GEORGIA COUNCIL OF THE BLIND, INC.
Amended November 13, 2021
Article I: Name
The name of this organization shall be the Georgia Council of the Blind, Inc., herein known as GCB, affiliated with the American Council of the Blind (ACB).
Article II: Purpose
The purpose of GCB is to promote the general welfare of legally blind people of Georgia and to cooperate with ACB in activities to promote the wellbeing of all blind people:
A. By providing a forum for the views of blind people from all walks of life throughout Georgia;
B. By helping to elevate the social, economic and cultural level of blind people;
C. By improving education and rehabilitation services and by expanding vocational opportunities;
D. By encouraging and assisting newly blind people, through peer support, to develop their abilities and potentials;
E. By cooperating with public and private institutions and agencies of and for the blind; and
F. By conducting a program of public education aimed toward improving the understanding of the problems of blindness and the capabilities of blind people.
Article III: Membership
Section 1: Eligibility
At least a majority of the members of this organization must be legally blind.
All members of GCB shall be at least sixteen (16) years old. Members shall be of two (2) classifications: Members who are affiliated with local chapters, and members at large who are not affiliated with local chapters. A person may be a member of more than one chapter, but shall be an active member of only one chapter in which state and national dues were paid. In other chapters, this person shall pay local chapter dues and shall be an associate member of such chapters.
Section 2: Rights and Privileges
All GCB members shall have the right and privilege to vote and to speak on the floor. Any GCB member desiring to serve on local, state and national committees, or to serve as a representative on local, state and/or national Boards and/or hold office on the local, state and national level, cannot be a current member of any part of an organization of the blind whose philosophies, policies, and practices conflict with those of the Georgia Council of the Blind or the American Council of the Blind.
Section 3: Removal
Any GCB member may be removed from membership of this organization upon recommendation of a majority vote of the Board of Directors and the affirmative vote of two-thirds (2/3) of the members present and voting at a regular or special business meeting. Such member shall be accorded an opportunity to be heard prior to final action by the organization. Among the causes of removal shall be failure to comply with the Constitution and Bylaws of this organization, and/or questionable conduct or behavior not in conformance with the purpose of this organization.
Article IV: Local Chapters
A. Any organized group, consisting of five (5) or more people desiring to form a local chapter of GCB, shall furnish to the president, treasurer and secretary of GCB a copy of its Constitution and a list of the names, addresses, telephone numbers, preferred formats, and email addresses of its members and officers. A majority of its members must be legally blind. The chapter may be approved by the GCB Board of Directors or by GCB in conference and convention assembled. Upon payment of dues to the GCB treasurer, and upon approval, the GCB secretary shall issue to the newly formed chapter a certificate of affiliation. Continued chapter status is based on a minimum of five (5) members.
B. On or before October 15 of each calendar year, the local chapter treasurer shall collect chapter dues, and by November 15, a membership list, prepared together by both the chapter treasurer and secretary, shall be sent to the GCB treasurer along with the payment of dues. A copy of that membership list should also be sent to both the GCB secretary and the editor of _The _GCB _Digest. The membership list shall include names, addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses, preferred format of each member, whether member is legally blind or fully sighted, and the designated officers and directors of that local chapter.
C. Throughout the year, as soon as new members join or as changes of address occur, it shall be the responsibility of the local secretary to furnish the updates to both the GCB treasurer and secretary. The local treasurer shall be responsible for giving the checks for new dues to the local secretary to be included in the mailing to the GCB treasurer. The chapter's Constitution and Bylaws shall be furnished to the GCB president if amended during that calendar year.
D. The presidents and vice-presidents of all local chapters shall be legally blind, and at least a majority of the local chapters' members must be legally blind. The president of GCB shall be a member of each chapter.
E. Each local chapter is expected to participate in fundraisers of GCB and to support the programs of the organization, such as scholarship, braille instructional outreach, vehicle donation program, and Youth Awareness Program.
F. If a chapter desires to hold a fundraiser and wishes to use the state organization's 501(c)(3) tax identification number, the following responsibilities must be fulfilled.
1. A request form must be obtained from the GCB secretary and properly filled out and submitted one (1) month in advance of the fundraiser.
2. This form shall be approved or disapproved by the five (5) constitutional officers within two (2) weeks after receipt of application.
3. The chapter members must agree, in writing, to pay to the state organization a minimum of 25% of the profits from that fundraiser, to be paid no later than six (6) months after the fundraiser has been completed.
4. Within one (1) month after the event, the chapter must submit a report of the event and its outcome to the GCB president and treasurer for accounting purposes. Such outcome form may be obtained from the GCB secretary.
5. In the event all of these procedures are not followed, the chapter in violation shall not be allowed to apply again for use of the GCB tax number for one (1) year.
Article V: Officers, Directors and Appointees
Section 1: Constitutional Officers
A. There shall be elected at the annual conference and convention every even numbered year a president, a first vice-president, a second vice-president, a secretary, a treasurer, and one representative for the members at large, each to serve a term of two (2) years. Constitutional officers and the above-mentioned representative, with the exception of the secretary and the treasurer, shall not serve for more than two (2) consecutive terms in the same office.
The newly elected Officers and directors shall assume their duties at the close of the conference and convention at which they are elected.
B. A member to be eligible to vote in person at a conference and convention must be wearing a name badge with a star to indicate he or she is a paid member of GCB. Members attending and voting by other means at the annual conference and convention must be verified as paid members by nonbiased vote counters. Each voting member attending an annual conference and convention shall be entitled to one (1) vote. A record vote shall be composed of a secret ballot vote by which the individual votes of certified voting members are taken, to be conducted in a manner as provided for in the Bylaws.
C. These officers shall be elected by a majority vote of the members who are present and voting. If a nominee does not receive a majority on the first ballot, there shall be a run-off between the two (2) candidates who have received the greatest number of votes. The president and both vice-presidents shall be legally blind.
Section 2: President Emeritus
The outgoing president, in good standing, shall serve a two-year term on the Board of Directors as president emeritus, with all the rights and privileges of other Board members.
Section 3: Board of Directors
A. The Board of Directors of GCB shall consist of the five (5) constitutional officers, the president of each local chapter or its representative (as specified in the Bylaws), the president of each special interest affiliate or its representative (as specified in the Bylaws), and one (1) member at large who shall not be affiliated with any local chapter. Board meetings are held four (4) times each year, as explained in the Bylaws.
If additional board meetings are necessary, the president of GCB or not fewer than three (3) Board members of GCB may call a special meeting of the board of directors with due notice being given. A majority of the Board must be present and voting to constitute a quorum to transact business at any Board meeting.
The GCB Constitution and Bylaws and the most recently revised Robert's Rules of Order shall be followed at all board meetings.
B. No member of the Board of Directors shall receive compensation for services to the Georgia Council of the Blind. Members may be reimbursed for actual expenses incurred in exercising their duties. No professional staff employee of GCB shall be eligible for election to any office in this organization.
Section 4: Special Interest Affiliates
Each special interest affiliate of the Georgia Council of the Blind shall have one (1) representative on the GCB Board of Directors who shall be appointed in the same manner as local chapter representatives. If the president of the special interest affiliate is also an executive officer of GCB, the affiliate or its president shall designate another legally blind person to represent the affiliate on the GCB board (as explained in ARTICLE V, Section 4 of the BYLAWS). To qualify as an affiliate it must be associated with the American Council of the Blind and its special interest affiliate, and it must pay dues to the GCB, such dues being determined by the Board of Directors of this organization. The special interest affiliate is expected to abide by the same guidelines as local chapters, set forth in Article IV, Paragraph E. of this Constitution.
Section 5: Members At Large
Members at large shall have one (1) representative on the GCB Board of Directors who shall be elected in the same manner as the five constitutional officers. The at-large representative may be legally blind or fully sighted, provided that the GCB board has a majority of legally blind members. On or before November 15 of each year, each member at large shall pay dues directly to the GCB treasurer and furnish name, address, telephone number, e-mail address, preferred format and whether legally blind or fully sighted.
The GCB treasurer will then furnish this information to the GCB secretary and the editor of _The _GCB _Digest.
Section 6: Appointees
The Editor of _The _GCB _Digest and the GCB Webmaster shall be appointed by a majority of the GCB Board of Directors, shall attend Board meetings and shall not have a vote. However, _the _GCB _Digest Editor and the GCB Webmaster may hold a state office or board member position. If either _the _GCB _Digest Editor or the GCB Webmaster holds a state office, he or she shall designate someone to represent him or her as the Editor or the Webmaster while he or she serves in that GCB office. _The _GCB _Digest Editor or the GCB Webmaster may designate a representative to serve in his or her absence from a Board meeting.
Section 7: Requirements
No elected member of the Board of Directors, any representative designated by local chapter presidents, or any appointees or committee members shall be currently affiliated with any other organization of the blind whose philosophies, policies, and practices conflict with those of the Georgia Council of the Blind or the American Council of the Blind.
Section 8: Removal of Officers and Directors
Any elected officer or director may be removed from office or appointment for good and sufficient cause, upon the recommendation by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the Board of Directors, and by the affirmative vote of two-thirds (2/3) of those present and voting at a conference and convention or a special business meeting, provided that such officer or director be accorded the opportunity to be heard prior to final action by the organization. Among the causes of removal shall be failure to comply with the Constitution and Bylaws of this organization, and/or constant failure to exercise the duties of the office, and/or constant failure to attend meetings of the GCB by not attending at least three (3) of the four (4) Board meetings per year. In the case of one or more absences from a Board meeting, the affiliate president and/or his representative will be suspended from voting for one year.
Section 9: Vacancy
In case of a vacancy among the officers or directors caused by death, resignation or removal, the president shall, with the approval of the Board, appoint an acting successor to serve until the next election, provided that the majority of the Board of Directors is legally blind.
Article VI: Meetings
Section 1: Annual Meeting
GCB shall hold an annual conference and convention, either in person, through a virtual platform, by telephone conference call, or with a combination of these formats. The date, place and format of the annual conference and convention shall be determined by the membership or by the Board of Directors. At least a majority of the members present and voting will constitute a quorum to transact business. A parliamentarian shall be appointed at each conference and convention, and the meeting shall be conducted according to the GCB Constitution and Bylaws and the most recently revised Robert's Rules of Order.
Section 2: Special Meetings
The president of GCB or not fewer than three (3) Board members of GCB may call a special meeting of the body with the consent of a majority of the Board of Directors at any time such action is deemed to be necessary, with due notice being given. At least twenty-five (25) percent of the members must be present to constitute a quorum to transact business at such special meetings. The GCB Constitution and Bylaws and the most recently revised Robert's Rules of Order shall be followed.
Article VII: Committees
From the membership of GCB, the president shall appoint the following standing committees, consisting of not fewer than three (3) members: Fundraising, legislative, membership recruitment, publicity, awards, and finance. The president may appoint such other committees as he or she, the Board of Directors, or the GCB membership may deem necessary. The president shall appoint the chair of the awards committees, and the chair shall appoint members of those committees. No chapter members shall be excluded from serving on a committee. Members at large shall be asked to serve on these committees.
Article VIII: Affiliation
GCB, an affiliate of ACB, shall furnish to the ACB annually a list of the names, addresses, telephone numbers, e-mail addresses, visual status And format preferences of the GCB members and officers, together with the dues of its members, according to the requirements of ACB.
Upon request, a copy of the Constitution of GCB shall also be sent to the ACB president.
Article IX: Dues
Dues shall be assessed and collected according to the provisions of Article VI, Paragraph D of the Bylaws.
Article X: Fiscal Year
The fiscal year of GCB shall be the calendar year from January 1, through December 31, with dues being collected and paid to the GCB treasurer on or before the prior November 15, as provided under Article V, Paragraph D of the Bylaws. Although anyone may join GCB after January and throughout the year, March 15 is the final date for ACB to determine the number of affiliate votes at the national convention for that year.
Article XI: Disbursement of Funds
The funds of GCB shall be deposited in a bank selected by the treasurer and approved by the Board of Directors. The treasurer, finance chair and the president shall be bonded.
All financial obligations of GCB shall be discharged by checks issued at the direction of the president. Checks under the amount of $200.00 must be signed by the president or finance chair in the absence of the treasurer.
Article XII: Dissolution
Upon the dissolution of any local chapter or special interest affiliate, or the surrender of its certificate of affiliation by the chapter or the affiliate, any funds and/or property belonging to such chapter or affiliate shall be remitted to GCB according to the provisions of 501(cgggg3) of the Internal Revenue Code, as amended.
Article XIII: Amendments
All proposed amendments to this constitution must be submitted in writing to the Constitution and Bylaws Committee at least two (2) months prior to the annual conference and convention. Amendments, whenever possible, shall be submitted electronically in the body of the email.
This Constitution may be amended At any annual conference and convention of GCB by an affirmative vote of two-thirds (2/3) of the members who are present and voting, provided that the amendments shall be presented to the convention prior to the day on which final action is taken. It shall be the responsibility of the constitution and bylaws committee to provide the proposed amendments to the presidents of each chapter, special interest affiliate, and representative of the members at large to be shared with all members at least two (2) weeks prior to the meeting in which final action is to be taken.
GEORGIA COUNCIL OF THE BLIND, INC.
Article I: Seal
GCB shall have the customary form of seal with the name of the corporation within the outer circle, and in the center, the words "Corporate Seal."
Article II: Offices
The executive offices of GCB shall be located in the county of residence of the current president.
Article III: Membership
The GCB receipt for annual membership dues shall constitute membership certification. The amount of dues paid by each member shall be set at each annual conference and convention.
Article IV: Local Chapters
Local chapters shall be established according to the provisions of Article IV of the Constitution.
Article V: Officers and Directors
Section 1: Election
Officers and Directors shall be elected according to the provisions of Article V of the Constitution, provided, however, that a majority of the Board of Directors shall be legally blind. No more than two (2) Constitutional Officers can be from the same chapter.
Section 2: Installation
At the beginning of each term of office, the following oath shall be administered by either the secretary or the treasurer to each officer at the annual conference and convention where the election will be held.
"I solemnly promise that I will, to the best of my ability, faithfully discharge the duties of the office to which I have been elected or appointed, will defend and support the objectives of GCB, and will do all in my power to further the well-being of all blind people within the State, Nation, and throughout the World."
No officer or director shall be entitled to a vote until he/she has taken the oath of office.
Section 3: Chapter Representation
A. Each chapter shall be represented on the Board of Directors by its president or his or her legally blind designee. If the president of a local chapter is also an executive officer of GCB, said chapter or its president shall appoint another legally blind member to serve as its full time representative. If this designee is unable to attend any one board meeting, the chapter or its president may appoint a temporary representative. This representative should be, but does not have to be, legally blind.
B. Upon obtaining forty (40) members, such chapter shall be entitled to an additional representative. Thereafter, such chapter shall be entitled to one (1) representative for every twenty (20) members obtained, provided that the majority of the GCB Board is legally blind.
Section 4: Special Interest Affiliates
Each special interest affiliate shall be represented on the Board of Directors by its president or his or her legally blind designee. If the president of a special interest affiliate is also an executive officer of GCB, said affiliate or its president shall appoint another legally blind member to serve as its full-time representative. If this designee is unable to attend any one board meeting, the affiliate or its president may appoint a temporary representative. This representative should be, but does not have to be, legally blind.
Section 5: Duties
The Board of Directors shall advise the president and shall have charge of the affairs of GCB between annual membership business meetings.
Section 6: Board Meetings
A. The Board of Directors shall meet on the third Saturday of the first month of each quarter except the quarter in which the convention takes place. The fourth meeting shall be held immediately following each annual conference and convention.
B. Board meetings may be held in person, through a virtual platform, or by telephone conference call, as determined by a majority of the Board of Directors. Locations of in-person meetings shall be determined by the Board of Directors. With the approval of a majority of the Board of Directors, the president may, if necessary, change the Board meeting to another Saturday in the same month.
C. All board members shall be given opportunity to participate in board meetings, regardless of format by which they are attending. Rollcall voting shall take place In the event of a close voice vote.
D. No voting by the GCB board shall take place via e-mail.
E. A majority of the Board must be present to constitute a quorum to transact business at any Board meeting. The GCB Constitution and Bylaws and the most recently revised Robert's Rules of Order shall be followed.
F. GCB shall pay transportation costs to Board members for attendance at Board meetings if the organization is financially solvent. Reimbursement of board members shall be discussed and voted on at the annual conference and convention board meeting. No expenses shall be paid to Board members for attendance at Board meetings held at the annual conference and convention.
Article VI: Duties of the Constitutional Officers
The president shall be the chief executive officer of GCB, with all the powers usually exercised by chief executive officers of like organizations. The president shall have the power to borrow money on behalf of GCB with the express approval of the Board of Directors. He or she shall be bonded in the amount as designated by the Board of Directors. The president must be legally blind.
The first vice-president shall assume the duties and responsibilities of the president in his/her absence. If for any reason the president and first vice-president are unable to serve, the second vice-president shall assume the duties and responsibilities of the president. Both the first and second vice-presidents must be legally blind.
(1) The secretary shall keep the minutes of all Board meetings, all special business meetings, and the minutes of all annual meetings in books provided for this purpose. He or she shall send copies of the minutes of each Board meeting to each Board member in his or her preferred reading format within thirty (30) days following such Board meeting. Other members shall be furnished copies upon request.
(2) The secretary shall notify GCB Board members of all Board meetings. He or she shall notify GCB members of all annual conference and conventions and/or special meetings of the body.
(3) The secretary shall have charge of the membership records and such other books, forms, and papers as designated by the Board of Directors.
(4) The secretary shall read the minutes of Board meetings at annual meetings if requested.
(5) With the approval of the Board of Directors, the secretary may appoint an assistant to help with correspondence and any other tasks the secretary deems necessary.
(6) The secretary shall issue certificates of affiliation to new local chapters and, in general, perform all the duties incident to the office of secretary, subject to the direction of the Board of Directors.
(1) The treasurer and the chair of the finance committee shall be bonded in the same manner as the president. At each board meeting, special business meeting, and annual business meeting at conference and convention, the treasurer shall present a full financial report to the membership and, prior to such meetings, shall provide copies to each board member in each board member's preferred format. Other members shall be furnished copies upon request.
(2) The treasurer shall collect all dues and fees payable to GCB, and shall pay promptly all duly authorized invoices.
(3) On or before October 15 of each year, the treasurer shall notify all chapter presidents and members at large that dues for GCB are payable on or before November 15 to renew membership for the following calendar year from January through December.
(4) The treasurer shall remit all annual dues to the American Council of the Blind on or before March 15, in order for GCB to meet the requirements of the Credentials Committee of ACB for number of affiliate votes at the national conference and convention, and shall continue to remit to ACB, within ten (10) days of receipt, all other membership dues paid after March 15.
(5) With the approval of the board of directors, the treasurer shall provide for the method of signing checks, drafts, notes, or other bills of exchange for the payment of money, for the transfer and sale of property of GCB, for the selection of depository, for the forms of GCB, and for the endorsement and registration of all securities. Two (2) signatures shall be necessary on each check of $200.00 or more with the exception of dues to the national office of ACB. There shall be three (3) persons designated to sign such checks. The three designated persons shall be the treasurer, the president and the chairperson of the finance committee.
(6) Monthly, the treasurer will send bank statements along with copies of receipts to the Chair of the finance committee for review. The Chair of the finance committee will then give a report of findings at the quarterly board meeting and at the annual conference and convention to the membership. With the approval of the board of directors, the president or not fewer than three (3) board members shall be authorized to designate an auditor to examine and certify as to the financial records of GCB. The president or treasurer shall report such findings to the next board meeting, special meeting, or annual business meeting of the conference and convention, whichever comes first. Copies of the report shall be provided, in advance, to each board of director in each director's preferred format, and other members shall receive copies upon request.
(7) With the approval of the board of directors, the president may appoint assistants to help the treasurer with registration at conventions, current membership information, and any other tasks deemed necessary by the president and/or the board of directors.
Article VII: Voting
Section 1: Private Voting
Members shall be able to secretly cast their individual votes at the annual business meeting or a special called membership meeting in the following cases: a close voice vote on a motion, one or more contested races in an election, or when amendments to the constitution or bylaws have been proposed.
Section 2: Procedures
A. For members attending in person, index cards will be used, with instructions to tear off one or more corners, depending on the vote members want to cast. One box with a slot will be passed by the nonbiased vote counters for each member to place his or her own index card in the slot. The nonbiased vote counters will count the number of cards and report the results to the President of GCB. If the President is running as a candidate in a contested race, the Chair of the nominating committee will receive and announce the results of the voting. Ample time shall be allowed for voting to take place.
B. For members attending by virtual platform or telephone conference call, votes may be cast by a phone call, text or email directed to nonbiased vote counters. Each member will provide his or her name for the vote counter to verify membership status. The nonbiased vote counters will count votes cast by phone call, text or email and report the results to the President of GCB. If the President is running as a candidate in a contested race, the Chair of the nominating committee will receive and announce the results of the voting. Ample time shall be allowed for voting to take place.
C. Vote counters shall be nonbiased and cannot be members of GCB.
Article VIII: Amendments
All proposed amendments to these bylaws shall be presented in writing to the Constitution and Bylaws Committee at least two (2) months prior to the annual conference and convention. Amendments, whenever possible, shall be submitted electronically in the body of the email. All or any of these Bylaws may be amended or repealed at any annual conference and convention of GCB by an affirmative vote of a majority of the members who are present and voting, provided that the amendments shall be presented prior to the day on which final action is taken.