Categories
2016 Meeting Recaps

Meeting Recap: July 2016


photo by Karl Picard

By Karl Picard

July 22,2016

The July meeting was in the Sounders offices as The NINETY was being used.  With 20 people in attendance the room was quite warm for the 3 hour meeting (extended to get a bunch of old business done). We started off with a visit from Mikaela Purvis (Director of Fan Relations) to go over the renewal process and notifications the Club was planning to send out over the next month and half.  The highlights of the presentation were:

  • We discussed the Save the Date email which you should have received this week
  • An additional email will be sent around Aug 1st with the full information about the renewal process
  • This year’s auto-renewal: you won’t have to interact with Ticketmaster, Sounders are taking over that area.  You’ll still use the Ticketmaster login but the look and feels will all be Sounders based
  • You will be able to update delivery address, personal info, parking options, and credit card details
  • Accounts that opted for auto-renewal will have an option to verify their info, you don’t have to but you can change the payment plan and other items.  Sept 1st will be the first time they process payments, the amount will depend on your payment plan
  • For those who didn’t sign up for auto-renew, it will be a similar process as last year, with invoices available on August 1 and you will need to process your renewal either online through Ticketmaster, over the phone or at the match on 8/14 or 8/21 prior to the September 1 deadline.
  • All Alliance Members are automatically opted into the relocation process, Sounders FC just needs to process your renewal first in order to be eligible
  • Within the invoice for auto-renewal will be your opportunity to opt-in to a different ticket type other than mobile
  • Payments are the first business day of each month.  The options are full payment on 9/1, 50/50 or the 6 month plan
  • To better help Alliance Members with the bag changes Century Link will implement, those with packages of ½ season or more will get a clear bag, one per seat
  • Additional renewal events are being discussed for the month of August so stay tuned.

Council members were asked for feedback and we provided some in the areas that seemed confusing.  Overall the renewal process seemed much improved from an informational standpoint from last year.

Next we got some updates from our work groups.  The big stuff was the progress made on the Constitution, Articles, and Bylaws.  These were dealing with everything from Council election rules to GM stuff to proposing Alliance-wide votes or Alliance Council statements.  All of this work will need to be finalized in the coming weeks so we can get it out for an Alliance-wide ratification this fall.  Once approved, we’ll have all the changes the Council has worked on for as long as I have been a member in place.

Then it was onto making some changes to how the Council operates.  Moving away from the working groups (or at least for the initial efforts, they might still be used in some cases) to a structured schedule of Strategy Sessions with the Club.  This would allow us to focus in on areas where the Council can better engage the Front Office/Club and have the right people to get some real progress on issues/topics. The ultimate goal of this change is to have the Alliance Council take action and better represent the Alliance.

Another topic was regarding the nomination of Honorary Chairperson of the Alliance Council.  We may get to a point where we designate one annually, so we discussed ensuring Drew Carey is always recognized as the first Honorary Chairperson and the owner who brought us the whole idea of the Alliance.

One final personal note outside of the meeting recap, the Alliance Council is working hard to help improve the overall fan experience.  This year has been suboptimal, to say the least, in many aspects.  There are lots of cries for the Council to do something, and trust me we are working on it.  With really only 20 people working for you in a volunteer effort there is only so much we can do.  We get lots of folks on social media calling on us to get something done, if you want something done: join and help.  These developments that were acknowledged in the Club’s email were the result of a continued and cooperative effort between us and the Fan Relations Team. We are grateful for the open lines of communication between us.

Alliance Member Improvements 2016 MidYear

 

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
2015 Meeting Recaps

Meeting Recap: October 2015

Photo by Angelica Germani

By Karl Picard

October 13, 2015

The October Alliance Council meeting took place on the 6th at The NINETY.  We had a pretty full agenda as this was the second to last meeting of 2015.

Our first order of business was an update about the Scarf vote, we looked over the finalists that the scarf committee had submitted to the front office.  Voting has already started and will run through the 23rd.  Here are the finalists and voting site. The winner will be announced at the last home match.  While we did get a decent number of submissions it was down from previous years.  We think this is due to a lower level of publicity, but we’d like to hear from the Alliance as to why you think we have fewer entries.  Feel free to send an email to ssfcalliance@gmail.com or comment on our Facebook page.

The next order of business was working to close out some of the Constitution and Bylaw work we’ve had going on all season.  We’ve been working to ensure all our documentation is the most up-to-date version and that our storage drive has all of our historical minutes, and documents. The goal is to get all of our new work voted on at our November meeting and start the 2016 season will the cleanest version of the Constitution and Bylaws.  This would also provide the foundation for us to get all changes out to the Alliance for a vote in 2016.  The updated constitution and bylaws will include General Manager Vote and Recall (once all of that is written into articles and bylaws) as well as support group bylaw changes and alliance council attendance and voting status changes.

We then moved into covering the details on this year’s business meeting.  In case you missed it, it will be on Nov 12th with doors opening at 6 and the presentation starting at 7.  We’ve moved it to a weekday this year.  You can, as in years past, get your questions in for the panel to address. There are a couple ways, at the website link above, via email to ssfcalliance@gmail.com, or using Twitter and the hashtag  #SFCBiz.  We are exploring ways to get more people to attend the meeting in 2016.  We’d love to hear input on what the Alliance would like to see, add, or change, so please send us an email at ssfcalliance@gmail.com, post something on our Facebook page, or send us a tweet at @AllianceCouncil.

Lastly, voting for Alliance Members for 2016 is still open.  Head over to https://vote.soundersfc.com/Login.aspx and vote for someone to represent you, or nominate yourself to be on the Alliance Council.  Being part of the Alliance Council takes dedication, time management, and a commitment to see projects through to the end. Click here to learn more about the Alliance Council.

Categories
Editorials

So You Really Want to Recall Garth Lagerwey? (No. No, I certainly don’t.)

By Stephanie Steiner

September 24, 2015

In a meeting with Adrian Hanauer in February of this year, when discussing the very first vote he was asked “what were those results – ninety-four percent ‘confident?’” to which he replied with genuine sheepishness, “I think they were ninety-seven…”  This man has set a very high bar.

That meeting in February between the Alliance Council and Adrian Hanauer was held to meet our new General Manager and President of Soccer, Garth Lagerwey, and to initiate the conversation of the General Manager Vote in general.  When our Charter was written, the authors didn’t anticipate the need to change the person in this role between voting cycles.  The Alliance Council was invited to weigh-in on the topic and propose a solution for voting now and going forward that would accommodate a new General Manager.  For instance, an important question that needed to be answered was: should the new General Manager get a minimum number of years before facing a vote?

We’ve also had the ability to recall the General Manager sort of.  I say “sort of” because the notion of a recall was always understood to be available but never written down. No process had ever been mapped out and agreed upon.  Discovering it was missing was a lot like reaching into the spare tire compartment and finding it empty – in this case, we were lucky to determine it was missing before we needed it.

The task of determining what the GM Vote and Recall process should be was not an emergency, but certainly we felt some sense of urgency to get the process completed during this season – Season Ticket Members could be expecting a vote next year and they should have an explanation of a new procedure if there was to be one.  Then our season got underway, and by the time we had a workgroup tasked with working on all of this, it was March. Throughout the spring, we polled fans via social media whether they thought the General Manager should have a minimum amount of time from their start, or if a General Manager vote should be every four years.  Responders were overwhelmingly in favor of giving a General Manager enough time to make a difference.  By late May, we had agreed upon our GM Vote language with the Club representatives, and had the GM Recall language still ahead of us to negotiate.

Then the June USOC match happened and our July performance was worse.  Early August made us think that July was forty days long.  There were a lot of hashtags in social media with the word “out” attached.  I showed my own Italian temper and German stubbornness in social media with a fan who refused to accept the facts in chronological order.

Losing isn’t supposed to make us nasty.  It should make us committed to righting the ship, and that’s exactly why having our General Manager Vote and Recall process finalized is so important. But for crying out loud –we need to give Garth Lagerwey the opportunity right this ship himself.  I can’t speak for every decision our owners and General Manager will make, nor do I understand everything a General Manager faces.  Any General Manager will make tough decisions, and in Seattle, a General Manager will answer for them.  Had I met Garth Lagerwey in other circumstances – if he’d been an Alliance member instead of our General Manager – I would have recruited him for Alliance Council.  Seriously, I would have been that pain-in-the-backside who bought him beers and nagged him to nominate himself (with my tablet ready for him to say “yes”).  You think I’m nuts? Well I might be for many reasons, but I’d love more legal minds on council, and soccer management experience as well? Yes, please.

I am not kept up at night worrying about our owners, but some might be.  I don’t know what’s in owners’ heads nor pretend to be included in their strategy.  I am comfortable saying that Adrian Hanauer has a strong sense of doing what is right, and Joe Roth wants to win (he isn’t a guy to waffle).  Their job is to build and enhance the Club, including their own prosperity along the way – let’s face it, this isn’t supposed to be their donation to Seattle.  My job is to build and enhance Democracy in Sports – or specifically, Democracy within the Sounders – in perpetuity and specifically for the Alliance.  Luckily for all of us, these jobs are not mutually exclusive and we respect this in each other.  The Season Ticket Members of the Sounders FC are lucky to have owners who believe in the Alliance, in fact, they created it.  The ability to vote out the General Manager was the contribution of Drew Carey as a condition of joining the ownership group.  Without his commitment, there would be no GM Vote, no recall option, and no Alliance.

Now here we are, several months after that February conversation with a lot accomplished.  Garth Lagerwey has gotten us players who are making a considerable difference, and our big time players are getting healthy.  The Cascadia Cup has made its way back to Seattle and our standings in both the Western Conference and the race for the Supporters’ Shield look tremendously different than they did only a month ago. Everything feels better. Five weeks is a lot in soccer-time, and that is a concept that we’d remind ourselves of often as the Alliance Council took on the task of updating our GM Vote and Recall processes.  Throughout this year, Cameron Collins and I have been in negotiations with Taylor Graham and Maya Mendoza-Exstrom regarding these very processes.  After there is agreement all-around, it will all have to be translated into legalese, built into the Charter, and then into our Constitution and Bylaws.  I’m so glad I’m not one of the lawyers, and very grateful for their contributions.

So blah blah, why does it really matter then?  Because, damn it: by creating a GM Vote and Recall policy that is workable and has “teeth” to it, we support the Sounders’ legacy – correction – our Sounders legacy.  It’s not just about the threat of a recall or vote of no-confidence.  It’s our stake in the matter at hand.  It’s our stewardship of our Club, and it’s an assurance that we will have the best General Manager in the MLS. Our continued involvement drives loyalty.  It’s that loyalty that keeps us chanting long after a loss and the referees have been escorted out by police.  And our kids? By God they are Sounders.  Not just ‘til they die, but from their first breath.  This is a tie that needs to be strengthened, always.  This is what makes us unique, makes us strong, and makes us successful.  We get to have a say – I know, I wrote half of the agreement that grants it. This is not our just our entertainment.  This is our Club.

This may not finish up as our easiest season: it’s been full of moments we refer to as “not our best,” but also full of moments which should be our considered among them.  I’m proud of our Club, proud of our owners, and honored by their commitment to Democracy in Sports and the Alliance.  I hope you are too.  When all of the “legalese” is completed and handshakes are behind us, I’ll going to put my feet up, raise a glass, and watch Oba’s Goal of the Week (again).

Categories
2015 Meeting Recaps

Meeting Recap: August 2015

Photo by Stephanie Steiner.  From Left to Right:  Hans Ulland, Cameron Collins, Kristina Vaughn, Paul Cox, Craig Dillon.

By Stephanie Steiner

August 14, 2015

August’s Alliance Council meeting was designated exclusively for council business without presentations from outside guests.   We had three main areas to cover:  changes to Bylaw 7 (regarding recognition and withdrawal of recognition of supporter groups), updates about our negotiations around GM Vote and GM Recall, and then finally we needed to discuss some of the things that we’ve identified that we’d need to change in our Constitution and Bylaws as a result of these negotiations.

First up was Old Business: In July, a change to Bylaw 7 was proposed (by Stephanie Steiner). The change redacts the lines which allow for a 2/3 vote of the Council members present to withdraw recognition of a supporter group, and redacts the line regarding annual renewal if it is requested.  The original bylaw more than likely was written with assumptions that “Council members present” would be equal to or greater than quorum.  Council also needs to invest time into rewriting other aspects of this bylaw:  create a system for Supporter Groups to request renewals or eliminate that as a requirement, and clearly define where the Council is or isn’t to be involved. In the meantime, this new proposal eliminates any possibility of a very low-populated Council, or one populated with an aggressive anti-supporter group agenda, from damaging the supporter group culture.  The vote was to be held in August, but had to be tabled as we did not meet quorum for the August meeting.

Next, we went through the updates regarding the GM Vote and GM Recall negotiations.  We have been at tentative agreement with the Club regarding GM Vote (granted to us in our Charter) for a few months now, but GM Recall procedures are still in conversation.  Maya Mendoza-Ekstrom had submitted a re-structured proposal immediately prior to the meeting to Cameron Collins and Stephanie Steiner, but neither had the chance to read it prior to the meeting.  The purpose of her re-write was to include the MLS’s definition of a General Manager (one universal definition for the league), and to clarify some elements of the proposed recall process.  Cameron read this definition aloud to the Council members. The Council members present were updated on the last meeting with Taylor Graham and Maya Mendoza-Ekstrom, as well as concerns that have surfaced within our existing Constitution and Bylaws: currently there are too many limitations on when we can send a vote to the entire Alliance, and we are regularly unable to vote on needed changes because we don’t meet quorum.

This brought us to the proposed changes to the existing Constitution and Bylaws:  Firstly: Bylaw 2 limits the Council’s ability to send something out for an Alliance-wide vote to only two periods in one season. In order to have an effective GM Recall procedure, barriers to an Alliance-wide vote need to be removed, which is the reason why new language was presented.  Secondly: the Alliance Council has an attendance challenge.  Historically, once the size of Council doubled at the start of 2013, it hasn’t been uncommon for attendance to range from 30-45%.  In late 2013, Council passed a bylaw changing the calculation for quorum to make voting and forward momentum possible.  This helped us for a few months, but when attendance dropped again, it was no longer helpful.  Language was proposed (by Stephanie Steiner) which allows Council members to take leaves of absence, become Ex-Officio members if they cannot attend meetings but will contribute in other ways, and gives council the ability to remove members who don’t attend meetings but don’t take a leave or move to Ex-Officio status (the ones who don’t participate and don’t withdraw on their own).  This proposal will allow Council to eliminate members from the count that prevents Council from meeting quorum and prevents us from voting.  Without voting, there cannot be a democratic process.

Aaaanddd… That’s a wrap!  Because only 8 people attended the August meeting, there were fewer people in the discussions.  No voting was possible on any of the agenda items.   Until next time…