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Home > About USCS > Constitution & Bylaws

Constitution & Bylaws

By Laws of the Universal Ship Cancellation Society

(Revised August 2016)

The By-Laws of the USCS include policy decisions of the Board of Directors and information to supplement or clarify selected provisions of the USCS Constitution. Where applicable, the corresponding article of the Constitution is referenced in parenthesis.

1. Membership dues (supplemental to Constitution Article 6)

The following dues structure is effective September 1, 2007:

a. Subscribing member – Annual subscription and sustaining fees as determined by the Board of Directors. Non-US member will pay an additional amount linked to the cost of postage to be calculated annually and added to the basic subscription fee by the Treasurer.

b. Life member – a one time, sliding fee schedule for members based on age in lieu of future annual membership dues.

c. Youth member – one half of Subscribing membership dues.

d. The Treasurer will set the rates for pro-rata dues to be paid by members who join at various times during the fiscal year.

e. The Treasurer will make a second dues notice mailing to members who have not paid their dues as of mid-February.

f. Dues once paid are not refundable.

2. Board of Directors (supplemental to Constitution Article 11)

Elected Directors are expected to:

a. Accept the obligation to participate fully in the affairs and promotion of the Society.

b. Attend the annual Board of Directors’ meeting. If not in attendance at the meeting, proxy voting will not be allowed.

c. Exercise fiscal responsibility in decisions related to budgetary matters.

d. Inform the President promptly of any problem or areas of concern which may affect the Society.

e. Attend promptly to correspondence relative to Society business.

f. Internet voting procedures are established to provide time for discussion: motions to the President will be carefully reviewed for clarity, then forwarded to the Board for a 14 day discussion period. Before the end of the discussion period, the President will send a reminder that discussion shall end on a date certain. The President will assure a quorum and call for a vote to be submitted to the Secretary. Directors may vote “for”, “opposed” or “defer (to the next board meeting)”with a plurality prevailing. The Secretary will compile the votes, advise the President of the results, and record the text and vote under “Actions Taken Since Last Board Meeting” section of the next Board Meeting Agenda.

3. Financial (supplemental to Constitution Article 13)

a. The Treasurer shall conduct the financial business of the Society on a suitable financial software program. The Treasurer will provide quarterly financial statements to the Board which show actual versus budgeted expenses for the reporting period and year to date.

b. In the annual financial statement, prepaid dues for the following fiscal year will be accounted for separately from current year operating income in order to provide a clear picture of current year financial status.

c. Service managers who deposit $2,000 or more per annum shall establish a dedicated bank account to facilitate their particular service for maximum efficiency or shall forward checks to the USCS Treasurer in a timely manner. Such dedicated bank accounts shall not be co-mingled with personal funds. The service manager shall file the name and location of the bank, account name and number and an access card with the USCS Secretary so that the latter may access the account in the event of death or disability of the service manager. Service managers shall file an annual report at the call of the President.

d. The investment policy of the USCS shall be established by an investment committee with the approval of the Board of Directors. The committee shall consist of three members including the Treasurer. The committee shall establish a simple balanced portfolio that may include mutual funds (stock) and such fixed investments as a bond fund, stock fund, money market fund, cash equivalents, and cash in the bank.

4. Log (supplemental to Constitution Article 14)

a. Articles in the Log may be reprinted by chapters outside the United States in which English is not the native


b. The Editor may refuse articles, letters or advertisements submitted for publication which, in his opinion, do not promote the study of the United States Navy and its ships or the study of postal markings of the U.S. Navy and other maritime organizations of the world.

c. Advertising rates shall be set by the Board of Directors and published in the Log.

d. Listing of covers for sale in the Log shall be made available, free of charge as space is available, to USCS members, chapters and non-profit clubs.

(1) Listings will be limited to covers directly related to the Navy or other maritime organizations.

(2) Listings will be limited to covers for sale at a nominal price, considering the cost of producing the cover.

(3) The Editor shall have sole discretion to determine whether or not a cover offered for listing meets these criteria.

(4) Sponsors shall submit either a completed cover or a $1.00 donation per cover listed. All covers submitted under this requirement become the property of the USCS and may be sold for the benefit of the Society.

(5) Covers for sale will be listed in a separate section of the Log; offers will not be included in other articles.

(6) The Editor shall publish procedures for listing covers for sale and may restrict the number of free listings per month for an individual sponsor.

5. Convention (supplemental to Constitution Article 15)

a. The USCS will sponsor awards for convention exhibits as agreed to by the Board of Directors.

b. The senior USCS member (lowest number) will be given the honor of adjourning the annual General Membership Meeting.

c. The USCS will take an ad in the convention program.

6. Elections (supplemental to Constitution Article 16)

a. Upon assuming office, the President shall appoint a Nominating Committee of five members to prepare a slate of nominees for the next biennial election for the offices of President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, and Director. Nominees will submit the required biographical information by the deadline.

7. Chapters (supplemental to Constitution Article 17)

a. USCS chartered chapters may also include non-USCS members.

b. An application for a charter shall be submitted in writing and include: (1) a roster of charter members, including non-USCS members (2) the proposed slate of officers listing, as a minimum, President, Secretary, Treasurer and Cachet Director and (3) a statement agreeing to comply with all provisions of the USCS Constitution and By-Laws concerning Chapters. If the applicant cannot comply with a certain provision(s), a request for waiver of the provision(s) and reasons therefore shall be included in the application.

c. The USCS President will submit a copy of the request to each Director who shall respond within 14 days to the Secretary who will compile the results and advise the President. The President shall notify the applicant of the Board of Directors decision within 30 days of receipt of the application. A duly signed and dated Certificate of Charter will accompany an approved application.

d. A chapter with less than three active members may be declared “Inactive” by the President.

e. Annual reports from chapters are due by January 31st

of each year and will include an up to date roster of members. The Chapter Coordinator will notify each chapter, annually in December, of the information desired with the report.

f. Any chapter which is unable to meet the Article 17b requirement concerning meetings shall request a waiver with reasons therefore with its annual report.

g. The charter of a chapter which fails to submit the required annual report for two successive years may be revoked for cause as prescribed by Article 17.

8. Recruiting

a. Each member, other than the elected officers, who recruits five or more members in a calendar year shall receive a dues-paid membership for the following fiscal year. Credits are non transferable and do not apply toward sustaining or other Society fees. The Secretary shall maintain the necessary records for this program; all decisions of the Secretary are final.

9. Heirs and Estates

a. The USCS provides an advisory service only and will recommend to heirs and estates of deceased members sources through which a collection may be disposed. USCS dealer members will be given preference whenever possible.

10. Matters of Policy

a. Mailing labels shall not be provided to private individuals other than those representing a USCS chapter.

b. All disciplinary action against or warnings to members by the Board of Directors will be noted on the member’s record and may constitute cause for refusal to renew or reinstate membership status. Should a member be expelled who, in the meantime, has not renewed membership, the expulsion shall be retroactive to the previous March 31st.

11. Donation Policy

a. The USCS encourages donations to help it in furthering its educational goals. The Society is tax-exempt under the provisions of Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and all donations to it are deductible by the donor to the extent provided by law.

b. The Society gladly accepts donations of philatelic and directly related material for its programs, the value of which is deductible by the donor subject to Internal Revenue Service rules. Under federal law, the Society is prohibited from evaluating such donations. Donors of material valued in excess if $500 in a calendar year must file IRS form 8283 (Non-Cash Charitable Contributions) with their tax returns. For donations exceeding $5,000 in a fair market value during a calendar year, the donor must obtain a qualified written appraisal for the donation to support the estimate, which estimate cannot be provided by the USCS. Because of tax reporting requirements, donation of propety valued in excess of $500 must be approved by the Board of Directors in advance. Those who wish to make large donations of philatelic property for the Veterans’ Hospital program will be given the address of a hospital so that a direct donation may be made.

c. The USCS will not accept restricted donations to other than the Veteran’s Hospital program. Donations for the Veteran’s Hospital program will be passed through at no cost when no substantial effort by the Society is required. However, donations that require sorting, evaluation, and processing will be handled with one third of the net proceeds accruing to the USCS Treasury.

d. The President shall appoint a standing Donations Committee composed of three appropriate officers, service managers or members in good standing to oversee receipt,

inventory, disposal and/or reporting in compliance with IRS

requirements of such donated material.

12. Amendments and Effective Date

a. Additions, deletions or changes to these by-laws may be made by a majority vote of the Board of Directors.

b. These by-laws, having been accepted by the majority of the Board of Directors on December 20, 1990, are effective on February 28, 1991. Modifications to Articles 1, 2, and 12 were approved July 26, 1991 and are effective October 31, 1991. Modifications to Articles 11 and 12 were approved and become effective June 11, 1994. Modification to Article 6 (Nominating Committee) was approved May 15, 1998, effective immediately. Modifications to Article 1f (second notice) and 6 (election/slate) were approved and are effective on November 12, 1999. Modification to Article 10 (Heirs & Estates) was approved effective September 19, 2000. On August 9, 2002, the dues structure of Article 1a and was modified as of the 2003-2004 renewal year; the provisions of Article 1g and 12c were added, and the financial reporting of Article 3a was modified, effective immediately. On May 26, 2007, Article 12b was modified and Article 12d added to bring requirements for donations into compliance with IRS requirements. On September 1, 2007 Article 1 was modified to delete family member status. On October 9, 2009, Article 2f was revised to stipulate Internet voting procedures and Article 7c modified. On May 28, 2010, Article 2f was modified to clarify Internet voting procedures. On April 5, 2011, Article 2b was modified to clarify proxy voting is not allowed; Article 3c was added. On April 26, 2012, Article 3c was modified to clarify service manager handling of funds. The following Articles were modified, 4c, deleting copy requirement, 4d, deleted requirement to reserve 2 pages for Log Donation auction, 5a, changed specifics on convention awards, 5b, deleted awards by individual sponsors, 5c, deleted host chapter notification of awards, 5d, deleted host chapter determination of frame fees, 5e, deleted convention coordinator need to obtain judges, 5f, deleted banquet ticket provided to judges, 5g, deleted requirements for USCS judges, 5i, changed requirement and specifics on convention show program advertisement, 8, deleted Study groups, 11a, deleted Slide Program, 11d, deleted specific pictorial cancel assistance to ships. On August 30, 2013, The Treasurer shall conduct the financial business of the Society on a suitable financial software program added to Article 3a. deleted 1b, new Life memberships. On September 19, 2014, added 3d Investment Committee. On August 20, 2016, added 1b, added Life memberships.

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