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Constitution & Bylaws
Constitution of the Universal Ship Cancellation Society
(Revised September 19, 2014)
1. Name. This Society shall be known as the Universal Ship Cancellation Society.
2. Headquarters. The official headquarters of the Society shall be at the residence of the Secretary or such place as he shall designate.
3. Purpose. The purpose of the Society is to promote the study of the history of the United States Navy and its ships; to promote and develop the collection and study of the postal markings of the United States Navy and other maritime organizations of the world; to disseminate knowledge relative to such material; and to foster a spirit of fellowship and cooperation among collectors.
4. Membership. Membership in the Society shall be open to any person, unless such person shall be denied membership for cause in accordance with the procedure set forth below.
a. Applications for membership shall be made on a form provided by the Society; they shall be accompanied by membership dues in the amount required on the date of application. Upon receipt of an application for membership, the Secretary shall assign a membership number and place the new member’s name upon the rolls of the Society. The Secretary shall send a monthly report of new members to the Log Editor for publication in the next issue of the Log.
b. Any member of the Society may challenge a new member within sixty days of the mailing of the Log listing such membership by writing to the Secretary, who shall then forward the challenge to the President. Challenges shall be acted upon by the Board of Directors, a majority of which may order the membership voided and the membership dues refunded.
c. There shall be three classes of membership:
(1) Subscribing members shall receive a subscription to the USCS Log and shall have all rights and privileges of membership, including the right to vote in elections and hold office.
(2) Life members are members 21 or older who have paid a one time membership fee in lieu of further annual membership dues. Life members shall have all the rights and privileges of Subscribing members. Life membership is non-transferable and terminates upon the death of the member.
(3) Youth members, age under 18, shall receive a subscription to the USCS Log and may vote in elections but may not hold office. A youth member automatically becomes a Subscribing member at the dues renewal date following the member’s eighteenth birthday. Date of birth must be provided with applications for Youth membership.
(4) The Board of Directors shall prescribe procedures to transition to these classes of membership from other classes that may have existed in the past.
d. Any member may be dropped from membership for cause by a two-thirds vote of all of the officers.
5. Membership Dues. Membership dues shall be as specified by the Board of Directors. Payment shall be made in U.S. funds only.
6. Unpaid Membership Dues. Any member whose membership dues for the current fiscal year are not paid by April 1 shall no longer be a member in good standing and their names shall be removed from membership and mailing lists after mailing of the April Log.
a. A former member may be reinstated by paying membership dues at the same rate as required for a new member, except that any former member applying for reinstatement in the year immediately following the year in which he was in good standing shall be required to pay the full membership dues for the year. Reinstated members shall be assigned the same membership numbers previously held.
b. Members are expected to resign when they wish to terminate their membership. Resignations should be sent to the Secretary.
7. Officers. The officers of the Society shall be President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, Immediate Past President, and eight Directors. The officers shall be designated as the Board of Directors. They shall have duties, responsibilities and privileges as set forth in this Constitution and all powers requisite to the proper performance of their duties. They shall be elected in the manner hereinafter provided for a term of two years, which term shall commence at 12 o’clock noon on the first day of April of every odd year.
a. Any officer may be removed for cause from office by a two-thirds vote of all the officers.
8. President. The President shall be the chief executive of this Society and shall be responsible for the observance and enforcement of this Constitution. He shall perform the various duties assigned to him in this Constitution. He may appoint committees for such purposes as he deems necessary and require reports from the chairmen. He shall appoint the Log Editor and all other appointive officers, and shall keep the Board of Directors informed of appointments and other matters of interest.
9. Vice President. The Vice President shall advise the President and perform such duties as required of him by the President. The Vice President shall coordinate recruiting for the Society.
10. Secretary and Treasurer.
a. The Secretary shall keep an accurate record of the membership of the Society and shall make a monthly report to the Log Editor listing new members, reinstatements, changes of address, resignations, deceased members and members dropped for cause for publication in the next issue of the Log.
b. The Treasurer shall keep an accurate record of and be responsible for all funds deposited to the Society Treasury. Funds shall be deposited, as received, in a bank insured by an agency of the federal government or in government-issued or insured financial instruments or in other investment instruments in accordance with the guidance by the USCS Investment Committee; all disbursements shall be made by check signed by the Treasurer. If necessary, the Treasurer shall maintain accounts in two or more banks so that the balance in any one bank does not exceed the insurance limit. All disbursements shall be made by check signed by the Treasurer, except those exceeding an amount prescribed by the Board shall be countersigned by a designated officer of the Society. The Treasurer shall expend no funds except as authorized by the annual budget or special request approved by a majority of the Board of Directors. He shall make regular financial reports in such form and at such frequencies as may be prescribed by the Board. The President and/or a director shall also be authorized to sign checks on the Society’s account, such authority to be exercised only in the event that the Treasurer is incapacitated for any reason. The President or his designate shall have alternate signature authority over other financial assets; password access to accounts, where used, shall be kept on file with the Secretary.
c. The Treasurer shall obtain a position bond, and the cost of the bond shall be paid by the Society.
d. The records of the Treasurer shall be examined as soon as possible after the submission of the required federal and state income tax returns for the previous fiscal year. The examination shall be conducted by an accountant experienced in such examinations who has been approved by the President.
11. The Board of Directors. The government of this Society shall be vested in a Board of Directors for the purpose of promulgating by-Laws, policies and practices. The Board shall be composed of the President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, Immediate Past President, and eight Directors.
a. The President shall be Chairman of the Board and shall preside at all meetings of the Board; however, in his absence, the Vice President, the Secretary and the Treasurer, in that order, shall preside.
b. Each officer, except the President or the person acting in lieu of the president because of the president’s absence from the meeting, shall be entitled to cast one vote, a majority being necessary to carry the vote of the Board. The President shall only have a tie breaking vote. When it is not possible for a quorum to meet together, the President shall submit all questions for vote to the officers in writing.
c. The business of the Society may be conducted at annual meetings of the Board or by mail or via the Internet using such procedures as the Board may prescribe. Any officer or Society member may submit a proposed policy or instruction to the President who shall, in turn, forward to all board members. Votes, either by mail or via the Internet shall be submitted to the Secretary for compilation before announcing the results..
d. It is the intent of this Constitution to invest the President with powers and discretion in the performance of his duties, but to retain final control in the Board of Directors.
12. Succession to Office. In the event of the absence, death, incapacity or removal of an officer of the Society, succession to office until the next regular election shall be as follows:
a. President: Vice President.
b. Vice President: Director with the highest number of votes in the last election.
c. Secretary or Treasurer: As determined by the Board of Directors.
d. Director: Nominee for Director who received the highest number of votes in the last election but who was not elected.
13. Financial. No member shall create a debt against the Society without having first obtained written authorization from the President or Treasurer. In no case shall such authorization exceed $100 unless approved by the Board of Directors. No additional expenditure shall be authorized for any office or committee, unless further approved by the Board of Directors.
a. The fiscal year of the Society shall be from April 1 to March 31 of the following year.
b. The President, within thirty days after receipt of the end of the year financial statement, shall submit a proposed budget to the Board. When the budget has been approved by the Board, this will constitute authority for the Treasurer to make the budgeted disbursements from Society funds.
c. The Board of Directors may authorize officers other than the Treasurer to hold bank accounts in the name of the Society.
14. Log. The official bulletin of the Society shall be known as the USCS Log and shall be mailed to each subscribing member in good standing. The official bulletin will be published once a month. The Log Editor shall be responsible that the expenditures for the Log are kept within the budget and that the contents of the Log do not conflict with the Constitution, By-Laws or any written order of the President or Board of Directors.
a. Advertising space in the Log may be sold at rates set by the Board; all funds received for advertising shall be forwarded to the Treasurer.
15. Convention. The Convention of the Society, shall be held at such time and place as the President may direct upon the approval of the Board of Directors.
16. Elections. The election of officers shall take place on February 15 of each odd year in accordance with the following procedures.
a. The President shall notify the membership in the August issue of the Log that nominations for the coming election will be open September 1 of the year prior to the election. Applicants shall make their availability known to the Chairman of the Nominating committee and shall certify that he or she will serve if elected. The nominee shall submit a short biographical sketch to the Secretary of the Nominating Committee by November 1.
b. Candidates for all offices must have been members in good standing of the USCS for a minimum of two years. Candidates for President must have been at one time elected national office holders in the USCS.
c. The Secretary of the Nominating Committee shall forward the list of nominees to the Log Editor for publication in the December Log.
d. On or before November 1, the President shall appoint a Ballot Committee composed of three members who are not candidates for office and who reside in a proximate geographical area. One member of the Committee shall be designated as Chairman by the President.
e. During the first week in December of the election year, the Secretary shall mail to each Subscribing, Life and Youth member in good standing, by first class or air mail as appropriate, a ballot listing all nominees and and addressed reply envelope. Alternately, the ballot and reply envelope may be included in the December Log as an insert. In order to be counted, all ballots must be received by the Chairman of the Ballot Committee before midnight, February 1st. Ballots mailed otherwise than specified shall be voided.
f. The Ballot Committee shall forward a written report signed by all members to the President listing the totals for each nominee, and the report shall be published in the March Log. In the case of a tie vote for any office, the election shall be decided by a majority vote of the Board of Directors.
17. Chapters. Five members in good standing are necessary to form a chapter. An application for a charter, signed by the chapter members and requesting the assignment of a number and suggesting a name for the chapter, shall be made to the President.
a. Each chapter and its officer shall be amenable to the Constitution and By-Laws of the Society at all times and to such regulations as the Board of Directors may prescribe for the operation of chapters. Chapters shall submit to the President, annually in January, a report summarizing the prior year’s activities and shall submit such other reports as the President may prescribe.
b. Each chapter shall be required to hold at least one meeting a year or the chapter shall be declared inactive. The President, upon direction of the Board of Directors by a two-thirds vote, may revoke a chapter charter for cause. All chapter names, numbers and charters shall remain permanent and are the property of the Society. The President may place an inactive chapter under the supervision of the Vice President, and all records, property and funds shall be turned over to the Vice President, pending reorganization.
18. Amendments. Proposed amendments to this Constitution may be proposed by a majority of the Board of Directors or by a petition signed by a minimum of twenty members in good standing. The amendment shall become effective thirty days after the mailing of the Log in which it appears unless a majority of the members voting do not approve it, in which case, it will be void.
19. By-Laws. By-Laws which are not in conflict with this Constitution may be enacted by the Board of Directors. They will be published in the Log.
20. Dissolution. Upon dissolution of the USCS for any reason, all assets of the Society shall be donated to the American Philatelic Research Library in State College, PA.
21. Effective Dates. This general revision of the Constitution was adopted by the Board of Directors in July 1971, and became effective December 1, 1971; Amendment (new Art 20) October 1, 1978; Amendment 2 (Arts 4,5,6,7,10,11,13, 16 & 17) December 1, 1985; Amendment 3 (Art 13) November 1, 1987; Amendment 4 (Art 10c) October 1, 1988; Amendment 5 (Art 4c & 16) October 1, 1991; Amendment 6 (Art 6) October 1, 1992; Amendment 7 (Art 18) November 1, 1993; Amendment 8 (Art 10) October 1, 1995; Amendment 9 (split of Secretary-Treasurer into two offices) October 1, 1996; Amendment 10 (# of directors to 9) October 1, 1997; Amendment 11 (Art 16 nominating/ballot procedures) February 1, 2000; Amendment #12 (Art 16 alternate ballot procedures) August 1, 2006; Amendment #13 (Art 4c eliminate family member category) September 1, 2007; Amendment #14 (Art 10b Treasurer requirements) October 1, 2008. Amendment #15 (Art 10b Treasurer requirements & Art 7 & 11 Immediate past president as officer, change # board members to 8, business via Internet); Amendment #16 (Art 17b chapter meeting & budget prep) Oct 1, 2010 . Ammendment #17 (Article 10d to define timing of financial review, Article 11b to define President role in voting) April 26, 2012. Ammendment #18 (Article 10b to allow investments or in other
investment instruments in accordance with the guidance by the USCS Investment
Committee). Amendment #19 (Article 7 modified to clarify term Immediate Past President) September 19, 2014
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