The recent discussion/debate regarding the composition of and participation on committees has exposed some weaknesses in our present bylaws. Specifically, there is no definition of what an advisor or observer is or what their roles on a committee are. In addition, the question of the level of control a state party has over advisors from their states is also not addressed. The following proposal is an attempt to address these issues.
The BRPP Committee was charged with updating the Bylaw, Rules, Policies, and Procedures of the GPUS. Over the next several weeks/months, BRPP will be introducing the results of our efforts to the GPUS Coordinating Committee. This proposal concentrates on the various GPUS Committees. Other proposals on the internal structure of the party will be forthcoming.
THE BRPP recommends that the diversity of both the structure and the operations of the committees be allowed to continue. There is more than one way to skin a cat, and no one can be sure what method is best. Let those who have the experience to choose, do so, trying to find the most appropriate form for a task. This is not to say that electing a 10 member CCC is absolutely the best methodology for the task, but, then, who is to say that it is not? That we use so many forms in our committees could be a liability, making it harder to get work done or for new members to get up to speed; but it could also be a strength because it makes it so much harder for those who wish us ill to infiltrate and manipulate, and because it allows committee to be structured in the way that fits the work being done. There is no way on Earth to decide which variation of democracy is best for a task other than experience, so let 1000 flowers bloom.
The current bylaw on committees, as reflected on the website, is out of date. The BRPP suggests it be replaced with the following:
"The Coordinating Committee of the Green Party of the United States shall establish standing committees and may create other committees according to need. The CC shall cause to be produced, and then approve a document for each committee including the purpose, duties and general charge of the committee, as a part of the process of creating a committee.
The Steering Committee shall be responsible for oversight for all committees and ensure that the CC is kept informed about the work of the committees.
Delegates to the CC shall automatically be eligible to serve on committees by virtue of their position. Other committee members shall be members of a state green party and have written permission from their state party to serve. Permission shall be submitted by the CC delegates or State Party co-chairs from the various states to the co-chairs of the relevant committee, and can be submitted on paper or via email. No state shall have more than three members per committee without a waiver from the Steering Committee. No committee shall have fewer than five states represented.
There shall be three categories of activity for GPUS committees:
1. MEMBERS - Committee Membership shall be defined as being a voting member of a committee who may take part in all decision making. Committee members shall be selected by their committees according to individual committee P&Ps. All committee members shall be approved by their respective state parties according to written, democratically derived state party rules that ensure full and open due process.
2. ADVISORS - It shall be at the discretion of committees to select advisors. Advisor status shall be determined by individual committees in their P&Ps . Anyone may serve as a committee advisor. Advisors shall enjoy limited participation in committee deliberations as determined by committees' written P&Ps . Advisors shall not be voting members of a committee, shall not formally introduce proposals and shall not represent either the committee or the party. Advisors shall serve one-year terms and will be eligible for re-election. State parties shall be free to express objections to committees regarding specific advisors. Such objections shall be considered by committee members in their deliberations.
3. OBSERVERS - Committee approved observers may monitor the listserv activity of a committee but cannot participate in discussions or votes. Observers must be approved by committees according to their P&P documents.
Furthermore, committees may communicate with individual Greens on an as needed basis on specific matters of mutual import."
Further, the BRPP proposes that the CC adopt the following Policies and Procedures for Committees.
All committees shall:
1) develop written rules, policies and procedure (RP&P) documents which must be approved by the Coordinating Committee.
2) use consensus-seeking procedure with backup voting for all decision making, and codify the procedure in their RP&Ps.
3) when voting, vote by state with each state casting one vote. The CC or the SC may, in their reviews of the work of a committee, allow a committee to waive the one state, one vote rule and replace it with a one member, one vote standard.
4) codify RP&Ps used to conduct general committee business and, when appropriate, codify rules for decision making via conference calls, email, and/or in-person meetings.
5) report to the CC on a regular basis and set up a schedule for written reporting, with monthly reports being the standard unless otherwise approved by the CC.
6) develop policies and procedures by which minority opinions on committee business that relate to the internal workings of the Green Party may be conveyed to the CC.
7) have two co-chairs unless directed to have a different number by the CC. Gender balance and co-chairs from different states shall be the norm, though under extraordinary circumstances committees may choose another arrangement.
8) detail all non-co-chair leadership position (e.g. secretary, coordinators etc.) in the committee's RP&P document.
9) conduct elections for leadership slots using preference voting and codify election procedures in their RP&P document.
10) participate in a biannual review of committee RP&Ps conducted by the BRPP, which shall report to the CC on each committeešs procedures.
11) develop and make available to all members of the committee a packet including all rules, policies and procedures and provide other training and orientation, as appropriate, for new members. This material shall also be available on the committee website.
12) set up guidelines for member participation, with an emphasis on ensuring participation as a requirement of membership and/or participation in consensus decision making or quorum voting.