Generic National Bylaws

AMVETS DEPARTMENT OF MAINE BYLAWS

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Article I. Department Executive Committee    2

Article II. Committees    3

Article III. Duties of Officers    5

Article IV. Charters……………………………………………………………………..7

Article V. Discipline of Posts and Post Members    8

Article VI. Membership    8

Article VII. Monies and Collections    8

Article VIII. Restricted Use of Organization    11

Article IX. Meetings    11

Article X. Accounting for Monies    11

Article XI. Amendments    11

DEPARTMENT BYLAWS

ARTICLE I: DEPARTMENT EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

Section 1.  Each post in the Department of Maine shall elect a Department Executive Committeeman to represent the post at all meetings of the Department Executive Committee.  Each post shall also elect an Alternate Department Executive Committeeman.  In case of death, removal from office or resignation of a Department Executive Committeeman, the duly elected alternate will serve the unexpired term of said committee.  In the event of the absence or disability of the Department Executive Committeeman to participate in the proceedings of the Department Executive Committee (DEC) meeting, the duly elected alternate shall cast the vote of said Department Executive Committeeman.

Section 2
(a)    Stated meetings of the Department Executive Committee shall be held as follows:  in conjunction with the Department convention and in the months of March or April and the months of November or December.  On reasonable notice, special meetings may be held at the call of the Department Commander.  The Department Commander shall call a meeting of the Department Executive Committee on the written request of Department Executive Committeemen from at least 25 percent of the organized posts.  All DEC meetings will be held within the state of Maine.
(b)    Expenses for attending a meeting of the Department Executive Committee shall be based on round trip coach (where available) between the committeeman’s city of permanent residence and the city where the meeting is being held.  Department Executive Committee members shall be reimbursed for their expenses as follows:
(1)    The Department Vice Commanders, Department Judge Advocate, Department Finance Officer, Department Chaplain, Department Provost Marshal and Department Executive Committeemen shall receive round trip air coach travel expenses to all meetings, plus the sum of $100 for each duly called meeting; expenses in conjunction with the Department convention will include the aforementioned round trip air coach travel plus the sum of $200.
(2)    In the event of an additional duly called special meeting, expenses will be made as prescribed by action of the Department Executive Committee at the time the meeting is called but in no case shall the said expenses exceed the above prescribed formula.
(3)    The aforesaid allowances shall be paid only to the Department officers aforementioned and the members of the Department Executive Committee, or to alternates seated in their stead, and only when each of the foregoing is present and answers the roll call conducted during the course of said meetings.

Section 3. A majority of its members shall constitute a quorum of the Department Executive Committee.

Section 4. The Department Finance Committee shall be charged with the preparation of the annual budget and the handling of funds, subject to the approval of the Department Executive Committee and the limitations set forth in the constitution.

Section 5.
(a)    The Department commander may preauthorize any department officer, committee chairman, member of a committee or other authorized representative to receive reimbursement for authorized activity on behalf of the organization.  At each meeting of the Department Executive Committee, the Finance Officer shall report all such disbursements since the last meeting of said committee for its approval.
(b)    Those persons referred to above and those listed in 2(b)(1) must submit completed expense vouchers postmarked not later than 30 days after the end of the fiscal year in which the expenses occurred.  Vouchers received after that date will not be considered for payment.

Section 6. No member may hold more than one elected department office at one time.  All questions affecting the eligibility for office and conduct of Department officers shall be referred to and determined by the Department Executive Committee.  All questions affecting the eligibility for office and conduct of Department Executive Committeemen, department officers or members of the Department Executive Committee shall be referred to and determined by the Department Executive Committee.  Any Department Executive Committeeman elected to a department office by a Department Convention shall, if the individual accepts the department elective office, be deemed to have resigned the office as Department Executive Committeeman.

Section 7. From among the membership of the Department Executive Committee, the Department Commander shall appoint a Department Grievance Committee, consisting of three members, to hear grievances and appeals as are provided for in this constitution and bylaws and to report its findings and recommendations to the proper authorities.  The Department Commander shall designate the chairman.  This committee shall function during the Department convention and meetings of the Department Executive Committee.  Such appointees shall serve at the pleasure of the Department Commander.  The Department Commander and Department Judge Advocate shall serve as ex-officio members of this committee without vote.

Article II: Committees

Section 1: Department Committees.  The following committees are hereby identified as Department committees.  The Department Commander shall appoint (except where otherwise indicated) a chairman, vice chairman and such members of AMVETS to each committee as are necessary to accomplish its objectives.  The Department Commander shall prescribe the duties and responsibilities of said committees unless otherwise indicated.  All committees will receive and develop and consider resolutions.  Appointments are effective July 1 and are for a period of one year (except where otherwise indicated).  The member composition, duties and responsibilities of the Department Executive Committee, Department Finance Committee and Department Grievance Committee are described elsewhere in the Department Constitution and Bylaws.

Community Services and Activities Committee

Constitution and Bylaws

Credentials Committee. To supervise the registration of delegates, alternates, members and guests at the Department convention and to set forth the voting strength of the convention in accordance with the provisions of the AMVETS Department Constitution and Bylaws.  The Department commander shall appoint at least one member to the Credentials Committee as recommended by each candidate for Department commander.

Honors and Awards Committee.

Membership Committee. To consider all matter relating to the development of AMVETS through membership activities.

POW/MIA Committee

Programs Committee

Resolutions Committee.

VAVS Committee.

Women Veterans Committee.

Convention Rules Committee.  To review annually the Rules of the Annual Convention, and present said rules, with any recommended changes, to the Spring Department Executive Committee meeting for approval by the DEC.
(1)Besides the members appointed to the committee by the Department Commander, the committee shall include the Chairman of the Constitution & Bylaws Committee.

Section 2:  Special Committees
(a) The Department commander may appoint such special committees as deemed necessary to the proper conduct of organizational affairs, subject to the approval of the Department Executive Committee.
(b) Such appointees shall serve during the term of the administration appointing them and terminate on expiration of the term of the appointing administration.

Section 3: Each committee authorized by these constitution and bylaws must report its activities and recommendations at each DEC meeting and at the annual Department convention.

ARTICLE III: DUTIES OF OFFICERS

Section 1:  All elected and appointed officers shall be administered the Oath of Office at the end of the Department Convention and shall take office on July 1, serving until June 30 of the following year.

Section 2:  Department Commander.  The Department Commander shall be the executive head of Department of Maine AMVETS, with full power to enforce the provisions of the Department Constitution, the Department Bylaws and the will of the Department convention and Department Executive Committee.  The Department Commander shall serve as a ex-officio member without right to vote on all committees.  The Department commander shall perform such other duties as are usually incident to the office.

Section 3: Department Vice Commanders.  The Department Vice Commanders shall act as representatives of the Department Commander in all matters referred to them by the Department Commander and, on the Department Commander’s request, preside over sessions of the Department Convention or the Department Executive Committee.
(a)    Department First Vice Commander.  The Department First Vice Commander shall be primarily responsible for the membership of the organization and shall coordinate with all post membership directors or vice commanders in charge of membership.  The Department First Vice Commander shall also—
(1)    correlate the convention mandates on membership between the state department and posts;
(2)    review and reevaluate current membership programs and report his recommendations to the Department Commander, the Department Executive Committee and the Department Convention;
(3)    endeavor to create and present new membership incentives to the Department Commander and the Department Executive Committee;
(4)    be informed as to the membership strength of the department and all posts within the Department of Maine.  The Department First Vice Commander shall be responsible for seeing that this information is circulated monthly to all posts and to all Department officers.
(5)    perform such other duties in connection with membership as the Department Commander shall direct.
(6)    The Department First Vice Commander shall not be a member of the same post as the Department Commander.
(b)    Department Second Vice Commander. The Department Second Vice Commander shall be primarily responsible for the programs of the Department of Maine and shall coordinate all department program chairmen.  The Department Second Vice Commander shall also—
(1)    review and reevaluate the existing programs and convey recommendations to the Department Commander, the Department Executive Committee and the Department Convention;
(2)    coordinate all programs between Department and post levels;
(3)    be responsible for studying and recommending new programs to the Department Commander and the Department Executive Committee for consideration;
(4)    be indoctrinated on all programs instituted by the Department of Maine, especially those involving contact with the general public.
(5)    perform such other duties in connection with AMVETS programs as the Department Commander shall direct.
(6)    The Department Second Vice Commander shall not be a member of the same post as the Department Commander or the Department First Vice Commander.

Section 4: Department Adjutant (Executive Director).  The Department Adjutant (Executive Director) shall be charged with the administration of the policies and mandates of the Department convention, the Department Executive Committee and the Department Commander.  The Department Adjutant (Executive Director) shall issue such directives as may be necessary to posts, stay in contact with the Department Commander during the Department Commander’s absence from Department Headquarters and perform such other duties as are usually incident to the office.  The Department Adjutant (Executive Director) shall serve as the secretary of the Department.  The Department Adjutant (Executive Director) shall serve at the pleasure of the Department Commander and the Department Executive Committee.

Section 5: Department Finance Officer. The Department Finance Officer shall be custodian of the funds of the Department.  All checks disbursing the funds of the Department organization shall be signed by two or more persons as designated by the Department Executive Committee, and the Department Finance Officer shall make reports on the condition of the department treasury when called for by the Department Commander or Department Executive Committee.  The Department shall provide a surety bond for said position.  The Department Finance Officer shall perform such other duties as are usually incident to the office.

Section 6: Department Judge Advocate. The Department Judge Advocate shall advise the department officers and the Department Executive Committee on all legal matters, including the construction and interpretation of the National and Department Constitution and Bylaws, and shall perform such other duties as are usually incident to the office.  The Department Judge Advocate shall review all contracts prior to execution by the organization and serve as an ex-officio member without right to vote on all committees.

Section 7: Department Chaplain. The Department Chaplain shall perform such religious and nonsectarian services as may be necessary, adhering to the appropriate ceremonial rituals, and discharge of other duties incident to the office.

Section 8: Department Provost Marshal. The Department Provost Marshal shall maintain order at the Department Convention, DEC meetings and such other ceremonies/functions as directed by the Department Commander.

Section 9: Department Inspector General. The Department Inspector General shall be the investigating officer of the department.  By direction of the Department Commander or the Department Executive Committee, the Department Inspector General shall make any necessary investigations pertaining to grievances, disciplinary cases, fraud or dishonesty within the department and charges of conduct unbecoming an AMVET, and shall be empowered to have access to all records, financial and otherwise, of all posts, post officers or members when necessary for the discharge of the Department Inspector General duties.  In making such investigations, the Department Inspector General shall report to the Department Commander who shall, in turn, review the findings with the Department Judge Advocate and, if warranted, report to the Department Executive Committee.  The Department Inspector General shall serve at the pleasure of the Department Commander and the Department Executive Committee.

ARTICLE IV: CHARTERS

Section 1
(a)    The Department Executive Committee may suspend, cancel or revoke a post charter in accordance with the UNIFORM CODE OF PROCEDURE FOR THE REVOCATION, CANCELLATION OR SUSPENSION OF POST CHARTERS (NATIONAL BYLAWS, Appendix A).
(b)    A post charter that has been thus suspended may be reinstated by action of the Department Executive Committee if that post purged itself of the offense within 60 days of its suspension.  If the delinquency is not cleared to the satisfaction of the department executive committee within 60 days, appropriate action shall be taken by the committee to affect revocation or cancellation of the charter.

Section 2. Any post failing to meet the obligations imposed on it by the Constitution and Bylaws, or ceasing to function for six months as a post of AMVETS or voluntarily ceasing to function as a post, or merging with one or more other posts, or refusing or failing to pay the department and national per capita dues within 60 days after collection by the posts, shall, on order of the Department Executive Committee, surrender its charter.

Section 3
(a)    On revocation or cancellation [or suspension] of the charter of a post, said post shall immediately cease operation and, on revocation or cancellation, turn over its charter and assets to the Department Commander or Department Executive Committee.  The Department Executive Committee is authorized, empowered and directed by and through its duly authorized agent to take possession, custody and control of all records, property and assets of said post.  So much of the said assets as are required for the purpose shall be applied to any indebtedness of said post, provided, however, that nothing contained herein shall be construed as requiring the Department of Maine to take over or to assume any financial responsibility of such post.  Assets are to be held in trust for a period of 12 months and in the event the post charter is not reissued within the 12-month period, said property, money and effects shall become the absolute property of the Department of Maine.
(b)    When the charter of a post is canceled or revoked for any reason, said charter shall be returned to the department within 30 days.

Section 4. On appeal of disciplinary actions, all pertinent documents, including transcripts and other supporting documentation of said hearings, shall be directed to National Headquarters for review by the National Judge Advocate.

ARTICLE V:
DISCIPLINE OF POSTS AND POST MEMBERS

Section 1. Each post of AMVETS shall be the judge of its own membership, subject to the provisions of the constitution and bylaws of the national and department organizations.
(a)    When the conduct of any member of AMVETS is such that it in any way will reflect discredit on, or invite criticism of, the organization, or [any member] who belongs to or joins any group, organization or party that is not compatible with the aims and principles of AMVETS, the Department Commander shall immediately bring the matter to the attention of the post of which the individual is a member.  If the post fails to act and protect the name of AMVETS, the Department Executive Committee may suspend the charter of the post involved, pending a hearing and final action by the Department Executive Committee.

Section 2
(a)    Members may be suspended or expelled by a post or the state executive committee on a proper showing of cause.  Written charges, which shall be furnished the member involved at least 30 days prior to the date set for the hearing, shall be based on disloyalty, neglect of duty, dishonesty or conduct unbecoming a member of AMVETS.
(b)    The Department Executive Committee or post shall follow the UNIFORM CODE OF PROCEDURE FOR THE SUSPENSION OR EXPULSION OF A MEMBER (NATIONAL BYLAWS, Appendix B).  The provisions for appeal of suspension or expulsion within that procedure (NATIONAL BYLAWS, Appendix A) shall also be followed in case of appeal of post or department action.

Section 3. Any member who has been suspended or expelled in accordance with Section 2 hereof has the right of appeal.  In the event the suspension or expulsion is imposed by the post, the appeal shall be to the Department Executive Committee.  In the event the suspension or expulsion is by the Department Executive Committee, the appeal shall be to the National Executive Committee.  In the event the suspension or expulsion is by the National Executive Committee, the appeal shall be to the National Convention.  The decision of the appellate body shall be final.

ARTICLE VI: MEMBERSHIP

Membership in AMVETS constitutes membership in the Department of Maine AMVETS through post affiliation or membership-at-large.  All AMVETS shall, prior to their acceptance as members, pledge allegiance to the United States of America and its Constitution and certify that they have read, or have had read to them, The Principles of AMVETS, and that they accept and subscribe to same, and that they shall not advocate or belong to any group or organization advocating the overthrow of the United States government by force.

ARTICLE VII: MONIES AND COLLECTIONS

Section 1. All department and post officials handling AMVETS funds shall be properly bonded with a good and solvent bonding and surety company, acceptable to the U.S. Treasury, as surety to cover the average amount of AMVETS funds handled by such individual in a single year.

Section 2
(a)    No contracts involving expenditures in excess of $2,000 of Department of Maine AMVETS funds shall be negotiated without inviting a reasonable number of competitive written bids and where the required products are of equal quality, the contract shall be awarded to the lowest bidder.
(b)    All contracts to be executed by the Department of Maine AMVETS shall be approved by the Department Executive Committee and signed by the Department Commander and attested to by The Department Adjutant (Executive Director) after said contract has been reviewed by the Department Judge Advocate.

Section 3
(a)    No public fund-raising project or program of any kind or character shall be undertaken by or on behalf of any post or combination of posts or subordinate thereof unless the contract, agreement or other arrangement under which such a project or program is to operate has first been submitted for the prior approval of the Department Judge Advocate and then to a standing committee of the national organization composed of the President of the National Service Foundation, the National Judge Advocate and the National Commander.  A public fund-raising project is defined as any project or program involving a solicitation or request to nonmembers of AMVETS for a donation or pertaining to the sale of merchandise, goods, tickets, or advertising matter of any kind or character.  In the event of an adverse decision by the department judge advocate, an appeal may be made at the next state executive committee meeting.  Its action shall be final.  Any fund-raising project or program conducted by a post or any combination of posts or subordinates thereof in which there is no other person, firm or corporation involved, and in which such fund-raising project or program is conducted solely by the post, shall not be deemed to be within the purview of this section, provided that the anticipated gross receipts from such fund-raising project or program do not exceed the sum of $2,500; in the event it is anticipated that the gross receipts will exceed $2,500 in any fiscal year, then said project or program shall be submitted as described above.  Failure of a post or combination of posts or subordinates thereof to adhere to the provisions of this section shall be considered grounds for disciplinary action.
(b)    Wherever a post clubroom is maintained and operated for the convenience and pleasure of its members and the name of AMVETS or its insignia is displayed or used, a board of trustees shall be elected by and from among the members of the post to supervise its activities, operation and finances.
(c)    Any post operating a clubroom as mentioned in Section 3(b) hereof shall be required to carry workers’ compensation insurance (in accordance with the laws of the state of Maine and public liability insurance, including product liability and personal injury coverage, with a minimum single limit of $300,000.  Posts that maintain a building primarily for meeting purposes shall be required to carry public liability insurance, including product liability and personal injury coverage with a minimum single limit coverage of $100,000 or the minimum local amount prescribed by state law.  The Department of Maine AMVETS and the national department shall be included as additional insured in all policies and a certificate of said insurance shall be furnished to the State Department and to National Headquarters.
(d) Upon renewal of insurance policies which either incorporate liquor liability coverage within general liability coverage or have stand alone liquor liability coverage, a copy of the new policy will be forwarded to Department of Maine AMVETS within 30 days of the renewal date.  If a renewal confirmation is not received within 45 days of the renewal date, the Post becomes suspended until such time as the confirmation is received.
(e) Any post operating a clubroom as stated in Section 3(b) hereof shall be mandated to incorporate under a business not-for-profit corporation law, in accordance with existing Maine state statutes.  All post clubrooms desiring to be included in the AMVETS group tax-exempt status under Internal Revenue Service Code as a 501(c)(19) organization shall provide, on incorporation, a point of contact, employer identification number, mailing address and letter of authorization to the Department of Maine AMVETS and AMVETS National Headquarters.
(f) Any post failing to comply with these provisions shall be deemed to have violated the Department of Maine AMVETS Bylaws and the charter of said post shall, in accordance with adopted procedure, be subjected to suspension or revocation.

Section 4. All post and department accounts shall be kept in accordance with generally accepted accounting procedures.

Section 5. The minimum annual membership dues shall be $16.00 payable to the post, of which sum $11.00 shall be forwarded to National Headquarters and $5.00 to the Department of Maine.  Dues above the minimum set forth here shall be fixed by the post.  Members-at-large will remit the minimum dues to department headquarters, from which sum the national department will be paid the minimum national dues.

Section 6.  Life membership dues shall be not less than $150, nonrefundable and payable to the post, of which 50 percent shall be forwarded to National Headquarters and 25 percent to the Department of Maine.  Dues above the minimum set forth herein shall be fixed by the post.

Section 7. Annual members who paid their annual dues between September 1 and August 31 may convert to life membership and receive credit for their prepaid annual dues at any time during that period.

ARTICLE VIII: RESTRICTED USE OF ORGANIZATION

The Department of Maine AMVETS, or any component part thereof, shall not be used to promote the interest of any individual who is a candidate for public office or to promote otherwise any individual, political party, or faction.  Any violation of this provision shall be sufficient cause for disciplinary action against the offending member, or post.

ARTICLE IX: MEETINGS

All meetings and all matters and proceedings not otherwise provided for herein shall be conducted pursuant to ROBERT’S RULES OF ORDER.

ARTICLE X: ACCOUNTING FOR MONIES

All monies received by this department shall be strictly and accurately accounted for and a report shall be made available to all members, at each meeting of the DEC, showing the sources of all such income and expenditures thereof.

ARTICLE XI: AMENDMENTS

Section 1.  These bylaws may be amended by a majority vote of the delegates present at any Department of Maine AMVETS Convention.  Proposed amendments for action of the Department Convention must be submitted by a post, the Department Executive Committee or a Standing Department Committee to the Department Adjutant (Executive Director), by mail, postmarked at least 15 days prior to the opening date of the Department Convention.

Section 2.  These bylaws, however, may be amended by any Department Convention without notice, by a two-thirds vote.

Section 3.  No amendment, however, may be adopted unless the same is referred to the Constitution and Bylaws Committee, considered by it and reported on at the department convention.

Section 4.  Amendments to these Bylaws shall take effect immediately upon adoption, unless otherwise specified by the adopted resolution.

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