Photo by Stephanie Steiner
By Stephanie Steiner
November 7, 2015
Not a whole lot to report this time around. We amended the last of the bylaws that we’d been working on for 2015. Whew! That is D.O.N.E. Soooooo sexy (not!). But it needed to be done so that the 2016 council can start fresh – you know, because having fun is way more fun than not having fun. Oh wait, that’s my dating site headline. No wonder I gave up on that. I’ll be here all week, tip your servers well.
Most of what we talked about was our plan for the Annual Business Meeting, the questions we’ve received so far, our meeting with owners, and trying not to get nervous for the presentations we’ll be making in front of all of you (it’s so not working). We also let everyone know that Q13 will make a TV special out of the event. That means that anyone who will make a presentation who wasn’t nervous previously (or pretending well) isn’t bothering to pretend any longer. We’re toast. On the plus side, the Paramount Theater now allows grown up sippy cups for grown up beverages. That will help most of you, but I’m a total lightweight. If I try to calm my nerves at this point, I’ll be comatose – so be nice, please – it’s hard to be me.
See you Thursday!
Photo by Angelica Germani
By Karl Picard
October 13, 2015
The October Alliance Council meeting took place on the 6th at The NINETY. We had a pretty full agenda as this was the second to last meeting of 2015.
Our first order of business was an update about the Scarf vote, we looked over the finalists that the scarf committee had submitted to the front office. Voting has already started and will run through the 23rd. Here are the finalists and voting site. The winner will be announced at the last home match. While we did get a decent number of submissions it was down from previous years. We think this is due to a lower level of publicity, but we’d like to hear from the Alliance as to why you think we have fewer entries. Feel free to send an email to [email protected] or comment on our Facebook page.
The next order of business was working to close out some of the Constitution and Bylaw work we’ve had going on all season. We’ve been working to ensure all our documentation is the most up-to-date version and that our storage drive has all of our historical minutes, and documents. The goal is to get all of our new work voted on at our November meeting and start the 2016 season will the cleanest version of the Constitution and Bylaws. This would also provide the foundation for us to get all changes out to the Alliance for a vote in 2016. The updated constitution and bylaws will include General Manager Vote and Recall (once all of that is written into articles and bylaws) as well as support group bylaw changes and alliance council attendance and voting status changes.
We then moved into covering the details on this year’s business meeting. In case you missed it, it will be on Nov 12th with doors opening at 6 and the presentation starting at 7. We’ve moved it to a weekday this year. You can, as in years past, get your questions in for the panel to address. There are a couple ways, at the website link above, via email to [email protected], or using Twitter and the hashtag #SFCBiz. We are exploring ways to get more people to attend the meeting in 2016. We’d love to hear input on what the Alliance would like to see, add, or change, so please send us an email at [email protected], post something on our Facebook page, or send us a tweet at @AllianceCouncil.
Lastly, voting for Alliance Members for 2016 is still open. Head over to https://vote.soundersfc.com/Login.aspx and vote for someone to represent you, or nominate yourself to be on the Alliance Council. Being part of the Alliance Council takes dedication, time management, and a commitment to see projects through to the end. Click here to learn more about the Alliance Council.
Photo from SoundersFC.com
By Karl Picard
September 15th, 2015
There were no guests at this month’s meeting. We mainly discussed current events like the scarf design contest and season ticket renewals as well as business around the bylaws. The meeting took place at The Ninety with 15 people in attendance.
Hopefully, most of you have seen the scarf design contest is open for submissions. Final day to get them in is today. The Alliance Council scarf committee will then review the submissions and determine the finalists. The voting for the scarf is scheduled to be 10/2 – 10/9, not much time so be sure to get your vote in. The weight of the scarf will be influenced by the design and ultimately the club has that final decision. This is to ensure that the final selection meets all of the criteria for the production and legal standards.
Season ticket renewals are also currently in full swing. The last day to renew is 9/18. You should have noticed the opportunity to “renew for life” – Sounders ‘Til I Die. This is really a minor change and hopefully for the better. Since most renew each year, you may now auto renew, and if you decide that you no longer want to do that, just notify your ticket rep and you can opt out of the upcoming season. There were a few from the Alliance Council that reached out to current season ticket holders to discuss their renewals; they were able to help with any questions. Hopefully they got to some of those reading our recaps.
Then it was onto bylaw changes, for the Supporter Group bylaw (bylaw 7), language around the removal of support group recognition by the Alliance Council was removed. There was also removal of language on the need to renew, as there is currently no process to support renewal. There is still language in the bylaw around recognition and who can participate to have fan involvement in that process.
There was also discussion around adding a bylaw allowing a leave of absence for council members. This is to ensure those voting on issues and attending meetings with the front office are aware of the topics being discussed within the council and to support some potential changes with the GM voting. There is also a status for council members who cannot attend meetings (they are always on the first Tuesday of the month) but can still provide value to the Alliance Council and ultimately the Alliance as a whole; there are no voting rights with this status.
The final discussions of the night were on the GM vote. While we can’t get into too much here as we are still working out the details with the front office, there will be some changes coming and better definitions on the voting options. We’ve also proposed a change to timing of the Alliance-wide votes. We hope to be able to supply more details in the near future. This has been a big effort this year for the council and we feel it will strengthen the commitment the club has to democracy in sports.
Feel free to drop a comment or reach out to a council member. You can always find us on Twitter and Facebook.
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…
Photo Credit: SoundersFC.com
By Karl Picard
July 20th, 2015
July’s Alliance Council meeting was designated for Council business, without outside guests. There were four main areas of discussion for the night: the visibility team and promotion of the council, supporter group recognition and the role the council plays in that process, community involvement, and the GM Vote and Recall process negotiations (ongoing).
On the supporter group recognition front we focused on Bylaw 7 of the Alliance Constitution. The discussion focused around the fact that with the current language, the Council could remove recognition of a supporter group without cause or criteria. It was explained that Bylaw 7 was originally added to provide criteria for recognition, so that the Club could recognize “supporter groups” consistently. This was a concern since supporter “groups” wanted access to Cascadia away match tickets. There will be more fine-tuning of the bylaw changes with a vote on those changes scheduled for the August meeting.
Next up was the visibility group, which is focused on ways to promote the Council. We have been working on being more active on social media outlets as well as publishing some blog posts and these Council meeting recaps. We are in need of more people willing to help out as Alliance Council is a volunteer effort, check out a recent blog post on this request. If you have some ideas on what we can do to improve our brand and work better for the Alliance let us know on Twitter, Facebook, or in the comments.
Within the area of community involvement, we discussed the scarf vote and the Rave Green Run . The 2016 scarf competition: design submissions will be in September with voting on the finalists in October – so it’s time to get those ideas fired up! The Sounders have a few community efforts coming up, the big one is the Aug 9th Rave Green Run, complete with viewing party afterwards for the LA game. Be sure to look for these and other community events on Twitter and Facebook.
Lastly, our main discussion was centered on the GM Vote and Recall Process negotiations. We are working with the Front Office on updating the Charter regarding the vote to ensure the terms are clear, and the Alliance retains the power to recall a current General Manager. We also strive to ensure that what we create will never be in the way of the Club to recruit top talent for that role. Look for more to come on that in the coming months.
The Ninety display window – photo by Karl Picard
By Karl Picard
This is the second in a series of Alliance Council meeting recaps. For more information about the Council, click here.
At the June 2nd Alliance Council meeting, which was held at TheNinety, we met with Mikaela Purvis, Fan Relations Manager, to discuss options for Season Ticket Members. Currently, the club is promoting the Priority List where fans can reserve a place on the list to get season tickets in the lower bowl. Additional benefits for season ticket members are discounts at the pro shop and pre-sale access for other event tickets. The priority list is only for those who want to be new season ticket holders – existing Alliance members are already at the top of the list.
The club consistently renews at a high rate, but they are looking at ways to engage those who have not renewed in order to determine the reason they don’t renew and make sure they aren’t missing anyone. One big change Mikaela mentioned was that the club will have a 6 month payment option that should make the financial impact less on those that need a little relief, just be sure to renew by the deadline for this benefit Also, the club is looking for a way to combine the processes of renewals, playoffs, and seat designation to make it as easier for Alliance Members. They are looking at a few other things as well, working both with the Alliance Council and others. As those options get more developed, we’ll be sure to get the details out.
Following our conversation with Mikaela, we discussed the Council’s involvement with Supporter Group Recognition. Currently, Bylaw 7 of the Alliance discusses how supporter groups are to seek formal recognition from the Alliance Council, which may also remove that recognition. The discussion tonight was about whether the recognition process is something the Council should do, or if that is more of a role for the front office. Article 6 of the Alliance Constitution discusses the relationship of supporter groups with the club and precludes the Alliance and supporter groups from interfering in each other’s business. Discussions will continue and hopefully a vote on what that bylaw should look like going forward will happen in the next couple of months. For more on supporter group members participating in Council, read the recent blog post by the Alliance Council president Stephanie Steiner.
The Visibility group gave a debrief their activity with Twitter, Facebook, the outreach table at the Sounders game, as well as working with the Sounders front office to get Council blogs published on the SoundersFC.com website. If you missed it the first one, Democracy in Sports ran this past week. You can find all articles published about the Alliance Council using their tags at the bottom of articles. We expect to publish two articles each month by the group, along with the usual Facebook and Twitter activity. Give us a follow if you haven’t already.
The last business item covered was the GM Vote and Recall. Discussions are still ongoing around how the GM Vote and Recall should be structured. We continue to work with the Sounders front office to make sure the Alliance voice is heard. We all know Drew Carey wanted there to be a way for the fans to provide feedback on the direction of the club, so we are working to ensure Alliance members have a key role– not just today but forever.
Let us know what you think Council should be talking about and working on for Alliance members. You can do that in the comment section below or via the social media avenues mentioned in this article. Until next month…