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Bylaws Committee Minutes

3rd December, 2000, GPCA General Assembly in San Diego, CA (posted on 12/18/00).

Members attending: Tammy Tatum, Gloria Purcell, Jim Stauffer, Ricardo Newbery (coordinator and meeting facilitator)

Others attending: Leslie Dinkin, Sasha Karlik, Ted Muga, Ernie Cooper, Don Eichelberger, Coby Skye, Jonathan Lundell, David Shorey, Marla Bernstein, Karine Megerdoomian (notetaker)

[Minutes by Karine Megerdoomian and edited by Ricardo Newbery. Clarifying comments by the coordinator within square brackets]


  1. General intro
  2. Restructuring language
  3. Voting threshold
  4. Clean-up Bylaws language
  5. Implement changes adopted at the plenary on the at-large election process
  6. Need a co-coordinator for the Bylaws committee
  7. Writing of Article 2 "purpose" (deferred to the next meeting of the Bylaws committee)
  8. Committee voting process (spontaneous discussion at end of session)

Item 1: General Intro

After a brief introduction, a signup sheet was passed around and everyone was requested to indicate whether they would like to be considered for appointment to the committee (as an official voting member).

[The new appointment process has not yet clarified but potential nominees are being collected in anticipation. An interim process? Or should do we wait for Restructuring bylaw language?]

Item 2: Restructuring Language

The bylaws language has not been completed. An initial draft is posted on the website. Draft does not include changes made on the floor when the Restructuring proposal was adopted. The approved changes have not been documented well so incorporating them will be a bit challenging.

Ricardo Newbery volunteered to coordinate. He will be responsible for supervising the subcommittee on restructuring bylaws.

Further discussion will continue online.

Item 3: Voting Threshold

Proposal by Mike Feinstein, communicated by Ricardo Newbery:
Proposal to hold a plenary discussion on alternatives to the current 80% voting threshold for proposals.

[The committee had decided during a previous plenary to move ahead with this proposal but had put off discussing the details]

The voting members of the committee were split on this issue:
Gloria Purcell spoke in favor of tabling the proposal.
Jim Stauffer opposed lowering the threshold but supports having a discussion.
Ricardo Newbery and Tammy Tatum spoke in favor of proposal.

Summary of the discussion:

Some argued that the Green Party is a consensus-seeking organization, and since the ultimate goal is to reach a consensus, to allow a voting threshold of less than 80% will take away from that goal and will not be in line with the values and policies of the organization. In fact, lowering the threshold will eliminate the incentive for reaching a consensus. These members believed that the voting process worked fine and there was no need to change it, and that the proposal was a very time-consuming process. It was also mentioned that, with the current proposal presentation process, the 80% voting threshold protects the voting body since they rarely have the full perspective on the proposals. It was argued that the proposals are not presented in a balanced way at the plenary floor; proposal presentation should include both sides of the issue equally.

Others argued that, although the members of the organization all agree on the main values of the Green Party, there exist disagreements on certain issues. The consensus process discourages people from voicing their opinion if they disagree and prohibits progressive movement since it is a very high threshold for decisions on organizational details. It was argued that with the 80% voting threshold, it is possible for 79% of the voting body to be on the "losing" side of vote which was described as an unhealthy situation for a truly democratic body.

It was suggested to continue the discussion online and to bring it up at the Bylaws committee meeting at the next plenary on April 28th. The general body shall be informed so that they could provide their input. All ideas and suggestions on the issue have to be in by February 1st.

Item 4. Clean-up

It was noted that the bylaws language needed some general cleaning up. Jim Stauffer volunteered to coordinate this effort.

Item 5. Change of at-large election process

There were two separate proposals approved by the General Assembly:

  1. An election threshold change (Consent Calendar)
  2. Misc. election procedural changes (Proposal)

Ricardo Newbery will implement the language change for the changes that were passed through the consent calendar. The amended version of the Bylaws will reflect that change.

David Shorey (Sacramento) will coordinate the bylaw language drafting effort to implement the at-large election process proposal adopted on the plenary floor. The language will likely be brought back to the next plenary for final approval.

Item 6. Co-coordinator

Leslie Dinkin from Alameda County will consider being a co-coordinator, if she is appointed to the Bylaws committee as a member.

Item 7. Writing Article 2 "purpose"

Deferred to the next meeting of the Bylaws committee.

Item 8. Bylaws internal voting procedures

The current voting process for the Bylaws committee was discussed. The committee currently follows a consensus vote approach or if there is no consensus, an 80% voting threshold is required. An online decision-making process also exists.

It was agreed that there is a need for the formalization of the Bylaws committee's internal voting procedure. The discussion/decision was deferred to a future meeting.


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Last update: Mon, Jan 15, 2001