LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS OF GREATER HARTFORD
BOARD POLICY REGARDING NON-PARTISANSHIP AND CONFLICT OF INTEREST
As amended by the Board of Directors at its meeting in September, 1989
I. NON-PARTISAN POLICY
The bylaws of the League of Women Voters state that “the League shall not support or oppose any political party or candidate.” The League’s non-partisan policy is essential to the League’s strength in the community, the state, and the nation. A full explanation of this policy and the reasons for its existence are contained on pages 10-11 of IN LEAGUE – the national LWV’s guidelines for local Leagues.
As noted in the League of Women Voters non-partisan policy, it is customary for individual Leagues to adopt a set of guidelines based on National Policy, and at least as conservative as that policy, after having assessed its own community with respect to the League.
In order to avoid undue preoccupation with questions of policy, to ensure an even-handed application of policy, and to protect the League from any prejudice against its status and positions within the community, the Greater Hartford League of Women Voters has adopted the following guidelines for Board members during their terms of office:
1. The President, Voter Service Chairman and the Finance Chairman are particularly sensitive board positions and therefore may not participate in any partisan activities within the community.
The Voter Service Chairman may not even be involved in Leaguer program “action” activities. The Nominating Committee shall take into account the sensitive nature of all Voter Service positions when recruiting members for these positions.
2. All other board members may:
a) be politically active up to and including the Town Committee but may not be an officer of any party’s Town Committee.
b) hold appointive but not elective office. A board member who publicly announces he or she will seek party nomination or who runs for elective office must resign his or her board position. A board member who resigned to seek nomination or run for office, or a member who ran for office may not serve on the board after his or her political activity has ended until the next regular League election.
c) make financial contributions to a party or candidate and engage in supportive activities such as writing letters, hosting a coffee, or displaying yard signs. Board members may not actively campaign in support of a candidate or party by accepting any visible and/or major role in a campaign organization.
II. CONFLICT OF INTEREST
Board members are generally encouraged to seek broad participation in governmental and community affairs. However, it is possible that a conflict of interest may arise between the board member’s portfolio and employment or other activities. While it is impossible to compose guidelines to cover all potential conflicts of interest, chairmen of local program items should not serve on governmental bodies that precisely parallel their portfolios or in the chairmanship of citizen groups concerned with their portfolios.
Board members (except the President, Voter service and Finance Chairmen) may speak and make public statements of their own on any subject, unless it is in conflict with a League position or in the area of their portfolio.
As a matter of policy, board members are asked to assume responsibility for relinquishing a portfolio in the event of a conflict of interest. If the board member involved, or any board member has a question as to whether a conflict of interest does exist, the matter should be brought to the President for determination by the entire Board at its next board meeting.
The Nominating Committee should make every effort to avoid potential conflict of interest when placing names of members in nomination for board positions. The Board is responsible for seeing that the non-partisan and conflict of interest policies are enforced.
III. GENERAL LEAGUE POLICY
1. The Policy Committee shall review the non-partisanship policy and other policy of the local League each year at the beginning of the League year and make recommendations for changes if needed. The Policy Committee, as well as the Budget and Bylaw Committees, should include both board and non-board members. The names of the members of all committees should be presented to the Board for its information as the committees are formed.
2. The Executive Committee and Public Statements:
When a public statement is to be prepared and made between board meetings, that statement must be approved by a majority (5) of the Executive Committee. If a majority of the Executive Committee cannot be located, the President must then contact sufficient alternates as needed for approval. These alternates should be board members chosen by the Nominating Committee and presented to the Board for approval at the first regular board meeting after the Annual Meeting.