Palo Alto Youth Council Bylaws


Powers and Duties

  The Youth Council shall have the following powers and duties:

  1. Provide social services and projects and/or programs for the Youth of Palo Alto and the community, and address and take into consideration any issues brought forth by the community.
  2. Study problems, activities and concerns of the youth; hold forums on these problems, and implement community programs which the Youth Council finds necessary and/or desirable.
  3. Involve the Youth of Palo Alto in their community and provide information about issues in their city government which pertain to them.
  4. Work with the Commissions and City Council to contribute input on issues focused on the youth.



  1. Any person who lives in the City of Palo Alto or attends a high school located in Palo Alto public or private, who will be of high school age during the upcoming school year following his or her appointment, will be eligible for membership on the Youth Council.
  2. There will be twenty-one (21) members of the Youth Council.
  3. New members are required to fill out an application. Applications will be reviewed by a committee of teen program staff, and teens involved in different City of Palo Alto leadership groups. Returning members are not required to submit an application unless they are interested in a leadership position.
  4. The selection of members shall be governed by the following guidelines;
    • Selection of nominees shall be made in a fair and impartial manner.
    • Nominations shall be restricted to the youth who express interest in representing their peers as members of the Youth Council and who are able and prepared to participate in Youth Council activities and meet the required commitment of time and energy.
    • Reasonable effort shall be made to assure that the nominees are representative of the youth population as a whole.
  5. Appointments to the Youth Council shall be made in September of each year and shall be for a term of one school year.



  1. The Youth Council shall elect from its membership a President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, and three Liaisons representing Gunn, Paly and Castilleja Schools.
    • The President shall preside at all meetings of the Youth Council, shall appoint standing or special committees as may be necessary to carry out the Youth Council’s business, and shall supervise the efficient and responsible operation of the Youth Council. The President is also responsible for putting the board meeting agenda together. Only returning members are eligible to run for President.
    • The Vice President shall preside at Youth Council meetings in the absence of the President, shall assume specific leadership responsibilities as determined by the President, shall insure member participation within committees and shall assist the President in fulfilling his or her responsibilities, as needed. Only returning members are eligible to run for Vice President.
    • The Secretary shall be responsible for all communications for the Youth Council. The Secretary shall take and distribute minutes for all regularly scheduled Youth Council meetings, and shall solicit and keep records of the minutes of all committees. The Secretary is responsible for notifying a member the third and fourth absence. New and returning members can run for secretary.
    • The Treasurer shall be responsible for the Youth Council’s finances. The Treasurer shall maintain financial records and manage any funds raised by the Youth Council. At each meeting, the treasurer shall give a brief report on the finances of the Youth Council. Only returning members are eligible to run for Treasurer.
    • High School Liaisons shall serve as the links between the Youth Council and the High Schools. There shall be one liaison for each high school. New and returning members can run for Liaison positions.
  2. New or returning members who are eligible and interested in leadership positions are required to complete an application. Initial applications for leadership will be reviewed by a committee of teen program staff, and teens involved in different City of Palo Alto leadership groups. Once applications are reviewed, qualified candidates will be invited to interview with the committee. All leadership applicants can select two offices they are interested in holding, but upon selection, will only be able to run for one.
  3. Members may only hold one position at a time.



  1. The Youth Council shall meet bi-weekly in regular business sessions for an hour and a half.  The Youth Council may choose to meet more or less often as necessary.
  2. Each Youth Council meeting is open to the public.
  3. Special meetings may be called by the President provided at least three days’ notice is given to all members.
  4. The Youth Council shall publish an annual calendar, subject to change, indicating the regularly scheduled meetings for the entire year. This meeting schedule shall be made public no later than the fifth meeting of the newly appointed Council.
  5. The first meeting of each newly appointed Youth Council shall be an orientation meeting that shall include a review of the bylaws. The second shall be an extended meeting in which issues and concerns are identified and planning for the year begins.



  1. A quorum is necessary for a Youth Council meeting to be held. A majority of the Youth Council members (10) shall constitute a quorum. All officers do not need to be present for the meeting to be held.
  2. In the event that there is no quorum, any discussions which are held by those assembled shall be regarded as informal and non-binding.



  1. Committees shall be formed, as needed, in relation to the responsibilities of the Youth Council. As needs dictate, these may be standing committees that function throughout the year, or task-oriented committees that function only until the task is completed.
  2. Youth Council members shall be expected to participate in at least one committee at any given time.
  3. Youth who are not on the Youth Council may be appointed to any committee by the president with the approval of the Youth Council.
  4. Each committee shall designate a lead.



  1. Amendments to these bylaws may be initiated at any Youth Council meeting with prior notification to members.
  2. Recommendation of any amendment shall require a two-thirds (2/3) vote of Youth Council members.
  3. Upon approval by the Youth Council, amendments shall take effect immediately, unless otherwise stipulated in the amendment.



  1. Youth Council members are expected to attend all meetings and Youth Council sponsored events.
  2. Meetings run 5:00 PM to 6:30 PM. If a member is continuously late to meetings, that member will be called to meet with the President, the Vice President and the Advisor to discuss the issue (The Secretary will record tardies on the weekly attendance sheets).
  3. Tardy is defined as arriving to the meeting after Roll Call has been completed.
  4. Whenever a member of the Youth Council has three unexcused absences or four excused absences, he or she will be required to meet with the President, the Vice President and the Advisor to discuss continued participation in the Youth Council.
  5. The Secretary shall keep an attendance record and inform any member by email when he or she has reached two absences, excused or unexcused.
  6. Absences will be deemed as excused only if the Youth Council Advisor, President and/or Secretary are notified 24 hours in advance except in an emergency situation, at which time the absence would be deemed excused.
  7. A member of the Youth Council will be excused from a meeting only due to illness, or a family/personal emergency.
  8. A non-emergency excused absence (i.e. illness) must be called in to the Youth Council president at least two hours prior to the meeting.
  9. In the case of a family/personal emergency the nature of the emergency must be explained to either the President or Youth Council Advisor (before the meeting if possible).
  10. “Having too much homework” or “Being too busy” is not an excused absence.
  11. Recognizing that perfect attendance is not always possible, each member will be allowed three unexcused absences during the year.
  12. Following three unexcused absences, this person will be required to meet with the President and Advisor to discuss the reasons for the absences and the members continued participation in Youth Council.

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