The active and retired Los Alamos National Laboratory Fellows and Senior Fellows are authorized to organize for the following purposes:
- to facilitate their service as advisors to the Laboratory Director
- to support and promote the conduct of science within the Laboratory
- to enhance communication among themselves
It is expected that this group, known as the Fellows' Organization, will, at its discretion, initiate and conduct discussions with or without the production of a formal written position on any subject that is consistent with these purposes. The Fellows assist the Director with the induction ceremony for new Fellows each year and with the ceremony presenting the Fellows' Research and Leadership prizes at a regular or specially scheduled meeting.
The Fellows' Organization may from time to time be asked by the Director to address an issue important to the Laboratory. The Director may extend the Fellows' Organizations' advisory role to line or program managers at the directorate or division level. The topics to be addressed could include but are not limited to technical reviews, issues affecting the conduct of science at the Laboratory, future directions of the Laboratory, and work-force issues such as morale and scientific ethics. A critical role of the Organization is to forward unsolicited opinions and suggestions to the Director on any matter important to the Laboratory when they deem it advisable.
Formal written positions of the Fellows' Organization, whether in draft form or after adoption, are disseminated only with the approval of the Director.
The Fellows' Organization is responsible for the technical coordination of the following:
- Frontiers in Science Lecture Series
- Fellows' Prize for Research
- Fellows' Prize for Technical Leadership
- Special Fellows' Colloquia
Other initiatives to support and promote the conduct of science at the Laboratory may be undertaken with the approval of the Director.
Changes in this charter may be made at the discretion of the Director with prior notification of the Coordinator of the Fellows' Organization. The Fellows' Organization may propose for the Director’s approval changes that have been adopted by the Organization according to its procedures and rules. Changes will not apply retroactively.
The Fellows' Organization holds regularly scheduled meetings bimonthly Special meetings may be called by the Director, the Coordinator, or the Fellows' Officer acting as the Coordinator, to be announced at least one week before the meeting. Meetings may consist of business and/or technical sections.
The business section will typically consist of a review of the minutes of any previous meetings held since the last regular meeting, updates from all active committees, update on and discussion of old business, the introduction of new business by the officers, and a call for new business from the floor. The business meeting will be conducted using Robert's Rules of Order as a guideline, except where otherwise specified in these rules and procedures.
A technical talk may also be presented, with subsequent open discussion of the topic. That portion of the meeting will be conducted in a manner appropriate to the formality of the presentation(s).
The officers of the Fellows' Organization are Coordinator, Deputy Coordinator, and Secretary, who are elected by vote of the members, and an Emeritus Advisor appointed by the elected officers for a term of two years. Each year after the July Fellows meeting, the current Coordinator starts the transition process of handing over responsibilities to the Deputy Coordinator. The Deputy Coordinator and Secretary advance to Coordinator and Deputy Coordinator respectively, and a vote is held to elect a new Secretary. The new officers begin their terms with the Fellows meeting in September. A standing nominating committee comprising all the previous Coordinators and chaired by the outgoing Coordinator is responsible for identifying and recruiting candidates for any office that is or is scheduled to be vacant. Nominations from the floor also are solicited. In the years that the Emeritus Advisor’s term expires, the newly elected officers appoint an Emeritus Advisor at their initial meeting.
The Coordinator is responsible for setting and disseminating the agenda for all Organization meetings, facilitating these meetings via Robert's Rules of Order, scheduling special meetings, serving as first point of contact for all official Fellows' Organization business, serving as Co-Chair of the committee making recommendations for the Fellows' Prizes for Leadership and Research, and carrying out such other tasks as may be necessary to ensure that the Organization's responsibilities under its charter are met. The Coordinator is also responsible for appointing the Chair and members of Committees that have been authorized by vote; whenever possible, committee membership will consist of those volunteering to serve and the Chair is decided by acclamation.
The Deputy Coordinator is responsible for serving as Deputy Chair of the Frontiers in Science lecture committee and for serving as back-up to the Coordinator or Secretary when necessary. The Deputy Coordinator will also serve as Chair of the committee making recommendations for the Fellows' Prizes for Leadership and Research.
The Secretary is responsible for the creation of accurate minutes of all meetings of the Organization, although special meetings may be excluded from the record at the discretion of the Fellows' Officers. The minutes should be reviewed by the Coordinator before dissemination to the Fellows. The Secretary is expected to serve as back-up to the Deputy Coordinator and Coordinator, when those officers are unavailable.
Since the Coordinator, Deputy Coordinator, and Secretary are traditionally elected from the active (non-retired) Fellows, the Emeritus Advisor board member represents the interests of retired Fellows, provides historical continuity to the board, and assists the other board members in various Fellows initiatives. The Emeritus Advisor should be regularly engaged with Laboratory activities and available to meet in person with the board. The term of the Emeritus Advisor expires in the summer of even years, with the initial Emeritus Advisor appointed immediately and serving until 2018.
Committees may be formed as needed to carry out the Organizations' activities. Each year, new committees with be formed to make recommendations for recipients of the Fellows' Prize for Research and the Fellows' Prize for Leadership. The committee coordinating the Frontiers in Science Lecture Series is composed of an informally rotating membership; non-Fellows may be included by invitation of the Fellows members. It is expected that the Chair of that committee will change every two or three years.
Two voting processes will be used by the Fellows' Organization, one for the approval of formal written positions and the other for all other issues. In both cases, the passage or rejection of a motion or proposition is determined by a simple majority of the votes submitted, with the exception of proposed changes to the Charter or Rules and Procedures, in which case a 2/3 majority is required for approval. The differences in the two voting processes are the time allotted, methods available for voting, and the requirement of a quorum.
The first process, which will be termed a Membership Vote, will apply to the approval of formal written positions and for proposed modifications to this Charter or Rules and Procedures of the Fellows' Organization. A Membership Vote commences with the notification of all members of the Organization of the proposition(s) subject to vote and of the date and time before which votes must be received by one of the officers. Votes may be transmitted via email, telephone, paper mail, or in person. The time allotment is expected to be one or two weeks but may be altered by agreement of all of the officers if circumstances warrant. A quorum of one-half of the Active Members is required. (An Active Member is defined to be any Fellow or Senior Fellow, Lab employee or Emeritus, who has participated in Fellows' activities within the last year; this terminology has significance only for the purpose of determining a quorum for a membership vote.) Satisfaction of the quorum requirement is determined at the scheduled close of voting. Voting may be extended for the purpose of achieving a quorum, but the extension may not exceed the initial time period for voting. A list of attendees at meetings may be made to support this quorum requirement.
The second voting process, which will be termed a Majority Vote, is typically a show of hands or oral vote at a meeting. It applies to issues such as the formation of committees and to all other items not requiring a Membership Vote. Approval of a proposition is determined by a simple majority of those present except in the case of the election of officers. The election of officers is typically by written ballot, and proxy votes may be submitted. In this case, the majority must be of those present plus those voting by proxy. There is no quorum for this type of voting.
Committees will use Majority Votes, although the manner in which votes are solicited and transmitted, for example via email, should be selected by the Chair of the committee to best suit the purpose of the vote.
Administrative support for Fellows' activities is provided by the Directors' Office, including the cost of refreshments for a reception after regular meetings.