Formal bylaws have yet to be drafted, but we have approved the following structure in the interim.
Reviewed and Approved for Voting: General Body Meeting, March 18, 2023
Circulated: March 21, 2023
Whereas, the Pandemic Organizing Working Group needs a leadership structure to function in advance of full bylaws;
Therefore, we adopt the following interim structure to expedite our organizing with the understanding that the below "Rationale" sections in italics are to be treated as "Whereas" clauses:
The general membership is the highest body of the organization and all decisions by officers can be overridden by a simple majority vote at a general meeting except specific decisions otherwise outlined in the bylaws (which do not exist yet). Officers can also be recalled at any time via the same process.
Elections to the Steering Committee (SC) are held for terms of one year or until their successors are elected. Terms begin on April 1. The method of election will be instant runoff voting (IRV) via secret ballot.
The steering committee is elected at large and the members decide amongst themselves which role to fill. Candidates don't campaign for a particular role though they can include that in their candidacy statements.
Ballots will be ranked choice and tabulated via instant runoff voting. Internal Grievance Officers (IGO) shall be elected separately, such that the ballot has one section listing SC candidates and another listing IGO candidates. Ballots will be ranked choice, and tabulated via instant runoff voting. IGO and SC positions cannot be held simultaneously.
In order to administer elections, electors will need to fill out the intake form so that a voting slip can be emailed to them.
If there are unfilled Steering Committee or Internal Grievance Officer positions, a member that wishes to join the Steering Committee or become an Internal Grievance Officer may ask the Steering Committee to hold a special election. If the election is non-competitive, approval voting will be used. Terms for a special election last until the end of the ordinary election cycle term outlined above. In this case a majority (50% + 1) is required to elect.—This clause adopted at 2023-09-10 General Body Meeting.
The sum of the positions below constitute a Steering Committee.
It supervises the general affairs of the group and are the group's public spokespeople, though typically that duty falls to Co-Chairs. They have the authority to sponsor or endorse events put on by other organizations and to organize public-facing events on behalf of the group. They may also make recommendations to the group. Decisions on the Steering Committee may be decided by a simple majority vote.
The Steering Committee has the following seven roles:
(2) Co-Chairs—The co-chairs are responsible for scheduling and presiding over general body meetings and meetings of the Steering Committee. These are the executive officers that safeguard the general welfare of the group and may serve as public spokespeople.
Rationale: Every effective group needs at least one person who is thinking about the general welfare and direction of the group as a whole and democratically empowered to advocate on these issues. To prevent this role from being too ego-centric around a single individual, two co-equal co-chairs are elected. Decisions are the responsibility of the steering committee as a whole, and big decisions are the domain of the general membership. Any decision by the steering committee or the co-chairs are subject to review by the general membership. This is more of a relatively weak "head of state" type position than a presidency.
Accessibility Liaison—Ensures meetings and actions are accessible. If an accessibility working group develops, the Accessibility Liaison will be the chair of that working group.
Rationale: Accessibility is incredibly important for allowing people to contribute. This goes doubly so during an uncontrolled pandemic. An elected officer with a vote on the steering committee imbues this role with the necessary mandate and dedicated support to ensure that these considerations are brought to the fore.
Administration and Records Officer—This officer invites new members to digital spaces, performs onboarding procedures such as verification, maintains the member list, maintains internal documents (e.g. such as Google Drive), ensures notes are taken at meetings, and may prepare agendas.
Rationale: Performing member invitation and security verification, preparing meeting agendas, and maintaining records is a substantial amount of work and touches on important and sensitive responsibilities. Therefore, this position should have the group's sanction.
Treasurer—If we collect money, this officer ensures that group finances are transparently, securely, and legally handled. The treasurer may also establish and lead a fundraising team.
Rationale: Any collective handling of money must be performed by an authorized member of the group in a transparent way that follows the mandate of group decisions.
Communications Coordinator—The Communications Coordinator shall be responsible for the group's external communications, including management of the website, social media, email, and advertising; producing graphics, video, audio, print materials, and merchandise; and overseeing press relations and media outreach. They shall also be responsible for replying to correspondence and inquiries. They are also responsible for maintaining the membership list.
Rationale: In order to perform external communications and make representations and political statements about the group, the communications officer must have a democratic mandate. This issue has already come to the fore and arrested efforts to establish a social media presence around the state of the union. The group cannot fulfill its mission to effectively fight the pandemic without the ability to make official communications.
Membership Coordinator—Is responsible for member recruitment and retention efforts. The membership coordinator is responsible for performing or delegating the performance of group orientations and reminding members to attend general meetings.
Rationale: To do the routine work of maintaining membership, an elected officer is necessary because they must handle member information and have a democratic mandate to make representations about the group.
There will be two elected Internal Grievance Officers. No more than one IGO may be cismale. Additionally, a reservation will exist for a non-white IGO, meaning that both IGOs may only be white if no candidates of color run. IGO's are not a part of the steering committee and a member cannot serve in both a steering committee and IGO role simultaneously.
These officers provide interpersonal conflict mediation services, investigate complaints filed by members related to interpersonal conflict, and can discipline members if they are determined to have engaged in prohibited behavior after making a recommendation to and approval by the steering committee. They are also responsible for educating the membership (which can include delegating this responsibility) in trauma literacy and trauma literate conflict resolution.
Until formal bylaws are approved, we will follow the Central Jersey DSA Harassment and Grievance Officer policy which is more comprehensively thought out: https://central.dsanj.org/bylaws/
The provisional definition of prohibited behavior will be the same as in the Central Jersey DSA bylaws with the name of this group substituted where DSA appears and IGO substituted for HGO. (Note: Superseded by the Code of Conduct.)
Rationale: Group members have reached out and/or left because they felt the horizontal structure of the group afforded them no avenues beyond interpersonal conflict for resolving their issues. Therefore, it is imperative that we establish the IGO roles to stabilize group cohesion and establish preventative education on conflict resolution and trauma literacy. This is necessary to make the space inclusive for variously disabled organizers and people of color.