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Staff Council Bylaws

1. Name

The name of the organization shall be the University of Houston-Downtown Staff Council (hereinafter referred to as "Staff Council").

2. Mission Statement

Recognizing that staff is integral to the functioning of the University of Houston-Downtown (hereinafter referred to as "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 and recommends individuals to serve on committees where policies and procedures affecting staff will be discussed. These bylaws provide an instrument for cooperative action in attaining such professional goals as the members may select.

3. Membership

University staff members are automatically members of the Staff Council. Upon employment, all new staff will automatically be welcomed to the Staff Council body at the New Employee Orientation. Assistant and associate deans, deans, executive directors, assistant and associate vice presidents, vice presidents, the President, student workers and temporary employees are excluded from membership in the Staff Council.

4. Duties And Responsibilities

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

  • Nominating staff members to serve on University-wide committees
  • Appointing staff to standing and ad hoc committees
  • Preparing and submitting an annual executive report, including a financial summary, to the University leadership and posting it to the Staff Council website
  • Coordinating annual Staff Council Membership Board elections
  • Preparing and submitting to the President of the University proposals and position papers on staff concerns
  • Making recommendations to appropriate University leadership about staff development programs on topics relative to staff
  • Having one representative on the University Academic Affairs Council
  • Providing collaboration on governance issues
  • Conducting one general Staff Council meeting, at a minimum, each quarter

5. Staff Council Membership Board

5.1 Staff Council Membership Board consists of the Executive Committee and Division Ambassadors.

5.2 Executive Committee

The Executive Committee shall consist of the following Staff Council Officers: President, President-Elect, Secretary, Treasurer, and Communications Officer.

5.3 Staff Council Division Ambassadors

The Division Ambassadors shall be made up of ten (10) members: two (2) from Academic Affairs, two (2) from Student Success and Student Life, two (2) from Enrollment Management, two (2) from Administration and Finance, one (1) from Human Resources, and one (1) from the President's Office and Advancement and University Relations.

5.4 Terms

Executive Committee and Division Ambassadors shall be elected for a single, one-year term. Elections will be held from the membership of the Staff Council. Staff will be eligible for re-election to the same office or another Staff Council Membership Board position.

5.5 Eligibility

All benefits-eligible Staff Council members in good standing and with a minimum of one-year tenure at the University are eligible to be nominated for service on the Staff Council Membership Board. Administrative staff are ineligible for service on the Executive Committee or Ambassador position. Terms of office shall begin on September 1 and end on August 31.

5.6 Nominations

The nomination process will open on the first Monday and close on the third Monday in May. Self-nominations are accepted. Staff may be eligible to run for Officer and Ambassador Positions concurrently but can only hold one office. All candidates shall complete the Staff Council Membership Board Candidate Form. All nominations will be reviewed by Human Resources (hereinafter referred to as "HR") to ensure eligibility. Qualified candidates will be included on the ballot.

5.7 Elections

Elections for the Staff Council Membership Board shall open the second Monday in June and close on the fourth Monday in June. Terms of office shall begin on September 1.

5.8 Vacancies by Resignation

Vacancies created by resignation will be filled as follows:

5.8.A Vacancies that occur within 60 days after elections, the Staff Council President shall appoint the nominee with the next highest votes from those candidates nominated, but not elected, in the last election. The appointed member will serve until the next official election.

5.8.A.1 In the event there is not another candidate from the election then follow section 5.8.B

5.8.B Vacancies created by resignation that occur beyond 60 days after elections; a Division Ambassador will be assigned to the vacant position. The appointed member will serve until the next official election.

5.9 Duties

The Executive Committee shall consider all matters brought before Staff Council and make referrals to the proper committees when necessary. A summary of the duties of the Executive Committee Officers is outlined below. Complete position descriptions may be found on the Staff Council website.

5.9.1 President

Serves as chair of the Staff Council Executive Committee and represents the Staff Council on University leadership committees, such as the Executive Council, the Planning and Budget Development Council, and the Academic Affairs Council. Enforces all regulations and policies as specified in the Staff Council Bylaws and presides at all Staff Council meetings.

5.9.2 President-Elect

Assists the President in performing his/her leadership responsibilities and represents the President when required. Oversees all Staff Council standing committees. The person elected President-Elect serves a two-year term: year one as President-Elect, and year two as President.

5.9.3 Secretary

Handles the recording and distribution of all minutes of all Staff Council Membership Board and Staff Council meetings and all correspondence of Staff Council (including overseeing the Elections Committee). Oversees the conduct of Staff Council business to ensure adherence to the Bylaws. Responsible for the administration of the Staff Council elections.

5.9.4 Treasurer

Maintains the Staff Council's budgets by processing and reconciling expenditures and revenue transactions on a monthly basis. Provides a financial report of the organization's financial activities to Staff Council as changes occur.

5.9.5 Communications Officer

Designs, develops, and maintains the Staff Council website and social media for the posting and distribution of information about Staff Council events and activities. Provides information to the University Relations Office regarding Staff Council elections, meetings, and accomplishments. Maintains and provides a central and accessible location for storing historical files of Staff Council events and activities.

5.9.6 Division Ambassadors

Ambassadors will represent the interests of their division(s) and share Staff Council news, events, etc., with their respective divisions. Ten (10) Ambassadors will be elected as follows: two (2) from Academic and Student Affairs, two (2) from Student Success and Student Life, two (2) from Administration and Finance, two (2) from Enrollment Management, one (1) from Human Resources, and one (1) from the President's Office and Advancement/University Relations.

5.10 Benefits

The Executive Committee members shall receive a stipend during their one-year term as outlined below:

Position Estimated Monthly Time Commitment Monthly Stipend paid at $10/Hour Rate
President 25 hours $250
President-Elect 15 hours $150
Secretary 15 hours $150
Communications Officer 15 hours $150
Treasurer 12 hours $120

If a member of the Executive Committee is unable to complete their term or duties as outlined, their stipend will be subject to revocation. If a member leaves their staff post for any reason and is unable to fulfill their duties, their stipend will be adjusted as needed. The Staff Council President will receive a complimentary reserved parking space in the Academic Faculty/Staff Garage during their tenure as President.

5.11 Orientation

An orientation session for newly elected Executive Committee and Division Ambassadors shall be held before the first scheduled Staff Council meeting of the fiscal year, and the Staff Council President shall conduct the orientation session.

5.12 Resignations

5.12.1 Inability to Serve

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

5.12.2 Procedure

A resignation must be submitted in writing to the Staff Council President.

5.12.3 Return of Staff Council Property

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

5.13 Forfeiture of Membership

Any Staff Council Membership Board member who misses three (3) consecutive Staff Council meetings without first notifying the President, President-Elect, 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 dismissed from the Staff Council Membership Board and will be replaced according to section 5.8.

5.14 Impeachment

Grounds for impeachment are any of the following and must be voted on by 4/5 of the Staff Council Executive Committee.

  • 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 meetings shall be held at least once a month and will be determined by the Staff Council Membership Board.

6.2 Committees

Staff Council standing committees shall meet on an as-needed basis but not less than once per quarter.

6.3 Executive Session

During Staff Council meetings, the Staff Council Membership Board may request to go into Executive Session in accordance with the Texas Open Meetings Act.

6.4 Staff Council Membership Board Meetings

The Staff Council Membership Board shall meet at least once a month. The date and time of such meetings shall be determined by the Staff Council President.

6.5 Forums / Town Halls

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

6.6 Quorum

A quorum shall consist of a majority of the Staff Council Membership Board 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 and ballots may be used to expedite urgent business matters between regularly scheduled meetings. Staff Council Membership Board members are the only voting members for the Staff Council.

7. Standing Committees

The Staff Council standing committees are: Membership and Elections Committee, Appointments Committee, Events Committee, Communications Committee, and Staff Affairs Committee. Special ad hoc committees shall be called as needed.

7.1 Committee Membership

7.1.1 Eligibility.

No elected Officer of the Staff Council Executive Committee shall chair a Staff Council standing committee.

7.1.2 Term.

The term of committee membership and of the chair shall be from September 1 through August 31.

7.2 Committees

7.2.1 Membership and Elections.

The Membership and Elections Committee is responsible for recommending to the Staff Council President nominees for filling vacancies and for overseeing and conducting the annual Staff Council elections.

7.2.2 Appointments Committee

The Appointments Committee is 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 Committee

The Events Committee is responsible for planning all special, campus staff events, such as the Staff Awards (Length of service awards are based on data obtained from Human Resources for the current fiscal year.), Holiday Adopt-A-Family, and other activities selected and approved by the Staff Council.

7.2.4 Communications Committee

The Communications Committee is responsible for Staff Council orientation, maintenance of the Staff Council bulletin board located on the third floor (updated a minimum of once per quarter), and all external communication, including releases to University media.

7.2.5 Staff Affairs Committee

The Staff Affairs Committee is responsible for reviewing all issues affecting staff on campus (i.e., benefits, parking, safety, staff development and training, annual forum with University President, and Edge Award).

7.2.6 Special Committees

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

8. Amendment Of Bylaws

8.1 Bylaws Amendment Proposals

Any Staff Council member may propose an amendment to the Bylaws by submitting to the Secretary his/her written proposal.

8.2 Presentation to Staff Council Membership Board

The proposed amendment shall be discussed at the next Staff Council Membership Board 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 of the Staff Council following the Staff Council Membership Board 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 Bylaws shall be amended upon a majority vote of the Staff Council members present (providing there is a quorum, as defined in section 6.6) at a designated meeting.

9. Adoption Of New Bylaws

The proposed Bylaws 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 Bylaws. Upon adoption, new Bylaws shall be effective immediately.

Bylaws adopted May 19, 2015.