This draft contains some of my current ideas how to improve NJLP inner workings. These are framed in terms of bylaws amendments. Some of them were already presented to the bylaws committee, some may be submitted in the future, some may be presented to GMs as members submissions etc. Some of these ideas may remain on the drawing board for a while.
Some of those ideas had been polled and had high levels of internal support, and were picked up by Jan GM.
This is the work in progress, this document may be versioned or amended as needed, new ideas will be added. I’m picking up ideas of others; consider that an expression of support; if you’d like to mentioned as a co-sponsor, PLMK.
1. Term limits for Officers.
A. Add 7.f. “Term limits. State Board members who have been in the same roles for three terms prior (two terms in case of the State Chair) at the beginning of an annual Convention shall be ineligible to stand for re-election for this role until the subsequent Convention.”
Rationale: To ensure timely rotation of the State Board members and the State Chair. There shall be no #foreverchair.
2. Trustees neighbors. Add new 8a: “Among the State Chair, and the Trustees no two persons shall reside in the same county.”
Rationale: To ensure geographic diversity of Trustees.
3. Allow for changes to the Platform at General Meetings.
In 6.b.1 strike "amend", so it reads "to adopt or discard the NJLP Platform;"
Rationale: At present, the Platform can only be changed at the Convention, which is likely to become a bottleneck.
4. Email notice for General Meetings.
Insert in 6a2 “At least two (2) weeks written or electronic (email and webpage) notice shall be given for a General Meeting”.
Rationale: This would allow greater flexibility with calling General Meetings. Written notice provision has become repeatedly thorny, and feels outdated.
5. Safeguards for online General Meetings.
6.a.6. General Meetings can be held via video conference only in case of emergency. In situation of such an emergency, both the Chair, the Secretary, and the VP of membership shall jointly certify that an emergency exists in the meeting notice, and describe it in reasonable detail. Any decision of a General Meeting held online shall be reconsidered and voted upon by a next General Meeting held in person, provided that the request or motion for reconsideration is supported by no less than a quarter of members attending the former General Meeting.
Rationale. We need to retain presumption in favor of in-person General Meeting. However, in current external environment it may impossible to conduct in-person meeting, which would necessitate an online one. This provision adds two safeguards: that a true emergency must exist, and lower plank for reconsideration which would reduce an incentive for possible foul play.
6. Elections – platform.
6e. Add “The Platform Committee members shall be elected during the Convention by proportional vote for a term concluding at the end of the next Convention.”
Rationale. Platform committee should be representative of cross-section of party viewpoints.
7. Elections – bylaws.
6d. Add. “The Bylaws Committee members shall be elected during General Meetings for a term of up to one year.”
Rationale. Currently bylaws committee members are appointed by the Chair and are not independent.
8. Elections – Officers.
Rationale. This procedural change would improve our Board diversity.
9. General Meeting Committee.
New 6f. “General Meeting Oversight Committee.
The General Meeting Oversight Committee shall organize the General Meetings, and be responsible for rules for General Meetings and Conventions. The Chair of this committee shall be chosen by the members during the Convention.
Sufficient time to conduct Party business shall be allowed for General Meetings.”
Rationale: General Meeting or Convention organizing committees serve a crucial role in party functioning. Adding this provision to bylaws is a step to regularize their operations.
10. Non-resident membership.
“NJLP members who no longer neither work nor reside in New Jersey shall henceforth have a non-voting membership, shall not vote in any internal matter, and not serve as officers or officials of the party, or voting members of the committees, but retain other membership privileges. Their voting privileges shall be restored upon reestablishing New Jersey residency.”
Rationale: This provision would codify existing rules that non-resident members don’t vote. This would address an apparent confusion, as evidenced by a recent discussion over the composition of the bylaws committee.
11. Email Openness.
Rationale: At present these discussions over emails are treated as closed in violation of Opennes policy in 6f.
12. Members email list.
Rationale: This would liberalize access to members mailing list and would improve inter-member communications.
13. Exclusive executive authority.
Add 9f. “No creation of additional offices or establishment of supplemental executive authorities shall be done absent a vote at a General Meeting.”
Rationale. To make sure that important modifications to inner party working require membership consent.
14. No age of maturity req.
In 7. Officers, Amend “Any member of the NJLP
eighteen years of age or older may be elected an Officer.” by striking the age requirement.
In 8.Trustees. Add “Any member of the NJLP eighteen years of age or older may be elected a Trustee.”
Rationale: Generally we don’t support government-enforced age restrictions. Move age restriction from a requirement for Officers to a requirement for a Trustee (were it may still be required). h/t: Jay/Mike.Jan 2022.