BYLAWS OF THE GREEN PARTY OF PHILADELPHIA
Adopted June 26, 2001
Embracing our responsibility to our community and our world, and in the hope of creating an organization that will participate in making the City of Philadelphia a model of a just and sustainable society, we, the members of the Green Party of Philadelphia, establish these bylaws to govern the operations and functions of this Party.
The name of this organization shall be the Green Party of Philadelphia (the GPOP). The Green Party of Philadelphia is both a political party and a grassroots political activist organization.
A. All residents of Philadelphia who are registered as Green Party voters are considered members of the GPOP. Registered members are encouraged to fill out and submit a membership form.
B. [Section amended by a General Meeting vote on Jan 24, 2006 and Feb 20, 2006] Individuals who are not registered as Green Party voters may become members by filling out and submitting a membership form. Membership for individuals who are not registered Green does not begin until the second General Meeting attended. Members who are not registered Green are encouraged to do so.
C. Only members may vote at General Meetings or hold elected positions in the GPOP.
D. At the discretion of the members present at a meeting, non-members are welcome to participate in discussion.
E. [Section amended by a General Meeting vote on Sep 25, 2007 and Oct 23, 2007] Members shall be encouraged to make financial contributions, however, recognition of membership is not conditioned on making such contributions.
F. A complete list of the members of the GPOP shall be kept and maintained by the Membership Secretary.
III. General Meeings
A. The General Membership, meeting together at a General Meeting, shall be the highest governing body of the GPOP.
B. [Section amended by a General Meeting vote on Sep 25, 2007 and Oct 23, 2007] General Meetings are gatherings of the members to consult together, share knowledge and information and communicate in order to make decisions and otherwise declare, maintain and further the ideals, policies and objectives of the GPOP.
C. As the main deliberative body of the GPOP, the general meeting shall have the following functions:
1. Define general goals, policies, and priorities of the GPOP;
2. Make endorsements of candidates and ballot measures;
3. Make recommendations and proposals and provide direction to the City Committee;
4. Review and approve the decisions and actions of all committees, Working Groups, and Neighborhood Groups;
5. Establish and dissolve Working Groups and approve the establishment and dissolution of Neighborhood Groups as required;
6. Issue public statements in the name of the GPOP and approve or retract statements made by any other the GPOP body or by any individual claiming to be a representative of the GPOP;
7. Nominate, elect, and recall members of the City Committee;
8. Elect delegates to the Green Party of Pennsylvania;
9. Discuss, deliberate and make decisions on any fundamental issues of policy, strategy, or structure that face the GPOP.
10. Delegate decisions as required to the City Committee, the Finance Committee, a working group, or a neighborhood group.
D. General Meetings shall be open to all members of the GPOP and interested observers; but only current members may vote or present concerns that require a vote.
E. General Meetings must be held at least once every three months, but may be held more frequently at the discretion of the General Meeting or the City Committee with the following exception:
1. To allow for City Committee Elections, the first General Meeting of each calendar year shall be held before January 31. The second shall be held before February 28, but at least 4 weeks after the January meeting.
F. The quorum necessary to conduct business shall be seven (7) members. [Section Amended by a General Meeting vote on January 23 and February 27, 2013, deleting: as long aa there are less City Committee members than non-City Committee members. [Section Amended by a General Meeting vote on November 28, 2012 and January 23, 2013, deleting: fourteen (14) members.] [Section Amended by a General Meeting vote on Jan 24, 2006 and Feb 20, 2006, deleting: ten (10) members exclusive of the City Committee].
G. Each General Meeting shall be facilitated by a member selected by the City Committee from a pool of Members who have indicated their willingness to discharge this task.
H. General Meeting dates and locations may be set by the City Committee or a General Meeting.
IV. City Committee
A. The General Membership shall elect, from within its body, a City Committee to carry out the will and effectuate the decisions of the General Membership and be responsible for the general administration of the GPOP. The City Committee corresponds to the Steering Committee in other organizations.
B. The City Committee shall consist of the following seven members: Chair, Treasurer, Recording Secretary, Membership Secretary, and three At-large members.
C. Elections to select the members of the City Committee shall be held every year. The term of the City Committee members shall commence upon election. Each term will last one year.
D. Only members of the GPOP who are registered to vote with the Green Party may be elected to the City Committee.
E. In the event of a vacancy on the City Committee, nominations and a special election will be held at the next General Meeting.
F. If a vacancy occurs in the office of the Chair, Treasurer, Recording Secretary, or Membership Secretary, the City Committee shall insure that the duties of the vacant office shall be carried out until the special election can be held.
G. The quorum necessary to conduct City Committee business shall be five of seven members. If, due to resignation or removal from office, the City Committee temporarily has fewer than seven members, the City Committee quorum shall be equal to one less than the total number of remaining City Committee members.
H. The duties and powers of the City Committee shall be as follows:
1. To propose the agenda for the General Meeting.
2. To monitor all financial activities of the GPOP.
3. To be ultimately responsible for seeing that all financial and legal responsibilities of the GPOP are met.
4. To notify all members and interested parties of all General Meetings and all other the GPOP events.
5. To select and train facilitators for General Meetings.
6. To make recommendations and proposals to General Meetings (this power is not exclusive to the City Committee).
7. To ask for and receive reports and recommendations from Working and Neighborhood Groups and standing committees.
8. To coordinate the efforts of the various Working and Neighborhood Groups.
9. To act as a conduit for information between Neighborhood and Working Groups, and to make recommendations to these Groups as indicated.
10. To propose to the General Membership the creation of new Working Groups or the dissolution of Working and Neighborhood Groups.
11. To make such decisions as are normally reserved to a General Meeting but which, owing to the need for a timely decision, cannot be delayed until the next scheduled General Meeting. Such decisions shall be subject to revision, rejection, or retraction by a vote or by consensus of the next General Meeting.
12. To issue statements for or to authorize individuals, other than the City Committee Chair, to speak for the GPOP, within the general parameters of established the GPOP policy and platform, the state and national Green Party policies and platforms, and recognized Green values.
13. To make any other decisions which, within reason and without abusing either the spirit or letter of these bylaws, can help to carry out the will of the General Meeting or the powers of the Working and Neighborhood groups, subject to the approval of the General Membership.
14. To enter into contracts on behalf of the GPOP. The Chair and the Membership Secretary have signatory power, but they may not sign any document on behalf of the GPOP without the approval of the City Committee.
15. The City Committee is not allowed to authorize any contract or closely related group of contracts committing the GPOP to an expenditure greater than 1/10th the value of the treasury without the prior approval of the general membership.
I. It is preferable that the City Committee use the consensus process for decision making. The City Committee may, however, establish its own rules of procedure.
J. All City Committee meetings shall be open to all Members of the GPOP. These members may participate in the discussion and the consensus process. However, only Members of the City Committee may vote, unless the City Committee chooses otherwise.
K. The City Committee shall meet on a regular basis and shall make a reasonable effort to schedule meetings at the same time and location, and on the same day of the week. This location and time shall be announced at General Meetings.
L. The City Committee shall make a good faith effort to publicize to the General Membership the time and location of any irregularly scheduled meetings.
M. Minutes of City Committee meetings shall be made available to all members of the GPOP in a timely fashion.
N. The City Committee may delegate any of its duties and functions to Internal Committees when needed. These Internal Committees may contain non-City Committee members and may act in all other respects as if they were a Working Group of the GPOP, but they shall be directly responsible to the City Committee.
O. Roles and Responsibilities of Officers:
1. The Chair of the City Committee shall be responsible for the management of the City Committee. The duties and powers of the Chair shall be as follows:
a. To schedule City Committee meetings;
b. To develop an agenda for City Committee meetings;
c. To facilitate City Committee meetings;
d. To act as spokesperson for the GPOP;
e. To sign contracts on behalf of the GPOP.
2. If the Chair is unavailable for a short period of time, the City Committee may designate another member of the City Committee to perform these functions in the interim.
3. The Treasurer of the City Committee shall be responsible for the management of the finances of the GPOP and shall be the Chair of the Finance Committee.
4. The duties and powers of the Recording Secretary of the City Committee shall be as follows:
a. To record minutes at all City Committee meetings and to see to it that minutes are recorded at all General Meetings.
b. To make the minutes of these meetings available to all Members of the GPOP in a timely fashion.
c. To ensure that all Committees and Working and Neighborhood groups keep minutes and that these minutes are made available to all Members of the GPOP in a timely fashion.
d. To provide training in minute-taking to committees and groups as requested or as needed.
e. To maintain the records of the GPOP in an orderly fashion.
f. To ensure that the membership is informed of the dates of the General Meetings and the City Committee meetings in a timely manner.
5. The Recording Secretary may appoint other Members of the GPOP to assist with these tasks;
6. The duties and powers of the Membership Secretary shall be as follows:
a. To maintain complete and accurate information regarding the names, addresses, phone numbers, e-mail addresses and other vital information about the Membership of the GPOP.
b. To distribute, collect, and keep records of membership pledge cards.
c. To sign contracts on behalf of the GPOP when the Chair is unable to do so.
7. The duties and powers of the Members at Large shall be as follows:
a. To attend and participate fully in all City Committee meetings.
b. To ensure that decisions are based on a broad spectrum of views.
c. To become fully knowledgeable about all the City Committee offices in order to perform these offices if called upon.
V. Working Groups
A. Working Groups are associations of members of the GPOP organized to carry out work on a particular issue of interest.
B. Non-members may also take part in Working Groups. It is up to the discretion of the Working Group whether non-members can participate decision-making.
C. By default, Working Groups shall make decisions by consensus, but they may establish their own rules of procedure, according to the specific needs of the Group.
D. Working Groups shall be established or dissolved by the General Meeting.
E. Working Groups are responsible for making an annual report to the General Meeting, as well as any other reports that are requested by either the General Membership or the City Committee.
F. The City Committee will be responsible for keeping track of which groups are active, and which are not.
G. No Working Group may make any financial commitment or statement on behalf of the GPOP, unless previously authorized by the General Membership or City Committee to do so.
VI. Neighborhood Groups
A. Neighborhood Groups are Working Groups of the GPOP based in a particular Philadelphia neighborhood, and focusing on issues concerning that locality.
B. Any group of members may start a Neighborhood Group. Once they have at least five ongoing, active members, they may submit a mission statement and a proposal of responsibilities to the City Committee. The City Committee will be responsible for making sure that the proposals and activities of the new group reflect Green values and are in accord with the goals and purposes of the GPOP. Once a group meets the above criteria, the City Committee shall recommend to the General Meeting that the new group be recognized.
C. Responsibilities, financial accountability, and other aspects of the relationship of each neighborhood group with the rest of the GPOP will be negotiated separately by each Neighborhood Group and the City Committee, according to the needs and abilities of a particular neighborhood.
D. Each Neighborhood Group will have a mission statement and decision-making structure, both of which must conform to recognized Green values and the goals of the GPOP.
E. Neighborhood Groups must remain active to retain their status.
F. In all matters pertaining to a Neighborhood Group not governed under this article, or under the terms by which the Neighborhood Group was recognized by the GPOP, the rules set down for Working Groups under Article V shall apply.
A. By default, all bodies of the GPOP shall seek consensus in all decision-making.
B. Any item or resolution presented to a body of the GPOP which has not chosen another process as provided for under these bylaws must be passed through the following formal process of consensus.
C. Within the judgment of the facilitator and the limits of the agenda, any item presented to the meeting will be given adequate time for discussion and consideration.
D. When satisfied that the proposal is sufficiently understood by the membership, the facilitator will ask for, and recognize members to present, concerns. Each concern may be addressed by further discussion and proposals to amend the item.
E. When, in the judgment of the facilitator, concerns have been addressed as well as possible, the facilitator shall call for consensus by asking for unresolved concerns.
F. If there are no unresolved concerns, then the proposal has passed.
G. If unresolved concerns remain, then the facilitator shall ask if the member presenting the concern will stand aside. If the member is willing, then the proposal has passed; and the concern will be recorded verbatim in the journal of the Meeting.
H. If, however, the member is unwilling to stand aside, then the Meeting shall proceed to vote on the proposal. The total number of votes for and against the proposal, and the number of abstentions, shall be recorded in the journal of the Meeting.
I. A 2/3 majority is required for the proposal to pass.
J. If the number of members abstaining from a vote is more than 25% of the number of members voting yes and no, then the proposal has not passed.
K. At the request of any two members, the vote shall be taken by secret ballot.
VIII. Election of Officers and Delegates
A. This article describes the nomination and election procedures for City Committee members and state delegates. For other nominations and elections within any body of the GPOP, the body is free to choose the election procedure.
B. City Committee Elections
1. Nominations for all members of the City Committee shall take place at the first General Meeting of each year, which shall take place in January.
2. Any member may place names in nomination for any of the seven City Committee seats.
3. Any member may be nominated for a single officer position, an at-large position, or both a single office position and an at-large position.
4. Nominations shall be confirmed by the Membership Secretary and placed on the ballot.
5. Candidates may make brief speeches to the General Membership at the time of nomination.
6. All members not present at this Meeting will be notified of the nominations by the Membership Secretary via e-mail and/or telephone tree within 1 week.
7. If, for good and sufficient reasons, it is impossible to nominate a candidate, or for a candidate to accept or decline nomination during this meeting, nominations shall be accepted and confirmed by the Membership Secretary at any time up to and including the meeting at which the balloting occurs. These late nominees may make brief speeches to the membership at the discretion of the Membership Secretary.
8. If a valid nomination occurs between the meetings, the Membership Secretary shall notify the entire membership of the name of the new candidate as quickly as possible, using e-mail or telephone tree.
9. Balloting shall take place during the second General Meeting, to be held in February of the same year, no less than 4 weeks and no more than 6 weeks after the January Nominating meeting.
10. Voting for all City Committee positions shall be by Secret Ballot.
11. The election of officers occurs before the election of at-large positions because it is possible to run for both an officer position and an at-large position.
12. Each voter selects one candidate for each office. Each election that has a majority winner is over and the candidate who received the majority of the votes is elected.
13. If there is not a majority winner for an officer position, every candidate besides the top two are eliminated, and there is an immediate runoff election between the top two candidates.
14. For the at-large positions, each voter ranks their top three choices in order of preference, assigning “1” to their first choice, “2” to their second choice, and “3” to their third choice. The total number of first choice votes, second choice votes, and third choice votes shall be tabulated for each candidate. Each candidateÃ¢â‚¬™s total votes shall be the sum of that candidateÃ¢â‚¬™s first choice votes multiplied by three, second choice votes multiplied by two, and third choice votes multiplied by one. The three candidates receiving the most total votes shall be elected.
C. Election of State Delegates
1. Two delegates to the General Assembly of the Green Party of Pennsylvania are to be elected using the same method as for City Committee at-large members, with the exception that only two candidates are ranked.
2. State delegates shall serve one-year terms.
3. If a delegate resigns or is removed, nominations for a replacement shall be made at the next General Meeting and an election held at the General Meeting following. The City Committee may temporarily fill any vacancies by appointing individuals to be alternate delegates. It may also elect delegates if the General Meeting fails to elect or provide for the election of sufficient delegates.
4. If, at the General Assembly itself, an insufficient number of delegates are present, then the delegates present may choose alternates from any members of the GPOP who are present.
IX. Nomination of Candidates for Public Office
A. The provisions of this article apply to any candidate seeking to run as a “Green” for public office in the City of Philadelphia, or any subdivision thereof. This article shall apply so long as the Green Party remains an officially recognized “Minor Party” in Pennsylvania. Should the Green Party lose its minor party status, or acquire major party status, these bylaws shall be amended accordingly.
B. Candidates must first obtain the endorsement of the General Membership at a General Meeting. Following such endorsement, the Chair and Recording Secretary shall deliver to the Board of Elections an Authorization of Candidacy listing the offices for which candidates have been nominated and the names and addresses of such candidates. The Board of Elections shall not certify the nomination of any Green Party candidate for whom such Authorization has not been received. Such Authorization may be supplemented at any time prior to the last date on which nomination papers may be filed. In the case of a substitution candidate (ref. paragraph IX. E.), such Authorization may be amended following the filing of nomination papers.
C. Following endorsement, GPOP will initiate a petition drive to place the endorsed candidatesÃ¢â‚¬™ name(s) on the ballot as a “Green”.
D. Following endorsement, the General Membership shall establish a Campaign Committee which shall be responsible for managing all campaign related activities and ensuring that all such activities are in compliance with local, state, and federal election laws.
E. Any vacancy happening or existing in the Green nomination for any public office in the City of Philadelphia by reason of the death or withdrawal of a candidate, the calling of a special election, or other cause, shall be filled by the City Committee, which shall only nominate candidates who have been endorsed by the General Membership at a General Meeting.
X. Conflict Resolution
A. Each new City Committee will nominate, and with the consent of a General Meeting, appoint three Arbiters to a Board of Mediation & Arbitration. The term of office of the Board will be the same as the City Committee, except that current Arbiters will continue to serve until the new City Committee appoints their replacements. No more than one of the Arbiters can be a member of the City Committee.
B. The Board of Mediation & Arbitration will have the final say within the GPOP about disputes arising over interpretation of these bylaws. The Board will also mediate disputes between Groups within the GPOP if the City Committee is unable to resolve them, or if the City Committee is a party in the dispute.
A. The Finance Committee of the GPOP is a standing committee of the City Committee.
B. The Finance Committee is responsible, under the City Committee, for the sound management of the finances of the Party. The duties and responsibilities of the Finance Committee include financial planning, development and monitoring of the budget, financial record keeping, day-to-day fiscal management, and fundraising.
C. The Finance Committee is empowered to make decisions only within the parameters set down in this Article; the City Committee reserves the right to approve all business decisions made by the Committee. The Finance Committee shall report to the City Committee every month. The Finance Committee is empowered to propose specific rules and guidelines to implement its duties and responsibilities as set down in these bylaws, subject to the approval of the City Committee.
D. Meetings of the Finance Committee shall be open to all active members.
E. The Finance Committee will consist of the Treasurer, at least two permanent members, and any other active members of the GPOP who wish to participate.
F. The City Committee shall appoint, for one-year terms, at least two permanent members to the Finance Committee. The elected members are responsible for attending Finance Committee meetings and insuring that the work of the Committee continues.
G. The Treasurer will be ex-officio a member of the Finance Committee and may, but need not be, a permanent member of the Finance Committee.
H. The Treasurer is responsible for seeing to it that the day-to-day bills of the GPOP and any other duly budgeted and authorized expenses of the GPOP are paid. The Treasurer is also responsible for the timely reporting of all campaign-related financial activities to the city and state in accordance with applicable federal, state, and local regulations. The Treasurer must maintain familiarity with such guidelines and regulations and insure that the GPOP is in compliance with campaign finance laws.
I. The Treasurer may, with the consent of the City Committee, appoint one or more Assistant Treasurers to help the Treasurer carry out his or her duties.
J. All revenue and expenses of the GPOP are to be deposited and withdrawn from a single bank account or group of linked accounts. The Treasurer, and at least one other member of the Finance Committee, must be co-signers on the accounts.
K. No transaction may be made with the GPOP funds without proper documentation. All revenue, including cash donations, is to be deposited in one of the GPOP bank accounts. No transactions may be made with undeposited revenue; all expenses should be paid from one of the GPOP bank accounts. However, the Finance Committee may keep a reserve of petty cash no greater than $50. Small expenses and reimbursements may be paid out of petty cash provided that all transactions are recorded.
L. All checks for amounts greater than 1/10th of the bank balance, subject to a $250 maximum, shall require the signatures of two members of the Finance Committee.
M. If a cash transaction is necessary, and the expense has been budgeted, then an individual may pay the expense, to be reimbursed later.
N. Any individual who spends personal funds on an expense which has not been budgeted or specifically approved by the City Committee may not be reimbursed unless the unbudgeted expense has received prior approval by the Finance Committee.
O. All potential fundraising projects must be reviewed by the Finance Committee. The Finance Committee will evaluate all fundraising projects based on their financial feasibility, including startup costs and potential rate of return. Each fundraising project must report monthly to the Finance Committee, providing details of revenue and expense as well as rate of return.
P. Fundraising projects that are losing money may be terminated at the discretion of the Finance Committee.
A. Amendments to these bylaws must be passed by two consecutive General Meetings.