Staff Senate Procedures

Staff Senate Procedures, July 13, 2020


I. Operating Procedures.

a. The following procedures outline the classification, details, processes, and best practices for operating within the Staff Senate bylaws at the University of North Texas. 

b. The Bylaws and Election Committee will review the procedures annually. 

c. The procedures are subject to change with a two-thirds vote of senators. 

II. The composition of the Staff Senate.

a. Membership.

i. Refer to Staff Senate Bylaws for eligibility requirements in Article III Section a. 

ii. Staff Senate size is based on the total number of staff members within each administrative unit. 

iii. Staff count of the administrative units shall be reviewed annually to guarantee each unit is represented by the correct number of senators. 

iv. HR shall supply the list of employees within each administrative unit. 

v. Eligible individuals shall seek permission from their immediate supervisor to serve on the Staff Senate. 

vi. Senators will:

1. Make informed decisions 

2. Vote on matters brought before the Staff Senate 

3. Serve on at least one (1) standing committee 

4. Serve on university committees when requested or appointed 

vii. The following employee positions are excluded from serving as a Staff Senator:

1. President, 

2. Provost, 

3. Vice president/associate vice president/assistant vice president, 

4. Dean/associate dean/assistant dean, 

5. Teaching Fellow/Teaching Assistant/Research Assistant/Graduate Student 

6. Individuals in positions classified as student positions 

7. Faculty/lecturers/professional librarians/adjunct professors/special appointed faculty, 

8. Unless otherwise considered first, and foremost, a regular staff member 

9. Employees of the UNT System and its other member institutions. 

b. Voting / Non-Voting Members.

i. For voting and non-voting member classifications, refer to Staff Senate Bylaws in Article III Section b. 

c. Staff Senate Officers.

i. For Staff Senate officer compositions, refer to Staff Senate Bylaws in Article III Section c. 

ii. For Staff Senate officer expectations, refer to Article III within this document. 

iii. For terms of office, refer to Staff Senate Bylaws in Article III Section d. 

d. Vacancies.

i. Vacancy within the Staff Senate.

1. A vacancy due to termination of employment or removal from the Staff Senate will be filled within 45 days of Staff Senate notification. 

2. The Elections and Bylaws Committee will research the prior election results and nominations within the impacted administrative unit. 

3. Within the administrative unit where the position is vacant, the nominee that received the most votes, but did not attain a senator position (the runner-up), will be offered the role. 

4. If the runner-up declines the position, the next in line with the most votes within the unit will be offered the position. 

5. In the case where there are no available nominees to fill the vacancy, the Elections and Bylaws Committee will work with the administrative unit to develop an election to fill the vacancy. 

6. If no nominees come forward to run in an election to fill a vacancy, the Bylaws and Elections Committee shall appoint a current Senator to represent the constiuents of the vacancy until the next General Election.

ii. Vacancy due to administrative unit changes.

1. If a senator changes roles that require a transition into a different administrative unit, the senator will complete their term as a representative of the original unit. 

2. When the term ends, a senator may seek reelection from the new campus unit where the senator is currently/newly employed provided the senator has not served the maximum number of years without a break. 

iii. Vacancy within the Executive Committee.

1. Refer to the Staff Senate Bylaws for clarification in Article III Section e. 

e. Elections.

i. Staff Senate nominations.

1. Coordinated by the Elections and Bylaws Committee. 

2. No senator up for reelection shall assist the committee with the election process. 

3. Administrative units shall be notified by the committee of the number of open seats available within each unit. 

4. The chair of the committee will work with the administrative unit leader or designee to establish the nomination and election process for that unit. 

5. Administrative units shall email the names of nominees to the Elections and Bylaws Committee no later than the week after spring break. 

6. Nominees’ information will be emailed to the appropriate administrative units for voting. 

ii. Voting.

1. All elections shall be conducted by secret ballot. 

2. The nominees shall be listed as candidates. 

3. Candidates shall only be viewed by the employees from the administrative unit in which the nominee is housed. 

4. Specific instructions shall be placed on each ballot for voting assistance. 

5. Voters may cast one vote for each open seat in their administrative unit. (For example: In an administrative unit with five open seats, voters can vote for as few as one or as many as five candidates.)

6. Ballots shall be counted under the supervision of the Elections and Bylaws Committee.

7. Election results shall be communicated to all staff no later than the Friday before spring commencement. 

8. Election results and ballots shall be retained until the next election is concluded the following year. 

9. Election results may be contested up to 30 days following the announcement of the election results. 

10. In case of a tie vote among two or more candidates, a runoff election shall be held. All tied candidates shall be listed on the runoff ballot.

11. In the runoff election, the candidate receiving the most votes shall be declared the winner.

12. In case of a tie vote in the runoff, the winner shall be randomly selected by the Bylaws and Elections Committee.

iii. Officer Elections.

1. Officer elections are to be coordinated by the Elections and Bylaws Committee. 

2. Nominations for an officer position can also be emailed to the chair prior to the August meeting. 

3. At the August meeting, nominations will be taken from any senator in attendance for an officer position. 

4. Officers will be elected in the month of August for the upcoming year. 

5. Having given prior consent, nominees need not be present to be considered for an officer position. 

6. Officers will take office on September 1 of each year. 

7. Qualified officer nominees must have prior service as a Senator for a full academic year. 

8. All present senators, current and incoming, are qualified to vote in an officer election. 

9. Voting shall be counted by the Elections and Bylaws Committee 

10. A simple majority of votes shall determine the elected officers. 

III. Staff Senate Expectations.

a. Staff Senate Officers.

i. Each Officer position is one (1) year in length. 

ii. The chair shall:

1. Preside at all regular and special meetings. 

2. Vote only in the event of a tie. 

3. Enforce all regulations and policies. 

4. Preside over the Executive Committee. 

5. Oversee all committees. 

6. Prepare the organizational chart of the Staff Senate. 

7. Approve agendas and minutes. 

8. Represent the Staff Senate at all functions which require representation of the Staff Senate, or appoint a designee. 

9. Call special meetings. 

10. Communicate Staff Senate operations to the president or president’s designee(s). 

11. Approve all financial transactions and authorize the disbursement of funds in collaboration with the account holder assigned by the president or the president’s designee(s). 

12. Establish ad hoc committees as approved by the Staff Senate. 

13. Perform other such duties as associated with this office. 

iii. The chair-elect shall:

1. Prepare to fulfill the role of chair in the following year. 

2. Preside over meetings in the absence of the chair. 

3. Assist chair in performing leadership responsibilities. 

4. Fulfill any term vacated by the chair. 

5. Perform other such duties as associated with this office or deemed appropriate by the chair. 

iv. The parliamentarian shall:

1. Oversee the execution of Staff Senate business to ensure adherence to the Charter and Bylaws. 

2. Advise the chair on parliamentary procedures in accordance with Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised. 

3. Perform other such duties as associated with this office or deemed appropriate by the chair. 

4. Make approved edits to the official Procedures or Bylaws based on new motions or legislation. Provide changes to the Communications Chair for website updates.

v. The secretary/treasurer shall:

1. Record attendance. 

2. Call for agenda items, prepare draft agendas and take minutes of all Staff Senate and Executive Committee meetings and maintain them as permanent records. 

3. Email the minutes to each Executive Committee members within ten (10) days prior to next meeting. 

4. Email agendas and minutes to the full Staff Senate prior to a meeting, ensuring both are posted to the Staff Senate website. 

5. Maintain all records of the Staff Senate including: fiscal records, mailing lists (electronic and physical addresses), list of senators and term limits, and list of committees and serving senators. 

6. Make chair-authorized disbursements of funds in collaboration with the account holder designated by the president or the president’s designee(s). 

7. Submit quarterly financial reports to Executive Committee. 

8. Perform other such duties as associated with this office or deemed appropriate by the chair. 

vi. The communications coordinator shall:

1. Create, edit, and maintain all content on the Staff Senate website, Facebook, and Twitter, and other social media accounts. 

2. Create and distribute the Staff Senate newsletter. 

3. Serve as a historian by maintaining Staff Senate archives. 

4. Edit and maintain the communication plan set forth by the Staff Senate Executive Committee. 

5. Maintain electronic constituency list(s) of all staff by the administrative unit with the assistance of UNT System Information Technology Shared Services (ITSS). 

6. Perform other such duties as associated with this office or deemed appropriate by the chair. 

vii. The past chair shall:

1. Serve in an advisory capacity to the Executive Committee. 

2. Ensure continuity of multi-year projects, as assigned by the Executive Committee. 

3. Serve as an ex-officio member of the Executive Committee. 

viii. The HR Representative shall:

1. Serve in an advisory capacity to the Executive Committee. 

2. Serve as an ex-officio member of the Executive Committee. 

3. Assist with providing the annual list of employees, for election purposes, within each administrative unit. 

ix. The president’s designee(s) to the Staff Senate shall:

1. Be appointed by the president annually in August. 

b. Members.

i. All newly elected senators will attend an orientation held by the Executive Committee. 

ii. Each senator will be given a list of constituents.

1. List of constituents will be related to the administrative unit that the senator represents. 

2. The list will contain the name and email address of each staff member within the administrative unit. 

iii. Senators are responsible for staying in close contact with the constituents throughout the senator’s term of office by:

1. Introducing themselves at the beginning of each term, via email template. 

2. Relaying pertinent campus and Staff Senate information to all assigned constituents, including meeting agendas and minutes. 

3. Answering any questions sent to the senator from fellow constituents. 

4. Escalating certain questions to the Executive Committee for research and response. 

c. Resignation.

i. If a senator is unable to fulfill the responsibilities for the entirety of a term, the senator should formally resign. 

ii. A senator’s resignation will be accepted and finalized by the Executive Committee. 

iii. The process to fill a vacancy shall be handled in accordance with the Staff Senate Bylaws Article III Section e and Procedures Article II Section d. 

d. Attendance.

i. Staff Senators shall comply with the attendance policy stated in the Staff Senate Bylaws referenced in Section IV, item a. 

ii. Senators shall be responsible for attending monthly meetings as well as special or called meetings except for the following reasons which will constitute excused absences:

1. Vacation leave 

2. Sick leave 

3. Official University business other than normal job duties that require the Senator’s attendance at the time of the regularly scheduled Senate meeting. 

iii. In the cases of vacation leave and official business, the Senator shall provide advance notice to any member of the Executive Committee. In the case of sick leave, the Senator shall notify any member of the Executive Committee upon the first day of returning to work. 

iv. After a Senator has two absences, the Executive Committee shall contact the Senator for an explanation for missed meetings. An opportunity to resign from the Senate will be given if the Senator feels they will not be able to comply with the attendance policy. 

v. A Senator who has three (3) absences during a twelve (12) month period beginning with the month of September and ending with the following August shall be reviewed for removal. 

vi. The review process will consist of the creation of an Ad Hoc committee made up of three (3) Staff Senators to review the circumstances and make a recommendation to the Executive Committee.

1. As part of the review process, minutes shall be taken electronically. 

2. The Ad Hoc committee can allow the Senator up to an additional 3 absences as part of their recommendation. 

vii. The recommendation will be sent to the Executive Committee no later than three (3) days before the next regularly scheduled Executive Committee meeting. 

viii. The Executive Committee shall contact the Senator in good faith at least three (3) working days prior to the meeting at which the Senator’s removal will be read into the minutes. 

ix. Minutes should be taken at all meetings pertaining to the review process 

x. Removal from the UNT Staff Senate does not preclude an individual from seeking nomination or participating in UNT Staff Senate elections the following year or beyond. 

e. Meetings.

i. Refer to Staff Senate Bylaws for meeting guidelines in Article IV Section b. 

ii. All meetings will operate within the principles of Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised. 

iii. All in attendance are expected to silence cell phones during Staff Senate meetings. 

iv. The meeting agenda will:

1. Be available to all staff members via the Staff Senate website two (2) working days prior to Staff Senate meetings and include prior meeting minutes. 

2. Include time and location of the upcoming Staff Senate meeting. 

3. Include the order of business and supporting documentation. 

4. Be developed by the Executive Committee. 

v. The meeting minutes will:

1. Be recorded by the secretary/treasurer. 

2. Be distributed by the secretary/treasurer to Executive Committee within ten (10) days of the adjourned meeting. 

3. Be posted on the Staff Senate website for all to view. 

f. Quorum.

i. Refer to Staff Senate Bylaws for quorum guidelines in Article IV Section c. 

ii. When the presence of a quorum is challenged by a member of the Staff Senate, the secretary/treasurer shall conduct a roll call and announce to the chair the presence or absence of a quorum. 

iii. In the absence of a quorum:

1. The chair may only make informational announcements. 

2. Any business transactions that require a vote will be tabled until a quorum is present, with exception of committee reporting. 

3. Invited guests may address the Staff Senate or request to return at the next held meeting. 

g. Parliamentary Authority.

i. Refer to Staff Senate Bylaws for the established parliamentary authority in Article IV Section d.