NOMAS Bylaws on Accountability


11.1 Definition

We understand the term accountability to mean an explicit process of voluntary communication and consultation with representatives of social groups whose interests and concerns are considered most relevant and important. Being “accountable” to a group does not mean taking orders from that group, or handing over the responsibility for making appropriate decisions. It does mean consulting with that group before making important decisions, and being fully aware of its concerns. It also means having a process of communication and consultation already in place, before a crisis or difficult issue arises.

11.2 Outside Groups to Which NOMAS Should Be Accountable

11.2.1 Outside Social Groups Included

As a national men’s organization with a broad agenda of issues relating to gender, sexism, and injustice, NOMAS has the obligation to be accountable, on issues that directly concern them, to several important social groups which are central to this organization’s stated principles. These are:

  • The Feminist Women’s movement
  • The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBTQI) Rights movement
  • The Civil Rights (Racial Justice) movement

11.2.2 Outside Social Groups NOT Included

Although “Enhancing Men’s Lives” is also a central tenet of NOMAS principles, accountability to Men’s Movement groups outside of NOMAS does not appear to make sense in this context, insofar as NOMAS itself is the most appropriate organization for upholding this principle.

11.2.3 Ad Hoc Accountability

There are other social movements to which NOMAS may elect to be accountable on an ad hoc basis. Formal accountability shall be to the Groups listed above, whose concerns are most centrally reflected in the NOMAS Statement of Principles.

11.3 Accountability to Leaders within NOMAS

There are elected and appointed NOMAS leaders who are members of groups to which NOMAS seeks to be accountable. Because these leaders are already present on the NOMAS Leadership Collective, and are already well-informed about NOMAS issues and procedures, it is appropriate and pragmatic that members of such groups should be consulted with and listened to as a first step in the NOMAS accountability process.

11.3.1 Internal Caucus Groups

On controversial issues of sexism, heterosexism, LGBTQ and anti-racism, the members of the following groups on the NOMAS Leadership Collective shall be asked to caucus among themselves:

  • Feminist Women
  • Gays, Lesbians, and Bisexuals
  • People of Color Caucus Membership

There shall be a minimum of three on any such caucus. Alternative Committee Formation

When there are fewer than three members on the NOMAS Leadership Collective of a group to which NOMAS seeks to be accountable, the one or two members will appoint additional members from the Leadership Collective, establishing a committee. The committee shall consist of individuals deemed by the marginalized members to have relevant knowledge and understanding, including a NOMAS Task Group Chair in a related area if one exists. Committee members shall be appointed by the Chair Committee, and confirmed by a majority of the Council. Caucus Statement

These caucuses (or committees) may make a statement offering advice, sharing concerns and/or opinions on the issue raised. Such a Statement may be delivered to the Leadership Collective at a NOMAS Council meeting. Outside Consultation

If the caucus or committee considers it appropriate, they may select a group outside of NOMAS to consult, and ask that group to make a statement about the issue. They may choose more than one outside group. In either case, the determination that a Statement from an outside group is needed shall be made by the members of the caucus of that group within the NOMAS Leadership Collective.

11.4 Consulting Groups Outside NOMAS

11.4.1 Recommendations of Outside Groups

Any NOMAS member may suggest the names of specific organizations or groups that might be consulted. The decision as to which group to consult shall be made by the Committee. The Committee may elect to choose the most appropriate group, or may ask for counsel from more than one group.

11.4.2 Procedure for Contacting Outside Groups

In asking another group for its counsel, the Committee shall send an initial letter, which states the problem, the facts, or the specific issues that the outside Group is being asked to consider. The Committee’s letter stating the situation shall be attached to the response and considered along with it as part of the record.

11.4.3 Processing Responses from Outside Groups

Written responses from any Group obtained through the above steps shall be distributed, along with the Committee’s initial statement of the problem, to all current members of the Leadership Collective.

11.4.4 Honoraria

NOMAS’ requests for advice and counsel from other Groups shall be made in the spirit of respect and cooperation. The Committee may however choose to request that the Council offer an honorarium or donation. Suggested amount = $100.00.

11.5 Using Information Obtained from Outside Groups

11.5.1 Requests

Requests for opinions from Groups outside NOMAS are made to establish and improve accountability in decision making in an ethical and conscientious manner.

11.5.2 Multiple Groups

Some issues may raise questions of accountability to more than one Group. In such cases, NOMAS leaders must listen carefully to all the counsel that is received, and weigh it as thoughtfully as possible.

11.5.3 Presentation to the National Council

In all cases, the Committee will present the problem statement, the material from outside groups and the Committee’s recommendations (if they so desire) to the Council as an integral part of the NOMAS decision making process.