Drafted in 2021 by Mary Averill, Sarah Morgan, David Pfeffer, Suzanne Pisano, Catherine Riihimaki, and Peter Schutz. Approved by IGSV membership May 7, 2021.
1. Vision statement:
Build political power to elect and support representatives who value Truth and Equality.
2. Mission statement:
Indivisible: Garden State Values is a community organization that seeks to influence our elected representatives to enact policies that are evidence-based and equitable. We offer programming to educate our members about issues, representatives, and candidates; calls to action to enable coordinated work that is more effective than individual actions; and online and in-person space to build connections among neighbors who have similar values.
3. Leadership Structure and & Nomination System:
Indivisible: Garden State Values (IGSV) is structured such that there is a Leadership Council that oversees the organization, including committees that each deals with specific issues and reports to the Leadership Council. The Leadership Council approves any new committees, offers support to each committee, and decides when a committee should be disbanded. It also oversees events sponsored by IGSV and manages communication for IGSV.
Each member of the Leadership Council shall have one vote only, even if the members play more than one role on the Council. The members of the Leadership Council comprise:
Officers (must be 3 separate individuals)
- Chair – overall responsibility and oversight; runs Leadership Council meetings
- Vice Chair – stands in for the Chair as required
- Secretary/Administrator – takes care of agendas and minutes of Leadership Council meetings and general communications
Others (roles can be filled by officers or multiple roles can be done by more than one individual)
- Chair or Vice Chair from each committee
- Social media account administrator(s)
- Membership coordinator
Elections for officers of the Leadership Council will be held annually every year within one week of January 31st for an interval to be specified at least one month in advance of the start of the election by the Leadership Council.
Any member in good standing may run for office. Nominations of candidates for office must be submitted to the Secretary/Administrator by at least 3 weeks before the start of the election. The Secretary/Administrator will then announce the candidates at least 2 weeks before the start of the election. Those running for office must commit in advance to support the bylaws of the organization.
A special election may be called by the Leadership Council with at least one month notice to the overall membership for any vacant office.
Terms of Office
The term of each leadership position or office will last for one year. A person may be re-elected to the position for up to, but no more than 3 consecutive terms. Rotation of leadership roles is encouraged to build capacity for leadership across IGSV.
Officers may resign at any time for any reason with written notification to the Secretary/Administrator, but are strongly encouraged to give at least 1 month notice. The remaining members of the Leadership Council will appoint an interim officer until the next regular election. If the Secretary/Administrator resigns, the Chair will receive the notification.
Any officer or leader of the organization may be removed from office for serious dereliction of duties or for other reasons by vote of at least three-quarters (¾) of the voting membership. Not performing his or her duties or not attending at least half of the regular Leadership Council meetings within a year will constitute a dereliction of duties. Before the vote, the leader will have an opportunity to defend themselves of the charges and make a verbal presentation to the rest of the Leadership Council not to exceed 20 minutes. The leader will be advised in writing of the charges at least 2 weeks before a vote can be held by the Leadership Council on the matter.
The Leadership Council may establish committees from the IGSV membership through a majority vote and may dissolve any existing committees by majority vote if the committees have not been functioning successfully. Any IGSV member may suggest a new committee or suggest ending an existing committee to the leadership team. Decisions on committees will be made to ensure that all existing committees are able to operate inclusively and vibrantly. Committees must be aligned to the IGSV Mission and Vision.
Each committee will have a Chair and Vice Chair, and will invite any IGSV member to participate. Committees will meet regularly, ideally once per month, will regularly propose calls to action to the IGSV Chair, ideally once per week, and will suggest a few speakers for the IGSV group meetings, ideally every few months. Committee Chairs or their delegates will report on committee activities at each IGSV group meeting.
Group decisions: The most important decisions (e.g., endorsing candidates, changing bylaws, officer elections) will be voted on by the membership. Each voting member gets one vote, and at least 10 members must cast a vote for the results to be valid. A simple majority wins. No voting by proxy can occur.
Consultative decisions: Some decisions (for instance, choosing the date of the monthly meeting) will be made by the Leadership Council after seeking input from the members or stakeholders. The leadership reserves the right to delegate specific decisions to the most relevant individual.
Virtual and in-person meetings are important to hold regularly to manage the group, to establish and maintain community among IGSV members, to educate IGSV members about issues, and to coordinate actions by IGSV members. Meeting types may include guest speakers on particular topics, collective work to produce materials like letters to the editor or signs, discussions of books or other media, IGSV planning, and socializing.
Group meetings will be held once per month, as scheduled by the Chair and Vice Chair, except when the logistics are not feasible such as during the lead-up to elections when members may be too busy with canvassing. At least six (6) days’ notice will be given by Facebook and email to IGSV members. Each committee Chair or their delegate will make a report at each group meeting. The Chair will also make a report from the Leadership Council.
Each committee will hold virtual or in-person meetings, as scheduled by the Chair and Vice Chair of the committee. Failure to hold committee meetings four months in a row may result in the committee being dissolved.
Meetings of the Leadership Council will be presided over by the Chair and if the Chair is not available, the Vice Chair.
The Leadership Council will hold regular, monthly meetings at which all members of the Leadership Council are expected to attend. Decisions are made by majority vote. A quorum of at least half of the members of the Leadership Council will be required for any votes.
An agenda approved by the Chair for each meeting will be sent out by the Chair to the other Leadership Council members at least 48 hours before the meeting.
Membership is open to all individuals who have paid any dues prescribed by the Leadership Council, if any are required, and completing any forms of register prescribed by the Leadership Council, if any are required. Membership ceases when any dues or forms are more than 30 days late. Individuals who have previously been removed from IGSV will require approval from the Leadership Council to join. The Membership coordinator will track membership eligibility.
All members who live within, or operate a business whose physical address is within, the geographical boundaries of the NJ-7 legislative district shall be considered voting members after attending more than one (1) Group meeting in any given 365 day period (i.e., voting membership is automatically granted at the beginning of a member’s second meeting in a 365 day period). Voting membership shall expire after a member has failed to attend any meetings for a given 365 day period.
Any individual meeting the qualifications for and completing the requirements for membership and/or voting membership shall be permitted regardless of the individual’s identity. Identity-based discrimination will never be tolerated, including on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, ethnic or national origin, age (except that special requirements are permissible for unemancipated minors), disability, marital status, immigration status, sexual orientation, or gender identity. Registration forms prescribed by the leadership council may ask about these identity details, but the questions must be expressly identified as optional.
Members may be removed from IGSV for bad behavior, as defined by the Leadership Council prior to any activity that could be considered bad behavior. Members shall be removed upon a two-thirds vote of the voting members, or a majority vote of the leadership council.
Members may not publicly make claims about IGSV’s position on any particular issue or claim an endorsement from IGSV for any particular candidate for office without the consent of a majority of the voting membership.
8. Calls to action:
Calls to action (CTAs) will be collected each week by the Chair or a designated person or persons.
Ideally, each committee will contribute at least one CTA per week that pertains to the committee’s area of concern. If there is no CTA in a given week, the committee chair or co-chair shall inform the Chair as soon as possible.
CTAs will be disseminated to the membership via email and will be posted on the IGSV Facebook page and on the IGSV website.
IGSV recognizes the importance of having regular communication with members and with the Indivisible community. The Leadership Council will appoint people to manage the following platforms for communication and will establish usage rules for each.
Facebook: IGSV will maintain a social media presence on Facebook in order to foster community among members and communicate with the broader community. Only IGSV members may post and comment, and such communications must conform to the Facebook group’s rules as established by the Leadership Council.
Email: IGSV members will be asked to provide their email addresses. Emails will be sent weekly with Calls to action, and as needed with news, event announcements, and meeting notifications and confirmations. Members can opt out of the Calls to action without impacting their membership status.
Website: The Leadership Council will appoint someone to maintain a website with the URL https://www.indivisiblegsv.org. Website content will be updated weekly to ensure current information is reflected, including Calls to action. Website look-and-feel will be updated as needed to reflect current design trends.
Twitter: The Leadership Council will appoint someone to manage the Twitter account @indivisiblegsv. Posts will be aligned with IGSV values and Calls to action. No personal information about members shall be shared on the Twitter account without approval of that member.
These bylaws may be amended by at least a two-thirds (⅔) vote of at least 10 voting members. Any member may submit proposed changes or updates to these bylaws for consideration by the Leadership Council. The Leadership Council will consider such inputs or, on its own, craft amendments or changes to these bylaws with the following provisions:
- The proposed amendment shall be submitted to voting members at least 10 days prior to when voting begins.
- Notification will be via email and Facebook post.
11. Code of conduct:
IGSV supports a diverse, inclusive, and thriving community through open and respectful dialogues online and at in-person meetings. All participants of online IGSV forums and in-person IGSV events are expected to:
- Treat other participants with respect and consideration.
- Be considerate, collegial, and collaborative.
- Communicate openly, with civil attitudes, critiquing ideas rather than individuals.
- Frame discussions as openly and inclusively as possible and be aware of how language or images may be perceived by others.
- Avoid personal attacks and harassment directed toward other participants in attendance.
- Obey the rules and policies of the meeting venue or online platform.
- Alert local security personnel if they notice someone in distress, or perceive a potentially dangerous situation, or witness a dangerous situation.
The following behavior will not be tolerated:
- Harassment, intimidation, or discrimination in any form.
- Physical, written, electronic, or verbal abuse of any participant.
Examples of unacceptable behavior include, but are not limited to, derisive comments related to gender, sexual orientation, age, medical condition, pregnancy, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, religion, national origin, citizenship, gender identity and expression, marital status, or veteran/military status; inappropriate use of nudity and/or sexual images in public spaces or in presentations; threatening or stalking any participant; inappropriate or unwelcome touch; telling sexually explicit or culturally offensive jokes; irresponsible use of alcohol or other controlled substances.
Anyone experiencing or witnessing behavior that constitutes an immediate or serious threat to public safety, or a criminal act is expected to contact 911. Once the threat is resolved, the incident should be reported to the IGSV Chair as soon as possible. Inappropriate conduct that is a single offense and not a threat to public safety should be reported to the online platform’s administrator or the organizer of the in-person meeting. Ongoing conduct that is in violation of this code of conduct should be reported to the IGSV Chair. If the Chair is the target of the complaint, a Leadership Council member who is not similarly conflicted should be contacted.