Constitution of the Staff Council
As Amended on August 13, 2009
University of Houston-Victoria
Article 1: Name and Mission
The Staff Council shall be a University of Houston-Victoria (all sites) organization under its own constitution.
The Council’s mission is to:
(1) Promote an atmosphere of cohesiveness and cooperation among staff;
(2) Promote recognition of the staff as an integral part of the institution;
(3) Provide a forum for any staff member to openly discuss any matter associated with the university;
(4) Provide the staff a collective voice in university matters affecting staff activities and staff welfare; and
(5) Serve as an advisory body to the University’s President.
Article 2: Activities
The Council shall:
(1)Nominate staff members to serve on university-wide committees;
(2)Appoint standing and/or ad hoc committees as determined by a majority of the Executive Board;
(3)Prepare and submit proposals and position papers to the University President on Staff concerns as determined by a majority of the Executive Board;
(4)Meet regularly to promote communications among its members; and
(5)Address issues affecting the activities and welfare of the membership.
Article 3: Membership
The Staff Council will be the general body representing the staff in University affairs. All University staff who are benefits eligible will automatically be part of the voting membership.
Each voting-eligible member of the Staff Council shall have the right to vote in all elections of officers and in all matters before the general body.
Article 4: Officers and Terms
The Staff Council will have a Chair, a Vice-Chair, and a Secretary elected from and by the general body of the Staff Council at open elections. These officers will serve one-year terms with the exception of the Vice-Chair. This person will serve the first year as Vice-Chair and the second year as Chair. No person shall serve more than two consecutive full terms as Chair. No staff member shall serve as a Chair or Vice-chair if they sit on the President’s Cabinet in some other capacity.
Article 5: The Executive Board
The Staff Council will have an Executive Board composed of (1) a Chair, (2) a Vice-Chair, (3) a Secretary, (4) the Past Chair of the Staff Council, (5) one at-large member from Exempt staff; and (6) one at-large member from Non-Exempt staff (7)USSEC Member at large.
Article 6: Responsibilities and Duties of the Executive Board
The Council Chair will be responsible for:
(1) Representing the University staff on the President’s Cabinet;
(2) Preparing meeting agendas and presiding over Council meeting;
(3) Appointing ad hoc or special committees and their chairs with the concurrence of the Executive Board;
(4 )Preparing and submitting proposals and position papers to the University officials on staff concerns as determined by a majority of the Council;
(5) Communicating the Council’s actions and decisions to the University’s president;
(6) Serving as Council liaison to major university-wide committees as determined by the University President;
(7) Serving as an ex-officio member of all Council committees;
(8) Performing other duties as specified in the Constitution or mandated by a majority Staff Council vote.
The Council Vice-Chair will be responsible for:
(1) Presiding over Council meetings in the absence of the Chair;
(2) Fulfilling other duties of the Chair in the Chair’s absence;
(3) Performing other duties as specified in the Constitution or mandated by a majority Staff Council vote.
The Council Secretary is responsible for:
- Taking minutes of all Council meeting and aintaining member attendance roles for each meeting;
- Submitting written minutes to Council Chair in a timely fashion;
- Maintaining a minute book and other files pertinent to Council business;
- Carrying on correspondence for the Council; and
- Performing other duties as specified in the Constitution or mandated by a majority Staff Council vote.
The Past Chair will
- Serve on the Executive Board to facilitate the transition of the leadership;
- Provide advice and insight into past issues and concerns; and
- Serve as parliamentarian to oversee the conduct of council business to ensure adherence to the Constitution and, as needed, to Robert’s Rules of Order.
The At-large board members will:
- Serve on the Executive Board to assure (a) input from both Exempt and Non-exempt staff council members; (b) to facilitate participatory representation; and (c) to broaden Staff Council leadership.
In addition, the Executive Board will ensure that:
- All meetings are called by written announcement (including agenda) to all members at least three working days prior to the meeting;
- Any issue present in writing by a Council member will be placed on the agenda; and
- They consult with any member expressing concern about matters of potential interest to the Council.
Article 7: Voting
Voting in Staff Council meetings shall be by majority voice vote of those in attendance unless two Council members call for a recorded vote. In that case, the issue will automatically be tabled and the Secretary shall prepare ballots that clearly set forth the issues and the potential ramification of a yes or no vote. These ballots shall be distributed to each Staff Council member in a timely fashion. Approval of any question called to a ballot must be approved by a majority of all members voting on the issue. The Executive Board shall conduct counting of ballots, except for election of officers.
Article 8: Staff Council Elections
A nominating committee of four members, (two from Non-Exempt staff and two from the Exempt staff) will be selected in June each year. This committee will accept nominations for Council officers and at-large members and conduct the election process in July. Nominations for officers will come from the general membership. The nominating committee will propose at least one candidate for each office and will accept any names submitted in writing or via email from any member of the general membership. The nominating committee will confirm with each nominee that they will serve if elected before placing the name(s) in nomination.
Elections will be by recorded vote, and officers will be elected by simple majority of those voting. The nominating committee will supervise the counting of the ballots and announce the results. No Council member who is a candidate for an election shall be involved in the counting of ballots of the election. Newly elected officers will assume their positions August 1.
Article 9: Ad-Hoc Committees
The Staff Council will include all staff employees of the University, whether Exempt or Non-exempt.
Article 9-A: Ad-Hoc Non-Exempt Staff Committees:
In the event that issues arise that are specific to the Non-exempt staff, then an Ad-Hoc committee shall be formed. This committee shall consist of the Non-exempt at-large board member, and at least two Non-exempt staff employees appointed by the Executive Board from the general membership.
Article 9-B: Ad-Hoc Exempt Staff Committee
In the event that issues arise that are specific to the Exempt staff, then an Ad-Hoc committee shall be formed. This committee shall consist of the Exempt Staff at-large board member, and at least two Exempt staff employees appointed by the Executive Board from the general membership.
Article 10: Meetings
All meetings of the Staff Council are open to any visitor, except where the privacy of an individual is likely to be an issue. If there are privacy issues in question, the Staff Council may, by majority vote of those attending, restrict a meeting to the voting membership only.
Non-members may request to address the Staff Council. In addition, the Staff Council may request that non-members address the Council.
Article 10-A: Staff Council General Meetings
The Staff Council will meet at a minimum of every other month.
Special meetings may be called as needed by the Staff Council Chair, a majority of Executive Board members, or by the written request of ten of the members. The purpose of the special meeting shall be stated in the meeting notice which shall be sent out to the voting membership at least three working days prior to the scheduled meeting date, except in cases where time is critical. An agenda shall be sent with the meeting notice if necessary.
The Executive Board may cancel regular meetings when no item of business is pending, but only with the unanimous vote of all Executive Board members.
Article 10-B: Ad-hoc Non-Exempt Committee Meeting:
The Ad-hoc non-exempt Staff Subcommittee will meet whenever it is deemed necessary to discuss operational and university issues affecting non-exempt personnel.
Article 10-C: Ad-hoc Exempt Staff Committee Meetings:
The Ad-hoc Exempt Staff Committee will meet whenever it is deemed necessary to discuss operation, management, and university issues affecting the exempt personnel.
Article 11: Vacancies
Any officer wishing to resign his or her position shall do so in writing to the Staff Council Chair, and the vacant position shall be filled according to Articles 11A and 11B. In the case of resignation of the Chair, the resignation shall be submitted to the Vice-Chair.
If the Office of the Chair becomes vacant, the Vice-Chair shall become Chair for the remainder of the departing Chair’s term. If the office of the Vice-Chair or Secretary becomes vacant, that position will be filled according to Articles 11A or 11B.
If any officer or at-large board member of the Staff Council misses three consecutive regular meetings, that member will automatically forfeit his or her position and the vacant position shall be filled according to Articles 11A or11B.
Article 11-A: Vacancies by Resignation:
The Chair will select nominees to complete un-expired terms from among those nominated for the vacated position but not elected in the last election, in order of the highest number of votes received.
If a nominee from the previous election is not available to serve as an officer, then the presiding Chair will solicit nominations from the floor of an open Staff Council meeting. The vacancy will be filled when the nomination is approved by a majority vote of the council members in attendance. If the nominee fails to win a majority of the votes, the vacancy will be filled through a special election held in accordance with the regular election provisions in Article 8.
Article 11-B: Officer Vacancies by Forfeiture:
If any officer is absent from three consecutive regular meeting, then that officer shall be considered to have vacated the office by forfeiture. Upon review of the reasons for absence, the Council, by a majority vote of those in attendance at an open Staff Council meeting, may re-appoint the officer to his/her position. If a member is not re-appointed by a majority vote, then the vacancy will be filled through a special election held in accordance with the election provisions in Article 11A.
Article 12: Parliamentary Authority
The rules contained in the current edition of Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised shall govern the Council in all cases to which they are applicable and in which they are consistent with this Constitution and any special rules of order the Council may adopt.
Article 13: Orientation of New Members
The Secretary of the Staff Council shall provide all new members with a copy of the Constitution in cooperation with Human Resources.
Article 14: Amending of this Constitution
This Constitution shall be amendable.
Any member, with the written endorsement of three other members, may propose an amendment to this Constitution by presenting the proposed amendment in writing to the Secretary. Upon receipt of the proposed written amendment, the Secretary shall distribute the proposed amendment to all Council members before the next regularly scheduled meeting. After distribution of the amendment, the Constitution may be amended by:
(1) A reading of the proposed amendment at a regular meeting; followed by a subsequent meeting to vote on the amendment. The amendment must pass by a two-thirds majority vote of those present at the meeting.
(2) After the amendment is read at a regular meeting, ballots are distributed to all of the voting membership. The amendment must pass by a two-thirds majority vote of the entire membership of the Staff Council.
Article 15: Adopting Procedures
This Constitution shall be effective when approved by a majority of the members as herein defined.