As amended by unanimous vote of the membership on June 9, 2015
ARTICLE I: NAME AND PURPOSE
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 Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 2000, Public Law 106 - 402, and successor legislation, and other such functions and responsibilities as are assigned by Executive Order No. 512 and 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.
ARTICLE II: MEMBERSHIP
1. The Governor shall appoint members for terms of office in accordance with the provisions of Executive Order No. 512.
2. No member, other than a member representing a state agency, Disability Law Center, Shriver Center or Institute for Community Inclusion, may serve more than two three-year terms.
3. Members representing a state agency, Disability Law Center, Shriver Center and Institute for Community Inclusion shall be appointed by their respective Secretaries, Commissioners or Directors.
4. Nominations for Membership
4.1 The Council shall submit nominations to the Governor for all citizen membership vacancies that occur.
4.2 The Membership Committee shall present a list of nominees recommended for citizen member appointment to the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee shall submit a final list of nominees to the Council.
4.3 All nominees must be approved by a majority vote of the Council prior to submission to the Governor.
4.4 The Council may remove any member from the Council only for cause including but not limited to inactivity, conflict of interest, or unauthorized use of Council name. Such removal shall be by a vote of a majority of Council members at any meeting, the notice or agenda of which specifies the action to be taken. A member may be removed with cause only after reasonable notice and opportunity to be heard, which may be waived by the member.
The Chairperson shall advise the Governor of members who should be replaced because of resignation or because the Council voted to remove the member for cause.
4.5 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.
ARTICLE III: OFFICERS
1. The officers shall include a Chairperson, a Vice-Chairperson, and a Secretary. The Chairperson or Vice Chairperson shall be an individual with a developmental disability as defined in the Developmental Disabilities Act. All officers will be elected by the membership from among the citizen members of the Council. Officers will serve for a term of two (2) years. An officer may serve no more than two consecutive terms in his or her elected position.
- One (1) at-large member shall serve on the Executive Committee. The at-large member shall be elected by the Membership from among the citizen members of the Council. The at-large member shall serve for a term of two (2) years. At-large members may serve no more than two consecutive terms on the Executive Committee.
- Duties of Officers
3.1 The Chairperson shall preside at all meetings of the Council. He/she shall appoint any task force members. He/she shall annually review the Council’s mission statement and advise the Council if changes are needed. He/she will maintain communication with the Governor's office on relevant issues.
3.2 The Vice-Chairperson shall aid the Chairperson in the performance of his/her duties and shall perform all duties of the Chairperson in his/her absence, serve as chairperson of the Membership Committee and such other responsibilities as the Chairperson or Council shall determine.
3.3 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 meeting minutes; maintain attendance records of Council meetings and notify the Chairperson of the inactivity of any member; and consult with other officers regarding Council business.
4. An elected officer may be suspended or removed only for cause by a vote of a majority of Council members 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.
ARTICLE IV: EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
- The Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson, Secretary, Member At-Large and Executive Director shall serve as 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.
ARTICLE V: ELECTIONS
1. Election of officers and the member-at-large will occur at the last meeting of the federal fiscal year (October 1 – September 30) on a rotating basis. The Chairperson and Member-at-large shall be elected in odd years. The Vice- Chairperson and Secretary shall be elected in even years. All elected positions shall begin their terms of office on October 1st of the next federal fiscal year.
2. At least 30 days prior to the last meeting of the federal fiscal year, the Executive Director shall distribute to each Council member a Nomination to Serve Form listing all vacant elective positions for the next federal fiscal year, and a deadline for submitting the form. To be eligible for election Council members must return an executed Nomination to Serve Form to the attention of the Executive Director by the stated deadline.
3. Voting: Election to each position shall be by majority vote of a quorum of the voting members of the Council. Candidates who have submitted a Nomination to Serve Form for a position by the stated deadline will be on the ballot for election, unless they request their name be removed from consideration. If there are an insufficient number of eligible candidates to fill a position at the time of voting, the Chairperson may open the floor to nominations, but only for the position(s) with an insufficient number of eligible candidates. A nominee must be present to accept a nomination from the floor.
4. Absentee ballots: Absentee ballots will be accepted if submitted prior to the Call to Order at the last meeting of the federal fiscal year. The Executive Director will distribute absentee ballots only upon request by a member. Absentee ballots will list all candidates eligible for election to each position.
5. Vacancies: In the event an elected officer (other than Chairperson) or an elected at-large member resigns or otherwise leaves the Council during his/her term, the Chairperson may appoint a replacement from the eligible membership. Such replacement shall serve the remainder of the term of the vacated position.
ARTICLE VI: MEETINGS
1. Regular meetings:
1.1 The Council shall have a minimum of four regular meetings each federal fiscal year, at least three of which must be meetings of the full Council.
1.2 At the last meeting of the federal fiscal year, the Council shall vote to choose the meeting dates for the next federal fiscal year.
1.3 An agenda and supporting materials shall be distributed to all members in advance of all meetings. Any matters not appearing on the agenda may be considered at the meeting upon a favorable vote of a majority of the members present.
1.4 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".
1.5 All meetings shall follow Robert's Rules of Order.
1.6 A meeting 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.
1.7 Members will vote to accept an agenda at the beginning of a meeting after which it can only be changed by a 2/3-majority vote.
1.8 Meetings shall generally include reports and updates from officers, staff, and members.
1.9 Any final action shall require the vote of a majority of those present.
- Special Meetings of the Full Council:
2.1 The Executive Committee may call special meetings to address extraordinary issues that must be dealt with prior to the next regularly scheduled Council meeting.
2.2 Upon the request of six (6) citizen members of the Council 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.
2.3 Notice of a special meeting shall be given to all Council members in writing or by phone at least (7) days in advance.
ARTICLE VII: ATTENDANCE POLICY
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, 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.
ARTICLE VIII: UNAUTHORIZED USE OF COUNCIL NAME
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.
ARTICLE IX: CONFLICT OF INTEREST
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.
ARTICLE X: AMENDMENTS
1. The by-laws shall be effective upon ratification by the Council.
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.
Date of Council Ratification: June 9, 2015
This information is provided by the Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council.