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NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND
OF NEW YORK STATE, INCORPORATED
CONSTITUTION
October, 1988

ARTICLE I: NAME

The name of this organization shall be the National Federation of the Blind of New York State, Incorporated, hereinafter referred to as NFB/NYS.

 

ARTICLE II: PURPOSE

The purpose of NFB/NYS is to function as an affiliate of the National Federation of the Blind; to serve as a vehicle for collective action by the blind of this state and of the nation; to function as a mechanism through which the blind and interested sighted persons can come together in local, state, and national meetings to plan and carry out programs to improve the quality of life for the blind; to provide a means of collective action for parents of blind children; to promote the vocational, cultural and social advancement of the blind; to achieve the integration of the blind into society on a basis of equality with the sighted; to take any other action which will improve the overall condition and standard of living of the blind.

 

ARTICLE III: MEMBERSHIP

Section A: The membership of NFB/NYS shall consist of the members of its local chapters, the members of its divisions, and members at large. Members of divisions and members at large shall have the same rights, privileges and responsibilities as members of the local chapters.

The Board of Directors shall establish procedures for admission of members at large, determine how many classes of such members shall be established, and determine the annual dues to be paid by each class.

Section B: Each member shall have one vote at the State Convention. In order to vote, a member must have paid dues, and be present at the State Convention.

 

ARTICLE IV: OFFICERS AND BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Section A: The officers of this organization shall be: (1) president; (2) first vice-president; (3) second vice-president; (4) secretary; and (5) treasurer. They shall be elected at the annual State Convention during odd-numbered years by a majority vote of the members present and voting. Officers shall serve for two year terms.

Section B: This organization shall have a Board of Directors consisting of the five constitutional officers and one delegate from each chapter.

 

ARTICLE V: POWERS AND DUTIES OF THE CONVENTION, THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS AND OF THE PRESIDENT

Section A - Powers of the Convention: NFB/NYS will meet annually in Convention assembled at a time and place to be selected by the President, with the approval of the Board of Directors. At least five Board members (two of whom must be officers) and twenty additional members must be present to constitute a quorum to transact business at a State Convention.

The Convention is the supreme authority of the organization. It is the legislature of NFB/NYS. As such, it has final authority with respect to all issues of policy. Its decisions must be made after opportunity has been afforded for full and fair discussion.

Members in attendance may participate in all Convention discussions as a matter of right. Any member may make or second motions, propose nominations, and serve on committees; except that only blind members are eligible for election to office. Voting and making motions by proxy are prohibited.

Consistent with the democratic character of the Federation, Convention meetings shall be so conducted as to prevent parliamentary maneuvers which would have the effect of interfering with the expression of the will of the majority on any question, or with rights of the minority to full and fair presentation of their views.

Section B - Powers and Duties of the Board of Directors: The function of the Board of Directors as the governing body of the organization between conventions is to make policies when necessary and not in conflict with the policies adopted by the Convention. Policy decisions which can be reasonably postponed until the next meeting of the Convention shall not be made by the Board of Directors.  The Board of Directors shall serve as a credentials committee. It shall have the power to deal with organizational problems presented to it by any member, local chapter or division. It shall decide appeals regarding the validity of elections in local chapters or divisions; and shall certify the credentials of members when questions regarding such credentials arise.

By a two-thirds vote, the Board may suspend one of its members for violation of a policy of the organization, or for other action unbecoming to a member of the Federation. By a two-thirds vote, the Board may reorganize any local chapter or division. The Board may not suspend one of its own members, or reorganize a local chapter or division except for good cause, and after a good faith effort has been made to try to resolve the problem by discussion and negotiation. If a dispute arises as to whether there was "good cause" or whether the Board made a "good faith effort," the Convention shall have the power to make final disposition of the matter; but until or unless the Board's action is reversed by the Convention, the ruling of the Board shall continue in effect.

The Board of Directors shall meet at the time of each State Convention. It shall hold other meetings at the call of the President, or on the written request of five of its members.

Section C - Powers and Duties of the President: The President is the principal administrative officer of the organization. In this capacity, his/her duties consist of: carrying out the policies adopted by the Convention; conducting the day-to-day management of the affairs of the organization; authorizing expenditures from the treasury in accordance with and in implementation of the policies established by the Convention; appointing all committees; coordinating all activities of the organization, including the work of other officers and committees; hiring, supervising and dismissing staff members and other employees of the organization, and determining their numbers and compensation; taking all administrative actions necessary and proper to put into effect the programs and accomplish the purposes of the Federation. The implementation and administration of the interim policies adopted by the Board of Directors are the responsibility of the President as the principal administrative officer of the organization. The President is an ex officio member of all chapters, divisions and committees.

 

ARTICLE VI: LOCAL CHAPTERS AND DIVISIONS

Section A - Local Chapters: Local chapters shall be organizations of the blind controlled by the blind. No organization shall be recognized as an "organization of the blind controlled by the blind" unless at least a majority of the voting members of the organization are blind. The Board of Directors shall establish procedures for the admission of local chapters.

Any organized group desiring to become a local chapter of NFB/NYS shall apply for affiliation by submitting to the president of NFB/NYS a copy of its constitution, and a list of the names and addresses of its elected officers. Under procedures to be established by the Board of Directors, action shall be taken on the application. If the action is affirmative, NFB/NYS shall issue to the organization a Charter of Affiliation.

No organization shall be accepted and no organization shall remain a chapter unless at least a majority of its voting members are blind. The president, vice-president or vice-presidents, and at least a majority of the executive committee or board of directors of the local chapter must be blind. Each local chapter must have a written constitution or bylaws setting forth its structure, the authority of its officers and the basic procedures which it shall follow. As a condition of affiliation, a chapter must hold at least six general membership meetings per year. The principal executive officers of a local chapter must be elected at least once every two years.  There can be no closed membership. Proxy voting is prohibited in local chapters.

Chapters must not merely be social organizations, but must formulate programs and actively work to promote the economic and social betterment of the blind. Local chapters must comply with provisions of the Constitution of the National Federation of the Blind, and of this Constitution. Policy decisions of the National Federation of the Blind, and of NFB/NYS are binding upon local chapters and divisions.  Local chapters and divisions must participate affirmatively in carrying out such policy decisions.

A local chapter or a statewide division must not indulge in attacks upon the officers, Board members, leaders or members of the Federation, or upon the organization itself, outside of the organization, and must not allow its officers or members to indulge in such attacks. This requirement shall not be interpreted to interfere with the right of a local chapter (or division), or its officers or its members, to carry on a political campaign inside the Federation for election to office or to achieve policy changes. No chapter or division may join or support, or allow its officers or members to join or support, any temporary or permanent organization inside the Federation which has not received the sanction and approval of the Federation.

At least thirty days prior to the State Convention, the local chapter shall provide to the Secretary of NFB/NYS the names and addresses of its members. Copies of all amendments to the constitution and/or bylaws of a local chapter shall be sent without delay to the President of NFB/NYS.

No publicly contributed funds may be divided among the membership of a local chapter on the basis of membership. On or before January 1 of each year, the chapter treasurer must submit to the Treasurer of NFB/NYS membership dues as shall be established by the Board of Directors of NFB/NYS. At the same time, each local chapter treasurer shall send the Treasurer of NFB/NYS a detailed financial report setting forth all assets of the chapter, including, but not limited to checking accounts, savings accounts, liquid accounts, certificates of deposit, stocks and bonds, real and personal property. This report must also detail all income and fund-raising activities, as well as set forth all outstanding liabilities of the chapter.

Section B - Divisions: NFB/NYS shall organize statewide divisions in accordance with procedures established by the Board of Directors. Such divisions shall function as statewide chapters, and as such, shall be subject to all the rules outlined above for local chapters, with the exception that a division of parents of blind children shall not be required to have a majority of its board of directors and officers to be blind, provided a majority of its members, board of directors and officers be parents of blind children.

Section C - Disciplinary Action: Any member, local chapter or division of this organization may be suspended, expelled or otherwise disciplined for misconduct, or for activity unbecoming to a member, local chapter or division of this organization, by a two-thirds vote of the Board of Directors, or by a simple majority of the members present and voting at a State Convention. If the action is to be taken by the Board, there must be good cause, and a good faith effort must have been made to try to resolve the problem by discussion and negotiation. If a dispute arises as to whether there was "good cause" or whether the Board made a "good faith effort," the State Convention (acting in its capacity as the supreme authority of the organization) shall have the power to make final disposition of the matter; but until or unless the Board's action is reversed by the State Convention, the ruling of the Board shall continue in effect. If the action is to be taken by the Convention, written notice must be given at least thirty days prior to the session of the Convention at which the action is to be taken.

 

ARTICLE VII: AFFILIATION

NFB/NYS shall be an affiliate of the National Federation of the Blind, and shall furnish to the President of the National Federation of the Blind annually, on or before January 1, a list of the names and addresses of its members and elected officers, a copy of the Constitution of NFB/NYS, and of all amendments to the Constitution. These shall be sent to the President of the National Federation of the Blind without delay. NFB/NYS shall not merely be a social organization, but shall formulate programs and actively work to promote the economic and social betterment of the blind. This organization shall comply with the provisions of the Constitution of the National Federation of the blind, and the provisions of the contract appearing on the back of the Charter of Affiliation issued to state affiliates by the National Federation of the Blind. Policy decisions of the National Federation of the Blind (whether made by the National Convention or the National Board of Directors) are binding on this organization, and this organization shall participate affirmatively in carrying out such policy decisions. As a condition of affiliation, it is agreed by this organization that the National Federation of the Blind, (whether by action of the National Convention or the National Board) has the power to expel or discipline an individual member, and to expel and reorganize a state affiliate or local chapter or division of an affiliate, and the former affiliate or local chapter or division shall dissolve and cease to exist.

The name national federation of the blind, federation of the blind, or any variant thereof, are the property of the National Federation of the Blind; and any affiliate, local chapter or state division of an affiliate which ceases to be part of the National Federation of the Blind (for whatever reason) shall forthwith forfeit the right to use the name national federation of the blind, federation of the blind, or any variant thereof.

 

ARTICLE VII: DELEGATES TO THE NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND CONVENTION

This organization shall appoint the President and First Vice-President as delegate and Alternate Delegate, respectively, to the National Federation of the Blind Convention. To the extent of the resources of this organization, the expenses of the Delegate and Alternate Delegate to the Convention of the National Federation of the Blind shall be paid by NFB/NYS. The Delegate and/or Alternate Delegate shall, upon request, submit to the members of this organization a detailed report of his/her activities and voting record.

 

ARTICLE IX: DISBURSEMENT OF FUNDS

The funds of this organization shall be deposited in a bank to be selected by the Treasurer with the approval of the President. All financial obligations of this organization shall be discharged by check issued on written order of the President, and signed by the Treasurer.

 

ARTICLE X: VACANCIES

If a vacancy should occur for any reason in the office of president, the first vice-president shall assume all duties of the president for the remainder of that term of office. The second vice-president shall assume the duties of the first vice-president for the remainder of the term. The Board of Directors will appoint a second vice-president. Likewise, if a vacancy should occur in the office of first vice-president, the second vice-president will assume the duties of the first vice-president for the remainder of the term, and the Board will appoint a second vice-president.  If vacancies occur in the offices of second vice-president, secretary or treasurer, the Board will make appointment of replacements. In all cases, appointments of the Board of Directors to office shall not extend beyond the following State Convention, at which time elections will be held to fill any mid-term vacancies in the offices of second vice-president, secretary and treasurer. Persons elected in mid-term will serve for one-year terms.

 

ARTICLE XI: DISSOLUTION

In the event of the dissolution of this organization, or if (for whatever reason) this organization ceases to be an affiliate of the National Federation of the Blind, its assets shall be given to the National Federation of the Blind to be held in trust for a reorganized affiliate in New York State. In the event that no affiliate is reorganized in the State for a period of two years from the date this organization ceases to be an affiliate of the National Federation of the Blind, the assets shall become the property of the National Federation of the Blind.

 

ARTICLE XII: AMENDMENTS

This Constitution may be amended at any annual State Convention of this organization by an affirmative vote of two-thirds of the members present and voting, provided the proposed amendment has been submitted in writing to the President, and read at a

business session of the Convention prior to the session during which the vote is taken; and provided it is not inconsistent with the provisions of the Charter of Affiliation received from the National Federation of the Blind, and with the policies of the National Federation of the Blind.