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Greater New York Council of the Blind

A chapter of the American Council of the Blind of New York; An affiliate of the American Council of the Blind

GNYCB CONSTITUTION AND BYLAWS, REVISED DECEMBER 5, 2020

ARTICLE I: NAME
The name of this organization shall be the Greater New York Council of the Blind.

ARTICLE II: STATUS
This Organization shall be in compliance with the Internal Revenue Code as a tax exempt, not for profit Organization under Section 501(c)(3).

ARTICLE III: AFFILIATION
The Greater New York Council of the Blind is a chapter of our statewide organization, the American Council of the Blind of New York, Inc., also referred to in this document as ACBNY, which in turn is an affiliate of our national organization, the American Council of the Blind.

ARTICLE IV: PURPOSE
  1. To foster and develop opportunities for blind and visually impaired persons to become self-sufficient, self-supporting and contributing members of society.

  2. To increase public awareness of the gains to be made by the whole of society by the inclusion of blind and visually impaired persons as contributing, participating members.

  3. To provide a local forum for the discussion of issues pertaining to blind and visually impaired persons; to study these issues and to strive to find, develop and promote solutions in these areas.

  4. To provide information to blind and visually impaired persons about the availability of resources; to educate them about their rights, duties and responsibilities as participating citizens in their communities and society at large.

  5. To provide a vehicle for communication between blind and visually impaired consumers and those public, private and educational institutions which serve them and to work toward the attainment of optimum quality of services which are relevant and accessible.

  6. To plan and implement a variety of social action programs which will lead to the improvement of the living and working conditions of blind and visually impaired persons within the Greater New York area.


ARTICLE V: MEMBERSHIP
Membership shall consist of blind, visually impaired and sighted individuals who are interested in the development and advancement of the purposes as set forth in Article IV.
  1. Members shall be 18 years of age or older and shall be residents of or work in the Greater New York area.

  2. Junior Members: Any person, less than 18 years of age, residing in the Greater New York area.

  3. Membership in this organization shall be contingent upon the payment of dues as set forth in Article VI.

  4. A majority of the members of this organization shall be blind or visually impaired.

  5. Membership in this organization shall be of three types: Active, Associate and Junior.

    1. Active Membership shall entitle an individual to vote, serve on committees and to hold office.

    2. An Associate Member is one who philosophically and financially supports the purposes of this organization. An Associate Membership shall entitle an individual or organization to participate in meetings and activities without the right to hold office or to vote. Associate Members shall not be counted in the roster of membership of this organization for purposes of State and National representation and elections.

    3. A Junior Member shall not have voting privileges or hold office and shall not be counted in the roster of membership of this organization for purposes of State and National representation and elections.


    ARTICLE VI: DUES
    1. For Active Members: Dues for the calendar year shall be as follows:

      1. Employed or Financially Able to Pay: The dues shall be in the amount set by the membership.

      2. Students or those financially unable to pay: The dues shall be set by the membership at an amount lower than that specified in Article VI Section 1A.

    2. Associate Members: Contributions shall be no less than the amount specified for Active Members in Article VI Section 1A.

    3. Dues for Junior Members shall be as specified in Article VI Section 1B.

    4. For new members joining prior to July first of the calendar year, the dues shall be as specified in Article VI Section 1A or 1B.

    5. All members must pay dues within a period as specified by the Board of Directors which is in compliance with the requirements of the national organization, the American Council of the Blind.


    ARTICLE VII: VOTING
    1. Active Members shall be entitled to one vote at general meetings.

    2. The visually impaired and blind members eligible to vote at a general meeting shall constitute a majority of the total number of Active Members voting at the meeting.

    3. A quorum shall consist of at least ten Active Members in good standing eligible to vote and shall include at least one officer.


    ARTICLE VIII: OFFICERS
    1. This organization shall have five officers. They shall be: President, Vice President, Recording Secretary, Corresponding Secretary and Treasurer.

    2. The officers shall serve for a term of two years. The term of office shall begin on January first of the year following the elections.

    3. Officers shall be elected at the final general meeting of the calendar year.


    ARTICLE IX: BOARD OF DIRECTORS
    1. The Board of Directors shall consist of the five Officers, the Delegate to the ACBNY Annual State Convention who shall also function as the Delegate to the Board of Directors of the ACBNY, the Immediate Past President and four additional members elected to the Board of Directors.

    2. By December 31 of each year, the Greater New York Council of the Blind needs to notify the ACBNY of the name of its Delegate to the Board of Directors.

    3. The four elected members of the Board shall serve for a term of two years with the provision that two Board members be elected annually.

    4. The Delegate to the ACBNY Annual State Convention who shall function as the Delegate to the Board of Directors shall be elected annually at the final general meeting of the calendar year.

    5. The Officers and Directors of this organization shall have such duties and powers as are usual to their respective positions. They shall be governed by Roberts Rules of Order (Revised).

    6. If any Officer or Board member is absent three consecutive Board meetings without notifying the President, then he/she forfeits their position. Likewise, if any Officer or Board member is absent three consecutive general meetings without notifying the President, then he/she forfeits their position.


    ARTICLE X: ELECTIONS
    1. Elections shall be held at the final general meeting of the calendar year. Elections may be made by secret ballot upon the request of a majority of the Active Members present and voting.

    2. Elections shall be by majority vote of the Active Members present and voting.

    3. Active Members may attend meetings and vote either in person, or remotely by teleconference. Members who attend remotely cannot be guaranteed a secret ballot.

    4. Within six months after assuming office, the President shall form a Nominating Committee consisting of no fewer than three Active Members, one of whom is designated as chairperson of that committee. In accordance with the positions to be voted upon that year, the Nominating Committee shall prepare a slate to be presented to the membership at its October meeting. No member of the Nominating Committee can be presented to the membership as part of the slate of officers.

    5. Nominations by Active Members shall be received from the floor at the November meeting and again at the time of elections in December. If a person is nominated at the November meeting, but is not present, the chairperson of the Nominating Committee shall contact that person to get his/her acceptance of the nomination. No person can stand for election without accepting the nomination.

    6. If, in the event a vacancy occurs on the Board of Directors, the following procedures shall be observed:
    1. If the position of the President becomes vacant, the Vice President shall assume the position for the remainder of the unexpired term of office.

    2. If any Office or Board position other than President or Delegate becomes vacant, a new election for that position will take place at the next general meeting.

    3. If the Delegate to the Board of Directors of ACBNY cannot attend the Business Meeting at the Annual State Convention, the President will appoint a member to fulfill this position.

    4. If the Delegate or the President are not in attendance at the Business Meeting at the ACBNY Annual State Convention, the Active Members of the Greater New York Council of the Blind present will appoint a Delegate from among themselves.


    ARTICLE XI: MEETINGS
    1. General meetings of this organization shall be held monthly at a time and place designated by the President and Active Members. Such meetings may be omitted upon the approval of the Active Members.

    2. The Board of Directors shall meet at a time and place designated by the President. The Board of Directors must hold a minimum of three meetings a year.

    3. Special Meetings of the general membership may be called by the President or by three members of the Board of Directors or upon the request of five general members.


    ARTICLE XII: COMMITTEES
    The organization shall have two types of committees: Standing Committees and Project Committees.
    1. A Standing Committee is defined as an ongoing committee. This organization shall have the following Standing Committees: (A) Finance; (B) Membership; (C) Publicity; (D) Constitution and Bylaws.

    2. A Project Committee is defined as a temporary committee with a specific task. A Project Committee shall cease to exist when its task is completed.

    3. For each committee, the President shall appoint a chairperson, and the chairperson shall choose at least two other committee members. Except for the Nominating Committee, the President shall be an ex-officio member (with voting rights) of each committee.

    4. The Standing Committees shall have the following responsibilities:
    1. Constitution and Bylaws Committee: The Constitution and Bylaws Committee shall annually review the organizationís Constitution and Bylaws, and shall act in accordance with Article XIV of this document.

    2. Finance Committee: The Finance Committee shall plan a budget, and with the Treasurer, plan the location of the organization's monetary accounts. In the fall, this committee shall submit a budget for the next calendar year to the Board of Directors for its approval, and then the budget shall be submitted to the general membership for their approval. The Treasurer shall be a member of this committee, but not necessarily the chairperson.

    3. Fundraising Committee: The Fundraising Committee shall plan and implement programs, events and activities that bring money into the organization.

    4. Membership Committee: The Membership Committee shall plan for the maintaining of current members, the encouraging of former members to rejoin, and the recruiting of new members. It may plan social activities to foster membership. The Corresponding Secretary shall be a member of this committee, but not necessarily the chairperson.

    5. Publicity Committee: The Publicity Committee shall plan the organization's outreach to the community. Such activities may include, but are not limited to the printing of brochures and business cards, the maintenance of the organizationís website, the organization's presence on social media, and periodic correspondence with other organizations and persons in the community.


    ARTICLE XIII: DISBURSEMENT OF FUNDS
    1. The funds of this organization shall be deposited in a financial institution as approved by the Board of Directors.

    2. All financial obligations of the organization shall be discharged by check, debit or credit card, or electronic payment issued by the approval of the Board of Directors. All payments shall be made by the Treasurer or another Authorized Officer designated by the Board of Directors.

    3. The organization shall pay for the President and Delegate to attend required ACBNY Board of Directors and Annual State Convention meetings. Such expenses shall include travel, registration, meals and lodging.

    4. The Treasurer shall be required to submit a report of all receipts and disbursements at every general meeting. 5. No assets of this organization shall inure to the benefit of any member or Officer. No member or Officer shall receive payment for services rendered the organization except as reimbursement for actual documented expenses as authorized by the Board of Directors.


    ARTICLE XIV: AMENDMENTS
    1. To amend this Constitution and Bylaws, the proposer of the amendment must present said amendment to the chairperson of the Constitution and Bylaws Committee.

    2. The Constitution and Bylaws Committee shall submit the amendment with its recommendations to the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors shall make its own recommendations, which shall then be submitted to the membership at a general meeting for their vote.

    3. All proposed amendments and recommendations to be submitted for a vote at a general meeting must be furnished to all Active Members in accessible format at least five days prior to the date of the meeting.

    4. Amendments may be adopted by a majority vote of the Active Members present and voting at a general meeting of this organization. This is subject to the provisions of the Article on Voting.

    5. Within one month of the adoption of said amendment, the Corresponding Secretary shall send a copy of the amendment in accessible format to all Active Members of this organization.

    6. The Constitution and Bylaws Committee shall be charged with an annual review of this Constitution and shall incorporate into it the amendments accepted during the past year.


    ARTICLE XV: GENERAL RULES AND PROCEDURES
    1. All conflicts in general rules and procedures which are not otherwise specified herein shall be resolved in accordance with Roberts Rules of Order (Revised).

    2. A summary of all Board of Directors meetings and committee meetings will be reported at the next appropriate general meeting.

    3. With the exception of the Nominating Committee, all Board of Directors meetings and committee meetings are open to all members, except in cases where the President or committee chairperson declares them to be closed sessions. Only Board members and committee members may vote at their respective meetings.

    4. Nonmembers may attend Board of Directors meetings and committee meetings at the invitation of the President and committee chairperson respectively. Only Board members and committee members may vote at their respective meetings.

    5. General meetings shall be open to anyone who desires to attend.

    6. Whenever possible, all meetings shall be held in a place that is accessible to all persons.

    7. Attendance shall be taken at all general and Board meetings of this organization. Members shall be counted present at meetings if they attend either in person, or remotely by teleconference.

    8. All members present at meetings, either in person or remotely by teleconference, may vote on all issues. Members who attend remotely cannot be guaranteed a secret ballot.

    9. A complete up to date list of all members in good standing shall be maintained by the Treasurer and Corresponding Secretary.

    10. All members shall be notified of all general meetings at least five days in advance in accessible format. All members shall be provided minutes of all general meetings in accessible format as soon as possible after each meeting.

    11. All Active Members must be notified at least five days in advance of all meetings at which elections are to be held. This notification must include a proposed slate in accessible format.


    ARTICLE XVI: DISSOLUTION
    In the event of the dissolution of this organization, all assets shall be transferred to a not for profit organization organized under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. The organization to receive these funds and assets shall be determined by a majority vote of the membership.

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