New Alliance Bylaw: codifying the voting procedures for Alliance Council Executive

9 January 2019

By Martin Buckley

Alliance Council is structured and operates according to the rules set out in The Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure – except where clarified or modified by the Alliance Constitution and Bylaws.

The Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure is informally known as “Sturgis” and previously as The Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure by Alice Sturgis. This is similar to the more well known Robert’s Rules of Order.

Bylaw 12 was written, reviewed and adopted by the Alliance Council in January 2019. It describes the procedures for nomination and voting for the Alliance Council Executive Committee.

BYLAW 12. VOTING PROCEDURES FOR EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

Voting for members of the Executive Committee is carried out at the first business meeting of the Alliance Council business year as defined in the Constitution and Bylaws.
Vote tallying, scrutineering and counting is performed by an Election Committee, convened exclusively for this annual election.

The order of elections is:

  1. President
  2. Vice President
  3. Secretary
  4. Treasurer (if required)
  5. At Large positions
    The composition of the Executive Committee is described in the Alliance Council Constitution and Bylaws.

12.1 Election Committee. At least two Alliance Council members, who are present at the first meeting of the business year, and who are not standing for membership of the Executive Committee shall be chosen to conduct the election and act as the Election Committee.
12.2 Nominations. Alliance Council members may self-nominate, or be nominated, for any of the positions on the Executive Committee.
• An Alliance Council Member may contact the outgoing Executive Committee by email after the final business meeting of the business year, but prior to the first business meeting of the next business year and state which position for which they would like to be nominated.
• Any Council Member can give a nomination from the floor during the announcements of the nominations by the Election Committee.
12.3 Nomination and Voting. The following procedure is used to nominate and vote for the members of the Executive Committee:
• The outgoing Alliance Council President, or other member of the outgoing Executive Committee, will pass any nominations for each Executive Committee position to the Election Committee.
• The Election Committee will first give the names of the nominees for the office of Alliance Council President received prior to the first business meeting.
• The Election Committee will then ask for nominations from the floor for the office of Alliance Council President.
• Voting will then take place for the office of Alliance Council President.
• This process will continue for each office until all have been completed.
• The order of nomination and voting is:
o President
o Vice President
o Secretary
o Treasurer (if required)
o At Large positions
• An Alliance Council member can be nominated for multiple positions.
• An Alliance Council member nominated for multiple positions is removed from the nomination pool for subsequent positions once elected.
• An Alliance Council member can withdraw from the election at any point during nomination or voting
• If a nominee is unopposed, the nominee is elected by declaration
• For offices with two or more nominees, each nominee will be given up to five minutes to speak to and take questions from the Alliance Council as to why they should be elected.
• If a nominee cannot be present at the meeting, they can submit a speech ahead of time to a member of the Alliance Council to read on their behalf.
• After the conclusion of the speeches, the Election Committee will manage ballots for Council Members to cast their votes. The votes will be returned to the Election Committee.
• Members of the Election Committee will count the votes to ensure the validity of the vote.
• In the event of a tie with three (3) or more nominees: The lowest vote nominee will be removed from the election pool, and the vote re-run
• In the event of a tie with two (2) nominees: there will be a drawing of lots (for example drawing a name from a hat). This drawing of lots will be overseen by the Election Committee.
• At Large positions are separate positions on Executive Committee and each vote is independent of the others.
• Voting is in-person. There is no proxy or voting by telephone.
12.4 Recording of Election results.
• Vote totals are not retained outside of the count and scrutiny requirements of the Election Committee.
• Vote totals are not recorded in official minutes.
• Official minutes should record the nominations, the winner of the election and whether the nomination was unopposed.
12.5 Voting for Vacancies outside of the first business meeting.
If an Executive Committee position becomes open, through resignation or expansion of the Executive Committee, the above procedures should be used to elect a replacement member of the Executive Committee from the Alliance Council.

Nominating yourself for Alliance Council

1 June 2017, updated 18 November 2018

By Martin Buckley

Are you interested in standing for Alliance Council – and representing your fellow fans, Season Ticket Holders and Alliance Members?

First read this quick overview of what is expected. Still interested? Here’s the quick guide.

Voting runs during the Alliance business year. This is aligned with the Sounders FC year – so we start on 1 December and close the year on 30 November. If you get your 25 votes during the first half of the Alliance business year (by end of May) then you join the Alliance Council for that year. If you get your 25 votes during the second half (June to end November) then you will join the following year.

Before you start you will need:

  • Your Alliance Membership Number – also known as your Season Ticket Account Number.
  • Email address connected with this Alliance Membership.

Note: your Alliance Membership number or Season Ticket Account number is in the SoundersFC App under MatchPass, on your printed MatchPass or contact your Ticket Rep. If you are not the primary Season Ticket holder you will need to be designated to one of the seats using your current email address.

Voting is hosted and managed through The Club. In order to nominate first go to the voting site. You can access this directly at https://vote.soundersfc.com or  by navigating through the Sounders FC website. Supporters – Democracy In Sports – Nominate and Vote.

Note: the Login/Sign up button on the front page of Sounders FC website is for the MLS affiliated website – it’s worth doing – but won’t help you with nomination or voting.

Once at the Nomination and Voting page you will need to login. This is where your email address associated with your Alliance Membership or Season Ticket is required. You will also need your Account Number.

You will see a list of Available Ballots. This is where all election and votes will be listed – including GM Vote Of Confidence, Alliance Council elections, Constitution Ratification etc.

To nominate yourself – click Nominate Myself. Fill in the short bio, click Next and Submit. You are done and on the ballot.

Next step – talk to your friends and fellow fans and get their votes!

Since Summer 2017 all votes for Alliance Council have been weighted – you need 25 votes to join Alliance Council.

Hi! Are you a season ticket holder? Did you vote?

18 October 2018

By Molly Wagner

“Hi! Are you a season ticket holder? Have you voted?”

Those are the words we said over and over, the questions asked on repeat over the last three matches. “Are you a season ticket holder?” Well, are you? We in Soundersland are presented with an anomaly in the world of pro sports. We can decide if our general manager, our president of soccer can keep his job. We can do this with a vote simply saying, “yes I have faith in your plan” or” no, I don’t like you or what you stand for”. We are spoiled. We are gifted with a front office that actually cares about the bond between the fans and the team. It can be tricky to get them to listen, but they do. More so than we know.

The other day at the home match against Houston, I was one of the people asking random fans “Hey! Are you a season ticket holder?” It was an interesting experience to say the least. We quickly looked for the signs of people who you could tell had been to a match or two. Clear bag? Older scarf? How much Sounders gear? Rain gear?  We got a lot of folks, putting their hand in our face saying “No, we’re not interested.” But we weren’t selling anything. “No, we don’t care.” This one in particular bothered me. It’s a Monday night game, it’s raining, you drove over an hour to get here based on that crest on your coat, and it’s a team that we should be able to beat going into the international break. You’re here; clearly you do care on some level. To hear how our fan base feels alienated based on their location is disturbing. Sounders have always come from far and wide. There are folks who came from a hell of a lot further away who voted. Why? Because it matters. Even on a deeper level we know it matters to us, to the front office, to the entire body of MLS. No, I am not saying that if we keep Garth the entirety of the league will care, but if we vote out our President of Soccer the entire league will wonder as they often do, “What’s going on in Seattle?”

It took me a long time to decide how to use the voice my season tickets gave me. I did my homework, studied speeches Garth has given over his current term, and I have looked at what he done previously with Real Salt Lake. His impact on the first team, the academy system, the game we hold so dear.  Over and over, listening to him speak. When Garth speaks, I suggest you grab a pen and take some notes. You are going to want to focus on every word he says and the tone in which he says it. He tends to speak on a level that is beyond the average fan’s knowledge. The last thing I listened to before I voted was a conversation of his from a podcast. He sounded like he’d been humbled by the whole experience, as if the fan base was able to look him in the eye and say “hey buddy, it’s time you listen to us.” I even went so far back to listen to the Business Meeting at the end of last season, for the fourth or fifth time.

Dissecting what he said, wondering if he has carried out his promises. Have those of us on the alliance council fulfilled our commitments to the fan base and to the season ticket holders; even those that say they don’t care? I used my vote and I am proud of the work I put in to gather my own conclusions of what Garth is attempting to do with this club.

I will take as many rain dampened evenings standing on the concourse getting hands in my face from men and women saying “I don’t care,” “I’m not interested,” or “We don’t want whatever you’re selling.” With a laugh at this and a smile on our faces, we kept asking folks if they would care to vote.  Even as men often stopped and stared at us; a certain creepy feeling sinking into our skin. We kept going and for every single creep, we had at least 5 people that were, in fact, excited about using their voice.

What alarmed me, however, were the season ticket holders that didn’t understand what was going on. This didn’t go unnoticed; how can we make this more visible? When we all walk around with mini computers in our pockets, yet we seem to be confused as to how best utilize this tool, this opportunity. Have we let the fanbase down? Have we let ourselves down? Have we let this process, which our owners have given us and have faith in, fail? This isn’t my first general manager vote, I like many others voted Adrian in. I wanted that one to be a success as much as I do this one. We owe it to ourselves, to take the two minutes out of our day to vote, to use our voice as a whole.

The first day of the vote on September 19, we hosted the Union. My family and I were walking to a bar near the stadium, fairly early before the match. I saw Garth walking out of the stadium and he looked nervous. Anxious. He has, in every conversation I’ve been a part of, looked uneasy; uncertain of what his future may hold. The body language of what he’s not saying is just as important to this as the actual words coming from his mouth. Have you met him? He is a decent human being with his heart in the right place. He didn’t have to come out of his way to make sure he shook my hand that day. Those are the little acts, that proves to me he really does care about this community. If you are willing to listen, really listen to him. He seems to be willing to do the same. It takes a certain level of thick skin to hold a position of such public access and public scrutiny.

If nothing else, do you remember what happened the last time we didn’t use our voices and our rights to vote? Yes, you do.

I’m going to ask one more time. “Hi! Are you a season ticket holder? Have you voted?” Well, have you?

Meeting recap: The rationale and data behind the meeting with Adrian Hanauer and Garth Lagerwey

7 June 2018

By Martin Buckley

In late May Alliance Council requested a meeting with Adrian Hanauer and Garth Lagerwey to represent the angst from our fellow Alliance members and to question, listen, learn and be informed.

Our goal was to meet and build our own personal thoughts on where our beloved Sounders were headed – and whether Garth was the right person for the GM role. As an informed Alliance Council – we can then talk to our fellow fans and give as much detail as possible about our personal thoughts. Read the much more emotional and less data loaded recap here.

The data drove the questions that we asked of Adrian and Garth.

  • We are used to winning. Does the club believe in winning trophies of all kinds?
  • Goals win games. How does the club plan to bring firepower to score goals?
  • We hear stories about talent not getting signed or retained. Is there a systemic issue regarding player acquisition?
  • 2018 seems like we are cursed with injuries. Why is this?

From my view in the stadium – it’s been a horrible year as a fan. Injuries, losses, Open Cup woes. If you read Twitter, Facebook, Reddit or delve into the comments on Sounder At Heart – one could immerse oneself in the collective grief and misery of the fan base. Anecdotes however, do not make for a productive meeting – so I spent a good amount of time pulling stats from MLS and seeing for myself “how bad it really is”. Was the sky falling?

If you don’t like data – look away now.

A note on the data – I used the raw information from MLS – https://www.mlssoccer.com/stats – and a whole lot of Excel and PowerBI to make some observations. It’s not Opta, it’s not professional, there may be errors. Apologies if you find something. (If Opta want to send me a subscription – I’d be happy).

First off I took the range of 2014 – 2018 for data. 2014 was a standout year – for goals, points and bringing home some silver. The key metrics I captured included: goals, shots on goal, assists, game outcome, role of scorers. Here is the data:

So a few observations as a fan:

  • 2014 really was an exceptional year across all metrics.
  • 2015-2017 saw a trend of improvement across all metrics.
  • Goals scored and shots on goal from forwards decreased – midfield picked up a lot of the slack.
  • 2018 – at 11 games into a 34 game schedule – looks pretty grim.

Looking at the top scorers who are forwards for each season (over 8 goals/season):

  • 2014: Oba, Clint, Barrett: 39 goals (of 42 from forwards, 64 total)
  • 2015: Oba, Clint: 25 goals (of 31 goals from forwards, 44 total)
  • 2016: Jordan, Clint: 20 goals (of 20 goals from forwards, 43 total)
  • 2017: Clint, Bruin: 23 goals (of 26 goals from forwards, 51 total)

Make your own conclusions about 2014 to 2017. I see a team that is doing “the right thing” – with goals being scored. I am sure there are more nuanced conversations using specific player data per game.

2018 continues to stand out with a lack of goals. I don’t think the data needs calling out – we have supported through this for 11 games.

The final data looked at the cumulative points over the 34 game season.

The bad: a linear trend leaves us with 32 points. Urg.

The good: as we recover from injuries, hopefully make some signings – it gets better.

If we have a final 23 games like the final 23 games of 2017 (regular season, not the playoffs) we close with 51 points. That’s playoffs.