Bylaws

Constitution and Bylaws of the Alabama Chapter

For the purposes of the Alabama Chapter Constitution and Bylaws document the use of the term “AER” shall mean the “Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired” otherwise known as the “International Association” and the use of the term “Alabama Chapter” shall mean the state chapter of AER. While the “Alabama Chapter” is associated with AER as a designated state chapter the Alabama Chapter was duly recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as an independent 501 © 3 organization in February, 1984. The Alabama Chapter Articles of Incorporation were filed on August 27, 1987, in the Probate Judges office in Talladega County, and can be found in Volume 24, Pages 50 and 51.

ARTICLE I. NAME

The name of this organization shall be Alabama Chapter of AER a state affiliate of the international Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER).

ARTICLE II. PURPOSE

The purpose of the Alabama Chapter of AER shall be to render all possible assistance to the promotion, development, and improvement of all phases of the education and rehabilitation of individuals who are blind or visually impaired. The chapter will:

Section 1. Increase public understanding of the social and economic gains to individuals and the state through providing opportunities for all individuals who are blind or visually impaired to become self-sufficient and self-supporting.

Section 2. Provide a forum on a state and/or local level for the discussion of all issues relating to services for persons who are blind or visually impaired, the prevention of visual impairments, and provide publications and training relating to this purpose.

Section 3. Encourage an interdisciplinary approach to programs and services to persons who are blind or visually impaired. This will be accomplished by maximizing the knowledge and skills of all related professions.

Section 4. Foster research to advance the knowledge and skills for the improvement of services to all persons who are blind or visually impaired.

Section 5. Assist in the development of professional standards for personnel engaged in providing specialized programs and services to all persons who are blind or visually impaired.

Section 6. Assist in the development of professional standards for specialized programs serving persons who are blind or visually impaired.

Section 7. Initiate, collaborate, and cooperate with other groups in the development of programs for the benefit of persons who are blind or visually impaired.

Section 8. Increase public understanding of the etiology of visual impairment and its impact on individuals and society.

ARTICLE III. MEMBERSHIP

Section 1. Eligibility. Membership in the Alabama Chapter shall be open to all persons, agencies, and organizations who are AER members and live or work within the state of Alabama.

Section 2. Non-Discrimination. No person, agency, or organization otherwise eligible shall be denied membership in the Alabama Chapter on the basis of age, gender, race, religion, national origin, or disability.

Section 3. Types of Memberships. AER has established two types of membership: Individual and Institutional.

3.1 Individual Membership and Institutional Membership. The AER Board shall establish, in policy, categories for Individual and Institutional membership defining eligibility requirements, benefits and privileges of each.

Section 4. Memberships Fees. Dues for Individual and Institutional membership shall be established by the AER Board of Directors.

Section 5. Membership Division. There shall be established membership divisions to encourage and promote professional standards and/or improvement of services to persons who are blind or visually impaired. Each member, by virtue of membership in AER, may select membership in any of the divisions and if that member is a voting member of AER , he or she shall be eligible to vote in the selected division(s). Each division shall establish a membership fee, pursuant to guidelines set by the Council of Division Chairs and approved by the AER Board of Directors. Such fee shall be collected by AER at the time the member pays AER's dues and shall then be rebated to the appropriate division(s).

Each member of AER shall have the privilege of attending any duly held meeting of any division, but may vote only in those divisions in which he/she is a member in good standing.

Each division shall elect from its membership a Chairperson-elect, a Secretary, and any additional officers or Board as decided by majority vote of its division members. Division officers shall serve until their successors have been elected except that the Chairperson-elect shall succeed to the Chair without election.

Each division shall adopt bylaws which are not in conflict with AER Bylaws. Such bylaws and any revision shall be submitted to the AER Bylaws Committee for review and recommendation for action by the AER Board of Directors. A division's bylaws shall be on file in the AER Central Office.

The divisions of AER and the Alabama Chapter are as follows: Each division must have five (5) members in good standing to be a recognized division:

  • Division 1 - Administration
  • Division 2 - Voc. Rehab. Counseling & Employment Services Business Enterprise Program
  • Division 3 - Multiple Disabilities & Deaf/Blind
  • Division 4 - Psychosocial Services
  • Division 5 - Information & Technology
  • Division 7 - Low Vision
  • Division 8 - Infant & Preschool
  • Division 9 - Orientation & Mobility
  • Division 10 - Education Curriculum
  • Division 11 - Rehabilitation Teaching
  • Division 15 - Division on Aging
  • Division 16 - Itinerant Personnel/TVI
  • Division 17 - Personnel Preparation

Section 6. The membership shall serve as the lawmaking and policy making body of the Alabama Chapter. It shall elect the Board of Directors and officers of the Alabama Chapter.

ARTICLE IV. OFFICERS

Section 1. The officers of the chapter shall consist of a President, President-elect, Secretary, and Treasurer.

Section 2. The officers, except the President, shall be elected every two years by mail ballot according to procedures in Article VIII. The President-elect shall succeed to the office of the President without election for a term of two years. In the event the office of the President-elect becomes vacant, an additional office of President will be added to the ballot.

Section 3. The Officers, the Secretary, and the Treasurer shall serve a two-year term. The Officers, the Secretary, and the Treasurer may be re-elected. The Officers, the Secretary, and the Treasurer shall be installed and assume their duties at the last business meeting of the annual training conference.

Section 4. In the event of a vacancy in the office of President, the President-elect shall serve the remainder of the term as acting President and, upon completion of said term, shall assume the presidency in normal order. In the event of a vacancy in the office of the President-elect, there shall be no replacement until the biannual election at which time there shall be elected a President and President-elect. In the event of a vacancy in both the offices of President and President-elect, the immediate past President shall preside over the Board of Directors. The Board will then select a President to serve until the next election. In the event of a vacancy in the office of Secretary or Treasurer, the Board of Directors may appoint a replacement from its own body or the general membership for the remainder of the term. If the immediate past President is unable to serve for any reason, no vacancy shall be deemed to have occurred.

Section 5. Duties of Officers. Subject to the control of the Board, all officers shall have authority and perform such duties in the management of the Alabama Chapter as may be provided by the membership and these Bylaws, as generally pertain to their respective offices.

  • 5.1 The President shall preside over all meetings of the membership and the Board of Directors.
  • 5.2 The President-elect shall serve as assistant to the President, and, in the absence of the President, shall preside over meetings of the membership and the Board of Directors. The President-elect shall serve as the Chair of the Program Committee for the annual training conference.
  • 5.3 The Secretary shall be responsible for the records of the Alabama Chapter and shall have the minutes of meetings prepared in proper order. The Secretary shall conduct routine correspondence as directed by the President and/or Board of Directors and shall see that records are transmitted to the successor at the completion of his/her term of office. The Secretary shall preside at Board meetings in the absence of the President and the President-elect.
  • 5.4 The Treasurer shall be the chief financial officer and shall be bonded. The Treasurer shall see that regular financial statements are prepared in accordance with recognized accounting principles and shall report to the Board of Directors prior to the annual conference and may under the direction of the Board, report to the full membership at the annual conference. The Treasurer shall preside at board meetings in the absence of the President, President-elect, and Secretary.

ARTICLE V. BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Section 1. Authority. The Board of Directors shall consist of the officers of the chapter, the immediate past President, and six other members in accordance with the requirements of the Constitution and the terms of the Bylaws.

Section 2. Directors. Initially, six members shall be elected to the Board of Directors with two serving for a period of three years; two serving for a period of two years; and two serving for a period of one year. Thereafter, two Board members shall be elected annually to serve for a period of three years.

Section 3. Quorum. A quorum shall be constituted by the presence of a majority of the currently occupied seats on the Board of Directors.

Section 4. Purpose. The Board of Directors shall serve as the governing and policy-making body of the chapter between meetings of the membership.

Section 5. Meetings. The Board of Directors shall meet at the annual training conference. The Board shall hold no less that than four meetings during the calendar year to be at the call of the President or three other members of the Board. The Board may participate in special meetings by means of telephone conferencing or e-mail.

Section 6. Resignations. In the event that any member of the Board is unable to serve for any reason, the Board shall elect from the members-at-large a person to complete the unexpired term of that elected board member.

Section 7. Ex-officio Members. AER officers, AER Board members, AER regional officers and/or AER regional representatives shall be ex-officio members of the organization, and shall serve with the Board, but will have no voting status on the Board.

Section 8. Removal of Director(s). Any one or more of the Directors may be removed with cause or for missing two consecutive called board meetings. Removal of a Director shall require a quorum of the Board to be present and a majority vote of those present. The President shall provide written notice of removal to the Director(s) concerned.

Section 9. Votes. Each member of the Board of Directors shall have the right to debate any question before the Alabama Chapter Board and other assembly of the AER. Each Board member shall have one vote. No officer or Director shall be permitted to assign his/her vote to another Board member.

Section 10. Policy Implementation. The Board of Directors shall have the authority to develop and implement policies and rules governing the orderly business of the Alabama Chapter. No policy or rule resulting from this authority shall be in conflict with or supersede this Constitution and Bylaws. Such policies and rules shall be the result of a majority vote of the Board, when a quorum is present, and shall appear as a policy or rule in the same form as found in the approved minutes of the Board. Policies and rules shall be made available in written form to the membership for review upon request.

Section 11. Annual Report and Budget. At the annual training conference, the Board of Directors shall present to the membership a report verified by the President and the Treasurer and approved by an audit committee selected by the Board, showing in detail the following:

  • 11.1 The assets and liabilities, from both unrestricted and restricted funds, as of the end of a twelve month fiscal period.
  • 11.2 The principal changes in assets and liabilities, from both unrestricted and restricted funds, during said fiscal period.
  • 11.3 The revenue or receipts from both unrestricted and restricted for particular purposes, during said fiscal period.
  • 11.4 The expenses or disbursements for both unrestricted and restricted purposes, during said fiscal period.
  • 11.5 The annual report of the Treasurer shall be filed with the records of the Alabama Chapter and a copy thereof entered in the minutes of the proceedings of the annual conference of the members. The Board of Directors shall review and make recommendations concerning the budget.
  • 11.6 The Treasurer shall have the responsibility for annually filing the proper nonprofit federal tax return for the Alabama Chapter of AER.

ARTICLE VI. COMMITTEES

Section 1. The President, upon assuming office, shall appoint standing committees and special committees as required. All appointed committee chairpersons and committee members shall be a member in good standing of said organization. The following standing committees are approved by the Board of Directors:

  • Nominating
  • Awards
  • Resolution
  • Constitution & Bylaws
  • History & Memorial
  • Program
  • Special Grants
  • Ways & Means
  • Publications
  • Public Relations
  • Membership
  • Audit
  • Legislative

Section 2. Committee chairpersons will be appointed by the President for a period of two-years. The Nominating Committee Chair shall be the immediate Past President.

ARTICLE VII. MEETINGS

Section 1. An Alabama Chapter annual training conference shall be held at a time and location determined by the President, Board of Directors, and program committee. The membership will then be notified of the time and place of the training conference.

Section 2. The purpose of the annual training conference shall be to promote the purposes of the Alabama Chapter, AER, and the interests of its membership.

Section 3. The Alabama Chapter shall make every reasonable effort to schedule and hold its annual training conference in a location where all members can participate and be fully accommodated without discrimination on the basis of gender, age, race, religion, national origin, or disability.

ARTICLE VIII. ELECTIONS

Section 1. The purpose of elections shall be to elect bi-annually by a majority of the votes cast by mail ballot the following officers: President-elect, Secretary, and Treasurer. Two members of the Board of Directors will be elected annually.

Section 2. All AER members of the Alabama Chapter with a current paid membership shall be eligible to vote for the offices of President-elect, Secretary, Treasurer, and Board of Directors.

Section 3. Election Procedures:

  • 3.1. The immediate past President shall serve as the Chairperson of the Nominating Committee and shall solicit from the membership, electronically, via email, Survey Monkey, or the Chapter’s Website nominations for each elective office or seat on the Board of Directors. Responses to this solicitation shall be collected and verified between May 1st and May 31st of the election year.
  • 3.2. Before any nomination shall be considered valid, the nominee shall submit a written statement of willingness to serve if elected. The membership of the nominee and the nominator will be verified by the nominating chair as being current and paid.
  • 3.3. In the event that at least two nominees for each elected office are not submitted by the membership, the Nominating Committee will attempt to solicit two nominees for each elected position on the final election ballot.
  • 3.4. By June 1st of the election year, based upon nominations from the membership and prepared by the Nominating Committee, a ballot shall be submitted electronically, via email, Survey Monkey, or the Chapter’s Website to each voting member.
  • 3.5. Each voting member may vote for one (1) candidate for each elective office or board seat on the ballot. Ballots must be responded to no later than June 30th of the election year.
  • 3.6. The candidate receiving the most votes for each elective position shall become the holder of the office at the final business meeting of the annual training conference. In the event of a tie vote in the election for any office, the election shall thereon be decided by a drawn lot.

ARTICLE IX. CHAPTERS

Section 1. Members in the Alabama Chapter shall reside or work in the State of Alabama at the time of their application for membership.

Section 2. The Alabama Chapter shall aid in planning and shall support and participate in regional and international meetings sponsored by the AER.

Section 3. Tax Status. The Alabama Chapter is organized exclusively for charitable and educational purposes, including, for such purposes, the making of distributions to organizations under Section 501 (c) 3 of the Internal Revenue Code (or the corresponding section of any future Federal tax code).

No part of the net earnings of the organization shall inure to the benefit of, or be distributable to its members, trustees, directors, officers or other private persons, except that the organization shall be authorized and empowered to pay reasonable compensation for services rendered and to make payments and distributions in furtherance of Section 501 (c) 3 purposes. No substantial part of the activities of the organization shall be the carrying on of propaganda, or otherwise attempting to influence legislation, and the organization shall not participate in or intervene in (including the publishing or distribution of statements) any political campaign on behalf of, or in opposition to, any candidate for public office. Notwithstanding any other provision of these articles, the organization shall not carry on any other activities not permitted to be carried on (a) by an organization exempt from Federal income tax under Section 501 (c) 3 of the Internal Revenue Code (or corresponding section of any future Federal tax code) or (b) by an organization, contributions to which are deductible under Section 170) (2) of the Internal Revenue Code (or corresponding section of any future Federal tax Code).

Upon the dissolution of this organization, assets shall be distributed for one or more exempt purposes within the meaning of Section 501 (c) 3 of the Internal Revenue Code (or corresponding section of any future Federal tax code), or shall be distributed to the Federal Government, or to a state or local government, for a public purpose. However, if the named recipient is not then in existence or no longer a qualified distributee, or unwilling or unable to accept the distribution, then the assets of this organization shall be distributed to a fund, foundation or corporation organized and operated exclusively for the purposes specified in Section 501 (c) 3 of the Internal Revenue Code (or corresponding section of any future Federal tax code).

ARTICLE X. AMENDMENTS

Section 1. This Constitution and Bylaws may be amended at any business meeting held during the annual training conference or by soliciting from the entire voting membership of the Alabama Chapter, electronically, via email, Survey Monkey, or a similar web based application, or the Chapter’s Website votes to approve or disapprove amendment(s) to the Alabama Chapter’s Constitution and Bylaws.

Section 2. The amendment(s) shall originate in one of the following manners: 1) submission by petition of at least ten voting members, or 2) submission by a majority vote of the Board of Directors.

Section 3. Notification. A proposed amendment shall be submitted to the Board of Directors at least thirty days prior to consideration by the Board and shall, in turn, be made available to the entire membership no less than thirty days prior to the final vote date by the membership.

Section 4. Adoption of Amendments. Adoption of proposed amendments requires a quorum and affirmative vote of at least two-thirds of the voting membership present at a business meeting or the affirmative vote of at least two-thirds of the votes returned.

ARTICLE XI. QUORUM

Section 1. A quorum at a regular business meeting shall be constituted by the presence of at least twenty percent of the membership who registered at the annual training conference during which the business meeting is being held.

ARTICLE XII. BUDGET AND FISCAL

Section 1. In addition to the membership fees, the Alabama Chapter may accept gifts or donations from interested individuals or groups and may conduct fund raising activities as approved by the membership for the general purposes or special projects of the Alabama Chapter.

Section 2. All income shall be handled by the Treasurer. All monies shall be deposited in accounts by the Treasurer and approved by the President and Board of Directors. All funds deposited shall be reported to the President and Board of Directors.

Section 3. Regular expenditures of the Alabama Chapter shall be made in accordance with a budget prepared by the Treasurer and approved by the Board of Directors. All checks for expenditures must be signed by the Treasurer.

Section 4. Special projects will be maintained under the direction of the Board of Directors.

Section 5. Any non-budgeted expenditure or amount(s) in excess of the approved budget shall need the approval of the Board of Directors before payment will be made.

Section 6. The Board of Directors of the Alabama Chapter at its January 2004 board meeting established the "AER Billy Don Sims Scholarship Fund" in honor and memory of its namesake for the sole purpose of providing an annual scholarship for students pursuing a degree in the fields of Rehabilitation Counseling, Rehabilitation Teaching, Orientation and Mobility, Teacher of the Visually Impaired and/or a field of work directly related to the provision of services for the blind or visually impaired. All funds and property in the "AER Billy Don Sims Scholarship Fund" shall be defined as a restricted fund. As such all funds and property in the AER Billy Don Sims Scholarship Fund shall be kept and maintained in a separate, distinct and independent account from funds and property otherwise belonging to the Alabama Chapter and defined as its unrestricted or general operating account. Notwithstanding that during the course of AER business any funds and/or property collected and designated for the "AER Billy Don Sims Scholarship Fund" may be temporarily held in the AER unrestricted general operating account while waiting transfer to the restricted account. The restricted fund, including its accumulated income and the appreciation in its value, and including gifts to the fund that may be accepted by the Alabama Chapter on or after January 1, 2004, shall be used for the sole and restricted purpose of providing an annual scholarship, or scholarships, to be presented annually at the Alabama Chapter training conference. The Board of Directors, upon recommendations of the President and Scholarship Chairperson, shall determine the amount of the annual scholarship, or scholarships, to be awarded.

Section 7. The goal of the "AER Billy Don Sims Scholarship Fund" is to make available an annual scholarship, or scholarships, in honor of its namesake in perpetuity and in the event that for any and all reasons the 501 (c) 3 organization known as the Alabama Chapter or known by any other name shall dissolve and cease to exist, the restricted "AER Billy Don Sims Scholarship Fund" shall become the property of the Alabama Institute for Deaf Blind Foundation, Board of Directors. As such it is the desire of the Alabama Chapter that the Alabama Institute for Deaf Blind Foundation, Board of Directors continue to manage and administer the fund in perpetuity by providing an annual scholarship, or scholarships, in honor and memory of its namesake Billy Don Sims.

ARTICLE XIII. PARLIAMENTARY AUTHORITY

Section 1. The Alabama Chapter, except as otherwise provided in this Constitution and Bylaws or in rules adopted by the Board of Directors, shall be governed in all of its meetings by parliamentary law as contained in Robert's Rules of Order, Newly Revised.

ARTICLE XIV. AWARDS

Established awards of the Alabama Chapter may be presented at the annual training conference as recommended by the Awards Committee and approved by a majority vote of the Board of Directors. The established awards are as follows:

Grider Award - The Grider Award is presented to a person who has made a significant contribution in working for persons who are blind or visually impaired to promote an understanding of blindness and visual impairment in the mainstream of society. The recipient of this award must be or have been actively involved in helping persons who are blind or visually impaired have fuller, more meaningful, productive, and independent lives. He or she shall have exemplified the pioneer spirit, dedication to service, and quality of direct services to persons who are blind or visually impaired as shown by the life and reputation of Charles B. Grider.

Cox Award - The Cox Award is presented to a member of the Alabama Chapter. This person must have been a member for at least three years and must have shown, in the judgment of the Awards Committee, his or her commitment to the goals and principles of the Alabama Chapter. The recipient shall have aided persons who are blind or visually impaired in their quest for acceptance in their community.

Paraprofessional/Worker of the Year Award - This award will honor a full-time paraprofessional or worker who is a member of this chapter. The award will be presented to a paraprofessional/worker who has been employed at least three years, has performed duties conscientiously, has taken pride in the work performed, has shown initiative, has assumed additional responsibility when called upon, and has demonstrated a good working relationship with supervisors, co-workers, and the public. The recipient shall have promoted an understanding of blindness and acceptance of persons who are blind or visually impaired by the public.

Employer of the Blind Award - This award will be presented to an employer who has given an individual who is blind the opportunity to work in business or industry, thereby demonstrating that the employee who is blind has been accepted by his employer because of his ability. Other criteria include willingness to modify or change existing equipment, schedules or procedures to enable the employee to become more competitive in today's labor market. Nominees shall advocate positively to promote hiring and employment of persons who are blind or visually impaired.

Other awards may be recommended by the Awards Committee and approved by a majority vote of the Alabama Chapter Board of Directors.

Special Projects and Activities - From time to time the Board of Directors, at its discretion, may approve the allocation of chapter funds from its unrestricted accounts for special purposes such as a project(s), grant(s), contributions, and/or donations for activities that the Board of Directors deems that is in the best interest of the chapter, and advances the purposes of the organization and its membership as a whole. The adoption and approval of any special project presented to the Board of Directors requires a quorum and the affirmative vote of at least two-thirds of those voting.

Amended and Approved by a majority vote of the Board of Directors at its March 29, 2016 meeting, at the ADRS Homewood Office, and submitted to the Alabama AER Membership by Mail Ballot for approval. The Fifty Three Alabama AER Members of record were mailed ballots on March 31st with a return deadline for approval or disapproval of May 6, 2016. Eleven ballots were returned with 10 votes approving and 1 vote disapproving. This is the final and complete version of the Alabama AER Chapter bylaws as of May 6, 2016.

Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired
Alabama Chapter