New Guide Dog Users Chapter Starting Soon!

Harness up your energy and creativity and join us in the formation of the brand new PCB Guide Dog chapter!

On August 6, at 7:30 p.m. you are invited to join us for our first organizing meeting via conference call. Mike Gravitt, PCB leader will be facilitating
this democratic discussion of bylaws, chapter name, frequency and method of meeting, dues structure and much more. We will meet again on September 12th
to finalize the structuring of the chapter.

In preparation for these organizational meetings, consider reviewing the draft bylaws posted below. These will provide a framework to begin our chapter development. Should you wish to do so in advance, please share your comments about the bylaws prior to the meeting on August 6 by emailing Mike Gravitt at mgravitt2@gmail.com.

Then, on October 19, as part of the PCB Conference and Convention we will hold a break-out session for any attendees interested in joining the PCB Guide Dog
Chapter. During this time, we will talk about chapter projects, presentations and activities.

We look forward to your input and fresh ideas as together we move forward in this venture.

Join the calls:
Monday, August 6 at 7:30 PM
Wednesday, September 12 at 7:30 PM
Dial: 605-475-4715 or toll-free 844-844-0414
Enter Pass code: 815419#

Draft Bylaws:

Bylaws of [NAME]
Approved on: [INSERT DATE]

ARTICLE I: NAME

The name of this organization shall be [NAME], a not-for-profit membership group.

ARTICLE II: AFFILIATION

[NAME] is affiliated with the Pennsylvania Council of the Blind and the American Council of the Blind and supports the goals and purposes of both these organizations.

ARTICLE III: PURPOSE
The purpose of [NAME] is to provide opportunities for individuals who use guide dogs, and those who are supportive of the work and care of guide dogs, to:

a. Have a forum for the free exchange of ideas and information relative to guide dog work and care;

b. Promote the acceptance of persons with vision loss and their guide dogs by state and local agencies, educational institutions, employers, and the general public;

c. Work for the enforcement, standardization, and expansion of laws that pertain to the admittance of guide dogs to all places where the public is invited;

d. Encourage and assist persons concerned with guide dog work, especially prospective and newly trained guide dog users, to develop their abilities and potential;

e. Encourage responsible care while advocating for equal rights of guide dog users;

F. Educate the general public about the abilities and limitations of guide dogs and the need for appropriate behavior by the general public, especially those who are accompanied by their pet dogs, when the guide team is working.

ARTICLE IV: MEMBERSHIP

Section 1. Eligibility

Any person eighteen (18) years of age or older is eligible for regular, voting membership in [NAME], provided he/she is favorable to and willing to support the goals and purposes of the organization.

Section 2. Junior Members

Persons under eighteen years of age who subscribe to the objectives of this organization are eligible to become junior members. Junior members may participate in discussion but may not vote or hold office.

Section 3. Dues

Annual membership dues shall be fixed by the membership from time to time as deemed necessary. Dues shall include membership in the Pennsylvania Council of the Blind and the American Council of the Blind.

Membership in good standing is contingent upon timely payment of dues. Dues for the calendar year shall be paid by December 1st of the preceding calendar year. Delinquency of more than ninety (90) days in payment of dues shall result in termination of membership. Payment of dues by new members (those who have not previously belonged to the organization) shall be required upon joining. For new members joining October 1, or later, dues paid shall be applicable to both the current and subsequent calendar years. This will not be the case for people who are re-joining after an absence.

ARTICLE V: OFFICERS AND THEIR DUTIES

Section 1. President

The President shall:

a. Preside at all meetings of the Executive Board and of the membership;

b. Call special meetings of the Executive Board and of the membership;

c. Prepare, together with the Vice President, agendas for all meetings;

d. Establish standing and ad hoc committees as deemed necessary and appoint chairpersons of such committees;

e. Serve ex officio as a member of all committees, excluding the Nominating Committee during a presidential election year, with the right to vote;

f. Actively participate in leadership and liaison activities with the Pennsylvania Council of the Blind and other guide dog organizations;

G. Provide an organizational report to the membership at each meeting and maintain open communication outside of meetings.

H. Co-sign all checks, authorize all electronic transactions, and monitor the financial accounts of the organization.

Section 2. Vice President

The Vice President shall:

a. Prepare, together with the President, agendas for all meetings;

b. Present committee reports when necessary in the absence of chairpersons;

c. Assume the duties of the President in the event of his/her death, resignation, absence, or inability to serve;

d. As chair of the Programs Committee, recruit speakers for the monthly general membership meeting and/or prepare a topic and facilitate the monthly discussion portion of the meeting;

Section 3. Recording Secretary

The Recording Secretary shall:

a. Take roll at all meetings of the Executive Board and of the membership to confirm a quorum;

b. Maintain for each member a record of attendance at regular meetings for the calendar year to determine election and voting eligibility;

c. Take minutes and prepare written reports on all proceedings for all meetings of the Executive Board and of the membership;

d. Have charge of all non-financial records of the organization, which records shall be retained by the organization at the expiration of his/her term of office;

e. Have available at every meeting a current copy of the[NAME] Bylaws, Chair the Bylaws Committee, and serve as Parliamentarian at all meetings;

f. Coordinate the distribution of minutes.

Section 4. Treasurer

The Treasurer shall:

a. Receive all monies belonging to the organization and deposit such monies in a bank designated by the Executive Board;

b. Pay all bills of the organization presented in writing and preapproved by the Executive Board or the membership;

c. Prepare, sign, and submit all checks for the President’s co-signature or in the case of electronic payments, acquire pre-authorization of expenditure in writing, electronic or otherwise, from the President;

d. Maintain a record of the dues status of all members for the calendar year, including date of payment;

e. Receive all financial statements relating to funds and securities owned by the organization;

f. Chair the Finance Committee in the development of the organization’s budget, and audit of its financial practices;

g. Give a report of the organization’s finances at each general membership meeting.

Section 5. Membership Secretary

The Membership Secretary shall:

a. Maintain an accurate and current Roster of the membership, including addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, and preferred format for correspondence;

b. Furnish each member with a current Roster in their preferred format;

c. Submit to the Pennsylvania Council of the Blind the names, complete contact information including mailing address, telephone, and email (if available), and reading format preference of all members for whom payment of dues is being remitted;

d. Chair the Membership Committee;

E. Determine and implement a system for conveying necessary communications to members and connecting members into the meeting calls.

Section 6. Immediate Past President

The Immediate Past President shall:

Provide institutional knowledge, procedural insights, and guidance to the Executive Board.

ARTICLE VI: EXECUTIVE BOARD

Section 1. Composition

The five (5) elected officers: President, Vice President, Recording Secretary, Treasurer, and Membership Secretary, and the Immediate Past President shall make up the Executive Board.

Section 2. Duties of the Executive Board

The Executive Board shall formulate policy for the organization. It shall make informed recommendations to the membership, shall fix the date and time of meetings of the Board and of the membership, and shall perform such other duties as are prescribed in these bylaws. None of the acts of the Executive Board shall conflict with any actions taken by the membership.

Section 3. Meetings

Meetings of the Executive Board shall be held quarterly or more often if deemed necessary. Special meetings may be called by the President, or by request of any two (2) members of the Executive Board. At least four (4) members of the Executive Board must be in attendance to make a quorum for the conduct of business.

Section 4. Removal from Office

Removal from office of a member of the Executive Board, for cause, shall be by two-thirds (2/3) vote of the organization’s members present and voting at a special meeting called for that purpose. The individual subject to this action shall be notified, in his/her preferred format of correspondence, of the proposed removal and of the reason(s) for it at least five (5) days prior to the meeting and shall have the right to make rebuttal. Cause shall include, but not be limited to, commission of a felony or misdemeanor, bringing the organization into public disrepute, dereliction of duty, and falsely representing the organization. In addition, failure to attend three (3) consecutive meetings of the Executive Board or absence from five (5) general membership meetings within a calendar year shall also constitute grounds for removal from office.

ARTICLE VII: ELECTIONS

Section 1. Time and method of Election

Election of officers shall take place in conjunction with the November meeting using a method to be determined by the membership at the October meeting.

Section 2. Eligibility for Office

Eligible candidates for the offices of President and Vice President must be blind or visually impaired. To be eligible for any elected position, membership in good standing for the current calendar year (Article IV Section 3) shall be required. Attendance at three (3) regular membership meetings of the organization during the election year (including excused absence to attend state or national Council meetings on the day of the local meeting) shall also be required. All candidates must also have reliable access to email and long distance phone service for conduct of organizational business.

Section 3. Eligibility to Vote in an Election

To be eligible to vote, membership in good standing during the election year (Article IV Section 3) or, in the case of members who have joined the organization during the election year, payment of dues by September 30 of that year, shall be required. Attendance at three (3) regular meetings during the election year (including excused absence to attend state or national Council meetings held on the day of the chapter meeting) shall also be required. An individual may receive credit for a meeting if he/she, having been approved by the board, will be representing this organization at a separate event, which is held concurrently with the general membership meeting, if it relates to this organization.

Section 4. Nominations

In preparation for elections, the officers not up for election shall convene a Nominating Committee no later than September 1. It shall be the duty of this committee to meet and nominate candidates to fill all open elective positions on the Executive Board, and to make its report at the regular meeting in October. Additional nominations for each elective office may be made from the floor at the October meeting and on the day of the election. The person being nominated must be present and must verbally accept the nomination.

Section 5. Term of Office; Restrictions

All officers shall be elected to serve a term of two (2) years. Except for the initial election year, the offices of Recording Secretary, Treasurer, and Membership Secretary shall be elected every odd-numbered year; the offices of President and Vice President shall be elected every even-numbered year. They shall assume their duties at the beginning of the calendar year following their election. No member shall hold more than one (1) office at the same time. No officer shall serve more than two (2) consecutive full terms in the same office (excluding the Recording Secretary, Treasurer, and Membership Secretary).

Section 6. Vacancies

Should a vacancy occur on the Executive Board (excluding the office of President) due to death, resignation, removal from office or inability to serve, at any time prior to September 1 during an election year, the vacancy shall be filled as soon as possible after the event by a special election. Should the position of Immediate Past President become vacant, this position shall remain vacant until the current President is no longer President and can then fill this position.

ARTICLE VIII: MEETINGS

Section 1. Regular Meetings

Regular meetings shall be held at a date and time designated by the Executive Board. Meetings will take place via teleconference.

Section 2. Special Meetings

Special meetings may be called as deemed necessary by the President with the approval of the Executive Board.

Section 3. Quorum

One-half (1/2) of the members in good standing shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business at any regular or special meeting of the organization provided at least one officer is among their number.

ARTICLE IX: FISCAL YEAR

The fiscal year shall be the calendar year.

ARTICLE X: Standing Committees

A. At a minimum, the standing committees of this organization shall be:
1. Bylaws
2. Finance
3. Programs
4. Membership
5. Advocacy and Public Education

B. Each committee shall be composed of at least two general members and one member of the Executive Board.

C. Additional standing committees shall be established by the President in consultation with the Executive Board.

Article XI: PARLIAMENTARY AUTHORITY

The rules contained in the current edition of Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised shall govern the organization in all cases to which they apply and in which they are not inconsistent with these bylaws, special rules of order, or resolutions of the Executive Board and of the membership.

ARTICLE XII: PUBLIC ACTION

Section 1. Representation

No member(s) shall represent this organization either in correspondence, publicity, or in person without the approval of the Executive Board or the appropriate committee chair.

Section 2. Solicitation

No member or group of members shall solicit funds in the name of or for this organization without the approval of the Executive Board.

Section 3. Contracts

No member or group of members, officer or group of officers, shall enter into any contract on behalf of, or binding upon, this organization without prior approval of the Executive Board.

ARTICLE XIII: STATE CONVENTION

[NAME] is entitled to two (2) delegate votes at the annual convention of the Pennsylvania Council of the Blind. No later than the September meeting, the Executive Board shall determine, with the approval of the membership, which two individuals shall cast those delegate votes and who will serve as an alternate delegate. In the event that neither the delegates nor the alternate delegate is present at the convention, the members in attendance shall elect delegates from among their number to represent the organization.

ARTICLE XIV: AMENDMENT OF THE BYLAWS

Any member may submit a proposed amendment to these bylaws in writing to the Executive Board. Proposed amendments shall be presented for a first reading at the soonest general membership meeting thereafter. The proposed amendment will be read a second time at the following general membership meeting and be voted upon. A two-thirds (2/3) vote of the members present and voting at any regular meeting shall be required for approval of amendments or revisions of the Bylaws.

ARTICLE XV: DISSOLUTION

Section 1. Approval

If, in the opinion of the majority of the members, this organization can no longer effectively pursue the purposes for which it was established, a special meeting shall be called to consider dissolution, the date, time, and purpose of the meeting to be communicated to all members in each member’s preferred format for correspondence ten (10) days in advance. Upon the affirmative vote of three-quarters (3/4) of the members present at the special meeting, the Executive Board shall proceed with the dissolution in accordance with the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Section 2. Disposal of Property

Upon dissolution effected in accordance with Section 1, all properties, be they tangible or intangible, including all records and financial assets, shall be disposed of by transferring same to the Pennsylvania Council of the Blind.

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