March 13, 2016
GPUS Steering Committee Minutes
Sunday, March 13, 2016 – 8:00 p.m. ET
I. CALL SETUP & BACKGROUND
a) Facilitator: Jody Grage
b) Playback # 605-475-3299 ref # 155
c) Present: Audrey Clement, Sanda Everette, Jan Martell, Andrea Merida, Charles Ostdiek, Paul Pipkin, Jeff Turner, Tamar Yager, Bahram Zandi. Observer: Starlene Rankin.
d) Agenda revisions: none
II. OLD BUSINESS
a) Report and discussion: result of online vote to hire freelance writers for fundraising e-blasts – Voting yes: Jan, Andrea, Tamar, Charles. Voting No: none. Abstain: Bahram. Not voting: Audrey, Sanda, Jeff. This proposal was approved 3-2-16. Discussion centered around the Secretary initially posting results of the vote showing Audrey and Sanda as abstentions rather than absent or not voting. Jan submitted proposed new wording for internal rules that clarifies her thinking on this (see II. b) below), which got very little support from other members. Secretary accordingly amended the voting results report to the above wording.
b) Proposal for discussion (see addendum 3 below): to clarify when a member of the Steering Committee is absent from a vote or abstaining from a vote – discussion at (a) above. No vote was taken.
III. STANDING BUSINESS
a) Treasurer’s Report – Jeff sent cash report through Friday; about $6K with about $5k owed for printing for fundraising mailing and tee shirts. Mailing dropped early in the month, so should be seeing results soon, nothing from the office yet.
Finance item for decision: Merchcom request to purchase Partido Verde tee shirts for the store – sent artwork Merchcom approved by email. Should run around $1K, need to spend money to make money. Approved by consensus. Jeff said this would be paid later when the funds were available, not immediately.
b) Fundraising Report – Tamar. Letter went out and people have begun receiving them, returns will start coming in soon. First Friday e-blast was really good this time; Greenline out on the 17th, St. Patrick’s (“green” theme), Brian is writing it. Thanks to Audrey for calling and Sanda for thank-you calls. There are some hot phone banking opportunities coming up so talk to Starlene to volunteer. Audrey added that even though most calls go to voice mail and you might just get 2 pledges in a hundred calls, messages are getting through and people are donating online. Tamar also made an ANM report – registration page goes live on Tuesday, and all registrations are going through Nationbuilder – the first time for this.
In the queue:
a) 811 – Establish Animal Rights Committee
b) 812 – ARC Committee Rules
Received for the queue:
IV. NEW BUSINESS
a) Endorsement of Million Students March – Andrea. Approved by consensus; Secretary will register GPUS as supporting organization on #MillionStudentMarch website.
b) Amendment to the Internal Procedures of the Steering Committee of the GPUS (See addendum 1 below) – Andrea. Charles and Jeff had reservations about parts of this proposal that affect Fiscal Policy. Jeff proposed breaking out portions that involved money 3rd, 5th, 6th bullets) and sending them to FinCom for review, and sending the rest back to the Personnel Working Group to recraft as prop on office supervision. A vote was taken – Voting yes: Audrey, Sanda, Jan, Jeff. Voting No: Andrea, Charles, Paul, Tamar. Abstain: Bahram. Proposal failed to carry. A vote was then taken on the proposal itself – Voting yes: Audrey, Andrea, Paul, Tamar. Voting no: Sanda, Jan, Charles, Jeff. Abstain: Bahram. Proposal failed to carry.
c) Proposal: To Amend Steering Committee Internal Rules Regarding online voting (see addendum 2 below) – Jan. (Jeff had to leave the call at this point) Sanda provided background on this rule as she was on SC when it was written – the original intention included discussion during the meeting, not intended to bypass discussion. Tamar suggested rather than modify the rule, just eliminate it; others saw it as a useful tool. Further discussion and vote were deferred till later.
TOTAL TIME: 108 minutes
V. EXECUTIVE SESSION
Start of session: 9:52 pm. Present: all SC members except Jeff. Proposal to Form a Subcommittee to Consider ISO Complaint – rather than a subcommittee, members agreed that the Secretary would handle communications on this issue. Jan will draft a response and post it online for feedback. Charles reported on status of CPD lawsuits. More will be known in April. End of session: 10:39 pm.
Proposal: Amendment to the Internal Procedures of the Steering Committee of the GPUS
The Internal Procedures will be amended to insert the following:
Article VI: Supervision of GPUS Office
6.1: The role of the supervisor of the GPUS office is to set work priorities all office staff, to ensure timely response to inquiries generated via email or in-person visits to the office and to ensure the accurate and timely processing of financial-related operations. Further, since the GPUS promotes safe and fair workplaces, the supervisor’s goal is to mitigate and prioritize staff’s tasks in a way that respects staff contributions to the organization.
The supervisor will:
• Set the frequency for cash and check deposits
• Set the frequency for visits to the post office or other errands
• Process time sheets and employee benefit and payment paperwork, as well as interface directly with payroll services.
• Schedule office hours for employees, direct the workflow of the office, including when data entry or reconciliations are to occur.
• Monitor and administer use of a debit card for office expenses (see Section 6.1.2 below)
• Sign contracts for cost-effective and/or upgrades to utilities and services to improve efficiency of office operation, including telephones, internet, postage, etc.
6.1.1: The supervisor is authorized to expend up to $1000 a year for office expenses, or up to the SC-approved budget amount for office expenses, whichever is greater (Fiscal Policy 6.2.4). The supervisor may authorize expenditures to improve workflow and support employees, including transportation costs for office-related tasks. The supervisor is further authorized to use the petty-cash debit card (or direct the office staff to use it) for small gifts of flowers or similar items, for situations such as sympathy, congratulations, etc. of key contacts of the GPUS. For items beyond $1000 or the approved budgeted line item for office expenses per year, the normal approvals set forth by the fiscal policy will take effect.
6.1.2: For the purposes of a petty cash fund per section 8-1.4 of the Fiscal Policy of the GPUS, the supervisor is authorized to administer a debit card to be used by office staff and to set parameters for its use, including and not limited to the items set forth in 6.1 above. The total spending limit of the card may not exceed the amount of the line items in the annual budget approved by the SC, per 6-2.5 of the Fiscal Policy.
Office staff will submit written request of expenditures in advance to the supervisor for approval, in accordance with Section 8-1.1 of the Fiscal Policy of the GPUS.
6.2: Direct supervision of office staff. Steering committee members and other staff will route work requests of office staff through the supervisor. Any disputes in work priority will be taken up via the Steering Committee’s 48-hour online vote process, the decision of which will be immediately effective at the conclusion of the vote.
The supervisor will provide an update of office operations at every Steering Committee meeting.
This amendment to the Internal Procedures of the Steering Committee is effective immediately.
6-2.4 Once approved, the Annual Budget shall limit the purposes and amounts of the Party’s allowable expenditures. No expenditures may be made that are not authorized by that budget, except as provided for in Article 6-2.5, unless the budget is revised by the NC. The Annual Budget is a projection of expected income and expenditures and does not guarantee that budgeted funds will be available for actual expenditures.
Fiscal Policy 6-2.5 Upon the approval of findings stating why specific non-budgeted expenditures are necessary, the SC may approve such expenditures on a one-time basis or of otherwise limited duration, up to a limit of 0.5% of the budget or $1,500 per month, whichever is greater, for unanticipated administrative or emergency costs not included in the budget, without prior approval of the NC. Such findings shall be published to the NC votes list no more than 72 hours after the conclusion of the SC meeting at which the findings are approved. Should the SC conclude that such unanticipated necessary administrative expenses are likely to continue, it shall propose a budget revision to the NC, rather than treating such expenses on an ongoing ad-hoc basis.
Fiscal Policy 8-1.4 All expenditures must be made by check, credit/debit card, or electronic funds transfer except that a petty cash fund may be maintained in the GPUS national office and by the Annual Meeting Committee for the handling of small local expenses. Petty cash funds shall be reimbursed for the amount of expenditures.
Proposal: To Amend Steering Committee Internal Rules Regarding online voting.
Background: Proposals added to the agenda through “agenda additions” at the time of the meeting and intended to be approved for 48-hour voting under 2-2.2(a) of SC internal rules cause a number of problems: with no discussion period, there is no time to study the proposal and no time to accept amendments. Members may be inclined to vote such proposals down on this account rather than considering the proposal content.
Proposal: To the SC Internal Rules 2-2.2(a), which reads
“2-2.2(a) A majority vote at a Steering Committee teleconference or in-person meeting. In such cases, a 48 hour voting period shall commence the day following the teleconference or meeting and the proposal shall be posted to the Steering Committee email list with the subject header SC ONLINE VOTE: [TITLE].”
add the following language:
“In order to call such a vote, the proposal must be submitted in time to be included in the final agenda, 48 hours before the time of the meeting.”
so that this section would read
“2-2.2(a) A majority vote at a Steering Committee teleconference or in-person meeting. In such cases, a 48-hour voting period shall commence the day following the teleconference or meeting and the proposal shall be posted to the Steering Committee email list with the subject header SC ONLINE VOTE: [TITLE]. In order to call such a vote, the proposal must be submitted in time to be included in the final agenda, 48 hours before the time of the meeting, and include an opportunity to amend the proposal during the meeting.”
Proposal to clarify when a member of the Steering Committee is absent from a vote or abstaining from a vote
Background: The Secretary took issue recently (in the instance of members withholding their vote) with what is considered standard procedure for many government bodies, and is indeed a codified voting rule for the National Committee. The Secretary holds that for the Steering Committee, who have a special obligation to participate as stated in RP&Ps section 2-4.1, this kind of intentional subversion is not a helpful tactic.
Proposal: Add new language to the SC Internal Rules, Article II Online Voting Procedures, to read:
2-3.1 In accepting election to the Steering Committee, members are expected to participate in online discussion and decision-making unless they are unable due to extraordinary circumstances. Quorum for decision-making is a majority of the elected members. In such a leadership group, failure of a proposal for lack of quorum is irresponsible and should be avoided, especially as an intentional tactic.
2-3.2 In the case of 48-hr. online decision under 2-2(a) of SC Internal Rules, all members present during the roll-call vote to approve the 48-hr voting period shall be considered “present” for the online vote. Nonparticipation will be considered an abstention.
2-3.3 In the case of a proposal brought under 2-2(b) for online discussion and vote, those members participating in discussion, and those registering a vote will be considered “present” for the vote. Nonparticipation in the vote by those present for discussion will be considered an abstention.”
GPUS RP&Ps, Article II, Steering Committee Duties and Responsibilities
Section 2-4, Participation and Resignation
2-4.1 In accepting election to the Steering Committee, a member shall be considered to have resigned if without written notice to the Steering Committee email list, or verbal communication on a Steering Committee conference call or in-person meeting, a member does not attend Steering Committee conference calls or in-person meetings and does not post to the Steering Committee email list for thirty days.