REGIONAL NETWORK: COMPLAINT AND FEEDBACK PROCEDURES
The members of the Burning Man Regionals Committee recognize that however hard we may work to support the Regional Network, we cannot be everywhere at once -- and the real experts on local Burner communities are the people who participate in them all year long. We value your feedback and are always interested to hear how things are going in your area – and whether your feedback is positive or not-so-positive, we encourage you to contact us and let us know your thoughts.
If you have praise, observations, or a comment about your area’s Local Contact or a Regional event, or if you just want to share an update about your local community, we want to hear from you! Please send us an email at the Regional Feedback Email and let us know your thoughts.
If you have negative feedback and wish to submit a complaint, we ask that you review the following process before submitting.
SUBMITTING A FORMAL COMPLAINT
If you’re aware of local conflict or issues related to your Regional Contact, and would like to register a formal complaint, you may do so using the Regional Feedback Email.
Before you submit your complaint, please take the time to review the Regional Contacts Letter of Agreement and the Leadership Criteria Document so that you can first understand the actual requirements of the role. Be prepared to provide us with information about how you feel that your area’s Regional Contact has failed to meet the duties of his or her volunteer role, as well as background on your involvement or relationship to the regional contact or to activities in your local region.
Not infrequently, we find that a one-to-one disagreement with a Regional Contact is rooted in a simple misunderstanding about about the role. For example, we might hear, “Our regional contact hasn’t thrown a Decompression in our area,” when in fact there is no requirement or obligation for a Regional Contact to throw such an event unless he or she wishes to be involved. We are best able to utilize feedback that is as specific as possible about the nature of the violation of the terms of the Letter of Agreement and the role itself, so please take the time to review that information before you submit your complaint.
Once we receive a formal, detailed complaint, we will notify the Regional Contact(s) that it has been submitted, and we will conduct a full formal investigation into the situation. As fellow members of the Burning Man community, we do require that you identify yourself to us when submitting your complaint; however, if you request confidentiality, your name and identifying information will only be used for internal purposes and will not be revealed.
- Burning Man will contact and speak with anyone who is involved in or named in the complaint to get a written statement.
- Telephone interviews and follow up will be conducted as appropriate.
- In rare cases, an in-person visit from a member(s) of the Burning Man staff may be deemed necessary to continue investigation and/or help to mediate disputes.
EXAMPLES OF TYPES OF COMPLAINT
- Failure to uphold the Ten Principles (e.g., Radical Inclusion, Civic Responsibility)
- Misuse of community funds or failure to account for funds raised at events under the official rubric of the Burning Man Regional Network
- Misuse of community resources (e.g., promoting a personal project as “official” or at the expense of other community projects; “farming” local announce list addresses for outside or commercial purposes, etc.) or of one’s position for personal gain
- Inappropriate use of or interpretation of position (e.g., inappropriately representing one’s Regional Contact role as one of authority or governance over others) or abuse of authority
- Inactivity or failure to respond to inquiry for an extended period
If after investigating the complaint, it is determined that the Regional Contact has failed to uphold the duties of the Role or has violated the terms of the Letter of Agreement, a warning or reprimand may be issued, based upon the severity of the complaint. In less extreme cases, specific feedback or areas for improvement will be noted; in some cases it may be necessary to place the Regional Contact on probation until agreed-upon improvements are made, or to terminate the Letter of Agreement at Burning Man’s sole discretion.
In any outcome, a formal statement will be made to the local Burning Man announce list to let the community know the complaint has been investigated and what the outcome is. Relevant local discussion lists will also be notified as appropriate.
In some occasions a Local Regional Contact may be placed into a probationary period rather than being removed from the role. Burning Man will work with the Regional Contact to outline any changes or actions that need to take place in order for them to retain their status as an official Contact. If it is determined that the terms of the probation have not been addressed after a set amount of time, the Regional Contact may be removed from the position. A formal statement will be made to the local announce (and discussion) list to notify the community of the outcome or decision.
On some occasions, Burning Man may at its discretion opt to address a complaint by adding Co-Regional Contacts in an area to help balance the load of the role and add additional levels of oversight or assistance, or to add representation from diverse subsets of a local community. In these instances, we will conduct open call to the local Announcement list for new candidates, and our standard interview and Community Feedback process will be used to assist in the selection of the new Local Contacts. A formal statement will be made to the local announce (and discussion) list to let the community know the outcome.
Though a volunteer role, a Regional Contact is an official representative of the Burning Man Project; as such, he or she is expected to represent the Project in a positive light and to contribute an enthusiastic effort to uphold and further the principles of Burning Man in the world.
The Letter of Understanding is a legally binding document between a Regional Contact and Black Rock City LLC. By signing this document, the Regional Contact has agreed to uphold the terms within it. There are many legal and community-building reasons for taking complaints seriously. Depending on the nature of the complaint, Regional Contacts who violate their agreements may be putting themselves or the Burning Man Project at legal or personal risk. To secure the future of the Burning Man Regional Network, it is necessary to take formal steps to investigate and deal with issues of this nature.
PROCESS FOR APPEAL
If a Regional Contact wishes to appeal the decision of the Regional Committee he/she may do so by contacting the General Regionals Email.