ARTICLE I – Name
As of January 2016, the name of this organization shall be “Guide
Dog Users of the Empire State” hereinafter referred to as GDUES.
ARTICLE II – Purpose
The purpose of GDUES shall be to:
Educate the general public and guide dog users as to the concerns, rights and responsibilities of guide dog users residing in the State of New York
Give particular attention to the specific advocacy and legislative needs of GDUES and its members, as well as attention to protecting the civil rights of persons who are blind guide dog users.
ARTICLE III – Membership
(1) Any person who is at least sixteen (16) years of age and who lives or works or who has lived or worked in New York State and
supports the goals and objectives set forth in Article II of this Constitution shall be entitled to membership in GDUES.
At least sixty percent (60%) of the membership must consist of guide dog users.
(2) Each member shall be entitled to one (1) vote, to serve on committees and, except as provided in Article V and Article VI of this Constitution, to hold elective office.
(3) In order to become a member of GDUES, one must first pay the full amount that the organization has designated as dues for that fiscal year. Following the year of GDUES chartering by the American Council of the Blind of New York (ACBNY) and Guide Dog Users, Inc. (GDUI); individuals who are life members of ACB, GDUI, or ACBNY shall pay dues at a prorated rate. This is based on their life member status in the above named organizations.
(4) Any person who joins GDUES during the last three (3) months of the fiscal year, shall be considered as a current member for the fiscal year immediately following.
(5) Except for those members covered under item 4 above, in order to remain a member in good standing of GDUES, one must pay the full amount that the organization designates as dues for the fiscal year within ninety (90) days following start of said fiscal year.
(6) Upon payment of delinquent dues pursuant to Section 5, a member will immediately be deemed in good standing within this organization. There shall be no attendance or participation requirements of members to be deemed in good standing except as set forth in Article VI, Section 1, B, concerning meeting attendance by members of the Board of Directors.
ARTICLE IV – Meetings
(1) Regular meetings shall be held on a bi-monthly basis in person or by teleconference.
(2) Special meetings may be called by either the president or a majority of the Board of Directors at a time and place to be designated by the Board. All members of the Board shall receive notice of such meetings at least five (5) days in advance. An electronic, time stamped email message with proof of delivery receipt is an acceptable alternative to hard copy written notice.
(3) Written notice as to the time and place for each meeting of GDUES shall be sent to all members by the secretary, or a designee appointed by the Board of Directors at least seven (7) days prior to the date of such meeting. An electronic, time stamped email message with proof of delivery receipt is an acceptable alternative to hard copy written notice.
(4) The quorum for all meetings of GDUES shall consist of twenty-five percent (25%) of members in good standing and present at the start of a meeting. At least five (5) members of the Executive Board or Board of Directors must be present at the time of the start of the meeting to conduct business.
(5) Minutes of each meeting shall be taken by the secretary, or appointed designee, and maintained by that person in a digital format.
Examples are recording a conference call or an in-person meeting and minutes may be transcribed at a later point in time. Said digital recording should be maintained for ninety (90) days after minutes of said meeting have been voted on by the membership or Board of Directors.
ARTICLE V – Officers
(1) This organization shall have five (5) officers:
- Vice President
- Immediate Past President.
(2) Election of officers shall be by a simple majority vote of the members present and voting at the election meeting, which shall be held in the month of December of each election year.
(3) A nominating committee shall be appointed by the president no later than the regular meeting immediately preceding the election meeting. This committee shall present a slate of candidates for office to the secretary in sufficient time for the secretary to include the slate of candidates in the written notice of the election meeting. A notice sent by and validated via email will be accepted as an alternative to hard copy written notice.
Nominations from the floor shall also be accepted at the election meeting.
(4) The term of office for the four (4) elected officers shall run for two (2) years, following the year of being voted into office (except for the year of inception, 2016) on January 1 of the year for which they are elected and ending December 31 two years later.
(5) No officer shall hold the same office for more than three (3) consecutive terms nor serve in more than one (1) elective office in GDUES at any one (1) time.
(6) The president and the vice president of GDUES must be guide dog users.
(7) The immediate past president, a non-elected officer, shall serve for one term and have the full voting rights equal to all other officers.
ARTICLE VI – Board of Directors
- The four (4) elected officers, the four (4) Board members, and the immediate past president shall comprise the Board of Directors of GDUES. A member of the Bboard of Directors shall be elected by the membership of GDUES to serve as the organization’s board representative to the American Council of the Blind of New York Board of Directors.
- Any member of the Board of Directors who has unexcused absences from more than three (3) consecutive meetings or does not maintain regular contact with the president of GDUES shall be removed from said position. However, fourteen (14) days prior to removal from office, said person shall be notified in writing electronically or by hard copy mail by the president of their impending removal in order to provide an opportunity for the individual to explain their absences.
(2) The four (4) Board members shall be elected at the same time and take office at the same time as the four (4) elected officers. No person shall serve as a Board member for more than three (3) consecutive terms.
(3) The quorum for a meeting of the Board of Directors shall be a majority of the members of the Board of Directors.
(4) The Board of Directors shall, at all times, be comprised of a majority of guide dog users.
(5) In the event that the position of president becomes vacant prematurely, the vice president shall assume the presidency for the duration of that term. In the event any other position of the Board of Directors becomes vacant prematurely, the remaining members of the Board of Directors shall choose a person to fill the vacant position until the next regularly scheduled election for that position.
(6) Unless otherwise specifically set forth herein, all decisions of the Board of Directors shall be made by the majority of those Board members present and voting at the meeting or a majority of the total Board.
ARTICLE VII – Fiscal Operation
(1) The fiscal year of GDUES shall begin on January 1 and end on December 31 of each year following the year of inception.
(2) GDUES shall establish and maintain a checking account at a bank to be designated by the Board of Directors, and once the account is established, all monies received by the organization shall be deposited therein, and all disbursements shall be made by check or electronic check drawn thereon.
(3) All disbursements of funds must first be approved by either the president or a majority of the Board of Directors, and if the amount of the disbursement is to exceed fifty dollars ($50.00), either a majority of the Board of Directors or at least the president, treasurer, and one
(1) Board member must aprrove the expenditure.
(4) Dues will be set by the Board of Directors.
ARTICLE VIII – Procedure
Unless otherwise specifically set forth herein, all meetings, business functions, and business operations of GDUES shall be conducted in accordance with the provisions of ROBERT’S RULES OF ORDER REVISED EDITION, as revised from time to time.
ARTICLE IX – Affiliation
In order to facilitate the attainment of the goals and objectives set forth in Article II of this Constitution, GDUES shall maintain an affiliation with the American Council of the Blind of New York and Guide Dog Users, Inc.
ARTICLE X – Amendment Procedure
(1) Any member of GDUES may propose an amendment to this Constitution at any regular meeting. If the proposal is properly seconded, such amendment shall be voted upon by the membership at the next regular meeting.
(2) The secretary shall provide each member with the written text of any proposed amendment at least seven (7) days prior to the meeting at which the amendment is to be voted upon. An electronic, time stamped email is an accepted alternative to an amendment notice sent out in hard copy by mail.
(3) An affirmative vote of at least two-thirds (2/3) of the voting members present shall be required in order to adopt a proposed amendment to this Constitution.
(4) The secretary shall include notice as to the outcome of the
vote(s) on any proposed amendment(s) to this Constitution with the written notice of the next meeting following the vote.
ARTICLE XI – Effective Date
This constitution shall take effect upon a vote of acceptance by the general membership.