Our SEA/SEIU Local 1984 committee spotlight returns this month with a look at the Constitution and Bylaws Committee. Much like the Resolutions Committee, the work of Constitution and Bylaws is most visible at the annual convention. We talked with chair Eric Ferren to find out more about this important committee.
What does your committee do? What function does it serve for the SEA?
From our constitution: “Constitution and Bylaws Committee: It shall be the duty of the Constitution and Bylaws Committee to assist the Board of Directors in approving chapter bylaws by making a study of them and reporting its findings to the Board of Directors. It shall study the Constitution of the Association and present such amendments to the Convention as it deems expedient. It shall study all other proposed amendments and report its findings thereon to the Convention. It shall prepare the ‘Rules of Order’ for the Annual Convention. It shall act as an advisory group when called upon by the Council and chapters working to aid in preparing bylaws and rules of order. It shall be the duty of this Committee to insure the Constitution is updated if it has been amended by the Convention.”
What would happen if the committee didn’t exist? (Put another way, if there was no committee, what wouldn’t get done)
Our constitution requires that this committee exist; but if that changed, no new chapters could be formed, because it’s mandatory that this committee review and approve chapter bylaws. If the committee didn’t exist, the constitution would be locked, because this committee must review any constitutional amendments before they are presented at convention. A constitution must be a living document. Whenever an organization’s constitution is stagnant, the organization may also become stagnant. This can cause the organization to die, because it can’t take advantage of new opportunities or overcome new obstacles presented by an ever-changing world.
How many are on the committee?
Can anyone be on the committee?
Any member can join the committee and all are welcome.
How often does the committee meet, and what kind of time commitment is involved? What’s a typical meeting like?
The committee meets once a month on the second Tuesday of each month. Meetings last anywhere from one to two hours depending on the number and complexity of the topics being discussed. We occasionally have special projects assigned to us by either the Board of Directors or the SEA President that may require use to meet more than once a month.
Why should members join your committee?
The constitution is the governing document that guides how SEIU 1984 does all its business. This committee can recommend changes in the constitution that change where SEIU 1984 goes in the future. Some of the topics we are currently looking at are video conferencing of council meetings, creation of new committees to better define which committee members go to make changes in the organization.