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Sierra Club Florida



Position Taking and Representing Sierra Club Florida

The Sierra Club Florida Executive Committee is committed to building a strong, cohesive, effective organization that our members can be proud of. To that end, we have developed and adopted the document Taking Positions and Representing the Sierra Club in Florida. This resolution outlines our protocols on taking positions and representing the Club, and a series of actions we are dedicated to taking. We believe that this information will prove helpful in our decision making processes and work to increase communication and cooperation between Club entities.

Committee types:

  • Task Forces - temporary in nature and exist to acomplish a short term objective.
  • Standing Committees - decision making bodies consisting of 4-8 members who are the authorized decision makers for a particular issue area.
  • Discussion Forums - standing committee members plus other non-voting activists and leaders who come together for discussion and advising the committee.
  • Action Teams - sub-teams of standing committees authorized to take action on a particular focused project or campaign within a committee’s area of interest.
  • Regional Field Campaign Committees - specific campaign committees attached to a funded and staffed program managed by the Florida Field office.

Note:Individuals may be credentialed by a committee as Advocates or Specialists authorized to speak for the Sierra Club on certain matters under the purview of the committee, once confirmed as familiar with the matters at issue.

Executive Committee Actions

  • Identify the current national Sierra Club policies on the conservation issues we are working on, and make them easily accessible to group leaders.
  • Develop state-specific criteria for taking positions on our priority issues; have the appropriate committees/leaders vet them; have the Executive Committee formally adopt them; make them readily accessible to group leaders.
  • Formally adopt procedures on 1) taking positions and representing the Sierra Club in Florida and 2) sign-on letters (see below).
  • Develop a leader handbook that explains policies and procedures regarding taking positions and representing the Sierra Club in Florida; post on the website.
  • Include information on taking positions and representing the Sierra Club in the Sierra Club 102 PowerPoint presentation that is in development.
  • Institute an annual leader orientation at the yearly SCF retreat to communicate this information.

Protocols

  • 1) Group ExComs may take official positions on specific proposals within their local jurisdiction. Positions must be consistent with any applicable national policy and any state-specific criteria. Groups must communicate their positions to the relevant Sierra Club Florida (SCF) committee or the Conservation Advisory Team (CAT) as soon as possible.
  • 2) Anyone who purports to officially represent the Sierra Club must be authorized by the Club entity with jurisdiction over the subject matter and/or the area involved. Anyone at all may speak in support of a position already taken.
  • 3) Club leaders who have been given the authority to represent the Sierra Club must familiarize themselves with the Club policies and state-specific criteria applicable to the issue they represent; they must also familiarize themselves with the following Club policies: Jurisdiction within the Sierra Club, Speaking for the Sierra Club and Sign-on Guidelines which are available on the Sierra Club website.
  • 4) State-level Sierra Club representatives should make every reasonable effort to communicate with the local group in advance of going into a local group’s jurisdiction to represent the Club. Group leaders should be timely and cooperative in response to contacts by state-level representatives and should feel welcome to participate in the representation event, with appropriate preparation
  • 5) When a position is being developed on a regional issue, all affected groups within that region, the relevant state-level entities, and national staff/entities (if applicable) must be consulted. Any position established must be consistent with any applicable national policy and any state-specific criteria. The position must be communicated to the relevant SCF committee, CAT or the Executive Committee.
  • 6) When groups cannot come to agreement on a position on a regional issue, the next higher level committee makes the decision. Groups must abide by the higher level decision.
  • 7) When an issue is cross-cutting (affects two or more issue areas), all issue committees that have jurisdiction over a part of the issue should communicate to develop agreement on a unified position. If the committees cannot reach agreement, the decision will be made by the CAT or Executive Committee.
  • 8) When more than one leader could represent the Club on a particular matter at the same time, they should make every reasonable effort to consult in advance on positions. The Club can have only one position on any proposal.
  • 9) Individual leaders do not “make (new) policy” when they are representing the Club -- they apply existing national policies and state/local criteria. Only the National Sierra Club’s Board of Directors establishes policy, and only Standing Committees and ExComs establish criteria.
  • 10) Consultation is especially important regarding positions on federal agency proposals. Field staff and volunteer leaders are expected to consult with one another to develop unified positions.

Sign-On Letters

  • 1) For sign-on letters in support of or opposition to a local position that only affect lands or resources within the boundaries of a single group, and that do not assert a state or national perspective on matters solely within their jurisdiction, the group can make the decision to sign on. Positions taken in the letter must be in furtherance of national Club policy and state-specific criteria.
  • 2) If the sign-on letter involves a regional issue that extends beyond the boundaries of a single group, the group wishing to sign on must coordinate with other affected groups and the relevant SCF committee, CAT, Executive Committee and national staff, as appropriate.
  • 3) Final signed copies of letters the Club has signed and replies from the persons or organizations to whom these letters are addressed shall be kept on file by the Sierra Club Florida historian and be available on-line on the state website.