NORTHEAST FLORIDA MENTAL HEALTH COUNSELORS ASSOCIATION.
A CHAPTER of the FLORIDA MENTAL HEALTH COUNSELOR’S ASSOCIATION
ARTICLE I: NAME AND PURPOSE
Section 1. Name
This Association will be known as the “Northeast Florida Mental Health Counselors Association.” hereafter referred to as NEFMHCA.
Section 2. Affiliation
This Association is a District Affiliate of the Florida Mental Health Counselor’s Association (FMHCA) which is a State Affiliate of the American Mental Health Counselor’s Association (AMHCA) and is recognized by (FMHCA) as the association to represent mental health counselors in the designated District of Florida consistent with the Purposes as set forth in Article I, Section 3. NEMHCA, AMHCA, and FMHCA are all independent and autonomous professional associations.
Section 3. Purposes
The purposes of NEFMHCA are to:
1. Promote the profession of mental health counseling;
Provide a system for the exchange of professional information among mental health counselors through newsletters, journals or other scientific, educational and/or professional materials;
Provide professional development programs for mental health counselors to update and enhance clinical competencies;
Promote legislation that recognizes counseling;
Provide a public forum for mental health counselors to advocate for the social and emotional welfare of clients;
Promote positive relations with mental health counselors and other mental health practitioners in all work settings to enhance the profession of mental health counseling;
Contribute to the establishment and maintenance of minimal training and education standards for mental health counselors;
Promote scientific research and inquiry into mental health concerns;
Provide liaison on the District and State level with other professional organizations to promote the advancement of the mental health profession;
Provide the public with information concerning the competencies and professional services of mental health counselors;
Promote equitable licensure standards for mental health counselors through the State Legislature. ARTICLE II: MEMBERSHIP
Section 1. Types of Membership
There will be four types of membership: Clinical, Regular, Student and Associate. Clinical, Regular and Student members may vote. Associate members are non-voting members.
Section 2. Requirements of Membership
To qualify for membership an individual must meet specific requirements for the category of membership sought, as follows:
1. Eligibility: Applicants for clinical membership
Procedure: A person becomes a clinical member of NEFMHCA upon demonstration that professional requirements have been met and their dues have been paid. More specific procedures for implementing this section will be specified in policy adopted by the NEFMHCA Board of Directors.
Any person who has a mental health (MHC) counselor license in the DOH database.
Obligations and Privileges: A clinical member must pay annual dues, and must adhere to the AMHCA Code of Ethics. A clinical member in good standing will be entitled to vote, to attend meetings of NEFMHCA, to hold office in NEFMHCA and may enjoy such other rights and privileges as may from time to time be offered to members.
B. REGULAR MEMBER:
1. Any person who is a “Registered Mental Health Counseling Intern” in the State of Florida is eligible for Regular Membership.
1. A Regular Member in good standing will be entitled to vote, to attend meetings of NEFMHCA, to hold office in NEFMHCA and may enjoy such other rights and privileges as may from time to time be offered to members.
C. STUDENT MEMBER:
1. Academic Requirements: Any student enrolled in a graduate program (as defined by the college or university) in mental health counseling will be eligible to become a Student Member of NEFMHCA. Enrolled full/part time in a Master’s graduate program in mental health.
1. A student member must pay annual dues, and must adhere to the AMHCA Code of Ethics. A student member in good standing will be entitled to vote, to attend meetings of NEFMHCA, to hold office in NEFMHCA and may enjoy such other rights and privileges as may from time to time be offered to members. Student members who wish to hold office must be in good standing with their university at time of election. If upon graduating, from the university while in office, the student officer must intend to register as a Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern within 6 months of graduating.
D. ASSOCIATE MEMBER:
1.All professionals, licensed or unlicensed, with experience related to the mental health field. Or professionals interested in enhancing the mental health field via their professional expertise. (i.e. LCSWs, LMFTs, Psychologists, Psychiatrists, Neurologists, Nutritionists, Massage Therapists, Physicians, and community stake holders.
2. Associate members may attend meetings of NEFMHCA.
Section 3. Dues
Annual NEFMHCA dues will be established by action of the Board of Directors in accordance with these Bylaws and will be collected by the NEFMHCA Treasurer or by such administrative person designated by the president of NEFMHCA.
Section 4. Severance of Membership
A. A member may be dropped from membership for:
1.1) nonpayment of dues
2) falsely documenting that membership qualifications have been met, or
3) by action of the Board of Directors ARTICLE IV: OFFICERS OF THE CHAPTER
Section 1. Officers
The officers of this chapter will be President, President Elect, Past President, Secretary, and Treasurer. These officers will comprise the voting members of the Board of Directors of the chapter in good standing with NEFMHCA.
1. Officers of the chapter will be elected at large from among individual members of NEFMHCA. The President, President Elect, Secretary, and Treasurer will be elected for one year term. All officers will assume their elected office on July 1st.
Upon the conclusion of the President’s term of office, he or she will continue as a voting member of the Board of Directors in the office of Past President for a term of one year. In the event that the President should die, resign or be otherwise unable to continue in the office until the end of their term the President Elect will assume all duties of the office of the President.
If a member leaves the Board of Directors during his/her term of office, or an officer elect should be unable or unwilling for any reason to assume the office for which they have been elected, the President will recommend to the Board of Directors the names of replacements. The Board of Directors will appoint the replacement from these recommendations to serve for the remainder of the unexpired term.
3. If a Board Member is absent from 3 required meetings, that member will be considered for dismissal from their position by the Board of Directors, for not fulfilling their duties and responsibilities. Dismissal or retention may occur with a two thirds majority vote of the Board.
Section 2. Nomination and Election of Officers
The President will appoint, a bi-annually an Ad Hoc Elections Committee.
The Ad Hoc Elections Committee will determine the eligibility of all names submitted and will select for placement on the Election Ballot the names of at least two but not more than four candidates for each of the offices. Should an insufficient number of member nominations be submitted from members to fill the ballot, the Nominations and Elections Committee will select members willing to have their names placed on the Election Ballot. The Nominations and Elections Committee, at its discretion, may include names for inclusion on the Elections Ballot that were not submitted by members up to the specified limited number of nominations for each office.
Should a member of the chapter find cause to contest the eligibility of any nominee, written notices will be given to the Chairperson of the Ad Hoc Elections Committee within fifteen (15) days after the publication of the slate of candidates. Without a contest being entered, the slate becomes incontestable fifteen (15) days after publication. Should a contest of eligibility be entered, the Nominations and Elections Committee will, within fifteen (15) days, determine the validity of the contested nomination and take appropriate action to remedy the situation.
3. The Ad Hoc Elections Committee will complete the slate of officers published on the official website of the chapter as quickly as possible.
4. The Nominations and Elections Committee, with the approval of the Board of Directors will establish any additional policies necessary to implement this election procedure.
5. The election schedule shall be as follows: February 1: President appoints the Nominations and Elections Committee. March 1: Publication of "Call for Nominations" May 1: Publication of list of nominees and a procedure for voting June 1: Deadline for completion of voting procedure
July 1: Newly elected officers assume office.
Section 3. Powers and Duties of Officers
1. The President will serve as presiding officer of NEFMHCA, as a voting member of the Board of Directors. The President will, with the approval of the Board of Directors, appoint all Ad Hoc committees. The President will have the power to act on behalf of NEFMHCA in legislative and regulatory matters requiring immediate action. These actions will be consistent with the established legislative platform and purposes of NEFMHCA. The President will serve as a voting member of the Board of Directors, will perform such other duties as are incidental to the office, or as may be properly required by vote of the Board of Directors and/or specified by policy.
The President Elect will serve as a voting member of the Board of Directors, will coordinate the Committees and will perform such duties as may be directed by the Board.
The Treasurer will serve as a voting member of the Board of Directors. The Treasurer will perform other duties as may be directed by the President, the Board of Directors and/or by policy.
The Secretary will serve as a voting member of the Board of Directors and will be responsible for recording of minutes at all official meetings of the Board of Directors. He/she will be responsible for the timely distribution of these minutes to all members of the Board. He/she may also serve as corresponding Secretary for all officially designated Board business. He/she will perform other duties as may be directed by the President, the Board of Directors and/or by policy.
Section 4. Removal from Office
A simple majority of the NEFMHCA Board of Directors will be required to remove an elected member from the position.
A.Violation of professional, legal, or ethical codes.
Failure to carry out duties/responsibilities of office, or
Failure to act in accordance with the established legislative platform or purpose of NEFMHCA.
B. The process of removal from office must be initiated in writing by a member of the chapter. Two additional letters from members supporting removal from office must accompany the initial charge. Ethical violations must be dealt with according to procedures detailed in policy relating to such matters as set forth by the Ethics Committee. The following steps will apply in sequence when the charge relates to failure to carry out the duties and responsibilities of one’s office:
C.Written documentation of charges must be presented to the NEFMHCA President. In cases when the President is being charged, the Past President will receive the written documentation of the charges.
Notification of the charges must be provided to the officer in question and to the NEFMHCA Board of Directors.
Consideration of the issue, in closed executive session, by the NEFMHCA Board of Directors.
Attempts will be made to resolve the issues through appropriate communication channels with the intent of keeping the person in office if at all possible.
Removal from office can occur by a two thirds majority vote of the remaining voting members of the NEFMHCA Board of Directors and District Representative(s).
There will be an opportunity for the accused to respond to charges, either in person or in written form to the NELMHCA Board of Directors.
Removal from office will not be official until ninety (90) days from the date of action taken regarding charges by the NEFMHCA Board of Directors.
An appeal process will be available within ninety (90) days from the date of action taken regarding charges by the NEFMHCA Board of Directors.
During the ninety (90) day appeal period, the officer will take no official action without the expressed written approval of the President. If the officer in question is the President, the President Elect will act on behalf of NEFMHCA as President during the ninety (90) day appeal period.
The accused member of the Board of Directors will be required to abstain from voting on the issue; the accused officer may also be asked to leave the session in which the issue is considered by the remainder of the Board of Directors.
If removal from office results, written notice to this effect will be provided to the person charged by the NEFMHCA President. Removal will also be duly recorded in the minutes of the Board of Directors meeting, along with the effective date of removal. ARTICLE V: BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Section 1. Composition
A. Voting members of the Board of Directors of NEFMHCA will be composed of the President, President Elect, Past President, Secretary, and Treasurer,
Section 2. Duties and Responsibilities
1.The Board of Directors will be the agency through which the general administrative policy and executive function of the chapter are affected. The Board will be responsible for developing and implementing policies in accordance with these bylaws and with respect to FMHCA policy.
The Board of Directors will conduct, manage and control the business of the chapter in accordance with these bylaws. The Board of Directors may, at its discretion, contract with an outside organization for administrative services to be determined. No policy decisions may be delegated to any other entity.
Section 3. Meetings
The Board of Directors meets at least quarterly. Additional meetings may be called by the President or a majority of the Board of Directors. Each member of the Board of Directors has one vote. A simple majority of the voting members of the Board of Directors constitutes a quorum.
ARTICLE VI: BUSINESS AFFAIRS OF THE ASSOCIATI0N Section 1. Fiscal Year
The fiscal year will be from July 1st to June 30th
Section 2. Property of the Association
In the event the Association should be dissolved, none of its property or assets will be distributed to any of the members. Instead, all of its property and assets will be transferred to such organization or organizations as the Board of Directors will determine to have purposes and activities most nearly consistent with those of the Chapter and Association.
Section 3. Meetings
The Annual Meeting of the Members will be held in June.
Section 4. Parliamentary Authority
The parliamentary authority for meetings of the NEFMHCA will be Robert’s Rules of Order. ARTICLE VII: STANDING and AD HOC COMMITTEES.
Section 1. Standing Committees
Standing Committees are established in these bylaws. Standing Committee members will serve for a period of one year. Committee chairpersons will be appointed by the NEFMHCA President with approval of the Board of Directors. Each Committee will report to the Board of Directors, in writing, the salient activities, financial information and progress of the committee. All Standing Committee Chairpersons will be non-voting members of the Board of Directors.
The following will be Standing Committees of NEFMHCA
1.The Bylaws Committee will receive and review proposals for amending the bylaws and all resolutions submitted by various components of the Association. It will develop structures, processes and the processes of governance that effectively support NEFMHCA.
The Professional Development Committee will monitor the professional development needs of the Association’s members. It will develop and implement a comprehensive plan of continuing education directed towards clinical and practical issues. The committee will be responsible for providing workshops, publications, and in-service opportunities related to identified needs. Committee will secure speakers; collect CV, agenda and objectives to submit for CEU approval.
Section 2. Ad Hoc Committees
The committees of the Association will include Special Committees as may from time to time be established by the Board of Directors with members appointed by the President. A Special Committee will exist until, in the judgment of the Board, the purpose of said committee has been accomplished. All Special Committee Chairpersons will be non-voting members of the Board of Directors.
B. The Ad Hoc Elections Committee will be responsible for carrying out nominations and elections procedures. The committee members will be appointed by the President and consist of two Board of Directors Members and one member (non-Board member) who must be at least a “regular” member of NEFMHCA in good standing.
ARTICLE VIII: ADOPTION AND AMENDMENT OF BYLAWS Section 1. Adoption and Amendment
These bylaws are adopted by the Board of Directors effective September 30, 2015 and are subject to ratification by the membership at the first Annual Meeting of the Membership.
These bylaws may be amended by simple majority vote of the Board of Directors subject to ratification by the members at the first Annual Meeting of the Membership or by a method to be determined by the Board of Directors.
Section 2. Publication
The bylaws of the Association will be published on the official website once developed.
ARTICLE IX: ETHICS
The Ethical Standards published by the American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA), as they may from time to time be revised, are adopted as the ethical standards of NEFMHCA. In any instance where Florida state and/or federal law and the referenced ethical standards of AMHCA conflict, the higher or more stringent standard will apply. AMCHA’s Standards of Ethics are the minimum standards of professional conduct and behavior for practicing counselors and therapists. All members are expected to familiarize themselves with these standards.