ITEMS FOR CONSIDERATION

at the next meeting of the the Green Party of Virginia


Nomination of candidates


ITEMS PROPOSED

at a recent meeting of the Green Party of Virginia


Procedure for nomination for vice president

Arrange to (1) poll preferences of GPVA members for vice president; and (2) publish the preferences for vice presidential nomination of each candidate for convention delegate.

Reason: There has been dissatisfaction with the choice of a vice presidential candidate in 1996 and 2000. Convention delegates who were asked to vote had inadequate indication of the wishes of their constituents.


Identification by name on committee subscription lists

Where e-mail addresses appear on posted committee subscription lists, names and locals shall also appear.

Reason: As an Interim Committee member, I cannot identify some of the subscribers. It should be easy to find out who is reading the discussion and which locals are aware of the content. The additional information is less private than the e-mail addresses that are already available.


GPVA's relationship to Green organizations not mentioned in the bylaws (originally 'Geographic locals')

Charge the Steering Committee with researching GPVA's relationship to the Hampton Roads Green Alliance and the Potomac Valley Green Network.

Reason: Even if autonomous, every political organization that uses the name of our party should be known to us.


Bylaw amendment: Number of local votes

Change XI. A. 1. so that each local may cast X votes for every 3^X members (1 for 3; 2 for 9; 3 for 27; etc.).

Reasons:


Bylaw amendment: One hat per head on Interim Committee

Add: XX. B. 11. Any officer holding a seat ex-officio on the Interim Committee shall be ineligible to simultaneously hold a local seat.

Add to: XX. D. 1. A good faith effort shall be made to include every local in the decision-making process.

Reasons: A voting bloc has a probability of deciding a question that far exceeds that of an equal number of independent votes. Voting power should be distributed widely to maximize responsiveness. Members of the Interim Committee should not have to compete to get their votes in before someone closes the gate when quorum is reached. As many should participate as possible.


Bylaw amendment: Election of Central Committee and alternates (originally 'Central Committee')

Add: XIX. B. 7. At the time that the Central Committee is elected, an alternate shall be elected for each seat. If a member leaves the committee, the alternate shall assume the seat.

Add: XIX. C. Responsibility / 1. The Central Committee shall, in a timely fashion, certify nominations and endorsements that have been approved according to GPVA bylaws.

Reasons: Vacancies on the Central Committee can compromise GPVA's legal status. Rubber-stamping local nominations consumes too much time at business meetings.


Bylaw amendment: Committee review of requests for local affiliation (originally 'Local representation')

Add VII. B. 6. Every request for affiliation shall be reviewed by the Steering Committee.

Add VII. B. 7. Every affiliation shall be temporary for at least the first year. Temporary affiliation may be renewed annually or made permanent as a major decision of GPVA. No affiliation shall be permanent until six months after completion of review by the Steering Committee.

Add XXII. C. 9. The Steering Committee shall report to GPVA on the legal, theoretical, and practical basis of applications for affiliation of every new local, with consideration given to the following factors: membership, history, organizational integrity, adherence to Green values, need, relationship to the community, and relationship to other locals.

Reasons: GPVA business meetings often have scant information about prospective locals. Two small locals have failed since 2000. Some of the reasons for their failure may have been foreseeable. Recent events in Northern Virginia teach us that we cannot assume every application for affiliation to be in the best interest of GPVA or its members. Some new locals may form in direct competition with old locals. Consistency in review will make the process fairer to all.


Bylaw amendment: Board of Appeals

Board of Appeals

A. Definition

The GPVA shall have a Board of Appeals, accountable to the GPVA and responsible for the grievance and appeals process.

B. Composition

1. Each member of the Board of Appeals must be a member of the GPVA.
2. No member of the Board of Appeals may simultaneously serve as an officer of the GPVA.
3. Members of the Board of Appeals shall be elected to a one-year term by single transferable vote at a GPVA meeting between April and September, at least two months after the passage of this bylaw.
4. The Board of Appeals shall choose a Chief from among its members. The Chief shall be approved by the Interim Committee.

C. Responsibilities of Board of Appeals

1. The Board of Appeals shall meet as necessary.
2. The Board of Appeals shall appoint a Clerk of Appeals by consensus.
3. The Board of Appeals shall promulgate rules to avoid actual or apparent conflict of interest in its process.
4. The Board of Appeals shall promulgate rules to protect the privacy of individuals.
5. The Board of Appeals shall consider grievances regarding rules and decisions within the GPVA.
6. The Board of Appeals shall convene hearings when appropriate to receive evidence and testimony. Unless there is reason to close hearings, they shall be open to the public.
7. The Board of Appeals shall issue decisions.
8. Members of the Board of Appeals shall issue opinions, singly or jointly.
9. Decisions shall be directed to the officer or committee responsible for acting on them. It shall be up to the officer or committee to act.
10. Decisions and opinions of the Board of Appeals shall be filed for reference.
11. The Board of Appeals shall report its activities at each GPVA quarterly business meeting.
12. Decisions of the Board of Appeals may be overruled by a major decision at a GPVA business meeting.

D. Responsibilities of Clerk of Appeals

1. The Clerk shall make records of Board action on private matters available as necessary to balance the right to privacy and the right to know.
2. Except when necessary to protect privacy, the Clerk shall make records of Board action available to all GPVA members in good standing.
3. The Clerk shall provide access to specific files to parties having legitimate interest for research or preparation of petitions to the board.


in the Structural Reform Committee of the Green Party of Virginia

Arguments against the proposed GPVA bylaws amendment policy

Yes, the list is necessary. Every committee should operate in sunshine. However, I am not satsfied to include only bylaw amendments.

When a proposal is submitted, it is not always clear whether it conflicts with a current bylaw and requires a bylaw amendment or not. (For example, a new committee may or may not need to be authorized at that level of formality.) The context and appropriate status of a motion are matters that a Rules Committee should examine and define, to provide GPVA an understanding of the scope and consequences of every decision on its agenda.

Yes, some entity should do this, but why SRC? Didn't someone want to disband the SRC, assigning some of its functions to another committee? If its days are numbered, why give SRC more responsibility? And why make this clerical task the responsibility of a committee? One individual can efficiently keep the list (as our treasurer keeps the books), post it continually on the web for perusal by GPVA members, and consult committees or sponsors regarding differences of opinion. It's a good opportunity for someone to donate a few hours a month to GPVA.

That becomes difficult when SRC has no discussion for five months at a time and no action for longer. Like most GPVA committees, SRC does not function reliably.

Although saddling meeting with a long list of legalistic matters can wear people out, thinning the agenda too much wastes time and opportunity. While I realize I don't speak for everyone on this point, I mainly come to meetings to work out difficulties that are too complex (or sensitive) to handle at long distance. What else are the meetings good for? No minutes have been considered at the last two meetings. Lack of discussion of local reports (attributed to insufficient time) leaves ambiguities and misstatements on the record. The officer and committee reports are often too complex to grasp in the few minutes alotted; most of the content would be better presented in writing beforehand. Considering the amount of work that goes into them, the delegates' reports are too sketchy to insure GPUS accountability. The officer elections haven't drawn competition lately, probably because SRC has allowed the responsibilities to become more time-consuming without distributing them among additional offices. We waste too much time considering too few candidates. Limiting the decisions would force me to drive 200-600 miles per vote on a bylaw amendment. Placing several on one otherwise light agenda makes more sense. (In May, we should concentrate on candidates.)

What does the word "consider" mean? Can one amendment be introduced, tabled, taken off the table, discussed, amended, or passed? Tight restrictions would encourage disposing of matters immediately, even if postponement would be prudent.

The list could grow unmanageable with as few as five proposals a year. If we switch to a semi-annual schedule for two business meetings (an idea that surfaces once in a while), we can only consider two amendments per year.

One at a time would make an overhaul of the bylaws difficult. Making it a rule would encourage packing a lot into one amendment to get it all onto the agenda. If we need and want reform, there shouldn't be unnecessary obstacles in the way.

That means a proposal with unanimous opposition from SRC goes to the floor, while one with 50-50% commitment each way might be stalled indefinitely. So the list grows to unmanageable proportions as long as SRC is indecisive.

If the amendment proposes to abolish SRC, I doubt it will ever get a consensus within SRC for approval. Why should we give any committee the power to perpetuate itself?

Why not propose it as a permanent standing rule? The bylaws regarding conduct of meetings are getting rather detailed and cumbersome as it is.

The SRC is not even mentioned in the bylaws. Few Greens know the membership of SRC. How can we be sure SRC will be representative of GPVA?

I see an expectation that GPVA should defer to a committee, rather than to its grassroots.

A business meeting can set its own agenda. Therefore, even if limited in number, GPVA can choose which amendment it considers at a meeting. If SRC gives one top priority, but the meeting believes it should be postponed, SRC alone should not be able to prevent the meeting from considering another in its place. Therefore, it will be necessary to distribute 31 days before the meeting any amendment that participants want to substitute.

According to current bylaws, GPVA can discuss any amendments it wishes. If only one can be considered, then what happens to the others placed on the agenda at the meeting (which, according to the bylaws, cannot even be sent straight to SRC for three months)?

Even if only one word is changed, for consistency with amendments previously passed?

So if SRC is split as to whether the matter should be passed as written or passed with a slight change of wording, SRC is forbidden to send it to a meeting.

My other concerns, which appeared in Article 566 of Fri Feb 11 02:33:03 2005, are repeated at <http://members.dialup4less.com/~aloe/green/agenda.html#policy>.


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