During our October and November 2019 Alliance Council meetings, we discussed a set of amendments to Alliance Bylaw 3 – describing how the Alliance Council can make formal statements.
Alliance Council has always had two types of statement that can be formally made:
a Binding Resolution – which is sent for Alliance-wide consideration and vote
an Opinion Statement – which is voted on by the Alliance Council
The Bylaw 3 amendment clarifies some of the language and intent for this – and also gives a clear outline of a process where the Alliance Council Executive can make a rapid Opinion Statement on behalf of the full Alliance Council. We have seen recently several cases where this would have been beneficial.
BYLAW 3. METHODS OF INTRODUCING TOPICS FOR A BINDING VOTE OR NON-BINDING OPINION STATEMENT There are three types of statements that the Council may make: Binding Resolution, Binding Resolution for Alliance-wide Vote and Non-binding Opinion Statement. Alliance Members may propose resolutions or statements through an Alliance Council member.
3.1 Procedure for Proposing a Binding Resolution. The procedure for proposing a Binding Resolution is as follows: a) Provide a copy of the proposed resolution or statement to the Executive Committee; b) If approved by majority vote of the Executive Committee, best efforts shall be made to schedule the first reading of the proposed resolution or statement on the Council agenda within the next sixty (60) days; c) At the meeting where the first reading takes place, the Council Member who presented the proposal shall read the proposal and a discussion on the matter shall take place; d) At the next scheduled Council Meeting where quorum is present, a vote shall be taken on whether to pass the proposal.
3.2 Binding Resolution to be Proposed for Alliance-Wide Vote. To initiate an Alliance-wide vote on a binding resolution by the Alliance, the question must be approved for an Alliance-wide ballot by a two-thirds vote of Quorum. Prior to voting to put an issue to the Alliance, the Council shall invite the Club to attend a meeting and discuss the issue fully. After an affirmative vote to place a binding resolution on an Alliance-wide ballot, and with at least thirty (30) days prior notice, the question shall be considered by the entire Alliance during the next Alliance-wide voting period as established in the bylaws.
3.3 Non-Binding Opinion Statement by the Council. To pass an opinion statement by the Alliance Council, the question must be approved by a majority vote of Quorum. This may be done at any meeting of the Council where the Opinion Statement is proposed.
3.4 Non-Binding Opinion Statement by the Executive Committee on behalf of the Council. If a time sensitive issue arises that demands a Non-Binding Opinion Statement, the Executive Committee may, by majority vote, make such a statement. This may be done only after first conferring with the Council via electronic or telephonic means and providing an opportunity for input from the Council.
3.5 Council Votes on Matters Proposed by the Club. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Club may request the Council make a statement on any issue that the Club sees fit; such a request does not require a sponsoring Council member or second. All requests from the Club shall receive consideration, discussion, and a vote by the Council or Executive Committee and the Club shall be entitled to send a Club representative to the Council meeting to speak on the issue during the discussion. The Club should make requests through the Alliance Council President and provide thirty days of notice for such matters.
Back in the summer of 2016 Alliance Council worked to update, clarify and modernise our Constitution and Bylaws. Ultimately the Alliance Constitution was sent out for an Alliance-wide vote for ratification.
Part of this body of work was updating our Bylaws; one of those Bylaws, Bylaw 9, concerned membership of Alliance Council.
This summer we are excited to announce that the design contest and vote for the 2020 Alliance Scarf will return. Look for communication on the timeline and entry details soon.
I thought it would be interesting to peek behind the scenes of the scarf design contest and vote – and see how your Alliance Council are working to represent you. The process starts in the Spring – when we start discussing the timelines, improvements and process on running the contest.
The Club starts the ball rolling with the opening of the design phase of the competition. The designs come in from all kinds of fans – young, old, crayons to professional design. After the close of submissions – then Alliance Council gets really involved. This is where we get to discuss the designs among ourselves and reduce the many dozens of submissions to a final five.
In years past we received all kinds of images and documents – and tried to shuffle them by email. Hard work. For the last few years Alliance Council have been voting electronically and reviewing online. That’s a lot easier. We have seen some incredible designs – and getting to that final few involves a few rounds of voting. It’s a lot like the World Cup – I place the scarves in groups (splitting similar designs across the groups) and the Alliance Council workgroup vote for the best of each group. In the past top two from each group have gone on to the final round of Alliance Council review. That’s where we really think hard and vote on the final five. The final five – as selected by Alliance Council – are then passed back to the Club.
For 2018 the Club offered to make prototype scarves for each of the finalists, have them available at the Fan Appreciation event, and to give each finalist designer a copy of their scarf. That turned out better than we ever expected. Having scarves to see really helped fans imagine what the scarf would look like – and drove a lot of interest in the fan vote.
The fan voting is where we see a lot of discussion on social media. Everyone has opinions – and right until the close of voting we see a great deal of commentary about the various scarves.
The result of the fan vote is kept secret – and is usually revealed at the Alliance Annual Business meeting.
As part of our discussion about the future of Alliance Council – and how to best represent the fans in a full stadium – the 2019 Alliance Council worked during March and April to create a mission statement, or North Star, that works for us today and into the future. Everything we do, every project and working group, should be reviewed through this lens. Are we doing the right thing? Should we place our efforts elsewhere?
Here our guide; our mission statement; our North Star:
The Seattle Sounders FC Alliance Council strives to achieve the best fan experience in North American soccer and to build upon our historical foundation in order to preserve the Club we love.
We do this by being the voice of the fan and by upholding the principles of Democracy in Sports.
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:
Treasurer (if required)
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 Vice President
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.