Staff Council Bylaws
Mission & Goals
Reading of Bylaws
Election of Members
Staff Council Officers
Election and Terms
Article I: Mission and Goals
Section 1. Mission: Staff Council's mission is to serve the interests and needs of the American University staff pertaining to their daily activities and work conditions as they strive to support the university's goal of quality education. Toward this effort, the Staff Council promotes understanding and cooperation by facilitating communication among campus constituencies, and by serving as an advocate for staff issues which affect them. In our efforts to enhance the quality of the American University work environment, Staff Council provides leadership and support to work together with all members of the university to enrich community spirit.
Section 2. Goals:
- To provide a forum for hearing and reviewing staff concerns and interests
- To serve as a sounding board for the administration regarding proposed actions, programs, policies and procedures that will affect the staff
- To participate, assist and advise in decision-making processes that affect the staff’s relationship with the larger university community
- To initiate suggestions to improve university staff relations and help bring useful ideas that may originate from within the staff to the attention of the administration
- To recommend to cabinet staff members who can serve as appointees on other university or Human Resources committees
- To act, in general, to help make American University’s educational community an efficient, fulfilling and attractive environment for employment
Article II: Authority
Section 1. AU by-laws and other policies of American University regarding employee conduct and the structure and function of campus organizations shall apply to this organization.
Section 2. If any by-law is found, in any way, to be in conflict with any policy of American University or of another authority having jurisdiction, the said by-law shall be considered void.
Section 3. These bylaws supersede all prior existing bylaws of the American University Staff Council.
Article III: Reading of Bylaws
Section 1. These bylaws shall be read by the chairperson of the Policy and Procedures committee to the Council assembled at the second regular meeting of the year following installation of new members. Members not present shall be familiarized with these bylaws within two weeks of installation to the Council.
Article IV: Membership
Section 1. The Staff Council shall be comprised of twenty regular voting members.
Section 2. Membership is limited to full-time and permanent part-time staff of American University (As defined by Human Resources), to include both exempt (monthly) and non-exempt (biweekly) staff, who have successfully completed their probation period. This pertains to new staff to the university. If there are in-house job changes during one's staff council term, the member must discuss his or her ability to stay on the council and review their internal/external committee participation with the executive team. If jointly agreed, the member may stay on the council during the probation period of their new position.
Section 3. There shall be no criteria of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, gender identify and expression, family responsibilities, political affiliation, disability, source of income, place of residence or business, certain veteran status or departmental affiliation as qualifications for membership in Staff Council.
Article V: Election of Members
Section 1. Voting members of the University Staff shall consist of all full-time and permanent part-time employees, as defined by the department of Human Resources, who do not hold academic appointments with the University, and who are not members of the President's Cabinet.
Section 2. A call for Staff Council nominations will be sent to all AU Staff via email announcement and through posting in Today@AU for two weeks each year at the end of May. The nomination period is to run two weeks. A candidate may be nominated by a fellow staff member or may nominate his/herself. Once the nomination is made, the nominated individual must accept the nomination before addition to the ballot. All nominees shall be notified of the time commitment for Staff Council meetings ahead of the election period.
Section 3. Voting shall occur over a-two-week period beginning in the first week of June.
Section 4. Each member's term shall last for two (2) years.
Section 5. No Staff Council member may serve more than four (4) consecutive years on the Council. After one (1) year off of the Council, a past member may run for an open seat.
Section 6. New Council members will be installed at the first regular meeting of July.
Section 7. A member of Staff Council may be expelled from the body by a two-thirds affirmative vote of members present (providing there is quorum and that the meeting was announced to all members). No member may abstain from a vote to expel.
Section 8. If a vacancy shall occur on the Council, candidates for the membership may be voted on at any regular meeting or at a special meeting called for that purpose. Typically, candidates from the most recent elections who were not installed as Staff Council members will receive primary consideration, in rank order of the number of votes each candidate received. If there are candidates that receive the same number of votes, all the candidates would be considered by the council. The candidate installed will complete the term of the member being replaced.
Article VI: Attendance
Section 1. Attendance to Staff Council meetings is imperative for all members in order to be effective as a council.
Section 2. All Staff Council members are allotted a total of seven absences per year, or four absences for the first half of the year, July 1-January 31, and three absences for the second half of the year, February 1-June 30.
If a council member exceeds the allotted absences, the Council member shall be subject to a Council vote to remove the member from the Council. At the vote, the Council member may state their reasoning and justification for absences from meetings.
Employees absent due to approved Short-Term Disability or FMLA will not have their time off counted towards the allowable absences. In addition, if the chairperson moves a regularly scheduled meeting to an off week, any staff absences will not be counted towards the allowable amount.
Section 3. It is always the responsibility of a Staff Council member to communicate to the Staff Council officers about absences prior to meetings.
Article VI: Staff Council Officers
Section 1. The officers of Staff Council shall be the Chairperson, Co-Chairperson, Secretary and Committee Chairpersons.
Section 2. The Chairperson shall be responsible for facilitating/controlling regular meetings, coordinating emergency meetings, authorizing financial expenditures and for all written communications made by the Council. He/she is also the keeper of the Council letterhead and is authorized to make provisional appointments to the Council or to a committee, which must then be approved by the Council at the next regular meeting. He/she keeps apprised of proposed changes in American University's Human Resources policies and other relevant university policies affecting the staff work environment. He/she shall also provide feedback on proposed Human Resource policy changes and communicate to the university administration when staff work/life issues are under discussion.
Section 3. The Co-Chairperson shall be responsible for oversight of the Council's committees. He/she will also assume the capacity of the Chairperson in his/her absence, removal or incapacitation.The Co-Chairperson also holds treasurer duties. They shall be responsible for authorizing the collection, distribution, and expenditure of all Council funds, the development of an annual operating budget, to authorize or refuse to authorize extra-budget expenditures of the funds of the Council, to make any necessary and proper adjustments of the budget, and to require that all financial reports of the Council be kept current and in an efficient manner.
Section 4. The Secretary shall be responsible for production of meeting agendas and minutes, and tracking absences. The agenda shall be distributed to the Council members at least two business days prior to any regularly scheduled meeting. Minutes shall be distributed to the Council members within five business days after the meeting. The Secretary shall also maintain the agenda and minutes archives on the Staff Council network drive and make information relevant to other American University Staff available on the website. The Secretary shall also be responsible for reminding the Council of the time, if there are agenda items still needing to be discussed and the Council is near the end of a meeting.
Article VII: Committees
Section 1. The Policy and Procedures committee shall draft any reasonable revisions of these bylaws and to inform all members of the Council of the current bylaws. All proposed amendments to these bylaws shall be submitted to Policy and Procedures for approval. It shall be the duty of this committee to review these amendments for clarity of wording and to insure that they do not conflict with any existing American University policies.
Section 3. The Service committee shall coordinate community assistance (book/media swaps, prom dress drive, professional clothing drive, etc.) and fundraising efforts, of both regular (blood drives, annual turkey drive, dollar challenge, etc.) and emergency (disaster relief) nature.
Section 4. The Communications committee shall administer the website and all outgoing communications from the Council to the AU community. The committee shall be in charge of the strengthening and upholding of branding efforts and all advertising deemed necessary for the good of Staff Council by the Chairperson or Co-Chairperson.
Section 5. The Educational and Social Activities committee is responsible for the planning of events open to all University Staff members, other than events put on by the Service Committee. These events include the delegating, planning, and organizing of the Fall Luncheon and the Lunch & Learn series. At least one recreation or social event for the staff as a whole shall be coordinated by this committee per year.
Section 6. Special committees may be appointed at the discretion of the Chairperson and their members’ terms of office and the extent of their authority shall be designated specifically in the appointment.
Section 7. All committees shall hold, at a minimum, meetings once monthly and shall keep a record of their proceedings. Minutes from each committee meeting shall be passed on to the Secretary, in addition to reporting any updates to the rest of the Council. At the first Staff Council meeting of each month, the last 10-15 minutes shall be devoted to committee meetings.
Section 8. Each member of Staff Council must serve on a minimum of one committee while serving their two-year term on the Council.
Article VIII: Election and Terms of Officers
Section 1. All officers shall be nominated at the first regular meeting of the year following installation of new members. Officer election will be held at the next meeting. Nominations will be accepted up until the election occurs. Officers shall take charge of their positions immediately following election.
Section 2. Candidates for the position of Chairperson must have served at least one full year on the Council to be eligible for nomination.
Section 3. Voting for all officers shall by secret ballot, unless a position is uncontested.
Section 4. Officers shall be elected by affirmative vote of a majority of the Staff Council. If a plurality results, the two individuals with the most votes shall be presented on a second ballot until a majority is attained.
Section 5. Before each officer is elected, each candidate will be allowed to give a brief speech regarding his/her candidacy that is not to exceed five minutes in the case of Chairperson, three minutes in the case of Co-Chairperson and two minutes in all other elections.
Section 6. Voting shall occur in the following order: Chairperson, Co-Chairperson, Secretary and then Committee Chairpersons.
Section 7. The Staff Council Officers shall serve for a period of one year from the elections held in the summer.
Section 8. The Chairperson shall have the power to remove any committee chair or committee member for just cause, which includes failure to perform the duties of the committee in a satisfactory manner or for conduct detrimental to the best interests of the committee of which he is a chair or a member.
Article IX: Meetings
Section 1. All business meetings of Staff Council shall be conducted in the following order:
- Call to Order
- Roll Call
- Introduction of Visiting Members
- Reading and Approval of Minutes of the Previous Meeting
- Approval of Meeting Agenda items
- Current Business
- Report of the Chairperson
- Report of the Co-Chairperson
- Reports of the Committees
- New Business
- Suggestions for the Good of the Order
Section 2. A regular business meeting of the entire council shall be held on the first and third Tuesday of each month.
Section 3. Committee meetings shall be held at least once monthly. The committee Chairperson is responsible for coordinating meeting times, as well as making a report to the Council at the next regular meeting.
Section 4. Special meetings may be called by the Chairperson or by a petition signed by at least one-half of the Council members. When such a special meeting is called by a petition of the Council, three days notice must be given to all members of the Council.
Section 5. A majority of the total active membership of the Council shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business, and the act of a majority present at any meeting at which there is a quorum shall be the act of the entire Council, except as otherwise provided by these bylaws.
Section 6. Any member of the Council entitled to vote in Council meetings who is present but does not cast a vote shall be recorded as abstaining.
Section 7. The Council should follow Robert's Rules of Order in meetings.
Section 8. Voting not otherwise accounted for will be done by a simple “hand vote.” A roll call vote or a secret ballot may be requested and approved by a majority.
Section 9. The Chairperson shall have the power to cancel one meeting each month for just cause and after giving reasonable notice, provided that the maximum interval between meetings does not exceed thirty (30) days.
Section 10. Conduct of all Council business is controlled by the general will of the body. Therefore, majority vote shall rule, with contested issues being up for discussion. Motions by general consent can be passed on the silence of the body.
Section 11. During the course of an academic year, Staff Council is required to hold a minimum of one meeting at a non-main campus American University work site. A non-main campus site is defined as having an address different then that of 4400 Massachusetts Avenue, Washington DC 20016. The first year this amendment shall be effective is the 2006-2007 academic year.
Article X: Amendments
Section 1. These bylaws may be repealed, altered or amended at a regular meeting of the Council, provided that such repeal, alteration or amendment shall be submitted to the Policy and Procedures committee for consideration one week prior to the time that such repeal, alteration or amendment is to be proposed to a meeting of the Council.
Section 2. Any repeal, alteration or amendment shall be referred to the Policy and Procedures committee, which shall check it carefully for clarity of wording and to insure that it does not conflict with American University policies.
Section 3. At the next business meeting following approval by the Policy and Procedures committee, the repeal, alteration, or amendment shall be proposed to the Council, which shall decide by majority vote whether a resolution-incorporating said repeal, alteration, or amendment shall be submitted to the Council for vote at the succeeding meeting.
Section 4. At the following meeting, a two-thirds affirmative vote for the adoption of the resolution will cause the repeal, alteration or amendment to become a part of these bylaws.
Section 5. Amendments not receiving the approval of the Policy and Procedures committee shall be proposed in the manner described in Sections 2, 3 and 4 of this Article but shall require three-fourths vote for final adoption.