JP Progressives brings progressives together to: build electoral power, mobilize around issues, build a progressive community, and engage our neighbors. We aim to be a transparent and nimble grassroots effort to organize the progressive voters of Jamaica Plain. We strive to operate with the minimum necessary bureaucracy to ensure the maximum time spent on mobilizing around progressive candidates and issues. We are a big tent organization that seeks to provide an outlet for dialogue and action, respecting the diversity of opinions within our progressive community. All are welcome.
As a small community based organization run by volunteers, our Governance systems are still a work in progress. We welcome input and guidance from our members.
The governance structure for JP Progressives is comprised of a steering committee coordinated by co-chairs and two tiers of membership.
The Steering Committee Co-Chairs
JPP has up to three co-chairs selected by the steering committee with gender diverse representation.
- Responsibilities: Co-Chairs are responsible for serving as the primary spokespeople of the organization, chairing steering committee meetings, and coordinating agendas and other administrative functions.
- Elections and Terms: Co-Chairs are elected by the steering committee on a bi-annual basis for a two-year term with no term limits. The elections for the co-chairs is slated to take place January 2020.
The terms will run from January through the following January to avoid disruptions with the election cycle.
The Steering Committee consists of a minimum of five (5) and no more than twenty (15) members to be confirmed by the voting members of JP Progressives. JP Progressives will strive to have diverse representation in its leadership including race, ethnic, gender and political diversity. Nominees to the JPP Steering Committee members must meet the following criteria:
- Attend at least three meetings or events of JP Progressives within a calendar year;
- Demonstrate commitment to the Committee’s goals through active participation in its key activities (e.g. leading or volunteering for work streams, fundraising, electoral work, etc.);
- Pay annual dues to Progressive MASS at the time of confirmation;
- And be a registered voter.
Minimum expectations of Steering Committee Members:
- Attend monthly steering committee meetings, all-hands meetings, and major events
- Checking group communications on a daily basis including responding to polls and weighing in on an ongoing basis to key JPP decisions
- Serve on one of the three primary JPP workstreams: Elections, State Action/ Issues Cmte, or Sister Districts
- Commit to a ~3-5 hours work per month on a priority SC role/ activity (excluding attendance at events and meetings) including individual responsibility for an activity.
- Respectful engagement and prioritizing the interests of the group vs. individual perspectives
Other responsibilities include making recommendations to the voting membership for political endorsements, setting priorities for electoral and issue campaigns, and participating in general administration and coordination activities for JP Progressives.
**we recognize people are busy and have other jobs and conflicts, we ask SC members to notify the committee when they have period busy periods, etc. and identify back ups for their role
Process for Electing Steering Committee Members:
- The JP Progressives Steering Committee will make a nomination for the voting members to ratify at the Annual Meeting in the January timeframe of each year. Steering Committee must have consensus for all members to be put forward. The membership vote will need to meet the same 60% threshold as endorsement decisions;
- Nominated Steering members will provide a short written summary of their work to date, reasons for wanting to be on the Steering Committee, and proposed activities for the coming year as background for the vote.
Governance and Terms: Steering committee members are elected to one-year terms with no term limit. Steering committee members can recall a member of the steering committee if a majority of the committee determines that to be a necessary step to preserve the cohesion of the committee. The elections will occur at the annual meeting in December/ January of each year.
Annual Meeting and Annual Strategy Priorities:
- Steering Committee members will be voted upon as a group at the annual meeting in the December/ January timeframe for another one-year term through a vote by all voting members;
- Nominated Steering members will provide a summary of their work to date, reasons for wanting to be on the Steering Committee, and proposed activities for the coming year as background for their vote;
- The JPP Steering Committee will propose annual priorities in January which voting members will ratify with a vote of confidence;
- Voting members will be given an opportunity to propose and vote on key priorities for JPP in the coming year;
- If there is not 60% support for either the Steering Committee slate or the direction of the organization, this indication of no-confidence from the membership will result in the creation of an ad hoc committee composed of representatives from the JPP Steering committee as well as the voting members to resolve the outstanding issues.
Steering Committee Decision Making: The steering committee strives for consensus but because many decisions require fast action and real-time responses, in order to reach resolution we make decisions with a 2/3rds majority. In most cases this is for minor decisions from scheduling to media responses. For major decisions, we engage in dialogue and seek consensus whenever possible at our monthly steering committee meetings.
Quorum: A quorum will consist of 70% of the total number of active Steering Committee members, however for endorsement recommendations and major votes, the Steering Committee will strive to achieve 100% participation.
Steering Committee Conflicts of interest: Our leadership is comprised of individuals active in the political community, some of whose day jobs or personal circumstances may present conflicts of interest. Steering committee members will be asked to proactively disclose possible conflicts of interest or bias such as financial or family ties. After member disclosure, the steering committee may ask leaders to recuse themselves from activities and critical decisions that would present a conflict of interest, if necessary by a 2/3rds majority. Steering committee members paid by a campaign or working closely with a campaign will not work on on forums or candidate questionnaires in a way that may impact the neutrality of JP Progressives. When reasonable and in recognition of the importance of political involvement, the steering committee will allow leaders to maintain their activities and relationships with campaigns within and outside of the JPP alongside the organization’s involvement in organization in the endorsement process.
JPP recognizes that members may not agree on endorsements and individuals are not prevented from continuing their personal work or advocacy that takes place outside the umbrella of JPP, including work not endorsed by JPP; however, members may not use JPP’s name or resources in such work.
The JPP member list will not be shared with candidates or other organizations at any time unless they are official co-sponsors (vs. supporting partners) of an event. Any organizing and outreach involving the JPP member list on behalf of candidates will be managed directly by leaders of JPP.
Voting Membership Overview
- Voting members will have to demonstrate that they have attended at least three JP events (monthly meetings, work stream meetings, forums, candidate forums, volunteer activities, etc.) in the past year. Individuals who have volunteered for at least one activity organized by JP Progressives in the past year will be automatically granted voting status. JPP tracks participation and will automatically notify you if you have achieved voting status.
- While not required for voting status, we strongly encourage all members that have the financial means to become a dues paying member of Progressive MA (there is no minimum payment required). Progressive Mass plays an important role in providing information, research and organizing support for its chapters. Similarly, the activity requirements for JP Progressives stand whether or not an individual is a dues paying member of Progressives MA.
- Engagement Expectations: Attend at least 3 events annually and/or 1 volunteer event (hopefully much more!); attend JP Progressives Annual meeting.
- Benefits: voting status on steering committee leadership and endorsements; ability to join and nominate others for the JP Progressives Steering committee.
General Membership Overview:
Anyone from the greater community, not necessarily limited to JP, is welcome to attend our events, engage in dialogue, make requests of JP Progressive Steering Committee members, and sign up for our mailing list.