San Diego Chapter, Sierra Club
July 13, 2017
Approved – Date – By – Title
Chapter Steering Committee – 7/13/2017 – Ruben Arizmendi – Chair
Filed by the Office of Chapter Support – 9/7/2017 – Greg Casini – Director Chapter Support
2.2 Membership Meetings
- Executive Committee
3.7 Chapter Committees
3.8 Open Meetings
3.10 ExCom Meetings
3.11 Special Meetings
3.12 Emergency Meetings
- Nominations and Elections
4.1 Annual Election
4.2 Nominating Committee
4.3 Petition Candidates
4.4 Election Committee
4.5 Availability of Election Ballot Materials
4.7 Counting Ballots
- Functions and Services
5.3 Conservation Program
5.4 Membership Program
5.5 Outings and Activities
5.6 Political Action
- Groups and Sections
6.4 Suspension and Dissolution
7.1 Receiving & Expending Funds
7.2 Fundraising and Fees for Outings and Activities
7.3 Authority Over Deposited Funds
7.4 Requirement to Deposit
7.5 Delegation of Authority
7.7 Fiscal Year
7.8 Books and Reports
- Construction and Amendment
8.1 Interpretation of Bylaws
Bylaw 1. Organization
1.1 Name. The name of this Sierra Club unit is the San Diego Chapter of the Sierra Club (Club).
1.2 Establishment. This Chapter is established by action of the Board of Directors of the Club (Board), and is governed by these Bylaws, consistent with the provisions of the Bylaws and Standing Rules of the Club, by applicable law, and by the policies and directives of the Board. This Chapter is an integral part of the Sierra Club and is not a separate legal entity.
1.3 Purpose. The purpose of this Chapter is to foster within its territorial limits the purposes of the Club. The chapter is authorized to undertake activities that are consistent with the purposes of the Club and are not prohibited by the Board by a general rule applicable alike to all chapters. The Chapter shall act on questions of public policy only in pursuance of Board policies or in a manner consistent with them.
1.4 Boundaries. The territorial boundaries of this Chapter shall be as specified from time to time by the Board, with due consideration of the wishes of Club members residing therein.
Bylaw 2. Membership
2.1 Members. Chapter members shall be those Club members of record who reside within the Chapter boundaries, except as otherwise provided in the Club Bylaws. Only Chapter members in good standing may vote or hold Chapter office. Only Sierra Club members in good standing may act on behalf of the Chapter.
2.2 Membership Meetings. The ExCom may call, or upon petition by 50 members shall call, a meeting of the members. At least 15 days written notice shall be provided to the members, stating the time and place to consider subjects specified in the petition or by the ExCom. The notice shall be published in a Chapter newsletter or other publication provided to all members. No binding action may be taken at a membership meeting, but resolutions addressed to any Club entity may be adopted. The quorum for a membership meeting shall be 100 Chapter members.
Bylaw 3. Executive Committee
3.1 Number. Subject to the powers of the members as provided by these Bylaws, the management of the affairs and activities of the Chapter shall be in the hands of an ExCom of 7 members elected by the Chapter membership for terms of 3 years, one representative from each Chapter group selected according to the group’s bylaws, and the Council Delegate ex-officio, with vote. Group representatives may vote and hold any office except Council Delegate or Alternate. Groups may designate alternates who may vote in the absence of the representative.
In any election, up to 3 members may be elected for full terms, as long as the size of the ExCom does not increase as a result and no fewer than 2 terms will expire in any future year. When filling vacancies in unexpired terms by election, longer terms shall be awarded to candidates with more votes. The candidates who win the higher numbers of votes shall receive any available full terms and the others shall receive the unexpired remainders of the vacated terms.
Members elected shall take office at the last meeting of the year. If not otherwise members of the ExCom, the Secretary, and Treasurer shall serve as non-voting members.
Members elected may serve an unlimited number of terms in that capacity, except that, after any 3 consecutive full 3-year terms, that member shall not be again eligible to serve as a delegate at-large or voting group representative until 2 years shall have elapsed after the conclusion of the third such consecutive term. This amendment shall take effect beginning with eligibility for election in the annual election in 2018.
3.2 Powers. Only the ExCom or those specifically authorized by it or its designees shall act in the name of the Chapter. The ExCom shall have the authority to make rules and regulations for carrying out the provisions of these Bylaws. If any appeal arises concerning any act or decision of the ExCom, the Board or its designees shall have the power to determine the procedures to be followed. Chapter actions must be consistent with Club purposes and the policies and directives of the Board or its designees.
The ExCom may call and conduct special elections in accordance with these bylaws.
The ExCom may establish and dissolve groups, sections, and committees as provided in these Bylaws.
The ExCom may appoint and remove Chapter officers, representatives, and committee members at any time.
The ExCom may fill vacancies in its elected membership.
3.3 Responsibilities. The ExCom shall assure that the activities and services provided for the benefit of the members by the Chapter and its groups, sections, and other entities comply and are consistent with these Bylaws and any Chapter Standing Rules, policies and directives of the Board or its designees, the Bylaws and Standing Rules of the Club, and applicable law. Such activities may include but are not limited to financial management, membership services, production of publications, and conservation, outings and political programs. Authority may be delegated to carry out such activities, but the ExCom shall retain overall responsibility and control.
3.4 Vacancies. The ExCom shall have the power to fill a vacancy in any elected or appointed office. A vacancy in an elected position shall be filled until the next election by vote of the remaining ExCom members.
3.5 Officers. The ExCom shall elect from its members the following officers, who shall also be Chapter officers: a Chair, a Vice-Chair, and at its option, a Secretary and a Treasurer. The ExCom may appoint from outside its membership any other Chapter officers it considers necessary, including the Secretary and Treasurer. All such officers shall be Chapter members.
At the discretion of the ExCom, offices may be combined, provided there are at least two distinct officers. Assistants to these officers may be designated from among Chapter members.
Notice of the officers and appointees of the Chapter shall be provided to Club headquarters annually upon selection, or as required by the Board or its designees.
3.6 Representatives. The ExCom shall elect from among its members elected by the entire Chapter membership a Chapter Delegate and Alternate to the Sierra Club Council. The term of the Delegate shall be three years. The Council Delegate shall be a voting ExCom member for the duration of the appointed term as Council Delegate.
The ExCom may instruct delegates and alternates before each Council or RCC meeting. Delegates or alternates shall report to the ExCom after each Council or RCC meeting.
3.7 Chapter Committees. The ExCom may establish and dissolve standing and special committees for such objectives as it may set. Subject to ExCom approval, the Chapter Chair shall appoint committee members from among Chapter members. The Chapter Chair, or another ExCom member designated by the Chair, may be designated as a voting member of each committee, except the Nominating and Election committees. Standing committees shall be approved annually. Except for the Nominating and Election Committees, the ExCom may add, remove, or replace members of any committee at any time. The ExCom may fill vacancies on the Nominating and Election Committees.
3.8 Open Meetings. All meetings of the ExCom and its committees shall be open to attendance by any Club member, but the ExCom or its committees may convene in private session for the consideration of any sensitive matter, provided that any vote or final action is taken in open session.
3.9 Quorum. A quorum for ExCom meetings shall be a simple majority of its voting members. An ExCom member shall be considered present at a meeting if able to participate fully and simultaneously by means approved by the ExCom.
Any group that does not send a designated representative to any three regularly scheduled meetings over a twelve-month period need not be counted towards the quorum. A group’s status in the quorum shall be restored by a designated group representative’s attendance at a regularly scheduled ExCom meeting.
3.10 ExCom Meetings. The ExCom shall hold regularly scheduled meetings at least 6 times per year at times and places communicated in advance to all Chapter members.
3.11 Special Meetings. ExCom business may, if necessary, be conducted at a Special Meeting. A Special Meeting may be called by the Chair or any 4 ExCom members with at least one week’s notice, unless all ExCom members waive this notice requirement.
3.12 Emergency Meetings. A quorum of the ExCom may act in an emergency only when the Chair determines that quick action is necessary and there is insufficient time to arrange a Special Meeting, or if prior authorization to so deal with a specified issue has been given in a meeting, provided in either case that a determined and documented effort has been made to contact all ExCom members. Any such action must be reported promptly to all ExCom members and reported and placed in the minutes of its next meeting.
3.13 Absences. Except for group representatives, any ExCom member who misses three regularly scheduled meetings over any continuous twelve-month period may be removed from the ExCom by a two-thirds vote of the other ExCom members. The ExCom shall decide whether to remove a member at any regularly scheduled meeting following the third missed meeting.
Bylaw 4. Nominations and Elections
4.1 Annual Election. An Annual Election shall be held in the fourth quarter of each year to choose ExCom members. This election and any special elections shall be conducted by written ballot or through a secure website made available to all Chapter members of record at least four weeks before the closing date of the election, and shall be conducted in such a manner as to ensure facility of voting and tabulation. The ballot shall allow each voter to vote for as many candidates as there are positions to be filled. A voter may not cumulate votes for any candidate.
The ExCom shall specify the calendar dates and deadlines for appointing the Nominating Committee (NomCom), production of eligible voter lists, receipt of names for consideration by the NomCom, receipt of ballot issue petitions, the NomCom report of names of nominees, receipt of candidate petitions, appointment of the Election Committee, printing and mailing dates for ballots allowing at least four weeks for return of the ballots, receipt of returned ballots, and the date, time and place for counting ballots.
The ExCom shall provide written notice of this schedule and of the opportunity to nominate candidates by petition to all Chapter members.
4.2 Nominating Committee. A Nominating Committee (NomCom) of at least three Chapter members, at least one not an ExCom member, none of whom may be a candidate, shall be appointed annually by the ExCom not later than four months before the designated closing date of the election. Sufficient opportunity shall be given for Chapter members to submit names for consideration by the NomCom. The NomCom shall attempt to nominate at least two more candidates than the number of ExCom members to be elected and shall report the nominees’ names to the ExCom at least two weeks before the deadline for submission of nomination petitions and five weeks before the scheduled mailing of the ballots. Nominees shall be Chapter members who give their consent. If the NomCom chooses not to nominate a willing candidate, the NomCom shall promptly inform that candidate of the opportunity to seek nomination by petition.
4.3 Petition Candidates. The name of any Chapter member proposed in writing by at least 25 Chapter members prior to the deadline for submission of petitions, and who gives consent, shall also be included on the ballot. The nomination petitions shall be retained until the ballots are destroyed.
4.4 Election Committee. An Election Committee of at least three Chapter members, at least one not an ExCom member, shall be appointed annually by the ExCom prior to the scheduled date of mailing of ballots. No candidates may serve on the Election Committee. The Election Committee shall cause the ballots to be prepared and mailed and shall count the returned ballots. Challenges of the conduct of candidates or their campaigns shall be referred to the Election Committee. Decisions of the Election Committee may be appealed to the ExCom.
4.5 Availability of Election Ballot Materials. Election ballot materials shall be made available to all Chapter members of record according to the voter list obtained prior to the election.
4.6 Voting. Eligible members may vote by mailed ballot or through a secure website. The decision to allow electronic voting shall be made by a vote of the executive committee prior to appointment of the nominating committee. Ballots shall be returned to the Election Committee as directed in the ballot instructions. Return of a minimum number of valid ballots shall not be required for the validity of an annual or special election.
4.7 Counting Ballots. The Election Committee shall count the ballots on the closing date of the election, or as soon as practical after the closing date of the election. The candidates or their authorized representatives shall be permitted to be present. The candidates receiving the highest number of votes shall be elected. Any tie shall be resolved immediately, first by a recount, then if necessary by lot at the ballot counting.
The Election Committee shall immediately notify the candidates, the ExCom members, and other interested parties, and shall report the results to the ExCom at its next meeting. The ballots and nomination petitions shall be retained until their destruction is directed by the ExCom.
Bylaw 5. Functions and Services
5.1 Functions. The Chapter shall provide functions and services required by the Board, its designees, or the Chapter members. The ExCom shall define from time to time the methods and procedures by which these functions and services shall be delivered.
5.2 Publications. The ExCom shall arrange for Chapter publications to be distributed regularly by print or electronic means to all Chapter members, giving notice and reporting proceedings of the ExCom, Chapter meetings, elections and other news, including announcements of social events and outings.
5.3 Conservation Program. The Chapter Conservation Program shall further the conservation objectives and priorities of the Club within Chapter boundaries, assist in international, national and regional Club actions, and provide for the development and execution of specific conservation strategies and action programs authorized by the ExCom.
The ExCom shall appoint a Conservation Chair who shall provide a point of contact for the public and other Club leaders, and assist the ExCom in conservation planning, budget decisions, resolving conflicts, training, and implementation of the Conservation Program.
The program shall be coordinated with other Club entities. Chapter leaders shall not make a statement or take a position publicly that is contrary to a policy or position established by the Board of Directors, the duly authorized chapter, group, committee or other Club entity, or the Club membership through referendum, nor shall Club leaders or staff members mention their Sierra Club affiliation if they, in their own names, make a statement or take a position contrary to established policy.
Conservation actions may not include civil disobedience. No chapter, group, nor other Club entity shall encourage, request or direct any person to violate the law.
The Conservation Program shall provide an opportunity for groups, sections, other chapter entities, and individual members to become involved in conservation activities. The program shall also provide for recruiting and training activists to develop the necessary skills and judgment, for publication and discussion of conservation issues, and for networking and alert systems, such as phone trees and electronic mail.
5.4 Membership Program. The ExCom shall provide for a membership program that keeps a copy of the roster of current members, assists in efforts to recruit and retain members, and is responsible for recruiting and welcoming members and encouraging them to participate in Club and Chapter activities.
5.5 Outings and Activities. The Chapter ExCom shall manage any outings and activities programs in cooperation with Chapter entities that conduct such outings and activities. Such management shall include but is not limited to the establishment of codes of conduct appropriate to each type of activity, provisions for approval and publication of notices, training and certification of leaders, screening of participants, compliance with insurance restrictions and other Club policies, handling of reservations and fees, restricting group size and environmental impact, and investigation of incidents and complaints. All outings and activities shall be sanctioned in advance.
5.6 Political Action. The Chapter’s political program shall include evaluating political issues and positions, planning and conducting the endorsement and support of candidates for public office, and developing and leading the efforts necessary for those processes. This program may include federal, state, provincial, territorial, and local government races as well as ballot initiatives, and shall be conducted in compliance with applicable law and the Club’s electoral compliance guidelines.
Bylaw 6. Groups and Sections
6.1 Groups. With ExCom approval, Chapter members residing in a contiguous Chapter area may form a group, subject to Chapter and Club approval of group bylaws. A group shall elect its own executive committee by secret written ballot provided to all group members.
6.2 Sections. With ExCom approval, Chapter members interested in special activities consistent with Club purposes, or other appropriate subsets of Chapter members, may form sections, subject to approval of section operating procedures. Because section membership is optional, sections may assess dues and also charge for activities, as permitted by the Chapter ExCom.
6.3 Reports. Each group and section shall submit an annual report of its activities to the Chapter ExCom.
6.4 Suspension and Dissolution. By 2/3 vote the Chapter ExCom members present at a regular or special meeting may suspend or dissolve a group or section, if, in the judgment of the ExCom, such action is in the best interest of the Club. Such action shall not affect the standing of the individual members as members of the Club or Chapter. Suspension or dissolution shall only take place after written specification of the grounds for the proposed action are furnished to the members of the group or section affected and to the Board or its designees. At the same ExCom meeting, Chapter members shall have an opportunity to comment on the proposed action.
Upon dissolution, all remaining assets of the dissolved group or section shall revert to the Chapter.
As an alternative to dissolution, the Chapter ExCom may require new elections to be held for group or section office.
Bylaw 7. Finances
7.1 Receiving & Expending Funds. The Chapter may receive funds from Club entities and may receive contributions directly. The Chapter may not assess or collect dues from its members, or charge additional fees for Chapter publications distributed to all Chapter members. Expenditures shall be consistent with all rules, policies and directives of the Board and its designees.
7.2 Fundraising and Fees for Outings and Activities. Consistent with rules, policies and directives of the Board or its designees, the Chapter may conduct fundraising and other activities, including outings that require members and others to pay a fee to participate.
Such fees may include both direct and indirect costs and provide for operating reserves. Announcements of fundraising events shall indicate the intended use of the proceeds.
7.3 Authority Over Deposited Funds. The ExCom shall have authority over all funds deposited in accounts in the name of the Chapter and its entities. Every bank, savings, or investment account must have on the signature list for that account at least two signatures, including the signature of a Chapter ExCom officer, generally the Treasurer or Chair.
7.4 Requirement to Deposit. Unless otherwise specified by the ExCom or the Board or its designees, all monies received by Chapter entities shall be deposited promptly in an account bearing the name of the entity, the Chapter, and of the Sierra Club.
7.5 Delegation of Authority. The ExCom may delegate financial authority to Chapter entities. The Chapter shall retain responsibility and control. Chapter entities must provide satisfactory accounting at least quarterly to the Chapter Treasurer, including all reports required to satisfy Club requirements and applicable laws.
7.6 Prohibitions. The Chapter and its entities may not borrow money, own real estate, or contribute from its general funds to political campaigns, candidates, or their parties.
7.7 Fiscal Year. The fiscal year of the Chapter shall coincide with that of the Club.
7.8 Books and Reports. The Chapter Treasurer shall keep proper books of account, and shall report balances, revenues, and expenses of the Chapter and its entities to the ExCom at least quarterly, and to the Club Treasurer or designee at the end of the fiscal year. The Chapter Treasurer shall either file, or provide the Club Treasurer with timely information and funds required to file, all reports and returns required to satisfy Club requirements and applicable laws.
7.9 Review. As soon as practicable after the close of the fiscal year, the ExCom shall cause a review to be made of the books, including those of all Chapter entities. The results of the review shall be submitted to the ExCom for their approval.
Bylaw 8. Construction and Amendment
8.1 Interpretation of Bylaws. All questions as to the construction or meaning of these Bylaws are first to be referred to the Chapter ExCom for decision. Appeals from such decisions may be taken to the appropriate level, as established by rules of the Board of Directors. The decision of the highest of these entities that chooses to act shall be final. All procedures not prescribed by the Bylaws and Standing Rules of the Club, these Bylaws, or the Standing Rules of the Chapter, shall be governed by the current edition of Robert’s Rules of Order, newly revised.
8.2 Amendment. These Bylaws are fundamental and shall not be added to, amended or repealed except by a two-thirds vote of the Chapter ExCom and a two-thirds vote of all mail ballots cast in an Annual or Special Election. After proposed bylaw changes have been approved by the Chapter ExCom, and before they are submitted to a vote of Chapter members, they shall be submitted to the Board or its designees for review and approval.
If an amendment expands the size of the ExCom, but the annual election was held for fewer members, the ExCom may appoint members or hold a special election to fill the new positions. If the amendment reduces the size of the ExCom, the elected members receiving the most votes shall serve.
Approval by vote of the members is not required for amendments needed to keep these Bylaws consistent with changes in the Club Bylaws, directives of the Board or its designees, or to correct inconsequential errors or omissions. Such amendments shall require only a majority vote of the ExCom.
A current copy of these Bylaws shall be filed at the principal office of the Sierra Club.
8.3 Signatures and Effective Date. These bylaws and any amended versions shall be signed and dated by officers acting on behalf of the ExCom and by the national entity designated to approve bylaws. These bylaws as amended shall take effect when the signed copy is filed at the principal office of the Sierra Club. A copy of the signature page shall be returned to the Chapter, and shall be attached to all reproduced copies.
Policy for Spokespersons, San Diego Chapter, Sierra Club
Because of the growth of the local chapter in recent years and the complexity of the issues confronting the Club at the local, state and national levels it has been necessary to establish this policy.
Numerous issues concerning acid rain, agriculture, nuclear management, geothermal energy, global warming, ozone depletion, hazardous waste management, off-highway vehicles, population, rain forests and many others have been addressed in broad policy statements at the national level. Many of these policies have been further defined at both the state and local levels. From the diversity of subjects and the very specialized nature of many of the topics, it is readily apparent that no one individual can be thoroughly conversant with all of them.
It is extremely difficult to communicate all of the nuances and subtleties to our broad membership base. Within the Chapter we have numerous individuals who have studied the issues and understand the policy positions taken by the Club at all levels. The Chapter wishes to capitalize on this broad knowledge base and assure that the most qualified spokesperson represents our positions on the issues. This is especially critical when statements made by spokespersons might be quoted as Club position in the local media.
This policy seeks to assure that the most qualified spokesperson represents the Chapter when any group is addressed, especially when the outcome of that address may be quoted in the media. This policy is not intended to prevent an individual from expressing their personal opinion. It is intended to limit the number of persons who may speak for the Club or in the Club’s name at any public forum and to assure that personal opinions are not confused with Club policy or positions. The following is established as policy concerning spokespersons for the San Diego Chapter of the Sierra Club.
1. The Chapter Chairperson and the Chapter Vice Chairperson are authorized to speak for the Club on any issues.
2. The Chapter Director is authorized to speak for the Club on any issues.
3. The Chapter Conservation Coordinator is authorized to speak for the Club on any conservation related issue.
4. The Chairperson of the Conservation Committee is authorized to speak for the Club on any conservation related issue.
5. With the approval, which may be written or oral, of the Chairperson of the Conservation Committee, the chairpersons of the issue subcommittees of the Conservation Committee are authorized to act as spokespersons. This authorization extends only to the specific areas represented by that chairperson. Example: The Chairperson of the Air Quality Committee may address issues concerning clean air in a public forum, but may not speak on other matters such as waste management, land use, water, etc.
6. The Chairperson of the Political Committee is authorized to speak for the Chapter regarding political issues. This authority is limited to those issues which have been approved in advance by the Executive Committee.
7. The Chairs of the geographic Groups are authorized as spokespersons for issues within their geographic boundaries. Additionally, they may designate the Chairperson of their Conservation Committee as a spokesperson. All statements must be in accordance with policies and positions as established by the national, state and chapter bodies.
- a. Written comments to be submitted to a governmental body by a geographic Group must first be approved by the Chair of the Chapter Executive Committee.
b. The Chair of the Chapter Executive Committee shall be notified either in advance or as soon as possible after any public oral comments by a geographic Group on an issue.
8. An individual who is currently holding elected public office or is running for elected public office may act as a spokesperson for the Chapter only with the express permission of the Executive Committee.
9. An individual not designated as a spokesperson who desires to make a public statement, which one could reasonably expect to be reported in the media, on behalf of the Club, must have the approval of the Executive Committee prior to making that public statement.
10. The Chapter Chairperson or a designated alternate must be notified prior to calling a press conference or making a press release. It is the responsibility of all spokespersons to keep the Chapter Chairperson apprised of activity involving the media.
The following norms are adopted for all Chapter Leaders:
Discussion and Decision-making
Engage in open, honest debate
Ask great questions
Balance advocacy with inquiry
Fail to listen to what others say
Engage in personal attacks
Jump to conclusions
Start on time; stay on time
Be fully present throughout the meeting
Come to meetings unprepared
Answer cell phones or do email
Provide follow-up on action items
Offer support when there is a need
Assume you have agreement
Assume tasks are getting done
Commit to a task that you know you won’t do
Adopted: January 20, 2010
The following process has been established by Sierra Club San Diego when nominating new committee members:
1. Motion to nominate.
2. Second to the motion.
3. Statement from the nominee.
4. Questions from the committee.
5. Ask the nominee to leave the room.
8. Ask nominee to return and give results.
Adopted on 09/09/2015
As members of the San Diego Chapter Executive Committee, we recognize that fundraising is an integral part of our duties to the Chapter. It is also our duty to lead the organization. One way we do that is through our direct actions and demonstrating our commitment to ensuring the Chapter has sufficient financial resources. This commitment includes making an annual financial donation that is appropriate to our capacity for giving. If we do not donate, then why should our members or others?
We also recognize that part of our individual commitment as Executive Committee members is that each of us will actively support and participate in a fundraising program.
Adopted: December 4, 2011
Although non-Sierra Club members may actively participate in the Chapter’s committees, only members in good standing may be allowed to vote. Any person whose membership has expired shall be prohibited from voting on any issue. Voting
rights shall only be restored upon verification from National that membership is in good standing. Any person who has failed to become a member in good standing within 1 month after notification shall be removed from any position of leadership. It shall be the responsibility of Committee Chairs to ensure that all voting members of the committee are in good standing.
Adopted April 21, 2004