Article: I. Name
The name of this organization shall be the American Council of the Blind of New York, Inc., hereafter referred to as ACBNY.
Article II. Purpose
The purpose of ACBNY is to enhance the lifestyle of the community by:
- Fostering opportunities for blind and visually impaired persons to become self-sufficient productive members of society;
- Educating the public regarding the economic and social benefits that occur when blind and visually impaired individuals actively participate in society;
- Providing a local forum to study the concerns of blind and visually impaired people and to address solutions to identified problems;
- Supplying information regarding available services and resources;
- Insuring quality service by acting as a liaison between the blind community and service providers;
- Implementing social action programs leading to the improvement of living and working conditions of blind and visually impaired persons throughout New York State;
- Collaborating with other organizations whose goals and purposes coincide with ours;
- Engaging in other activities which promote the dignity and independence of blind and visually impaired persons.
Article III. Affiliation
- ACBNY is an affiliate of the American Council of the Blind, Inc.
- Any group of at least five voting members, a majority of whom are blind or visually impaired, is eligible to become a chapter.
- A chapter’s members must consist of individuals from a defined geographical area or must be recognized by ACBNY as a special interest group.
- In order to become a chapter, approval must be obtained from the Board of Directors. If the membership of a chapter falls below five, a year’s grace time will be given. If after a year a chapter still has less than five members, it will be dissolved.
- In order for a new chapter or special interest group to be approved by the board of directors, the chapter or special interest group requesting the charter approval must submit the following documents:
a membership roster, a constitution, a list of officers and/or directors, and membership dues before the board shall approve a request for charter.
Article IV. Membership
Membership shall be of the following classifications:
Any person eighteen years of age or older who lives or works in New York State, or who has lived or worked in New York State, and is a member in good standing of a chapter, or is a member at large, is considered to be a voting member.
Members at Large:
Any person, eighteen years of age or older, who lives or works in New York State, or who has lived or worked in New York State, who is not a member of any ACBNY chapter, may become a member at large. Applications shall be made through the Membership Committee chair.
Persons less than eighteen years of age residing in New York State may become junior members of ACBNY but shall not vote. Their names shall not appear on lists sent to the ACB National Office. They may apply for junior membership either through an ACBNY chapter, or directly through the Membership Committee chair.
Any person eighteen years of age or older who is interested in supporting ACBNY may hold an individual associate membership, but shall not vote, or hold office. Any individual may apply for associate membership either through an ACBNY chapter, or directly through the Membership Committee chair. The names of associate members shall not appear on lists submitted to the ACB National Office.
Any organization within New York State, which is interested in supporting ACBNY, may hold an organizational membership, but shall not vote. The organization’s name shall not appear on any list sent to the ACB National Office. Organizations shall obtain membership directly through the Membership Committee chair.
Any person eligible to become a voting member or member at large is eligible to become a Life member. Life members have the same rights as voting members. A Life member may be a member of a chapter of ACBNY. Life members shall be counted when figuring chapter voting credentials. Applications for Life membership shall be made through the Membership Committee chair. The names of Life members shall appear on lists submitted to the ACB National Office. Dues for Life members shall be assessed at half the rate of Life membership in the American Council of the Blind, Inc. at the time of application for said Life membership in ACBNY, which may be paid in no more than five (5) consecutive annual installments. Life Membership becomes effective upon completion of all payments.
Article V. Yearly Dues
- Dues, except for life members, shall be set by the Board of Directors, provided this rate is higher than the dues charged by ACB National. Dues amounts may vary according to type of membership.
- Each chapter, member at large, organizational member, and associate and junior member not belonging to a chapter shall submit the required dues to the ACBNY treasurer. This must be done at least thirty days prior to the date on which dues must be received by the ACB National Office. The treasurer shall submit dues to the ACB National Office once the amount has been verified by said office.
- Each year, at least 60 days before membership lists are due in the ACB National Office, the Membership Committee Chair shall send alphabetical lists to a representative from each chapter. Editions, deletions, and corrections will be made and the lists will be returned to the Membership Committee Chair at least thirty days prior to ACB National’s due date. The Membership Committee Chair shall designate any state and national life members on these lists. The chair will also send notices to members at large, organizational members, associate members, and junior members not belonging to a chapter. Once the national certification process has been completed, the chair will forward that list, plus any names not placed on the national list, to the treasurer. The Membership Committee Chair and the treasurer will determine owed dues amounts for each chapter and member at large.
Article VI. VOTING
- Each voting member attending a business meeting shall be entitled to one vote. Votes may be cast virtually or in person.
- An official delegate elected or appointed from each chapter shall cast during the business meeting the number of votes to which that chapter is entitled.
- Each chapter represented at the state convention shall be entitled to one vote for each nine of its voting members or major fraction thereof, provided that a chapter may cast no more than twelve votes.
- The right of a chapter or member at large to vote shall be contingent on payment of dues and the furnishing of an alphabetical list as provided for in Article V. Failure of a chapter or member at large to comply with this section shall result in the loss of voting privileges during the first year of noncompliance. A second year of noncompliance shall result in the revocation of membership.
- There shall be no proxy voting.
- Officers shall be elected by a majority of the votes cast at any state convention.
- Voting shall be by secret ballot for all contested elections.
- No officer of this organization, except for the Treasurer, shall be elected for more than two consecutive terms to the same office.
- All officers, directors and delegates must reside in New York State. However, should an officer, director or delegate’s term end in three months or less, they may continue to serve in their present position until the end of said term.
- Should the position of the president be vacated prior to the conclusion of the president’s current term, the first vice president shall be appointed by the board of directors to assume the position as president until the term for which the president vacated concludes.
- Should a vacancy occur in any other office, a person shall be appointed by the board of directors to complete the unexpired term within 30 days of being notified in writing of said vacancy. If the annual vusiness meeting will occur within 30 days, the position must be filled by a vote taken during said meeting. The completion of an unexpired term of one year or less shall not be defined as a term of office.
- If the position of treasurer is vacated, in addition to the full ACBNY Board of Directors, the finance committee must also be consulted and participate in all board meetings where the business of appointing a new treasurer is discussed. However, they will not have a vote uynless an election takes place at a business meeting.
- Each member of the Board shall exercise only one vote.
- No officer or board member of ACBNY may hold more than one position on the Board of Directors of ACBNY.
- The officers of this organization shall be:
First Vice President
Second Vice President
- Officers shall serve three-year terms for a maximum of two (2) terms.
- The board of directors shall consist of the officers, a director from the at large members to be appointed by the president with the approval of the board of directors, the immediate past president, and one director to be appointed or elected by each chapter.
- A majority of the board of directors shall be blind or visually impaired.
- Officers shall be elected by the majority of the votes cast at any state convention.
- Term of office shall commence on January 1 of the year following the date of the election.
- Each chapter shall submit the name of their selected director to the ACBNY Secretary no later than December 15th of the year preceding that director’s term of service. Directors shall serve for terms of 1 (one) year, except in permanent unforeseen exigent circumstances. Directors may succeed themselves.
- No member of the board of directors shall receive compensation for services to ACBNY. Officers and delegates may receive reimbursement for actual expenses incurred in the performance of their duties.
ARTICLE VIII Powers and Duties
- Any voting member may make or second motions, nominate officers and committee members and serve on committees.
- Only voting members may be elected to office. To be eligible for nomination and election to State Office, a candidate must have been a member in good standing of ACBNY for at least one year.
- The convention shall determine the time and place of its meetings.
- The convention shall select the site of at least the following year’s state convention from among the proposed sites submitted to it. However, if no proposal is submitted or if the convention declines to approve any of the submitted proposals, the board of directors shall select the site for at least the following year’s state convention. In this case, the board must select a site within 60 days following the present year’s state convention. State conventions may be planned and contracted for more than one year in advance.
- The secretary shall, in addition to the usual duties of this office, furnish board members with minutes in an accessible format of all board and business meetings no later than 30 days after the meetings. The secretary shall also provide the president with a list of all motions adopted at general membership and board of directors meetings.
- The treasurer shall, in addition to the usual duties of this office, forward to the secretary the names of all those eligible to vote at each meeting of the board of directors.
- The executive board shall consist of the officers, and shall, in the event that an emergency action is needed between board meetings, make decisions, provided that they do not conflict with existing decisions of the convention or board of directors.
- The board of directors shall be the governing body between conventions provided that it makes no decisions and takes no actions in conflict with existing decisions and actions of the convention.
Officers and Directors:
- Each officer and director is responsible for carrying out the fiduciary responsibilities of ACBNY as a representative of the chapter or chapter that appointed him/her.
- Each officer and director is responsible for having the required documentation (e.g. the Conflict of Interest and the Confidentiality Statements) to the officer designee no later than December 15th of the year preceding their start of service.
- Failure to complete and submit the required documentation by December 31 of the year preceding the start of service can result in a revocation of the officer’s or director’s seat resulting in a no vote status for said officer or director.
- The president can designate either the first or second vice president to serve as an ex-officio member on any committee except the nominating committee.
Article IX. Standing Committees
ACBNY shall have standing committees and other committees as provided in the Council By-laws.
Article X Meetings
- A regular meeting to be known as the annual convention shall be held once a year. A majority of those members present on the convention floor and eligible to vote shall constitute a quorum.
- Other meetings may be held during the year at the discretion of the board of directors.
- All major matters dealing with policy shall be enacted at the annual convention.
Article XI Amendments
This Constitution may be amended at any regular convention by a two thirds vote of those members present and voting.
Such proposed amendments must be presented in writing to the Constitution and Bylaws Committee no less than 60 days before the beginning of the state convention. Written copies of the proposed amendments must be sent to each chapter at least 30 days prior to the beginning of the convention.
Article XII Dissolution
In the event of dissolution, all assets shall become the property of the American Council of the Blind, Inc., upon satisfaction of all outstanding liabilities.
Article XIII Parliamentary Authority
The rules contained in the current edition of Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised shall govern this organization in all cases to which they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with these bylaws and any special rules of order the organization may adopt.
- ACBNY hereby establishes the following committees:
Constitution and By-Laws:
This committee shall consist of a chair and not less than three other members to be appointed by the President. The chair shall serve as parliamentarian during convention meetings.
This committee shall consist of three members elected by the membership with no member being an officer. The chair shall be selected by the president from those elected. The committee’s duties include, but are not limited to, reviewing and authorizing the annual budget to be presented at the convention for the successive year and reviewing and commenting on all financial matters of ACBNY as designated by the president.
This committee shall consist of a chair and not less than three other persons to be appointed by the President. Its duties shall consist of initiating, monitoring, and conducting fundraising activities.
This committee shall consist of a chairperson appointed by the President and one member selected by each chapter. This committee shall support no legislation which conflicts with the policies of ACBNY and shall endorse no unwritten legislative proposals.
This committee shall consist of a chairperson and not less than three other members to be appointed by the president. Its duties shall include, but are not limited to, writing and disseminating press releases, maintaining up to date ACBNY brochures, publishing a semiannual state newsletter, and publicizing ACBNY whenever and wherever possible.
This committee shall consist of one person to be selected by each chapter and a member at large selected by the board of directors. The President shall appoint a chairperson who shall have no vote except in case of a tie. This committee shall propose a slate of officers and members of the finance committee. The committee may not nominate its members to office. Meetings of this committee shall be closed.
Within sixty days after the close of each state convention, the President shall appoint a chairperson and not less than four members to serve as a resolutions committee. This committee shall receive and review all resolutions to be considered during the next convention. All resolutions submitted to the committee by noon of the day twenty-one (21) days prior to the convention business meeting, except in case of unforeseen exigent circumstances, shall be reported with or without recommendation.
Convention Coordinating Committee:
The committee shall consist of a chairperson to be known as the convention coordinator and two members appointed by the President. It shall prepare and submit proposals for the site of the annual state convention and shall assist any member or chapter which may also wish to submit such a proposal. It shall provide assistance to the host committee in planning and organizing of the convention and shall assure compliance with any guidelines or requirements which may be adopted for the organization of the convention. Should the convention be hosted by ACBNY as a whole, the convention coordinating committee shall be the host committee for the convention. In this case, the convention coordinator may appoint additional members to serve on the host committee.
This committee shall consist of a chair and three members to be appointed by the president. The Membership Committee chair shall be charged with the responsibility of maintaining a roll of the members of each chapter, the members at large, organizational members, and junior and associate members not belonging to a chapter. The chair shall also maintain a list of ACB and ACBNY life members and those in the process of becoming ACBNY life members.
During the course of the year, each chapter shall provide the Membership Committee chair with changes, additions to and deletions from its membership roster.
The Membership Committee members shall assist the Membership Committee chair in performing these functions, and shall be responsible for recruiting and helping chapters recruit new members and communicating whenever possible with former members, encouraging them to rejoin.
Electronic Resource Committee (ERC):
The Electronic Resource Committee (ERC) manages and maintains the electronic resources on behalf of ACBNY, including the ACBNY.info website, domain and sub-domains, email lists, the ACBNY toll-free telephone system, and social media pages/groups.
The committee chair is Appointed by the President.
The committee chair appoints committee members.
Committee chair and committee members shall possess the skills to properly manage and maintain the ACBNY electronic resources with assistance from contracted webmaster.
This committee shall consist of a chairperson and at least four other members to be appointed by the president. If possible, at least two of the members should have proficient skills in reading and writing braille. Committee responsibilities shall include, but are not limited to, maintaining, distributing and receiving scholarship applications, and determining qualified applicants.
The ACBNY policy committee shall create, revise, and maintain the organization’s handbook and documents related to ACBNY policies and guidelines.
The Policy committee chair, or, co-chairs, shall be appointed by the president.
Policy committee chairs or co-chairs shall appoint the committee members.
The policy committee shall meet on a schedule determined by the committee chair or co-chairs and provide reports as directed by the president.