Staff Senate Bylaws
ARTICLE I. NAME
The name of the organization shall be the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center Staff Senate (herein referred to as the TTUHSC Staff Senate or Staff Senate).
ARTICLE II. AUTHORITY
The TTUHSC Staff Senate shall function as approved by the President of the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center and shall continue to do so until such time as the TTUHSC Staff Senate dissolves itself or the Bylaws are revoked by the President or Board of Regents.
ARTICLE III. PURPOSE
The Staff Senate shall exist to serve as the official representative body of the staff of the TTUHSC and to function as an advisory body in making recommendations on issues affecting institutional governance. Through these purposes the Staff Senate strives foremost to contribute to the overall success of the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center and to foster a spirit of unity and cooperation among staff employees.
ARTICLE IV. JURISDICTION
The TTUHSC Staff Senate shall provide representation for all staff from the TTUHSC and provide a forum for examining common concerns related to Staff quality of life and employment. The Staff Senate shall represent the Staff in communicating with the TTUHSC Administration regarding policies and procedures and in making recommendations that are consistent with the TTUHSC overall mission.
ARTICLE V. ORGANIZATION
Any staff employee of TTUHSC shall have the right to vote for candidates for Senator. The Staff Senate shall be elected to serve as the representative body of all staff employees of TTUHSC regardless of geographic location, school or service classification.
ARTICLE VI. RESPONSIBILITIES
The Staff Senate shall operate to facilitate open communication between the Staff and the TTUHSC Administration, seeking to provide constructive recommendations. The Staff Senate shall meet at least monthly. All meetings of the Staff Senate shall be open meetings unless otherwise required by law or allowed by law. The Staff Senate shall publish on its website the Agendas and approved Minutes for all meetings of the Staff Senate. The Staff Senate shall organize activities that support the staff and local communities and annually report the activities of the Staff Senate to all Staff.
ARTICLE VII. MEMBERSHIP
The Staff Senate shall consist of 18 Senators: Four (4) representatives (2 non-exempt and 2 exempt) from each campus (Lubbock, Amarillo, El Paso and Permian Basin) and two (2) representatives (1 non-exempt and 1 exempt) to represent all distant sites (Abilene, Dallas, Marble Falls, etc.). The Senators are elected to represent the entire staff and are not elected to represent a school or service department. Senators are elected by campus or site so that when needs arise because of geographic location they can be fully understood.
The Staff Senate shall elect from its membership a President, Vice President and Secretary/Treasurer in accordance with these Bylaws.
A Webmaster for the Staff Senate shall be appointed by the Staff Senate officers as a non-voice, non-voting position on the Senate with a non-expiring term. A sitting Staff Senator may serve as Webmaster.
Ex-Officio, non-voting members of the Staff Senate shall include a representative designated from the TTUHSC President's office and the Past President who serves one year immediately following his/her service as Staff Senate President.
A. Eligibility as a Senator:
1) Full-time or part-time permanent staff member of TTUHSC
2) Senators and alternate senators must have 12 months continuous service in a permanent position within TTUHSC prior to being nominated
3) Senators and alternate senators may not have a formal reprimand that has been received within the current fiscal year.
4) During an elected term, Senators or alternate Senators lose their Senate membership upon leaving TTUHSC.
5) During an elected term, if the Senator moves from one campus/site to another, the Senator will notify the Staff Senate President and resign his or her position.
6) During an elected term, if the Senator changes from non-exempt to exempt (or vice versa), the Senator is not required to resign and may serve until the end of the term. The Senator may be re-elected to the Senate at the next election in his or her current status (exempt or non-exempt).
B. Duties of Senators:
1) Senators shall attend orientation session and sign required documents prior to starting their term.
2) Senators shall attend all regular meetings as well as special or called meetings.
3) Senators shall serve on committees of the Senate and may be elected as an officer of those committees.
4) The Staff Senate may elect to form ad hoc committees or task forces for additional work. The ad hoc committees or task forces may include TTUHSC staff who are not Senators. Each ad hoc committee and/or task force needs to have at least one Staff Senator serving on the ad hoc committee or task force.
5) Senators shall make themselves known to their constituents, indicating how they can be contacted, hear their concerns, receive information and suggestions and communicate these to the Senate. In turn, Senators must keep their constituents well informed of the work of the Senate.
6) The Senators are elected to represent the entire staff and are not elected to represent a school or service department.
7) A Senator may serve as a Senate representative on a TTUHSC/TTU committee if so appointed.
C. Terms of Office:
Senators serve a two-year term and may serve no more than two consecutive terms. Alternates serve a one-year term. Terms begin the first day of September and end on the last day of August.
D. Nomination Procedure:
1) The Membership Committee will develop and post a nomination form (via TTUHSC announcement page, Outlook e-mail distribution list, Staff Senate web page, posters, etc.). The nomination form will describe the eligibility and duties of a Staff Senator and provide instructions for nomination process. Supervisors will be encouraged to nominate their employees.
2) Candidate nominations may be self-nominations or made by members of the staff. Nominations are required on the designated Staff Senate nomination form.
3) The nomination process shall occur in the entire month of May 1-31 with the election process July 1-31.
4) A signed agreement to serve will be obtained from each nominee. The agreement shall include an explanation of the eligibility requirements and duties of a Staff Senator, as well as an acknowledgement from the nominee’s supervisor that he/she is aware of the expectations of a Staff Senator.
5) The Membership Committee will be responsible for the collection of nominations and agreements to serve.
6) The Membership Committee will ensure all Senate vacant positions have nominations prior to election.
7) The Membership Committee will present the nomination forms to Human Resources to verify the nominee meets eligibility requirements and have the Director of Human Resources complete a Human Resources Review form on each nominee.
E. Campaign Rules:
Nominees will be allowed to campaign during the last two weeks in June. In order to give everyone a chance to campaign at no cost to nominees or departments, every nominee will have the opportunity to submit a biographical sketch (no more than 200 words) and picture to the Webmaster. A link on the Staff Senate web page will include all nominees.
F. Election Procedure:
1) The election of Senators to the Senate shall be done through ballots.
2) The Membership Committee will prepare the election ballots indicating the names of the nominee (be sure to separate into exempt and non-exempt status) in alphabetical order, and by campus/distance site. Additionally, the election ballot will include the number/representation of Senators to be elected and instructions for voting.
3) At the close of the elections, the Membership Committee will count the ballots.
4) Senators will be selected based on the highest number of votes received. In case of a tie, it will be decided upon a basis of a drawing.
5) In the event the number of nominees for each classification/campus is equal to or less than the number vacant seats, the nominee(s) shall be considered elected to the Senate by default.
6) One alternate per campus/distance sites is determined by the next highest votes received.
7) The Membership Committee shall notify the newly elected Senator and their supervisor in writing.
8) The Membership Committee shall make the results of the election known to the TTUHSC community.
9) All elected Senators shall assume responsibilities at the first meeting of the Staff Senate, September of each year.
A Senator has a commitment to attend all meetings. If an absence cannot be avoided, the Senator shall contact the President in writing five days prior to an expected absence, or in the case of an unexpected absence, follow up in writing within five working days after the meeting, explaining the absence.
A Senator is required to attend at least 75% of the regularly scheduled meetings for any fiscal year. The Chair of the Membership Committee will notify the Senator in writing of his/her absences and advise the Senator to note the Bylaws regarding absences. The Membership Committee will monitor attendance and report to the Executive Committee any Senator who does not meet the attendance requirement. The Executive Committee will review the report and make a recommendation for or against expulsion to be presented to the Staff Senate for vote at the next scheduled Staff Senate meeting.
If unable to attend a meeting, any Staff Senator may select a proxy to attend the meeting in their place. The proxy must come from the same represented area as the Senator (same campus and exempt or non-exempt status), and shall notify the President in writing preferably one week in advance of the meeting along with the name and contact information of the proxy. All proxy attendees must sign a confidentiality agreement before attending meetings, and meet all eligibility requirements of a Staff Senator. Senators are encouraged to utilize Staff Senate alternates for use as proxy.
When a Staff Senator resigns, or is removed as a result of excessive absences, an alternate shall fill the vacated position.
The removal process consists of the following:
The membership of the Senate, may remove any elected Senator or alternate Senator from office for non-performance of Senatorial duties. A petition requesting such removal can be brought to the Executive Committee by a simple majority of the members. The Executive Committee will investigate the matter on a case by case basis and recommend action to the Senate. The membership of the Senate will make the final decision through secret ballot. A simple majority of those present and voting at a regular Senate meeting will carry the vote. Possible causes of expulsion shall include, but not limited to:
1) failure to consistently report on activities of the Senate to their constituents,
2) unavailability of the Senator to constituents,
3) use of powers of the Senate, real or implied, to further personal causes deemed a conflict of interest, or
4) excessive absences from meetings.
Two alternates are designated for each campus (one representing non-exempt and one representing exempt) and two alternates are designated for the distance sites (one representing non-exempt and one representing exempt). The alternate is the next highest number of votes for the campus and status (exempt and non-exempt).
If the alternate is required to serve as a Senator, the alternate shall serve the completion of the term and in that event, shall function as an elected Senator.
If a vacancy in a Senate seat should occur for any reason (e.g., through termination of employment, resignation from the Senate, or expulsion from the Senate), the position shall be filled upon written notification and written acceptance by the person currently serving as the alternate for that campus and status (exempt or non-exempt). In the event no alternate is available to fill a vacancy, the President is given authority to appoint an individual to serve the completion of the term. Senators on each respective campus will identify an individual who is willing to serve and meets all eligibility requirements. The appointment shall subsequently be affirmed by the Senate.
If a vacancy in an alternate seat should occur for any reason (e.g., through advancement to a Senate seat, termination of employment, resignation or expulsion from the Senate), the Senators from each respective campus will identify an individual who is willing to serve and meets all eligibility requirements. The President is given authority to appoint an individual to serve the remainder of the alternate term. The appointment shall subsequently be affirmed by the Senate.
K. Webmaster – Appointed Position:
Non-voice, non-voting position appointed to serve as Webmaster for the Staff Senate. This is a non-expiring term appointed by Staff Senate officers. A sitting Staff Senator may serve as Webmaster. The Webmaster should exhibit the following skills: access to, and knowledge of, TTUHSC designated web page management system.
L. Orientation for New Senators:
Each year, orientation will be held for new Senators before their official term begins on September 1st. Orientation will be facilitated by the President. Required areas for discussions include Bylaws, Senator responsibilities, signature of Confidentiality Agreement, Senate mission and assignment to a Standing Committee.
ARTICLE VIII. SELECTION OF OFFICERS
Election: Officers of the Staff Senate shall be elected from the membership of the Staff Senate annually. Nominations shall be received at the September meeting from the floor. The outgoing President shall conduct the election of officers at the September meeting of the Senate. The new officers shall be elected by secret ballot. A simple majority of those present and voting is required for election. Officers shall begin their terms during the September meeting.
The President will serve a one-year term as a Senator before becoming President. The Vice President and Secretary/Treasurer may be new members of the Senate and may be re-elected for a second consecutive one-year term.
Vacancies: If any officer resigns during his/her term of office, a new officer shall be elected from the membership of the Staff Senate and assume the duties for the remainder of that term.
ARTICLE IX. OFFICERS
The three officers of the Staff Senate shall be the President, Vice President and Secretary/Treasurer. The term begins September 1 of the fiscal year.
Responsibilities of the President include
1) presiding at meetings of the Staff Senate and special meetings called for the entire TTUHSC Staff,
2) distributing meeting agendas,
3) communicating with the Ex-Officio member from the TTUHSC President’s office as appropriate or as requested by the Ex-Officio member,
4) serving as ex-officio (non-voting) member of the Staff Senate for one year immediately following term as President,
5) ensuring an annual report of activities of the Staff Senate is completed and communicated to TTUHSC Staff, and
6) facilitating orientation to new Staff Senators
Responsibilities of the Vice President include:
1) serving as assistant to the President and carry out all duties the President may deem necessary,
2) presiding at meetings in the absence of the President,
3) scheduling all meeting rooms and secure necessary communication devices/technology for meetings (Techlink, etc.),
4) serving as Parliamentarian and determining quorum at each meeting,
5) primarily responsible for managing amendments to the Bylaws, including overseeing the ballot process in accordance with Article XIII.
6) serves on the Membership Committee,
7) assuming the position of Interim President for the remainder of the term, in the event the President vacates the office for any reason.
Responsibilities of the Secretary/Treasurer include:
1) recording minutes and records of all the proceedings of the Staff Senate,
2) submitting minutes and records on the Staff Senate to the Webmaster upon approval,
3) serving as account manager and maintaining financial records, receiving/disbursing funds, and preparing/reporting the financial status of the account during Staff Senate meetings,
4) maintaining official record of Staff Senate Resolutions,
5) maintaining official files of Bylaws, minutes, correspondence, and committee meeting minutes for the history of the Staff Senate,
6) maintaining all official forms and documents,
7) maintaining and updating the Staff Senate roster. Distributing updated roster to Senators and Webmaster.
ARTICLE X. COMMITTEES
A. Standing Committees
1. Executive committee: Membership of the executive committee consists of the Staff Senate President, Vice President and Secretary/Treasurer. The Executive Committee meets once a month outside of the regular Staff Senate meetings. This group will be responsible for developing the agenda for the upcoming Senate meeting.
2. Membership committee: This committee is comprised of the Vice President and at least two Senators from the Staff Senate. The Chair of the Membership Committee shall be selected by its members. The Membership Committee shall oversee the nomination and election process each year. This Committee may also assist with membership issues including addressing members not attending meetings and assigning alternates to assume vacated Senate seats.
B. Ad Hoc Committee or Task Forces:
The Staff Senate may choose to form ad hoc committees or task forces as deemed necessary to accomplish the purposes of the Staff Senate.
Staff Senate members may volunteer to serve on ad hoc committees and/or task forces. Any full- time or part-time, permanent staff member may serve on an ad hoc committee or task force. An ad hoc committee or task force will be disbanded when its purpose has been served.
The size of each ad hoc committee/task force shall be appropriate to the duties assigned and shall make periodic reports to the Staff Senate accordingly. The ad hoc committee/task force shall forward reports to the Webmaster to be posted on the Staff Senate website in a timely fashion.
Each ad hoc committee or task force shall elect a chairperson. The chairperson is responsible for the agenda, minutes, and reporting to the Staff Senate.
A quorum of an ad hoc committee or task force shall consist of a majority of its members.
C. Staff Senate Representation on TTUHSC Committees
The Staff Senate will seek representation on appropriate TTUHSC committees. The Executive Committee shall forward their recommendation to the Ex-Officio member from the TTUHSC President’s office.
ARTICLE XI. MEETINGS
Regular meetings of the Staff Senate shall be held on a monthly basis. If the Executive Committee has no agenda items or proposals they reserve the right not to hold a meeting but must notify the Senate. There shall be no fewer than six regular meetings per year Special meetings of the Senate may be called by the Executive Committee. Ten working days notice should be given of any special meeting. Only business specified in the call of the special meeting can be conducted at such a meeting.
Meetings of the Staff Senate shall be open in accordance with statutes of the State of Texas. The President (or VP in their absence) may cause anyone who disrupts the meeting to be ejected. At the first regular meeting in September, the Staff Senate shall establish regular meeting times. All meetings, whether regular or special, should be held during normal working hours Monday through Friday.
A simple majority (50% + 1) of the membership of the Staff Senate shall constitute a quorum for the conduct of Senate's business in meetings of the Senate or its committees. The Senate may convene and have announcements, but no motions may be presented or adopted without a quorum. If unable to attend a meeting, any Staff Senator may select a person to act as proxy to attend the meeting in his or her place. The proxy must come from the same represented area (campus and exempt or non-exempt status), and shall have full member privileges, including voting and quorum counts. Motions may be passed by a number greater than one-half of the quorum.
The voting method shall be conducted by a show of hands.
A quorum shall exist before voting can occur.
A majority vote shall be used for motions (excluding amendments to Bylaws). Two-thirds vote of the ballots cast by the TTUHSC staff is required for motions to be adopted when motions presented are amendments to Staff Senate Bylaws.
ARTICLE XII. PARLIAMENTARY AUTHORITY
The rules contained in Robert's Rules of Order, Newly Revised, shall govern the Staff Senate and meetings in all cases to which they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with these Bylaws.
ARTICLE XIII. ADOPTION AND AMENDMENT
The Bylaws of the Staff Senate shall become effective when adopted by a two thirds vote of the ballots cast by TTUHSC staff. A proposal to change or amend the Bylaws shall be introduced by:
Section 1. An amendment to the Bylaws of the Staff Senate may be proposed by a petition to the President of the Staff Senate signed by at least 100 members of the TTUHSC Staff or by two-thirds vote of the Senators.
Section 2. Any amendment proposed by the Staff Senate shall be submitted to vote of the TTUHSC Staff. TTUHSC staff shall be notified by the Staff Senate via e-mail and web page announcements at least fourteen days in advance of such a vote and at that time furnished with the proposed amendment.
Section 3. An amendment to these Bylaws shall become effective upon approval by two-thirds vote of the ballots cast by the TTUHSC Staff.
Revised and Adopted April 13, 2011