At the highest levels of the Gudersnipe Foundation sits the Blind Counsel, a select group of 132 individuals appointed from among the top admirals and generals.
Subsections of the Counsel
The Blind Counsel oversees the entire Gudersnipe Foundation and is the final authority. The Counsel's word is law; but very few disputes find their way that high.
Within the Counsel are numerous levels of authority:
The entire Blind Counsel consists of 132 individuals. Their identities are kept a closely guarded secret, until the individual councillors do not know the others' identities. The Counsel itself derives its name from the face masks and hoods worn to maintain secrecy against assasinations and influence-peddling, but also for making the decisions without individual prejudices.
Within the Counsel resides the Choir, which consists of 51 counselors with voting priviliges. The Choir changes on a daily basis, and no councillor knows who will be on the Choir or when.
At the very top of the Council is the Chorus, 5 individuals with a final say on all matters. In a sense the rulers of the Foundation. They can appoint panels from the Council to make specific decisions, but all decisions must be approved by the Chorus.
Unlike the Choir, the Chorus does not change on a regular basis. Members rotate in and out but are appointed by the Chorus. All of them (according to rumor at the School Proper) are really Laytami Gudersnipe in disguise.
Appointment to the Counsel
Curiously, appointment to the Counsel does not come from above, but from below. The Foundation operates mostly through a strict millitary chain of command, with Foundation-controlled and joint space administered by millitary commanders. These commanders must climb the ranks and earn promotions.
On anything higher than a solar-system-scale, command can only be assigned by one of the Foundation Commissioners, who themselves are appointed directly by the Blind Counsel. Attaining the rank of Commissioner also makes them ineligible to join the Counsel themseles. Commissioners are appointed for life, and once attained it is the highest rank that can be achieved.
Instead, a nomination comes from the other high-ranking Foundation officials. When a new Councillor is required, a message goes out to anyone whose rank entitles it to nomination. Nominations are not an election; the Counsel itself chooses among the nominees given consideration.
Once potential councillors have been selected, a second round of nominations is called. This process may repeat several more times, with specific Foundation officials being granted veto privileges to eliminate nominees.
The actual appointment to the Council is secret; only the final round of nominees is made public. The new Councillor will then join the Blind Council for life.
The name of 'Blind Counsel' derives from the way each member is 'blind' to the identities of his or her fellow councillors, to ensure that decisions are never based on personal bias. Counselors wear dark visors and are assigned different numbers every day. The council chamber is a large darkened hall. Those not actively serving on the Choir sit in balconies and use a loudspeaker system to converse. Counselors on the Choir floor read in Braille script, as there is only enough light to discern basic shapes.