Staff Senate Bylaws
The full name of this organization is the Missouri State University Staff Senate, hereinafter referred to as "Staff Senate" or "Senate."
The purpose of Staff Senate shall be to communicate the interests and concerns of a diverse University staff; to function in an advisory capacity in the development, review and implementation of University policies, which affect staff; to provide a means of communication with the administration, faculty, and students, and support them with the knowledge, skills, and abilities of the staff; and to create and nurture a spirit of unity among all employees at the University.
Section 1. Representation
The Staff Senate shall follow the non-discrimination policy of Missouri State University approved by the Board of Governors. Staff Senate shall be composed of voting members employed full-time and in good standing as indicated by supervisor on candidacy application.
Voting members shall be composed of divisional members and occupational members:
- Divisional members shall represent the major unit to which they report. One Senate seat is assigned to each major unit of Missouri State University-Springfield campus including the Presidential and Vice-Presidential units.
- Occupational members shall represent the major occupational categories as defined by the Missouri State University Employee Handbook. Each occupational category that employs at least one full-time staff member shall have at least one Senate seat. An additional Senate seat will be allocated for every one hundred full-time staff members within an occupational category.
- In February each year, the Senate Secretary shall request from the Office of Human Resources the population count for each major occupational category. If an occupational category loses or gains due to population shifts in the University, the Executive Board will decide representation appropriately.
- Non-voting and ex-officio members shall consist of one representative from Faculty Senate, one representative from Student Government Association (SGA), and the past Chair of Staff Senate. These members may participate in discussions and be a part of ad hoc committees as established. The Chairperson is a non-voting member of the Senate with the exception of ties as stated in Article IV, Section 1.
- The Parliamentarian shall be a non-voting member appointed by the Chairperson. The Parliamentarian shall be a full-time employee of the University and shall not be a current senator. The Parliamentarian shall have a thorough knowledge of Senate Bylaws and the current edition of Robert’s Rules of Order. The Parliamentarian shall provide advisement to the Chairperson and the Senate body of proper parliamentary procedures.
Section 2. Nominations and Elections
- Nominations and elections shall be held each year for senator positions whose terms have expired. Nominations will not be valid until the Senate nominee has received approval from his/her supervisor as indicated on the candidacy application.
- A call for nominations will be published campus-wide on March 15 as a day of business or the following business day of each year. Nominations can be self-nominations or made by another staff member in the nominee’s constituency. An online nomination form will be available on the Staff Senate website or a paper copy can be provided upon request. Nomination forms are due by April 15 as a day of business or the following business day of each year.
- Each nominee shall submit a statement of intent by April 15 as a day of business or the following business day to be placed on the ballot.
- Membership will be based on a majority vote within job families as determined by the Office of Human Resources. An online ballot will be available on the Staff Senate website beginning the first business day of May and ending on the last business day of May. A paper ballot will be provided upon request. Online and paper ballots will be submitted to the Director of Staff Senate Operations.
- The senator will be chosen based on the number of votes cast. Should there be a tie the Executive Board will select the individual to represent the area based on years of experience, standing with the University, performance of work, and perceived contributions to Staff Senate.
- A letter from Staff Senate will be sent to new senators informing them of their election to Staff Senate by June 15 as a day of business or the following business day. A copy of this letter will also be sent to the employee’s supervisor.
- If the total number of vacancies is more than the total number of candidates, then those vacancies shall be filled by candidates appointed by the Executive Board.
- If an area is not represented by a senator, the Executive Board may appoint a senator from staff at-large to represent this area. A majority vote of the Executive Board shall be required. This option should only be exercised after an exhaustive search for a staff member in the unrepresented area.
Section 3. Terms
Each person elected as a Senator to the Staff Senate shall be elected for a three year term. Each such person shall be eligible to serve two consecutive terms of three years each, but following the second term shall not be eligible to serve until after the lapse of an intervening year.
- Staff Senate terms shall be July 1 through June 30.
- Should an individual be elected for an officer position during their third year as Senator, their term may be extended so they may serve as an officer.
- After three (3) unexcused absences in one year (July-June), a senator’s status as a member of Staff Senate will be reviewed by the Executive Board for possible removal from Staff Senate.
- If it is determined by the Executive Board that a senator should be removed, the Chair of Staff Senate will contact the senator to discuss the unexcused absences. Following discussion a letter will be sent to the senator and his/her supervisor informing them of the board’s recommendation.
- Any senator who receives a removal letter has ten (10) business days to appeal the board’s recommendation. If no appeal is submitted, the Chair-Elect responsible for Senate Operations will begin to search for a replacement. In the event an appeal is received, a special Executive Board session will be called to determine the senator’s standing. The senator will be notified within ten (10) business days of the decision.
Section 4. Senator Responsibilities
- Senators shall be elected to serve a term of three (3) years.
- Senators are responsible for attending monthly meetings and representing the views of the constituency by which they were elected.
- Senators shall serve as members of no less than one Senate committee per term year.
- Senators are responsible for having a working knowledge of the Senate bylaws and the current edition of Robert’s Rules of Order.
- Senators may bring forward motions, discussion items, or resolutions for the consideration of the senate with or apart from committees upon which they serve.
- Senators may designate an alternate to attend in their absence, compile notes, or address the senate on their behalf. These alternates shall not have voting privileges.
- Senators may not have more than three (3) unexcused absences per term year.
- Senators who do have more than three (3) unexcused absences per term year will be subject to removal from Senate membership.
- If a senator must miss a meeting, written notification must be received by the Secretary prior to the meeting. If notification is not received prior to the meeting, the absence will be considered unexcused. In the case of official university business and earned leave the Senator shall provide advance notice of five (5) business days to the Senate Secretary. In the case of sick leave, the Senator shall notify the Senate Secretary upon the first day of returning to work.
Section 5. Vacancies
Vacancies may be due to resignation from Staff Senate, transfer from area represented, or termination of employment. If a senator transfers outside the area he/she was elected to represent, but remains a staff member of the University, he/she must inform the Chairperson of the departmental/occupational transfer. He/she may exercise the option to serve out the remainder of his/her term, subject to Executive Board approval. Otherwise, vacancies may be filled by the person who received the next highest number of votes in the previous regular election or by appointment of the Executive Board. If there are no representatives to appoint based on the previous election, a search will be conducted within the occupational group for a replacement in that category. When a vacancy is filled, the expiration of the term remains the same.
Staff Senate officers shall consist of the Chairperson, Chairperson-Elect, past Chairperson, Secretary/Treasurer, and Director of Staff Relations. The Chairperson-Elect and Secretary/Treasurer shall be elected by secret ballot during the regularly scheduled meeting in May. The Director of Staff Relations will be appointed by the Staff Senate Chair upon approval of the Executive Board. The Chairperson and Past Chairperson offices will automatically follow the Chair-Elect position. Terms will begin with the regularly scheduled meeting in July and shall be for a period of one year except for the Secretary/Treasurer position which can be extended to two years by vote of the Senators. Staff Senate officers shall be voting members of the Senate with the exception of the Chairperson, who shall vote only in case of tied votes, and the Past Chairperson, who will only serve in an advisory capacity.
Section 1. Duties
- Chairperson – shall preside over meetings of the Senate; act as spokesperson for the Senate providing monthly reports at meetings of the Board of Governors; be responsible for scheduling and conducting all Staff Senate meetings, and shall serve on University committees as directed by Administration. The Chairperson has the right to appoint current senators as representatives to any University committee or Staff Senate workgroup as approved by the Executive Board. The Chairperson is a non-voting member of the Senate with the exception of ties as stated in Article IV, Section 1.
- Chairperson-Elect – shall assist the Chairperson as requested and assume the duties of the Chairperson in the case of absence or in the event of a vacancy of Chairperson. The Chair-Elect shall serve as the Director of Staff Senate Operations.
- Past Chairperson – shall serve in an advisory capacity to the Executive Board, the Bylaws Committee, and as needed at University meetings to ensure continuity and updating.
- Secretary/Treasurer – shall provide a historical record of all Senate business by accurately recording the minutes of Staff Senate and Executive Council meetings, maintaining Senate attendance, and, as the custodian of records, disseminating Senate information to the University community. The Secretary/Treasurer shall also fulfill the duties of maintaining the Staff Senate budget and present to the Senate the status of the budget. The Secretary/Treasurer shall oversee the nominations and elections process of new senators and officers.
- Director of Staff Relations – shall oversee business that directly relates to all University staff and oversee general business of Staff Senate including establishing and disbanding committees and workgroups.
Section 2. Election Procedures
- The Secretary/Treasurer will establish a workgroup to conduct officer elections.
- At the February meeting, an announcement will be made by the Secretary/Treasurer that nominations for each office will be accepted at the March and April meetings.
- Only current Senate members will be eligible for nomination to an officer position. Nominations are not valid until the Senate member has received approval from his/her supervisor.
- Elections will take place at the May meeting by vote of current senators.
Section 3. Vacancies
- If the Chairperson position is vacated for any reason, the Chairperson-Elect will assume the responsibilities for the remainder of the term. Nominations of current members to replace the Chairperson-Elect will occur at the next regular meeting.
- An officer can be removed from service by a simple majority vote by the Senate. If the Chairperson is removed, Section 3a applies. If the Chairperson-Elect is removed, then nominations for replacement will occur at the next regular meeting. All officers have the right to appeal in writing to the full Senate within thirty (30) days of the Executive Board’s vote. When the full Senate votes, a majority rules.
- When a senator becomes the Chairperson, their voting seat shall become vacant. This vacancy shall be addressed via Article III. Membership Section 5. Vacancies.
Section 1. Membership
The Executive Board shall consist of the Chairperson, Chairperson-Elect, Past Chairperson, Secretary/Treasurer, and Director of Staff Relations.
Section 2. Responsibilities
The Executive Board’s purpose shall be to propose the regular meeting agenda and to consider and possibly refer items, including those submitted by staff members’ at-large, to the appropriate workgroup for their review and subsequent recommendation to the Senate. The Executive Board shall have general supervision of the affairs of the Senate between meetings, make recommendations to the Senate, and shall perform such other duties as are specified in the Bylaws.
Section 1. Standing Committees
Staff Senate standing committees will be led by the Director of Senate Operations and the Director of Staff Relations. The Director of Staff Senate Operations and the Director of Staff Relations shall be current members of Staff Senate. The Chairperson-Elect will serve as the Director of Staff Senate Operations. The Director of Staff Relations will be appointed by the Staff Senate Chair upon approval of the Executive Board. Each director position shall be appointed for a term of one year beginning in July and ending in June.
Standing committees may consist of both current and former Senate members, as well as staff members at-large. All senators shall be required to serve on at least one standing committee per term year.
- Director of Staff Senate Operations – The Director of Staff Senate Operations is charged with overseeing the general business of Staff Senate.
Duties include but are not limited to:
- Establishing and disbanding standing committees to review and make recommendations regarding the Bylaws and maintain the Staff Senate online presence;
- Appointing a chairperson for each established standing committee;
- Maintaining a director’s notebook containing current assignments and resolutions, completed assignments and resolutions, a record of standing committees and date established/disbanded, and a standing committee member list
- Holding a transition meeting with the incoming director prior to the July meeting.
- Director of Staff Relations – The Director of Staff Relations is charged with overseeing business that directly relates to all University staff.
Duties include but are not limited to:
- Establishing and disbanding standing committees to review and make recommendations on University policies and procedures that directly impact staff, create and promote professional development opportunities, and coordinate service activities and special events;
- Appointing a chairperson for each established standing committee
- Maintaining a director's notebook containing current assignments and resolutions, completed assignments and resolutions, a record of standing committees and date established/disbanded, and a standing committee member list;
- Holding a transition meeting with the incoming director prior to the July meeting.
Section 2. Standing Committees Responsibilities
- Work on agenda items and resolutions as assigned.
- Put forth resolutions to the Senate.
- Provide a formal, typed copy of all standing committee reports and resolutions to the Secretary prior to presentation at a full Senate meeting.
- Maintain a standing committee notebook containing current assignments and resolutions, completed assignments and resolutions, minutes of standing committee meetings, and a standing committee member list.
- Hold a transition meeting with incoming and outgoing standing committee members prior to the July meeting.
Section 3. University Committees
The Staff Senate Chairperson shall recommend a member of the Senate or an employee from staff at-large to represent Staff Senate on University committees at the request of Administration, taking into account the expertise of the member and his/her area of representation. Outgoing members will be asked if they wish to remain as the Staff Senate representative on the University committee in which they serve. If they wish to remain the representative, they will be expected to make regular committee reports during Senate meetings. If the outgoing member chooses not to remain the representative, a replacement will be appointed immediately.
Section 1. Regular Meetings
- Staff Senate shall hold regular monthly meetings on the first Thursday of each month.
- All agenda items should be submitted to the Staff Senate Chairperson to be placed on the agenda for the Senate meeting in which they are intended. All submissions should be in writing and received by the Chairperson at least seven (7) business days prior to the meeting.
- The regular monthly Staff Senate meeting shall be open to all staff, faculty, administration and students. Any University staff member who is not an elected or appointed Senate member shall be allowed to participate in discussion but shall not be allowed to make or second motions nor vote on Senate business.
- Any University staff member who is not an elected or appointed Senate member may submit a written request to be placed on the agenda to bring a matter before Staff Senate. All requests should be received by the Staff Senate Chairperson at least seven (7) business days prior to the meeting.
- Minutes as recorded by the Secretary shall be sent to all senators within seven (7) business days following each regularly scheduled meeting. The minutes shall be posted on the Staff Senate website following Senate approval at the next regular meeting.
Section 2. Special Meetings
The Staff Senate Chairperson may call special meetings of the Senate as deemed necessary or at the written request of three (3) Senators.
A quorum is required to have an official meeting and conduct business. Quorum shall be set at one-half of those deemed voting members of the Senate. Fulfillment of quorum is determined by the Senate Secretary immediately following Senator roll call and provided to the Chairperson before official business takes place. Representatives of Faculty Senate, Student Government Association, Parliamentarian and the Senate Executive Board are non-voting.
At the onset of each Senate meeting, the Chairperson shall inquire verbally with the Senate Secretary as to the presence of quorum. The Secretary shall verbally confirm when asked that quorum has or has not been achieved.
If during the course of a senate meeting quorum is lost, the Secretary shall inform the Chair that no further official business may be conducted. In that event, the Senate shall refer to the most current edition of Robert’s Rules of Order for appropriate options.
- Method of voting shall be conducted by a show of hands unless a Senator requests an alternate method (e.g. secret ballot, roll call vote, etc).
- Majority vote shall be used for legitimate motions which require only a majority for their adoption. A majority vote consists of more than half of the votes cast, ignoring abstentions at a meeting where quorum is present.
- The following motions require a two-thirds majority of all Senators for its adoption:
- Amendment of any part of the Bylaws, or rules of order previously adopted. This motion requires previous notice.
- Amendment or rescinding of a standing rule, a program or order of business, or a resolution previously adopted, without notice being given at a previous meeting or in the call of the meeting.
- Taking up a question out of its proper order.
- Suspending the rules.
- Refusal to proceed to the orders of the day.
- Sustaining an objection to the consideration of a question.
- Expulsion from membership. (this motion requires previous notice and discussion between the parties.)
- Disposal from office. (this motion requires previous notice.)
The rules contained in the current edition of the most current edition of Robert’s Rules of Order shall govern Staff Senate in all cases to which they are applicable and in which they are consistent with these bylaws.
Amendment of the Bylaws
Any University staff members may propose an amendment to the Staff Senate Bylaws. The proposed amendment shall be provided in writing to the Director of Staff Senate Operations, at which time a bylaws workgroup will be established to review the proposed amendment. After review, the bylaws workgroup will submit its recommendation to the Executive Board to be placed on the agenda for the next meeting. The amendment will then be brought before the full Senate for vote. Two-thirds (2/3) vote will be required.
Amendments to the Bylaws shall be considered official and adopted upon a passing vote by the Senate and approval by the President of the University and Administrative Council.