From Council to Board: Big Update!

The UPS Admin Team held another meeting last night. Here are some updates, which we hope will answer all the questions we’ve gotten regarding the changes we announced two weeks ago. If you have other questions, please feel free to reach out, or post them here.

Up to this point, the council appointed all its council members (who made decisions about the direction of the group, in addition to other functions). Additionally, the council recruited and appointed folx to the moderator team, who may or may not have also been council members. We are making changes to the structure of the group, and in order for these changes to happen we need YOU to participate.

Change 1: Election of Board Members
First, going forward the majority of the council (now called the “Board”) will be elected by YOU, the members of UPS. Our goal is that the Board be representative of and responsive to the community we serve. We need new voices, new perspectives, and more transparency. We are currently working out the logistical details of this process, and it will happen over time to preserve the institutional knowledge of our current admin members, we ask that you be patient with and participate in this process.

We will be holding elections to add 5 additional members to the Board (previously called “the council”). All of the existing members of the council will become board members but will rotate off the board over the next several years. Additionally, the current council elected to add Kelsey Rose to the Board. She has been instrumental in crafting our by-laws and helping us organize this process, and she adds invaluable expertise and diversity to our team. Once we finalize our election procedure we will post it publicly, in addition to clear instructions on how to self-nominate; look for this around the first of August. Board positions will be determined by internal board elections after the five additional seats are filled from the community.

Change 2: Board Structure
UPS serves a lot of functions, and the members of the council have worn a lot of hats. We have decided that we need to create a formal structure in our board to better meet our goals. To this end we’ve created 15 Board positions:
The Operating Committee consists of the Chair (manages the meetings, follows up with committee chairs to verify projects are underway, only votes in a tie), Vice Chair (serves as the chair if the chair is unavailable, manages elections), Treasurer (manages the bank account), and Secretary (keeps detailed minutes and records of Board meetings, etc).
There are also 5 Committee Chair positions, who will create committees at their discretion (with occasional input from the Board). These committees may be comprised of both other board members and community members; They are Education/Programs (manages trainings, coordinates educational events, etc), Outreach (manages Pride, other events primarily to introduce reach people in the broader community who are not yet members of UPS, and the public Fb page), Events (manages events for current members), Support Group (manages QuiP and the monthly Peer Support meeting), and Forum Moderator (manages moderation of the Fb group).
The remaining 6 positions will be Members at Large – Board members who have voting power, and who will serve on the previously listed committees.

Change 3: Non-Profit Status
Honestly, this isn’t something we NEED to do – we can hold elections, have a Board, and maintain bylaws without 501(c)3 status. Becoming a non-profit will enable us to separate the entity that is UPS legally and financially from the individual board members, which better enables rotating leadership, and provides some financial benefits to the organization, especially regarding education and outreach.

Change 4: Increased Transparency
We will have quarterly Board meetings, two of which will be open to the community, and will specifically have time dedicated for community members to voice their questions, concerns, hopes and ideas. The minutes from ALL UPS board meetings will be publicly available (with the exception of confidential reported information from UPS members), as will financial documents. Our bylaws and other UPS documentation and policies will be available as soon as they’re completed and ratified, likely within the next month or two.

What Won’t Change:
As of now and for the foreseeable future, all board positions will continue to be volunteer positions. All funds raised from UPS functions will be used to support our work in the community – primarily registration fees for Pride festivals around the state and organizing community training and education. Regarding funding under this new structure, at this point UPS Prom is our only fundraiser, though this may change, depending on the decisions the Board members make with input from the community in the future.

The privacy of the members of the group will not be affected by these changes. The names of the Operating Committee of the Board will be a matter of public record, and the Forum Committee Chair will be publicly visible as an admin of the Facebook discussion group. Other Board members can choose to keep their names private. Everyone else stays exactly as they are.

What you can expect soon:
Multiamory has given us permission to build our Community Guidelines from the community posting guidelines for their private Facebook group. We will tailor them to our community. These will hopefully be finalized and available within the next two weeks.
Our By-Laws, Election Process, and other policies will hopefully be finalized within the next 30 days. All of these will be available in a central location and will be announced when they are published.

Finally, we hope that you, our community, continue to be engaged with this process. That you nominate yourself for a board position, or moderator position and that you participate in elections. We hope that you continue to ask questions, demand answers, suggest policies, and ask for what you need. We hope that you continue to find the support, space, and growth you are looking for in this group.

Thank you
-The UPS Council