Revised: January, 2023
UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON STAFF COUNCIL BYLAWS
Section 1. Representation
Staff Council (sometimes referred to herein as the "Council") is responsible for representing the concerns of the University of Houston (sometimes referred to herein as the "University") staff. As used in the Constitution and in these Bylaws, "Staff" shall mean all benefits-eligible employees, who are not charged principally with teaching. The term "Staff" includes both exempt and non-exempt employees and both part-time and full-time employees.
Section 2. Membership
2.1 Representation. The Council shall consist of representatives who will be elected as follows:
2.1.a. The University of Houston Staff Council shall elect Six (6) at-large members who shall serve staggered terms with two members elected every year;
2.1.b. The Staff of each Division shall elect one representative per 100 benefits-eligible staff members in their division. The number of benefits-eligible staff within a division shall be rounded down if the total is 49 or fewer and rounded up if 50 or more. There is a minimum of one (1) representative per division. Review of the number of council members for each division shall occur annually by March 1 by the Membership and Elections Committee. Reapportionment of division members shall be made by the Membership and Elections Committee to reflect any changes in divisions in the University's organization or in staff composition for the next Council election. No council member will be removed from a position on Staff Council as a result of reapportionment. If a staff council member is transferred from one division in the university to another, the member shall forfeit their membership on Staff Council and a new member will be appointed from the division from which they were elected. However, in the event that a body of staff members are transferred between divisions outside of their control, the members will not be required to forfeit their memberships.
2.1.c. President-Elect is elected by Staff Council members for a three-year term each fiscal year. The President-Elect becomes President the following each year and Immediate Past President the second following year. Upon election to Staff Council President-Elect, they will move into the membership Staff Council President-Elect position, which is a three-year term. The membership for their previous division will be filled per bylaws for vacant positions.
2.2 Divisions. Currently, Staff Council representation is apportioned as follows:
Administration and Finance
Division of Research
Tilman J. Fertitta Family College of Medicine
University Marketing, Communication and Media Relations
2.3 Eligibility for Council. Membership in Staff Council shall be limited to benefits-eligible staff who have been employees of University of Houston for a minimum of one year.
2.4 Terms. Staff Council members shall serve staggered three-year terms. Elections will be held annually to elect one-third of the membership of Staff Council.
2.5 Vacancies by resignation. The Council Membership and Elections Committee will select nominees to complete unexpired terms from among those nominated but not elected in the last election (i.e. runner-up) in the order of the highest number of votes received within the representative Division. In the case of all prior election runner-ups not being available to serve on Council, the President may solicit nominations from the floor. A vacancy is filled when a nomination is approved by two-thirds of the council members in attendance for the remainder of the unexpired term. The newly approved member will then be eligible to serve the remainder of the unexpired term until the seat is again up for election.
2.6 Forfeiture of Membership. If any member misses three (3) consecutive or a total of four (4) regularly scheduled meetings within between July 1 and June 30 that member will automatically lose their position on Staff Council. The Parliamentarian shall contact members who are in danger of forfeiture by absence. If a membership is forfeited by absence, the Parliamentarian shall contact the member via email and copy the Chair(s) of the Membership & Elections Committee, Secretary, and Staff Council President informing them of the forfeiture. If a member wishes to appeal, the member shall file a written request for reappointment (using the proscribed form provided by the Parliamentarian) to the Chairs of the Membership & Elections Committee and the Parliamentarian within ten (10) business days of the notice from the Parliamentarian. Chair(s) of the Membership & Elections Committee shall present the written request to the members of the Staff Council Executive Committee who shall vote on reinstatement at the next scheduled Executive Board Meeting. A 2/3rds majority will be required to reinstate the member in question. If a member is not reappointed, then the procedures set forth in section 2.5 above (Vacancies) shall govern filling the vacancy. If a member misses two (2) additional meetings after a member is reappointed, then there is no further appeal, and the member automatically loses their position on Staff Council. In addition, a staff council member may only request reappointment after forfeiture by absence once within a single year.
2.7 Excused Absence due to FMLA does not count as an absence.
Section 3. Election of Staff Council Members
3.1 Coordination of Elections. The Membership and Elections Committee shall coordinate and validate all elections to the Council. No Council member who is a candidate for a Council position may be involved in the counting of ballots for the position selected from their division or may staff the election booths.
3.2 The Membership and Elections Committee shall establish and maintain an election code. Any changes to the election code shall be approved by Staff Council no later than two (2) months prior to each election and will be available to any staff of the University.
3.3 Election of Staff Council Representatives. Electronic voting for Staff Council representatives will begin in late June, allowing enough time for at least three weeks of electronic voting. The criterion for Staff Council membership is listed in Section 2.3 of these bylaws; the definition of "staff" is included in Section 1. Each benefits-eligible staff member shall have the right to vote within their division for Staff Council members to represent their Division and for At-Large members of the Council.
3.4. Nominations. The Membership and Elections Committee will provide a nomination form link for Staff Council to all Staff as per the Election Code. For a nominee to be included on the Staff Council ballot, a nomination form must be completed and returned no later than two (2) weeks before the election or as designated by the Committee.
3.6 Method of Voting. All benefits-eligible staff may vote for nominees the Membership and Elections Committee determines are within their Division and At-Large positions on the ballot. The ballot will include space for write-in candidates. On designated Election Days, online voting will be available at access.uh.edu.
3.7 Counting of Ballots. The Certification Committee shall certify the election results within a week after the polls close. The nominees with the most votes from a division will hold the position for the longest term. Those with the second-highest total will have the next longest term. In the event of a tie vote, the Certification Committee will conduct a drawing.
3.8 Reelection. Present Staff Council members are eligible for reelection.
3.9 Notification. All candidates will be notified of the results of the election before the results are made public or announced.
Section 4. Meetings
4.1 Staff Council. Staff Council shall meet at least once a month throughout the year on the first Thursday of the month or alternate date designated by the Staff Council President. Staff Council meeting times will be published or distributed via Staff Council communications. The following meeting exceptions may occur due to natural disaster, inclement weather, pandemic, when the University closes or requires staff to work from home, or when an event beyond the scope of Staff Council control occurs. Under one of these scenarios Staff council attendance limits will be temporarily waived and meeting attendance during the exception period will count towards the attendance policy in Section 2.6 of the Staff Council Bylaws.
4.2 Committees. Council Standing Committees shall meet on an as-needed basis, but not less than once every three months.
4.3 Executive Session. The Council may request to go into executive session in accordance with the Texas Open Meetings Act, by a majority vote by those council members in attendance.
4.4 Executive Board Meetings. The Executive Board shall meet at least once a month throughout the year. The Council President shall determine the date and time of such meetings.
4.5 Forums. Staff Council will have a highly publicized forum and/or meeting at least once per year at a time and place designated by the Staff Affairs Committee.
4.6 Quorum. A quorum shall consist of a majority of the Members (50% + 1). Neither business nor voting shall occur at a meeting with less than a quorum.
4.7 Voting. Voting at meetings shall be by a voice vote or show of hands unless written ballots are requested by any member. Written ballots shall be used for voting whenever such form is requested by a member prior to or during a meeting. Voting will also be allowed over teleconference so long as the technology used requires that the Staff Council member logs in with a user name and password tied to an official UH account or allows the member to be identified by their voice. If a proposal or resolution needs to be voted on outside of a General Staff Council meeting, votes will be gathered in a special meeting called by the President and can be delivered in person, over teleconference, or via email.
Section 5. Election of Officers and Voting
5.1 Officers. The officers of the Council shall be: President, President-elect, Secretary, Treasurer, Immediate Past President, Historian, and Parliamentarian. All officers shall be members of Staff Council.
5.2 Term. All officers shall serve for one (1) year beginning on July 1 of each year and ending June 30.
5.2.a. All Officers, except the President and Immediate Past President, shall be elected in June.
5.2.b. The President-elect will become President effective July 1, and the previous President will become Immediate Past President. The president will be treated as ex-officio and will only vote in order to break a tie.
5.3 Elections. The Membership and Elections Committee shall coordinate and validate all elections of officers. The following officers - President-elect, Secretary, Treasurer, Parliamentarian, and the Historian- shall be nominated by Staff Council in the month of May each year and elected at the June meeting of each year and assume duties on July 1st of each year. Should the nominee’s term expire by June 30 of that year and the nominee not be elected to Staff Council for the next year then their nomination will be withdrawn.
5.4 Majority. Results of all elections and votes taken at Council meeting shall be decided by a majority of the votes cast except where otherwise indicated in the Constitution and these Bylaws.
5.5 Method of Voting for Officers. Elections will be conducted by secret ballot. Elections will be by a simple majority of Staff Council Members present. In the case that there is not a simple majority, there will be a run-off of the top two (2) candidates. Ties will be broken by the Council president.
5.6 Counting of Ballots. No Council member who is a candidate for an election may be involved in or present during the counting of ballots for that position.
5.7 Emergency Resignation of Officers. In the instance of an emergency resignation where proper channels cannot be used to resign and reappoint a member to fill the open office, the President may appoint an Interim Officer until an official election can be held.
Section 6. Officers and Duties
6.1 The president shall have the following duties:
6.1.a. Preside over all Staff Council meetings.
6.1.b. Shall represent Staff Council at all functions that require the representation of Staff Council or appoint a current council member in their place.
6.1.c. The President is the official representative and spokesperson for this organization.
6.1.d. Shall break all ties in votes of the Staff Council according to Robert’s Rules of Order.
6.1.e. Shall call special meetings when deemed necessary.
6.1.f. May not be president of any other University organization.
6.1.g. Appoint chairs of Staff Council committees.
6.1.h. Appoint Ad Hoc or Special committees.
6.1.i. Responsible for communicating the actions of Staff Council to the President of the University of Houston and Constituents.
6.1.j. Coordinate, prepare, and distribute the annual report of activities to the University President and constituents.
6.2 The President-elect shall have the following duties:
6.2.a. Assist the President in planning the agenda for Staff Council Meetings.
6.2.b. Preside over meetings in the absence of the President.
6.2.c. Oversee all committees and meet at least once with each of the standing committees throughout the year.
6.2.d. Advise Officers in their job requirements. If a new Officer is elected it is the duty of the President-elect to give that person on-the-job training until that Officer is confident with their position.
6.2.e. Other duties as deemed appropriate by the President.
6.3 The Secretary shall have the following duties:
6.3.a. Draft minutes from Staff Council meetings and submit the final copy of the minutes to the President of Staff Council.
6.3.b. Keep a complete roster of members of Staff Council, including but not limited to: name, e-mail, inter-office mail code, phone number, committee membership, term of office, Division they represent, etc.
6.4 The Treasurer shall have the following duties:
6.4.a. Keep an accurate record of all money disbursed and received, while also maintaining the financial reports.
6.4.b. Give a written report to Staff Council at the first meeting of every month with the updated budget.
6.5 The Immediate Past President shall have the following duties:
6.5.a. The Immediate Past President provides advice and leadership to the Council regarding past practices and other resources.
6.5.b. The Immediate Past President supports the President and the President-Elect on an as-needed basis.
6.6 The Parliamentarian shall have the following duties:
6.6.a. Oversee the conduct of Staff Council business to ensure adherence to the Constitution and Bylaws.
6.6.b. Shall be the authority on Parliamentary Procedure (Robert’s Rules of Order) for Staff Council.
6.6.c. Maintain a list of all council members who are in attendance at the regularly scheduled meetings and advise the Executive Board of any members who have forfeited membership due to missed meetings.
6.6.d. Notify Staff Council Members in danger of forfeiture by absence.
6.6.e. Maintain and update Staff Council meeting guidelines. Changes to meeting guidelines require two-thirds (2/3) of the Staff Council Executive Board.
6.7 The Historian shall have the following duties:
6.7.a. Shall contribute to the Staff Council online presence by maintaining and making available any news articles, photographs, and video pertaining to the Staff Council activities and events and by working closely with the communications committee.
6.7.b. Shall maintain records including but not limited to annual report and event statistics as well as other records requested by the President.
6.7.c. All historical materials not located online shall be maintained in the official Staff Council files kept by the Staff Council Program Manager.
Section 7. Committees
7.1 Committee Membership
7.1.a. Eligibility. No elected officer of the Council shall chair a Council standing committee. Council standing committees will be chaired by one or more Staff Council members. Unless specified otherwise, membership in any standing Council committee is open to any University staff member, regardless of Council membership. Unless specified otherwise, the Council may appoint any qualified University staff member in good standing, regardless of membership in the Council, to any University-wide committee to which it has been asked to appoint representatives. However, preference will be given to Staff Council members. With regard to University-wide committees, non-Staff Council committee members will have the same committee expectations and responsibilities as Staff Council members with regard to that committee.
7.1.b. Term. The term of Council committee membership and of the chair will coincide with the terms of the officers with exception to the Cougar First Impressions Committee which will start on October 1st and end on September 30. The term of University-wide committee membership will be determined by the requirements of that particular committee.
7.1.c. Voting. On the Staff Council Cougar First Impressions Standing Committee, both Staff Council members and non-Staff Council members will have voting privileges. On the other Staff Council standing committees, non-Staff Council members will not have voting privileges. On ad hoc committees, voting privileges will be defined by the Staff Council President who creates the committee. On University-wide committees, non-Staff Council members will be representing Staff Council, so will have the same voting privileges as Staff Council members, as defined by the particular University-wide committee.
7.1.d. Committee Membership Requirements. Staff Council members will belong to and participate in at least two (2) committees; standing, ad-hoc, or university-wide committee. At least one of the committees must be a Staff Council standing or ad-hoc committee. If a Staff Council member is unable to participate in two committees due to the demands of one of these committees or due to job constraints, that Council member shall apply in writing or via email to the President-elect for a waiver of this requirement. The President-elect will review the request, and present a recommendation to the Executive Committee for approval.
7.2 Standing Committees. The Council shall have the following standing committees:
7.2.a. Membership and Elections. The Committee is charged with the responsibility of regularly reviewing staff representation in university governance and making recommendations for staff appointments to university-wide committees. The committee oversees the elections of Staff Council members and officers and makes recommendations to the Staff Council President to fill vacancies in Council membership. The committee coordinates member onboarding.
7.2.b Staff Empowerment Committee. Responsible for recommending and promoting resources and initiatives that empower and enlighten University of Houston staff members and enhance their professional experience.
7.2.c. Events. Responsible for the organization of events for university staff members and the surrounding community, and other activities selected and approved by the Council. The committee shall collaborate with other Staff Council committees in the planning of events.
7.2.d. Communications. Responsible for all external communication, including releases to university media. This committee will also administer the Staff Council online presence, assist with photographic and video records of staff council events, distribute messages on the listserv, and work closely with other committees and the Staff Council program manager to distribute communications from Staff Council and the committees to the University campus community at large.
7.2.e. Staff Affairs. Responsible for the review of issues relating to staff. Review issues submitted to Staff Council, and delegate to other committees as appropriate. Responsible for review of University policies and procedures and recommend policy updates to administration on behalf of the Council. Responsible for Staff Council Awards nomination and selection process. Staff Council will have a highly publicized forum and/or meeting at least once per year at a time and place designated by the Staff Affairs Committee.
7.2.f. Cougar First Impressions. Responsible for planning and overseeing the annual Cougar First Impressions event, which will take place the first two days of the Fall semester. One Co-Chair must be a member of the Staff Council. First choice for the other CFI co-chair shall be a non-Staff Council member. If a suitable non-Staff Council member cannot be identified for this position, then a Staff Council member may be appointed for this position.
7.2.g. Scholarship and Advancement. Responsible for matters relating to scholarships and advancement initiatives including donor relations and fundraising.
7.2.h. Staff Engagement Committee. Responsible for creating an environment that values and supports engagement that fosters interaction, improvement, and success through encouragement, celebration, and recognition of staff. The committee shall increase awareness of Staff Council and its advocacy for staff across the University.
7.3 Special Committees. The Staff Council President as needed may appoint ad hoc committees.
7.4 Committee documentation. All Committee Chairs shall maintain all committee documentation via Microsoft Teams, in their respective Committee Team.
Section 8. Executive Board
8.1 Membership. The Executive Board shall consist of the following Council officers and chairs: president, immediate past president, president-elect, secretary, treasurer, parliamentarian, historian, and all standing committee chairs.
8.2 Duties. The Executive Board shall consider all matters brought before Staff Council and make referrals to the proper committees when necessary.
Section 9. Office Vacancies and Chain of Command
9.1 Nominations to Fill Vacancies. In the event of a vacancy in an elected office of Staff Council, the Membership and Elections Committee will accept nominations for that position at the next Staff Council meeting.
9.2 Election to Fill Vacancies. An election to fill the vacancy will be held at the same meeting that nominations are made unless a majority of the members present votes to hold the election at the following meeting. The election shall be conducted in accordance with the procedures outlined in Section 5 of the bylaws.
9.3 Presidencies. In the event of a vacancy in the office of president, the president-elect shall be President and serve the remainder of that term and serve as President the following year.
9.4 Chain of Command. In the event both the President and President-elect are unable to conduct a regular meeting, the chain of command shall be as follows: Immediate Past President, Secretary, Treasurer, Parliamentarian, Historian.
Section 10. Budget
10.1 Preparation. The Executive Board will be responsible for preparing a budget for Staff Council. Such budget shall coincide with the university budget cycle.
10.2 Contents. The budget shall be representative of all programs, events, and allocations for the fiscal year.
10.3 Approval. The Staff Council will receive a copy of the proposed budget for approval no later than the second meeting of the fiscal year. Staff Council shall approve or amend the budget by simple majority.
10.4 Unexpected Expenses. In the event that an unanticipated expenditure arises, the Executive Board shall vote on the expenditure by simple majority. If approval of the expenditure cannot wait until the next Executive Board meeting, the vote may be taken by phone or e-mail.
Section 11. Ethic Guidelines and Disciplinary Actions
11.1 Ethics and Code of Conduct.
The University of Houston Staff Council is committed to the highest ethical standards and code of conduct. The following are guidelines for each Council Representative’s personal commitment to integrity:
- We advocate and champion Staff at the University of Houston.
- We value, respect, and encourage inclusiveness within our University of Houston community.
- We promote an environment with honest and open communication where all opinions are valued, while we exhibit respect toward all those with whom we come in contact and foster good stewardship of Staff Council resources.
- We conduct ourselves in a professional and respectful manner as we represent the University and Staff Council and promote the University of Houston and Staff Council in an accurate, respectful, and truthful manner.
- We maintain confidentiality regarding internal communication between Staff Council representatives, University staff members, and University leadership.
- We strive to meet the highest standards of performance, quality, service, and achievement
11.2 Actions that may result with Disciplinary Actions
The following will be subject to Disciplinary Actions from Staff Council:
- Failure to fulfill duties of their office.
- Attendance and failure to actively participate in Staff Council.
- Misrepresentation of the office or organization.
- Unprofessional behavior and conduct unbecoming of a member.
- Members not following Staff Council’s Ethics and Code of Conduct (Section 11.1) and Meeting Guidelines.
Any violation of Section 11.2 shall be brought to the attention of a Staff Council Executive Officer. Violations and/or allegations must be reported in writing by any member of the UH community. The actions will be discussed at the next Executive Board meeting and the member will be sent a formal request to attend.
11.3 Disciplinary Guidelines
Failure to regularly attend Staff Council meetings will be subject to actions included in section 2.6 Forfeiture of membership guidelines.
Staff Council members who have committed a violation from Section 11.2
are subject to disciplinary action by two-thirds (2/3) of Staff Council Executive Board.
If the Staff Council Executive Board recommends removal from the office (Officer and Committee Chair) and/or removal from the Staff Council membership, it will require three-quarters (3/4) of the Staff Council Executive Board to take effect.
Failure to comply with Staff Council Disciplinary action is an automatic and immediate removal from Staff Council.
All Staff Council Members removed from Staff Council must wait three (3) years to serve again on Staff Council as a member representative except for forfeiture
by absence which will follow guidelines set in Section 2.6.
Section 12. Resignations
12.1 Inability to Serve. If for any reason a member of Staff Council cannot continue to serve out their term of office, that person may voluntarily resign.
12.2 Procedure. A resignation should be submitted in writing to the President.
12.3 Return of Staff Council Property. Upon notice of resignation, the person has one (1) week to remove any personal items from Staff Council space and return any items that are property of Staff Council.
Section 13. Orientation
13.1 Meeting. An orientation session for newly elected members shall be held before the first scheduled Council meeting of the year.
13.2 Manual. New member orientation information, including Council procedures, Committee charges, membership, the Constitution, and the Bylaws shall be available online.
13.3 Committee. The Membership and Elections Committee shall be responsible for organizing the orientation session.
Section 14. Amendments
14.1 Proposals of Amendment. Any Staff Council member may propose an amendment to the bylaws by submitting to the Secretary their written proposal.
14.2 Presentation to Board. The proposed amendment shall be discussed at the first Executive Board meeting after the Secretary receives the written proposal.
14.3 Discussion of Proposal. The proposed amendment will be placed on the agenda for discussion at the next regularly scheduled meeting following the executive board meeting. The Secretary shall distribute a copy of the proposed amendment to all Staff Council members at the meeting or before.
14.4 Vote on Proposal. The bylaws will be amended upon a majority vote of the council members present at the regularly scheduled meeting following the meeting in which the amendment was distributed.
14.5 Approved Amendments. A copy of the approved amendments shall be attached to the minutes of the General Staff Council meeting following the approval.
Section 15. Program Manager
The Staff Council utilizes a Program Manager to help in support of Staff Council; the Program Manager reports to the president of Staff Council and the division administrator of the President’s office.
Section 16. University System Staff Executive Council (USSEC)
The Staff Council will select four representatives to USSEC who will represent The University of Houston staff issues and concerns to USSEC and will bring information from USSEC back to the Staff Council on a regular basis.
The representatives will consist of the President, the President-elect, and two current Staff Council members elected by Staff Council. Membership will be reviewed on an annual basis but will not be longer than two years. Reference University System Staff Executive Council Constitution signed July 19, 2006.