General Comments about the Proposed Changes
Our proposed changes fall under these major topics:
1. Defining the Area that GVRRID Serves.
RID and our nearby Affiliate Chapters have asked that we clearly explain what area we serve, so that we do not interfere with the membership of other local Affiliate Chapters. Language has been added to help clarify this. We opted to say that people could work and/or live in the area, so we do not exclude anyone that lives outside of the area but commutes in to work.
2. Fixing a Board Eligibility Loophole
You will see that we have added the language that Board members must live in the Rochester Metropolitan area (defined as the 9 county area including Geneva and Canandaigua.) This is partially to address the service area issue from the last topic, but also to help prevent an issue that has occurred with another Affiliate Chapter. We want to ensure that someone from out of state does not decide to run for office, get all of their out-of-state friends to sign up as members, and win the election because their friends outnumber our voting members. We want to make sure GVR is always served by people who know the area and are dedicated to our Rochester area community.
3. Updating our Purpose
We have changed our purpose from bullet points to a paragraph format to match how our Purpose had to be formatted in our Articles of Incorporation. Additionally, there was some language in there that made it sound like we function as an interpreting agency. The President gets numerous emails from local businesses and organizations asking about about hiring interpreters through us. We hope that removing this language will make it clear we are not an interpreting agency.
4. Adding an Ex-Officio Treasurer Position on the Board
The bylaws has had a non-voting, ex-officio President position on the board to help with the transition of the position. The board has found that this is also very helpful to have for the Treasurer and would like to see it written into the bylaws.
5. Uncontested Elections
In our most recent annual election, there was nothing to vote for because everyone was running unopposed. However, to follow our bylaws, we still had to have an election and incur the costs for that. We are proposing that if there is ever a slate of candidates where everyone is running unopposed that we do not have to send out ballots. Also, we noticed that the Secretary will cast one vote for anyone running unopposed, but that could be a conflict of interest if the secretary is having to vote for themselves. Therefore, we added language that another board member not currently up for election would instead cast the vote.
6. Adding Special Elections Rules
As recently noted by our Elections Committee, our bylaws stipulate when we need to have a special election but then give no guidance on how to do that. Therefore, we added a section that is very similar to our regular elections section.
7. Allowing for Electronic Voting
Our bylaws currently only allow electronic voting for board positions. This means that any other votes, like the one to update the bylaws, must be done by mail or in person. We would like to remove the restrictive language to allow future voting to happen electronically.
8. General Clarifications / Updates to Reflect Current Practices
Some things in the bylaws were antiquated or do not reflect how the board actually operates. For example, the Board looks at the financials at every board meeting and approves any expenses that are outside of GVR's typical expenses. Therefore, there is no need for the Treasurer to have the board approve an annual budget. Also, things like filing our taxes were nowhere to be found in the bylaws.
9. Fixing Contradictions / Impossibilities
There were a few places where things just didn't make sense. For example, there was language about Members at Large being elected on alternating years, however two people two two year terms can't alternate with one person who has a three year term. It's not mathematically possible. Also, the section about quorum was confusing the rules about who needed to be present to start a meeting and how many votes were needed to pass motions. Lastly, there was mention about a CEO in one section, but GVR does not have one.
10. Fixing English Grammar
This document has been edited and updated many times, which has caused some grammatical errors to slip in, so we're trying to clean up as many of those as we can find.
Please see the updated bylaws here