Our chapter is governed by rules established in AAJA’s national bylaws. Excerpted below is the section of bylaws pertaining to local chapters:
Article X: Chapters, subordinate officers
Section 1. FORMATION. Chapters, or branch or subordinate offices, of the corporation may be formed within or without the state of California with the approval of the Governing Board. A group of at least ten full members in a unique geographic area may request recognition as a chapter. The group must submit a letter to the Governing Board agreeing that it will further the goals of the corporation, will abide by the By-laws of the corporation and will abide by any additional requirements designated by the Governing Board.
A majority vote of the Governing Board is required for a group’s acceptance into a “pre- certification” period of one year, during which members should demonstrate their cohesiveness and ability to function as a chapter. During the pre-certification period, the petitioning group does not have voting privileges or representation on the Advisory Board.
Upon completion of the pre-certification period, the Governing Board may vote to accept the group as a chapter with full rights and privileges, to extend the pre-certification period or to deny the petition for chapter status.
Section 2. LOCAL ADMINISTRATION. The business affairs, not in conflict with the corporation, of each chapter shall be under the direction of a local board of directors. Each chapter shall determine the number of directors on its local board. Election or selection of each branch or subordinate board shall take place prior to November 1st.
Chapters with 30 or more student members shall include a non-voting student representative on their local board of directors.
Section 3. CHAPTER OFFICERS. Each chapter shall elect a president, treasurer and secretary as its officers. The president will oversee all activities of the chapter and will act as its chief executive officer. The treasurer will be responsible for all fiscal activities of the chapter. The secretary will be responsible for making and maintaining meeting minutes and documentation of other chapter activities. Chapters may also elect any number of vice presidents. Chapters shall have the discretion to establish one or two-year terms for their local officers and members of the local board of directors.
All chapter officers shall become members of the local board. All chapter officers must be full, dues-paying members of the corporation. The treasurer of the chapter may, at the approval of the local board of directors, be a full or associate member of the organization. Election of the officers should take place prior to November 1st of each year.
Section 4. VACANCIES. Vacancies in the chapter offices must be filled for the remainder of the term by an election if there is six months or more remaining in the term. A call for nomination and notice of an election must be made within 60 days that the resignation is tendered in writing to the local board. The election shall be held at the chapters next meeting or by mail as soon as reasonably possible.
If no candidates come forward, the local board may appoint a new officer after the 60-day nomination period has expired to serve the remainder of the officer’s term from among the qualified members of the chapter.
If there is less than six months remaining in the term, the local board may appoint a new director.
Section 5. CHAPTERS IN GOOD STANDING. To remain in good standing, chapters must file a financial report, and other reports as may be necessitated by these By-laws, state or federal laws, or the Governing Board within thirty days of the end of the fiscal year or on or before specific deadlines set by the Governing Board. Failure to do so may jeopardize that chapters nonprofit, tax-exempt status, which is derived through the principal office. National board members from the chapter in question may also lose their authority to cast votes on national business.
Chapters shall also submit annual election results or a list of national officers and board members with the principal office by November 5. Chapters whose status is in question will receive written notice from the principal office of the particular deficiencies and will have thirty days in which to file the necessary reports or to otherwise repair their status. In the event of a chapters failure to respond fully and adequately within thirty days, the Governing Board or its designated agents is authorized to do the following:
(i) Terminate the chapters status as a subordinate office of the corporation.
(ii) Terminate the chapters nonprofit, tax-exempt status under the national corporation.
(iii) Terminate the chapters right to representation on the national board and the chapters national board members right to vote on national issues.
(iv) Levy a fine of up to $500.
Section 6. REINSTATEMENT. To obtain reinstatement of its good standing status, the chapter must go through two stages: probation and final reinstatement. In the first, the local officers must submit a letter to the national board stating that they and the chapter will abide by the corporations By-laws and Articles of Incorporation and other policies adopted by Governing Board, file necessary reports in a timely manner and otherwise maintain their probationary good standing status as a chapter of the national corporation.
If after the first year the chapter has maintained its probationary good standing status, the Governing Board shall accept the affected chapter as a full subordinate member and recognize the final reinstatement of the chapter.
A chapter may petition for reinstatement at any time after the written termination of its status as a subordinate office of the national corporation. The petition must be made in writing by at least five dues-paying full members of the corporation who would be members of that chapter if there were still one in existence and must be addressed to the national board of directors, at the principal office. The national president, or a vice president in the absence of the president, or the secretary in the absence of the president and vice president(s) shall respond to the petition within two weeks and outline the conditions for reinstatement.