Vote on PAPCG Guidelines and Procedures at our September Meeting


Many thanks to Arlene and the Bylaws Committee for taking on the task to summarize our procedures and guidelines for running the Guild.  The Steering Committee has approved the document which I must say is well written and straight to the point!  Paid Members will be asked to vote to adopt or reject the Guidelines and Procedures at the September Meeting by a simple majority.

There is a copy of the Guidelines and Procedures HERE.  Members, please review before the September meeting.  You can submit comments here on this blog post.

If you are a paid PAPCG member, you can join the Steering Committee Google Group.  Go to Google Groups from your browser and search for “PAPCG_Steering.”  Members of the Steering Committee are involved in the discussions and plans of the guild via email.  This is for members who want to be more involved with the operations of the Guild.  There is also a link to join the Steering Committee at the bottom of the Dues Page on our website.


  1. I understand that we are asked to comment on the draft bylaws here. To that end, my comments are these:
    I also appreciate the uncomplicated nature of these bylaws and commend the BLC for their work. I ask that the committee consider:
    1) Adding language that allows for the possibility of the President appointing paid members to work on other Guild initiatives as needed. While the Steering Committee oversees all Guild activity, appointing other Guid members for ad hoc activity means that all the work isn’t done by the SC. For example, if we decide to have residential retreat, we might need a small group to develop that project.
    2) Something need to be said about succession planning. Not asking that a specific process for replacing Pres and other SC members be written in,but at least put in that annually the SC determines if there is an impeding vacancy and if so establishes a process filling it. I would ask that SC members give at least 4 or 6 months notice, except of course if for whatever reason they feel they need to step down sooner.
    3) I’d put a period after the statement about raising or spending money for Guild usual purposes only and then add a sentence saying that raising or spending money for extracurricular Guild purposes requires a 2/3 membership vote. Assuming that is what the current statement is intended to say.

  2. These were previously posted on the Steering Committe, so I guess use your judgement on where to post. Anything minor, probably revisit on the SC thread.

    @Ellen – Steering Committee is a voluntary advisory sounding board of members, I don’t think considering it a position you would give noticed or is within the nature of the position. They are not necessarily those working in various capacities on tasks.

    Our intent was that the President is elected as described and all other positions are appointed by the president. Maybe that answers your question about succession planning. It is a great idea to include that the President can appoint paid professionals to accomplish tasks. We have tasked the treasurer to be responsible for advising on expenditures of any kind and monitoring the budget so the language should probably be there.

    • This goes along with Ellen’s suggestions about defining terms: If the President leaves for whatever reason, does that mean the new President appoints new people or inherits those already in place. Also, SHOULD the President pick his/her own committee? The Treasurer at the very least should answer to the Guild members and not the President otherwise there are no checks and balances between the roles. Also, the committee might consider the possibility that the role of the Steering Committee should be better defined. In June it was stated in an email on the Steering Committee Google Group that the Steering Committee is the actual decision making body of the Guild. The website states that the Steering Committee is a discussion group. As a Guild member this is confusing since members are asked to elect the President but the Steering Committee is self-appointed and amorphous. Also, the committee might want to note that there is no definition of the Fundraising Chair’s duties although the President is required to appoint someone to that position.

      • I think we are over complicating things here, this is not a corporation, we wrote the by-laws to be simple. I don’t think we need to make any real changes to it at this point beyond adding the bit about paid help. We wrote it so that the president/s would be the person choosing the entire executive committee. In the case of a president leaving suddenly I think that the committee should stay in place to allow the guild to continue to function. What Sarah said is true that we’ve never had an issue since only one person at a time usually wants a job.

        I don’t know of any change in the steering committee, it’s just composed of the members that have any interest in the running of the guild, where it’s power lies is in majority vote when that vote is needed but of course at that point any member can vote. We can and have called on the steering committee to step in and advise at times since a good part of it is composed of former officers.

        All the officers answer to the guild and reports are constantly made, so I don’t understand the issue with the treasurer, no large expenditure is done just on the presidents say.

        No document is going to cover every eventuality. I think Arlene did an amazing job covering everything that it could while not making it too complex to make sense. I vote we don’t mess with it too much.


  3. The Steering Committe was originally formed as stated on this blog (from years ago) and as posted on the website. It is simply a way for those who have volunteered to do the heavy lifting of day to day operations for the Guild to get some input for a broader base of the membership. Our “rule” has been that anyone who joins the group and responds to an email discussion/request/vote within 48 hours can have their opinions considered.

    This is an informal mechanism which is appropriate for a hobby club. I do not think there was any intention by the by-laws committee to change the role of the Steering Committee.

    While it may seem more thorough to define procedures for every possible eventuality, the by laws committee had the goal of writing the simplest method that would function under most every situation we have historically faced. Importantly, we included a process to update these procedures and guidelines annually, which should also help respond to scenarios we did not concern, or simply changing priorities.

    Practically we have never had more than one person at a time who wished to take on the various roles. This is a volunteer hobby organization. Our goal was to not over think this. We all agree one person should be accountable to the members, and that is, in our paradigm, the President.

  4. We did not feel the need to define specific duties for Fundraising as that will depend on the specific tasks chosen to raise funds. We wanted to leave freedom for the person taking on the role to define it with the President so as not to limit our opportunities. The President is tasked with holding three membership meetings per year and additionally has the guidance and input of the steering committee process to make specific annual fundraising goals and plans in concert with one or more members who will be responsible for the Fundraising activities.

    This is how we have been handling it practically (and with excellent results!) thus far. The by laws committee sought to define the structural process rather than specific annual goals.

  5. Perhaps someone can comment on any shift in the duties of the Steering Committee. I am the founder of this committee, and I am completely unaware of any change in its function. The by Laws committee did not determine a need to change its function from as originally intended.

    We also have long had a policy that whatever is published on the website or blog is the Guild’s policy.

    The committee was formed as a way to get more members involved. It looks like it has succeeded there!

  6. Dear PAPCG Friends,

    As the drafter of these proposed Guidelines, perhaps it would be helpful for me to clarify the guiding principles considered by the By-Laws Committee and by those Steering Committee [“SC”] members who chose to comment on the several drafts that went through the SC.

    First, since ours is a small, totally voluntary organization, historically led by very busy people, we did not want highly structured or complex by-laws which might just make their volunteer jobs more difficult and/or time-consuming. Therefore, we did not make rules for each possible scenario that might occur, but chose to leave the elected President and her/his appointed assistants with the flexibility necessary for effective leadership. Thus, for example, the President already has inherent authority to appoint additional members to help with “ad hoc activities”. Also, the Guidelines already require a 2/3 membership vote for extra-ordinary spending decisions. And clearly the Treasurer already is accountable to the entire membership, as she/he has to report to the membership at least three times during our nine-month year’s meetings. And, finally, I don’t see any need to spell out the Fundraising Chair’s duties, but am open to considering proposed language for same during our September meeting.

    Second, we wanted to encourage involvement by members who want to actively help the guild, as so many have been doing this past year. Therefore we retained the open/voluntary membership in the Steering Committee and its informal decision-making-by-email-consensus structure.

    Third, we wanted to provide a democratic procedure for the entire Membership to elect the President and to modify the Guidelines as Members deem appropriate. Thus we included [1] the process included in the paragraph entitled “Election of the President”; [2] the statement requiring a 2/3 membership vote for any spending other than for regular operation of the PAPCG]; and [3] the Review and Modification Procedure providing for annual review and modification of the Procedures and Guidelines by majority vote.

    I hope this has been helpful, and look forward to a constructive discussion when we vote at our September meeting.


    • Here is the basis of concern. This is from a May 30 email on Google Groups.

      “When and how did the guild move from the “steering committee decision making via time limited, one topic @emails” decision-making model?” … “When and where did the discussion take place about whether to move from that model to the executive decision – making model?”

      The President and his/her committee would serve as executive function. Can their decisions be overruled by the Steering Committee? The BLC should consider defining the relationship between the President and his/her committee and the Steering Committee. It has caused problems in the recent past as noted in the May 30 email so it has not always worked effectively.

      New members and volunteers don’t know “how things worked in the past.” I am asking respectfully that the BLC consider this when outlining how they want the group to function and define roles accordingly. Things are moving ahead because the Guild is asking these questions. It is a great time to be a member of PAPCG because of this forward momentum.

      The reason the Fundraising position was noted is because all the other positions had been defined but that one had not. It was thought the lack of definition was an accidental oversight

  7. I agree , Perrie! I was thinking that we should consider renaming the Steering Committee to the Guild Focus Group to better describe their function. I expect The term “Steering Committee” has a more standard business definition than the way we have used it.

  8. And the short answer is we always had an executive model. The email voting was only to augment and advised. Glad we are getting this clarified.

  9. I think the President should be able to pick the exec committee. Running the guild is like herding cats and this string of commentary is ample proof of that. We must give the president Kahunas.

    I don’t recall that we ever voted on having a steering committee or an advisory committee – it kind of just happened. That’s the way things get done. It is not carved in granite. We are not drafting a constitution and we can’t foresee everything. If I could, I would be in Atlantic City right now

    Of course the president, the treasurer and everyone who is doing something for the guild is responsible to the guild. How far should this go? Well, if the treasurer steals the dues, we file a private criminal complaint or bring a civil lawsuit. (Sorry Emily 🙂 ) If we feel like it. But we don’t even need to go there.

    If there is a lucid, concise reason for deviating from the model we have suggested, which does not operate on the “but what if. . .” but on a self evident likelihood that the model will make it difficult or impossible to have a guild, I would like to hear it. We all need to hear it. I am open. If, on the other hand, the model is objected to on the basis of speculation about what could happen, I don’t think that is sufficient reason to reject the proposal.

  10. Martha’s comment is so lucid [and witty, to boot] that all I can say is, “right on”, Martha!
    Now that all members of the By-Laws committee have reviewed and commented upon the above suggestions/arguments, it is clear we all agree that the only change needed is to clarify the role of the Steering Committee by changing its name. I suggest “The Guild Advisory Board”. In any event, I think it’s time to leave further advocacy for discussion prior to voting on September 16th, so we can all get back to claying!

  11. Thank you for all the comments. Arlene, can you take a look at Ellen’s comment #3 once more which sounds like an issue of grammar and rewrite if you see fit.. Also, I understand your position on her first comment to be the contingency of hiring professionals to be implied by the existing language. Either way is fine with me (leaving it implicit versus writing explicitly), but I also agree with the overriding goal of keeping it simple.

    Maybe we should have a contest to rename the Steering Committee…. Well that is a topic for another day.

  12. How about the Guild Forum. A forum is a meeting place for the discussion of questions and issues of public interest. May I suggest you repost this two weeks before the guild meeting. ONLY two members outside of the By-laws Committee responded to it. With vacations and the first week of school many members may have missed it.

  13. Good plan, Perrie. Our plan is to put a link to this blog post in the Newsletter which should meet that goal. I like Forum – you have identified the group’s purpose perfectly. We plan to discuss all at the September Meeting and have a vote. Sarah

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