Revised: January 2020
UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON STAFF COUNCIL BY-LAWS
Section 1. Representation
Staff Council (sometimes referred to herein as the "Council") is responsible for representing the concerns of the University of Houston (sometimes referred to herein as the "University") staff. As used in the Constitution and in these Bylaws, "Staff" shall mean all benefits-eligible employees, who are not charged principally with teaching. The term "Staff" includes both exempt and nonexempt employees and both part-time and full-time employees.
Section 2. Membership
2.1 Representation:. The Council shall consist of representatives who will be elected as follows:
a. The University of Houston Staff shall elect three (3) at-large members who shall serve staggered terms;
b. The Staff of each Division shall elect one representative per 100 benefits-eligible staff members in their division. The number of benefits-eligible staff within a division shall be rounded down if the total is 49 or fewer and rounded up if 50 or more. There is a minimum of one (1) representative per division. Review of the number of council members for each division shall occur annually by May 1 by the Membership and Elections Committee. Reapportionment of division members shall be made by the Membership and Elections Committee to reflect any changes in divisions in the University's organization or in staff composition for the next Council election. No council member will be removed from a position on Staff Council as a result of reapportionment. If a staff council member is transferred from one division in the university to another, the member shall forfeit his or her membership on Staff Council and a new member will be appointed from the division from which he or she was elected. However, in the event that a body of staff members are transferred between divisions outside of their control, the member will not be required to forfeit their membership.
C. President-Elect is elected by Staff Council members for a three-year term each fiscal year. The President-Elect becomes President the following fiscal year and Immediate Past President the second following year. Upon election to Staff Council President-Elect, they will move into the membership Staff Council President-Elect position, which is a three-year term. The membership for their previous division will be filled per by-laws for vacant positions.
2.2 Divisions. Currently, Staff Council representation is apportioned as follows:
Administration and Finance
University Marketing, Communication and Media Relations
2.3 Eligibility for Council. Membership in Staff Council shall be limited to benefits-eligible staff who have been employees of University of Houston for a minimum of one year.
2.4 Terms. Staff Council members shall serve staggered three-year terms. Elections will be held annually to elect one-third of the membership of Staff Council.
2.5 Vacancies by resignation. The Council President will select nominees to complete unexpired terms from among those nominated but not elected in the last election, in the order of the highest number of votes received within the representative Division. In the case of a nominee(s) from the previous election not being available to serve on Council, the President may solicit nominations from the floor. A vacancy is filled when a nomination is approved by two-thirds of the council members in attendance. The appointed member will serve until the next official elections. If the unexpired term is more than one year, the position then will be filled at the next regularly scheduled Council elections for the remainder of the unexpired term.
2.6 Forfeiture of Membership. If any member misses three (3) consecutive or a total of four (4) regularly scheduled meetings within the fiscal year that member will automatically lose his/her position on Staff Council. The Parliamentarian shall contact members who are in danger of forfeiture by absence. If a membership is forfeited by absence, the Parliamentarian shall contact the member via email and copy the Chair(s) of the Membership & Elections Committee, Secretary, and Staff Council President informing them of the forfeiture. If a member wishes to appeal, the member shall file a written request for reappointment (using the proscribed form provided by the Parliamentarian) to the Chair of the Membership & Elections Committee and the Parliamentarian within five (5) business days of the notice from the Parliamentarian. Chair(s) of the Membership & Elections Committee shall present the written request to the members of the Staff Council Executive Committee who shall vote on reinstatement at the next scheduled Executive Board Meeting. A 2/3rds majority will be required to reinstate the member in question. If a member is not reappointed then the procedures set forth in section 2.5 above (vacancies by resignation) shall govern filling the vacancy. If a member misses two (2) additional meetings after a member is reappointed then there is no further appeal and the member automatically loses his/her position on Staff Council.In addition, a staff council member may only request reappointment after forfeiture by absence once within a single fiscal year.
2.7 Excused Absence due to FMLA does not count as an absence.
Section 3. Election of Staff Council Members
3.1 Coordination of Elections. The Membership and Elections Committee shall coordinate and validate all elections to the Council. No Council member who is a candidate for a Council position may be involved in the counting of ballots or manning the election booths for the position selected from his division.
3.2 The Membership and Elections Committee shall establish and maintain an election code. Any changes to the election code shall be approved by Staff Council no later than three (3) months prior to each election and will be available to any staff of the University.3.3 Election of Staff Council Representatives. Electronic voting for Staff Council representatives will begin in late June, allowing enough time for at least three weeks of electronic voting. The criterion for Staff Council membership is listed in Section 2.3 of these bylaws; the definition of "staff" is included in Section 1. Each benefits-eligible staff member shall have the right to vote within his or her division for Staff Council members to represent his or her Division and for At-Large members of the Council.3.4. Nominations. The Membership and Elections Committee will provide nomination form link for Staff Council to all Staff as per the Election Code. For a nominee to be included on the Staff Council ballot, a nomination form must be completed and returned no later than three (3) weeks before the election.3.6 Method of Voting. All benefits-eligible staff may vote for nominees the Membership and Elections Committee determines are within his or her Division and At-Large positions on the ballot. The ballot will include space for write-in candidates. On designated Election Days, on-line voting will be available at access.uh.edu.
3.7 Counting of Ballots. The Certification Committee shall certify the election results within twenty-four (24) hours after the polls close. The nominees with the most votes from a division will hold the position with the longest term. Those with the second highest total will have the next longest term. In the event of a tie vote, the Certification Committee will conduct a drawing.
3.8 Reelection. Present members of Staff Council are eligible for reelection.
3.9 Notification. All candidates will be notified of the results of the election before the results are made public or announced.
Section 4. Meetings
4.1 Staff Council. Staff Council shall meet at least once a month throughout the year. The Council shall meet on the first Thursday of the month at 1:30 P.M. or at a time designated by the Staff Council President. Every effort will be made to teleconference enable these meetings to allow those who cannot attend in person to be counted as present, participate and vote. Electronic attendance will be allowed for a maximum of three meetings in any given academic year, a maximum which can be waived by the Staff Council President for special circumstances such as employees who work at satellite campuses. The following meeting exceptions may occur due to natural disaster, inclement weather, pandemic, when the University closes or requires staff to work from home, or when an event beyond the scope of Staff Council control occurs. Under one of these scenarios Staff council electronic attendance limits will be temporarily waived and electronic meeting attendance during the exception period will count towards the attendance policy in Section 2.6 of the Staff Council Bylaws.
4.2 Committees. Council Standing Committees shall meet on an as needed basis, but not less than once every three months.
4.3 Executive Session. The Council may request to go into executive session in accordance with the Texas Open Meetings Act, by a majority vote by those council members in attendance.
4.4 Executive Board Meetings. The Executive Board shall meet at least once a month throughout the year. The Council president shall determine the date and time of such meetings.
4.5 Forums. Staff Council will have a highly publicized forum and/or meeting at least once per year at a time and place designated by the Staff Affairs Committee.
4.6 Quorum. A quorum shall consist of a majority of the Members (50% + 1). Neither business nor voting shall occur at a meeting with less than a quorum.
4.7 Voting. Voting at meetings shall be by a voice vote or 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. Voting will also be allowed over teleconference so long as the technology used requires that the Staff Council member logs in with a user name and password tied to an official UH account or allows the member to be identified by their voice. If a proposal or resolution needs to be voted on outside of a General Staff Council meeting, votes will be gathered in a special meeting called by the President and can be delivered in person, over teleconference, or via email.
Section 5. Election of Officers and Voting
5.1 Officers. The officers of the Council shall be: President, President-elect, Secretary, Treasurer, Immediate Past President, Historian, and Parliamentarian. All officers shall be members of Staff Council.
5.2 Term: All officers shall serve for one (1) year beginning on September 1 of each year and ending August 31st.
5.2. a All Officers, except the President and Immediate Past President, shall be elected in August.
5.2. b The President-elect will become President effective September 1, and the previous President will become Immediate Past President. The president will be treated as ex-officio and will only vote in order to break a tie.
5.3 Elections. The Membership and Elections Committee shall coordinate and validate all elections of officers. The following officers-President-elect, Secretary, Treasurer, Parliamentarian, and the Historian- shall be nominated by Staff Council in the July meeting of each year and elected at the August meeting of each year and assume duties on September 1st of each year. Should the nominee’s term expire by August 31st of that year and the nominee not be elected to Staff Council for the next year then his/her nomination will be withdrawn.
5.4 Majority. Results of all elections and votes taken at Council meeting shall be decided by a majority of the votes cast except where otherwise indicated in the Constitution and these Bylaws.
5.5 Method of Voting for Officers. Elections will be conducted by secret ballot. Elections will be by simple majority of Staff Council Members present. In the case that there is not a simple majority, there will be a run off of the top two (2) candidates. Ties will be broken by the Council president.
5.6 Counting of Ballots. No Council member who is a candidate for an election may be involved in or present during the counting of ballots for that position.
5.7 Emergency Resignation of Officers. In the instance of an emergency resignation where proper channels cannot be used to resign and reappoint a member to fill the open office, the President may appoint an Interim Officer until an official election can be held.
Section 6. Officers and Duties
6.1 The president shall have the following duties:
a) Preside over all Staff Council meetings.
b) Shall represent Staff Council at all functions that require representation of Staff Council or appoint a current council member in his or her place.
c) The President is the official representative and spokesperson for this organization.
d) Shall break all ties in votes of the Staff Council according to Robert’s Rules of Order.
e) Shall call special meetings when deemed necessary.
f) May not be president of any other University organization.
g) Appoint chairs of Staff Council committees.
h) Appoint Ad Hoc or Special committees.
i) Responsible for communicating the actions of Staff Council to the President of the University of Houston and Constituents.
j) Coordinate, prepare and distribute the annual report of activities to the University President and constituents.
6.2 The President-elect shall have the following duties:
a) Assist the President in planning the agenda for Staff Council Meetings.
b) Preside over meetings in the absence of the President.
c) Oversee all committees and meet at least once with each of the standing committees throughout the year.
d) Advise Officers in their job requirements. If a new Officer is elected it is the duty of the President-elect to give that person on the job training until that Officer is confident with his/her position.
e) Other duties as deemed appropriate by the President.
6.3 The Secretary shall have the following duties:
a) Proof read the minutes from the Staff Council meeting and submit the final copy of the minutes to the President of Staff Council.
b) Be responsible for all correspondence with all Executive Board and Staff Council members.
c) Keep a complete roster of members of Staff Council, including but not limited to: name, E-mail, inner office mail, extension or phone number, committee membership, term of office, Division they represent, etc.
6.4 The Treasurer shall have the following duties:
a) Keep an accurate record of all money disbursed and received, while also maintaining the financial reports.
b) Give a written report to Staff Council at the first meeting of every month with the updated budget.
6.5 The Immediate Past President shall have the following duties:
a) Remain accessible to the new President as a resource for one (1) year; the position will be as a non-voting member if the individual’s membership on the Council has expired.
b) Assist the President as needed.
6.6 The Parliamentarian shall have the following duties:
a) Oversee the conduct of Staff Council business to ensure adherence to the Constitution and Bylaws.
b) Shall be the authority on Parliamentary Procedure (Robert’s Rules of Order) for Staff Council.
c) Maintain a list of all council members who are in attendance at the regularly scheduled meetings and advise the Executive Board of any members who have forfeited membership due to missed meetings.
d) Notify Staff Council Members in danger of forfeiture by absence.
6.7 The Historian shall have the following duties:a) Shall oversee staff council online presence and maintain of any news articles, photographic and video records pertaining to the Staff Council activities and events working closely with the communications committee.b) Shall maintain any other records requested by the President.c) All historical materials not located online shall be maintained in the official Staff Council files kept by the Staff Council Program Manager.
Section 7. Committees
7.1 Committee Membership
a. Eligibility. No elected officer of the Council shall chair a Council standing committee. Council standing committees will be chaired by one or more Staff Council member. Unless specified otherwise, membership in any standing Council committee is open to any University staff member, regardless of Council membership. Unless specified otherwise, the Council may appoint any qualified University staff member in good standing, regardless of membership in the Council, to any University-wide committee to which it has been asked to appoint representatives. However, preference will be given to Staff Council members. With regard to University-wide committees, non-Staff Council committee members will have the same committee expectations and responsibilities as Staff Council members with regard to that committee.
b. Term. The term of Council committee membership and of the chair will coincide with the terms of the officers. The term of University-wide committee membership will be determined by the requirements of that particular committee.
c. Voting. On the Staff Council Cougar First Impressions Standing Committee, both Staff Council members and non-Staff Council members will have voting privileges. On the other Staff Council standing committees, non-Staff Council members will not have voting privileges. On ad hoc committees, voting privileges will be defined by the Staff Council President who creates the committee. On University-wide committees, non-Staff Council members will be representing Staff Council, so will have same voting privileges as Staff Council members, as defined by the particular University-wide committee.
d. Committee Membership Requirements. Staff Council members will belong to and participate in at least two (2) committees. These may be Council standing committees, University-wide committees, ad hoc committees, and/or the Executive Committee. If a Staff Council member is unable to participate in two committees due to the demands of one of these committees or due to job constraints, that Council member shall apply in writing or via email to the President-elect for a waiver of this requirement. The President-elect will review the request, and present a recommendation to the Executive Committee for approval.
7.2 Standing Committees. The Council shall have the following standing committees:
a. Membership and Elections. Responsible for reviewing the apportionment of representation among the University’s Divisions as required by the Constitution and Bylaws, for recommending to the Council President nominees for filling vacancies, and for overseeing and conducting the annual campus-wide Council Elections.
b. Appointments. Recommend staff representatives to standing and other university committees for Council approval. These recommendations must be presented for approval at the next Council meeting. The Appointments Committee will oversee the activities of appointees to University-wide committees, including maintaining a roster of interested potential appointees for university-wide committees, maintaining a record of the membership of such committees, collecting reports from appointees at least twice a year, and ensuring that appointees are able to attend committee meetings.
c. Events. Responsible for review of special campus events for Staff members including but not limited to: Sock and Blanket Drive, Spring Festival Event, Council luncheon in September, and other activities selected and approved by the Council. The Events Chair shall serve on the planning committee for Cougar First Impressions and assist as needed.
d. Communications. Responsible for all external communication, including releases to university media. This committee will also administer the Staff Council online presence, assist with photographic and videos record of staff council events, distribute messages on the listserv, conduct the New Member Orientation, and work closely with other committees and the Staff Council program manager to distribute communications from Staff Council and the committees to the University campus community at large.
e. Staff Affairs. Responsible for review of issues relating to staff on campus including, but not limited to, benefits, parking, safety; review of University policies and procedures; and other issues identified by Staff Affairs and/or Staff Council; Annual Forum with University President.
f. Cougar First Impressions. Responsible for planning and overseeing the annual Cougar First Impressions event, which will take place the first two days of the Fall semester. This Committee may include staff members who are not members of Staff Council. One Co-Chair must be a member of the Staff Council. First choice for the other CFI co-chair shall be a non-Staff Council member. If a suitable non-Staff Council member cannot be identified for this position, then a Staff Council member may be appointed for this position.
g. Professional Development. Responsible for matters relating to staff development and training, including, but not limited to, Staff Scholarships and training reimbursements, Staff Awards; and other issues identified by Professional Development and/or Staff Council.
7.3 Special Committees. The Staff Council President as needed may appoint ad hoc committees.
7.4 Handbooks. All Committee Chairs shall maintain a committee handbook. The handbook shall bebrought to the Staff Council Coordinator at the August meeting or be available online.
Section 8. Executive Board
8.1 Membership. The Executive Board shall consist of the following Council officers and chairs: president, immediate past president, president-elect, secretary, treasurer, parliamentarian, historian, and all standing committee chairs.
8.2 Duties. The Executive Board shall consider all matters brought before Staff Council and make referrals to the proper committees when necessary.
Section 9. Office Vacancies and Chain of Command
9.1 Nominations to Fill Vacancies. In the event of a vacancy in an elected office of Staff Council the Membership and Elections Committee will accept nominations for that position at the next Staff Council meeting.
9.2 Election to Fill Vacancies. An election to fill the vacancy will be held at the same meeting that nominations are made unless a majority of the members present votes to hold the election at the following meeting. The election shall be conducted in accordance with the procedures outlined in Section 5 of the bylaws.
9.3 Presidencies. In the event of a vacancy in the office of president, the president-elect shall be President and serve the remainder of that term and serve as President the following year.
9.4 Chain of Command. In the event both the President and President-elect are unable to conduct a regular meeting, the chain of command shall be as follows: Immediate Past President, Secretary, Treasurer, Parliamentarian, Historian.
Section 10. Budget
10.1 Preparation. The Executive Board will be responsible for preparing a budget for Staff Council. Such budget shall coincide with the university budget cycle.
10.2 Contents. The budget shall be representative of all programs, events, and allocations for the fiscal year.
10.3 Approval. The Staff Council will receive a copy of the proposed budget for approval no later than the second meeting of the fiscal year. Staff Council shall approve or amend the budget by simple majority.
10.4 Unexpected Expenses. In the event that an unanticipated expenditure arises, the Executive Board shall vote on the expenditure by simple majority. If approval of the expenditure cannot wait until the next Executive Board meeting, the vote may be taken by phone or e-mail.
Section 11. Impeachment
Grounds for impeachment are any of the following and must be voted for by ¾ of the full Staff Council membership:
1) Failure to fulfill duties of office.
2) Failure to actively participate in Staff Council.
3) Misrepresentation of the office or organization.
Section 12. Resignations
12.1 Inability to Serve. If for any reason a member of Staff Council cannot continue to serve out his or her term of office, that person may voluntarily resign.
12.2 Procedure. A resignation should be submitted in writing to the President.
12.3 Return of Staff Council Property. Upon notice of resignation the person has one (1) week to remove any personal items from Staff Council space and return any items that are property of Staff Council.
Section 13. Orientation
13.1 Meeting. An orientation session for newly elected members shall be held before the first scheduled Council meeting of the fiscal year.
13.2 Manual. New member orientation information, including Council procedures, Committee charges, membership, the Constitution and the Bylaws shall be available online.
13.3 Committee. The Communication Committee shall be responsible for organizing the orientation session.
Section 14. Amendments
14.1 Proposals of Amendment. Any Staff Council member may propose an amendment to the bylaws by submitting to the Secretary his or her written proposal.
14.2 Presentation to Board. The proposed amendment shall be discussed at the first Executive Board meeting after the Secretary receives the written proposal.
14.3 Discussion of Proposal. The proposed amendment will be placed on the agenda for discussion at the next regularly scheduled meeting following the executive board meeting. The Secretary shall distribute a copy of the proposed amendment to all Staff Council members at the meeting or before.
14.4 Vote on Proposal. The bylaws will be amended upon a majority vote of the council members present at the regularly scheduled meeting following the meeting in which the amendment was distributed.
14.5 Approved Amendments. A copy of the approved amendmants shall be attached to the minutes of the General Staff Council meeting following the approval.
Section 15. Program Manager
The Staff Council utilizes a Program Manager to help in support of Staff Council; the coordinator reports to the president of Staff Council and the division administrator of the President’s office.
Section 16. University System Staff Executive Council (USSEC)The Staff Council will select four representatives to USSEC who will represent The University of Houston staff issues and concerns to USSEC and will bring information from USSEC back to the Staff Council on a regular basis. The representatives will consist of the President, the President-elect, and two current Staff Council members elected by Staff Council. Membership will be reviewed on an annual basis but will not be longer than two years. Reference University System Staff Executive Council Constitution signed July 19, 2006.