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The NMRT Governance Committee has undertaken a comprehensive review of our Constitution and Bylaws. We have noted 6 areas that we believe might be appropriate for amendment. They are as follows.
1. According to the Article VIII of the NMRT Constitution, the electronic version of the Constitution on the NMRT website is supposed to be the authoritative edition. However, it does not appear that is the case and we appear to be relying on the NMRT Wiki version. We can either try to keep the version on the website current (which may include technological hurdles) or amend the Constitution to say that the authoritative edition is on the NMRT Wiki page, which is what the Governance Committee proposes.
2. There are a few typos in the Constitution and Bylaws that the Governance Committee proposes be corrected. Specifically they appear in Constitution Article V. section 3; Constitution Article VII, Section 3; and Bylaws Article V, Section 2.
3. There is some odd formatting in Constitution Article VII, at Section 3. The Governance Committee proposes the formatting be fixed and a new Section 4 added.
4. Throughout the Constitution and Bylaws reference is made multiple times to having a vote by mail ballot. As the organization moves toward online voting the Governance Committee suggests a revision of these sections to remove references to this practice. Specific references we recommend deleting appear at Constitution Article VII, Section 3; Constitution Article VII, new Section 4; Constitution Article 8; Bylaws Article III, Section 6.
5. As requested by the Board, the Governance Committee has explored the issue of adding a Vacancy Clause to the NMRT governance documents. Our proposal is to add a new section to 2 to Article IV of the Bylaws which would read as we have included below.
We do want to highlight one area of possible difficulty with regard to the vacancy of the NMRT Councilor position. As our structure currently exists, we provide for Officer positions to be filled by election of the membership at the next general election unless that election is less than 4 months away. I presume this is to allow time to comply with the nominating committee and practical requirements of hosting an election. Unfortunately the ALA Bylaws at Article IV, Section 6 provides that a vacancy on the council representing a Round Table must be filled by regular election within a maximum of one year. What this means is that if our NMRT Councilor vacated their position 2 months before an election, we would not have time to elect a new one within the regular election cycle and 12 months later we would be without an NMRT Councilor for 2 months before the following election cycle. I don’t see a way around this without making a substantial revision to our practices and the Bylaws and so I would propose we let this be, acknowledging the possible risk.
6. The only other item the included in the ALA Constitution and Bylaws that the NMRT Board may consider useful for inclusion in the NMRT governance documents would be an article in the bylaws related to Finances. The ALA Bylaws Article IX on Finances provides:
- Section 1. Except for projects supported by grants to the Association, annual estimates of income shall be based upon the unexpended balance remaining from the previous year plus anticipated revenues for the next budget year. In no case may expenditures be budgeted in excess of the estimates of income arrived at in this manner except for projects supported by grants to the Association. The annual estimates of income and budget objectives for each year are to be submitted to Council for approval.
- Section 2. An audit of all accounts shall be made annually by a commercial auditor.
- Section 3. A report shall be made annually to the membership, by a duly authorized member of the Executive Board, detailing receipts and expenditures, explaining the Association’s fiscal status, and reporting on the audit.
Much of what is in this Article on Finances is already current practice of NMRT. If the Board would like to have a similar provision included in the NMRT Bylaws, the Governance Committee will be happy to draft something appropriate. Otherwise, it can remain as a practice of the organization without being memorialized in our governance documents.
Attached to this post is a copy of our proposed revision to the Constitution and Bylaws with in-line revisions. Note that items we propose to take out are crossed out and items we propose to add are in italics.
We hope that this is helpful to you. Please let me know what other way the Committee can be useful to you and the Board in the context of these documents.
Andrea [Mullarkey, Parliamentarian, Governance Chair]