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MARS bylaws

This page is for any club rules we cook up. We prefer to be informal, so there are few.

Adopted 4/7/06

BACKGROUND AND OVERVIEW: From time to time, the club has to spend money out of its treasury to pay for web hosting, insurance and miscellaneous discretionary projects we may wish to fund. For that purpose, we have created a voting procedure that enables club members to decide how club funds are spent.

The basic idea is to allow decisions about expenditures of club funds to be made by those who supply those funds...the dues-paying members.

ELIGIBILITY: It is reasonable to limit eligibility for voting to current dues-paying members. This should be considered an incentive to join the club. The secretary/treasurer or a volunteer member will check that those who vote are in fact paid-up members. Those who have voted but have not paid their dues will be contacted privately in case their status is incorrect or if they forgot to pay.

PROPOSAL FORMAT: Any question that's thrown open for vote should worded so that a clear yes-or-no vote is possible. For example, "Should we spend club money on T shirts, jerseys or a picnic?" isn't going to prove useful. A proposal like "Here is the design for the proposed jersey, here is the cost, here is how many we're going to order, and here is how much we'll sell them for. Do you agree, yes or no?" is something much more solid.

MAKING PROPOSALS AND HASHING OUT THE DETAILS: Anyone (even non-members) can bring up a proposal for vote, but proposals should not be made until there is actually something tangible and clear-cut to vote on. The back-and-forth discussion should take place on the BENT list before the vote is called. Proposals should not be modified once made...the time for all of that comes before we start voting.

Note that there is no need to follow this procedure for issues that do not involve the expenditure of club funds.

QUORUM: The current number of paid members is very low, only a small fraction of the number of subscribers to the list. The quorum will be defined as:
50 percent of the paid membership up to and including 25 members
35 percent of the paid membership above that

If two votes in a row fail through inability to meet this requirement, the quorum size will be reduced by one third. If that vote fails, a reasonable attempt will be made to contact the membership privately.

It is unlikely that there will be a tie. If that happens, we'll engage in a discussion to decide how to deal with it.

BINDING RESOLUTIONS: The outcome of a vote will be considered binding and shall constitute authorization to spend money out of the club treasury.

NOTIFICATION: All discussion, debate and proposals will appear on the MARS email list. All formal proposals will also be posted on this web page. No private notification will be given (except for the quorum provision noted above)...if you want to participate, you have to subscribe to, and monitor, the list.

VOTING PERIOD: One week from the time the proposal is made to the time voting closes seems reasonable. This should allow anyone who is going to vote ample time to do so. Under special circumstance the voting period may be altered, for example in situations where it is clear that there already is consensus and the vote is a mere formality..

PRIVATE INITIATIVES: Our inability to agree on how to use club funds has in the past led some members to simply take matters into their own hands and fund their own projects. There's no reason this can't still happen. This proposal is only for matters that affect the club treasury.