Staff Senate Bylaws
I.    Name, Vision, and Purpose

Name:  The name of the organization representing the interests and concerns of all SPA and EPA non-faculty staff members shall be the Staff Senate of Western Carolina University. Amended 12/08

Vision:  The Staff Senate seeks to improve the quality of life at Western Carolina University for its students and all employees. This can be accomplished through mutual understanding, recognition of staff contributions, support for professional development and technical training, and respect for the worth of the individual.

Purpose:  The Staff Senate serves in an advisory capacity to the Chancellor and appropriate decision-making bodies by providing a regular, open senate to facilitate communication among all employees and the University administration concerning general employment interests and concerns and encouraging the development of constructive suggestions for more efficient and effective university planning operations. The Senate is not intended as a vehicle to deal with individual issues, grievances, or complaints, nor as a means to circumvent regular administrative channels.

II.    Membership

A.    Eligibility:  The Staff Senate consists of elected representatives of SPA and EPA non-faculty employees. Membership on the Staff Senate shall be drawn from permanent part-time and full-time employees who have completed probationary requirements.

B.    Representatives

1.    Representation: The Staff Senate will be comprised of 20 elected representatives. Representation shall be based on proportional representation based on the following federal job classification codes:

Executive/Administrative (10)
Professional (30)
Technical (40)
Clerical/Secretarial (50)
Craftsmen (60)
Maintenance/Service (70)

2.    Duties: The duties of a Staff Senate representative are:

a.    To attend all meetings of the Staff Senate.

b.    To serve on at least one standing committee of the Staff Senate.

b.    To represent their constituents by facilitating open lines of communication.

c.    To serve as a Staff Senate designee on a university committee, if appointed.

d.    All Staff Senate activities included above shall be considered to be part of the regular workday of each elected Staff Senate representative.

e.    Staff Senate members are expected to attend monthly Senate meetings, Community meetings, and committee meetings. If a Senate Delegate has an unexcused absence for three regularly scheduled Senate monthly meetings in a row, he or she will be replaced automatically. A delegate may be granted an excused absence by contacting the Senate secretary in advance of the regularly scheduled meeting to inform he or she of their expected absence. This contact may be in person, by phone, by e-mail or in some other written form. The official minutes shall note beside each person listed as absent whether the absence is excused or unexcused. Upon approval by the executive committee, a special variance may be granted for unexcused absences relating to personal illness, family emergency or other extenuating circumstances. It shall be the responsibility of the Senate Delegate to request such consideration in writing as soon after the absence occurs as possible. The Executive Committee shall consider these requests and include their action in the minutes of the next regularly scheduled meeting. Amended 1/10/01

3.    Term of Office: Each representative shall be elected to serve a two-year term (July-June). Campus-wide elections shall be held such that new representatives are elected and announced prior to March 1. All newly elected representatives will be strongly encouraged to attend the March and April meetings of the Staff Senate for introduction and orientation to the work of the Staff Senate and to become familiar with members so as to participate in election to be held in April. Amended 12/09

To ensure continuity, terms will be staggered so that approximately one-half of the representatives are elected each year. For those representatives elected in the initial class (1999) only, approximately one-half from each federal job classification will serve an initial term of three and ½ years and will also be eligible to serve another two-year term, if elected. Representatives receiving the greatest number of votes in the general election will serve the longer term.

UNC Staff Assembly delegates will be allowed to remain on the WCU Staff Senate with full voting privileges, even after their term has expired, in order to complete their respective terms with the UNC Staff Assembly.

Following completion of the term on the UNC Staff Assembly, each delegate will rotate off the staff senate and will be required to take a one year leave before being eligible to serve again.

4.    Re-election: A representative may be elected for a maximum of two consecutive terms. If a member serves out an unexpired term of one year or more, the individual may be elected to only one additional consecutive term.

C.    Ex-Officio Members: The Chancellor or his/her designee and the Director of Human Resources shall serve as ex-officio non-voting members of the Senate. They shall function as a liaison between the university administration and the Staff Senate.

D.    Vacancies: If a vacancy in a Staff Senate seat occurs, the alternate shall fill the position. An alternate is the person with the next highest votes in their federal job classification code at the time of the election. A Staff Senate representative who experiences a change in his/her federal job classification will be allowed to serve the remainder of the term. Amended 10/06)

If a temporary vacancy in a Staff Senate seat should occur through part-time employment (e.g., nine month position), health reasons (e.g., pregnancy, serious illness) or tragic event, the position can be filled during the temporary vacancy by the alternate. A representative’s seat shall be considered temporarily vacated if the absence is for six months or less. The seat shall be considered permanently vacated if the absence is for more than six months, and the alternate shall fill the seat.

When a vacancy in the Staff Senate occurs and all alternates within the applicable federal job classification have been exhausted then the Executive Committee shall appoint a replacement from said classification if possible to serve until the end of the current fiscal year at which time the vacancy shall be filled through the normal election process.

E.    The staff at-large members of the University Advisory Council are to be included in the distribution of Staff Senate meeting notices, agenda, minutes and any other information that is provided to the senate members. At-large members are welcomed; as are all staff members to attend any senate meeting however, mandatory attendance is not expected.

III.    Officers

A.    Titles and Duties

1.    Chair:  The term shall be no more than one year.  Nominees should have at least two years experience serving on Staff Senate in order to be nominated.  In the event no current member has the minimum number of years to serve as chair then nominations will be open to any member.  The duties of the Chair shall be to schedule and preside at all meetings of the Staff Senate and the Executive Committee of the Staff Senate; to serve as liaison to the Chancellor, the Administrative Council, the Faculty Senate, the Student Government Association, and the Board of Trustees; to prepare a written annual report of the past year and make it available to the Staff Senate and to the Chancellor within one month of his/her end of term.  Serve as a mentor to the Chair Elect to prepare them for taking over Chair duties the following year.  Serve as a representative to the State Staff Assembly.  Assume the position of Past Chair for one year at the end of the term.  Any member of the Staff Senate with two years of service can be nominated to run for Chair but must receive a 2/3 vote of the Staff Senate members in order to be elected over the sitting Vice chair/Chair Elect. Amended 10/09

2.    Vice Chair/Chair Elect:  The term shall be no more than one year.    Nominees should have at least one year experience serving on Staff Senate in order to be nominated.  In the event no current member has the minimum number of years to serve as Chair Elect then nominations will be open to any member.  The duties of the Vice Chair/Chair Elect shall be to preside at all meetings of the Staff Senate in the absence of the Chair or when requested to by the Chair; to assist the Chair in performing his/her duties; to develop and carry out procedures for making all appointments to standing committees.  Assume the position of Chair at the end of the term. Amended 10/09

3.    Secretary: The duties of the Secretary shall be to take minutes and attendance records of each Staff Senate meeting, including the distribution of minutes to representatives at least five working days before the next scheduled meeting of the Staff Senate; to serve as Secretary of the Executive Committee; to be the custodian of all records. The secretary shall assume the role of the Chair in the event that the Chair and Vice-Chair are not present at a Staff Forum meeting.  Amended 10/06

4.    Past Chair:  The term shall be no more than one year.  The duties of the Past Chair shall be to act as liaison to the Chair.  Must sit out one full-year at the end of this term before being re-elected to the Staff Senate unless completing an incomplete term to which they were elected.

B.    Term of Office: Term of Office: Each officer will serve a one-year term and assume his/her duties July 1 after election in April. Amended 12/09

A representative shall not hold more than one office at a time, and no member shall be eligible to serve more than two consecutive terms in the same office. However, if a member assumes an unexpired term for less than six months, the member may be elected for the next two consecutive terms.

C.    Unexpired Term: In the event that the Chair is unable to complete the elected term of office, the Vice Chair shall assume the vacant office for the length of the unexpired term. In the event that the offices of Vice Chair or Secretary become vacant, a special election shall be held at any regular meeting of the Staff Senate by the Chair in order to fill the vacant office for the remainder of the term. Amended 10/06

III.    Nominations and Elections

A.    Representatives: Representatives: Nominations and elections of Staff Senate representatives shall be conducted in accordance with procedures established and carried out by the Governance Committee (see Attachment 1 - Procedures for Electing Officers) and approved by the Staff Senate. This process will take place during January/February and shall include:  Amended 12/09

1.    Seeking open nominations campus-wide.

2.    Recruiting possible candidates where necessary.

4.    Conducting the campus-wide election by secret ballot.

5.    Conducting run-off elections, if necessary.

6.    Reporting election results no later than March 1. Amended 12/09

B.    Officers: The Staff Senate representatives shall elect Staff Senate officers. All Staff Senate members who will be serving in the upcoming term (newly elected representatives and those in their second year of service) are eligible for election as an officer. Nominations and elections of Staff Senate officers shall be conducted in accordance with procedures established and carried out by the Governance Committee and approved by the Staff Senate. This process will take place during April and shall include: Amended 12/09

1.    Inviting nominations from Staff Senate members.

2.    Conducting the election of officers at the April meeting. Amended 12/09

3.    Nominations from the floor for each office shall be in order.

C.    At-Large Representatives to the University Advisory Council: Nominations will be solicited from the Staff Senate during a regularly scheduled meeting. Nominees will be contacted to determine their willingness to serve. Election ballots will be distributed to Staff Senate members at the next regularly scheduled Staff Senate Meeting. Following the election, the governance Committee will notify those elected and a campus-wide notification will be distributed.

V.    Executive Committee

The membership of the Executive Committee shall consist of the three elected officers of the Staff Senate and the chairs of the four standing committees. They shall meet monthly or as needed to set the agenda of all Staff Senate meetings and to determine the appropriate discussion and disbursement of all issues and concerns which come to the Staff Senate (i.e., referral to a standing committee; establishment of a special committee or task force to consider an issue; referral to an administrative unit for clarification; placement on the agenda of the Staff Senate, etc.) Amended 10/06

VI. Standing Committees Amended 10/06

A.    Governance Committee: The duties of the committee will be to handle all nominations, elections, and orientation procedures for representatives and officers; to accept, study and recommend changes to bylaws and procedures; to provide staff names to university persons seeking staff representation on university committees; to address other issues and activities related to governance.

B.    Public Relations Committee: The duties of the committee will be to plan and coordinate the communication function such that staff can exchange ideas with representatives on issues and concerns; to serve as the public relations agent of the Staff Senate. Methods of communication may include newsletters, press releases, and web page management. Additional responsibilities may include employee recognition activities, service projects, and other public relations issues.

C.    Human Resources Committee: The duties of the committee will be to address all staff concerns and proposals in the area of salary/benefits, job classification, privatization, staff development and training, diversity/multiculturalism issues, and other human resources issues and activities.

D.    Resources and Environment Committee: The duties of the committee will be to address all staff concerns and proposals related to the work environment, campus environment, work safety, parking and transportation, building and equipment repairs, and other associated topics.

E.    Staff Senate Scholarship Selection Committee: The duties of this committee will be to solicit and accept applications (recruiting if necessary), certify eligibility and need of applicants, select an applicant by simple majority vote of the committee, recommend the candidate to Staff Senate for approval, and notify all applicants of results. The committee shall consist of a minimum of 5 members appointed by Staff Senate and chaired by a member of Staff Senate. The committee will be open to representation outside of Staff Senate (except for the Chairperson, committee members do not need to be members of Staff Senate to serve).Amended 4/9/09

F.    Any Committee Chair that cannot attend the Executive Council should have someone else from that Committee attend on their behalf.  Amended 10/06

G.    Each Committee should meet at least once a month.  Amended 10/06

VII.    Meetings

A.    All meetings of the Staff Senate shall be open to all employees and students, and the public to observe and make comments as appropriate. Regular meetings of the Staff Senate shall be held at least once monthly. Special meetings may be called as needed with appropriate notice given to members. Amended 10/06

B.    Quorum and Voting: Fifty percent (50%) of the Staff Forum of its committees shall constitute a quorum, excluding ex-officio members.  A simple majority (anything more than 50 percent) of representatives present is required to rule on a measure except amendments to the bylaws, which require a two-thirds vote.  The Chair shall abstain from voting except when necessary to break a tie.  Any member of the Forum may request a vote be taken by paper ballot. Amended 12/08

C.    Proxies: At all meetings a member may give, in writing, their proxy to another member. Such proxy shall be filed with the secretary before or at the time of the meeting and announced at the beginning of the meeting.

D.    Agenda/Order of Business: The Executive Committee shall set the agenda and outline the order of business for all meetings. Items may be added to the agenda at the meeting if approved by the members present. Order of business may be altered by general consensus during the meeting. Proposals for Staff Senate support or approval will follow the process of being presented first “for information” with a follow-up at the next Staff Senate meeting “for action.”

E.    Parliamentary Authority:  The rules contained in the current edition of Robert’s Rules of Order shall govern the Staff Senate and its committees in all cases to which they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with these by laws and any special rules of order the Staff Senate may adopt.  The chair will identify a non-member of the staff Senate to serve as parliamentarian. Amended 10/09

VIII.    Amendments to the Bylaws

The bylaws of the Staff Senate may be altered, amended, or repealed upon a two-thirds majority vote of the representatives present at any regular meeting, providing the proposed alteration, amendment, or repeal has been presented in writing, and accepted, at a regular meeting of the Staff Senate.


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