Agency 11: Bylaws and IT Infrastructure
The 11th agency in the community is the Bylaws and IT Infrastructure Agency. It is the second agency in the Public Administration Bureau. Other agencies in the bureau are the Communication Agency (agency 10) and the Public Relations Agency (agency 12). The Bylaws and IT Infrastructure Agency facilitates the community bylaws’ development, implementation, and adjustment. The agency also handles IT infrastructure, enabling participants’ access to server farms and computers (desktops, laptops, and tablets).
How the agency works
The executive presidency
The Bylaws and IT Infrastructure Agency is served by an executive presidency consisting of four presidents, who serve and represent the four divisions: married men (A), married women (B), single women (C), and single men (D). The presidency is responsible for the agency’s operations, which are effected through the automated system, contractors, and cooperation with village presidencies for stewardship.
The bureau board
The executive presidency of the Bylaws and IT Infrastructure Agency teams up with the executive presidencies serving the Communication and Public Relations Agency to form the Public Administration Bureau board. Each of the presidents on the board also belongs to a division presidency with other members of the board with whom they share a division. Therefore, the married men’s presidents for Communication (10A), Bylaws and IT Infrastructure (11A), and Public Relations (12A) belong to a three-member division presidency, as do other presidents in the board representing other divisions.
|Division Presidency A||Division Presidency B||Division Presidency C||Division Presidency D|
The board is responsible for safeguarding the community’s and participants’ interests in the course of individual agencies’ operations. The board has the authority to approve or reject agencies’ decisions in line with these considerations.
Additionally, the board serves as an oversight mechanism over individual presidents. This includes examining actions by individual presidents that affect the bureau, or the community’s interests. The board also provides a platform for intra-bureau collaboration.
The bylaws and IT Infrastructure extensively cooperates with other agencies in its column. In particular, there is close cooperation between the agency and includes Stewardship (agency 2), Life Planning (agency 5), Legal (agency 14), and Data and Publishing (agency 17). This cooperation is aimed at enabling each agency optimally discharge its role while maintaining its autonomy.
The collaboration between Bylaws and IT Infrastructure Agency and Stewardship focuses on the help that village presidencies for stewardship lend the agency. This ranges from easing access by participants to services offered by Bylaws and IT Infrastructure and monitoring the application of bylaws in business setup, partners’ agreements, and business operations by participants.
The Bylaws and IT Infrastructure Agency relies on the Life Planning Agency to ensure that the education curriculum accommodated training on bylaws so that all participants are familiar with them. The Legal Agency assists in aligning bylaws with other laws that govern the area a community is located in, and liaison with lawmakers.
The Data and Publishing Agency helps in maintaining the integrity of data that passes through server farms, including providing the appropriate cybersecurity tools. The agency also helps in collecting and analyzing data needed to ascertain whether businesses and community agencies are bylaws-compliant.
The Automated system and contractors
The bulk of the agency’s roles are performed through an automated system. The system interacts with participants and other agencies, village, and district presidencies. The executive presidency handles the set-up of the system and monitors its performance, implementing changes as necessary to better serve its users.
The agency’s automated system is set up and operated by contractors hired by the agency. The contractors also perform all other functions of the agency, as directed in their agreements with the agency, with the executive presidency monitoring their performance, assisted by village presidencies for stewardship, and the trustees/ regulatory agents who serve that agency. The presidency does this through contractors that it hires to manage specific aspects of the system’s operations.
The Capital Bank Agency (agency 8) invests capital in the Bylaws and IT Infrastructure Agency. The Bylaws and IT Infrastructure Agency pays the Capital Bank a return on its investment. The agency uses the capital for business operations, including down payment for the loans it may take from the Commercial Bank Agency (agency 7) for the acquisition of assets. It obtains funds to repay the loan from the revenue it collects as it charges participants and community agencies for the services offered.
The decision to buy or lease assets
The Bylaws and IT Infrastructure Agency controls assets of significant value, and whose operation determines the quality of services they provide. Server farms and computers are expensive to acquire, and the agency must make a series of business considerations before deciding whether to buy or lease.
In the long term, it is cheaper to buy an asset than to lease it. If an asset is being used for a long time, it will have slower depreciation than the leasing costs, and could still manage to fetch some money once its time for disposal is due. Additionally, buying an asset instead of leasing it could be beneficial from a tax standpoint, through tax incentives on acquiring assets and depreciation deductions.
The question with asset acquisition lies in whether the asset will be usable for a long time. The hardware in server farms, for instance, if well maintained, can last for around 8 years. Based on the revenues that the server farm is likely to generate, and the fact that replacement can be done in phases, the agency may decide to buy.
Nature of assets
Personal computers and laptops may be a different ballgame altogether. For instance, the Apple Lisa 2, a 1983 release by Apple, with among other features, a 5 MB hard disk, was initially retailing at the equivalent of $29,000. While it could certainly compete then, it would struggle to complete any task that modern computers can handle with ease. Going by the quick depreciation that such items undergo, and the speed with which new and better inventions are released, it would be more advisable to lease such expensive equipment to get the best quality service out of them, without being tied down by the likelihood of the assets becoming obsolete too quickly, often before they break even.
Some assets need rigorous and expensive maintenance, making ownership less appealing than leasing. Additionally, leasing agreements can have provisions for upgrades. If they are there, it means that based on time or the availability of better versions of the leased asset, upgrades can be provided to replace the leased assets. This prevents the possibility of the agency having to pay leases for obsolete equipment that no participant wants to use anymore.
Duties of the agency
The Bylaws and IT Infrastructure Agency roles can be divided into two: facilitating the formulation, implementation, and amendment of bylaws, and handling IT infrastructure that includes server farms and computing devices.
Concerning bylaws, the agency:
- Facilitates the formulation and adjustment of bylaws
- Trains community public servants and participants on bylaws
- Ensures compliance with bylaws
- Aligns bylaws with laws and regulations under which jurisdiction the community falls
Facilitating the formulation and adjustment of bylaws
The community’s bylaws form a core element of the community’s formation, detailing the duties of the community public servants and participants, as well as the agencies. The Bylaws and IT Infrastructure Agency works through contractors who are experts in law, business, social relations, and other disciplines to draw up the bylaws. The agency then forms the platform under which the bylaws are taken to participants for public participation exercises, during which participants air their views and recommendations on the laws. The agency considers this input and uses it to improve the bylaws.
From time to time, community public servants and participants may identify areas of bylaws that need review. The aims of the review include adapting bylaws to business operations, updating them to move with the times, and enhancing the community’s ability to meet its obligations to participants. The Bylaws and Infrastructure Agency is again the platform on which the review is facilitated. The agency may hire contractors to review recommendations and advice on the best way of implementing them. The agency forms the collaborative environment needed to ensure all input is considered before any adjustments are realized.
Facilitating training on bylaws
All participants, especially those who serve as community public servants need to be well-versed with bylaws. Through its automated system, the Bylaws and IT Infrastructure Agency offers training to participants on the bylaws and monitors their understanding. This can be done through online automated tests after each module. The tests are an important element in the selection of community public servants, who must have a good grasp of the regulations they will work with. As mentioned above, the agency works with the Life Planning Agency (agency 5) to integrate bylaws’ training in education.
Aligning bylaws with the law
Ultimately, bylaws are subordinate to the laws of the area within which the community operates. The Bylaws and IT Infrastructure Agency continually studies bylaws, while surveying the legal environment within which the community operates. The agency then aligns the bylaws with the law as necessary. In some instances, the agency may need to reach out to lawmakers for better interpretation of various laws as they come into being or are implemented. The lawmakers will then study the bylaws as well, and offer their opinion, which the agency uses while adjusting the bylaws.
The Bylaws and IT Infrastructure closely works with the Legal Agency in ensuring the alignment of community bylaws and the law. The Legal Agency (agency 14) provides consultancy services and also helps in monitoring contractual agreements to ensure they are enforceable beyond the community ins courts of law.
The Bylaws and IT Infrastructure Agency handles specific community assets: server farms, and computing equipment including laptops, desktops, and similar items.
A server farm is a cluster of servers located close together, to provide superior server functionality. Server farms are favored for providing high network redundancy – making the network more resilient and reliable, such that even if one server fails, the overall performance of the server farm is not affected.
Server farms are a type of cluster computing, which provide users with high-quality services, often through high-speed connectivity. These server farms are expensive to acquire, install, and maintain. For instance, they use enormous amounts of power, which, if not harnessed and used for other needs, can make the maintenance costs prohibitive in some instances. To get around this, places with cool all-year weather such as Iceland and Northern Canada are being favored as the ideal location for remote server farms, because of the abundant energy resources and less expense in cooling them.
The Bylaws and IT Infrastructure Agency handles server farms. The cost implications involved will usually lead the agency to lease the facility from server farm providers. The agency liaises with the contracted entity to ensure the integrity of data and ensure optimal performance. The agency in turn charges users in the community a fee to use the facility. Users access services through an automated system that enables them to secure services and make payments.
The Bylaws and IT Infrastructure Agency provides participants with the computing equipment they need, including computers and laptops. The community is highly digitized, and a larger proportion of its 100,000 participants likely need computers from time to time for business or personal needs.
The agency obtains the computers needed to meet demand in the community. To estimate demand, the agency uses its automated system to interpret trends in the market. It also uses data supplied by the Stewardship Agency to estimate how many people need computing devices, and the type and functionality needed. The agency may hire researchers to do additional surveys on the target market and enable the agency to make better decisions when acquiring the equipment.
The agency relies on contractors to provide computers to participants. The contractors have access to the automated system through which participants place their orders for the hire of equipment. The contractors handle the logistics bit of the operation, delivering the equipment, and collecting it as requested, while keeping track to ensure proper usage and payment.
Presidencies offices, meetings, and assembly hall conferences
Executive presidency’s offices and meetings
The Bylaws and IT Infrastructure Agency’s executive presidency has its offices in district building 11’s first floor, on the western side. It is in these offices that the executive presidents work from Monday to Thursday, from 8:00 to 8:45 in the morning. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are dedicated to meeting clients who visit the offices. On Thursday, the whole presidency (four presidents serving A, B, C, and D) meets for a weekly review. Across on the eastern side, the regulatory agents and trustees who serve them have their offices, as illustrated in the diagram below.
Village Presidencies for Stewardship
The village presidencies for stewardship extensively collaborate with the agency and help participants interact with the executive presidency. The village presidencies have their offices on the third and fifth floors of their district buildings, as illustrated:
Quarterly meetings and conferences are held on the last Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of the quarter. Each of the 4 division presidencies that comprise a board meets on the last Friday of each quarter, between 9:00 AM and 12:00 PM. The meeting is held to discuss matters of common interest to the division within the board. The whole 12-member board meets on Saturday (the next day), between 9:00 AM and 12:00 PM. Conferences are held on the last Sunday of each quarter, from 9:00 Am to 3:00 PM, with a lunch break in between.
During quarterly conferences, each division presidency sits together. Married men (A), married women (B), single women (C), and single men (D) all have different assembly halls. Married men use building 5’s lower hall, while married women use the same building’s upper hall. Single women use Building 17’s lower hall, while single men use the building’s upper hall.
The executive presidents sit on a stand where they are easily visible to the attendees. Each of the 24 executive presidents is allocated time to speak, according to a predetermined schedule. The assembly hall’s seats can easily switch alignment, enabling attendees to face whichever side the speaker is located. The assembly hall has an elliptical arch that enables speakers to be heard without the aid of microphones. All assembly halls are identical.
The specific sitting arrangements for executive presidents and village presidents are illustrated below, with those of the Bylaws and IT Infrastructure Agency’s executive presidency highlighted.
Demographic presidency seating
Each division/ demographic presidency of 3 sits alongside each other in the assembly hall during the quarterly conference. This is illustrated below:
Some additional notes/definitions from an earlier version of this page:
Bylaws usually refer to rules that govern a non-profit organization that needs rules beyond what is provided by the overall authority under which it operates. Bylaws are subordinate to state, federal or national legislation and the constitution, and must be aligned to apply. Bylaws emphasize the reasons behind an entity’s existence and how it will conduct its business, including governance and main operations (Hopkins, B. Starting and Managing a Nonprofit Organization: A Legal Guide. Hoboken: john Wiley and Sons, 2013). Bylaws define what the community is all about, its ideals and how it is expected to operate. Through bylaws, participants and agencies will stay focused to the community’s objectives, and prevent any distractions. It is therefore important that all effort be taken to prevent their watering-down in a manner that would compromise the reason why the community exists in the first place (Kansas, University of. Community Tool Box. Kansas City: University of Kansas, 2018).
Public policy in the community is a product of bylaws. It refers to the guiding principles by which the community operates, drawn from, and at the same time guiding how bylaws are created. Public policy is also a product of political (public) participation in the process that gives rise to bylaws, and other guiding tenets (Peters, B. and J. Pierre. Handbook of Public Policy. London: Sage Publications, 2006).
Two thirds majorities, or supermajorities, are needed when the result of a vote will result in “systemic shifts” in how an entity, such as a country, or in this case, the community, will operate. The condition is applied in the enactment of bylaws to ensure that they have as widespread support as possible, rather than being the imposition of a law by a simple majority (Rubenfeld, J. “Rights of Passage: Majority Rule in Congress.” Duke Law Journal 46.73 (1995): 73-90).
Public participation is an important aspect of the law making discourse. Involving the public creates laws which are more responsive to their needs, and which are more widely supported. The community will have public participation as a condition for any rules and policies that affect them, which includes bylaws. The agency will work to promote this condition or right (Czapanskiy, C. and R. Manjoo. “The Right of Public Participation in the Law-Making Process and the Role of the Legislature in the Promotion of this Right.” Duke Journal of Comparative & International Law 19.1 (2008): 1-40).
The role of the agency can be equated to that of a speaker in the United Kingdom’s House of Commons, and the community body, the House of Commons, which in practice legislates. The speaker moderates debate guides the participating voices but has no actual say on what will be law and what is to be rejected (Rogers, R. and R. Walters. How Parliament Works. London: Routledge, 2015).
The agency does not implement bylaws and public policy – this mandate falls on the respective agencies and participants, who have to operate within the said rules. Once again, an analogy can be made in a contemporary government, whereby the parliament makes the laws and acts as a watchdog to make sure they are complied with. Implementation, however, is the executive’s responsibility (Park, R. Implementation of Legislation: Monitoring and Oversighting Government Action. Minneapolis: The advocates for Human Rights, 2013).
For the participants to adequately appreciate and implement bylaws, they need to be taken through rigorous and high quality civic education. The objective of this is to inform them of their rights and objectives, and cultivate the right civic skills in them (Jamieson, K. “The Challenges Facing Civic Education in the 21st Century.” Daedalus 142.2 (2013): 65-83).