Proposed bylaws changes to be considered by General Assembly during Annual Conference and Expo

Aug 25, 2021

During a special board meeting on August 17, the League of California Cities Board of Directors approved proposed bylaws amendments to enhance Cal Cities’ governance and effectuate technical changes.

Specifically, the proposed bylaws amendments, which are available here, would accomplish the following:

  1. Recognize the Cal Cities diversity caucuses in the Cal Cities bylaws to reflect the full contribution the caucuses make to Cal Cities’ mission and vision.
  2. Adjust the composition of the Board to achieve a higher impact and be more representative by adding Director seats to the Board for each of the five Diversity Caucuses, and transitioning members of the National League of Cities Board from Cal Cities Directors to one non-voting advisor to the Cal Cities Board.
  3. Update the League of California Cities’ moniker to “Cal Cities” to promote consistency. 
  4. Make various minor technical corrections.

The proposed bylaws amendments will go before the General Assembly for a vote at the Annual Business meeting on September 24 during the Annual Conference and Expo in Sacramento. At least two-thirds of the General Assembly must vote in favor of the proposed bylaws amendments in order for them to take effect.

Background on proposed bylaws amendments

Cal Cities’ 2018-2021 Strategic Growth Plan calls for strengthening the organization’s governance by enhancing membership engagement in leadership opportunities, increasing its overall effectiveness in fulfilling its mission and vision as an organization, and ensuring that the pathway to leadership is transparent and inclusive. In furtherance of this, Cal Cities undertook a comprehensive review of its governance in early 2021 that was informed by over 350 members through focus groups, surveys, external case studies, and interviews.

The review resulted in a series of recommendations to enhance Cal Cities’ governance system, with the board adopting several for implementation. Of those adopted, the recommendations to recognize the diversity caucuses and change the composition of the board were identified as the ones that required amendments to the Cal Cities bylaws.

The bylaws currently provide for the following board composition that totals 50-55 members in any year, depending upon the number of NLC board representatives:

  • Five officers (President, First Vice President, Second Vice President, Immediate Past President, and Executive Director);
  • Sixteen representatives of the regional divisions;
  • Eleven representatives of the departments;
  • Twelve at-large representatives;
  • Ten representatives of the ten largest cities (mayor or their representative); and
  • California city officials serving on the National League of Cities board of directors.

History and existing policy regarding the diversity caucuses and effect of the proposed amendments

Cal Cities has had diversity groups (or caucuses) since the early 1990s, beginning with the Latino and African American caucuses. Today, Cal Cities has five diversity caucuses: the Latino Caucus, African American Caucus, Asian Pacific Islander Caucus, the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Queer Caucus, and the Women’s Caucus.

Cal Cities’ existing policy regarding the diversity caucuses describes the purpose of the caucuses as promoting involvement “of a wide spectrum of city officials reflecting the diversity of California’s cities” and allowing city officials who share similar characteristics with one another to promote Cal Cities’ mission of facilitating the sharing of information and ideas among city officials and responsive city government. The policy further states that diversity caucuses, as a “subunit” of Cal Cities, play an active role in accomplishing Cal Cities’ strategic goals and are regularly accountable to the Cal Cities board for their annual work program and performance.

Diversity caucuses offer training, programming and other events that are important to Cal Cities at large and the individual caucus members. All caucus educational, business, and social events are open to any city officials, and many caucus receptions have become signature events at the Cal Cities Annual Conference and Expo, as well as other events. 

The caucuses provide substantial support in Cal Cities’ educational programming, as well as in advancing Cal Cities’ strategic advocacy goals and play an important role in augmenting Cal Cities’ efforts in communicating with the various diversity caucuses in the state’s diverse Legislature.

In addition to adding seats for each diversity caucus on the Cal Cities board, the proposed amendments would formally recognize the caucuses in the bylaws consistent with how departments and divisions are recognized, including having similar default rules for structure and process where their own bylaws do not exist or are silent.  

Cal Cities’ 2018-2021 Strategic Growth Plan highlights the value and importance members placed on the numerous contributions made by its divisions, departments, and caucuses in advancing its mission and strategic goals. The proposed bylaws amendments support the organization’s goal of enhancing its governance system by enhancing membership engagement in leadership opportunities, increasing overall effectiveness as an organization, and ensuring that the pathway to leadership is transparent and inclusive.