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Bylaws

Revised and Approved by Commission - October 8, 2009
Approved by Board of Supervisors - December 8, 2009

The name of this Commission is the Sonoma County Commission on the Status of Women, hereafter referred to as the “Commission.”

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The Board of Supervisors of the County of Sonoma declared, in 1975, its policy to take affirmative action to eliminate the practice of discrimination and prejudice on account of sex. Therefore, this policy, pursuant to and in accordance with the law, the Sonoma County Commission on the Status of Women was established.

The purpose of the Commission is to promote equal rights and opportunities that enhance the quality of life for all women and girls and to address issues of discrimination and prejudice that negatively affect women in Sonoma County.

Following the guidelines of the Creating Ordinance, the Commission will continue to reflect and address the needs of the community. It is the intent of the Commission to retain flexibility in the conduct of its affairs.

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Section 1. Commission Membership

The Commission shall consist of fifteen (15) members, three (3) per district, as appointed by the Board of Supervisors.

  1. Terms

    All appointments by the Board shall be for two years. There is no limit to the number of terms for which a Commissioner may be reappointed.

  2. Composition

    The Commission shall reflect and represent the racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity of Sonoma County.

  3. Compensation

    Members of the Commission shall serve without compensation but may, with prior approval, be reimbursed for authorized, reasonable, and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their official duties.

  4. Resignation

    The resignation of a Commissioner shall be in writing to the appointing Supervisor, the Chair of the Commission and staff.

  5. Removal from Commission

    Commissioners serve at the pleasure of the appointing Supervisor. The failure of a Commissioner to fulfill the duties designated herein will be brought to the attention of the appointing Supervisor by an Officer and/or staff. Prior to this action, a Commissioner will be given notice of the intent and an opportunity to respond to the request for removal.

Section 2. Commissioner Role and Duties

Commissioners are expected to fulfill the role and carry out the duties as described below.

  1. Attendance at Regular (Monthly) Commission Meetings

    Attendance at Regular Commission meetings is essential, since a Quorum (as defined in Article IV, Section 4) is required to conduct Commission business. Therefore, Commissioners are expected to attend at least two-thirds (2/3) of the Regular Commission meetings held during any twelve (12) month period. See Notes.

    However, if it is necessary to miss a Regular Commission meeting, Commissioners are expected to give an Officer or staff prior notice.

    Staff will provide a report on attendance at Regular Commission meetings.

    The two-thirds requirement is deemed to be met by attending eight (8) of twelve (12) or seven (7) of eleven (11) Regular Commission meetings held in a twelve (12) month period.

  2. Conduct

    1. Standards and Guidelines

      At Commission meetings, events and activities, as well as when representing the Commission in any official capacity, Commissioners shall adhere to generally acceptable standards of business conduct and to any specific guidelines/protocols adopted by the Commission. They shall not engage in:

      1. habitual conduct which disrupts the Commission and/or interferes with the conduct of Commission business, or
      2. conduct which would have a negative impact on the integrity of and/or the community’s confidence in the Commission.
    2. Ethics

      Commissioners are expected to adhere to high ethical standards in the conduct of their duties. Such conduct requires that Commissioners:

      1. comply with both the letter and the spirit of the laws and policies affecting operations of the Commission;
      2. be independent, impartial and fair in their judgment and actions; and
      3. conduct public deliberations and processes openly, unless legally confidential, and in an atmosphere of respect and civility
    3. Conflicts of Interest

      In order to assure their independence and impartiality on behalf of the public good, Commissioners are prohibited from using their official positions to influence decisions in which they have a financial interest, or an organizational responsibility, or where they have a personal relationship that would constitute a conflict of interest.

      Commissioners should avoid taking any action that could be construed as, or create the appearance of, using public office for personal gain, including use of the title of Commissioner and/or Commission stationery or other County resources to obtain or promote personal interests and/or business.

    4. Representation of the Commission

      Commissioners are encouraged to represent themselves as individual Commissioners in community advocacy and activities related to the mission and Work Plan of the Commission. However, they are not authorized to represent, speak or act on behalf of the Commission as a whole unless so authorized by the Commission.

  3. Communication with Appointing Supervisor

    Each Commissioner acts as a liaison between the Commission and his/her appointing Supervisor, and thus is expected to communicate regularly with his/her appointing Supervisor about the Commission’s activities.

  4. Contribution to the Work of the Commission

    In addition to the other responsibilities stated in this Section, each Commissioner is expected to support the Commission’s goals and activities by serving as an Officer, an appointed Coordinator, Liaison and/or as Chair of a committee, or by serving as an active member of an Ad Hoc or a Standing Committee.

  5. Leaves of Absence

    If a Commissioner is unable to fulfill the designated duties due to unusual circumstances, s/he can request a leave of absence from the Commission. Leaves of absence are granted at the recommendation of staff the Chair and with approval of the appointing Supervisor and shall not exceed six (6) months.

Section 3. Governance

  1. Officers

    The Officers of the Commission shall be a Chair, a Vice-Chair and an Officer-at-Large. The duties of these Officers shall be those which generally apply to such officers, stated herein, and/or designated by the Commission.

  2. Term

    The term of Officers and appointments shall be for one (1) fiscal year from July 1st through June 30th.

  3. Qualifications for Officers

    1. Chair

      To serve as the Chair, a Commissioner shall:

      1. have attended at least four (4) Commission meetings within six (6) months prior to nomination.
      2. be an able and willing communicator.
      3. have contributed to the Commission’s work by serving as a Coordinator, Liaison, or Chair/member of a committee.
      4. express the intention to attend and lead at least ten (10) of the Regular Commission meetings during the one-year term.
      5. have willingly accepted the designated duties assigned to the Chair.
    2. Vice-Chair

      To serve as the Vice-Chair, a Commissioner shall:

      1. have attended at least four (4) Commission meetings within six (6) months prior to nomination.
      2. be an able and willing communicator.
      3. have contributed to the Commission’s work by serving as a Coordinator, Liaison, or Chair/member of a committee.
      4. have expressed a willingness to support the Chair and to fulfill the other duties assigned.
    3. Officer-at-Large

      To serve as the Officer-at-Large, a Commissioner shall:

      1. have attended at least four (4) Commission meetings within six (6) months prior to nomination.
      2. be an able and willing communicator.
      3. have contributed to the Commission’s work by serving as a Liaison, Coordinator, or Chair/member of a committee.
      4. have expressed a willingness to support the Chair, and Vice-Chair and to fulfill the other duties assigned.
  4. Powers and Duties of Officers

    1. Chair

      The duties of the Chair are listed below.

      1. Duties for Commission Meetings. At Commission meetings, the Chair shall:
        1. preside over Commission meetings, maintain orderly procedure in accordance with these Bylaws, and decide questions of procedure subject to the full Commission.
        2. develop the agenda for Commission meetings with the assistance of other Commissioners, Officers and staff.
        3. be entitled to vote only when it is necessary to break a tie vote.
        4. be allowed to participate in discussion relating to any matter s/he deems appropriate.
        5. recognize any member of the Commission who desires to speak.
        6. set and adhere to time-limits for any member of the public who desires to address the Commission.
        7. rule on all procedural matters or questions not specifically addressed in these Bylaws, subject to the approval of the full Commission.
        8. produce minutes of the meetings with the assistance of other Commissioners, Officers and staff.
      2. Duties Related to Commission Operations. The Chair shall:
        1. serve as an ex-officio member of all committees.
        2. participate, together with the other Officers and staff, in monitoring the progress of the Commission’s work activities to ensure that the annual Work Plan goals are met and periodically make a progress report to the Commission.
        3. serve as a resource to Commissioners in their efforts to contribute to the Commission’s work and, when required, collaborate with other Officers and staff to resolve issues related to a Commissioner’s fulfillment of designated duties.
        4. represent and speak on behalf of the Commission at public meetings (e.g. Board of Supervisors meeting) on matters pertaining or relating to the Commission.
    2. The Vice-Chair

      The Vice-Chair shall:

      1. preside over Commission meetings in the Chair’s absence.
      2. assist the Chair in developing the agenda for Commission meetings.
      3. participate, together with the other Officers and staff, in monitoring the progress of the Commission work activities to ensure that the annual Work Plan goals are met.
      4. serve as a resource to Commissioners in their efforts to contribute to the Commission’s work and, when required, collaborate with other Officers and staff to resolve issues related to a Commissioner’s fulfillment of designated duties.
      5. fill a vacancy occurring in the office of Chair for the unexpired term.
    3. Officer-at-Large

      The Officer-at-Large shall:

      1. preside over Commission meetings in the absence of both the Chair and Vice-Chair.
      2. assist the Chair in developing the agenda for Commission meetings.
      3. participate, together with the other Officers and staff, in monitoring the progress of the Commission work activities to ensure that the annual Work Plan goals are met.
      4. serve as a resource to Commissioners in their efforts to contribute to the Commission’s work and, when required, collaborate with other Officers and staff to resolve issues related to a Commissioner’s fulfillment of designated duties.
      5. fill a vacancy occurring in the office of Vice-Chair for the unexpired term.
  5. Nominations and Elections

    At a Regular Commission meeting prior to the end of the term for current Officers, the Chair will read the duties and qualifications of Chair from the By-Laws, and nominations will be taken from the floor. Any qualified Commissioner is eligible to be nominated (or to nominate him/herself). The same process shall then be followed for taking Vice-Chair nominations and subsequently for taking Officer-at-Large nominations.

    Elections can be held following the close of nominations, and Officers shall be elected by a simple majority vote. If a Commissioner is unable to attend the Commission meeting, s/he can be nominated and elected, based on prior verbal/written statement that if elected s/he will accept the position and fulfill the duties of the office.

  6. Vacancies of Elected Office

    1. Chair

      Should the office of Chair become vacant during term, the Vice-Chair shall assume the office of Chair for the remainder of the term.

    2. Vice-Chair

      Should the office of Vice-Chair become vacant during a term, the Officer-at-Large shall assume the office of Vice-Chair remainder of the term.

    3. Officer-at-Large

      Should the office of Officer-at-Large become vacant during a term, the Chair shall take nominations for the office from the floor at the next Regular Commission meeting. Once nominations are closed, the election for Officer-at-Large to serve the remainder of the term can be held.

  7. Removal From Office

    An Officer may be removed from office prior to the expiration of his/her term by vote of the Commission.

Section 4. Staff

The Commission shall receive support from management and clerical staff as assigned by the Director of the Human Resources Department.

Section 5. Program Budget

Each fiscal year, the Officers and staff shall develop a budget for the Commission’s program funds that are tied to the Commission’s Work Plan. Staff is responsible for management of the budget and expenditures and for providing periodic budget reports to the Commission.

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Section 1. Regular Commission Meetings

  1. Schedule

    Regular Commission meetings shall be scheduled for the second (2nd) Thursday of each month at 6:00 PM, except as noted in Article IV, Section 1 (E). The time and date will only be changed by the Commission for the purpose of facilitating the conduct of Commission business, and if changed, the date and time will be announced to the Commission and the public with at least thirty (30) days notice.

    Should the meeting fall on a holiday; the meeting will be held on the Thursday of the preceding week. This meeting shall be announced with at least thirty (30) days prior notice.

  2. Location

    Staff will be responsible for securing a facility deemed appropriate for the Regular Commission meetings. Once selected, the location will be announced to the Commission and the public.

  3. Ralph M. Brown Act

    All Regular Commission meetings shall be called, noticed, held and conducted in accordance with the Ralph M. Brown Act, hereafter referred to as the “Brown Act.”

    Pursuant with Section 54954.3 of the Brown Act, the agendas for Regular Commission meetings shall provide an opportunity for members of the public to address the Commission on items of interest to the public that are within the subject matter jurisdiction of the Commission.

  4. Agenda

    1. Submission of Items

      Staff or any Commissioner may place an item on the agenda. Agenda items should be submitted to the Commission Office at least two weeks prior to the Commission meeting.

    2. Preparation and Content

      The Chair will work with Officers, other Commissioners and staff to prepare the agenda for Commission meetings. The agenda will contain a brief general description of each item of business to be transacted or discussed at the meeting.

    3. Distribution and Posting

      At least seventy-two (72) hours before the Regular Commission meeting, the agenda will be distributed to the Commissioners and posted at a location that is freely accessible to the public.

    4. Additions after Posting

      No action shall be taken on any item not appearing on the posted agenda, except as permitted by Government Code 54954.2 of the Brown Act.

  5. Cancellation of a Regular Meeting

    A Regular Commission meeting can be cancelled by the vote of the Commission or the agreement of two (2) Officers.

Section 2. Special Commission Meetings

  1. Call for Special Meeting

    Special meetings may be called by an Officer or the written agreement of the majority of active Commissioners (i.e. Commissioners not on a Leave of Absence, as defined in Article III, Section 2(E)).

  2. Purpose

    The purpose of the special meeting shall be stated in the call.

  3. Notice

    Except in cases of emergency, at least twenty-four (24) hour notice, and such other notice as directed by the Brown Act, shall be given prior to any special meeting.

  4. Agenda

    The agenda for a special meeting shall be limited to the specific issue(s) for which the meeting was called and will contain a brief general description of the business to be transacted or discussed at the meeting.

  5. Conduct of Meeting

    The meeting shall be held and conducted in accordance with the Brown Act.

Section 3. Rules of Order

Meetings of the Commission shall be conducted in accordance with fair and orderly procedures such as those described in Robert’s Rules of Order and/or Roberta’s Rules of Order, latest edition, except as required by state law or as provided by these Bylaws.

Section 4. Quorum

A majority of the duly appointed Commissioners shall constitute a Quorum. Commission action may be taken only by a majority vote of the Quorum.

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Section 1. Work Plan

The Commission will review its achievements, goals and activities annually, and the outcome will form the basis for the Commission’s Work plan. Staff will work with the Officers to produce a formal Work Plan that will be reviewed and approved both by the Commission as a whole and the Board of Supervisors at least biennially.

Section 2. Commission Structure and Appointments

Through the annual planning process, a Commission structure will be developed for accomplishing the Work Plan goals and presented to the Commission for approval. Once the structure is approved, the Chair shall present nominees for appointed positions (Coordinators, Liaisons, and committee Chairs) to the Commission for review and approval. Any vacancy of an appointed position shall be filled by the same approval process as soon as possible after the vacancy is announced.

Section 3. Coordinators

Coordinators assume responsibility for the oversight and direction of a broad Work Plan topic area. This role involves coordinating all Commission activities that fall within the scope of the topic area.

Coordinators are responsible for determining how the work in their topic area is to be accomplished. They may solicit Commissioners (totaling less than a quorum), community members, and/or staff to assist them in their efforts.

Coordinators are responsible for reporting to the Commission on their activities and their progress toward meeting the goals/objectives established by the Work Plan.

Section 4. Liaisons

Liaisons act as intermediaries with other organizations/agencies.

Liaisons are responsible for determining how to carry out their assignment. They may solicit other Commissioners (totaling less than a Quorum), community members, and/or staff to assist them as necessary.

Liaisons are responsible for reporting to the Commission on their activities and their progress toward meeting the goals/objectives established by the Work Plan.

Section 5. Ad Hoc Committees

Ad Hoc Committees may be established to carry out a specific objective or activity within a stated time frame.

Ad Hoc Committees are disbanded once the specific objective has been accomplished.

Section 6. Standing Committees

Standing Committees may be established to assume responsibility for the Commission’s ongoing work in a general topic area. Standing Committees are created by the Commission and remain active over an extended period. Regular meetings will be held according to regular dates, times and locations. Standing Committee meetings are subject to the requirements of the Brown Act.

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Resolutions drafted by the Commission and staff shall be forwarded to the Board of Supervisors and transmitted to the public through the appropriate County Process.

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Proposed amendments to these Bylaws shall be submitted to the Officers and then brought to the Commission for discussion and approval.

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Approved by Commission:

Approved by Director of Human Resources:

Approved by Board of Supervisors:

Date:10/08/2009

Date:

Date:12/08/2009

Contact Information

Tracy Cunha
Deputy Clerk
Commission on the Status of Women
Human Resources Department
County of Sonoma
Business Hours
Monday – Friday
8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Address
Sonoma County Administration Building
575 Administration Drive
Suite 116B
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
38.464975, -122.725632
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