Delegate Advisor Law

Discussion in 'Regional Assembly' started by St George, Nov 8, 2018.

  1. St George

    St George RP Dog Supporter Roleplay Moderator NPA Citizen

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    Trying to keep this short and sweet to avoid any problems with trying to go deeper into defining the exact powers and limits of advisers to the delegate, so here we go:
    Article 3 Section 8 of the Constitution will be amended as follows:
    1. The Delegate will be the head of state and government of The North Pacific and hold the in-game position of delegate.
    2. The Delegate may eject and ban nations from the region as permitted by law, and will eject or ban nations from the region when required by law.
    3. The Delegate may negotiate treaties with foreign powers. No treaty will come into effect unless approved by a two-thirds majority vote of the Regional Assembly.
    4. When a proposal of the Regional Assembly to enact, amend or repeal a law is passed, the Speaker shall promptly present it to the Delegate, and it shall take effect immediately upon their signature.
    5. The Delegate may veto a proposal of the Regional Assembly to enact, amend or repeal a law within one week of its passage.
    6. The Regional Assembly may override such a veto by a two-thirds majority vote, which shall cause a proposal to take immediate effect.
    7. If a proposal of the Regional Assembly to enact, amend or repeal a law has not been signed or vetoed by the Delegate, it shall take effect seven days after being passed.
    8. The Delegate may appoint executive officers and may dismiss these officers freely. Executive officers may be regulated by law.and advisors to assist them and may dismiss these appointees freely. Executive officers and advisors may be regulated by law.
    9. The Vice Delegate will chair the Security Council and enforce the continued eligibility of its members as determined by law.
    10.. The Vice Delegate will hold the second most endorsements in the region. The Delegate may eject or ban any nation which exceeds any legally mandated endorsement limit.
    11. In the case of a vacancy or absence in the office of Delegate or Vice Delegate, the first available person in the line of succession will assume the duties of the vacated position. If a member of the line of succession assumes the duties of either position while serving in, or having assumed the duties of, any other constitutionally-mandated elected office, they will be considered absent from that office.
    12. The Delegate and Vice Delegate will be elected by the Regional Assembly by a majority vote every four months. No person shall be elected Delegate to a full or partial term in three consecutive election cycles.

    Chapter 7 Section 7.1 of the Legal Code will be amended as follows:

    2. Executive Officers are government officials appointed by the Delegate to assist in the execution of their duties.
    3. Executive Advisors are government officials appointed by the Delegate to offer advice and council to the Delegate.
    4. The Serving Delegate is the person holding the constitutionally-mandated elected office of the Delegate or, in the case of a vacancy in that office, the person that has assumed the duties of that office.
    5. The WA Delegate is the nation holding the WA Delegacy of the region The North Pacific.

    Happy to hear suggestions on alternate wording but I'd like to be clear - the intention here is ensure that advisors to the delegate are brought under the law are subject to all the other limitations that other delegate appointees are, including recall.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2018
  2. Pallaith

    Pallaith TNPer Security Council Vice Delegate Citizen

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    So I assume the constitutional amendment aspect is done because currently advisors are not considered officers and therefore even if you amended the legal code to rein them in, they could still get around it? I guess I’m just wondering why we’re explicitly adding advisors to the constitution when I see them potentially as a type of executive officer and a legal code change would be sufficient.

    I agree with the change on the merits, I’m generally uncomfortable with unofficial government actors who nevertheless have expanded access. I think they’re an important asset and I certainly made use of them when I was Delegate, and we’ve always been able to count on them and trust them to make good use of the access, so it shouldn’t hurt to formalize it.
     
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  3. St George

    St George RP Dog Supporter Roleplay Moderator NPA Citizen

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    Essentially, yes. I foresaw a future request for review and wanted to head that off at the pass by directly addressing them in the constitution.
     
  4. Syrixia

    Syrixia The one, the true, the great. Supporter Citizen

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    Full support, obviously! This is long overdue.
     
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  5. King SillyString

    King SillyString TNPer Administrator Supporter Security Council Election Commissioner Justice Citizen

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    Here's the problem: This doesn't actually address what you're concerned about.

    The constitution currently states that anybody appointed by the delegate to any role is a government official. That includes an advisory role. However, the delegate is free to seek advice from anyone they want, and to grant access to cabinet-only areas to whomever they want - including people who cannot legally be appointed as executive officers.

    There has been a (completely reasonable) push for some transparency in who the delegate is seeking the advice of and who has access to sensitive cabinet areas, leading recent delegates to announce who their advisors are. But they have refrained from making those advisors executive officials by not officially appointing them into the role.

    The proposed amendment does nothing to change this, and there really is no reasonable way to constrain who the delegate can talk to or share information with.

    I think a better approach would be to exempt advisors from branch-of-government restrictions, like we do with election commissioners. This has its own challenges; we would need to adequately define the distinction between a minister and an advisor unless we wanted to also exempt ministers from those restrictions. Preliminarily I would say that a minister is someone who wields executive power, while an advisor does not. The exact nature of that can get a little bit tricky to nail down, though.

    Edit since I think I didn't adequately conclude: Restraining advisors from serving in other roles in TNP has generally been the reason that they have been chosen but not appointed. I think exempting them instead would eliminate most if not all of the reason delegates have been reluctant to appoint, and would address the underlying concern about them not being government officials.
     
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  6. Siwale

    Siwale TNPer Supporter Delegate Election Commissioner NPA Citizen

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    SillyString beat me to it. I strongly considered requiring oaths for my advisors at the beginning of my first term, but eventually reached these same conclusions. The advisor role is really nothing more than a public disclosure of who has consistent cabinet access. It yields no real power, just access to certain areas of the forum and Discord.

    All that this bill will accomplish is limit who the Delegate could "appoint" to this position due to branch-crossing restrictions. The Delegate is still free to consult with whatever outside council they deem necessary. And there is no way to eliminate this without significantly reducing the functionality of the office of Delegate.
     
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  7. Crushing Our Enemies

    Crushing Our Enemies TNPer Supporter Attorney General Election Commissioner Citizen

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    If this law is passed, delegates will just stop announcing who their advisers are, to avoid confusion over whether they are unofficial confidants or official appointed advisers - especially when those advisers hold offices in other branches of government (which, in my opinion, is when transparency is most called for.)

    Like it or not, the delegate is allowed to share executive information legitimately, and they are allowed to talk to whoever they want and seek advice. If you try to outlaw that unless they give each of those people a job (which this bill would NOT do in its current form), all you'll accomplish by that is making a criminal out of every delegate from here on out - cause it's pretty much impossible to do the job without sharing information and seeking advice from at least one person who's not eligible to be appointed to the executive.

    EDIT: Let me follow up with something a bit more constructive: why do you want to bring everyone who the delegate confides in under the same regulations as executive officials? What is motivating this bill? It may be that there is a sane solution to the perceived problem, or it may be that the motivation for this bill arises from a misunderstanding of what advisers are.
     
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  8. Pallaith

    Pallaith TNPer Security Council Vice Delegate Citizen

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    I think COE's last question gets to the heart of the matter. I don't believe it is clear to everyone how advisers work, and Siwale's description is an apt one. As a former Delegate myself, I made use of advisers. I have no problem with them taking oaths; like Siwale, I initially planned to have advisers take oaths, as I came into office with a very skeptical view of what I will term "unofficial government officials." And like Siwale, I concluded that it would be unnecessary and easier to name the advisers and bring them into the conversation without formalizing it. Having said that, I know first-hand the significance of advisers, and the impact they can have on the Delegate's decisions. Over two terms, my understanding and experience of advisers changed from where I started. It's not an experience that is the same for all Delegates, and some advisers will carry greater weight than others, but I think I can appreciate where MadJack is coming from now compared to where I was when I first came in. They can play a critical role, and the more of a role they take in events, the more they should be under scrutiny. I suspect this is a driving force in this bill, and for those who are less familiar with how advisers fit into the picture.

    This doesn't just apply to advisers, of course (though those are the most significant and involved in the highest level) - there's a variety of jobs that kind of fit vaguely into the executive but don't necessarily rise to the level of an executive officer like a minister. I will give Siwale credit, he has had more people take oaths and be official executive officers than I did, including the Surgeon General position for Z-Day. I will note that this was a good example of what they're talking about - although the role is associated with SillyString, her place in the Judicial branch meant she couldn't assume it and take an oath. I will acknowledge that I didn't take this limitation into consideration earlier, in part because I took the allowance to have these kinds of unofficial officials for granted when I was Delegate. I think if I had to, I could live without the advisers that couldn't serve because of their presence in other branches, and bringing more people into the fold of accountability is a good one. But if we do that, SillyString's point must be addressed - we must consider exemptions, because it's hard to have it both ways, to have accountable officials and discourage the use of informal private conversations to get advice.

    I will say, COE, I don't believe the point of the bill is to outlaw the Delegate seeking advice from unappointed people. The law cannot, and should not, attempt to prohibit something when that prohibition cannot be enforced. If that is MadJack's aim, I wouldn't be able to support the bill, and I'm not sure how it could be reworked to guarantee transparency and confidentiality without futilely trying to police the Delegate's private conversations.

    MadJack, I would like to ask, under what circumstances would you evaluate an adviser's performance, and potentially determine whether or not an adviser should be recalled? I'm not against this in principle, I'm just curious how this would work.
     
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  9. mcmasterdonia

    mcmasterdonia TNPer Staff Member Administrator Supporter Security Council Minister NPA Citizen

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    The main problem with some Delegate’s is the heightened power given to advisors to the point where a cabinet view on a matter is largely irrelevant, or where the Delegate’s decision making is paralysed because an advisor is unavailable.

    It’s all well and good to say “well look here, Delegate’s are now announcing who they seek advice from” like that’s something positive. This was not done because people asked for transparency.

    It was done because Delegate’s wanted to reward these advisors with the access and privileges without the responsibilities of cabinet office. They can see every private discussion of any ministry and advise on any matter privately, without any kind of oversight or tangible responsibilities.

    Delegates can and still do seek advice from other people. However the advisory position is of a clear heightened influence with unparalleled access to the Delegate of the day and to the private executive functions and discussion Chambers. Advisors have no activity requirements and are not subject to any kind of oversight or recall ability by the assembly.

    I fully support this proposal.
     
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  10. St George

    St George RP Dog Supporter Roleplay Moderator NPA Citizen

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    Exempting is an option I hadn't considered, but sure, we can definitely look at that. It would solve the problem of potentially limited who could be an advisor.

    Perhaps 'advisors' could be defined as any executive/government officer/title that doesn't have a ministry attached?

    I disagree with Siwale's assertion that the advisor role wields no power. Access itself is powerful, as I learnt across multiple terms when I was an advisor and as others have told me. A cabinet within the cabinet is how I've heard it phrased. We should be weary of the potential for such things to develop - one only has to look at TSP to see how members of cabinet have sometimes been excluded from discussions in favour of an established interest group there.

    This bill wouldn't bring everyone the delegate confides in under the same regulations as executive officers. It would bring the announced advisers in under the same regulation as executive officers. Which may cause delegates to just stop announcing who has access, but ordinary citizens have powerful tools with which to find out that information, mainly freedom of information requests and public scrutiny of a delegate if they choose not to announce. SillyString's suggestion above may mitigate the potential for delegate's to not announce and I'm interested in exploring that.

    I can happily say that isn't my aim and I wouldn't want to leave delegates in a situation where they can't get advice from people.

    To answer your question, I think that would have to be applied on a situational basis. If cabinet meetings were still things we could judge based off of those if an adviser is acting in TNP's interests or if they are potentially acting in the interests of a third party. With effectively zero oversight currently, there is nothing stopping an adviser to the delegate from operating in such a manner as to primarily benefit someone other than TNP, especially if they have no ties holding them to the region such as citizenship.

    Thank you for your support! I have to say I agree with all of this.
     
  11. Eluvatar

    Eluvatar TNPer Staff Member Administrator Citizen

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    Access is definitely powerful.

    It's definitely true also that on occasion, advisors have been given authority without responsibility. I agree that this is inappropriate.

    We definitely need to fix the hole Discord appears to have blown in our Freedom of Information Act.

    Were I to let loose my democradicalism I would argue for an executive oversight/advisory council elected by the citizens. But I don't think the region would go for that right now.

    More reasonably, we could legislate that any classified information be shared only with those who have sworn an oath (excepting diplomacy).
     
  12. Crushing Our Enemies

    Crushing Our Enemies TNPer Supporter Attorney General Election Commissioner Citizen

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    Yes, if the goal is to prevent the delegate from giving cabinet-level discord access to foreign sabateurs (I say discord because advisers have no additional access to the forum) then the way to do it is to constrain the delegate's ability to share government information, which is currently unrestricted. Off the top of my head, I would rename the "Mandatory Ministries" section something like "Executive Officers", then move the definition of executive officers into that section and add a clause saying "No one except Executive Officers may be given access to private executive communications unless they swear the following oath:" and then make up an oath that actually applies to advisers, since the oath of office makes little sense in that context.

    I still don't think this is necessary, since the delegate is elected region-wide and generally has the good sense to pick advisers who can be trusted. However, this way would be a sight better than creating a new class of government official that truly stretches the meaning of the term, since they weild no authority and can't actually *do* anything.
     
  13. St George

    St George RP Dog Supporter Roleplay Moderator NPA Citizen

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    Do advisors no longer get access to the cabinet subforum? I certainly had access when I was one.
     
  14. Siwale

    Siwale TNPer Supporter Delegate Election Commissioner NPA Citizen

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    They should have access. Perhaps there is a masking issue with the new forum. Not that much happens there anyways, as you can see from the number of declassified threads over the past few years. FOIA completely killed it.
     
  15. Crushing Our Enemies

    Crushing Our Enemies TNPer Supporter Attorney General Election Commissioner Citizen

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    I do not have access to any private forum areas by virtue of being an adviser. When I was first given adviser status, I asked about this, and was told that there is no special forum mask for an adviser because that sort of access would require an official appointment. Discord was ok, the theory went, because it's unofficial.

    EDIT: Since posting, I have apparently been given access to the cabinet subforum.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2018
  16. St George

    St George RP Dog Supporter Roleplay Moderator NPA Citizen

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    I've been thinking of ways to possibly resolve the issues with this bill, and the simplest solution to me seems to just amending Article 7, Clause 10 from
    to
    But I'll admit to being a little rusty on the ways of the RA, so if someone has a better idea I'd love to hear it.
     
  17. Crushing Our Enemies

    Crushing Our Enemies TNPer Supporter Attorney General Election Commissioner Citizen

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    OK, so there's still the fundamental problem that if a delegate doesn't want to make their advisers official, they don't have to. But if your intention is to allow delegates to appoint official advisers who must take oaths, and allow them to hold other offices in other branches as well, here is a better way of doing it:

    The point of including "Exceptions to this provision may be established by law" in the constitution is to allow offices to be created in the legal code that are exempt from that provision. I still don't really see the point of this bill, but I suppose it doesn't do any harm.

    EDIT: There is no need to amend the constitution at all, in fact, unless you wish to strongly imply that delegate's ought to appoint advisers by including a reference to them in the constitution. Just because an office is not specifically contemplated by the constitution doesn't mean it can't exist - the election commission, for example.
     
  18. Marilyn Manson

    Marilyn Manson TNPer Citizen

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    Full support.
     
  19. St George

    St George RP Dog Supporter Roleplay Moderator NPA Citizen

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    I've updated the first post to adopt COE's suggestions, and I thank him and others for the input they've provided. I'll be happy to move on this soon if people don't have any other input. :)
     
  20. St George

    St George RP Dog Supporter Roleplay Moderator NPA Citizen

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    @Wonderess I'd like to motion that the proposal as laid out in the first post is put to vote. :)
     
  21. Wonderess

    Wonderess A lowly member of the faithful Supporter Speaker Citizen

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    The 5 day formal debate period has begun and may be waived or shortened by the bill author.
     
  22. Darcania

    Darcania Zephyr, Şeytan Kral Resident Deputy Minister NPA

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    Full support.
     
  23. St George

    St George RP Dog Supporter Roleplay Moderator NPA Citizen

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    I would like to shorten debate to 2 days.
     
  24. Wonderess

    Wonderess A lowly member of the faithful Supporter Speaker Citizen

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  25. St George

    St George RP Dog Supporter Roleplay Moderator NPA Citizen

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    Mainly I don't see a need for the 5 day formal debate format. I first posted this bill a month ago and whilst, yes, the new wording has only been around for a few days, that is more than enough time for members to read the bill and understand what it does.

    Going for a longer period of formal debate will also allow anyone who would deny me the right of reply to any objections to further lobby in people's discord DMs, a practice that, whilst legal, isn't something I'm in favour of.
     
  26. Prydania

    Prydania Það er alltaf sólríkt í Beaconsviði Supporter Roleplay Moderator Deputy Speaker Citizen

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    Full support.
     
  27. Darcania

    Darcania Zephyr, Şeytan Kral Resident Deputy Minister NPA

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    This has happened for this bill?
     
  28. St George

    St George RP Dog Supporter Roleplay Moderator NPA Citizen

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    I believe there is the potential for that to have.
     
  29. King SillyString

    King SillyString TNPer Administrator Supporter Security Council Election Commissioner Justice Citizen

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    Point of personal privilege!

    The title of this bill is "advisor" but the language in the current draft is "adviser".

    This is deeply offensive to me on a personal level and I demand the author correct this at once!!
     
  30. St George

    St George RP Dog Supporter Roleplay Moderator NPA Citizen

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    I have either fixed it or broken it further, depending on Your Majesty's preference :)
     
  31. King SillyString

    King SillyString TNPer Administrator Supporter Security Council Election Commissioner Justice Citizen

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