Categories
2016 Meeting Recaps

Chalk Talk: September 17th, 2016

photo from SoundersFC.com

By Stephanie Steiner

September 20th, 2016

On September 17th, immediately following our victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps, Sounders FC hosted a Chalk Talk with fans to discuss Club direction, challenges, and (surprisingly) took live questions from the audience.  This conversation is the result of the Council’s repeated requests to make Garth Lagerwey, General Manager and President of Soccer, more accessible to our Alliance Members.  We are very pleased that the Club heard us and made this event possible. We sincerely hope this can become something that happens multiple times each year.

I have been getting my backside kicked getting escrow closed (silly me, I thought that was the hard part), and now that I have the keys, I also have a new definition of urgent.  So I simply did not get a write-up of the event done as quickly as I’d hoped.  Today, Dave Clark got a great one posted at Sounder at Heart, and I highly recommend you read it here.

photo by Daniel Roe
Categories
2015 Annual Business Meeting Meeting Recaps

Meeting Recap: End of Year Business Meeting

Photo from soundersfc.com

November 17, 2015

By Karl Picard

I have attended a couple of these events in the past; last year I came with my 4-year-old so it was totally different.  This year was my first year as an Alliance Council member and it was quite different.  I found myself way more interested in what the owners and staff were saying about our team and the future. Maybe it was because I was running the Twitter feed for the Alliance Council, but I think it was because I got a glimpse over the season of how things run. As a fan I cared less about that, just give me wins and trophies, but now it’s about respect for the fan base as well as the Alliance Council and what it stands for. And maybe more, there is a lot the team represents besides just the product on the field, as Roger Levesque would gladly fill you in on. As you heard, if you were there or have watched the edited video, there are families, community outreach, and running a business that is independent from the Seahawks.

My evening began around 4:30 with an early arrival to set up a table for council candidates and help out where I could. Then it was on to the pre-meeting the Council members had with the owners and senior staff.  I found this to be one of the best things I’ve gotten to participate in since getting elected.  We had a direct line to over 20 folks on the Sounders staff.  We talked about several issues that have been pointed out to the council by the Alliance, including delegating season tickets for voting purposes, customer service of ticket reps, changes that the club has gone through as part of the split from the Seahawks, to MatchPass and a few thank yous from each side.  The main theme was how can we all help each other make the fan experience better.  Based on some of the ideas for the coming season I am optimistic it will get better.

Then it was upstairs for the main event.  I sat maybe 15 rows back to get a good view of the stage and allow me to take some pictures.  I spent a decent amount of time tweeting or monitoring Twitter to help those who were on stage as I could.  Joe Roth definitely got things going with his comments (which if you missed them, just look back on social media or anyone who covers the Sounders) for which I immediately thought that will have an apology the next day, and it did.  As I was following Twitter, I got a really good idea on the backlash the comments would bring. After that was some big news on Adrian becoming the majority owner. He talked about doing right by the club. Next up was Bart talking about the business. The biggest thing I took from this was new turf is coming, which and while that won’t stop the conversation around grass, maybe it will result in fewer questions on that topic around that area (we got a lot).    About that time MatchPass came up and the club presented an instant delight reward, and Craig (who was right next to me) won a signed jersey delivered by our captain Brad Evans. I thought that was pretty cool and wish there were a few more of those throughout the night.

Then it was our time to shine, Stephanie covered what Council did this year. While I was sitting there I was thinking, does this crowd appreciate it? Based on the applause, while not the same that turf or some of the player mentions got, it was a little satisfying. Twitter comments also helped validate our efforts. While, as Stephanie said, they weren’t sexy, and I may not fully agree with all of them, it was something myself and 20 other folks changed over the year. Cameron hopped up on the stage for his first appearance. He got the short end of the stick covering the details of the GM Vote & Recall. This part got edited out of the video of the night that the Sounders posted, but really was a big part of our year-long efforts. It laid the ground work for the Alliance to make a difference should they feel the team was headed the wrong way. In my opinion, it put some teeth (like baby teeth, but better than none) into the democracy in sports idea that Drew Carey set forth as soon as he became part of the organization. This is why making sure Alliance Members (season ticket holders) get a vote for every seat they own is important and we’ll be working with the club to ensure that happens over the next year, as was discussed earlier in the night. After that, Paul Cox talked about S2 and the Community Trust. I heard less of this as I was dealing with some of the questions that had come in via Twitter and was discussing some of them with Jerry (sorry Paul and S2 folks).

Garth got up next and talked about the team. This was probably what most folks were there for. He made it clear that Sigi would be back for another season. Most people cheered, there was even a Sigi Sigi Sigi chant. But I heard a few sighs and Twitter didn’t seem as excited.  Me personally, I don’t think there is a better alternative, but I also don’t think he has a long leash without a better playoff performance next season. I think the most important thing Garth said was around player development and the academy system. Getting young kids in, building them into the community and club to make them role players will be how this team has the depth in the future to survive injuries and suspensions like we had this season (and in most seasons based on the data Garth presented).

Then it was on to questions. I had seen most of these either prior to the meeting or on Twitter. I was excited to hear about Copa America possibly coming to the Clink and the next day MLS reported that Seattle looks to have made the cut). I appreciate the club takes questions from the Alliance. Most of the answers from the club are predictable as they are mentioned in blogs, tweets, Facebook, or on the official Sounders website in some format already. I’d love to have a way for the Alliance to see all of the questions submitted, because as Stephanie pointed out that night, folks want the club to spend money, but at the same time, keep ticket and concession prices down. Now, I am by no way rolling in money, but I understand that it is a business and they try to balance as best they can (most of the time).

If you missed it, be sure to catch the video online; as mentioned, it is edited but covers a good portion of the meeting. This is my last recap of the year. Our next meeting will be in February 2016.  That doesn’t mean council won’t be working on stuff. The front office has asked us to help them with some things for next year and I know people will be helping as they can.  If you haven’t, be sure to vote someone for Alliance Council, the more people we have on it the more we can do and the more we can influence.

Happy Holidays and can’t wait to see our Sounders play Club America in the CCL in late February.

Categories
2015 Annual Business Meeting Editorials

Sounders Edit GM Vote & Recall Out of Alliance’s Annual Business Meeting Recap


Photo from soundersfc.com

by Stephanie Steiner

November 14, 2015

Maybe someday the Sounders’ Front Office staff will learn to avoid stepping in it. But for now, that crap they’re tracking across the carpet stinks.

“Follow the Live Tweets of the Alliance’s Annual Business Meeting” and then they don’t bother to tweet a damned thing the Council presented – especially General Manager Vote and Recall – the reason the Alliance exists.

Video recap of the Annual Business meeting held Thursday, November 12th, 2015: click here .  They left my Council update in, how generous of them. Cameron’s General Manager Vote and Recall presentation was edited out, as were my answers to questions (granted those weren’t terribly exciting – but they were inclusive and supportive of the Front Office).

Disappointing isn’t strong enough of a word. I thought we’d come much further than this in creating partnership.  If the General Manager portion suddenly gets posted as a separate video, I’ll post it, but that would be a huge surprise (and likely a result of this post, and not planned ahead).  Below is the comment I posted on their Live Tweet thread:

I have already submitted my answers to my portion of the questions that the Alliance sent to us.  I sure wish I could have a do-over.  Does the Alliance need to step up to make this work?  You bet. But guess what, Front Office?  After you.

Categories
Democracy in Sports Editorials GM Vote

Seattle Sounders Alliance Council and Seattle Sounders Football Club Agree to New Terms for General Manager Vote and Recall

General Manager Vote and Recall

As referenced in the Charter, with regard to the General Powers delegated to the Alliance, Number 1:

The right to decide on the retention of the Club’s General Manager via an Alliance-wide vote as scheduled by the Club, but not sooner than every four years.

Objectives: The Alliance Council endeavors to honor the above statement as best serves the interests of the Alliance members, the fan base at large, the growth of the sport, and the Club.  The Club retains all authority to recruit, hire and terminate a GM.  The Alliance Council recognizes and agrees that it is in our mutual interest to attract and retain the best management in order to be the best Club.  In all instances, the Club and Alliance shall work together in good faith to (a) effectively and timely communicate all information pertaining to the GM voting and recall process to all Alliance Members, and (b) to maximize the number of votes cast in all Alliance voting processes on the subject of the GM.

Definitions:  For purposes of the GM Vote and GM Recall Vote process the “General Manager” or “GM” of the Club shall mean:  that individual who is an employee of the Club whom is identified and recognized by Major League Soccer, LLC as the senior most soccer decision maker, whom is designated to represent the Club at all league wide competition related committees and meetings.  Should a vote for recall succeed, this individual shall as soon as possible, be removed from representing the Club in this capacity and MLS committee and MLS regular meetings.  Additionally the term “Voting Members” shall have the meaning ascribed to it by the then current Alliance Council Bylaws, as may from time to time be amended.

 

GM VOTE: The GM Vote will take place every four seasons after the hiring of a new Sounders FC General Manager, subject to the provision contained herein.

a) For purposes of calculating the time period triggering a GM Vote, the following rule shall apply: If a GM does not start their tenure in the off- season, July 1st will be used as the line of delineation for whether that year counts as a season or not. (If a GM is hired prior to July 1, then the ensuing GM Vote will be scheduled 4 years after, including the season in which he/she starts. If hired on after July 1st, then the GM vote will be scheduled 4 years after the start of the ensuing MLS season.)

b) When eligible, a GM Vote will include a voting window which shall be opened on the first day of the last month of the then current MLS season and remain open for a period of not less than four (4) weeks.

c) The Club shall support the GM Vote with the following:

I.  That GM Vote shall be administered electronically through the Club’s voting software and Club shall keep and record all votes. Alliance Council shall formulate the text of the GM Vote, with advice from Club, if requested.

II. The Club and Alliance Council shall mutually agree on the location and opportunity for votes to be cast.

III. The Club and Alliance Council shall mutually agree on the joint communication sent to all Alliance Members, and Club shall in its ordinary and customary manner send no less than three (3) emails to the Alliance Member email distribution list communicating the (i) purpose and scope of the GM Vote process; (ii) the methods of voting, including a ‘click through’ button to the voting platform; (iii) time window of voting; and (iv) procedures taken after the voting window is closed.

d) At least forty percent (40%) of all Alliance Members must cast votes in order for then GM Vote to be valid.

e) Action in the Alliance GM Vote can only be taken by a super majority of not less than sixty-seven percent (67%).

f) In the event that the GM Vote results in a vote of no-confidence in the GM, the then-current GM shall be removed in accordance with the definition of GM above.

GM RECALL: The GM may be subject to Recall provided that at least two (2) full MLS seasons in their entirety have passed under his/her tenure.  A full MLS season shall include any regular season in which the GM is hired before July 1st of the then current year.

a) When eligible, a GM Recall Vote may take place at any point during the MLS Regular Season.

b) The following procedure shall be used to initiate a GM Recall Vote:

  • Step 1: Any member of the Alliance may ask the Alliance Council to add the agenda item to certify a bonafide question of competence of the GM at any time. All Alliance Council members will act in good faith to bring a bonafide question of competence of the GM to the next, regularly scheduled Alliance Council meeting.
  • Step 2: When brought forward, the Alliance Council must reach an agreement that the bonafide question of competence of the GM is valid and in the best interest of the SFC Alliance, Alliance Council and the Club to move forward (“Qualification”).  The Alliance Council will not determine the merits of the bonafide question of competence of the GM; instead is tasked with evaluating of whether the claim is valid and setting it as the first item on the Agenda for the next regularly scheduled meeting.
  • Step 3: If the bonafide question of competence is Qualified, then a Member of the Executive Committee of the Alliance Council will, within two (2) business days, serve an official notice (“Notice”) on the Club to include the following information: (a) the full nature and scope of the bonafide question of competence, which shall include at minimum a concise statement as to the reason for the question of competence, including any specific rationale that formed the basis for the Qualification, or other details that in the exclusive discretion of the Alliance Council, are relevant or necessary to provide the Club in order to reasonably prepare ownership to address the issue; and (b) the date of the next regularly scheduled meeting, upon which the discussion, debate and decision will take place; the Notice shall serve as an invitation to the Club to send ownership or another designee to present a case of retention or otherwise to the Alliance Council.  The ownership will be provided no less than sixty (60) minutes on the agenda at the next meeting to present the position of ownership and the Club.   Notice will be served on Club’s General Counsel and Club’s Alliance Council Liaison.  At the conclusion of discussion and Ownership presentation, the
  • Alliance Council shall vote on whether to proceed to the Alliance Members for Certification, with the following percentages necessary to so proceed:
  •      0-34 Voting Members on Council: 80% must vote, 67% of the votes cast must be in favor of recall
  •      35-50 Voting Members on Council:  75% must vote, 67% of the votes cast must be in favor of recall
  •      51 or greater Voting Members on Council: 70% must vote, 67% of the votes cast must be in favor of recall
  •      Failure to Progress: If the vote fails to progress at Step 1 (Alliance Council votes against recall), a vote to recall          cannot be proposed to Council again for a vote for a minimum of ninety days after the date of the Alliance Council      vote to Recall.
  • Step 4: 20% of all Sounders FC Alliance Members must agree that a GM Recall Vote is necessary to proceed (“Certification”). Certification shall be conducted through an online voting process which shall remain open until the twenty percent (20%) threshold is reached or for 4 weeks.
    • Club Liaison will provide SFC Council with weekly totals related to the Certification (numbers only, not who voted or how they voted but how many voted and cumulative results of the vote).
    • Failure to Progress: If the vote fails to progress at Step 2 (Alliance votes against recall, or not enough votes are cast in favor of a recall within the four weeks), a vote to recall cannot be proposed to Council again for a vote for a minimum of 180 days after the date of the Alliance Council vote to Recall.

c) When Certified, a GM Recall Vote will include a voting window which shall remain open for a period of not less than four (4) weeks.

d) The Club shall support the GM Recall Vote with the following:

I. That GM Vote shall be administered electronically through the Club’s voting software and Club shall keep and record all votes. Alliance Council shall formulate the text of the GM Vote, with advice from Club, if requested.

II. Club will send, in its usual and customary manner three (3) email blasts to all Alliance email accounts which shall include notice of the GM Recall Vote and (i) the purpose and scope of the GM Recall Vote process; (ii) the methods of voting, including a ‘click through’ button to the voting platform; (iii) time window of voting; and (iv) procedures taken after the voting window is closed. One (1) email will be sent when the voting period opens.  One (1) email will be sent when the voting period has seven (7) days remaining.  One (1) email will be sent when the voting period has twenty-four (24) hours remaining.

e) The Club will, in its exclusive discretion and control prepare a press release in its usual and customary manner identifying the GM Recall process.  All content will be controlled by Club, however, where possible, input and/or quotations from Alliance Council will be included.

f)    At least forty percent (40%) of all Alliance Members must cast votes in order for then GM Recall Vote to be valid.

g)   Action in the Alliance GM Recall Vote can only be taken by a super majority of not less than sixty-seven percent (67%).

h)   In the event that the GM Recall Vote results in a vote of recall of the GM, the then-current GM shall be removed in accordance from all activities pursuant to the definition of GM above.

   I. Restriction on Multiple Recalls: Failure to recall: If the vote fails to progress at Step 3 (Alliance votes against recall, or not enough votes are cast in favor of a recall within the four weeks), a vote to recall cannot be proposed to Council again for a vote for a minimum of 180 days after the date of the Alliance Council vote to Recall.

   II. Weighted Vote: GM Vote + GM Recall Vote will be a weighted vote, meaning an Alliance Member with four seats will have four votes attached their account. If this account has not designated, then all undesignated seats will have votes cast in the same direction as the primary.

Categories
2013 Meeting Minutes

Bylaw 4 March 27, 2013

Bylaw 4) Election Rules for Council

To be elected and retain membership on the Council, a prospective member must be a member in good standing of the Alliance.

Election to the Council requires 25 votes in a single Annual Election Period.  The Annual Election Period shall begin on February 1 and end on January 31 of the next year.

If a member achieves the required vote total prior to July 1, their term starts immediately and runs through January 31 of the current Annual Election Period and until January 31 of the following Annual Election Period.

If a member achieves the required vote total on or after July 1, their term shall begin the following Annual Election Period on February 1 and runs two full years.

If a current Council member in the final year of their term achieves the required vote total, their next term shall begin at the conclusion of their current term and runs two full years.

The Council shall work with the Club to create a web page where declared candidates for election may publish biographical information to the Alliance membership for the purpose of facilitating their candidacy.

Categories
2015 Meeting Recaps

Meeting Recap: June 2015

The Ninety display window – photo by Karl Picard

By Karl Picard

This is the second in a series of Alliance Council meeting recaps.  For more information about the Council, click here.

At the June 2nd Alliance Council meeting, which was held at TheNinety, we met with Mikaela Purvis, Fan Relations Manager, to discuss options for Season Ticket Members. Currently, the club is promoting the Priority List where fans can reserve a place on the list to get season tickets in the lower bowl.  Additional benefits for season ticket members are discounts at the pro shop and pre-sale access for other event tickets. The priority list is only for those who want to be new season ticket holders – existing Alliance members are already at the top of the list.

The club consistently renews at a high rate, but they are looking at ways to engage those who have not renewed in order to determine the reason they don’t renew and make sure they aren’t missing anyone. One big change Mikaela mentioned was that the club will have a 6 month payment option that should make the financial impact less on those that need a little relief, just be sure to renew by the deadline for this benefit Also, the club is looking for a way to combine the processes of renewals, playoffs, and seat designation to make it as easier for Alliance Members. They are looking at a few other things as well, working both with the Alliance Council and others.  As those options get more developed, we’ll be sure to get the details out.

Following our conversation with Mikaela, we discussed the Council’s involvement with Supporter Group Recognition.  Currently, Bylaw 7 of the Alliance discusses how supporter groups are to seek formal recognition from the Alliance Council, which may also remove that recognition.  The discussion tonight was about whether the recognition process is something the Council should do, or if that is more of a role for the front office. Article 6 of the Alliance Constitution discusses the relationship of supporter groups with the club and precludes the Alliance and supporter groups from interfering in each other’s business. Discussions will continue and hopefully a vote on what that bylaw should look like going forward will happen in the next couple of months. For more on supporter group members participating in Council, read the recent blog post by the Alliance Council president Stephanie Steiner.

The Visibility group gave a debrief their activity with Twitter, Facebook, the outreach table at the Sounders game, as well as working with the Sounders front office to get Council blogs published on the SoundersFC.com website.  If you missed it the first one, Democracy in Sports ran this past week.  You can find all articles published about the Alliance Council using their tags at the bottom of articles.  We expect to publish two articles each month by the group, along with the usual Facebook and Twitter activity.  Give us a follow if you haven’t already.

The last business item covered was the GM Vote and Recall.  Discussions are still ongoing around how the GM Vote and Recall should be structured. We continue to work with the Sounders front office to make sure the Alliance voice is heard. We all know Drew Carey wanted there to be a way for the fans to provide feedback on the direction of the club, so we are working to ensure Alliance members have a key role– not just today but forever.

Let us know what you think Council should be talking about and working on for Alliance members.  You can do that in the comment section below or via the social media avenues mentioned in this article.  Until next month…

Categories
Democracy in Sports Editorials

Democracy in Sports: the Meaning Behind the Words

May 3, 2015

By Stephanie Steiner, Alliance Council President

In February of this year, Alliance Council was invited to SSFC headquarters to meet with Adrian Hanauer and to be introduced to our new General Manager and President of Soccer, Garth Lagerwey for the first time.  During the evening’s conversation, Mr. Hanauer introduced the topic of the General Manager Vote and asked us to collect our thoughts and make a recommendation on the right thing to do regarding the timing of the vote.  In reading the Charter, we realized the ambiguity of the language included there.  So here we are, only two and a half years following Adrian Hanauer’s landslide vote of “confidence,” facing questions we weren’t expecting so soon, if at all:  Is it the right thing to do for the Club to hold a GM Vote every four years on a set schedule no matter what?  Could it interfere with the Club’s ability to hire the best General Manager possible, if the candidate would be facing a vote within a very short time of accepting the position? If the candidate is the best and confident in their abilities, would that scheduled vote even matter to the person? What is the Alliance actually expecting or wanting?

At the March Council meeting three weeks later, we created a work group to take on the task of debating the conversation surrounding the GM Vote topic, collecting ideas and opinions, and we took those to the general council meeting in April.  After that conversation, the ideas grew and the extended list was shared with our SSFC Liaison, Taylor Graham at the end of April – and the ideas grew even further.  It is easy to see how each time we add a different perspective to the conversation, new ideas emerge as to how to solve the same challenges and our opportunities to satisfy our Alliance members get better and far more interesting.

Our challenge has been to get to the Alliance at large.  In the coming weeks, you will see these questions in social media.  Please take the time to answer them in the comment sections of that media format, or send us a direct message:  SSFCAlliance@gmail.com

Democracy in Sports:  What does it mean to you?

  • What would “Democracy in Sports” need to provide such that the Season Ticket Members could influence the direction of the Club?
  • In a perfect world, what does “Democracy in Sports” mean to you?  How would it function?
  • With regard to General Manger Vote of Confidence – No Confidence, do you believe a new General Manager should have a minimum amount of time to prove him/herself in the position before facing a vote?  If so, how much?
  • In the context of “Democracy in Sports,” what can be done to make this your Club and not just a product you are consuming?

Thank you for sharing your thoughts.  Go Sounders!