus steers all motions, discussions, and voting, including those proposed from within the Populares.
  • Groups must have a minimum membership number and must be active to participate in the Assembly.
  • SPECIAL NOTE ON THE COLLEGIUM: When the Assembly turns to Populares business in the agenda, the Collegium group goes first in order to discuss upcoming festival plans. This part of the meeting is steered by the Vestalis Maxima (if present) or a Collegium representative in order to discuss what is needed from the Assembly members and Groups for the next festival. The Vestalis Maxima (or Senatus Princeps is she is absent) can call for motions, discussions, and voting if necessary during this section of the meeting, but presumably that will not be necessary most of the time. This clause is to facilitate festival planning and the dissemination of information to the groups who will be participating in the festival.

CHAMBER 3: The Public Council
The Citizenry of ROMA is invited to participate in the Assembly. A special seating area in the Curia will allow spectators to join in the moderated discussions.

  • The Princeps will call upon people to speak during discussions. Those wishing to speak should IM the Princeps or signify in chat text that they wish to speak.
  • The Public council has no vote on voting matters, and may not make motions, but they can present ideas and take part in the debate.

A NOTE ON CHAMBER MEMBERSHIP: Someone can theoretically be a member of all three chambers, but they can only 'sit' in one area of the Curia. For example, the Collegium would probably not want to appoint MajorMatt to be their "Novus Homo" since he is already a sitting Senator, but if they did, he would have to make a decision where to sit when he got to the Curia. He would then be bound by the regulations of the chamber he was sitting in that day (i.e. if he was in the Public Council, he would not be able to make a motion).

A NOTE ON VOTING: Voting during an Assembly meeting will most often be used to ratify a "We would like to do this" motion or a "Can we do something about this" motion after discussion. It will be by declamation (“Yes” or “No” in chat), but the Princeps can defer any vote to the Messageboard if more discussion is needed or more input is desired. Secret ballots, though probably unnecessary, are also allowed.

Once the Assembly votes on a proposal, it technically goes to the Emperor for ratification. Most of the time, Torin will be able to ratify it immediately (“rubber stamp it”) during the meeting in his role as Prefect. Action, such as planning, then can immediately commence. On some matters, particularly those needing more discussion amongst the Estate Managers, Torin will defer immediate ratification and instead refer the proposal to a committee or to the Imperium management group. It may even be sent back to the Assembly at a future time for more discussion and another vote.

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