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From: "Scott Burow" <>
Subject: [BOARD] Motion 07-06 - Approve Special Rules
Date: Sun, 11 Feb 2007 18:11:19 -0600

It has been moved by Mike Peterson and seconded by Bettie Wood that the
currently posted USGenWeb Standing Procedures and the currently posted
USGenWeb Project Grievance Procedures be replaced with the below proposed
USGenWeb Special Rules and USGenWeb Standing Rules which also include
proposed rules not incorporated in any currently posted procedures.


These Special Rules of procedure for the USGenWeb Advisory Board
(hereinafter referred to as members) and Management will add to or vary from
the rules of parliamentary authority indicated in USGenWeb Special Rules,
Section II.


These Special Rules will be sustained by motion/voting when a change in
permanent National Coordinator occurs. These rules may be amended or revised
by the members in accordance with USGenWeb Bylaws, Article VIII, Advisory
Board Procedures.


The parliamentary authority is The Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure
by Alice Sturgis (current revised and updated edition), modified within
USGenWeb Special Rules to adapt to the particular needs of conducting a
meeting via an electronic internet mailing list.


The Advisory Board electronic meeting is an USGenWeb official assembly.
Meetings convene and adjourn when a change in permanent National Coordinator
occurs. Interruptions of meeting business will be through motioned and
approved recesses. Meeting minutes will be maintained and prepared for
publication at the conclusion of each month.


Order of Business will be renewed and announced to the assembly at the
beginning of each month by the Presiding Officer. The Order of Business will
be flexible and may be adapted to cope with immediate business. Members will
advise the Presiding Officer of suggested agenda items for future Orders of


Announcements which do not require the action of the Board are permissible
at any time; however, the announcements will be made only by the Presiding
Officer or by another member if approved by the Presiding Officer.


To expedite the internet meeting, the Presiding Officer will make every
effort to use General Consent provisions of parliamentary procedures.
General consent is a way of saving time by avoiding votes on routine or
noncontroversial matters.


The Advisory Board will make full use of the "Informal Consideration"
concept. It will normally be conducted on Mailing List USGENWEB-All (ABChat)
but other public mailing lists administered by the National Coordinator may
be used. This frees members to discuss issues, frame motions, and conduct
straw polls without being bound by rules applying to the conduct of business
when in formal session. No official voting will be conducted in Informal


A closed session may be called by the Presiding Officer at any time and will
be conducted on Mailing List Board-Exec. Discussions in closed session
include, but are not limited to, personnel matters, grievances, legal
problems and other matters of a highly sensitive nature. Any votes conducted
in closed session shall be publicly announced on Mailing List Board. With
each change in permanent National Coordinator, the Advisory Board members
will be polled to honor the confidentiality of Board-Exec. Honoring
confidentiality is not a requirement but those members who do not agree will
not be subscribed to Mailing List Board-Exec.


The Presiding Officer will wait a minimum of:
a. 24 hours before calling for a second on a motion with no second;
b. 12 hours before declaring a motion is not before the members after
calling for a second;
c. 24 hours before asking for a vote after calling for "no
discussion/discussion" and there is no discussion;
d. 48 hours for voting unless votes reach a quorum and there is evidence of
passage or failure of an issue.


These Standard Rules of procedure for the USGenWeb Project will add to or
vary from the rules of parliamentary authority indicated in USGenWeb Special
Rules, Section II and will stand until revoked, modified, or properly
approved by membership for insertion into the USGenWeb Bylaws.

(Adopted ----------)

These Standard Rules do not require periodic sustaining when a change in
permanent National Coordinator occurs. These rules may be amended or revised
by the Advisory Board in accordance with USGenWeb Bylaws, Article VIII,
Advisory Board Procedures.

(Adopted February 2003 and amended 24 February 2003)

a. The process for removal of an SC or ASC may be initiated by the Advisory
Board on a 2/3 favorable vote of a quorum (9), or by a petition signed by
10% of the voter-qualified CCs of XXGenWeb Project, or by 2 CCs if 10% of
that total falls below the number of three (3). This petition must be
presented to at least one of the regional CC Representatives for immediate
forwarding to the entire Advisory Board. Reasons for removal must be clearly
stated. Immediately following a favorable vote by the AB, or upon receipt of
the CCs' petition, the National Coordinator shall request the EC to "freeze"
the voter list for XXGenWeb until after the process is concluded.

b. Reason(s) stated for removal will be forwarded to the named SC, or ASC,
who will have five (5) days to send a response to his/her regional SC
Representative for immediate forwarding to the entire Advisory Board. An
additional five days will be granted only if the person is unable to respond
due to unavoidable circumstances.

c. Regardless of which entity begins the process, the National Coordinator,
upon receipt of the response (if any), will immediately send a copy of the
reasons for removal and the response (if any) to the Election Committee,
instructing the Committee to conduct a vote within the State and within the
Advisory Board, simultaneously, asking the question "Shall [Name and Title]
be removed from office?" Choices are to be "Yes", "No", "Present". Included
with this question will be the reason(s) for removal and the response (if
any). The voting period will be 10 days in length.

d. Removal will require, per USGenWeb Project Bylaws, a 2/3 favorable
majority vote of a quorum (9 members) of Advisory Board Members and a 2/3
favorable majority vote of a quorum (minimum 75%) of the voter-qualified CCs
of that State.

e. No removal procedure may be implemented against the same SC, or ASC,
within six months of a failed attempt, unless evidence is presented to the
Advisory Board that retaliatory actions are being taken, or attempted,
against the initiators of the original action. Evidence that is proven
false, may result in the removal of the CC.

f. In the event that removal of an SC, or ASC, is approved, an election to
replace the SC will be conducted by the EC. The same shall apply to the ASC
if that person was elected. If not, replacement of the ASC will be left to
the SC.

g. This policy will go into effect upon passage.


The Election Committee will operate under the Election Committee Procedures.
Changes to the said Procedures may be made by the Advisory Board, or may be
proposed by the Election Committee, subject to approval by the Advisory
Board. The current said Procedures can be viewed on the Election Committee
web site at

(Adopted 17 October 2006 (Motion 06-18))

In the event a request for permission to use one of the USGenWeb Logos in a
publication is received, the National Coordinator shall notify the Advisory
Board of his/her intent to accept or reject the request. Unless an objection
is registered the National Coordinator's decision will stand.

(Adopted 11 July 2006 (Motion 06-13) and 22 August 2006 (Motion 06-13a))

When a conflict arises between two members of The USGenWeb Project that
cannot be resolved informally, either party has the option of requesting a
review of the dispute by the Grievance Committee. The final decision of the
Grievance Committee is binding on all parties.

Section 1 - Committee Qualifications & Appointments.

The Advisory Board will vote to make the initial appointments to the
Grievance Committee after soliciting volunteers for the committee, posting
their qualifications for comment by USGenWeb Project members on the BOARD-L,
each of the Regional lists, and any other official project lists deemed
necessary. Of the initial appointments four (4) will be for two-year terms,
and three (3) for one-year terms. The Advisory Board will appoint the
Grievance Coordinator for the initial term for a period of one year.

Future vacancies within the Grievance Committee will be filled by USGenWeb
Project members in the following manner: The Grievance Coordinator will
solicit volunteers for the position, and post their qualifications for
comment. Volunteers will be chosen by a vote of Grievance Committee members,
and presented to the Advisory Board for approval.

Future appointments as Grievance Coordinator will be by vote of the
Grievance Committee members. Elections will be for a two-year term.

Volunteers for the Grievance Committee will be required to meet certain
minimum requirements for service.

Volunteers must have a minimum of one year's continuous service as a Member
in Good Standing of either a State Project or a recognized Special Project
of the USGenWeb Project.

Because grievances are considered personnel matters, all volunteers must
state that they are willing to abide by strict confidentiality requirements.
Volunteers must also state that they understand that violation of this
confidentiality agreement will mean immediate expulsion from the Grievance
Committee, and could result in determination of Member Not in Good Standing
by the Advisory Board.

Committee Membership:

The Grievance Committee shall consist of seven members of The USGenWeb
Project in good standing. The panel must include a State Coordinator and a
member of the Special projects and three County Coordinators/Local
Coordinators who have not served as State Coordinator or in a national level
position within the last three years. The National Coordinator is an ex
officio member of the Grievance Committee and is not eligible for assignment
as the committee member overseeing an accepted grievance. In the event that
a member of the Grievance Committee is one of the parties involved in the
dispute or has a personal interest in the dispute, that Committee Member
shall retire from involvement with any aspect of that grievance.

In the event that a Grievance Committee member changes positions in the
USGenWeb Project during their term, they may remain as a representative of
the position for which they were appointed until the end of their term. This
does not apply in the case of the committee member's election to the
USGenWeb Advisory Board, at which time they would be required to resign and
a new representative appointed after a call for volunteers from within the
project to fill the seat.

Section 2 - Committee Business.

Two e-mail lists will be established for Grievance Committee business. The
first list will be archived, and will be available for all interested
project volunteers to subscribe to on a read-only basis. The list will be
used to announce committee vacancies/appointments, to request volunteers for
open positions, and for discussions of policy and/or procedures related to
the Grievance Committee. This list will also be used for Grievance Committee
assignments and announcements. No discussion of specific grievances will be
held on the public list.

The second list will not be archived, and is considered strictly
confidential. Only Committee members will be subscribed to this list. Any
questions or concerns related to specific grievances will be raised ONLY on
the confidential list. The confidential list may NOT be used for public
business, or in an effort to avoid public disclosure. To avoid the
appearance of conflict of interest or impropriety in the case of an appeal
of the Grievance Committee decision to the Advisory Board, the National
Coordinator will not be subscribed to the confidential list or be eligible
to vote on matters related to specific grievances. The National Coordinator
will have full voting participation in other Grievance Committee business.

Section 3 - Duties of Grievance Committee Members.

Grievance Committee members act as administrators/advisors to volunteer
mediators and arbitrators, following complaints assigned to them throughout
the grievance process. Should a complaint progress to an arbitration
hearing, the Grievance Committee member will be responsible for acting as
Chair for the hearing. Grievance Committee members will not take direct part
in mediations under their guidance, and will not have a vote in hearings
they may chair. Grievance Committee members are responsible for tracking the
progress of complaints until resolved, and making status reports to the
Coordinator and/or Committee as may be necessary, with a final status report
upon resolution of the complaint.

Additional duties of the Grievance Committee include:

a. Recruit and train volunteer mediator/arbitrators;

b. Review incoming grievances to determine compliance with Sections 5B and
5C of these procedures to determine if they should be assigned to

c. Review the outcome when a process is completed.

Section 4 - Duties of Grievance Coordinator.

The Grievance Coordinator will be responsible for receiving complaints,
numbering them, and assigning them to a Grievance Committee member to
administer. The Coordinator will also be responsible for maintaining a list
of volunteer members to act as mediators, as well as a list of volunteer
arbitrators, and assigning them to complaints as needed. The Grievance
Coordinator will make a Quarterly report to the Advisory Board on the number
of complaints received and resolved, and provide other information as needed
by the Board.

Section 5A - Grievance Process.

The grievance process is initiated when a complaint is made by any of the

a. A member of the USGenWeb Project, filing on his/her own behalf, within 45
days of incident, or discovery of incident;

b. A former USGenWeb member within 14 days of termination of membership
either with the Project, or within a specific State or Special Project;

c. A transcriber or an accepted contributing researcher, within 45 days of
incident, or discovery of incident.

In the case of two or more individuals forming one party, the group will
select one spokesperson to act on behalf of the others.

Third-party complaints will not be considered.

Section 5B - Grievance Process.

The initial complaint should be brought to the Grievance Coordinator, and
should include the following information:

a. Full name & project affiliation of the member bringing the complaint;

b. Full name & project affiliation of the member the complaint is against;

c. The exact nature of the complaint, including the date that the incident

d. What steps or actions the member has taken to this point, if any, to
resolve the situation outside of the grievance process;

e. What actions/reparations that the project member desires as a result of
the grievance;

f. A specific citation or reference to the USGenWeb Project Policy,
Procedure, or By-Law, or XXGenWeb Project, Policy, Procedure, or By-Law
which alleged to have been violated.

Section 5C - Grievance Process.

The following types of grievances will be handled by the Grievance

a. Grievances against the USGenWeb Project, the standing committees or
Special Projects of the USGenWeb Project, or the USGenWeb Project Advisory

b. Grievances by a State Project or Special Project against another State
Project or Special Project.

c. Grievances by a USGenWeb Project member against another USGenWeb Project
member who is not located within the same State or Special project.

d. Grievances by a USGenWeb Project member against another USGenWeb Project
member located within the same State or Special Project when there is no
local Grievance Procedure to follow in that State or Special Project.

e. Grievances against the local grievance project of a State or Special
Project having its own member-approved process for resolving grievances.
1. The Grievance Committee is limited to reviewing the determination made by
the local grievance process and entering a determination whether the local
procedures for the grievance process were followed within that State or
Special Project. The Grievance Committee will not re-hear the complaint once
it has been handled at the local level.

f. Other specific grievances on a case-by-case basis when there may not be a
reasonable alternative at the local level for resolution of the dispute,
solely at the discretion of the Grievance Committee as a whole.

Section 5D - Grievance Process.

Upon receiving the initial complaint, the Grievance Coordinator will assign
it a number, and appoint one of the permanent committee members to review
the complaint to determine whether it meets the requirements outlined in
subsection C of this Section. The review of the complaint will result in an
"accept" or "reject" determination from the Committee Member assigned. The
recommendation and the reasons therefore, shall be provided to the Grievance
Committee as a whole, and voted upon.

The review at this level should assume that the facts stated in the
complaint are true, and the determination of the viability of the grievance
made based upon the assumption that the complaint is true and a review of
the by-laws, policies, or procedures alleged to have been violated.

If rejected, the member filing the grievance shall be informed that the
grievance was not accepted and the reasons that it was not accepted. If the
reason that the grievance was not accepted was due to the initial complaint
not fulfilling the requirements of subsection C of this Section, the member
will have 10 days to amend or correct any deficiencies in the initial
complaint and resubmit it to the Grievance Committee Chair.

If accepted as a viable grievance, the parties shall be so informed and a
Committee Member and volunteer mediator and two volunteer arbitrators
assigned. The parties to the grievance, the Committee Member, mediator, and
arbitrators will then be subscribed to a private email list.

The mediator shall advise the parties of the identity of the members of the
team by return receipted email once they are assigned. It shall be the
responsibility of the parties to the dispute to raise the issue of bias or
conflict by a member of the team. This shall be done privately to the
mediator, or the committee member if the conflict is alleged against the
mediator. All claims of bias or conflict must be raised prior to the
beginning of the mediation process.

If an objection should be raised to a team member, that member shall be
dismissed and a new team member appointed without the necessity for any
proof of bias or prejudice. The identity of the party raising the objection
shall not be revealed to any team member. Once the team is seated and the
process initiated, no further objection may be raised as to partiality,
bias, or conflict, and a team member may only be removed on his or her own

Section 5E - Grievance Process.

The duties and responsibilities of the team shall be:

a. To provide a full and fair opportunity for both parties to present their
side of the dispute and present relevant material in support of their

b. To review the material provided by both parties, to ask questions of the
parties, and seek clarification to further understand the issues in dispute.

c. To assist the parties in identifying the source of the dispute, the
options for resolution, common ground between the parties, and to explore
the possibility of an amiable agreement for resolution of the dispute that
will benefit both parties and The USGenWeb Project.

d. To notify the Grievance Committee that mediation has been successful and
the exact nature of the agreement the parties have come to and have agreed
to abide by.

e. Or, to notify the Grievance Committee that mediation has not been
successful and the outcome determined by the volunteer arbitrators.

Section 5F - Grievance Process.

When the team is seated, the parties shall be so advised by the Mediator.
The parties shall have seventy-two (72) hours to submit to the Mediator a
written statement of their position on the issues of the dispute. The
mediator shall provide the position statements to the team members for their

The issues raised in the initial complaint and in the position statements of
the parties shall be the sole issues for discussion in either mediation or
arbitration. Prior precedent may be considered, but issues not raised in the
complaint or in the position statements will not be considered.

Mediation will continue until the matter is resolved, or until it is
apparent to the mediator that there will be no resolution forthcoming, but
for a period of no more than ten days once mediation has begun without
approval of the Grievance Committee. The mediator may request additional
time from the Grievance Committee if it is the opinion of the team that a
resolution is at hand. If it is apparent that no resolution is forthcoming
the mediator will notify the committee that the matter will be submitted for

All discussion regarding the issues during the grievance process is to be
considered privileged and private, and shall not be disclosed during or
after the process by either the team or either party, except as allowed by
these procedures.

Section 6 - Mediation.

Upon being opened for mediation, the volunteer arbitrators shall be
unsubscribed from the discussion list during the mediation process.

The mediator may meet with each party separately, discussing the issues
raised and prompting suggestions for a solution, short of the party
receiving their requested goal that would be acceptable. All correspondence
will be accessible to the permanent committee member.

When, and if, the mediator is able to bring both parties close to a
potential resolution, the parties may be brought together on the closed list
to try to finalize the compromise solution.

If, after the mediator has worked with both parties for a reasonable amount
of time, and the mediator determines that the movement of one or both
parties will not be sufficient to produce a mediated resolution, the process
is terminated. The mediator will make a final recommendation to the
Grievance Coordinator as to whether the matter should proceed to arbitration
or whether the matter should be closed.

If an amiable agreement is achieved between the parties in the mediation
process, the members of the team shall retire to closed session to insure
that the resolution is appropriate in view of the goals and requirements of
The USGenWeb Project. If no conflict is found, the resolution agreement will
be forwarded to the Grievance Coordinator with a recommendation for
approval, and the parties so notified by the mediator. If the resolution
agreement is not consistent with the goals and requirements of The USGenWeb
Project after review in closed session, the team will reconvene with the
parties for further discussion.

Failure of either party to proceed with mediation in good faith is grounds
for terminating the process.

The mediation process is confidential, and parties involved must agree to
uphold that confidentiality unless ALL parties agree to the contrary.

Section 7 - Arbitration.

If the mediation process fails, and the grievant wishes to continue with the
complaint, the mediator will so advise the volunteer arbitrators. The
mediator and the arbitrators, along with the overseeing committee member,
will conduct the arbitration hearing, with the committee member acting as a
non-voting chair.

The volunteer arbitrators will be resubscribed to the mail list and both
parties to the grievance will remain subscribed to the list. Both parties
will be given the opportunity to present statements or evidence. The
volunteer arbitrators may request additional information if they feel it is
necessary, or may ask further questions of the parties involved.

After hearing both sides of the issue, the parties shall be given an
additional seventy-two (72) hours to provide to the chair a written
summation of their position in view of the discussions held.

The chair will provide these summations to each member of the team. The team
shall retire to closed session and come to a recommendation of the course of
action to be taken by the parties to resolve the dispute. The arbitrators
may find for either party, or reach a decision that is a compromise between
the two positions. The arbitrators will make a recommendation as to what
action, if any, should be taken.

The burden of proof of a violation of the by-law, policy, or procedure cited
in the initial complaint is on the person making the allegation. The
decision of the arbitration team will be based on the information and
evidence submitted and applicable USGenWeb and XXGenweb Project by-laws.
Failure of one party to participate in the arbitration process will result
in the decision being made against the non-participating party in accordance
with the information presented.

This recommendation shall be submitted to the Grievance Coordinator for
approval of the Grievance Committee. Upon approval, a written decision will
detail to the parties the findings of the team and the actions to be taken
by the parties in light of the findings.

The decision of the Arbitration Committee becomes the final resolution of
the dispute upon approval of the recommendation by the Grievance Committee.
Failure of any party or USGenWeb Project member to comply with the decision
is a violation of The USGenWeb Project standing policy and procedures and
subject to action by the USGenWeb Advisory Board.

The arbitration process is considered confidential, and parties involved
must agree to uphold that confidentiality unless ALL parties (including
volunteer arbitrators and witnesses) agree to the contrary.

Section 8 - Appeal.

A party aggrieved by a decision of the Grievance Committee may make an
appeal to the USGenWeb Project Advisory Board. The Advisory Board will
review the appeal to determine if the Grievance Procedures were followed as
set out herein. An appeal to the Advisory Board is not a rehearing of the
issues and the outcome is either to affirm the determination made by the
Grievance Committee, or a return to the Grievance Committee for

(Adopted -------------)

Effective with the Advisory Board term beginning 1 September 2007, when a
motion is presented to the assembly by the Presiding Officer, the motion
will be numbered in this format:
a. Four Position Term Year Start, ex. 2007.
b. Two Position Term Year End, ex. /08.
c. Sequential number starting with -01.
d. Example: 2007/08-12 represents term year beginning in September 2007 and
ending in August 2008 and it's the 12th motion of the term.

(Adopted -----------------)

In the event the Project is offered a donated membership in the Federation
of Genealogical Societies (FGS), or other national professional non-profit
genealogical organizations, the National Coordinator shall notify the
Advisory Board of his/her intent to accept or reject the donation. Unless
an objection is registered the National Coordinator's decision will

(Adopted -----------------)

In the temporary absence of the Presiding Officer/National Coordinator (NC)
for a period of less than ninety days the Representative at Large (RAL) will
act as the Presiding Officer. In the temporary absence of both the NC and
the RAL, either the NC or the RAL will designate another member of the
Advisory Board to be the Acting Presiding Officer.

(Adopted -------------------)

When a vacancy occurs on the Advisory Board:
1. National Coordinator--USGenWeb Bylaws Article VI, Section 7 applies along
with the following:
a. The vacancy shall be announced on the Board mailing list within two days.
b. If the vacancy occurs after September 1 and prior to the next annual
election cycle beginning June 1:
i. Within seven days the Advisory Board will elect from its membership, by
2/3 majority, an Acting National Coordinator.
ii. The Advisory Board will direct the Election Committee to conduct a
special election for a National Coordinator.
c. If the vacancy occurs after June 1 and prior to the following September
1, within seven days the Advisory Board will elect from its membership, by
2/3 majority, an Acting National Coordinator to serve the remainder of the

2. All Other AB Positions--USGenWeb Bylaws Article VI, Section 8 applies
along with the following:
a. The vacancy will be announced on the Board mailing list and the
appropriate regional mailing list(s) within two days.
b. Within five days the Advisory Board will call for volunteers for the
position. Volunteers must meet the eligibility requirements for the
c. Within fifteen days of the call, volunteers must submit their names to
the National Coordinator and/or the Representative At Large.
d. Within 30 days of the announced vacancy, the Advisory Board will elect,
by 2/3 majority, a replacement from the pool of volunteers.

In restating the motion to the assembly, the chair has corrected three minor
spelling errors, the change of which has no consequence to the intent of the
statement. The motion is numbered 07-06 and is open for discussion. If you
have no discussion, please signify by stating that you have no discussion.

Scott Burow
NC - USGenWeb

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