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The PMC Chair acts as the voice of the project to the board, and is responsible for filing a quarterly report. They are not the project leader, but are a peer of the other PMC members, who has been selected, for a time, to take the role of secretary and spokesperson.

The PMC Chair is not the de-facto project leader. While they are usually a senior, well-respected member of the community, they are a peer, with a few additional duties.

The Chair should be familiar with the assigned duties of the role.

Secretarial duties

The Chair is responsible for completing the necessary “paperwork” when new committers and PMC members are added.

See the process for adding new committers, and the process for adding new PMC members, for details of these requirements.

Reporting

The Chair is also responsible for filing the quarterly project report to the board of directors. This is discussed in more detail here.

Moderating discussion

As the name implies, the Chair may occasionally need to step in to moderate discussion, to ensure that a community is conducting itself with decorum, and not straying into divisive discussion.

The Chair has been selected because they are a respected member of the community, and so should not be hesitant to step in and state what the community standards are, and enforce the expectation that community members behave in appropriate ways on official communication channels.

Selecting a new Chair

A project may periodically select a new Chair.

Some projects do this every year or two, while others keep the same Chair for many years. A Chair might step down because they no longer have time for the role, or simply to give someone else an opportunity.

Candidates for Chair should be made aware of the work load associated with the position, to ensure that they have the availability for the role, and clearly understand what they’re getting into.

The outgoing Chair is encouraged to spend some time mentoring the incoming Chair, and familiarizing them with the duties, to ensure their success in the role.

See also:

Newly Chairs are sent this advice, and you’re encouraged to read that thoroughly. They should also be familiar with published policies for PMCs.

(There’s some advice for new chairs here: https://svn.apache.org/repos/private/foundation/officers/advice-for-new-pmc-chairs.txt