Photo by Stephanie Steiner.  From Left to Right:  Hans Ulland, Cameron Collins, Kristina Vaughn, Paul Cox, Craig Dillon.

By Stephanie Steiner

August 14, 2015

August’s Alliance Council meeting was designated exclusively for council business without presentations from outside guests.   We had three main areas to cover:  changes to Bylaw 7 (regarding recognition and withdrawal of recognition of supporter groups), updates about our negotiations around GM Vote and GM Recall, and then finally we needed to discuss some of the things that we’ve identified that we’d need to change in our Constitution and Bylaws as a result of these negotiations.

First up was Old Business: In July, a change to Bylaw 7 was proposed (by Stephanie Steiner). The change redacts the lines which allow for a 2/3 vote of the Council members present to withdraw recognition of a supporter group, and redacts the line regarding annual renewal if it is requested.  The original bylaw more than likely was written with assumptions that “Council members present” would be equal to or greater than quorum.  Council also needs to invest time into rewriting other aspects of this bylaw:  create a system for Supporter Groups to request renewals or eliminate that as a requirement, and clearly define where the Council is or isn’t to be involved. In the meantime, this new proposal eliminates any possibility of a very low-populated Council, or one populated with an aggressive anti-supporter group agenda, from damaging the supporter group culture.  The vote was to be held in August, but had to be tabled as we did not meet quorum for the August meeting.

Next, we went through the updates regarding the GM Vote and GM Recall negotiations.  We have been at tentative agreement with the Club regarding GM Vote (granted to us in our Charter) for a few months now, but GM Recall procedures are still in conversation.  Maya Mendoza-Ekstrom had submitted a re-structured proposal immediately prior to the meeting to Cameron Collins and Stephanie Steiner, but neither had the chance to read it prior to the meeting.  The purpose of her re-write was to include the MLS’s definition of a General Manager (one universal definition for the league), and to clarify some elements of the proposed recall process.  Cameron read this definition aloud to the Council members. The Council members present were updated on the last meeting with Taylor Graham and Maya Mendoza-Ekstrom, as well as concerns that have surfaced within our existing Constitution and Bylaws: currently there are too many limitations on when we can send a vote to the entire Alliance, and we are regularly unable to vote on needed changes because we don’t meet quorum.

This brought us to the proposed changes to the existing Constitution and Bylaws:  Firstly: Bylaw 2 limits the Council’s ability to send something out for an Alliance-wide vote to only two periods in one season. In order to have an effective GM Recall procedure, barriers to an Alliance-wide vote need to be removed, which is the reason why new language was presented.  Secondly: the Alliance Council has an attendance challenge.  Historically, once the size of Council doubled at the start of 2013, it hasn’t been uncommon for attendance to range from 30-45%.  In late 2013, Council passed a bylaw changing the calculation for quorum to make voting and forward momentum possible.  This helped us for a few months, but when attendance dropped again, it was no longer helpful.  Language was proposed (by Stephanie Steiner) which allows Council members to take leaves of absence, become Ex-Officio members if they cannot attend meetings but will contribute in other ways, and gives council the ability to remove members who don’t attend meetings but don’t take a leave or move to Ex-Officio status (the ones who don’t participate and don’t withdraw on their own).  This proposal will allow Council to eliminate members from the count that prevents Council from meeting quorum and prevents us from voting.  Without voting, there cannot be a democratic process.

Aaaanddd… That’s a wrap!  Because only 8 people attended the August meeting, there were fewer people in the discussions.  No voting was possible on any of the agenda items.   Until next time…