Chapter Standing Rules

Table Of Contents

     Executive Committee Meetings

     Chapter Collaboration Policy


Executive Committee Meeting Standing Rules 

Chapter bylaws require the Executive Committee (ExCom) to have meetings open to attendance by any Club member, with allowances for private sessions. The ExCom may convene in closed session to discuss sensitive matters, provided the vote or action is taken in open session. Meeting times and places will be posted on the Chapter Calendar and announced in the Chapter eNewsletter.

Therefore, we propose the following standing rules for ExCom Meetings. 

  1. Excom meetings must be posted to the Chapter calendar. 

  1. The calendar’s event meeting page must include a link to register for the meeting.  Interested registrants should fill out their registration details completely.  New registrations will trigger a notification to Chapter staff. Interested members may also contact a member of the Executive Committee, who will need to notify the Chapter Coordinator.

  1. Regardless of the method of registration, verification of membership will be done by Chapter Coordinator.

  1. To allow for such verification to be done in a timely manner, all registration requests must be received by the day before the Excom meeting. 

  1. Meeting agendas without the meeting link will be posted to the meeting’s Campfire event page and agendas with the link will be sent to registered guests at the same time that Excom members receive the agenda, or soon after they register for the meeting.

  1. Non-ExCom attendees may comment on items not on the agenda during the “Oral Communications” section of the meeting.

  1. Non-ExCom attendees who wish to comment on agenda items must notify the Chapter Coordinator in order to allow the meeting to proceed in a timely manner. 

  1. The time budgeted for non-Excom members to speak will be 3 minutes per person, except if there are more than 7 speakers, in which case the total allotment will be limited to 20 minutes during the entire meeting. For example, if 10 people request to speak at the meeting, for items both on the agenda or not, they will each only be allowed to speak for 2 minutes each.

  1. At the discretion of the Chair, non-Sierra Club members may be invited to attend the meeting during specific agenda items to contribute to the discussion.

  2. All meeting attendees must be respectful of other attendees.


Loma Prieta Chapter Collaboration Policy

In the past there has not been much emphasis from National on collaborations with other organizations, with perhaps the exception of co-signing on letters with various other environmental organizations to address environmental issues. Over the last several years that position has changed, with the latest strategic framework specifically calling for joining forces with other environmental and environmental justice groups in order to elevate all of our voices and thereby increase our potential for impact.

We have not seen a policy to establish guidelines, however, other than one which defines conditions which require Chapters to seek National approval. That policy is called National’s Affiliation Policy, and is given directly below. Other aspects of co-operation are open to interpretation, and the Loma Prieta Chapter’s guidelines are given following National’s. The revised policy from National is:

Affiliation Policy

Revised version adopted by the Board of Directors

August 18, 2016

Policy (Terms being defined are in bold type.)

An Affiliation occurs when the Sierra Club or one of its constituent entities formally or informally becomes part of another Organization. The Organization into which the Club affiliates is usually an informal, unincorporated organization or coalition with other organizations or individuals as Members of the Organization.

The Sierra Club is in favor of Affiliations when they support the Club’s goals and purposes. It has adopted the Approval Process outlined below because occasionally Affiliations may not be in the Club’s best interest. Chapters, groups, regional or national teams and campaigns (Club Entities) must obtain approval for Affiliations, but not for less formal associations. It is sometimes difficult to determine whether a particular proposed association is an Affiliation. In those cases the Entity should seek approval of the relationship using the Approval Process below.


• The Shadow Hills Group wants to work along with several other local organizations and individuals in an unnamed informal coalition to fight a housing project proposed to be built in open space near a city. The Group plans to sign coalition letters jointly with other coalition members opposing the project. The coalition is not an Affiliation. (emphasis ours)

• The San Francisco Bay Chapter wants to participate in a coalition of bay-area organizations fighting the TPP. The coalition will be called Bay Environmentalists Asking for Sustainable Trade (BEAST). Other members will be the SEIU and a local group called Bayers for Democracy. BEAST will issue communications under its own name, listing the Sierra Club as a member. This is an Affiliation.

A Club Entity might wish to affiliate with an Organization to demonstrate support, to coordinate efforts, to help the Organization gain a higher profile, or to aggregate resources. Alternatives to affiliation include donating money to the Organization, Club members joining the Organization as individuals, publicity or other help for the Organization, and holding joint workshops or press conferences.”

Two big issues of concern are that the entity we join must not undertake any legal actions which could embroil us in the action, and also must not issue any political endorsements. The policy continues with requirements that Chapters must undertake if they wish to pursue an affiliation, which will not be repeated here because for the most part what we will be working with are various forms of collaborating with other organizations. For more information on affiliations you can find the remainder of the policy on Campfire.

Chapter Guidelines For Collaboration

Examples of collaborations that don’t trigger the need for Affiliation paperwork include:

        1. Displaying our Chapter logo with other organizations on Conservation letters,

        2. Co-sponsoring or co-hosting an event with other organizations

For entering into collaborations, our Chapter requires ExCom approval except if all of the following conditions are met, and the member taking the action has authority to speak for the Chapter under our Communications Policy Standing Rule:

1. The collaboration is temporary or one-off in nature (e.g. signing onto letters, hosting single events, etc.),

2. The collaboration is with known organizations the Chapter ExCom has already approved collaborations with, and

3. The collaboration involves a Conservation issue our Chapter, SC California or National is already involved with via a pre-existing committee

Volunteers seeking to establish one-off collaborations with organizations that are not covered by 2 or 3 can appeal to the Chapter Chair and ask for a timely ExCom electronic vote for approval. Under Chapter bylaws, e-votes have to be open for one week, so the expected turnaround time should be a minimum of a week and a half. Ideally, volunteers would ask for one-off collaboration approvals more than a month in advance so that the ExCom can be briefed and give their approval at a regular meeting. Notice of all such collaborations and copies of any written material produced shall be provided to the Chapter Director for approval before any action is taken.

This expedited approval only covers collaboration specifically. Letters that set new policy must still go through a new-policy approval process. All letters must be sent to the Chapter Coordinator for record-keeping.

Volunteers seeking to establish ongoing approval to collaborate with certain organizations can ask the Chapter Director and Chair to agendize discussion and approval of it at the next ExCom meeting. At the January or February ExCom meetings, ExCom should re-affirm or discontinue ongoing collaborations with organizations, and staff should maintain a list that is easily accessible to other Chapter members.


We are approached by Green Foothills to co-sign a letter with them on protecting open space at the edge of a community within our Chapter geography. ExCom has authorized ongoing collaboration with GF and this is one letter. No ExCom vote required.

A new environmental justice organization approaches us to co-sign a letter opposing an industrial development in their city. Since they are a new organization that we have no established relationship with, ExCom should vote on whether to co-sign the letter. This can be done electronically and we should let the organization know it will take a week for us to respond.

The previously mentioned EJ organization wants to continue collaborating with our Chapter. Since they want to establish an ongoing relationship, the ExCom should discuss and vote on whether to fast-track future ongoing collaborations with them at a scheduled meeting.