Dear SF Bicycle Coalition Member,
Thank you for joining my mailing list! I intend to keep you updated on San Francisco Bicycle Coalition (SFBC) board matters and alert you to ways you can provide input. Views in this communication are my own and do not represent the views of the SFBC.
In this newsletter:
- Next SFBC board meeting is February 23
- Outcome of SFBC board meeting held January 26
- Members organizing to improve SFBC election process
- Save SF Bike happy hour March 1
1. Next SFBC board meeting is February 23
The next board meeting is 6:30pm, Tuesday, February 23 at the SFBC office, 720 Market Street at Valencia. Members are invited to attend.
2. Outcome of SFBC board meeting held January 26
- Board seats 5th through 7th place candidates
- Board composition
- No verification for recent board election
- Bylaws will be reviewed and changes recommended
- Officers and committee chairs approved
- Board improves transparency in meeting minutes
a. Board seats 5th through 7th place candidates
The bylaws require candidates to receive approval by a majority of the returned ballots to be elected to the board. The 5th through 7th place candidates did not win a majority, creating three vacancies on the board. According to the bylaws, vacancies can be filled either by the board though appointment or by the members through special election. I’ve copied the relevant excerpts from the bylaws at the bottom of this email.
The board voted on a resolution to seat the 5th through 7th place candidates and in the event of a legal challenge to then appoint these same candidates. The vote was 10 for and one against (the 5th through 7th place candidates were not allowed to vote). I was the sole vote against this resolution.
My position at the board meeting was that the 5th through 7th place candidates should be appointed, as allowed per the bylaws. While a special election was an option that I would also support in principle, I was concerned about the staff time required to administer an election and the delay in filling all board seats. Furthermore, the 5th through 7th place candidates were voted on by the members, reflecting members’ support of these candidates.
I am pleased that the draft meeting minutes contain a discussion of the issue including both supporting and dissenting opinions. The minutes will be approved at the February 23 board meeting.
b. Board composition
After the 5th through 7th place candidates were seated, the board composition is as follows:
– Seven incumbents completing the second half of their two-year terms
– One person appointed by the sitting board in December 2015
– Five people from the LoveSFBC slate, three of whom served on the board last year
– Two people from the Save SF Bike slate (I am one of these)
c. No vote verification for recent board election
The board considered the possibility of vote verification by selecting member volunteers as inspectors of election, but interim executive director Margaret McCarthy said there was no way to separate voter’s names from their votes. The board concluded that effort would be better focused on improving election procedures so that voter anonymity would be better protected in future elections. Another director and I commented that we know members who did not vote because their names were linked with their votes.
I support the board’s decision to focus efforts on improving the election process. While vote verification is best practice, I believe that staff did an outstanding job explaining how they tallied the votes.
d. Bylaws will be reviewed and changes recommended
The board unanimously passed a motion for the governance committee to review the bylaws and offer recommended changes for the full board to consider, particularly regarding board elections. I voted for this motion, because I favor changing election procedures to include ranked choice voting, which would eliminate the majority issue we had with the recent election.
e. Officers and committee chairs approved
Except for secretary, all candidates for officers and committee chairs were uncontested. I volunteered to be secretary and the current secretary, Amandeep Jawa, also volunteered. The board voted 10 for Amandeep, 2 for me, and 2 abstentions. Mary Kay Chin and Andy Thornley voted for me.
f. Board improves transparency in meeting minutes
At my encouragement, the draft meeting minutes for the January 26 board meeting have been enhanced to include a record of director votes and a more thorough discussion of meeting topics. This is a great way to improve member trust by sharing information with all members, not just those who were able to attend the board meeting. I’m very pleased with this development for greater transparency, and I will continue to work for further improvements in open communication.
3. Members organizing to improve SFBC election process
Peggy da Silva, a long-time SFBC member, is organizing a group of members who are interested in working to improve our board election process – and assure that democratic elections remain core to our coalition. The group will hold an initial meeting in early March, and will be creating a work plan for the year. Peggy has already had good conversations with several members, with Board members, and with an elections expert who will help the group. If you are interested getting involved, please contact Peggy da Silva at firstname.lastname@example.org.
4. Save SF Bike happy hour March 1
Join Save SF Bike on Tuesday, March 1st for a casual happy hour gathering!
Tuesday, March 1st, 6-8 pm
Emperor Norton’s Boozelandbr
510 Larkin Street at Turk
RSVP on Facebook.
Mary Kay Chin and I (both elected to the board on the Save SF Bike slate) will be there, and so will several other Save SF Bike candidates. We’ll be talking about last year’s election, the upcoming SFBC Strategic Plan, and whatever else is going on in bike advocacy.
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Please feel free to forward this newsletter to others. Anyone can join my email list. I am always happy to hear from members and I am interested in your input. Thank you for reading!
SFBC board member
SFBC bylaws excerpts
Article IV, Section 11.A.v
For purposes of the annual election of Directors conducted by electronic ballot, approval by ballot shall be valid if a majority of the returned ballots indicate approval of a nominated Director.
Article V, Section 6
Vacancies may be filled by the remaining directors (unless the vacancy was created by removal of a director by the members) or by the members, for the unexpired portion of the term, provided that the Board may not fill more than three such vacancies in any calendar year. In the event that there shall be more than three vacancies created during a year, the remaining directors shall decide whether to leave the position vacant until the next annual election, or whether to call a special election to fill the vacancies.