The Shadow Senate

Since September 2013 the SAVA has been managed by the Shadow Senate. The Shadow Senate replaced the previous system of group governance, the High Council after the SAVA became a regency following some internal political turmoil during 2012.

The Shadow Council is an elected body consisting of members of the SAVA who make up the Shadow Council as well as the Regent of the SAVA and her Praetors as well as the Secretary to the Regency. Elected members of the Senate are called Senators. The purpose of this group is outlined in the mandate document of September 2013:

“As some of our long term participants may recall, the High Council system of the SAVA was disbanded in 2012. When it went, it took with it the system of Magisters and Secundi that had been in place from the very founding of the SAVA. Ours has been a young community, and we had several important lessons to learn. It is said that when you do nothing, you make less mistakes – and in all honesty, we have made our fair share, so doing nothing is certainly not something we can be accused of. Change again came to the SAVA in 2013, with the formation of a new body designed to replace the old High Council system, heralding opportunity for growth and development of our community and its culture.

The political landscape in the local VC has always been somewhat turbulent, and the events leading up to the dissolution of the High Council created a situation which posed an increasing risk of destabilising the local community and even to the continued existence of the SAVA itself. This said, a brief recap of recent history is necessary.

In May 2012 it became clear through a series of disagreements that a system of equal leaders on a committee-form High Council did not function when some Magisters disagreed with the decisions reached by the rest of the Council. Since the High Council was the highest authority within the SAVA, there was nothing to maintain order within the group should the High Council itself become deadlocked or dysfunctional. As if to provide an example of what could happen when leadership disintegrates, the SAVA was thrown into disarray when one Magister attempted to suceed a halo from the SAVA. Fortunately this move was thwarted, but the lesson it provided was clear.

In June of 2012 the SAVA High Council ratified the post of Regent of the SAVA, created and occupied by SAVA founder and former Magister of Mintaka, Octarine Valur. This meant that the High Council now became a kind of parliament under the control, guidance and authority of the Regency. This still did not solve all the problems within the SAVA however, as some members viewed the move as turning the SAVA into a “dictatorship”. Some also felt that the Magisters and Secundi, consisting of mostly original members of the SAVA who had been appointed without any voting process from the membership, held those positions unfairly and some perhaps undeservedly. These underlying tensions were to rise to the surface later.

On October 8, 2012, the first general SAVA elections took place, in which Magisters and Secundi were elected by members themselves to represent the nine halo’s of the SAVA. Mostly the same serving Magisters and Secundi were nominated and re-elected to the their existing positions by the SAVA membership.

In November 2012, several security breaches perpetrated from within the High Council resulted in a total lack of member confidence in the High Council. In November 2012, the High Council was dissolved by the Regent, who has since managed the affairs of the SAVA, while seeking input directly from the membership and also relying upon the assistance of two Praetors and the Secretary of the SAVA. But it has been a year, and things change, and people move on. Over the past year, the local VC has grown and matured. Change is due.

For some time the Regency was looking for a viable replacement management system for the development of our subculture across the country, and settled upon the following model:

1) A council will be formed consisting of 5 individuals who are SAVA members.

2) Council members will be decided on by means of an internal SAVA ballot.

3) Each member on this council will have various responsibilities delegated to them, either on a fixed or ad hoc basis as decided by the requirements set by the council together with the Regency once formed.

4) The name of this council will be “The Shadow Senate”.

5) Council members will bear the title “Senator”.

6) Repeated service delivery failure or participation of an individual council member will result in replacement.

7) None of the positions on this council will be tied specifically to any territory or Halo as was previously the case.

8 ) All members on this council will be of equal stature and will decide the stance of the council on any issues affecting the SAVA by means of a vote within the council.

9) The present system of the Regency remains in effect, with the Regent having the right of veto over any decisions made by the council, or to decide an issue where a vote is ‘hung’ by an undecided, or even absent vote. The Regent reserves the right to dissolve the council if it becomes defunct, ineffective or incapacitated.

10) Any current member of the SAVA, regardless of their type, location etc are eligible to be nominated to a position on the council, except for the Regent, Secretary or any Praetor’s (assistants to the Regent).

11) ALL SAVA members are eligible to vote.

12) Voting shall signify approval of candidates by the membership of the SAVA. Members are requested to cast their votes on the 5 (FIVE) candidates they feel will best serve the SAVA and the interests of the SA VC.

13) Those accepting nominations are to do so on the understanding that they will be held to the very highest standards of the SAVA.

14) The Regency reserves the right to veto any nominees it deems unsuitable.

15) Voting sessions may commence as soon as there are at least 6 nominees (with no maximum) and will run until a clear majority has been established on 5 candidates. If no majority can be established, the Regency reserves the right to make the final selection from the list of candidates in dispute.

16) Voting sessions to select Senators are an internal SAVA matter, and will NOT be advertised publicly until after the new council has been formed.

17) Elections to select Senators are to take place annually.

The point of the membership selecting the Senate (as in most democratic systems) is so that their views and interests are represented by the Senators, which empowers the Senators to vote or act according to their own consciences. How they perform during their term will determine how they will be voted upon at the next Senatorial election.

The goal of holding annual Senatorial elections is that the membership of the SAVA will be able to also choose alternatives if they are dissatisfied with performance, and especially as new members enter the SAVA each year, adding to the scope of their choice for subsequent elections. It may also provide inspiration for those members who may feel they would like an opportunity to demonstrate their own leadership abilities.

Discussions and votes on various issues within the Senate will probably be kept within the Senate, but there is no reason why the membership cannot be approached for their opinion on certain matters in opinion polls etc. Transcripts of meetings and debates will be released to the membership periodically. Select transcripts may on occasion be made publicly available.

The function of the Shadow Senate is as a sort of “round table” with responsibilities accepted by Senators on a piece-meal basis rather than by assigning portfolios to each Senator. Thus, if any matter comes up, the entire group is not stymied because one individual holding a portfolio that deals with that subject is not available. Instead, the Senate will share the responsibility among its members.

Some of the areas the Senate will be focusing on include social development and interaction of the local VC, public relations issues and general community related matters.”

The following are presently convenors of the Shadow Senate:

  • Octarine Valur (Regent of the SAVA)
  • Psion Valur De Nocte (Praetor to the Regent)
  • Kay Valkir Noctem (Praetor to the Regent)
  • Lunah Valur Eir (Secretary to the Regency)

Previous & presently serving Senators of the Shadow Senate:

Session 1 – 2013-14:

  • Jaco Lazarian von Draco Dravana
  • Jezebel Strigoi
  • Kitra Gabriele Draegan Seymore
  • Samael Anathan
  • Serephim Lena Karayan

The following are presently serving Senators of the Shadow Senate:

Session 2 – 2014-15:

  • Dagan Nightalon
  • Jezebel Strigoi-Saet Khefer
  • Nadine My-Addiction
  • Octavius Drake
  • Serephim Lena Karayan

To date, the SAVA’s Shadow Senate, while continuously running dialog every day of its existence, has held 6 formal meetings, the transcripts of which have been made available to SAVA members. Topics discussed at all meetings include issues and concerns which are raised both by members of the SAVA as well as by general participants in the local VC.

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