Venango County Pennsylvania Green Party

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Venango County, Pennsylvania






Embracing our responsibility to our community and our world, and in the hope of creating an organization that will help in making Venango County a model of a just and sustainable society, we, the members of the Green Party of Venango County, establish these bylaws to govern the operations and functions of this Chapter.

I. Declarations

The name of this organization shall be the Green Party of Venango County (the GPVC). The Green Party of Venango County is both a political party and a grassroots political activist organization.

II. Membership

A. All residents of Venango County who are registered as Green Party voters are considered members of the GPVC. Registered members are encouraged to fill out and submit a membership form.

B. 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 GPVC.

D. At the discretion of the members present at a meeting, non-members are welcome to participate in discussion.

E. 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 GPVC shall be kept and maintained by the Organizational Secretary.

III. General Meeting

A. The General Membership, meeting together at a General Meeting, shall be the highest governing body of the GPVC.

B. 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 GPVC.

C. As the main deliberative body of the GPVC, the general meeting shall have the following functions:

1. Define general goals, policies, and priorities of the GPVC;

2. Make endorsements of candidates and ballot measures;

3. Make recommendations and proposals and provide direction to other committees;

4. Review and approve the decisions and actions of all committees;

5. Issue public statements in the name of the GPVC and approve or retract statements made by any other the GPVC body or by any individual claiming to be a representative of the GPVC;

6. Elect delegates to the Green Party of Pennsylvania;

7. Discuss, deliberate and make decisions on any fundamental issues of policy, strategy, or structure that face the GPVC.

D. General Meetings shall be open to all members of the GPVC 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 six months.

F. The quorum necessary to conduct business shall be five (3) members or 50% of total membership, whichever is smaller.

G. Each General Meeting shall be facilitated by a member from a pool of Members who have indicated their willingness to discharge this task.

H. General Meeting dates and locations may be set by a Committee or a General Meeting.

IV. County Committee

A. The General Membership shall elect, from within its body, a County Committee to carry out the will and effectuate the decisions of the General Membership and be responsible for the general administration of the GPVC. The County Committee corresponds to the Steering Committee in other organizations.

B. The County Committee shall consist of the following two members: Chairperson and Secretary.

C. Elections to select the members of the County Committee shall be held every year. The term of the County Committee members shall commence upon election. Each term will last one year.

D. Only members of the GPVC who are registered to vote with the Green Party may be elected to the County Committee.

E. In the event of a vacancy on the County Committee, nominations and a special election will be held at the next General Meeting.

F. If a vacancy occurs in the office of the Chairperson or Secretary, the County 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 County Committee business shall be three members.

H. The duties and powers of the County Committee shall be as follows:

1. To propose the agenda for the General Meeting.

2. To monitor all financial activities of the GPVC.

3. To be ultimately responsible for seeing that all financial and legal responsibilities of the GPVC are met.

4. To notify all members and interested parties of all General Meetings and all other the GPVC 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 County Committee).

7. 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.

8. To issue statements for or to authorize individuals, other than the County Committee Chair, to speak for the GPVC, within the general parameters of established the GPVC policy and platform, the state and national Green Party policies and platforms, and recognized Green values.

9. 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, subject to the approval of the General Membership.

10. To enter into contracts on behalf of the GPVC. The Chair and the Secretary have signatory power, but they may not sign any document on behalf of the GPVC without the approval of the County Committee.

11. The County Committee is not allowed to authorize any contract or closely related group of contracts committing the GPVC 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 County Committee use the consensus process for decision making. The County Committee may, however, establish its own rules of procedure.

J. All County Committee meetings shall be open to all Members of the GPVC. These members may participate in the discussion and the consensus process. However, only Members of the County Committee may vote, unless the County Committee chooses otherwise.

K. The County 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 County 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 County Committee meetings shall be made available to all members of the GPVC in a timely fashion.

N. The County Committee may delegate any of its duties and functions to Internal Committees when needed. These Internal Committees may contain non-County Committee members and may act in all other respects as if they were a Working Group of the GPVC, but they shall be directly responsible to the County Committee.

O. Roles and Responsibilities of Officers:

1. The Chair of the County Committee shall be responsible for the management of the County Committee. The duties and powers of the Chair shall be as follows:

a. To schedule County Committee meetings;
b. To develop an agenda for County Committee meetings;
c. To facilitate County Committee meetings;
d. To act as spokesperson for the GPVC;
e. To sign contracts on behalf of the GPVC.

2. If the Chair is unavailable for a short period of time, the County Committee may designate another member of the County Committee to perform these functions in the interim.

3. The Chair of the County Committee shall also be responsible for the management of the finances of the GPVC.

4. The duties and powers of the Secretary of the County Committee shall be as follows:

a. To record minutes at all County 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 GPVC in a timely fashion.
c. To ensure that all Committees keep minutes and that these minutes are made available to all Members of the GPVC 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 GPVC in an orderly fashion.
f. To ensure that the membership is informed of the dates of the General Meetings and the County Committee meetings in a timely manner.

5. The Secretary may appoint other Members of the GPVC to assist with these tasks;

6. The duties and powers of the Secretary shall also 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 GPVC.
b. To distribute, collect, and keep records of membership pledge cards.
c. To sign contracts on behalf of the GPVC when the Chair is unable to do so.

V. Working Groups

A. Working Groups are associations of members of the GPVC 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 County Committee.

F. The County 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 GPVC, unless previously authorized by the General Membership or County Committee to do so.

VI. Consensus

A. By default, all bodies of the GPVC shall seek consensus in all decision-making.

B. Any item or resolution presented to a body of the GPVC 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.

VII. Election of Officers and Delegates

A. This article describes the nomination and election procedures for County Committee members and state delegates. For other nominations and elections within any body of the GPVC, the body is free to choose the election procedure.

B. County Committee Elections

1. Nominations for all members of the County 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 County Committee seats.

3. Any member may be nominated for a single officer position.

4. Nominations shall be confirmed by the Organizational 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 Organizational 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 Organizational 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 Organizational Secretary.

8. If a valid nomination occurs between the meetings, the Organizational 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 County 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.

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 County 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 County 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 GPVC who are present.

VIII. 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 County of Venango, 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, GPVC will initiate a petition drive to place the endorsed candidates' 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 Venango County by reason of the death or withdrawal of a candidate, the calling of a special election, or other cause, shall be filled by the County Committee, which shall only nominate candidates who have been endorsed by the General Membership at a General Meeting.

IX. Conflict Resolution

A. Each new County 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 County Committee, except that current Arbiters will continue to serve until the new County Committee appoints their replacements. No more than one of the Arbiters can be a member of the County Committee.

B. The Board of Mediation & Arbitration will have the final say within the GPVC about disputes arising over interpretation of these bylaws. The Board will also mediate disputes between Groups within the GPVC if the County Committee is unable to resolve them, or if the County Committee is a party in the dispute.

X. Finance

A. The Finance Committee of the GPVC is a standing committee of the County Committee.

B. The Finance Committee is responsible, under the County 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 County Committee reserves the right to approve all business decisions made by the Committee. The Finance Committee shall report to the County 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 County 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 GPVC who wish to participate.

F. The County 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 GPVC and any other duly budgeted and authorized expenses of the GPVC are paid. The Treasurer is also responsible for the timely reporting of all campaign-related financial activities to the County 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 GPVC is in compliance with campaign finance laws.

I. The Treasurer may, with the consent of the County Committee, appoint one or more Assistant Treasurers to help the Treasurer carry out his or her duties.

J. All revenue and expenses of the GPVC 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 GPVC funds without proper documentation. All revenue, including cash donations, is to be deposited in one of the GPVC bank accounts. No transactions may be made with undeposited revenue; all expenses should be paid from one of the GPVC 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 County 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.

XI. Amendment

A. Amendments to these bylaws must be passed by a General Meeting.