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By-Laws

 

1. NAME

The name of the organization shall be the University of Houston-Downtown Staff Council, hereafter referred to as the Staff Council.

2. MISSION STATEMENT

Recognizing that staff is integral to the functioning of the university, the Staff Council will be an advisory body to the President of the university. Its purpose is to promote a positive and meaningful exchange among staff, faculty, and students, and to formulate and recommend policies, which affect staff. It also promotes recognition of staff contributions to the mission of the University of Houston-Downtown, and recommends individuals to serve on committees where policies and procedures affecting staff will be discussed. These by-laws provide an instrument for cooperative action in attaining such professional goals as the members may select.

3. RESPONSIBILITIES AND DUTIES

The Staff Council consists of members who are elected by a vote of all eligible staff members to serve a two-year term. Elections are conducted for a period of one week period in June to be determined annually by the Staff Council, with all election procedures concluded by July 1.

The Staff Council shall represent the staff interests of the University of Houston-Downtown and shall be responsible for the following:

  • Nominating staff members to serve on university-wide committees.
  • Appointing standing committees and ad hoc committees as determined by a majority of the Staff Council.
  • Preparing and submitting an annual report to the President of the university.
  • Coordinating annual Staff Council elections.
  • Preparing and submitting to the President of the university proposals and position papers on staff concerns as determined by a majority of the Staff Council.
  • Recommending staff development programs on topics relative to and approved by a Staff Council majority.
  • Having one representative on the University Academic Affairs Council.
  • Providing collaboration on governance issues.
  • Conducting a minimum of two (2) general staff meetings per year

4. MEMBERSHIP

4.1 Membership Eligibility
4.1.1 Eligibility for Council

Membership in Staff Council shall be limited to Staff members who have been employees of University of Houston – Downtown for a minimum of one year. Staff is defined as exempt and non-exempt employees except members of the Executive and Academic Dean's Council, Assistant and Associate Deans or Executive Directors. The Executive Assistant to the President serves as the liaison to the University Staff Council, which reports to the President of the University.

4.1.2 Terms.

Staff Council members shall serve staggered two-year terms

4.1.3 Elections.

Elections shall be held annually to elect one-third of the membership of Staff Council. Elections shall be conducted for a one week period in June to be determined annually by Staff Council with terms beginning September 1.

4.1.4 Vacancies by Resignation. 

The Council President shall select nominees to complete unexpired terms from among those nominated but not elected in the last election, in the order of the highest number of votes received within the representative Division. In the case of a nominee(s) from the previous election not being available to serve on the Staff Council, the President may solicit nominations from the floor. A vacancy is filled when a nomination is approved by two-thirds of the council members in attendance. The appointed member will serve until the next official elections. If the unexpired term is more than one year, the position shall be filled at the next regularly scheduled Staff Council election for the remainder of the unexpired term.

4.1.5 Forfeiture of Membership.

Any member who misses three consecutive council meetings without first notifying the President, Vice President, or Secretary, or without giving good cause for the absence (including but not necessarily limited to vacation, sickness or injury, leave, or workload), will be asked in writing to resign from the council and will be replaced by the person who received the next highest number of votes in the most recent general election.

4.2 Membership Representation Criteria

There will be 3 representatives for every 35 benefits eligible employees within a division. There will be no more than 3 representatives per department. Staff Council shall obtain employment figures from Employment Services & Operations each year prior to the annual election. Exempt and non-exempt representatives will be generally distributed within the ratio of the division.

4.3 Orientation
4.3.1 Meeting. 

An orientation session for newly elected members shall be held before the first scheduled Staff Council meeting of the fiscal year.

4.3.2 Manual.

A new member orientation manual, including Staff Council procedures, Committee charges, membership, the Constitution and the Bylaws shall be provided to every new member.

4.3.3 Committee.

The Communication Committee shall be responsible for organizing the orientation session.

4.3.4 Alternates.

Alternates will serve if the elected Staff Council member is not available to represent his/her unit and when needed for special events/functions as deemed by the President of Staff Council. It is the responsibility of the Staff Council member to send an alternate representative in their absence.

4.4 Resignations
4.4.1 Inability to Serve.

If for any reason a member of Staff Council cannot continue to serve out his or her term of office, that person may voluntarily resign.

4.4.2 Procedure.

A resignation should be submitted in writing to the President.

4.4.3 Return of Staff Council Property.

Upon notice of resignation the person has one (1) week to remove any personal items from Staff Council space and return any items that are property of Staff Council.

5. EXECUTIVE MEMBERSHIP

5 .1 Membership

The Executive Board shall consist of the following Council officers and chairmen: President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer.

5.2 Terms

Officers shall be elected for a single two year term. Elections will be held from the membership of the Staff Council at the first regularly scheduled meeting in even numbered years. Individuals will be eligible for re-election to the same office following a two-year interval.

5.3 Eligibility

One term the President and Treasurer shall be exempt employees with the Vice President and Secretary being non-exempt employees. The next term the President and Treasurer shall be non-exempt employees with the Vice President and Secretary being exempt employees.

5.4 Duties

The Executive Board shall consider all matters brought before Staff Council and make referrals to the proper committees when necessary.

5.4.1 President.

The President shall preside at all meetings of the Staff Council and chair the Executive Committee; abide by the stated rules of order when conducting meetings; refer all matters submitted for the Staff Council's attention to the appropriate committee(s) and/or to the university President; maintain and update a calendar of events relevant to the Staff Council for the coming year; prepare a written annual report of the past year's activities and progress and make it available to all members of the Staff Council prior to the September meeting; serve as ex-officio member of all Staff Council committees; serve as liaison to the Faculty Senate; to serve as liaison to the university President, both keeping the university President informed regarding concerns of the Staff Council and seeking the university President's support and advice on behalf of the Staff Council.

5.4.2 Vice President.

The Vice President shall preside over the Staff Council in the absence of the President or in the event the President requests the Vice President to serve during the course of a meeting; assist the President in performing leadership responsibilities; accept names of persons interested in serving on standing committees and to make appointments on the basis of the person's preference where possible or, in the absence of volunteers, make the necessary appointments to committees in consultation with the Executive Committee; call a meeting of any committee that is not fulfilling its responsibilities; and make and distribute yearly, immediately following appointments, a list of Staff Council committees and their members to all Staff Council members.

5.4.3 Secretary.

The Secretary shall be responsible for minutes of each Staff Council meeting, including the distribution of minutes to representatives before or at the next scheduled meeting of the Staff Council; collect, receive, and maintain at a central location, minutes of Staff Council meetings, minutes of committee meetings, copies of any articles, flyers, audio, video, or other forms of recording and annual reports; serve as Secretary for the Executive Committee, keep minutes of the Executive Committee’s meetings and notify its members of meeting dates and locations; and maintain the system of overlapping terms.

5.4.4 Treasurer.

The Treasurer shall be responsible for all financial aspects of the Staff Council functions, including maintaining accurate records of all Staff Council financial activities, reporting on these activities at each Staff Council meeting, and verifying the number of representatives authorized for each voting district. The Treasurer shall have signature approval authority on all expenditures. No expenditure shall be made without the prior approval of the Treasurer and the President or his/her designate.

5.5 Impeachment

Grounds for impeachment are any of the following:

  • Failure to fulfill duties of office.
  • Failure to actively participate in Staff Council.
  • Misrepresentation of the office or organization.

6. MEETINGS

6.1 Staff Council

Staff Council shall meet at least once a month throughout the year. The day will be determined by the Staff Council at the beginning of each term.

6.2 Committees

Staff Council Standing Committees shall meet on an as needed basis, but not less than once every three months.

6.3 Executive Session

The Staff Council may request to go into executive session in accordance with the Texas Open Meetings Act, by a majority vote by those council members in attendance.

6.4 Executive Board Meetings

The Executive Board shall meet at least once a month throughout the year. The date and time of such meetings shall be determined by the Council president.

6.5 Forums

Staff Council shall conduct an annual forum for all staff to highlight activities/issues and to foster an open dialogue with University Administration. The time and place of this forum will be determined by the Staff Affairs Committee.

6.6 Quorum

A quorum shall consist of a majority of the Members (50% + 1). No official business or voting shall occur at a meeting with less than a quorum.

6.7 Voting

Voting at meetings shall be by a show of hands unless written ballots are requested by any member. Written ballots shall be used for voting whenever such form is requested by a member prior to or during a meeting. Electronic forums, quorums and ballots may be used to expedite urgent business matters between regularly scheduled meetings.

7. STANDING COMMITTEES

7.1 Committee Membership
7.1 .1 Eligibility.

No elected officer of the Council shall chair a Council standing committee.

7 .1.2 Term.

The term of committee membership and of the chair shall be from September 1 to August 30.

7.2 Committees
7.2.1 Membership and Elections.

Responsible for reviewing the apportionment of representation among the University's Divisions as required by the Constitution and Bylaws, for recommending to the Staff Council President nominees for filling vacancies, and for overseeing and conducting the annual campus-wide Staff Council Elections.

7.2.2 Appointments.

Responsible for recommending staff representatives to standing and other university committees for Staff Council approval. These recommendations must be presented for approval at the next Staff Council meeting. Upon approval, these representatives are forwarded to the appropriate committee officer or administrator. Representatives to standing or other committees are responsible for obtaining and presenting to Staff Council a summary or copy of approved committee meeting minutes of each committee's activities at least twice a year in January and July.

7.2.3 Events.

Responsible for review of all special campus events for staff members, for example: Staff Awards (length-of-service awards are based on data obtained from Employment Services & Operations for the current fiscal year), Holiday Adopt-A-Family, and other activities selected and approved by the Staff Council.

7.2.4 Communications.

Responsible for Staff Council Orientation, maintenance of Staff Council bulletin board located at the 2 nd floor garage entrance (updated a minimum of once per quarter) and all external communication, including releases to university media.

7.2.5 Staff Affairs.

Responsible for review of all issues affecting staff on campus: i.e. benefits, parking, safety, staff development and training, Annual Forum with University President; Edge Award.

7.2.6 Special Committees.

Ad hoc committees may be appointed by the Staff Council President as needed.

8. AMENDMENT OF BY-LAWS

8.1 Proposals of Amendment

Any Staff Council member may propose an amendment to the bylaws by submitting to the secretary his or her written proposal.

8.2 Presentation to Board 

The proposed amendment shall be discussed at the first Executive Committee meeting after the Secretary receives the written proposal.

8.3 Discussion of Proposal

The proposed amendment shall be placed on the agenda for discussion at the next regularly scheduled meeting following the Executive Committee meeting. The Secretary shall distribute a copy of the proposed amendment to all Staff Council members at or before the meeting.

8.4 Vote on Proposal

The by-laws shall be amended upon a majority vote of the Staff Council members present (providing there is a quorum) at a designated meeting.

9. ADOPTION OF NEW BY-LAWS

The proposed by-laws will be placed on the agenda for discussion at a regularly scheduled meeting to be followed with a draft being circulated to the staff-at-large for comments. At the end of a 10-day comment period, the President will call a special meeting to vote on the adoption of the new by-laws. Upon adoption, new by-laws shall be effective immediately.

 

Adopted June 15, 2005

Page maintained by Staff Council

Last updated or reviewed on 8/9/12

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