GPUS Bylaws Article III Committees
SUBJECT/TITLE: Bylaws amendment Article III Committees
TYPE OF PROPOSAL, EXPECTED APPROVAL THRESHOLD: Bylaws Amendment, 2/3
REQUESTED PROPOSAL DECISION-MAKING TIMELINE: Four week discussion
BACKGROUND: This bylaw change seeks to update the terminology and format in Article III Committees, so that it is consistent with current practices - and to make one primary substantive change to clarify the process by which people are appointed to standing committees.
Since 2007, GPUS rules documents have been written/rewritten to appear in a consistent format of numbered Articles/Sections/Sub-Sections, making the text easier to follow and individual portions easier to find and cite. Before 2007, a mostly non-numbered format was used. This proposal would update the format of Article III to reflect the Articles/Sections/Sub-Sections practice.
This proposal would also update terminology - for example, today we say 'ranked choice voting' whereas when this text was written, we called it 'preference voting'. This proposal also makes consistent the language defining the Steering Committee's role vis-a-vis Committees (using the text from Steering Committee bylaws Section 4-2 Duties and Responsibilities), rather than having two different definitions in two different sections of the bylaws. It also embeds in this Article III Committees, the principle from from Article VI of the GPUS Rules and Procedures, that to be established, new committees must have a mission statement approved by the National Committee. It makes sense to include this in the Bylaw about Committees, rather than having to look to the Article about NC Proposals in the Rules and Procedures about proposals to learn about it.
The rule change about the appointment process is to addresses ambiguous language in the current Article III Committee regarding committee appointments, that has led to disputes over whether an NC member could 'sefl-nominate' themselves to a standing committee, or whether it required the approval of their state party or caucus. The resolution is new language stating: "Any member of an accredited state party, caucus or network may be appointed by that state party, caucus or network to serve on a committee."
This proposal also adds mention of network's having non-voting committee members. This carries out the National Committee's directive in Proposal #78 (http://gp.org/cgi-bin/vote/propdetail?pid=78) to include mention of networks where necessary in the GPUS governing rules documents.
Finally this proposal establishes that all standing committees established by the National Committee shall be listed in this article as a matter of course, so that a review of the party bylaws will reveal the structure of the party and its key components, without needing to reference other documents.
PROPOSAL: That the existing ARTICLE III COMMITTEES of the GPUS Bylaws be replaced with the following text
ARTICLE III. COMMITTEES
Section 3-1 Authority
3-1.1 The National Committee may establish standing and ad-hoc committees according to need. All standing committees shall be listed in this Article upon their establishment, and removed if they are terminated.
3-1.2 To establish a new committee, a Mission Statement describing each committee's general mission, duties and responsibilities must be approved by the National Committee by a two-thirds vote.
3-1.3 In conjunction with, or after the establishment of a new committee, the National Committee shall approve Committee Rules that will guide the committee's internal operations and decision-making.
3-1.4 It is the responsibility of the Steering Committee to facilitate, coordinate and assist the activities of standing and ad hoc Committees of the GPUS.
3-1.5 The standing committees of the GPUS are Accreditation Committee (AC), Annual National Meeting Committee (ANMC), Ballot Access Committee (BAC), Committee on Bylaws, Rules, Policies & Procedures (BRPP), Coordinated Campaign Committee (CCC), Credentials Committee (CredCom), Dispute Resolution Committee (DRC), Diversity Committee (DC), Eco Action Committee (EC), Finance Committee (FinCom), Fundraising Committee (FC), Green Pages Editorial Board (GPEB), International Committee (IC), Media Committee (MC), Merchandising Committee (MERCH), Outreach Committee (OC), Peace Action Committee (GPAX), Platform Committee (PlatCom) and Presidential Campaign Support Committee (PCSC).
Section 3-2 Committee Membership
3-2.1 A voting member may take part in all committee decision making, including voting and holding an outstanding concern in a consensus-seeking process. A non-voting member may take part in all committee decision making, except may not vote nor hold an outstanding concern in a consensus-seeking process.
3-2.2 State parties and caucuses may appoint voting members. Networks may appoint non-voting members.
3-2.3 Each committee may have up to three members from each state Green Party and caucus, unless otherwise specified by the National Committee. To be considered active, a committee must have members from at least five states.
3-2.3 The National Committee may establish recommended membership criteria and experience.
3-2.4 Any member of an accredited state Green Party or caucus may be appointed by that state party or caucus to serve on a committee. National Committee members are strongly encouraged to seek appointment to serve on committees. No person may serve on the same committee at the same time on behalf of both a state party and/or caucus and/or network.
3-2.5 All committee members must be appointed according to written, democratically derived state party, caucus or network rules that provide for fair, open and transparent appointment process.
3-2.6 Appointments must be communicated in writing to the GPUS Secretary and the committee Co-Chairs, either by the co-chairs of the state Green Party's National Committee delegation or other similiar officer, or state party co-chair or similar officer, or caucus or network co-chairs or similar officer.
3-2.7 The length of term shall be two years, effective once an appointment is reported to and acknowledged by the GPUS Secretary. To serve an additional term, a committee member must be re-appointed according to the process in 3-2.5.
3-2.8 State parties, caucuses and networks may establish term limits for their own appointments.
3-2.9 A state party, caucus or network may recall or remove a member, or otherwise terminate a committee appointment, if done according to democratically derived rules that provide for fair, open and transparent process.
Section 3-3 Co-Chairs
3-3.1 All committees shall have two co-chairs who serve staggered two-year terms, unless established otherwise by the National Committee in the Committee Rules. Gender balance among co-chairs and co-chairs from different states is preferred.
Section 3-4 Internal Elections
3-4.1 All committees shall conduct internal elections for co-chairs and other committee leadership positions by ranked choice voting, as defined in the GPUS Rules and Procedures.
Section 3-5 Advisors
3-5.1 Committees shall have the discretion to select their own advisors, according to the process described in their Committee Rules. Anyone may serve as a committee advisor. State parties, caucuses and networks shall be free to express objections to committees regarding specific advisors. Such objections shall be considered by committee members in their deliberations, but the committee retains final decision-making authority.
3-5.2 Advisors shall enjoy limited participation in committee deliberations as determined by the committee's Procedures and Practices. Advisors shall not be voting members of a committee, nor may formally introduce proposals or represent the committee.
3-5.3 The term of advisors may be one or two years at the discretion of the committee and there are no term limits.
Section 3-6 Observers
3-6.1 Committees shall have the right to approve observers according to the process described in their Committee Rules. Observers must be Green Party members. State parties, caucuses and networks shall be free to express objections to committees regarding specific advisors. Such objections shall be considered by committee members in their deliberations, but the committee retains final decision-making authority..
3-6.2 Observers may have 'read' access, but not 'write' access to the committee listserve or other similar communication vehicle.
3-6.3 The term of observers may be one or two years, at the discretion of the committee, and there are no term limits.
Section 3-7 Duties and Responsibilities
Each committee shall have the duty and responsibility to
3-7.1 Carry out its mission, duties and responsibilities as described in its Mission Statement and follow the procedures described in its Committee Rules
3-7.2 Report to the National Committee at its Annual National Meeting, either orally, in writing or both, and at any other intervals as requests by the National Committee.
3-7.3 Participate in the periodic review of its Committee Rules, conducted by the Committee on Bylaws, Rules, Policies and Procedures.
3-7.4 Propose amendments to the National Committee of its Committee Rules as needed to carry out its mission, duties and responsibilities
3-7.5 Propose amendments to the GPUS Platform that are authorized by and consistent with the committee's Mission Statement.
3-7.6 Provide new committee members with training and orientation in its Committee Rules.
Section 3-8 Commitee Rules
All Committee Rules shall
3-8.1 Codify committee procedures for internal decision-making, including proposals, appointments, nominations and elections, via conference calls, email, web pages and/or in-person meetings.
3-8.2 Detail all non co-chair leadership positions (e.g. secretary, treasurer)
3-8.3 Detail all sub-committees
3-8.4 Establish guidelines for member participation, with an emphasis on promoting participation in committee work and decision-making
3-8.5 Establish procedures by which minority opinions on committee business that relate to the workings of the GPUS may be conveyed to the National Committee.
RESOURCES: Bylaw change would become effective upon passage.
REFERENCES: GPUS Bylaws, ARTICLE II NATIONAL COMMITTEE http://www.gp.org/bylaws-of-the-green-party-of-the-united-states#03
Existing text of ARTICLE III
ARTICLE III. COMMITTEES
"The National Committee of the Green Party of the United States shall establish standing committees and may create other committees according to need. The NC shall cause to be produced, and then approve a document for each committee including the purpose, duties and general charge of the committee, as a part of the process of creating a committee.
The Steering Committee shall be responsible for oversight for all committees and ensure that the NC is kept informed about the work of the committees.
Delegates to the NC shall automatically be eligible to serve on committees by virtue of their position. Other committee members shall be members of a state green party and have written permission from their state party to serve. Permission shall be submitted by the NC delegates or State Party co-chairs from the various states to the co-chairs of the relevant committee, and can be submitted on paper or via email. No state shall have more than three members per committee without a waiver from the Steering Committee. No committee shall have fewer than five states represented.
There shall be three categories of activity for GPUS committees:
1. MEMBERS - Committee Membership shall be defined as being a voting member of a committee who may take part in all decision making. Committee members shall be selected by their committees according to individual committee P&Ps. All committee members shall be approved by their respective state parties according to written, democratically derived state party rules that ensure full and open due process.
2. ADVISORS - It shall be at the discretion of committees to select advisors. Advisor status shall be determined by individual committees in their P&Ps . Anyone may serve as a committee advisor. Advisors shall enjoy limited participation in committee deliberations as determined by committees' written P&Ps . Advisors shall not be voting members of a committee, shall not formally introduce proposals and shall not represent either the committee or the party. Advisors shall serve one-year terms and will be eligible for re-election. State parties shall be free to express objections to committees regarding specific advisors. Such objections shall be considered by committee members in their deliberations.
3. OBSERVERS - Committee approved observers may monitor the listserv activity of a committee but cannot participate in discussions or votes. Observers must be approved by committees according to their P&P documents.
Furthermore, committees may communicate with individual Greens on an as needed basis on specific matters of mutual import.
All committees shall:
• develop written rules, policies and procedure (RP&P) documents which must be approved by the National Committee. • use consensus-seeking procedure with backup voting for all decision making, and codify the procedure in their RP&Ps. • when voting, vote by state with each state casting one vote. The NC or the SC may, in their reviews of the work of a committee, allow a committee to waive the one state, one vote rule and replace it with a one member, one vote standard. • codify RP&Ps used to conduct general committee business and, when appropriate, codify rules for decision making via conference calls, email, and/or in-person meetings. • report to the NC on a regular basis and set up a schedule for written reporting, with monthly reports being the standard unless otherwise approved by the NC. • develop policies and procedures by which minority opinions on committee business that relate to the internal workings of the Green Party may be conveyed to the NC. • have two co-chairs unless directed to have a different number by the NC. Gender balance and co-chairs from different states shall be the norm, though under extraordinary circumstances committees may choose another arrangement. • detail all non-co-chair leadership position (e.g. secretary, coordinators etc.) in the committee's RP&P document. • conduct elections for leadership slots using preference voting and codify election procedures in their RP&P document. • participate in a biannual review of committee RP&Ps conducted by the BRPP, which shall report to the NC on each committee's procedures. • develop and make available to all members of the committee a packet including all rules, policies and procedures and provide other training and orientation, as appropriate, for new members. This material shall also be available on the committee website. • set up guidelines for member participation, with an emphasis on ensuring participation as a requirement of membership and/or participation in consensus decision making or quorum voting.