April 8, 2012
GPUS SC Conference Call Minutes
Sunday, April 8, 2012
I. CALL SETUP
a. Facilitator – David Doonan
b. Roll Call – Budd Dickinson, Farheen Hakeem, Darryl Moch, Tamar Yager, Jeff Turner, Steve Welzer, Audrey Clement, Susan Chunco, Theresa ElAmin.
Observer – Jody Grage
(Correction to minutes of 3/29 call – Steve Welzer was on the call but not listed.)
II. STAFF REPORT
a. Office Manager – Brian Bittner – report received. Included hours worked by category; visited the ANM site (University of Baltimore campus) with Scott McLarty. As of 4/1/12, 87 people had paid for registration to the ANM. Received notice that the registration for our Earthflower logo service mark has been renewed thru September, 2016.
b. Fundraiser Report – David Sacks – no report received.
Jeff reminded us at the last meeting that 1/4 of the year is gone and we are behind in fundraising. Budd asked why phone banking system isn’t yet set up and no major donors have yet to be received. Jeff will send a quarterly report of budgeted income line items, income received and variance for the first quarter as soon as Dave completes his March reports. We need to build relationships with major donors, involve GNC members and SC members. BAC has requested $5k per month for the next three months which needs to be our singular focus. Jeff suggests early resolicitation letter and other appeals stressing ballot access. Action items: Tamar – need timely reports from Dave. We need recommendations from FinCom and FunCom.
III. TREASURER’S REPORT – Jeff
a. Cash report to date – report sent Saturday, $7k in accounts plus restricted accounts including ANM paid to date. After payroll and smaller of Red Sun Press bills, there is $5500 remaining in general accounts. We should have enough to pay bills with deposits from the weekend.
IV. VOTING QUEUE – Budd
Received for the queue:
2012 Platform Amendment Procedure from GP of Michigan – see below. Several unclear areas. Implementation states “May be implemented immediately upon approval” and it’s unclear what this means. Does GPMI want us to stop the current process in mid-stream? Farheen proposes a finding that the proposal is not clear in what is being asked of the National Committee as required in 6-5.1(e) and to invite GPMI to work the PlatCom co-chairs. Consensus with Audrey abstaining. Budd will relay this info to Douglas Campbell.
Amend Fiscal Policy to Clarify Use of Credit/Debit Cards – Presenter: Finance Committee. 2/3 vote, floor manager Susan, 2 week discussion, 1 week vote, Consensus.
V. LIAISON ASSIGNMENTS & REPORTS
David D has updated the liaison webpage. Theresa is willing to step aside from Media and Platcom. Budd talked to Steve about where he is needed.
Steve Welzer – PlatCom, Media Committee, Officeholders Network.
Discussion about need for Outreach Commmittee.
Theresa – BRPP no activity; Diversity has a lot of participation; AC needs to work on Virgin Islands and KY.
Farheem – IC doing fine, PCSC applications being received.
Budd – ANM/PNC need honorary co-chairs, election administrator and facilitators. Proposals are due to go the NC for vote about 5/12 (60 days before the meeting).
Darryl – no new info; CCC, GSCC&GHCC planning to meet jointly.
Susan – FinCom worked on the Fiscal Policy Amendment and discussing lack of funds; FunCom discussing how to increase fundraising; MerchCom no activity.
Audrey – PCSC large # of states that haven’t established a process for voting on presidential nominations; 17 April call to work on this. Cred Com state applications coming in very slowly.
Tamar – discussed ANM waivers, travel assistance and working scholarships; deadline firm.
VI. ACTION ITEMS/OLD BUSINESS
1. Employment Agreements and Personnel Manual revision Jeff still hasn’t gotten to it but will soon.
2. Weak Fundraising –
We need timely reports from Dave Sacks (Tamar). We also need recommendations from FinCom and FunCom.
3. Strategic Planning –
Project 2 – Review RP&PS for what isn’t working now (some changes may be suitable only after GPUS restructuring). Darryl volunteered to work on this. He wants a face-to-face group at the ANM to talk about this and #3 below. He will submit a workshop. No new info from last call. Project 3 – Working group to study a variety of organizational political structures, including US major parties, Greens around the world, etc. No new info from last call.
4. May meeting in DC with Mark Hinkle of the Libertarian Party and the Constitution Party on topics of joint interest. Brian available to attend. Date not yet known. Others showed interest in going.
VII. Next call 4/22/12
2012 Platform Amendment Procedure from GP of Michigan
The platform amendment procedure has been changed from a four-year to a two-year cycle and numerous other changes have been made, but serious problems remain. Key problem areas include:
The schedule imposed is much more rigid than necessary, does not reflect the reality of the campaign season cycle and prohibits the platform committee from working at certain completely arbitrary times of the calendar year. External events which occur outside the rigidly-codified platform amendment schedule might not receive a response in the published platform for two years. We need to respond much faster than that.
There is simply not enough time at an Annual National Meeting or a Presidential Nominating Convention for the amount of work which is necessary, nor is it reasonable to ask such a large group to finalize platform planks, nor do the majority of the delegates present place a high priority on platform revision. Such minutiae should be delegated to smaller groups.
Before widespread adoption of Internet access, the face-to-face gathering of National Committeedelegates was envisioned to be the most-grassroots representation of the Green Party as a whole, but inpractice is disproportionally comprised of Greens who are the wealthiest, have the most-flexible schedules and/or live closest to the venue. Online collaboration, while still manifesting an element of class bias, is today much more representative of Greens as a whole.
The procedure is too specific and complex. The GPUS National Committee suffers from an obsessive compulsion to write rules, a slavish compulsion to follow rules, and so much stamina for arguing over rules that the dialogue often resembles Tourette’s syndrome. The current bylaws, rules , practices & procedures read like a Monty Python satire of the Victorian British bureaucracy, creating a chilling effect on rank & file Greens who might otherwise contribute to improving the platform. The unsuitability of the current procedure is spotlighted by the numerous proposals submitted to “fix” the procedure each year.
There are altogether too many people/committees involved in getting a proposed platform change from start to finish. Under the current procedure:
– A state committee, caucus or subcommittee must first research, debate and scrutinize the idea, then codify it into a formal proposal and submit it to the Platform Committee.
– If the Platform Committee is “in session”, they will debate and scrutinize the proposal again and may re-codify it. At other times of the year, the rules require them to reject it. There does not seem to be any mechanism for queuing platform proposals; they just ask that it be resubmitted later.
– Once the Platform Committee has completed a platform change, they send it to the Steering Committee, who may place it on the National Committee’s agenda, or may issue “findings” that it does not comply with any/all of the conditions in GPUS Rules and Procedures Section 6-5.1.
The Steering Committee meets twice a month.
– After the Steering Committee places a platform change proposal onto the National Committee’s agenda, there is a two-week discussion period followed by a one-week voting period, each of which begins on a Monday and ends on a Sunday. The proposal must receive a quorum consisting of votes from 2/3 of the state parties and a 2/3 supermajority of all the “yes” and”no” votes cast in order to pass out of the National Committee.
– In 2010, there were approximately 100 platform change proposals thrust upon the National
Committee during the month of August, long after many states had held their primaries and long after most political activists decided which candidates to endorse and support. The NC was still thrashing out 2010 platform proposals until January 31, 2011.
– After the National Committee approves a proposal, it goes back to the Platform Committee to be integrated into the rest of the platform, where it languishes until the entire revised platform is released, possibly as much as two years later.
We seem to disregard the fact that the entire workload is shouldered by unpaid volunteers whose schedules and workloads cannot be arbitrarily dictated. Both the Platform Committee volunteers and the National Committee delegates have a finite amount of time available; disregarding that fact has only resulted in proposed amendments not being adequately evaluated, the “finished” product being delivered late and/or incomplete, or both.
The GPUS National Committee as a whole has neither the subject-matter expertise, the self discipline, the requisite professionalism nor adequate free time to be useful in developing platform planks. Left to its own, the GPUS National Committee will consume an entire month arguing over the definition of a single word. (ecological “wisdom” in a recent episode) The end result has been a platform document which is entirely too long, poorly cross-referenced, almost unreadable, internally contradictory, internally redundant and horribly out of date, consistently late and created by a procedure which causes much animosity among the membership.
Reduce the time required for a completed proposal to appear in the platform by changing the platform amendment procedure from cyclical to continuous.
Make the process more responsive to external events and more relevant to the election-year schedule, including primary elections and campaigns, by decentralizing the workload throughout the year instead of concentrating it at the Annual National Meeting and the surrounding weeks.
(primary elections begin in March)
Eliminate procedural hurdles in the amendment proposal procedure. Encourage wider participation by making it simple to propose an amendment, eliminating arbitrary times of the year when the platform committee is compelled to reject proposals and enabling any interested party to make an informal suggestion.
Make the Platform Committee responsible for writing & editing the platform, reducing workload & redundancy.
Change the National Committee’s role from micromanagement to oversight.
Create a procedure which is flexible enough to remain functional when staffed (or understaffed) with volunteer labor, whose schedule and workload cannot be arbitrarily dictated, to wit:
– A formal or informal proposal is submitted to the Platform Committee.
– The Platform Committee evaluates the importance and time sensitivity of each proposal upon arrival and assigns it a priority.
– Starting with the most time-sensitive and most-important proposals, the Platform Committee researches, deliberates and codifies each one, allocating as much or as little time & resources as each proposal deserves.
– At the end of each month, completed proposals (if any) are collated into an updated Platform, which is published on the gp.org website, and a summary of the month’s activity is sent to the National Committee.
– The National Committee may veto any change made by the Platform Committee, and may direct the Platform Committee to make any change the Platform Committee didn’t make, but the National Committee is relieved of the duty to re-research, re-deliberate, re-codify and reapprove changes which have already been researched, debated, codified and approved by the Platform Committee and a state party, subject-matter-expert subcommittee or caucus.
– A proposal will not be delayed waiting for state committees, caucuses, subcommittees, the GPUS National Committee or the GPUS Steering Committee to act, nor will it be delayed by arbitrary black-out dates.
A. Change the Rules of the PNC pertaining to the platform amendment process:
Eliminate section 5-8.
B. Change Article 2 – Membership and the National Committee in the GPUS Bylaws as follows:
Section 2 – National Committee
The National Committee shall approve a democratic deliberative Platform process that encourages and facilitates discussion and debate among Greens at all levels.
The presidential nominating convention of the Green Party is the delegated decision-making body responsible for nominating the national Green Party’s presidential and vice presidential candidates.
C. Change Article IX – Platform in the GPUS Bylaws as follows:
9-1 Purpose and Authority
9-1.1 The GPUS Platform represents policies on which most Greens agree, serves as a basis for Green
Presidential and Congressional campaigns and gives citizens an outline of what to expect from Greens when we’re elected.
9-1.2 The GPUS Platform Committee shall be responsible for continuous improvement of the platform document. The Platform Committee may, at its own discretion, utilize the assistance of GPUS subjectmatter- expert committees or any other person or group.
The Platform Committee shall solicit, accept and consider formal proposals and informal suggestions for changes to the platform from all sources, including the general public and members of the Platform Committee itself. The Platform Committee shall establish its own priorities, schedule & procedure for acting on proposals & suggestions unless directed otherwise by the GPUS National Committee.
On the first day of each month, October and November of even-numbered years excepted, the Platform Committee shall send a summary of the month’s activity to the National Committee, consolidate the completed changes, if any, and publish an updated version of the platform on the gp.org website.
The Platform Committee may publish an updated version of the platform on the gp.org website at any other time if, in its sole judgment, a good reason exists for not waiting until the next regularlyscheduled release date.
9-1.3 The GPUS National Committee may veto any change made by the Platform Committee, and may direct the Platform Committee to make any change which the National Committee deems desirable.
IMPLEMENTATION/TIMELINE: May be implemented immediately upon approval
Proposal 636, which was rejected by the GPUS-NC on February 5, 2012:
Proposal 649, replacement for 636, which makes minor tweaks to 636 but is
substantially the same:
Accepted by the GPUS-NC on March 18, 2012.
The bylaws, rules & procedures to be changed: