Announcing the 2019 National Advisory Council Elections

Sign up to run for a seat on the National Advisory Council by January 31! Know someone who would be great for it? Nominate them to run.

It’s once again time for the Code for America Brigade community to vote for leaders of the National Advisory Council! The National Advisory Council (or NAC) guides and supports the Brigade in the local implementation of applying the ideals of civic technology, both in technical and nontechnical approaches. The NAC works with Code for America on how to best support the Brigade Network, shares their expertise, builds relationships, cultivates a diverse body of local leadership, ensures a safe community, and ultimately champions the interests of the Brigade Network at-large. Now in its third year, the role of a NAC member has evolved over time and continues to do so.

The Brigade network has ambitious goals for 2019 (check out tonight’s webinar for more!), and we need strong leaders to help make this happen!

The 2018–2019 National Advisory Council meeting at Brigade Congress in Charlotte, NC.

Why you should run

Over the past few years, the Brigade network has matured and expanded to over 77 active brigades (a network of over 25,000 active volunteers!) working on projects to improve their local communities. In 2018, the network hosted its second annual Brigade Congress event in Charlotte, NC, codified a set of core values, created the Community Fellowship program, and further diversified its leadership class. All of these things would not have been possible without the hard work of the National Advisory Council.

But the work of this community isn’t done yet, and we need your help to carry us forward in 2019.

Who are we looking for?

We’re looking for leaders who are passionate about building a movement that brings together people to use their skills to help their communities, who recognize that America-sized problems need an America-sized response, and who believe that we’re going to need to bring all kinds of different people to the table to make this work. We’re especially asking those who are underrepresented in technology to consider running for the National Advisory Council. We can’t possibly hope to grow this movement to meet the scale of today’s problems unless we ensure that everyone is invited to the table.

Feel that you aren’t qualified to run because you haven’t been doing this since the Brigade program started or aren’t a Brigade Captain? You are! If you’ve been working to bring change in your community and have ideas of how the Brigade Network could be more effective, you are exactly who the NAC needs.

“Honestly, I didn’t see myself as remotely qualified. My internal voice discounted my future contributions before they even happened. But after receiving encouragement from Code for America staff and fellow Brigade leaders, I put myself out there. I’m so glad that I did,” said NAC Chair Jill Bjers, “Helping shape this growing network has been a true joy.”

If you know of someone who should absolutely run, but might need a nudge, submit a recommendation and we’ll reach out to them.

If elected, NAC members should be prepared to travel to San Francisco in early April for orientation and an in-person handoff from the current NAC to the new. (Code for America will cover your airfare and lodging.)

Brigade Congress in Charlotte, NC

What’s on the ballot for 2019

This year, we’re electing five at-large seats for a two-year term. Unlike regional seats, the at-large seats represent the network as a whole.

At-large seats are expected to select one focus area, possible topics could include:

  • Days of Action: Advise on Brigade Congress, Code for America Summit, and other days of action
  • Diversity and Inclusion: Advise on how the community recruits, welcomes, and retains diversity in all areas
  • Governance: Advise on Code of Conduct, election framework, and Brigade policies
  • Communication: Aid in creating and reviewing communications to the larger Brigade network, and strengthening communication channels
  • Knowledge Sharing: Create resources and methods to help train Brigade leaders and members

The ballot for the NAC election will also include a Brigade Census. The census will help us understand who participates in our network, so we can best foster the talent of Brigades and Brigade members. It will also help us set a baseline so we can work to ensure that our Brigades are representative of the communities they serve. Stay tuned for a more detailed announcement of the Brigade Census and how it will help the Brigade network thrive.

How to run and vote

  • Your Brigade must be an official Brigade with a signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). If you’re not sure about this, check with your Brigade Captain or email brigade-info@codeforamerica.org.
  • To run, you must submit a candidate form.
  • If you are not interested in running but want to recommend others, you can do so here.

Timeline:

  • January 14: Election begins
  • January 21: Open information session with current NAC members
  • January 31 at 11:59 pm PST: Candidate submissions close
  • February 1: Campaigning begins
  • Candidates response the ballot questions will be posted on Medium
  • Candidates will be encouraged to engage with the network on the #nac-elections channel on the Code for America Slack
  • February 11: Candidate forum
  • February 11: Voting begins following forum
  • March 1: Voting Ends
  • March 3: Candidates are notified of the outcome
  • March 6: Deadline for winners to formally accept
  • March 8: Winners announced & transition period begins
  • April 5–6: In-person orientation in SF with handoff from outgoing NAC members

You can read the whole NAC election framework here. If you have any questions about running, feel free to reach out to brigade-info@codeforamerica.org

FAQ for Candidates

Q: Can two candidates from the same city be elected?

A: Yes, the at-large seats have no geographical restrictions.

Q: Do I have to be a Brigade Captain to run?

A: No. Any member of a Brigade is welcome to run.

Q: Do I have to be formally “recommended” in order to run?

A: No. Any member of a Brigade is welcome to run.

Q: What’s the time commitment?

A: Each NAC member will commit to remotely attending the monthly meeting which is an hour and a half long and requires approximately 30 minutes of prep. At the time new members are announced, Network Team staff will work with new NAC members to find the best time/dates for meetings. Each member will commit to three in-person meetings — normally around Summit (late spring), the Brigade Congress (early fall), and an onboarding meeting at the beginning of your term. Travel will be paid for by Code for America. NAC members should expect to spend a minimum of four hours a month working with Brigades and the Network Team at Code for America over email, Slack, and phone.