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Open Guidelines for Committees, Task Forces, Working Groups, and the UUA Board
Rule G-2.1 of the bylaws of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) requires openness in the functioning of the UUA elected and appointed committees and task forces and the UUA Board, including its committees and working groups. These guidelines are intended to assist in fulfilling this requirement. They are prepared by the Open UUA Committee, which was created by the UUA Board to clarify and implement the Rule.
All the UUA Board and all UUA committees and task forces shall:
- provide advance notice of dates and locations of regular business meetings and make agendas, reports, and minutes available promptly;
- provide avenues for comment on issues on the meetings' agendas;
- accommodate observers at regular business meetings with the exception of executive sessions.
Staff appointed committees are to report through the board working groups on the significant (and non-confidential) work of those committees, with the understanding that those reports would be posted in the working group notes that appear on the web.
Advance Notice of Meetings
The first step is to provide advance notice is to make sure that your meeting or activity is listed on the UUA's online calendar. Then provide basic information about your committee for inclusion on UUA.org by sending an email to the UUA ITS Web Team web [at] uua [dot] org.
Notices, minutes and documents can most easily be provided through the UUA web pages. Just email the information to web [at] uua [dot] org with the document attached in MS Word format. Make the subject Openness Implementation, and in the body put your committee name and a list of the documents attached. Please send the documents as early as possible. The Web Team will convert the files to Acrobat (PDF) format and link them to a web page for your committee. In the event that you feel your document needs to be available in HTML instead of, or in addition to, PDF, please indicate this in your covering email message.
It would also be good to have the charge to your committee on your web page. Just send it in an email as described above. You should also have an email address where your committee can be reached. It is best to use a forwarding address like openness [at] uua [dot] org that is forwarded to a member of your committee. Just send the name of your committee and the email address where you want messages sent in an email to web [at] uua [dot] org. This will fulfill (b) above.
Observers at Meetings
If you meet in person, you should accommodate observers. This means that there should be space in the meeting room for observers where they can see and hear. Some opportunity to speak should be given on request. Participation in the meeting shall be at the discretion of the chair. Executive sessions should be noted in the agenda. You may wish to ask for observers to make reservations so that you know how many may need to be accommodated.
There is no requirement for meetings by phone or email to make provision for observers. However, it is easy to set up an email list which anyone can join, but where posting is restricted to members of the committee. We can provide the settings needed to permit only members to post. You can apply for a UUA mailing list.
The important thing to remember is the motivation for the openness rule. It is to keep our members informed and to engage them in the work of the Association.
Rev. Sam Trumbore
Chair, Open UUA Committee