Green Party US – Steering Committee Meeting Agenda
Date: Sunday, March 26, Time: 8:00 pm ET
Setup and Background — 10 min
Facilitator: Margaret Elisabeth
Steering Committee Roll Call:
Margaret Elisabeth (co-chair) – present
Tony Ndege (co-chair) – present
Tamar Yager (co-chair) – present
Holly Hart (secretary) – present
Observers (remain muted and do not use chat feature):
Joseph Naham, NY:
Mike Feinstein, CA;
Scott Laugenour, WA
Starlene Rankin, W;
Cassandra Lems, NY;
Alan Hunter, NY;
Sandy Pryzbylak, NY,
Goria Mattera, NY;
Robin Laurain, MI;
Maireen Doyle, MA;
Josh Sheunemann, MN
Establish Quorum (4 current members, quorum is 3) – quorum met
Approve Agenda (changes require majority, new items require ⅔)
New Business — 20 min
Proposal and discussion: to extend Mike Feinstein’s contract on the Elections Database, as specified in the contact sent to the list today.
Mike Feinstein is available to answer questions, if needed
SEE PROPOSAL in ATTACHMENT A
Discussion: GPUS has been suffering a DDS attack for some months which has affected Mike Feinstein’s ability to enter data into the database in a timely manner. Make sure that we consider again the application purchase for the widget to enable more timely data entry. Funds are now available for us to spend for that item.
PASSED by Consensus
Submitted by Philena Farley:
A future planning session for a National Green Party Day webinar. April 10th.
A themed mailing and/or text banking expenditure. (Can include a “Save the date” blurb for Earth Day to May Day in it) “Would prefer doing both, but at least one or the other. I can submit a draft outline tomorrow, so feedback can be added by the NC over the weekend before the meeting.”
Discussion: Unsure what is being requested.
Tony: suggests simply sending out a statement, encouraging Greens to do certain actions that week. Get some suggestions. Do we work on something to send to the National Committee? See Outreach can hope some centralized location, coordinated effort like From Earth Day to May Day where people can post about their events, post on social media. Holly, Margaret agree, no action item. Tamar notes we have graphics we can use as an option.
Standing Business — 30 min
Follow-up on Action Items – 20 minutes
Financial Information, Bank, Access
Passwords and logins FEC Dataset
Mail forwarding changed – Hillary has cancelled mail forwarding. It’s now going to Darryl! Moch
Bank card was canceled; need to look into getting a new one
Return any mail intended for GPUS
All files and documents not already in the Google drive (invoices, receipts, etc.)
Certified letter: Request that DCB submit the laptop to a local Green who we can pay for shipping, and for the above-mentioned information
Margaret stated the need for contingencies in case we don’t get the data needed to run payroll in time. Tamar stated that it can be managed with official communication, just doesn’t want to wait until the next minute.
PROPOSAL to approve Darry! Moch as interim acting treasurer.
Tamar reported they had been advised not to change the Treasurer until we have one. Sees no need to add a name. Tony agrees. Holly withdrew the proposal.
Recap of Listserv Decisions — 5 min
SC Agreed to pull #1136, :Halt GPUS Restructuring.”
Support for Rail Workers
Endorsement of March 18th Anti-wa Demo
Election of GPUS Secretary
Proposals’ #1136, 31135 canceled
Approval of Expenditures — 5 min
Reports — 20 min
(please send written reports to the SC list before the meeting)
Secretary (Holly Hart) – Attachment B
Fundraising (Margaret) – Triangle Shirtwaist Fundraising appeal just went out.
Fundraising calendars coming up 30, 60, 90 days. They ask for volunteers to write text – unfortunately, few people are interested in writing.
Fundraising report (analysis for FundCom) information for NationBuilder has come in, but not broken down
Staff (Tamar Yager, Tony Ndege) – Both staff are currently away. Tamar and Tony have been filling in checking email and phone.
Liaison list will be updated by the next meeting
Margaret: Fundraising, BMRC, DivCom – BMRC is continuing to put out their newsletter; Diversity Committee is finalizing bylaws update
Tony: EcoAction – have been meeting, trying to get momentum going for From earth Day to MayDay. A couple press releases issued.
PCSC – wi be meeting next Thursday hoping to get stared with regular meetings, update PCSC cycle materials
FinCom – roductive meeting
GPAX – press release went out. Work with building numbers on the March 18th event in DC. Tony did a livestream. Some were frustrated with the number of Greens that made it; Tony feels it was a decent number that showed up, especially former Green candidates that spoke out.
Tamara: ANM – meeting, sending out call for workshops;, application deadline May 15th. Costs and most things wilk be the same as last year. Sent out a “Save The Date” announcement August 3-6. NO theme for this year’s ANM. Workshops will continue to be organized into tracks.
Voting Queue — 5 min
In the Queue — 5 minutes
Title: ID 1134 – 2023 Steering Committee Special Election
Presenter: Steering Committee
Floor Manager: Tony Ndege
Presenter: Green Party of Washington
Floor Manager: Tamar Yager
Presenter: Coordinated Campaign Committee
Floor Manager: Holly Hart
Presenter: Coordinated Campaign Committee
Floor Manager: Holly Hart
Received for Queue — 0 min
(please review before meeting and come with findings, if any)
Floor Manager (tentative):
Old Business — 00 min
Item (presenter) — 00 min
Executive Session — 00 min
Item (presenter) — 00 min
TOTAL TIME — 1 hour, 30 minutes
Proposal: Extend Elections Database Manager Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and Job Description
Background: As a Federation of State Green Parties, one of the most important and core informational services the Green Party of the United States (GPUS) can provide is tracking the number of Green candidates and officeholders across the United States. Since 2002, the GPUS Elections Database is the tool by which the GPUS has provided that information (https://www.gpelections.org/history-of-gpus-elections-data-base/.
In August 2021 the GPUS signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and Job Description with Mike Feinstein to be the GPUS Elections Database Manager through late summer 2023. The scope of work defined in the Job Description included:
– researching and tracking information about current Green candidates and officeholders, entering it into the Database, and reporting that information to the GPUS, including providing the GPUS Media Committee with up-to-date information to use in its press work.
– researching and tracking information about past Green candidates and officeholders and entering it into the Database.
– performing an audit of all 6500+ historical records of Green candidates in the Database, to ensure accuracy and completeness of the information.
– enacting a variety of ways of easily sorting and searching this information, and more broadly implementing the broad range of functionality envisioned for the Database when the GPUS National Committee approved funding for it in 2017, 2018 and 2019.
– providing reports and analysis on Green Party electoral trends based upon accurate data provided by the audit
– training state party Database Agents to be able to directly upload elections data from their state
– create an owners manual on the operations of the Database
– providing a series of reports on the operation of the Database to the GPUS National Committee, Steering Committee, Coordinated Campaign Committee and to the GPUS Annual National Meeting
– making recommendations about future maintenance and operation of the Database, including potential upgrades to the Database code
When the August 2021 Job Description with Feinstein was signed, not all of this expansive work contemplated was expect to be completed by the end of the work period. Rather it was a wait-and-see approach, to see how much progress could be made within that period of time period. As of early 2023, a great deal of progress has been made towards realizing the above goals of the Job Description.
However a few significant factors have greatly limited progress:
(1) Because only a small number of state parties accurate track and report their own candidate and officeholder information in a timely and complete manner, Feinstein has had to spend a great deal of time researching and tracking information during each election cycle about current Green candidates and officeholders — particularly in registration-by-party states to report upon registered Greens running for and serving in local, non-partisan office .
The more time Mike must spend during election cycles focusing on this information research and gathering, the less time is available to address other tasks envisioned in the Job Description.
(2) The GPUS has recently learned that the Elections Database has been under increasing on-line attack at least since November 2022, and perhaps earlier. This has substantially undermined the functioning of the Database so that some tasks that should have taken minutes have taken hours, and some tasks that should have taken days have taken weeks. Only now learning about these attacks begins to explain these persistent problems with Database operations, which have hitherto not been fully understood. Not only have these attacks persisted, but as a result the site has continued to deteriorate and at present, even several basic data-entering tasks can not occur as a result.
This has substantially set back the work envisioned in the Job Description – especially work that would have been best completed in between election cycles, which was exactly such a period of time and opportunity after the November 2022 election through the present. This undermining of Database work was further complicated by an unfortunate crash of Mike’s computer hard drive while traveling internationally in November and December, leaving him without a working computer for 18 days during that time – resulting in a loss of 18 precious days that had been put aside to focus on uninterrupted post-election cycle work.
Fortunately there is a technical solution to these attacks. But that requires the participation of the GPUS Webmaster, who in early-to-mid March was on temporary leave for personal health reasons, and when upon his return will be faced a backlog of other tasks competing for his time along addressing the issues arising from the attack.
Finally in February 2023 — when the opportunity presented itself to purchase an inexpensive but needed one-time plug-in upgrade for the Database (that would have allowed multiple records to be amended at the same time, greatly accelerating the Database audit and improved categorization process — an upgrade approved by the Finance Committee and recommended to the Steering Committee – the vote to purchase the plug-in was not approved by the Steering Committee. This prevented the upgrade from being successfully installed by the GPUS Webmaster before his health-related leave, resulting in a loss of perhaps two months work time on certain parts of the Database, compared to if the plug-in would’ve been approved by the Steering Committee in a timely manner after the Finance Committee recommended doing so.
Upon a more positive note, at a time when GPUS funds are lacking, Mike is providing this Database work for free. His expertise in how the Database works and of the elections history of U.S. Greens, and he is willing to continue this work under an extension of the August 2021 MOU and Job Description.
Given the above reasons, in order to accomplish the work envisioned in the 2021 Job Description, this proposal would extend the 2021 Elections Database Manager MOU and Job Description with Mike Feinstein from ending in late summer 2023, to ending on March 31, 2025.
What is the rationale for this date?
First this timing would allocate more time to complete the work envisioned in the Job Description. Not only is this important in and of itself. But once this work is complete, the GPUS will be far less reliant upon Mike as an individual to maintain and operate the Database, and to perform all of the data entry and reporting functions.
Second, it would extend the period for Mike to enter current elections data and makes reports on it) through what should be a busy November 2024 election season, including preparing post-election reports based upon it. Doing it this way would make more sense keeping him in place for that election cycle while also training in others on how to do it, then having Mike possibly no longer playing any role during what is the usually the busiest election cycle for the Green Party every four year, and leaving first-timers with all of the responsibility
Finally in early 2025, Mike would make recommendations to the Steering Committee on next steps for the Database, upon which the Steering Committee could act after it concentrates on proposing and passing the 2025 GPUS Annual Budget.
Part I: That the Steering Committee extend the 2021 Elections Database Manager MOU and Job Description (attached below) by signing the attached extension, which has already been signed by Mike Feinstein, sending a copy to Mike upon signing, and advising the GPUS Web Manager of this extension, so that he may continue to provide password access to Feinstein to perform his tasks as provided for in the Job Description.
Part II: That the Steering Committee declare Mike Feinstein as an Elections Database Advisor for the purposes of posting to the National Committee (NC) Email Listserve under GPUS Rules and Procedures Article IX GPUS National Committee Listserve Protocols and Policies (see attachment #3 below) to make the election and Elections Database-reporting called for in the Elections Database Manager Job Description, in the case that he will no longer be a National Committee (NC) Delegate with automatic Votes List posting privileges, when his current NC Delegate term is over in July 2023
Attachment #3: Article IX GPUS National Committee Listserve Protocols and Policies (https://gpus.org/rules-procedures/#09) #7:
- Advisors. Advisors are professionals in their field serving the Green Party in their professional capacity (e.g. legal advisors, fundraising advisors, technology consultants, etc.) Advisors can either be recommended to and approved by the Steering Committee and announced to the National Committee, or approved by the National Committee by a simple majority vote.
ATTACHMENT B – Secretary Report
Having been elected GPUS Secretary two weeks ago, I figured it would take a couple weeks to track down critical loose ends and access what is needed to get up to speed. Thanks to David Gerry for providing information needed to set up the secretary email on my laptop; and Tamar for remaining me that that works to access webmail, as well. I was also able to set it up on my phone, although not completely functional. I have also been able to get added to the SC email list and Google Drive.
I’ve updated the email list and voting page directory. Looking over the Google Drive, I found some Secretary items. I see some items in need of transfer (not moving to a different place, but under the GPUS “house”).
Some things I will not be able to update or follow up until staff is back. None is really critical, and I should be able to save information and requests for needed updates that come in. Requests for NC delegation updates I can do; requests for working committee updates I can forward. I have asked and will remind delegates that if they had submitted an update recently and not heard back, to please re-send. There are likely things that have fallen through the cracks that will become evident over the next few weeks, but should be reasonably easy to address.
Updated Letterhead and sent letter to Darryl! Moch to provide the bank with an update on signatories.
Draft letter to former Treasurer requesting needed information to access payroll and filing accounts and instruct return of PC laptop.
Would like to review the coming rtwo-three months to get a genera assessment of the basic routine: what is normal; what is needed; time; what might be better for staff?