Current Constitution - Adopted on Feb 6, 2006 See Message
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Article I: Name
- Section 1: The name of this organization will be "St. Paul E-Democracy."
Article II: Purpose
- Section 1: Purpose. The purpose of St. Paul E-Democracy is to facilitate public participation in democracy through technology.
- Section 2: Mission. St. Paul E-Democracy strives to inform, engage, and empower community members in the public life of St. Paul by building online forums and other tools for public engagement and by making those resources accessible to the community. St. Paul E-Democracy seeks to improve the quality of public policy decision making in St. Paul by broadening public participation and by linking the diverse voices of the citizenry to community leaders and elected officials in a civil and respectful exchange of information and ideas.
- Section 3: Area Served. St. Paul E-Democracy will facilitate discussion and engagement on local St. Paul issues, and Ramsey County issues which impact the City of St. Paul.
- Section 4: Organizational Form. St. Paul E-Democracy operates consistent with the requirements and structure of a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization.
Article III: Affiliations
- Section 1: Relationship to E-Democracy.Org. St. Paul E-Democracy was founded as a part of the E-Democracy.Org network. The St. Paul E-Democracy Executive Committee is responsible for negotiating and defining the specific terms of that relationship.
Article IV: Membership
- Section 1: Levels of Membership. Multiple levels of membership in St. Paul E-Democracy have been established to meet the specific needs and interests of participants. A "participating" level of membership has been established to define the level of participation by individuals whose primary interest is in making use of St. Paul E-Democracy forums and events. The "voting" level of membership has been established to identify those who are committed to the stated purposes of St. Paul E-Democracy and wish to identify themselves as long-term supporters of the organization, with a shared interest in the long-term health St. Paul E-Democracy.
- Section 2: Participating Membership.
- Section 2a: Purpose of Participating Membership. The status of "participating member" will be granted to anyone who participates in the activities of St. Paul E-Democracy. The participating membership designation is intended to recognize and codify the basic roles, rights and responsibilities of all people who in any way participate in the work of St. Paul E-Democracy.
- Section 2b: Responsibilities of Participating Membership. Participating members are responsible for acting within the established rules of St. Paul E-Democracy and the larger E-Democracy organization.
- Section 2c: Benefits of Participating Membership. In addition to participating in the public activities of St. Paul E-Democracy, participating members are entitled to bring concerns or complaints about the administration of St. Paul E-Democracy projects to the attention of the Executive Committee.
- Section 2d: Eligibility for Voting Membership Any participating member of St. Paul E-Democracy is eligible to become a voting member by meeting the criteria established in Article IV, Section 3.
- Section 2e: Revocation of Participating Membership. Any participating member may be permanently removed for cause. Individuals who are currently denied participation in any St. Paul E-Democracy online forum are ineligible to continue to be participating members.
- Section 3: Voting Membership.
- Section 3a: Purpose of Voting Membership. The status of "voting member" is established to identify individuals interested in and willing to support and maintain the organization, while promoting the goals outlined in this constitution. The voting members of St. Paul E-Democracy are responsible for the long-term health of the organization and for upholding its mission. Individuals may become voting members by demonstrating their commitment to the organization through an annual contribution of volunteer time or financial support. The Executive Committee is responsible for establishing the minimum level of financial or volunteer support that qualifies an individual for voting membership, and making that information publicly available through the St. Paul E-Democracy website.
- Section 3b: Responsibilities of Voting Membership. The policies and agenda of St. Paul E-Democracy will, to the extent possible, reflect the ideas, interests, and aspirations of the voting membership of the organization. Voting members are responsible for electing the Executive Committee and supporting its work. Voting membership builds cumulatively on the benefits, rules and responsibilities of participating membership, as specified in Section 2 of this Article.
- Section 3c: Benefits of Voting Membership. Voting members are entitled to vote for the elected members of the Executive Committee. Voting members may also serve on St. Paul E-Democracy committees, subject to the approval of the Executive Committee. Voting members may also be eligible for discounts to St. Paul E-Democracy events that have an admission charge and discounts on products or publications offered for sale by St. Paul E-Democracy or partner organizations.
- Section 3d: Revocation of Voting Membership. Any voting member may be permanently removed for sufficient cause. Removal of a member requires a four-fifths vote of the Executive Committee or a four-fifths vote of the voting members present at any regular meeting.
Article V: Executive Committee & Officers
- Section 1: Executive Committee. The Executive Committee will be a partially elected and partially appointed committee, responsible to oversee and provide long term direction for all the activities of St. Paul E-Democracy. The Executive Committee consists of nine members. Five seats on the Executive Committee will be filled by a popular vote of the voting membership. Four seats will be appointed by the Executive Committee and may be used to provide for political, econonic, or cultural diversity or to fill identifiable gaps in the skill set of existing Executive Committee members. Executive Committee members are called Directors.
- Section 2: Eligibility to Serve on Executive Committee. Any voting member in good standing of St. Paul E-Democracy is eligible to serve as one of the five elected members of the Executive Committee. Anyone is eligible for appointment to the four appointed seats.
- Section 3: Selection of the Executive Committee. Directors on the Executive Committee will serve two-year terms from the first day in March through the last day in February. Directors 1–3 will be elected in even-numbered years and directors 4–5 will be elected in odd-numbered years. Directors 6-7 will be appointed to terms that end in an even-numbered year and Directors 8-9 will be appointed to terms ending in odd-numbered years.
- Section 3a: Election Timing. Elections will be held annually during the Annual Meeting, as described in Article VI below.
- Section 3b: Nominations. Thirty days prior to the elections the Executive Committee or designee will seek nominations for seats opening that year. Voting members in good standing may nominate themselves or others. Ten days prior to elections, the names and short biographies of the candidates will be made available on the St. Paul E-Democracy website and published on the St. Paul Issues Forum. This information will be republished on the St. Paul Issues Forum each weekday until the election.
- Section 3c: Voting. Voting members in good standing will cast their votes at the Annual Meeting. Voting members may also cast their vote electronically starting five days prior to start of the Annual Meeting; any votes not recieved at the time in-person votes are counted will not be valid. Voting members in good standing may cast one vote for each available position from a list of eligible candidates, voting no more than once for any candidate. Available positions will be filled in order by those candidates who receive the highest number of votes. The Executive Committee or designee will count the votes and publish the results.
- Section 3d: Selection of the First Executive Committee. The first Executive Committee will be formed in February 2006. Elections will be held for all five elected positions. The top three vote recipients will serve a two year term. The next two vote recipients will serve a one year term. Those individuals will appoint the remaining Executive Committee: two positions will serve a two year term, and two positions will serve a one year term. For the first election, all voting will be conducted online. For the purposes of the first election only, all forum subscribers will get a chance to vote. For voting purposes, a list of forum subscribers will be recorded at least five days and no more than two months before the voting begins. Forum subscribers must have at least five calendar days in which to vote. The new Executive Committee will be formally announced at the Chapter Launch event. In all other ways, the selection of the first Executive Committee is to proceed according to the procedures outlined elsewhere in this Constitution and By-Laws. For the purposes of clarity, this section (3d) of the Constitution will automatically sunset and be deleted, in March of 2007, an action which requires no discussion at that time.
- Section 4: Duties and Powers. In addition to the specific responsibilities assigned to the Executive Officers in the by-laws, the Executive Committee will establish the general policies and programs of St. Paul E-Democracy. The Executive Committee may hire and oversee staff to manage the day-to-day affairs of St. Paul E-Democracy.
- Section 5: Removal. Members of the Executive Committee may be removed for misfeasance or nonfeasance. Upon a petition of 25% of the voting members in good standing or 5 or more members of the Executive Committee, an election to recall one or more Executive Committee members will be conducted. Members of the Executive Committee will be removed if 60% or more of the voting membersip participating in a recall election vote for removal.
- Section 6: Mid-Term Vacancies. If a mid-term vacancy occurs on the Executive Committee, the Committee may choose to fill the position according to the procedure appropriate to the position.
- Section 6a: Vacancy in Elected Positions: If an elected position becomes vacant, the Executive Committee will appoint a replacement to complete the term. If feasible, the Executive Committee has the option of opening up the position for a mid-term replacement at the next Annual Meeting. In this case, the vacancy would be announced at the same time as other vacancies, and the person who receives the next largest number of votes after all full terms are filled will be elected to fill the vacancy and complete the unexpired term.
- Section 6b: Vacancy in Appointed Position: If an appointed position becomes vacant, the Executive Committee will appoint a replacement to complete the term.
- Section 7. Officers. The officers of the Executive Committee consist of Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary, and Treasurer. Officers are selected by vote of the Executive Committee and serve one-year terms from the first day of March through the last day of February.
- Section 8: Quorum of the Executive Committee. A quorum of five Executive Committee members must be present and voting at a given meeting in order for the Executive Committee to conduct business. Executive Committee member(s) may attend meetings by telephone or other technological means so as to facilitate real-time participation and response from afar.
Article VI: Meetings
- Section 1: Annual Meeting. The Executive Committee will convene an Annual Meeting of voting members annually in February to elect members to or fill appointments on the Executive Committee, and to conduct other business of the organization.
- Section 2: Meeting Accessibility and Location. Annual and Executive Committee meetings are open to the public. The Executive Committee may vote to close part or all of a particular meeting to discuss personnel issues or pending litigation. The Annual Meeting will be held within the geographic borders of the City of St. Paul. All meetings, except online meetings, will be held within the geographic borders of St. Paul, unless there is a compelling organizational interest to hold it elsewhere (for example, a joint meeting with another similar body from Minneapolis).
- Section 3: Governance Rules and Procedure. All meetings of St. Paul E-Democracy will be governed by a structure and set of procedures determined by the Executive Committee and made clear to those attending.
- Section 4: Regular Meetings of the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee will hold a regular meeting at least once every two months and hold special meetings as necessary.
- Section 5: Annual and Executive Committee Meeting Schedules and Notice. The Executive Committee will establish a schedule of in-person or online meetings for each year within one month of the Annual Meeting. Members and the general public will be notified of the time, date, and location of such a meeting at least five days in advance using an easily accessible, online calendar. If the time, date, or location of any regular meeting changes, the membership will be informed by email of the change as quickly as possible. Online meetings, unless exempted by Article VI, Section 2 (closed meetings) must be conducted in such a manner that the discussion and meeting actions are made accessible to participants in real time.
- Section 6: Online Meetings.
- Section 6a: Synchronous Meetings. In a synchronous online meeting (participants present online at the same time, e.g., a chat session), votes are taken during the meeting in real time, however at least a majority of members of the committee or task force must acknowledge their participation in the meeting to establish and maintain a quorum.
- Section 6b: Asynchronous Meetings. In an asynchronous meeting (participants not present online at the same time, e.g., web forum), voting must remain open for at least 24 hours after a motion is made and seconded. For a quorum to be established and maintained, at least a majority of members of the committee or task force must cast a vote for, against, or abstain on any action item.
Article VII: Nondiscrimination Clause
- Section 1: Nondiscrimination. No activity of St. Paul E-Democracy shall discriminate on account of the race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, status with regard to public assistance, disability, sexual orientation, familial status, age, political orientation, or partisan affiliation of any person.
Article VIII: Amendments
- Section 1: Procedure. This Constitution may be amended by a vote of 2/3 majority of the voting members present at the Annual Meeting or a special meeting called for that purpose.
- Section 2: Notice. Voting members of St. Paul E-Democracy must be given at least 14 days notice of any proposed changes to the Constitution, and proposed amendments must be posted on the St. Paul E-Democracy website at least 14 days prior to a vote.