1. The name of this Council is the Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council.

2. The Council is established to assist the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in carrying out the requirements for participation in the Developmental Disabilities Act of 2000, Public Law 106 - 402, and successor legislation, and other such functions and responsibilities as are assigned by Executive Order No. 439and by the Secretary of the Executive Office for Administration and Finance, of which the Council is a unit. The Council shall serve as an advocate within State government for persons with developmental disabilities.


1. The Governor shall appoint members for terms of office in accordance with the provisions of Executive Order No. 439. The Council shall recommend new appointments and reappointments to the Governor with the request that s/he consider same and make all appointments promptly.

2. No member, other than a member representing a state agency, or the Disability Law Center, Shriver Center or Institute for Community Inclusion, may serve more than two three-year terms.

3. The Chairperson shall advise the Governor of members who should be replaced because of resignation or because the Council decided to remove the memberfor cause, including but not limited to inactivity, conflict of interest, or unauthorized use of Council name. The Council shall give reasonable notice and opportunity to be heard, which opportunity may be waived by the member, before recommending the removal of any member to the Governor.

4. Council Members shall resign by notifying in writing the Governor and Chairperson of the Council. Within ten (10) days of the occurrence of a vacancy in Council membership, the Chairperson of the Council will notify the Governor in writing and request that a replacement be appointed as soon as possible.

5. Nominations shall be presented to the Governor for all vacancies that occur. The Nominations Committee will present a list of suitable nominees to the Council, which the Council will approve prior to submission to the Governor.


1. The officers shall include a Chairperson, a Vice-Chairperson, and a Secretary.

  • The Council shall submit to the Governor the names of Council members it recommends for appointment to the Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson positions . The Governor shall appoint the Chairperson and the Vice-Chairperson. The Chairperson or Vice Chairperson shall be an individual with a developmental disability as defined in the Developmental Disabilities Act.
  • The Secretary shall be elected in accordance with the provisions of Article VI, Section 1.
  • Duties of Officers:

4.1 The Chairperson shall preside at all meetings of theCouncil. He/she shall appoint task force members with the approval of the Council. He/she shall annually review the Councils mission statement and advise the Councilif changes are needed. He/she will maintain communication with the Governor's office on relevant issues.

  • The Vice-Chairperson shall aid the Chairperson in the performance of his/her duties and shall perform all duties of the Chairpersonin his/her absence and such other responsibilities as the Chairperson or Council shall determine.

  • The Secretary shall be the custodian of the records of the Council and shall keep a permanent record of the minutes of its meetings. The Secretary shall supervise and review the development and distribution of the Council meetingminutes; maintain attendance records of Council meetings and notify the Chairperson of the inactivity of any member; and consult with other officers regardingCouncil business.

5. The Council may elect such additional officers, as it deems necessary.

6. Actions of the Chairperson shall be subject to ratification at the next meeting of the Council.

7. An elected officer may be suspended or removed only for cause by a vote of a majority ofCouncilmembers at any meeting the notice or agenda of which specifies the action to be taken. An elected officer may be removed with cause only after reasonable notice and opportunity to be heard, which may be waived by the officer.

8 . The Council shall use Roberts Rules of Order to conduct meetings.


  • Regular meetings:
    • The Council shall have a minimum of four regular meetings a year.

  • The Chairperson shall give notice of the time and place of the regular meetings to all members.

  • An agenda and supporting materials shall be distributed in advance. Any matters not appearing on the agenda may be considered at the meetingupon a favorable vote of a majority of the members present - to do so - pursuant to Robert's Rules of Order.

  • Regular meetings shall generally include reports and updates from officers, staff, and teams.

2. Special Meetings of the Full Council:

  • The Chairperson may call special meetings to address extraordinary issues that must be dealt with prior to the next regularly scheduled Council meeting.

  • Upon the request of six (6) members for a special meeting, the Chairperson shall convene a special meeting within ten (10) days. If the Chairperson should decline or neglect to do so, said members may call such a meeting upon their own authority.

  • Notice of a special meeting shall be given to all Council members in writing or by phone at least (7) days in advance.

3 A quorum shall consist of one-third of the Council members . A quorum shall be required for any final action. When the presiding officer calls a meeting to order, it is her/his duty to determine that a quorum is present, although s/he need not announce it. If a quorum cannot be obtained, the Chairperson calls the meeting to order, announces the absence of a quorum, and entertains a motion to adjourn, to recess, or to take measures to obtain a quorum.

4. Any final action shall require the vote of a majority of those present.

5 The Council shall follow Robert's Rules of Order, which provides that members vote to accept an agenda at the beginning of a meeting after which it can only be changed by a 2/3-majority vote.

6. All meetings shall comply with the provisions of section 11A and 11B of Chapter 30A of the General Laws and successor legislation popularly referred to as "The Open Meeting Law".


1. Members shall notify the Council staff prior to the meeting when they find they are unable to attend any regular or special meeting.

2. Three (3) unexcused absences of any member within a Council membership year shall be grounds for removal from membership.

3 Members must phone or write an explanation for each absence prior to a scheduled meeting or within five (5) days after a meeting for an excused absence to be granted. Reason and date of communication will be noted on the absence list.

4 The following conditions will always constitute excused absences: illness of member or family, childbirth, required business or professional travel, inability to obtain childcare, employment responsibilities, lack of transportation, inclement weather, civic activities, PCA problems or death. The Chairperson will resolve any question as to whether an excused absence should be granted .

5. State government representatives shall be excused for absences due to conflicting commitments required by their official position.

6. Excused absences shall be recorded as excused on the official minutes of each meeting.

7 Members with three (3) unexcused absences (according to attendance records) will be notified in writing of the intent to remove them from membership and their right to a hearing before any action is taken.

7.1 After such notification, members will have ten (10) days to respond in writing, requesting a review if they so desire. Such review shall include the opportunity to be heard.

7.2 Failure to respond within ten (10) days shall be considered a waiver of the hearing right and the member will be recommended for removal, with notification to all necessary parties.

7.3 Any hearing on removal will be held within a reasonable time and conducted by an ad hoc group of three (3) members appointed by the Chairperson. Their majority determination is final.


1. The officer not appointed by the Governor, the Council Secretary, shall be elected from among the membership at the first fall meeting to serve until the next year's first fall meeting and until their successors have qualified, provided that no elected officer shall serve more than two consecutive one-year terms in that office.

2. A Nominating Committee shall be formed at the first fallmeeting to serve until its duties are discharged.

2.1 The committee shall be appointed by the Chairperson and shall consist of a minimum of three (3) members and a staff designee.

2.2 The Committee shall provide notice in writing of its Nominees to all Council members at least twenty-one (21) days in advance of the Council meeting.


  • The Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson, Secretary and Executive Director shall be the members of the Executive Committee.

  • The Executive Committee shall meet as necessary between the regularly scheduled Council meetings.

  • The Executive Committee shall be empowered to act on behalf of the Council between regular Council meetings

  • A full report of all Executive Committees actions shall be submitted to the Council at its next regular meeting.


1. No Council member is to use the name of the Council for any purpose other than one clearly authorized by the Council and consistent with Council policy.


1. Members shall adhere to the conflict of interest laws which govern the conduct of "Special State Employees" contained in the Massachusetts General laws, Chapter 268A.

2. Whenever a member has reason to believe that the actions of any Council member(s) may be in violation with State conflict of interest laws, he/she shall immediately notify the Council's legal counsel.

3. Members must annually sign a statement to act in accordance with the Council's Conflict of Interest Policy.


1. The by-laws shall be effective upon ratification by the Council and approval by the Secretary of the Executive Office for Administration and Finance, provided that there has been a public hearing.

2 The Council may amend its by-laws at any regular Council meeting by a two-third vote of the members present, provided that there is a quorum present and that the agenda of the meeting and wording of the proposed amendment is distributed to the total membership at least twenty-one (21) days prior to the date of the meeting. Such amendments will be effective upon approval by the Secretary of the Executive office for Administration and Finance.

Date of Council Ratification: September, 2002

Date approved by the

Secretary of the Executive Office of Administration and Finance: December, 2002

This information is provided by the Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council.