Sample By-Laws for a County-level Party

THE UTOPIA COUNTY GREEN PARTY

I Name 

The name of this organization is the Utopia County Green Party, and is the Utopia County affiliate of the Green Party of Texas.  

II Purpose  

The purpose of the Utopia County Green Party is to build membership within Utopia County, and in conjunction with like-minded groups and individuals throughout the state.  

III Membership  

Membership is open to any individual who is in general agreement with the following ten key values:  

Ecological Wisdom. We recognize that the Earth sustains all life processes. Green ecology moves beyond environmentalism by understanding the common roots of the abuse of nature, the abuse of animals, and the abuse of people. Whatever we do to the web of life, we do to ourselves.  

Social Justice. We want to replace the worldwide system of poverty and injustice with a world free of all oppression based on class, sex, race, citizenship, age, or sexual orientation.  

Grassroots Democracy. We believe in direct participation by all people in the environmental, political, and economic decisions that affect their lives.  

Nonviolence. We reject violence as a way of settling disputes - it is shortsighted, morally wrong, and ultimately self-defeating. We work to create a world where war is obsolete.  

Decentralization. Power and responsibility must be restored to local communities within an overall framework of ecologically sound and socially just values and lifestyles.  

Community-based Economics. We seek a new economics based upon the natural limits of the Earth which meets the basic needs of everyone on the planet under democratic, localized community control.  

Feminist Values. The Green movement is profoundly inspired by feminist values. The ethics of cooperation and understanding must replace the values of domination and control over others.  

Respect for Diversity. We honor the biological diversity of the Earth and the cultural, racial, sexual and spiritual diversity of the Earth's people. We aim to reclaim this country's finest ideals: popular democracy, the dignity of the individual, and liberty and justice for all.  

Personal and Global Responsibility. We are committed to global sustainability and international justice through political solidarity. We strive to create personal lifestyles based upon sufficiency and living lightly.  

Future Focus. Like the Iroquois, we seek a society where the interests of the seventh generation yet to come are considered equal to the interests of the present generation. We must reclaim the future for ourselves and for our children.  

IV Structure and Meetings  

A. All decision-making power rests in the membership, which shall meet at least quarterly in a General Membership Meeting. As its last order of business, attendees at each General Membership Meeting shall elect a Facilitator for the next General Membership meeting, who will guide discussion to complete the agenda and goals of the next meeting. The Facilitator elected shall be considered a full member of the Steering Committee until the next General Membership Meeting. The Utopia County Green Party will strive to achieve consensus on all decisions. If consensus is not immediately reached, there will be an opportunity for all views to be fully expressed and explored. If consensus is still not achieved, a democratic non-secret vote will take place. It will require a vote of 2/3 of those voting to act on any proposal   Any member is invited to participate in all discussion, but only those who have attended at least one prior meeting are entitled to vote.  

B. The following officers of the Utopia County Green Party shall be elected every year by the membership:  

1. two Co-chairs    

2. Treasurer    

3. Secretary  

One Co-chair, the Treasurer, and the Secretary will be elected by the membership at a General Membership Meeting in May of each year. One co-chair will be elected by the membership at a General Membership Meeting in November of each year.   The term of each office shall be one year.  

C. The Steering Committee shall consist of the two Co-chairs, the Treasurer, the Secretary, and the Facilitator elected at the last General Membership Meeting.  

D. The Steering Committee is empowered to act on behalf of the organization between General Membership Meetings. This includes the expenditure of funds. However, the Steering Committee is not empowered to place the Utopia County Green Party in debt, nor to act contrary to any express decisions or policies of the General Membership. The Steering Committee shall act only when a majority of Steering Committee members are present.   The Steering Committee will make all decisions according to the procedure for decisions of the General Membership, as described in detail in IV(A) above.  

E. The Steering Committee shall meet monthly, and additionally when called by a Co-chair, as necessary. The Steering Committee shall set the agenda for each General Membership Meeting. Steering Committee meetings shall be publicized, and every member is invited and encouraged to attend as a non-voting participant.  

F. A Co-chair may recommend the formation of Standing Committees or Working Groups. The creation of any such Standing Committee or Working Group must be approved by the membership at a General Membership Meeting. Each such group will elect it's own Coordinator. 

V Amendments  

These By-laws may be amended by a 3/4 vote of those in attendance at any General Membership Meeting.


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  • commented 2014-11-23 05:26:02 -0600
    The above text viewed by me early on 2014-11-23 is recommended to be corrected and enlarged as follows:

    1. The “I Name” section reads “The name of this organization is the Utopia County Green Party, and is the Utopia County affiliate of the Green Party of Texas.” The grammatical error here is that the conditional verb “is” can apply only to the subject “name” and a name (as opposed to the intended subject “Utopia County” which is here used in as the description of the name, cannot in and of itself be an affiliate. The sentence would be better-phrased simply by changing it to read “The name of this organization is the Utopia County Green Party, and the organization is Utopia County’s affiliate of the Green Party of Texas.”
    2. Under the “II Purpose” section, the sentence currently reads, “The purpose of the Utopia County Green Party is to build membership […]” which is vague. A better, more-specific wording would say “The purpose of the Utopia County Green Party is to build Green Party membership […]” or at least “The purpose of the Utopia County Green Party is to build its membership […].”
    3. Another “enabling” technicality is following the final sentence under “IV Structure and Meetings,” first paragraph “IV-A”: “[…] but only those who have attended at least one prior meeting are entitled to vote” which should be followed by the additional sentence “All attendees of the one-time initial-founding meeting are entitled to vote.”
    4. Under “IV-B,” there is an error caused by contradictory wording. The current wording, “One Co-chair, the Treasurer, and the Secretary will be elected by the membership at a General Membership Meeting in May of each year. One co-chair will be elected by the membership at a General Membership Meeting in November of each year. The term of each office shall be one year.”
    If there are to be two Co-chairs, to be elected bi-annually at alternating elections in May and November, it precludes the second Co-chair from being elected at the first May meeting, and therefore the Party would have only one Chair until its first November election. Likewise if the Party’s first voting-meeting (its founding meeting) is held after May in the calendar-year, then this wording incorrectly precludes a first Co-chair until the next year! A complete rewording is needed; I suggest the above-quoted text be replaced with "The Party will initially elect two Co-chairs at its first meeting, who it will be decided will serve individually the remaining time until the next bi-annual election of one of them to serve from the May election-meeting of the year until the May-election meeting of the following year, and the other to serve from the November-election meeting of the year until the November-election meeting of the following year. Thereafter, the Co-chairs will serve full one-year terms beginning from their May and November elections each year. Special elections may be called in the event of any administrative office-holder’s disqualification, resignation, or death, and the person elected will serve only until the present term expires with the next regular election.
    5. Also under the “IV” section, in the sentence of “IV-C” the word “last” (implying “no more”) should be replaced by “latest” (implying an ongoing series).
    6. Also under that section, all of “IV-E” currently says “E. The Steering Committee shall meet monthly, and additionally when called by a Co-chair, as necessary. The Steering Committee shall set the agenda for each General Membership Meeting. Steering Committee meetings shall be publicized, and every member is invited and encouraged to attend as a non-voting participant.”
    These words leave openings for two potential disputes, and should be re-worded to clarify who is being described. There are two Co-chairs for the General Membership, and (as described in the bylaws) the Steering Committee will also elect its own Co-chairs, which may or may not be different individuals than the General Membership Co-chairs. If any of the potentially four individuals can call a Steering Committee meeting, than it should say so. Likewise, if the decision is limited just to either of the Steering Committee Co-chairs OR just to the General Membership Co-chairs, then that qualification should be made to avoid disputes. The second potential confusion is the sentence “[…] every member is invited and encouraged to attend as a non-voting participant” which, as-worded, technically would also exclude members of the sub-set of General Members who are Steering Committee Members. A less-ambiguous sentence would read “[…] all non-Steering Committee Members of Utopia County Green Party are also invited and encouraged to attend as non-voting participants.”
    7. The possessive of it is spelled “its” … “it’s” (as erroneously used in “IV-F”) is a contraction for “it is.”
    8. A final word, concerning spacing characters… There are a number of places throughout the texts where there are one, two, or even three letterspaces separating sentences. A search-and-replace should make two the standard … unless the text is written for HTML. One of the poor coding designs of the Internet under hypertext markup language (HTML) is that a series of spaces is always condensed into one space. But it reads more easily if there is that extra space between sentences. Likewise HTML is ruining the style of people’s writing by putting line-skips between paragraphs, because the aforementioned condensation of letterspaces prevents indents with normal triple-letterspaces or word-processsor-initiated tools for indents at the beginning of a paragraph as seen in “hard-copy” journalism and literature. The HTML coding-character that would enable these indents or extra space between sentences is called a “non-breaking space” and was originally designed to keep a pair of words or numbers from being “wrapped” to separate lines when space at the end of a line constrained both from being on the first line. But the same character anywhere else can be inserted as many times as needed to space-out words or numbers or put an indent in a paragraph. Unfortunately, most webmasters either are too lazy to take the time to do the extra coding to make it look nice (they don’t care), or they are ignorant of the character and its uses. Same can be said for the “em-dash” — used for pause or emphasis, which is getting replaced by the double-hyphen — which can “wrap” to two lines if it comes at the end of a line! the coding (if you do webscripting) is initated with an ampersand and ended with a semi-colon, and contains either the letters nbsp
    (for non-breaking space) or the numerical equivalent #160 … and for em-dashes, the coding between the & and ; containers is #8212 or #151 (I’ve had success with the latter).
    It is difficult to tell (unless the webmaster is so courteous as to state so) whether or not text one enters into an online “form” input box will be interpreted as HTML or not. Also, people who compose offline using Microsoft Word default character-coding often don’t know that they have to disable such coding in Word’s preferences before composing and then copy-pasting into a web page upload, else-wise HTML will generate spurious characters wherever there are “curly” apostrophes, quote-marks, or other special characters.
    — Alán Alán Apurim, HCGP