AGENDA of Business Meeting, 23 July 2017
LOCATION: Teleconference meeting using FreeConferenceCall.com. Information on how to join the meeting using either your telephone or computer with internet connection will be provided before the meeting. If using a computer, you will need access to broadband internet, a computer, speakers or headphones/earbuds, and a microphone to participate remotely. It is also possible to join using only your phone.
TIME: 3pm to 6pm.
NOTE: The allotted time will not be exceeded. If we have not completed the business on the agenda by 6pm, the meeting will not be adjourned sine die, but instead adjourned to 3pm on August 6th. (That is, it will be suspended and reconvened after two weeks.)
(For purposes of calculating quorum, the locals represented at at least one of the previous two meetings were Arlington, Blue Ridge, Central Virginia, Fairfax, Fredericksburg, Hampton Roads, Loudon, Lynchburg, New River Valley, Piedmont, Shenandoah, and South Fork.)
INTRODUCTION (10 mins)
Choose facilitator, note-taker, time-keeper, vibes-watcher.
Approve minutes of last meeting.
OFFICIAL REPORTS (10 mins)
In the interests of time, we ask that all reports be submitted in writing. Time will be allowed for brief summaries and questions if desired.
GPUS delegates and committee members' reports.
Review of current campaigns (10 min)
BYLAWS (60 min)
Name change for Interim Committee
Adjustment to Para 12.1
Addition of Para 8.4, distinguishing major from minor decisions
COMMITTEES (60 min)
Review and discussion of proposals for our committee structure and duties. Points for discussion:
1. Discuss which ones we want to close, if any.
2. For those we want to close, determine if bylaw changes are needed.
3. For those we want to keep, confirm the current chairperson assignments, and/or solicit new chair volunteers.
4. For those we want to keep, determine what the specific duties and authorities of the committee should be, and how these should be encoded (e.g., in the bylaws? in a seperate document?).
5. Discussion of proposal for a Political Response Team.
The expectation is that the outcome(s) of this discussion will lead to reactivation/revitalization of committees, and to the introduction of any corresponding formal proposals (i.e., for bylaw changes) in time for a vote at our next business meeting.
AUTUMN SUMMIT (30 mins)
Discussion of a Party "Summit" in the autumn to formulate a written plan and manifesto for the Green Party of Virginia to bring about desired political changes in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
TEXT OF BYLAW PROPOSALS
PROPOSAL: Rename the Interim Committee to the "Leadership Council"
Rationale: With the recent changes in our bylaws to voting rights and procedures on major decisions, the representatives of locals are the principles responsible for major decisions whether at in-person meetings, teleconference meetings, or when convened through the IC list-serve. This new designation is more consistent with the changes already adopted. In addition, this language clarifies the nature and purpose of the group as the primary governing and decision making body of the party, as, in fact, it has generally been in practice.
Current vs. proposed language: Throughout the bylaws, replace each instance of the words "Interim Committee" with the words "Leadership Council."
Edit Para 10.1.1 to read: "Each Local, through an inclusive democratic process, shall designate a Local Representative to serve as its member of the Leadership Council and as its principal point of contact with the state party."
Edit Para 10.2.1.2 to read: "The Leadership Council member or certified alternate from each of 50% or more of the affiliated locals."
Edit Para 10.3.1 to read: "Major decisions shall be made by consensus of those GPVA members present or, if consensus cannot be achieved, by a vote of three-fifths of the members of the Leadership Council present, unless the Bylaws specify a different approval threshold for the decision at hand, and provided quorum has been established. Alternate local representatives may vote on behalf of their local's Leadership Council member provided the alternate is certified in writing to the Co-Chairs by their local's Leadership Council member prior to the start of the meeting. Officers may not designate alternates, and no person present shall have more than one vote. At-large members present at state meetings may vote in accordance with Para. 7.4.2, and are treated as a single member pro tem of the Leadership Council while the meeting is in session."
Edit Para 17.1 to read: "The GPVA shall have a Leadership Council, accountable to the GPVA and responsible for GPVA major decisions in accordance with Para. 10.3."
Edit Para 17.2 to read:
17.2.1 The members of the Leadership Council shall consist of the officers whose office is prescribed in these bylaws, and the Local Representative of each affiliated local.
17.2.2 The Leadership Council shall be convened by one of the Co-Chairs any time there is business that, in the opinion of both Co-Chairs, requires its attention in accordance with Para 17.3, or upon request by at least 50% of Local Representatives. Meetings that are not in-person or teleconference meetings scheduled in accordance with Para's 10.6 and 10.7 shall be called "interim meetings." Interim meetings shall be conducted using a designated email list-serve.
17.2.3 If the Co-Chairs fail to convene an interim meeting of the Leadership Council within three days of a request by 50% or more of Local Representatives, the requesting Local Representatives may, by consensus, designate any member of the Leadership Council as the convener pro tem, to serve for the duration of the requested meeting.
17.2.5 All procedures of the Leadership Council, including transcripts of list-serve emails, shall be open and available to any member of the GPVA. Interim meetings of the Leadership Council shall be announced to the general membership at the time they are convened, including the reason, the business to be conducted, and the decisions to be made. Input from all GPVA members to interim meetings shall be encouraged. Local Representatives are responsible for the timely reporting to the Leadership Council of the input of their local's members, and the Co-Chairs are responsible for conveying the input of at-large members, or of any member who brings input to their attention.
Edit 17.4 to read:
17.4 Decision Making
17.4.1 Quorum for interim meetings of the Leadership Council shall be established in accordance with Para 10.2.
17.4.2 The Leadership Council shall strive for consensus in all of its decisions. When consensus cannot be achieved, decisions shall be made in accordance with Para's 10.3 and 10.4.
17.4.3 Interim meetings of the Leadership Council will be facilitated by the convener. A period of not less than 5 full days, excluding Sundays and public holidays, shall be permitted for discussion of any major decision, and a voting period of not less than 72 hours, excluding Sundays and public holidays, shall be designated for any major decision.
17.4.5 All decisions of the Leadership Council not taken at a meeting of the GPVA that has been scheduled in accordance with Para's 10.6 and 10.7 must be confirmed and may be subject to revision at the next regularly-scheduled meeting.
PROPOSAL: Create an office of GPVA Secretary
Rationale: There are many clerical duties essential to the success of any large organization. These include the maintenance and publication of agendas, minutes, and reports; the upkeep of membership lists with all their attendant data, such as the (shifting) electoral districts in which members reside; the creation and updating of an historical record of the organization, including written accounts and timelines, photographs, videos, news clippings, press-releases, and so on. Without a secretary, many of these duties in the GPVA have fallen to the webmaster in our bylaws, and those activities about which the bylaws are silent have been been accomplished haphazardly or not at all. Moreover, the responsibilities of the webmaster already include a full suite of non-secretarial duties. Clearly, designating and filling an office to perform clerical duties is long overdue.
Current vs. proposed language:
Edit Para 14.1.1 to read: "The Green Party of Virginia shall establish the following positions ("Officers"): two equal positions of Chair, not both of which shall be filled by male or female at the same time, unless there are insufficient candidates; a Treasurer; a Press Secretary; a General Secretary ("Secretary-Archivist"); and a Webmaster."
Edit Para 126.96.36.199 to read: "In even-numbered years elections shall be held for one Co-Chair, the Press Secretary, and the General Secretary. In odd-numbered years elections shall be held for one Co-Chair, the Treasurer, and the Webmaster."
Renumber 14.2.4 to 14.2.5 (amended below), and insert a new 14.2.4 as follows:
14.2.4 The duties of the General Secretary shall be as follows:
188.8.131.52 Manage the production and online publication of official internal party documents with the use of consistent and professional styles and links. These documents include but are not limited to:
Agendas and minutes of all regular and interim meetings, including the members of the Leadership Council present, the substance of any discussions, the nature of any decisions made, and any elections held and their results;
The party bylaws, including the current and previous iterations with a timeline record of all changes;
The party platform, highlighting recent updates;
The rules and procedures governing standing committees;
Dated reports from officers, committees, and locals;
184.108.40.206 Maintain a current database of all current and past members and officers, including:
The name, phone number, email address, physical address, electoral districts, and GPVA Local affiliation; the date of membership; volunteer and/or donation status; and contact preferences of each registered member of the GPVA;
The roster of past and current officers with their date of election and term of office, and appropriate contact information.
A list of affiliated locals and their past and current Local Representatives, with appropriate geographical and contact information.
A list of GPVA committees, including a membership list, the past and present conveners with appropriate contact information, and with links to their rules, minutes, and reports.
The roster of current GPVA members on GPUS committees, with their date of election/appointment and term of service.
220.127.116.11 Conduct votes and elections by the Leadership Council at regular and interim meetings, in accordance with procedures designated by our bylaws, and announce and record the results.
18.104.22.168 Produce a GPVA newsletter (electronic or print as appropriate) at least annually but as often as practical for distribution to the general membership, summarizing all GPVA activity and highlighting news of interest to members.
22.214.171.124 Maintain a party history, including the dates of general meetings and their activities, participation in public events, media clippings about the party or its members, and other data of historical interest. The data archive should include records in any appropriate format, including text, photographs, recordings, and so on.
Amend the current 14.2.4, renumbered to 14.2.5, as follows:
14.2.5 The duties of the Webmaster shall be as follows:
126.96.36.199 Develop and maintain the GPVA website and other internet services, and manage all associated information technology infrastructure, including:
domain names, IP addresses, and ICANN records;
server purchasing/leasing and maintenance;
software acquisition, installation, and updating;
database integration and maintenance;
appropriate user roles and permissions for other GPVA members;
and information security including strong passwords, strong encryption where warranted, and redundant and ongoing data backups.
188.8.131.52 Optimize our website and other internet services in accordance with current technology and best practices, and advise the membership regarding changes in technology that impact the party's effectiveness or online reach.
184.108.40.206 Facilitate the posting and updating of documents and other data by the General Secretary and other designated officers and representatives of the GPVA.
220.127.116.11 Serve as convener of the Information Technology Committee.
PROPOSAL: Delete the words "in final form" from Para 12.1 regarding the publication of proposed bylaw amendments prior to meetings at which they will be considered.
Current language: 12.1 Proposals in final form for Amendments to these By-laws must be published to the GPVA membership 31 days prior to the next state meeting.
Proposed language: 12.1 Proposals for Amendments to these By-laws must be published to the GPVA membership 31 days prior to the next state meeting.
Rationale: The language of this bylaw has always been interpreted to mean that any bylaw proposal must be published 31 days in advance of any state meeting at which it will be considered or voted upon. It has not been interpreted to mean that a proposal cannot be amended at the meeting--or that if it is a vote on it cannot then be taken.
For example, at the May 2015 meeting a bylaw proposal made by Audrey Clement was discussed, a friendly amendment offered and accepted, and the proposal--as amended--was adopted by a majority vote. Again, at the October 2016 meeting, a bylaw proposal by Tamar Yager was taken under consideration, a friendly amendment to the language was offered and accepted, and the proposal as amended was adopted on a majority vote. A like procedure has been followed throughout the party's history.
Recently, however, two members have raised an objection to the adoption of a bylaw amendment at the January 2017 meeting, on the basis that it was altered at the meeting from the original proposed language, and therefore failed the "final form 31 days prior" regulation. The reading of Para. 12.1 on which this objection was based is inconsistent with the way it has been applied previously, it is additionally inconsistent with common parliamentary procedure, and it would have the effect of seriously inhibiting the conduct of the party's business. Proposals, even those requiring only trivial alterations affecting grammar, style, or clarity, would either have to be adopted without editing or amendment, or amended but then tabled for an indeterminate period until the subsequent state meeting. Such a procedural quagmire would hobble the conduct of party business unnecessarily.
In the manner in which the paragraph has been interpreted up to now, the words "in final form" are not essential to an understanding of its meaning, and their elision will prevent any further confusion.
PROPOSAL: Add a new Sub-paragraph 8.4, to provide a clear procedure to follow in determining whether a given decision is major or minor.
Proposed language: 8.4 In the event that a pending decision at any meeting is not clearly characterized by these bylaws as major or minor, the co-chairs shall formulate a determination of the decision as either "major" or "minor," and ask the members assembled for consensus. If the co-chairs cannot agree on a determination, or if any member blocks consensus, then the determination will be made as itself a major decision in accordance with Para 10.3.
Rationale: Concerns have been raised over what to do if a given pending decision is not unanimously understood to be a minor or (alternatively) a major decision. The proposed language is intended to provide a clear and logically consistent procedure in such cases.