The Fort Collins Sustainability Group (FCSG) makes decisions in two different ways: during meetings and over email. In each case, FCSG Steering Committee members have the option of either supporting, standing aside, or opposing a proposal. Standing aside means that a Steering Committee member can live with whatever decision is made. Steering Committee Members of the FCSG can also abstain from participating in making the decision or, in rare cases, block the decision entirely.
The FCSG has agreed to strive toward consensus as the basic philosophy to be used in decision- making. The philosophy is based on the values of bending, listening, respect for others, and constructive engagement. Constructive engagement is understood as a collegial approach to conducting the business of FCSG, as reflected in behaviors that facilitate the productivity of the group: 1) members with an expertise on a topic volunteering to take the lead in drafting position statements; 2) other members responding to drafts in a timely, respectful and constructive manner, providing specific suggestions for improvement; and 3) authors making a sincere effort to accommodate the inputs of other members to achieve consensus wherever possible.
The guidelines for making decisions in each case are laid out below.
Decisions During Meetings
From time to time, the FCSG Steering Committee will call for consensus to determine how to move forward on a particular issue. Consensus involves:
• Discussion of the proposal that is open to all attending the meeting
• Modification of the proposal to reflect expressed concerns
• Check to make sure that all Steering Committee members present support the proposal. A majority of Steering Committee members must be in attendance at the meeting to be able to make decisions.
If consensus is not reached, no decision will be made and FCSG will continue to operate in the same fashion as prior to the vote, i.e. it will follow the “status quo.”
Decisions Over Email
In some cases, an issue is raised with a deadline for decision that falls prior to the date of the next FCSG meeting. If this occurs, an email discussion and call for support will take place. The FCSG Steering Committee will call for a time-sensitive vote and define an appropriate response period of not less than 24 hours to review relevant materials and cast a vote. The following will apply:
• If no opposition has been expressed by Steering Committee members during the time allotted for responding, the proposal will move forward.
• If any Steering Committee member does not support the proposal, a special meeting should be called to discuss both sides of the issue, with the goal of reaching full consensus.
Any decision should be documented, including any case(s) made against the issue. The documented decision should be distributed to FCSG members.