2003 National Conference – Letter to the CC from the Bylaws Committee
The BRPP Committee has discussed many issues over the past few months. Below are some issues that we could not reach consensus on or will require much more in depth discussion before a vote can be taken. Please read this carefully because CC delegates will be voting on these issues either in D.C. or soon after.
ISSUE #1 STAFFING OF COMMITTEES
One topic that has come to our attention is that if the Green Party is to function well the committees must be well staffed. Several suggestions as to how to insure well staffed committees have come to the fore.
1. A strong recommendation that state parties make an effort to recruit people for committees, knowing that this is a great way to introduce people to the workings of the national party and develop their Green networks before taking on the responsibilities of being a delegate, as well as get the work done.
2. A stronger approach is to write a rule that would require State Parties to provide at least as many people to serve on committees as they have delegates to the CC. If a state’s delegates serve on various committees, this would take care of the state party’s obligations, though of course additional state party members could serve and would be most welcome. If any of the delegates are unable to serve on a committee in addition to their CC duties, then the State Party would provide committee members in sufficient quantity to at least compensate for the delegates who are unable to serve on a committee.
3. A further suggestion is to have a rule that all CC delegates must serve on at least one committee as a part of their CC obligations.
ISSUE #2 STRUCTURAL CHANGES
The current structure has the state parties electing CC delegates. From the CC delegates 5 co-chairs are elected. The co-chairs collectively watch over the committees and see to it that everything that the party needs to do gets done. BRPP will be proposing a new organizational structure, what some would call a “portfolio” structure, that includes expanding and transforming the Steering Committee into a structure with two co speakers and 5 coordinators, with the speakers taking on general leadership roles and the 5 coordinators overseeing various specific aspects of the party and its operations.
Within a portfolio approach the work of the organization could be divided randomly, as long as it was clearly and evenly divided. The oversight of committees and the other work of the SC could be divided up between the various SC members alphabetically or with any other system. But it appears to be more reasonable to use a systematic approach. Dividing the work up by functional sectors seems to be the best approach. Of course there are any number of ways you can divide up the work, even systematically, and there is no one right way to do it. Even so, we present the following just to get you thinking about it.
One possible schemes of division of activities might be:
1) Political activity- candidate reelections, party building, and strategy .
2) Relationships and Communication with the outside world. media and public. Promotion, publicity, writing, polling etc.
3) Policy and future focus- platform, visioning, goal and objective setting, priorities, oversight.
4) Issue based advocacy- organizing demonstration, creating alliances,
6) Internal communications, record keeping, SC- CC and CC- Committee relations, correspondence communications with other Green parties etc.
The BRPP has determined there is great benefit to adopting a portfolio type of approach. This, of course, will take a major rewrite of the bylaws. The BRPP feels that this work is well begun, but that the CC must thoroughly discuss the implications of a major organizational change before determining a specific set of recommended bylaw amendments. Some of these changes which the CC will need to discuss and eventually vote on are:
#1 EXPANSION TO A 9 PERSON STEERING COMMITTEE.
Leaving out, just for discussion purposes, the Secretary and Treasurer, that would mean two co-chairs, tasked with the political direction of the party and the spokesperson role, and 5 coordinators responsible for specific aspects of internal coordination. The need for either the oversight/ spokesperson twin organizational heads- or another layer of bureaucracy, depending on how you see it- must be determined by the CC. The alternative, 7 equal co-chairs with specific portfolios is also workable.
If the two overseer model is accepted, it might lend itself to two “at large” or coordinating co-chairs and five “specific area” co-chairs /coordinators being elected, with the qualifications for the latter slots being linked to the specific areas of oversight.
#2 HOW TO ELECT THE SC
If the seven separate portfolio members model is accepted, it can be done one of two ways:
1. Election by porfolio
2. At large election with the group “organizing” after election.
#2 DIVISION OF PORTFOLIOS
The division of Green Party work into various portfolios by the SC makes a great deal of sense, but the committee wishes to place on record a suggestion for another way to divide up the 5 portfolios. This is just a suggestion and we expect there to be some discussion of this after the discussion of whether or not the basic portfolio model, and how to structure the SC, are cleared up.
Internal Division: Internal Communications, Personnel, Accreditation, BRPP
Outreach Division : Diversity, Outreach, Field Organizing, Events Planning, Green Pages, Media
Electoral Division: CCC, PEC, Office Holders
Financial Division: Finance, Fundraising, Merchandise
Public Policy Division: International Committee, Public Policy, Platform
#3 A CC OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE
A CC oversight committee- to oversee the restructured SC-is highly recommended. 100 people is too large for a detailed oversight committee. 5 to 7 members- no more than 10- seems the right size. The size of the oversight committee could be directly linked to the size of the SC, although, as with all committees, it should be allowed to organize as the members see fit, not necessarily with a one to one relationship between the overseer and the SC person.
There are a variety of ways an oversight committee could work. One is that the oversight committee take on something similar to the advisory board role in a non profit. The SC is the real board, but often non profits set up an advisory board to keep the board on its toes or to provide information and expertise that is not available on the board. In the case of the Green Party, the advisory board type committee would also be empowered to ask the SC questions and demand answers. Whatever the structure, it should boost communication and especially transparency between the SC and the CC and the charge of the committee should be structured that way.