Pennsylvania Council of the Blind
As Amended Through the 2021 Convention
Article I: Name
The name of this corporation shall be the Pennsylvania Council of the Blind.
Article II: Affiliation
The Pennsylvania Council of the Blind is an affiliate of the American Council of the Blind.
Article III: Purpose
The purpose of the Pennsylvania Council of the Blind is to promote independence for visually impaired persons by:
a. working to improve the economic and social welfare of visually impaired persons; b. supporting and monitoring educational and rehabilitation programs;
c. actively supporting and broadening vocational opportunities; d. encouraging all visually impaired persons to realize their potential and to assume their place as valued members of their communities; e. providing a forum for visually impaired persons throughout the commonwealth; f. conducting programs of public education designed to improve understanding of the problems unique to sight loss and of the capabilities of visually impaired persons.
Article IV: Membership
Section 1. Eligibility
Any person eighteen years of age or older shall be eligible for membership in the Pennsylvania Council of the Blind provided he/she subscribes to the objectives of this organization.
Section 2. Chapter/Special Interest Membership
Any person may join as many local chapters or special interest affiliates of the Pennsylvania Council of the Blind as he/she chooses. Regardless of
multiple memberships, he/she will be entitled to only one vote. He/she may serve as delegate on behalf of only one chapter or special interest affiliate. Each chapter and special interest affiliate shall determine its own membership dues and collection process.
Section 3. At-large Membership
Any eligible member who does not wish to join a Chapter will be an at-large member of PCB. He/she shall be entitled to one vote.
Section 4. Junior Membership
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 nor hold office.
Section 5. Non-Profit Agency Membership
Any non-profit agency or organization which subscribes to the objectives of the Pennsylvania Council of the Blind is eligible for non-profit agency membership, a non-voting membership.
Section 6. For-Profit Corporate Membership
Any for-profit corporation or organization which subscribes to the objectives of the Pennsylvania Council of the Blind is eligible for for-profit corporate membership, a non-voting membership.
Section 7. Honorary Membership
The Board of Directors may confer an Honorary Life Membership upon any person who, in its judgment, has given outstanding service to and for people who are blind or visually impaired.
Section 8. Lifetime Membership
Lifetime membership in the Pennsylvania Council of the Blind may be purchased at a cost of one thousand (1,000) dollars, payable to the organization in a lump sum or in annual installments not to exceed five (5) installments. All monies received for lifetime memberships are non-refundable and shall be deposited in a separate, specially designated interest-bearing/investment account of the organization.
Section 9. Dues
The annual membership dues for the Pennsylvania Council of the Blind shall be an amount recommended by the Board of Directors and approved by the membership at an annual convention. Dues are payable in advance and credited to the first day of January of each year. Dues are payable by members of chapters and special interest affiliates to their chapter or affiliate treasurer. An officer of the chapter or affiliate shall submit the names of its paid members along with their dues to the PCB Office.
Dues for junior members shall be fifty (50) percent of dues paid by adult members.
Dues for non-profit agency members shall be two (2) times the dues paid by adult members.
Dues for for-profit agency members shall be (3) three times the dues paid by non-profit agency members.
Dues are payable by at-large members, non-profit agency members, and for-profit agency members directly to the PCB Office.
Article V: Composition and Compensation of the Board of Directors
Section 1. Composition of the Board of Directors
The officers, together with eight (8) elected Directors, shall constitute the Board of Directors of this organization. The officers shall be: President, 1st Vice President, 2nd Vice President, Recording Secretary, Treasurer, and Immediate Past President. The President, 1st Vice-President and 2nd Vice- President shall be blind or visually impaired.
Section 2. Compensation
No officer or Director of the Pennsylvania Council of the Blind shall receive any salary or wages for his/her services. However, the expenses of Board members to and from authorized meetings shall be paid by the Pennsylvania Council of the Blind, provided funds are available.
Article VI: Powers and Duties of the Board of Directors
Section 1. Authority of the Board of Directors
The Board of Directors shall be the governing body of the Pennsylvania Council of the Blind between conventions, provided that it shall make no policy decisions and take no official action in conflict with existing decisions or actions of the Convention. At least seven (7) members of the Board must be present to establish a quorum to carry on business. All business brought before the Board shall be decided by a majority vote of its members present (in person or remotely) and voting, unless otherwise indicated in these Bylaws.
Section 2. Reports
At each meeting the Board shall receive a report from the President and the Treasurer of the Pennsylvania Council of the Blind.
Section 3. Credentials
The Board of Directors, in consultation with the president, at the beginning of his/her term, shall appoint a Credentials Committee, comprised of at least two members of the Board of Directors and one member from among the membership. The Credentials Committee shall have the authority to determine whether a newly formed chapter or special interest affiliate is eligible for affiliate status, shall review whether a chapter or special interest affiliate’s bylaws, including all revisions, comply with the mission of the Pennsylvania Council of the Blind, and is authorized to rule whether a member, chapter or special interest affiliate is in good standing.
In determining whether a chapter or special interest affiliate is in good standing, the Credentials Committee shall consider the following:
1. Whether the chapter or special interest affiliate has maintained a minimum membership requirement as set forth in Article IX, Section 3, whether the chapter or special interest affiliate has paid the appropriate membership dues, and whether the chapter or special interest affiliate has complied with the organization’s membership reporting requirements,
2. Whether the chapter or special interest affiliate is complying with the organization’s physical accessibility policy, and
3. Any member, chapter or special interest affiliate negatively impacted by a decision of the Credentials
Committee may appeal this decision to the entire Board of Directors, and, as a last resort, the assembled convention.
Section 4. Meetings
The Board of Directors shall meet at the time of the State Conference and Convention. It shall hold at least one (1) other regular meeting each year. Special meetings may be held either at the call of the President or at the written request of any five (5) members of the Board. A roll call shall be taken at the commencement of each meeting and a quorum established. When voting on any action or motion, should a voice vote not be clearly unanimous, members of the board shall be poled individually by the Secretary, with the recording of the count of the vote in the official minutes of the meeting. Meetings of the Board of Directors may be conducted in person or by any technological means for the inclusion of some or all board members, and by which all members participating can hear each other at the same time. Such technologies shall include but not be limited to: telephone, computer, or smart phone-based conferencing. Appropriate technologies will be determined by an action of the board meeting in person, by a two-thirds (2/3) vote. The procedures of meetings conducted through the use of technologies shall not vary from those employed by the board when meeting in person. When meeting in person the board of directors shall adhere to the organization’s physical accessibility standards.
Section 5. The State Conference and Convention
The time and place of an upcoming Conference and Convention of the Pennsylvania Council of the Blind shall be recommended by the Conference and Convention Site Committee when this committee makes its report at an annual convention. A majority vote of the members present and voting shall then determine the date and place of the next Conference and Convention. Notice of the Conference and Convention shall be published in any official publication of the Pennsylvania Council of the Blind or in a special bulletin to members. Such notice shall be given to the members at least thirty (30) days prior to the Conference and Convention. The Conference and Convention site shall adhere to the physical accessibility standards of the organization.
Section 6. Administrative Staff
The Board of Directors shall approve the hiring of all administrative staff by approval of two-thirds (2/3) vote of the board present at the meeting at which such action is considered. The Executive Board shall dismiss any employee by unanimous vote of the full Executive board.
Section 7. Cost of Bonds
When any bond is required of any officer or employee or member of the Pennsylvania Council of the Blind by these Bylaws or is required of such persons by State or Federal law for functions to be performed on behalf of the Pennsylvania Council of the Blind, the Board of Directors shall authorize the payment of the costs of such bonds.
Section 8. Contracts
No member or group of members or officer or group of officers shall enter into any contract either in behalf of the Pennsylvania Council of the Blind or binding on the Pennsylvania Council of the Blind without the permission of the Board of Directors.
Section 9. Solicitation of Funds
No member or group of members shall solicit funds in the name of or for the Pennsylvania Council of the
Blind without the permission of the Board of Directors.
Section 10. Official Seal
The official seal of the Pennsylvania Council of the Blind shall be located in the office of the Council to be affixed on legal papers and contracts of the organization as authorized by the Board of Directors.
Section 11. Suspension and Expulsion of Members
Suspension or expulsion of members from this organization for cause shall be by two–thirds (2/3) vote of the members present and voting at a special meeting of the Board of Directors called for that purpose. The member subject to the proposed action shall be informed in writing of his/her possible suspension or expulsion and of the reason(s) for this action at least ten (10) 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 and bringing the Pennsylvania Council of the Blind into public disrepute. If the decision of the Board is against the individual, he/she may appeal his/her case before the Convention. Request for appeal must be made in writing and sent to the Board within thirty (30) days of the notice of suspension or expulsion. The decision of the Convention shall be final.
Article VII: Powers and Duties of the Convention
Section 1. Authority of the Convention
The Convention of the Pennsylvania Council of the Blind shall be the ultimate authority within this organization on all matters except those matters delegated in these Bylaws to the final authority or discretion of the officers, the Board of Directors, or working committees. Its decision shall be made after opportunity has been afforded for full and fair discussion.
Section 2. Voting
Official delegates shall be authorized to vote on behalf of chapters and special interest affiliates at annual conventions of the Pennsylvania Council of the Blind. Each Chapter and each special interest affiliate shall be represented by two (2) delegates. In addition, each member of a chapter or special interest affiliate who is present at the
Convention is entitled to one (1) vote, provided he/she has paid membership dues in accordance with these Bylaws on record with the PCB Office for a minimum of thirty (30) days. This popular vote count shall be added to the delegate vote count and shall constitute the total vote for or against any issue. Any business brought before the Convention shall be decided by a majority vote except as otherwise stated in these Bylaws.
Section 3. Elections
Regular election of officers and Directors shall occur during the annual convention. Officers shall be elected in odd-numbered years for a term of office to extend to the last day of the quarter in which the subsequent election for these positions is held. Four (4) Directors shall be elected each year to serve a term of office to extend to the last day of the quarter in which the subsequent election for these positions is held. For example, if officers are elected in the fall of 2019 and take office on January 1, 2020, and the next Convention is held in May 2021, then officers will take office on July 1, 2021.
The term of office for both officers and Directors shall begin on the first day of the month following the last month of the quarter in which the election
took place. For example, if elections took place in October, the quarter would end on December 31, and officers and directors would take office on January 1, but if elections are held in May, the quarter would end on June 30, and officers and directors would take office on July 1. Irrespective of when the election and the taking of office occur, the fiscal year of PCB shall run from January 1 through December 31.
No Director and no officer other than the Secretary and the Treasurer shall serve for more than two (2) full consecutive terms in the same office.
If a vacancy should occur on the Board of Directors (the offices of President and 1st Vice President excepted), the Board may elect by majority vote of its members present and voting an individual to fill the vacated position until the next annual election. At that time, if necessary, the membership shall elect a successor to serve for the remainder of the term. If the vacated office is that of President or 1st Vice President, then the 1st Vice President and/or the 2nd Vice President shall succeed to the next higher office and shall serve for the remainder of the term.
Upon completion of the election of officers and members of the board, all those elected shall be sworn in to their position by affirming through a Pledge of Obligation to be administered by the organization’s past President. If the past President is unavailable, the pledge shall be administered by the highest-ranking officer or most senior member of the Board who has not stood for election during the current cycle. Wording of the Pledge shall be determined by the Board of Directors and may be changed or updated accordingly.
Article VIII: Duties of Officers
Section 1. Executive Board
All officers in addition to the Immediate Past President shall comprise the Executive Board of the Pennsylvania Council of the Blind.
Section 2. President
The President is the principal administrative officer of the Council. In this capacity the President’s duties shall consist of:
1. Carrying out the policies adopted by the Convention.
2. Supervising the administrative operation of the Pennsylvania Council of the Blind and acting as liaison between the office administration and the Board of Directors.
3. Co-signing, or appointing a designated officer to co-sign, all checks drawn on funds of the Corporation.
4. Coordinating all activities of the Council including the work of other officers and all committees.
5. Appointing a Nominating Committee and all other committees. 6. Making reports to the Board and to the convention.
Section 3. Vice President
Each Vice President, in the order of his/her title, shall perform the duties of the President upon the death, resignation, inability to serve, or absence of the President.
Section 4. Recording Secretary
The Recording Secretary shall:
1. Keep all records entrusted to him/her by the President or the Board.
2. Take minutes at all conventions and Board meetings.
3. be responsible for preparing minutes of all conventions and Board meetings and distributing them to Presidents of chapters and special interest affiliates and members of the Board within sixty (60) days of said meeting(s).
Section 5. Treasurer
The Treasurer shall:
1. Oversee the fiscal components of the operation of the Pennsylvania Council of the Blind.
2. Make all financial disbursements by check signed by him/her and co-signed by the President or his/her designee.
3. The treasurer or his/her designee shall maintain a roster containing the names, addresses and dues status of all members of the organization.
4. Provide a financial report at each meeting of the board.
The Treasurer of the Pennsylvania Council of the Blind shall be bonded in an amount prescribed by the Board of Directors.
Section 6. Chaplain
The President shall appoint a Chaplain to conduct or contribute to ceremonies and events of the organization. In carrying out such duties, the chaplain shall be respectful of the membership’s diverse religious traditions.
Section 7. Editor
One or more individuals shall be appointed by the President to serve as Editor(s) for all official publications of the Pennsylvania Council of the Blind.
Article IX: Chapters and Affiliates
Section 1. Chapters
Any group of not less than eight (8) persons residing in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the majority of whom are blind or visually impaired and who are in agreement with the purposes and objectives of the Pennsylvania Council of the Blind, may form a
Chapter and shall be granted a charter upon the approval of the Board of Directors. They shall adopt bylaws which are not in conflict with the Bylaws of the Pennsylvania Council of the Blind.
Section 2. Special Interest Affiliates
Any group of not less than eight (8) persons, the majority of whom are blind or visually impaired, having an interest in a topic broadly related to vision loss or an issue impacting individuals with vision loss, and whose purposes and objectives are in agreement with those of the Pennsylvania Council of the Blind, may apply for affiliation with the Pennsylvania Council of the Blind as a special interest affiliate. The affiliate will be granted a charter upon the approval of the Board of Directors. The applying affiliate shall adopt bylaws which are not in conflict with the Bylaws of the Pennsylvania Council of the Blind.
Section 3. Chapters and Special Interest Affiliates in Good Standing
1. Maintain a membership of at least eight (8), the majority of whom must be blind or visually impaired, unless otherwise determined by the board of directors; shall submit to the PCB office the chapter or special interest affiliate membership’s appropriate membership dues and; shall observe the organization’s membership reporting requirements;
2. Hold all organization functions in adherence to PCB’s physical accessibility standards.
Article X: Amendments
These Bylaws may be amended only at an annual convention of the Pennsylvania Council of the Blind. Proposed amendments must be submitted in writing to the Parliamentary Team no later than three (3) months prior to the date of the Annual Convention. The Parliamentary Team shall review the proposed amendments to determine whether they are in conflict with any other provision of these Bylaws before referring them to the convention for final action.
A copy of all proposed amendments must be forwarded to the home/office of members of the Board of Directors and to the President of each Chapter and Special Interest Affiliate, the head of any non-profit agency member, the head of any for-profit corporation member and At-large Members no later than thirty (30) days prior to the convention.
In order to amend or revise these Bylaws an affirmative vote by two-thirds (2/3) of the members present and voting at any convention of the Pennsylvania Council of the Blind is required. All amendments, changes or deletions made to these Bylaws shall become effective on the first day of the month following the last day of the quarter in which these amendments, changes, or deletions were approved.
Article XI: Procedure
The Pennsylvania Council of the Blind and its convention shall be governed by these Bylaws and by Robert’s Rules of Order Revised, when not in conflict with these Bylaws.
Article XII: Dissolution
If there should be dissolution of the Pennsylvania Council of the Blind, all assets shall be disposed of by transferring same to one or more organizations organized and operated exclusively for charitable, educational or recreational purposes whose objectives are consistent with those of the Pennsylvania Council of the Blind. In no event shall any assets revert to members of the Board of Directors, chapters, special interest affiliates or individual members.