BYLAWS – ARTICLE XII. OPERATING RULES

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The EC may adopt such Operating Rules as is necessary to regulate its business. No Operating Rule may be adopted that contradicts these Bylaws. In cases of ambiguity or lack of clarity, the EC may look to the Bylaws of the GPUS for direction.

XII.1. Communication

The EC shall use agreed upon platforms to conduct business. This may include teleconferences, video conferences, email, social media or in-person platforms. All formal decisions made at meetings shall adhere to the normal decision-making processes and will be documented on the official committee list.

Listservs

  • Work Discussion Listserv

This listserv is a work list for discussing the work and business of the Elders Caucus. 

  • Business and Announcements Listserv

This list is a One-Way list only for announcements and business actions (e.g., Ballots for voting).

  • Other Discussion Platforms

Other platforms such as Slack and/or other platforms that may evolve are optional tools for extended discussions not directly related to business items of the EC.  Business items can also be discussed using optional platforms if the Caucus members agree to move any business discussions from the main list.

XII.3. Listserv Protocol

  • All Caucus members are encouraged to become familiar with principles of  nonviolent communication. 
  • General Netiquette.
    • In general, when quoting other messages, the person quoted should be properly cited, and extraneous text (including headers, footers, irrelevant messages to the section being responded to when replying to a digest, and the like) should be deleted. 
    • Non-substantive one-word replies generally should be sent off-list. 
    • Honor requests to stop/move repeated off-topic posting, over posting and other disregard for the purpose of the lists. 
  • Tone.
    • Respectful language is an expectation of EC members. Discussion needs to be directed to the group vs. individuals. 
    • All listserv members are strongly encouraged to bear in mind the official nature of the lists and refrain from the use of obscene or otherwise offensive language in keeping with Respect for Diversity.
    • Personal, one-on-one discussion on the Business Discussion List should be taken to an alternate discussion platform for one-on-one communication. 
    • Insults, (inlcuding, but not limited to)name-calling, sexist/sexual, racist, homophobic, transphobic, or otherwise demeaning or degrading comments will not be tolerated. 
    • Hateful, abusive, and threatening language are prohibited. 
    • Attacks of a personal, ad hominem nature are prohibited. 
    • Making false and defamatory accusations on the listserv against another list member is prohibited. 
    • If such accusations are made unintentionally, a retraction will be required, as requested by the Listserv Monitors (see Article XII.4. Listserv monitoring and moderation. )
  • Engaging in the advocacy or practice of ageist, racist, sexist, classist, nationalist, heterosexist, transphobic, ableist, or other oppressive behaviors not in keeping with the values and principles of the EC and the 10 Key Values of the Green Party is prohibited.
    • This also includes discrimination based upon age, race, gender, class, nationality, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability status,religious status, or any other type of discrimination. (See Anti-Oppression Principles in Article II.B. Purpose.)
  • Forwards of Private Messages.
    • Forwarding private messages to either list without the expressed written permission of the original author is prohibited.
    • Forwards of EC listserv posts to any person or entity are prohibited unless the person authoring the email grants permission for only their email (not responses to the email or any email being responded to ) to be shared.
  • Forwards of Other Items.
    • Copyrighted material (newspaper articles, website content, etc.) and other items forwarded should be accompanied by, if applicable, a source URL, the name(s) of the author(s), and the originating source (if a publication).

XII.4. Listserv monitoring and moderation. 

Listserv Moderation 

  • Members will abide by the bylaws on listserv protocol and directives from the Listserv Monitor(s).  
  • Violations will result in warnings from the Listserv Monitor(s) via email to the member in violation. 
  • The third violation after two warnings of violations within 6 months will result in moderation from the list for one month. 
  • All warnings will be accompanied by the specific cited violation and the reason that part of the listserv protocol was violated. 
  • Listserv monitors will notify co-chairs of moderation of a member with the evidence behind the moderation decision. This will include the specifics of the violation and the section of the listserv protocol violated.
    • [Note: “Moderation” means that the moderated member will be able to read listserv posts but will be blocked from posting anything themselves.  Moderated members may not use other members to forward their posts. In the event that that is done, both members will be given a warning.] 
  • Should a member incur three incidents of moderation within a 6 month period the member will be placed on moderation for 6 months.
  • LMs shall maintain documentation of violations in a place accessible to the CC and will make regular reports to the CC.

Appeals

If a moderated member disputes the decision of moderation, they can appeal to the Executive Board in writing within 7 days of the notice of moderation.

LM decisions

If the two LM’s disagree on the course of action (i.e., warning, moderation), a co-chair will step in to review the course of action and make a determination on which one is appropriate.

XII.5. Authorization and Management of Listserv

  • All persons authorized with administrative credentials for the listservs have the authority to manage them with regards to subscribing/unsubscribing members, placing members on moderation, in the case of moderated status due to listserv violations, and making any other necessary changes or additions. 
  • Listserv administrators are responsible for notifying the CC of any actions taken regarding management of the listservs.
  • Should any CC members violate listserv protocol, the same procedure outlined in this protocol will apply with regards to warnings and moderation.
  • Should either of the LMs violate listserv protocol, the Co-chairs will consult with the other LM to determine the appropriate steps (e.g., warnings and/or moderation) as outlined in this protocol.

XII.6.Listserv Monitor Recall 

Refer to provisions in the Recall of officers or any other positions (section XII.15. Settling of Grievances and Conflicts).

XII.7. Civility and Respect for Minority Viewpoints on Issues and Decisions

Within the parameters of the Ten Key Values, EC members shall strive to respect differences of opinion, remain civil and respectful in their communications, and refrain from insults or derogatory labeling of other committee or caucus members. When a decision is made over the expressed concerns or objections of a minority of members of the committee, those members remain free to communicate their concerns to their state-caucus or other members of the National Committee or Steering Committee of the GPUS, provided, however, that such communications should be shared or copied to the committee as a whole, in the interest of transparency.

XII.8 Voting Process (See also Article VII.Voting)

Quorums

  • General decisions and Operating Rules: A simple majority of one-third active EC membership representing at least five states.
  • Bylaws and policy statements:  A two-thirds majority of one-third active membership representing at least five states. 
  • Elections (Officers, Delegates, Listserv Monitors, Representatives to GPUS Committees):A two-thirds active EC membership. 

Proposals

  • Any member of the EC may bring a proposal to the Caucus.It is the responsibility of the proposer to submit a proposal that is not contrary to the bylaws.  The EC officers will also check to ensure the proposal is in line with the EC bylaws.
  • Process of making a proposal:
    • When a proposal is made, it requires a “second” to move forward. The person who makes the “second” may not support the proposal itself, but may “second” it to move the proposal forward.
    • Once the second is made, the proposal moves forward for discussion.
    • If the proposal is not “seconded”, the proposal does not move forward.
  • Counter-Proposals
    • If a counter-proposal, or alternative proposal, is made to offer an alternative to the main proposal, the discussion moves to whether or not the alternative will substitute the main proposal. If the alternative passes, it replaces the main proposal and discussion moves forward. If the alternative proposal fails, the main proposal continues forward with discussion.
  • Friendly Amendments
    • Reserved for editorial changes and approved by consensus (See Article XII.9. Consensus.)

Withdrawing proposals  

  • The person making a proposal may withdraw the proposal at any time during the discussion phase.
  • Proposals may not be withdrawn during the voting phase.

XII.9.Consensus (for proposals)

Blocking Concerns

“The block is a defining part of the consensus process, it means no decision can be taken without the consent of everyone in the group. Ideally it should be a safety net that never needs to be used – the fact that the option is there means the group is required to take everyone’s needs into account when forming a proposal. Because it is such a powerful tool, some groups have developed additional ‘rules’ about how and when it is to be used.” – Seeds for Change

  • If a blocking concern is brought forward by an EC member, a reasoning for the block along with a solution must accompany the blocking concern by that member.
  • When registering a blocking concern, a member must also describe how the proposal goes against the mission and purposes of the EC.
  • If blocking concerns cannot be resolved, the proposal will then revert from consensus to a vote, as outlined in XII.8. Voting process – Proposals.
  • Blocking concerns only apply to consensus decision-making for general decisions and operating rules and not to any other form of decision-making in these bylaws (e.g., about the bylaws, policy statements, elections, et al).

Consensus may be reached even when it is not absolutely clear that every member supports the proposal. Those who disagree, but do not have a blocking concern may explicitly agree to stand aside. It may be that some members who agree with the proposal or at least have no objection to it have said nothing. It is not required that every member express an opinion on every proposal. Those who state a concern should make it clear that they do not expect their concern to block passage of the proposal by consensus.

XII.10 Elections

  • The nomination period, timeline and open positions will be posted for nominating candidates for open positions.
  • Self-nominations or nominations by other members will be accepted. Nominations must be seconded by another member and accepted by the person being nominated. 
  • When the announced nomination period ends, a two-week discussion period will follow.
  • Following the two-week discussion period, there will be a one-week voting period.  
  • Where there are uncontested elections, the ballot will have the names of each individual position, the candidate name(s), “yes” to affirm, “no” to not affirm, and “None of the Above” (NOTA).
  • Where there are multiple candidates for open positions, voting will take place using Instant Runoff Voting (IRV)/Ranked Choice Voting (RCV).

XII.11. Emergency Decision-Making

A member may submit a proposal as an “emergency or time-sensitive matter.” 

  • If the officers agree that the proposal is of a time-sensitive nature, then the proposal may be submitted for consensus within a 24-hour period and, if no blocking concerns are raised, may be adopted by consensus, provided that a simple majority of the officers have specifically consented to adoption of the proposal. 
  • This provision shall only be used when extraordinary circumstances require a fast decision in order for the intent of the proposal to be fulfilled.

XII.12. Working Groups

The EC may establish working groups (see IV.1.) as needed to perform specified tasks or work on designated projects. These working groups may be created for standing or ad hoc tasks. 

  • The working groups shall be created through the normal decision-making process described in these Bylaws. 
  • Each working group should designate an individual to serve as chair, responsible for ensuring that the working group stays on task and for reporting its work to the EC.

 XVII.13. ENDORSEMENTS

The EC reserves the right to offer support in the form of  endorsement for Green caucus candidates (including positions within the GPUS and Green Party political candidates) and various issues or policy initiatives. Endorsement does not imply a commitment to provide resources or assistance but indicates the belief on the part of the EC that the individual or entity receiving the endorsement is working for the shared goals and aspirations embodied in the Ten Key Values. Those receiving the endorsement of the EC are free to publicly cite that endorsement. 

  • Should a proposal for an endorsement be submitted, The EC will follow the protocol for proposals (XIV.1.Proposals) and voting (XIV. Voting Process ) will be followed.

XII.14. Amending the Bylaws – Process

Basic changes in grammar, spelling and other technical items that do not change the overall content may be suggested by EC members to the CC and which will review the suggestions and make the changes as appropropriate. Any such changes will be communicated to the membership.

Amendments by the General Membership

  • Amendments may be submitted within 30 days before the General Membership meeting to the Caucus Secretary by any member and the Secretary shall place that amendment on the agenda for consideration at the next General Membership Meeting.  Amendment proposals may be submitted at a General Membership meeting by any member.
  • The General Membership meeting will take a  vote on written amendments (received in advance) , with  an 80% vote of those members present at the General Membership meeting, and with a 51% quorum represented.
  • The General Membership may take the following action on amendment proposals submitted at the General Membership meeting:
    • After review and discussion of the proposed amendment, take an immediate vote with 80% of the members present required to pass the amendment.

OR

  • After review and discussion of the proposed amendment, submit the proposed amendment to an ad hoc Bylaws Review Committee established by the Coordinating Council immediately following the General Membership meeting. This decision shall be by a 51% vote of the General Membership present.
    • This Bylaws Review Committee shall draft one or more proposed amendments consistent with the amendment proposal referred to them by the General Membership and submit the proposed amendments to the General Membership at the next regularly scheduled membership meeting for further action including a vote.
    • The original person who proposed the amendment may serve as a non-voting advisor to the Bylaws Review Committee to ensure that they understand the purpose of the proposal. If unable to serve as an advisor the person who made the proposal may select someone to serve in that capacity on their behalf.
  • If the membership votes against or refuses to take action upon proposed amendments any member may submit the same written amendment at the same or future General Membership meetings.
  • The same process is followed as if it were an original written amendment .

Bylaws Work Group

A Bylaws Work Group may be tasked by the CC as provided for in these bylaws which may be tasked with reviewing one or more sections of the caucus Bylaws and proposed amendments.  

  • The Bylaws Work Group will report to the CC.
  • Membership on the Bylaws Working Group will consist of 4-6 volunteered EC members.

XII.15. Settling of Grievances and Conflicts         

A  grievance is any complaint filed with the CC by any EC Member. Complaints which are the jurisdiction of a state caucus, specific local, county caucus, chapter or other affiliated organization will not be heard by the EC. The CC will suggest the use of the Dispute Resolution Committee (DRC) for those types of complaints. Complaints will be heard that are filed against the following:

  • Any Caucus Officials, either elected or appointed.
  • Members of all Standing Committees, Ad-hoc Committees, Working Groups of the Caucus established in these bylaws.
  • Any member of the EC

The CC will convene to hear the complaint and determine the course of action.

Should the complaint be filed against a CC member, that member will recuse themselves from the hearing.

The CC may elect to use the GPUS Dispute Resolution Committee for resolution of the grievance or complaint.

XII.16.  Removal/Recall and Replacement of CC members 

Officers and other members of the CC may be removed for cause (negligence of duties, behaviors in opposition to the mission and purposes of the EC, etc.) after an investigation by the CC of allegations and by a 80% of a two-thirds quorum vote of the membership (Also see XII.C. Voting Process).

  • If a CC member is unable to complete their term of office, the EC co-chairs shall, upon notification of a vacancy, notify the membership and VEC within two weeks. 
  • The VEC will post a call for nominations, and the elections process will proceed as described in these bylaws. 

Resources

Green Party Elders Caucus Resource Website

Green Party of the United States

Non-violent Communication

Seeds for Change (Consensus Decision-Making)

FairVote (Ranked Choice Voting)

Suggested Voting Methods/Tools:

Opavote (fee based)

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