Mission and Bylaws of the Amherst College Employee Council

Mission

The Amherst College Employee Council, a representative body of non-faculty employees, works to increase staff involvement in the governance of the College by broadening and strengthening lines of communication within the entire college community.

The Employee Council provides avenues for the college’s diverse staff to participate in policy making, promotes visibility, fosters a supportive work environment, and strives to develop a sense of community among students, staff, faculty, and senior administrators.

Membership

Every employee of Amherst College who holds regular employment, as defined in the Staff Handbook or the Trustee-Appointed Employee Handbook, and is not a member of the senior staff of the college, shall be represented by the Employee Council and shall be considered a represented employee. Every represented employee may participate in electing the Employee Council member for his or her constituent group.

Every represented employee is eligible to serve on the Employee Council except those who at the time of service on the Employee Council are or will be concurrent members of the Managers Council, senior staff, or board of trustees.

The Employee Council will consist of 13 seats with voting privileges.

Election of Members to the Employee Council

All elections, which are managed by the Election Working Group, shall include the nomination of candidates, nominees’ acceptance of candidacy, and a balloting process which preserves the voter’s privacy.

Constituent Groups. All represented employees will be organized into constituencies which will be the basis for electing members to the Employee Council. Currently there are three Trustee-appointed employee representatives and ten representatives from precincts across campus.
In defining the constituent groups, a common geographic location on campus and/or similarity of work experiences may be taken into consideration. Size and number of the constituent groups should be re-evaluated annually.

Schedule of Elections. Calls for nominations and elections should be timed to reach a successful conclusion by the end of June. This will allow for the smooth transition of responsibilities before the commencement of the new term in August.

Elections and Terms.  An Employee Council member will be elected by a plurality of the votes cast by the represented employees of the constituent group. In the event of a tie, a run-off election will be held.
Elections shall be staggered so six seats are filled one year and seven the following year.

Each Employee Council member is expected to serve a full term of two years. A member may be re-elected to no more than one additional consecutive term; no member of the council may serve for more than four consecutive years.

Substitute Members. Provisions may be made when a member is not able to complete a full term of service. The Council shall appoint a replacement member, regardless of the amount of time remaining in the term. Consideration may be given to the runner up of the most recent election in the constituent group in question; or to other nominees from the most recent election; or to persons recommended by the out-going member.

Substitute members shall serve out the remainder of the term of the council seat. The time remaining in the term, regardless of its length, shall be considered the substitute member’s full term. A new election will take place in the normal rotation of elections for that constituent group.

Recall of Members. Procedures for the recall of a member shall be established. A recall procedure may only be implemented by unanimous vote of all council members, less the vote associated with the seat considered for recall. Consideration of a recall may be raised due to:

  • Excessive absenteeism or absences from more than three consecutive Council meetings.
  • Frequent disruptive activity or disrespect for colleagues.
  • Dissatisfaction expressed by a constituent group about the quality of representation.
  • Concerns of the Employee Council regarding the member’s ability to fulfill council duties.

Officers

The officers shall be elected for a term of one year by the Employee Council members using normal voting procedures. The maximum service for an officer is limited to two consecutive terms in the same position.

The Chair has the responsibility to call and facilitate regular meetings at least once a month and may call special meetings, as necessary. The Chair, with input from the council members, prepares the agenda. The Chair may delegate responsibility to ensure the effective functioning of the Employee Council. The Chair maintains regular contact with senior administrators, college committees and Employee Council working groups.

The Co-Chair shall assist the Chair. In the Chair’s absence, the Co-Chair shall serve as the acting Chair. The Co-Chair manages the yearly transition process including the election of officers. The Co-Chair does not automatically advance to the position of Chair in the following term.

The Secretary/Treasurer will assist in making public the reports, meetings and actions of the Employee Council. The Secretary/Treasurer will notify members of meetings and will distribute the meeting agendas. The Secretary/Treasurer will create and distribute the minutes of each meeting on a timely basis. The Secretary/Treasurer is responsible for ensuring funds allocated to the Employee Council are properly accounted for and will report fund disbursements to the council.

Committees

Working groups are important to the effective functioning of the council. Therefore, each council member is expected to serve on at least one working group.

1.  The Employee Council may create working groups as needed to complete the work of the council.

2.  The Employee Council shall have four (4) standing working groups: Elections, Events, Governance, and Human Resources.

3.  Working group membership shall be drawn from the membership of the Employee Council. When additional expertise is needed, any college employee may be invited to participate in a working group.

4.  Each working group shall elect a chairperson who will regularly apprise the council of the working group’s progress.

Standing Working Groups

 Events – The Events Working Group will:

  • Design and implement Employee Council events like Open Houses and campus wide meetings

Governance – The Governance Working Group will:

  • Review the bylaws and recommend changes as appropriate,
  • Develop and conduct an orientation program for new Employee Council members, and
  • Create and maintain a guide for Employee Council members.

Human Resources (HR) – The HR Working Group will:

  • Meet regularly with Human Resources,
  • Recommend changes in and offer feedback about benefits, personnel policies and all aspects of the employment environment, and
  • Advocate for staff and seek ideas from constituents.  The HR working group will bring constituent concerns to Human Resources but will not negotiate individual grievances.

Elections – The Elections Working Group will:

  • Reconcile constituent groups to ensure equal representation across campus,
  • Seek nominations for positions on the Employee Council,
  • Conduct elections,
  • Recommend staff members for college committees, who will be voted on by the full Employee Council, and
  • Promote participation in the Employee Council and college committees.

College Committees

College committees (standing and ad hoc) play an important role in the affairs of the college and its staff. The Employee Council may nominate employees to these committees, upon request.

The Employee Council sends two staff representatives with voting privileges to the Committee on Priorities and Resources (CPR). The CPR is charged with examining the annual and long-term allocation of college resources. Staff representatives to the CPR should be selected first from the members of the Employee Council and they should serve on the CPR for two years. To the best of its ability, the council should stagger CPR representatives’ terms. Instead of selecting from its own membership, the council may select any employee to serve on the CPR using the nomination process for Service on College Committees.

Procedures

A quorum shall consist of two-thirds of total seats of the Employee Council. A quorum must be present to conduct business.

All matters shall require a simple majority of the total seats of the Employee Council.