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                NORTHEAST FLORIDA MENTAL HEALTH COUNSELORS ASSOCIATION

BYLAWS

Revised: 8/1/17

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 the District Affiliate of the Florida Mental Health Counselors Association (FMHCA), and is recognized by FMHCA as the association to represent mental health counselors in Northeast Florida counties consistent with the Purposes as set forth in Article I, Section 3. Both FMHCA and NEFMHCA are independent and autonomous professional associations.

Section 3. Purpose

The purpose of NEFMHCA is to provide a means for mental health counselors in District IV of the Florida Mental Health Counselors Association, working as a chapter of the organization, to do the following:

  • Provide a system for the exchange of professional information among mental health counselors through electronic and printed media.
  • Provide professional development programs for mental health counselors to update and enhance clinical competencies.
  • Promote legislation that recognizes and advances the profession of mental health counseling.
  • Provide a public forum for mental health counselors and other mental health practitioners in all work settings to enhance the profession of mental health counseling.
  • 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 standards for mental health counselors.
  • Promote scientific research and inquiry into mental health concerns.
  • Coordinate 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.
  • Contribute to the understanding of multicultural issues in counseling. 

Article II Membership, Dues and Ethics

Membership application to NEFMHCA shall be made on forms provided by NEFMHCA, accompanied by the appropriate fee. Resignation may be made via written or verbal contact with the President or will be assumed if dues are unpaid at the renewal deadline.

Section 1. Classes of Membership 

A. Professional member 

1. Licensed Mental Health Counselor Member

Eligibility: Applicants for Clinical Membership shall certify they meet the following standards: hold at a master’s degree or higher in the mental health field from an accredited institution of higher learning in counseling; and must possess a current Florida Mental Health Counselor license and be in good standing with the State of Florida

Obligations and Privileges: A Clinical Member must pay annual dues, and adhere to the referenced professional Code of Ethics. A Clinical Member in good standing will be entitled to attend the NEFMHCA Board Meetings, serve as a committee member and be appointed as an Chair on a Committee, and may enjoy such rights and privileges as may from time to time be offered to members. Privileges include full voting rights

2. Intern Membership

Any person who is a “Registered Mental Health Counseling Intern” in the State of Florida is eligible for Intern Membership. Intern Members must pay annual dues, and adhere to the referenced professional Code of Ethics. An Intern member in good standing will be entitled to vote, attend meetings of NEFMHCA, Hold office in NEFMHCA and may enjoy such rights and privileges as may from time to time be offered to members.

3.  Associate Member

Must possess a minimum of a master’s degree in human services; may be unlicensed or licensed in another related mental health profession; (LCSWs, LMFTs, Psychologist, Psychiatrist, Neurologist, Nutritionist, Massage Therapists, Physicians, and community stake holders.) Associate Members may attend Board meetings, shall be eligible to serve as a committee member but shall not be entitled to vote and shall not be eligible to serve on the Board or hold office. Privileges include participation in all activities, eligibility for non-­‐elected office and chairing a committee.

4. Student Member

A student members must pay annual dues and adhere to AMHCA Code of Ethics. Must be currently engaged in a graduate program leading to a masters or doctoral degree in mental health counseling or a related field. Proof of current enrollment in school must be provided.  Privileges include participation in all activities and committees; entitled to vote; exclusions include holding elected office and chairing a committee. Upon graduating, from university a student member must register as an intern upon renewal date.

Section 2. Dues

Annual dues fee structure shall be set by the Board of Directors. Dues statements will be mailed or sent electronically. A delinquency will result in immediate deletion from the membership roster.

Section 3. Termination of Membership

A. Resignation

Resignation may be made via written or verbal contact with the President or will be assumed if dues are unpaid after the renewal deadline.

B. Severance

  • A membership may be terminated by a 2/3 vote of the Board of Directors.
  • Members will terminate for Non-Payment of dues
  •  Falsifying membership qualifications.
  • Failure to carry out duties/responsibilities of office or Failure to act in accordance with established legislative platform or purpose of NEFMHCA.
  • Individual’s membership may be terminated for conduct that is determined by the Board to injure the Association, the reputation of the Association or is in violation of the Association’s Bylaws or Code of Ethics. A member charged with conduct that may result in termination of membership may present evidence to the Board in writing within fourteen (14) calendar days of their receipt of the allegation and request a hearing by the Board. Failure to respond to an allegation within fourteen (14) days will result in termination of membership and if the allegation violates state law, the person will be reported to the State Board.

Section 4. Code of Ethics

Members are expected to abide by the American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA) Code of Ethics. Licensed mental health professionals must abide by the regulations published by the State of Florida governing 491 licensees in the state and the Administrative Code Rules set by the Florida Board of Clinical Social Work, Marriage and Family Therapists and Mental Health Counselors.  If allegations of misconduct or practices violate state law, the person will be reported to the State Board.

 

Article III Elections

Section 1. Ballots

The officers of NEFMHCA shall be elected by signed or electronic ballot received by the designated date. The nomination process will begin in March and culminate at the June elections meeting, at which time the officers will be installed on July 1 of the year. Ties will be decided by another ballot. Current Officers will serve until the June meeting at the end of their term.

Section 2. Nominations

The Nominating Committee shall be composed of three members appointed by the President and approved by the Board: a Chair, a member of the Board, and one member from the membership at large.

The duties of the Nominating Committee shall include securing validation of eligibility and consent of nominees for each office ad presenting a slate of prepared candidates by the April general meeting. The Nominating Committee shall establish policies and procedures to ensure that only ballots returned by NEFMHCA members will be counted.

The Nominating Committee shall begin accepting nominations for office beginning with the January general meeting and ending with the April general meeting. Written announcement of one’s desire to service in a specific office will be accepted.

Section 3. Vacancies

Vacancies in any office, except that of President, shall be appointed and approved by the Board for the unexpired term.

Article IV Meetings

Section 1. Annual Membership Meeting

The June meeting will be designated the Annual Membership Meeting.

Section 2. Special Meetings

Special meetings may be called by the President or five members of the Board. Written notice of the agenda, time, and location of the special meeting must be delivered to each Board member no less than five days prior to the meetings.

Section 3. Quorum

Three of five elected officers from the eligible Board members attending a general meeting will constitute a quorum.

Section 4. Member Attendance

General members in good standing are invited to attend Board meetings at any time without a vote, unless also serving as a committee Chair.

Article V Board of Directors

Section 1. Composition

Voting members of the Executive Board shall be composed of the President, President-­Elect, Past-­President, Secretary, and Treasurer. Only Executive Board members (President, Past President, President Elect, Secretary, and Treasurer) can bring motions that require vote.

A. None of the elected officers of NEFMHCA shall receive monetary Compensation in accordance with 501(c) 6 regulations for their services on the Board. Compensation shall be defined according to the IRS 501(c) 6 condition stating “No part of its net earnings may inure to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual.” The Board of Directors will conduct, manage, and control the business of NEFMHCA. The Board of Directors may, at its discretion contract with an outside organization for administrative services as determined necessary in the course of carrying out its business. Such contracts shall be on the basis of a written description of the services to be provided; Policies of NEFMHCA shall not be delegated to a paid employee or other entity.  Serving on the board of directors of NEFMHCA shall be voluntary and in accordance with the 501(c) 6, Members of the board shall not be paid; Members of the board may serve on multiple NEFMHCA committees at the same time as their time allows.

B. The committees of the NEFMHCA shall consist of standing committees and such special committees as may be deemed necessary by the board. Nominations for appointment to all committees will be made collaboratively by any member of the NEFMHCA board of directors, and approved by a vote of the board of directors. Special committees shall be appointed for a term of one (1) year. The mandate of special committees must be renewed by the board on an annual basis; Standing committees shall consist of at least three (3) members, each of whom shall serve terms of three (3) years; Initial appointments to standing committees following adoption of these Bylaws may be for terms of less than three (3) years to ensure that the terms of two members expire and are subject to appointment every year; Members of standing committees may be re-appointed for additional three (3) year terms.

 

Section 2. Meetings

The Board shall meet at least five times per year. Board members must attend 2/3 of all meetings, or be subject to replacement. Meetings shall be scheduled by the President or by written requests of three members of the Board. Additional meetings may be called by the president or a majority of the Board of Directors.

Section 3. Duties and Responsibilities

The Board will conduct and manage the business of the Association in accordance with these Bylaws. The Board may engage the services of an independent contractor as needed. No policy decisions may be delegated to any other entity.

The Board is empowered to approve and disapprove membership applications, appoint and remove committee chairs, appoint members to office if a vacancy occurs, approve and disapprove expenditures, approve and disapprove projects, and undertake other actions for the organization that are not contrary to the Bylaws. 

Section 4. Appointment and Discharge

Committee chairs must be approved by a majority of a quorum of the Board. Board members may resign by submitting written notice of intent 30 days prior to resignation. Any member can be discharged from the Board (office or other) by a majority of a quorum of the Board.

Section 5. Expenses

Expenses of $300 or more other than those in the approved budget must be presented to the Board and approved by the majority of a Board quorum. Expenses under $300 other than those in the approved budget may be approved by both the President and Treasurer without Board approval.

Section 6. 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 assets and property will be transferred to an organization or organizations as the Board of Directors determines to have purpose and activities most nearly consistent with those of the Chapter and Association.

Article VI. Elected Officers Descriptions & Duties

Section 1. Elected Officers

The elected officers of NEFMHCA shall be President, President-­‐Elect, Past-­‐President, Secretary, and Treasurer. Officers will be elected by ballot and installed during the June annual membership and election meeting. Officers should be members of FMHCA and encouraged to be members of AMHCA.

A. President

1. Qualifications: Professional LMHC member of NEFMHCA, active member of NEFMHCA for at least one year.

2. Term: One year

3. Duties:

a. Preside at NEFMHCA Board meetings

b. Serve as ex-­officio member of all committees

c. Appoint a Chairperson for each Standing Committee, subject to the approval of the Board of Directors, thereafter, within 60 days of the June election meeting

d. Appoint special committees as needed

e. Perform other duties as necessary and appropriate to the office of President including meeting agenda preparation

B. President-­Elect

1. Qualifications: Professional LMHC member of NEFMHCA, active member of NEFMHCA for at least one year.

2. Term: One year

3. Duties:

a. Assume Presidential duties in the absence of the President

b. Become President for the unexpired term should a vacancy occur in the office of the President

c. Become President when current President’s term expires

d. Assume other responsibilities as decided by the Board of Directors

C. Secretary

1. Qualifications: Professional LMHC member of NEFMHCA, active member of NEFMHCA for at least one year.

2. Term: One year

3. Duties:

a. Maintain an attendance record of all NEFMHCA general and Board meetings

b. Record minutes of all NEFMHCA general and Board meetings, and distribute promptly to Board Members

c. Prepare correspondence of NEFMHCA as directed by the President or by the Board of Directors

D. Treasurer

1. Qualifications: Professional member of NEFMHCA, active member of NEFMHCA for at least one year.

2. Term: One year

3. Duties:

a. Receive and deposit all NEFMHCA funds

b. Disburse, by check, funds authorized by the President or Board

c. Close annual Association books as of the June election

d. Submit records to the Board of Directors monthly or as requested

e. Be responsible for any correspondence related to federal or state tax law

f. Chair the Finance Committee

E. Past-­‐President

1. Term: One year post-­completion of Office of President

2. Duties: Serve as advisor to the President and Board of Directors

Section 2. Appointed Board Members

Additional Board members will be appointed as needed and be current members of the Association appointed by the President and approved by the majority of a quorum of the Board to serve a term of one year

Article VII Standing and Special Committees

Section 1. Standing 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.

A. Legislative

Informs and enlists the support of the Board and membership regarding key legislation and political activity related to mental health counseling. The committee will act as a liaison between NEFMHCA, FMHCA, and its lobbyists in the identification and action on laws, programs and practices affecting the practice of mental health counseling.

B. Professional Development

Assesses the professional development needs of the membership and plans, coordinates, and ensures the presentation of workshops and the provision of CEUs. Promotes all Association events using appropriate advertisement media including social networking sites. Works closely with the Board and all Committee Chairpersons to relay their interests and concerns to the members and the public as appropriate. The Committee will promote understanding and positioning of mental health counseling to the public, third party payers, employers, and other professionals

C. Membership

Actively promotes NEFMHCA and FMHCA membership. Members may include Counselor Educator Representative, the Registered Intern Representative, the Graduate Student Representative, and other members as appointed by the Chair and/or the President.

D. Finance

Chaired by the Treasurer. Prepares a budget for the upcoming fiscal year and presents it to the Board for approval at the first meeting of the fiscal year. The Committee produces monthly reports and for the end of the year to provide the Board with an accounting of income and expenditures. They may submit revisions to the approved budget as it becomes necessary or expedient.

E. Nominations – Ad Hoc Committees

All Committee members are appointed by the President and approved by the Board.

See Article III.

F. All Standing Committee Chairs serve on the Board and have voting privileges. Chairpersons are appointed by 2/3 vote of the Board. Each committee may have as many members as desired. Consultants from the general public may be engaged to assist the committees, but will not be formal members of the committee. The Committee Chair with the approval of the President may fill a vacancy on any Standing Committee.

 

Section 2. Special Committees

The President may create Special Committees as issues of concern arise. The role and purpose of Special Committees will be determined in consultation with the Board.

Article VII Representation

Amendment of the Bylaws can be requested by any voting member at any General Membership Meeting or Board meeting or by written recommendations to the Board.

The request must then be discussed at the next General Meeting. If a majority of the Board of Directors present at that meeting vote (provided a quorum is present) favor pursuing the change, announcements will be mailed or emailed to each chapter member to the effect that a vote will be held at the next General Meeting following the announcement. Given a quorum, a 2/3 vote of the membership present will be sufficient to accomplish the amendment. The Bylaws may be amended by a 2/3 vote of the Board to be in compliance with FMHCA Governance Committee’s recommendations for local chapters.