Steering Committee Meeting: May 20, 2018

East Bay DSA Steering Committee Meeting, May 20, 2018

Introductions and Opening Statements

Chairing the meeting is Molly A. Present and taking notes is Ben F. Present for the meeting are Frances, Mary Virginia, Molly, Ben, Zach, Jeff, Sean M., Ari, Jeremy, Robbie, Graham, Hasan, Dominic, Jamie, Megan S., Keith, Hannah E., Nestor C., Aaron H., and Meagan D. (via video). Hannah K. arrived at 4:49 p.m. in time to participate in voting beginning with Measure C. Absent from the meeting was Mark G.

Agenda

The agenda was approved unanimously.

Minutes

The minutes from the convention on April 29, 2018 were approved unanimously.

Previous Email Votes

Email votes taken April 16–May 29, 2018 were approved unanimously.

Reports

Representatives of the following committees, functions, and offices gave reports: Finance, Data, Secretary, External Organizing, Internal Organizing, and Convention Committee.

New Business

Transfer of Legal Responsibilities

Provisional Transfer of Legal Responsibilities to New Steering Committee Members
2018.5.20
Motivator: Jeff Lee

Background

The names of various outgoing members of the Steering Committee appear on various legal documents. This proposal authorizes the transfer of various responsibilities and registrations to the appropriate individuals of the incoming Steering Committee, to become effective at or as near as possible to the start of the new Steering Committee's term.

This proposal supersedes a previous, more thorough resolution on the same subject matter. Due to an ongoing member conduct investigation involving a member mentioned in the previous proposal, a new proposal with provisional terms is required.

Resolutions

1. Principal officers listed in FPPC Form 410
Resolution

At the earliest convenience following June 1, an amended Form 410 will be submitted to the CA Fair Political Practices Commission, revising the list of principal officers for EBDSA Electoral Committee to include just the following:

  • Sean Murphy, treasurer
  • Zach McDonald, principal officer
Rationale

EBDSA Electoral Committee is the chapter's political action committee. It was registered with the CA Fair Political Practices Commission in late March. The FPPC requires registering the contact information of the treasurer and up to two other principal officers on Form 410. The individuals listed on Form 410 provide the FPPC with contact information. Additionally, should the PAC incur fines, the listed individuals are liable if the PAC is unable to pay the fines with its own funds.

The possibility of fines, especially fines the PAC cannot afford, is quite remote, but as a precaution, we've followed the principle of listing individuals who have the most direct influence over both electoral work and compliance issues. This includes, but might not necessarily be limited to, the chapter's treasurer, a steering committee co-chair, and/or a co-chair of the electoral committee. As such, the original list of principal officers was composed of Jeff Lee (treasurer), Mary Virginia Watson (steering committee co-chair), and Zach McDonald (currently co-chair of the electoral committee).

The SC should consider revising this list of principal officers if new co-chairs of the electoral committee are appointed or elected. For the time being, it makes sense to list Sean as the new PAC treasurer, and we can simply retain Zach as a principal officer.

2. Bank signers for 501(c)(4) bank account
Resolution

The signers of the EBDSA chapter bank account will be as follows:

  • Mark Gabriel (recording secretary)
  • Zachary McDonald (co-chair)
  • Sean Murphy (treasurer)

The current treasurer is authorized to initiate the transition paperwork as soon as this resolution is approved.

The list above is provisional. Once questions about the incoming co-chair positions are settled, the new treasurer should submit a new proposal that includes an additional co-chair to this list.

As a revision to a prior SC decision (November 26, Addendum 1), EBDSA should retain the following roles as bank account signers:

  • Both current co-chairs
  • The current recording secretary
  • The current treasurer
  • No more than one outgoing officer (treasurer, secretary, or chair), for no longer than six weeks after the end of term, for the purpose of easing the transition to a new set of signers.
Rationale

Bank signers are "co-owners" of the chapter bank account, and are authorized to withdraw money, sign checks, change signers, etc. EBDSA's bank, Beneficial State Bank, requires approved minutes in order to initiate this process. The process itself collecting multiple rounds of signatures from the incoming signers, and takes about a week to complete.

A prior SC resolution (November 26, Addendum 1) established some ground rules for how we assign bank signers. This resolution differs from the prior resolution in two ways:

  • Because the original secretary role has been split into two roles, we need to clarify which of the secretary roles is authorized to become a bank signer. This document contains no strong opinion on which of the recording or communication secretaries is more suited to formal responsibilities, but it's better to have fewer signers than more.
  • The prior SC resolution allowed a previous member of the SC to continue forward as a signer, as a way to ease transition. This is still a good idea, but Sean and Jeff have been making good progress on transition training, and Sean should be in a good place to be handling financial transactions at the start of the new SC term. As such, it doesn't seem necessary to retain any of the current signers.

Of course, the SC is free to revise this policy as needed in the future.

3. Bank signers for the PAC bank account
Resolution

The signers of the EBDSA Electoral Committee bank account will be as follows:

  • Zachary McDonald (co-chair)
  • Sean Murphy (treasurer)

The current treasurer, Jeff Lee, is authorized to initiate the transition paperwork at any time after May 20, 2018.

Rationale

Thus far, we haven't adopted a formal policy for determining which chapter roles should be bank signers, but the informal rationale is as follows:

  • Dealing with the PAC's financial concerns is at least as complex as dealing with the 501(c)(4)'s financial concerns. The chapter treasurer, as the elected officer in charge of chapter finances, and as the person most likely to have the skills to deal with these issues, seems like an appropriate fit here. For this reason, this resolution includes Sean.
  • For the sake of dealing with contingencies, there should be more than one bank signer. Any co-chair of the electoral committee is a reasonable candidate for an additional bank signer. For this reason, the resolution includes Zach.

The measure passes unanimously.

Resolution for July General Meeting

Submitted by Robbie N.

Whereas, we need to schedule our next General Membership Meeting with enough lead time for planning, announcement to membership, and agenda item submission processes.

Whereas, the incoming Steering Committee will not meet until June, which does not give enough time to announce, plan, and have members submit resolutions in time for a July meeting. As per our Bylaws, the new SC will then set the remaining dates for General Membership Meetings for the coming year.

Therefore be it resolved, that the East Bay DSA hold a General Membership Meeting on Saturday, July 14th.

Therefore be it further resolved, that any submitted resolutions for the Agenda will be due 4 weeks before the meeting, on Saturday, June 16th.

Therefore be it further resolved, the Steering Committee will publicize the Agenda to members at least 2 weeks before the meeting, by Saturday, June 30th.

Therefore be in resolved that this event will have a budget of up to $1000

Jamie G. proposed changing the rules of the meeting to keep the same amount of time but open discussion to all present at the meeting. The measure to change the rules passed unanimously. This rule change was re-proposed by Jeff for the next proposal and was approved unanimously.

The resolution passes unanimously.

Proposal for a Resolutions Committee

Written by Graham D, time allotted for motivation by Robbie N. was given to Graham D.

Whereas, General Membership meetings are a crucial part of the democracy of the chapter

Whereas, East Bay DSA needs a clearly defined process for members to submit proposals to the general membership

Whereas, an agenda needs to be released to all members at least two weeks in advance of a general meeting.

Whereas, East Bay DSA needs a democratic way to decide which items receive time on the Agenda.

Whereas, East Bay DSA’s most successful debates have occurred when agenda items receive a half hour each.

Whereas, East Bay DSA needs more education around Robert’s Rules

Whereas, East Bay DSA needs more trained facilitators for meetings

Therefore be it resolved, the Steering Committee establishes the Resolutions Committee to carry out the following process for bi-monthly General Membership Meetings:

  • The Resolutions Committee will receive and name all proposed resolutions, working with submitters to ensure compliance with the EBDSA chapter bylaws, DSA national bylaws and resolutions, and state and federal law regarding 501(c)(4) status. Resolutions must be endorsed by at least 5 members of the chapter who are members in good standing. The Steering Committee or any other official chapter Committee may submit resolutions in their capacity. The deadline for submitting a resolution for consideration shall be 4 weeks before the date of the next General Membership Meeting.
  • The Resolutions Committee will draft a tentative agenda to be released to the membership two weeks before the General Membership Meeting. Each resolution will receive 30 minutes for discussion and debate. If there are too many resolutions to allow for this, we shall use the following process:
    • There will be [2 x (meeting time in hours) - 1] 30 minute blocks of the meeting reserved for resolutions, with the membership deciding which resolutions will be put before the body. If there are more than twice the number of resolutions as there are blocks, the Steering Committee must pare down the number of resolutions to twice the number of blocks.
    • At the meeting, twenty minutes will be devoted to open comment or debate on which resolutions should appear on the agenda. At the end of the 20 minutes, the membership will vote to ‘fill in the blank’ blocks of the agenda. Resolutions will be placed on the agenda in the order of which receive the most votes. Any items that are not placed on the agenda shall need to be resubmitted in order to be considered at the next meeting.

Therefore, be it further resolved, the Resolutions Committee will make recommendations on changes to this procedure or other standing rules used at meetings.

Therefore, be it further resolved, the Resolutions Committee will develop educational materials and other educational programming around Robert's Rules and meeting facilitation.

Therefore, be it further resolved, membership of the Resolutions Committee shall be appointed by the Steering Committee. The Resolutions Committee will give reports to the Steering Committee and the General Membership.

Therefore, be it further resolved, the initial members of the Committee shall be:

  • Graham D. (chair)
  • Adam W.
  • Additional members to be determined.

The motion passes unanimously after amendment.

Resolution to Disband and Establish Committees and Adopt Committee Guidelines

By Abigail G.-G., Mark G., Jeremy G., Hannah K., and Megan S.

Part I: Disbanding the Internal and External Organizing Committees

Whereas committees shall be formed and disbanded by the Chapter or the Steering Committee per the chapter's bylaws, allowing for flexibility in the structure of the organization and enabling the organization to respond directly to the mandated will of the membership. [Bylaws Article 5 Sec. 1]

Whereas the bylaws no longer prescribe the existence of the External and Internal Organizing Committees.

Whereas the structure of Internal and External Organizing Committees was deemed overly restrictive and unnecessary to defining the work of the chapter, based on organizers' experiences within those committees over the course of the past year.

Whereas appointed organizers are currently designated and operate within the framework of Internal and External Organizing Committees.

Whereas appointed members of the Internal and External Organizing Committees are expected to continue leading the work of the chapter and the chapter’s committees and projects, despite any changes to the organizational structure that may occur.

Whereas appointed members of the Internal and External Organizing Committees should be made aware of important decisions made by the Steering Committee in regards to the structures in which they operate —  in order to promote clarity and ensure that they are able to continue developing and leading the significant projects of the chapter.

Therefore be it resolved that the Internal Organizing Committee (IOC) and the External Organizing Committee (EOC) be disbanded, effective immediately. Their subcommittees shall remain extant (see part 2) and all the work carried out the IOC and EOC shall continue unabated unless expressly stated elsewhere.

Therefore be it further resolved that the position of appointed organizer shall be eliminated. All those who have been appointed to this role shall be encouraged to continue to lead projects in the organization, and will be provided with pathways to become members and leaders in other committees.

Therefore be it further resolved that the outgoing co-chairs shall communicate these changes to all appointed organizers in an email sent on or before Friday, May 25. This email shall outline key points in this resolution and their implications and include the aforementioned pathways for formerly appointed organizers to continue to lead projects and develop their capacities as organizers and leaders in EBDSA. The EBDSA Leadership google group shall continue to be in use until the Steering Committee either replaces it with a new google group or shuts it down.

Part II: Committee Formation

Whereas committees shall carry out specific functions or advance the political or organizational goals of the chapter as defined by the convention priorities or the Steering Committee. [Bylaws Article V Sec. 1]

Whereas the Bylaws mandates that two initial co-chairs of each committee shall be appointed by the Steering Committee in order to establish the newly formed committee. [Bylaws Article V Sec. 2]

Whereas six subcommittees currently exist under the umbrellas of the Internal and External Organizing Committees, and their functions are valuable to the work of the chapter regardless of top-level structural changes that the organization may undertake.

Whereas the Operations Committee was formed with the charge of administering EBDSA's membership and attendance data; CRM and communications tools; in coordination with the recording and communications secretaries. [April Steering Committee]

Whereas the Chapter's Priorities resolution resolved:

Through all of our activities, East Bay DSA's strategic orientation shall be grounded in class struggle and mass action." This means focusing on strategic mass organizing tactics like canvassing, mass mobilizations (i.e. demonstrations, protests, direct action), militant labor organizing, and insurgent electoral campaigns. These tactics are designed to bring as many people as possible into struggle against landlords, bosses, predatory industries, and repressive state institutions.

East Bay DSA shall mobilize working people against oppression, police violence, mass incarceration, deportations, environmental destruction, imperialism, and war. Our campaigns against austerity should make connections between our positive demands for universal social programs and the high costs of state repression. [Priorities Resolution]

Whereas the Chapter's Priorities Resolution resolved:

East Bay DSA shall organize around universal demands for the social provision of housing", healthcare", and education" through diverse, mass-oriented tactics. As socialists we should prioritize campaigns that mobilize the broadest possible segment of the working class, give socialists the opportunity to grow class consciousness, and spread our ideas, and put DSA organizers in close collaboration with working people and their organizations. [Priorities Resolution]

Whereas a Healthcare Campaign Subcommittee, co-chaired by Abigail G.-G. and Matt S, currently exists within the External Organizing Committee to organize EBDSA's healthcare-related activism, namely our Medicare for All campaign, to manage relationships with coalition partners and allies in the campaign, and to develop organizers. [March Steering Committee Meeting]

Whereas a Housing Campaign Subcommittee, co-chaired by Meagan G. and Valeria S., currently exists within the External Organizing Committee to organize EBDSA's campaign to Repeal Costa-Hawkins, educate members on socialist housing perspectives, and develop organizers. [March Steering Committee Meeting]

Whereas the Chapter's Priorities Resolution mandates the development of an Electoral Campaign Committee to support electoral organizing that builds the power and militancy of the working class, as passed by the membership at the 2018 Convention. [Priorities Resolution]

Whereas an Electoral Campaign Subcommittee, co-chaired by Zach M. and Jaime G., currently exists within the External Organizing Committee to organize EBDSA's electoral activism on behalf of candidates endorsed by the chapter, develop skilled and knowledgeable electoral activists, and to educate the membership on electoral politics and socialist perspectives thereof. [March Steering Committee Meeting]

Whereas the Chapter's Priorities Resolution mandates the development of a Political Education Committee that prioritizes increasing member participation in socialist education, as passed by the membership at the 2018 convention. [Priorities Resolution]

Whereas a Political Education Subcommittee, co-chaired by Dan D. and Hannah K., currently exists within the Internal Organizing Committee to educate EBDSA members through Socialist School and public lectures on socialist theory, history, and methodology so that they may better understand our current context and the tasks ahead of us and become public tribunes for socialism. [March Steering Committee Meeting]

Whereas the Bylaws mandate that East Bay DSA shall hold regular meetings (no fewer than four times each year) and an Annual Convention, which require dedicated planning and volunteer coordination to make successful. [Bylaws]

Whereas a Meetings Subcommittee, chaired by Robbie N., currently exists within the Internal Organizing Committee to plan and execute meetings of the whole chapter, and prepare the membership to participate in them. [March Steering Committee Meeting]

Whereas a Member Engagement Subcommittee, co-chaired by Hannah K. and Coleman L., currently exists within the Internal Organizing Committee to encourage EBDSA members to sustain active participation in the organization, and give them the resources to do so through our mobilizer network, new member onboarding materials and processes, and membership retention and recruitment efforts. [March Steering Committee Meeting]

Whereas more committees than have have already been established are implied in the newly adopted Chapter Priorities Resolution, for example committees addressing diversity, labor, and public education. However, this resolution merely attempts to recapitulate the committees that have already been established, and it does not preclude the formation of other committees. [Priorities Resolution]

Therefore be it resolved that existing committees (not including the IOC and EOC) and subcommittees (now "committees") shall continue under the new bylaws structure. The following seven committees, as laid out by prior resolutions of the SC, the Chapter, and the Priorities Resolution, shall carry over and be re-established with the following names, purposes, and initial co-chairs:

  1. Operations Committee
    1. Purpose: The Operations Committee is charged with the administration of EBDSA's membership and attendance data; CRM; and communications tools; in coordination with the recording and communications secretaries.
    2. Co-chairs: Sean M. and Andrew R.
  2. Medicare for All Campaign Committee (or "Medicare for All Committee")
    1. Purpose: To organize EBDSA's healthcare-related activism, namely our Medicare for All campaign and the campaign to win SB-562 in California, to manage relationships with coalition partners and allies in the campaign, and to develop organizers.
    2. Co-Chairs: Matt S. and Abigail G.-G.
  3. Electoral Campaigns Committee
    1. Purpose: To organize EBDSA's electoral activism that builds the power and militancy of the working class on behalf of candidates endorsed by the Chapter, develop skilled and knowledgeable electoral organizers, and to educate the membership on electoral politics and socialist perspectives thereof. This committee shall initiate and oversee any further endorsement processes the Chapter undertakes through the 2018 cycle.
    2. Co-Chairs: Sandy B. and Jamie G.
  4. Social Housing Campaign Committee (or "Social Housing Committee")
    1. Purpose: To organize EBDSA's campaign to Repeal Costa-Hawkins, educate members and the general public on socialist housing perspectives, and develop organizers.
    2. Co-Chairs: Valeria S. and Will S.
  5. Political Education Committee
    1. Purpose: To educate EBDSA members through Socialist School and public lectures on socialist theory, history, and methodology so that they may better understand our current context and the tasks ahead of us and become public tribunes for socialism. This committee shall expand the topics covered heretofore while increasing member participation in ongoing biweekly classes.
    2. Co-Chairs: Dan D. and Hannah K.
  6. Member Engagement Committee
    1. Purpose: To encourage EBDSA members to sustain active participation in the organization, and give them the resources to do so through our mobilizer network, new member onboarding materials and processes, neighborhood organizing groups, and membership retention and recruitment efforts.
    2. Co-Chairs: Coleman L. and Hannah K.
  7. General Meetings Committee
    1. Purpose: To plan and execute meetings of the whole chapter, and prepare the membership to participate in them.
    2. Co-Chairs: Aaron H. and Robbie N.

Part III: Guidelines for Committees

Whereas the Steering Committee holds authority to establish standards and expectations for committees per the chapter's bylaws. [Bylaws Article V Sec. 2]

Whereas committee co-chairs should actively participate in Steering Committee decision-making processes, and should be able to make proposals and weigh in on important decisions, especially those that pertain to their committee's functions and activities.

Whereas participation in Steering Committee meetings is an important leadership development opportunity for committee co-chairs as well as a tool to facilitate committee collaboration and prevent siloing of work and information.

Whereas Committees shall make reports to regular meetings of the chapter and of the Steering Committee as mandated by the Bylaws, in order to maintain accountability and promote visibility into Committee activities. Â [Bylaws Article V Sec. 2]

Whereas while the bylaws don’t contain rules on how committees should function, guidelines and expectations of committees are needed to ensure accountability, transparency, and effective committee work and support new committee leaders in easily adopting their new role without having to reinvent the wheel on their own.

Whereas Committee's should maintain a basic level of internal structure, they should also be flexible enough to accommodate the unique needs and requirements that they may have in carrying out their stated purpose.

Therefore be it resolved that East Bay DSA committees shall adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Committees shall have at least two but no more than four co-chairs. Co-chairs must attend steering committee meetings where they shall report on committee activities. Co-chairs shall be able to make proposals to the Steering Committee on behalf of their committee.
  • Co-chairs shall be responsible for submitting monthly reports to the EBDSA recording secretary by a specific deadline, to be set by the recording secretary. The recording secretary shall publish these reports along with committee meeting notes and Steering Committee notes on the Chapter website in a timely fashion. These reports shall be submitted via a standard form that all committees will use.
  • Each committee shall have its own recording secretary responsible for taking detailed notes at each committee meeting. Each committee recording secretary shall share these notes with the EBDSA recording secretary who shall archive the notes and work with the committee secretary to identify what can be shared publicly.
  • Co-chairs shall decide the structure and schedule of committee meetings and communicate them to necessary parties. However, all committee and subcommittee co-chair resignations and appointments need to be approved by the Steering Committee as decided at the April 15, 2018 Steering Committee meeting. Committee co-chairs can be removed by a majority vote of the steering committee.
  • A majority vote of the Steering Committee shall act as a tie break vote if there is a disagreement between committee co-chairs regarding committee structure and membership.

The Chapter Co-Chairs and Vice Chair shall determine if additional committee leadership meetings are required for more coordination between committees.

Member Conduct Issue

The Steering Committee met in closed session to discuss a member conduct issue for the remainder of the meeting.

Adjournment

The meeting adjourned at 6:30 p.m.