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Model Branch By-Laws

BY-LAWS OF THE (NAME) BRANCH OF THE NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR TEACHERS’ ASSOCIATION

I. AUTHORITY AND NAME

a) In accordance with the provisions of Section IX of the Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers’ Association By-laws, a Branch is permitted to formulate By-laws and pass resolutions not inconsistent with the said Act, or the By-laws of the said Association, or with these By-laws.

b) The said Branch shall be known as the (Name) Branch of the Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers’ Association, hereinafter referred to as “the Branch”.

c) This name shall appear on all correspondence initiated in the name of the Branch.

DEFINITION OF BOUNDARIES

a) The Branch shall encompass the geographical area (here the area is defined either by naming the extremities or by including the name of the community(ies) included).

MEMBERSHIP ELIGIBILITY

a) Any member of the Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers’ Association as defined in the NLTA Act who is employed within the Branch boundaries shall be a member of the Branch and shall hereinafter be termed “member”.

b) Any other member of the Association, other than those employed within the Branch boundaries, who is a member of the Association as per Association By-laws and who is not included in the membership of another Branch, may be a member of the Branch.

OBJECTIVES OF THE BRANCH

a) The objectives of the Branch shall be in accordance with the objectives of the Association as per Section 4 of the Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers’ Association Act and shall include the following:

i) To promote and advance the cause of education.
ii) To cooperate with other organizations having the same or like aims and
iii) To safeguard and advance the interests of the teaching profession.
iv) To secure conditions for its members which will make possible the best professional educational service.
v) To stimulate public interest in educational affairs.
vi) To take any measure which the Branch deems necessary or advisable in order to give effect to any policy adopted by it with respect to any questions directly or indirectly affecting its members.
vii) To elevate and unify the teaching profession.
viii) To organize and suggest groups for improving the knowledge and skill of

b) In order to give effect of these objectives, the activities of the Branch shall include:

Per the Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers’ Association Act:

1. Submit to NLTA provincial office any proposed by-law or amendment or intention to repeal a by-law at least three months prior to the Biennial General Meeting or Convention of the Association.

Per the Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers’ Association By-laws and Association Policy

2. Provide direction for the Association at the Convention and at any extraordinary general meeting.
a) By electing one delegate to represent every one hundred members or fraction thereof in the branch, in accordance with Association policy, which states that the Branch President shall be a/the Convention delegate. If the President    cannot attend, the Vice-President shall be the delegate and if both cannot attend, the branch will elect a delegate.
b) By providing directions to its delegate(s) on speaking to issues at Convention and general meetings or, a branch may grant such delegate(s) discretionary
c) By presenting, for consideration at the Convention, matters of concern to the membership by way of resolutions leading to the development of Association

3. Provide for election of officers at the branch level and to run the affairs, including:
a) Annual registration of the branch with NLTA provincial office;
b) Submitting an annual audited statement of branch accounts to NLTA provincial office;
c) Registering and maintaining at NLTA provincial office an approved copy of the branch by-laws; and
d) Completing the Branch Viability Profile biennially.

4. Refer to Provincial Executive matters of immediate concern to the members of the branch.

5. Promote internal and external public relations by:
a) Striving to keep its members and the community informed on educational developments and issues, and the policy of the Association with respect to these;
b) Collecting and evaluating all pertinent information with regard to the opinions, attitudes and actions of the membership of the branch and the public with regard to education, teachers and the Association;
c) Assisting in establishing a two-way communication with the Association and its members, and with the branch and the general public; and
d) Assisting the Association in improving the image of teachers and education with the general public through involvement in the Association’s public affairs

6. Promote professional relations among the membership by:
a) Familiarizing members with the Association’s definition of professional conduct as expressed in the Code of Ethics;
b) Introducing new teachers to the policies and affairs of the Association at an induction ceremony or similar specially prepared program;
c) Identifying members for consideration by Provincial Executive under the Association’s awards program;
d) Honouring retiring teachers by arranging the presentation of their retirement scroll and pin;
e) Providing the opportunity for teachers to meet on an informal basis through social events such as dinners, bonspiels, etc.

7. Organize in-service programs and professional days to enhance teacher involvement in professional development.

8. Provide the branch membership the opportunity to present matters of concern to candidates running for school boards and in municipal, provincial and federal elections.

V. EXECUTIVE OF THE BRANCH

a) The Executive of the branch shall consist of the President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer (or Secretary-Treasurer), Communications Officer, Political Action Officer, (or Communications-Political Action Officer), Equity Issues Officer, Professional Development Officer, Substitute Teacher Representative, New Teacher Representative, Immediate Past President (if available) and members-at-large as per branch resolution, and shall hereinafter be referred to as the “Executive”.

b) Every effort shall be made to ensure the branch Executive membership reflects proportional gender representation and generational equity, based on branch membership.

VI. ELECTION OF EXECUTIVE AND TERM OF OFFICE

a) The election of the branch Executive shall take place during the second week of May each year. (If there is a two-year executive in place then the words “each year” should be replaced with the words “in the year of the expiry of the term of office for the Executive”.)

b) The term of office for the Executive shall be from August 1st to July 31st. (Current Association policy contains a recommendation that branches be elected for a two-year term of office. The statement would then read: “The term of office for the Executive shall be from August 1 in the year the Executive was elected to July 31 of the second year following.”)

VII. DUTIES AND POWERS OF EXECUTIVE

 The duties and powers of the Executive shall include the following:

a) Conduct the day-to-day business of the branch consistent with the policy established by the branch;

b) To carry out instructions given to it by the branch or Association;

c) Plan the affairs of the branch, including all general meetings;

d) To exercise such powers as it may deem necessary or advisable for the welfare of the branch and its members;

e) To appoint such committees as it considers necessary for the welfare of the branch;

f) To carry out and uphold the By-Laws of the Association and the branch;

g) To carry out any other matter or duty consistent with the objectives of the branch; and

h) Hold a minimum of three Executive meetings per year.

VIII. DUTIES OF EXECUTIVE OFFICERS

a) President: The President, in general, shall be responsible for the overall function of the branch. Specifically, the duties shall be the following:
i) be the official spokesperson for the branch in all matters unless otherwise designated by him/her.
ii) call and preside at all general and executive meetings;
iii)   appoint the members of the committees both standing and special, and serve as an ex-officio member on all said committees;
iv) countersign any cheques with the treasurer;
v) supervise any affairs of the branch;
vi) be the official signer on all documents on behalf of the branch;
vii)  ensure that all executive officers are fulfilling their responsibilities and duties;
viii) ensure that the by-laws of the branch are upheld;
ix) produce and submit to members at a final general meeting, an annual report;
x) take possession of the branch filing cabinet and ensure that all correspondence is properly filed;
xi) perform any such duties as the executive or branch may from time to time assign him/her; and
xii)  attend the Association’s Convention on behalf of the branch.

b) Vice-President: The vice-president should work very closely with the president and thereby always be in a position to assist and replace that person. Specifically, the duties shall be the following:
i) assume the duties of the president when the president is absent or when requested to do so by the president;
ii) assist and share in the president’s duties;
iii) ensure that any committees appointed by the president are functioning properly     and advise the president of any necessary changes;
iv) reserve facilities for all general meetings; and
v) perform any other such duties as may be assigned by the president, executive or

c) Secretary: The secretary is mainly responsible for the administrative aspects of the branch. Specifically, the duties shall be the following:
i) keep, in separate books, an accurate record of all general and executive meetings;
ii) keep an accurate record of attendance at all general and executive meetings;
iii) contact all executive officers for executive meetings;
iv) be custodian of all records of the branch, except such records and papers as shall be kept by the treasurer;
v) initiate any correspondence as directed by the president, the executive or the branch;
vi) sign any such papers as are required or as instructed by the branch;
vii)  prepare and send to NLTA Provincial Office any reports as may be required at any time;
viii) produce and periodically update a list of all members of the branch including names, addresses, telephone numbers, number of years teaching experience, and any other information the executive may deem necessary;
ix) ensure that the branch is in possession of any booklets, brochures, books or other resource materials that are available from the NLTA Provincial Office; and
x) perform any other such duties as may be assigned by the president, executive or

d) Treasurer: The treasurer is responsible for all financial aspects of the branch operation. Specifically, the duties shall be the following:
i) be the custodian of all funds of the branch and keep such funds in a bank, trust account, or in the credit union as determined by resolutions of the branch.
ii) keep an accurate record of all money received and spent;
iii) make a financial report at each general meeting containing income, expenditure, outstanding cheques, outstanding bills and bank balance.
iv) assist the audit committee appointed by the president;
v) produce a year-end financial report to submit to members at the final meeting in June;
vi) countersign all cheques with the president;
vii)  have custody of all securities, notes, contracts and other financial papers of the Branch and place them for safe keeping in a safe deposit box of a bank designated by the branch;
viii) sign any such papers as are required by his/her office or as instructed by the president, executive, or branch;
ix) adhere to all financial procedures as outlined in Article XIX of these by-laws;
x) perform any other duties as may be assigned by the president, executive or

e) Communications Officer: The communications officer, in general, shall be responsible for the establishment and maintenance of a communication link between members of the branch and any other group which may be of assistance in achieving branch objectives. Specifically, the duties shall be the following:
i) inform the head office of branch happenings that are not the direct responsibility of the president or secretary;
ii) inform members of any branch happenings or of any pertinent information from any source which may be of interest to teachers, (obtaining, where necessary, permission from the president);
iii) pursue any correspondence or publication which may emanate from NLTA, government or school boards, etc. and extract any information which would be of interest to teachers;
iv) notify members of all branch meetings in accordance with Article XII of these by-laws;
v) make arrangements with any of the media for media releases or announcements;
vi) when directed by executive, arrange for the typing, reproduction and distribution of any materials;
vii)  produce and distribute, as the need arises, a branch newsletter as a means of fulfilling sections ii) and iii) of this article.

f) Political Action Officer: The political action officer, in general, shall be responsible for the branch public affairs/political action program. Specifically, the duties shall include the following:
i) attempt to get the branch to think politically and act politically on behalf of teachers and education;
ii) attempt to do this by:
• establishing an ongoing committee;
• maintaining close liaison with the branch executive;
• maintaining contact with the provincial NLTA Communications team;
• establishing a year-round public affairs/political action program;
• maintaining continual liaison with the branch communications officer (if the offices are separate);
iii)   establish a school board watch;
iv) establish ongoing contact with MHA(s) from branch area;
v) maintain close liaison with other branches operating in the electoral district;
vi) develop liaison with other groups in the community.

g) Equity Issues Officer: The major goals of this person will be:
i) To increase the awareness of, and provide the means whereby, equity issues within the school system will be promoted and discrimination eliminated; and
ii) To increase the involvement of all teachers in all facets of education where they are presently under-represented.

The Equity Issues Officer will attempt to promote the two major goals as noted above. Specifically, the duties will be as follows:
i) to act as the resource person with respect to equity issues materials in consultation with the staff consultant to the Equity Issues in Education Committee;
ii) to maintain liaison with local and regional equity issues groups;
iii) to be the contact person for the Equity Issues in Education Committee through the staff consultant;
iv) to provide assistance within the branch organization for activities related to equity issues;
v) to perform other duties as may be assigned by the branch president; and
vi) to report regularly to the branch executive and the membership.

h) Professional Development Officer: The Professional Development Officer, in general, shall be responsible for assessing needs and facilitating professional development opportunities for teachers. Specifically, the duties shall be the following:
i) provide leadership to the branch in the area of professional development;
ii) coordinate and/or facilitate delivery of professional development activities (i.e. projects, programs, in-service/workshops, conferences) in collaboration with other appropriate stakeholders (NLTA, CTF, special interest councils, school board, Department of Education, universities, and teacher colleges);
iii) prepare a professional development budget that accounts for assessment, program development and program delivery for both locally and provincially sponsored initiatives within the branch;
iv) inform members of any branch happenings or of any pertinent information from any source which may be of interest to their professional development (obtaining, where necessary, permission from the President);
v) act as a liaison with NLTA Programs and Services in order to promote within the branch projects initiated by Programs and Services that require the input of  teachers from the local area;
vi) in conjunction with the Communications Officer, make arrangements with the media for media releases or announcements; and
vii) when directed by Executive, arrange for the typing, reproduction and distribution of any professional development materials.

i) Substitute Teacher Representative: The substitute teacher representative, in general, will be responsible for establishing and maintaining contact with substitute teachers. Specifically, the duties shall include the following:
i) in consultation with the school representatives, contact and conduct a registration of substitute teachers who either live or substitute within the branch boundaries and ensure that they have received a Substitute Teacher Kit provided by the NLTA Office;
ii) represent substitute teachers at branch executive meetings and branch representative council meetings;
iii) organize an information session/social periodically to provide substitutes with an opportunity to discuss both professional development and benefits and economic services concerns and to become familiar with NLTA services at the branch and provincial levels;
iv) with assistance of the school representatives, inform each substitute of general branch meetings and pass along any information that reaches other teachers through the schools;
v) with assistance of the school representatives, ensure that substitute teachers receive information that is being distributed from the NLTA office.
vi) carry out any additional responsibilities as determined by the branch.

j) New Teacher Representative: The new teacher representative, in general, will be responsible for establishing and maintaining contact with new/early career teachers. Specifically, the duties shall include the following:
i) in consultation with the school representatives, contact new teachers and ensure that they have received a New Teacher Kit provided by the NLTA Office;
ii) organize an information session/social for new/early career teachers within the branch to introduce them to branch members and to familiarize them with  the NLTA services at the branch and provincial levels.
iii)  encourage new teachers to become involved in branch and provincial Association activities.
iv) with the assistance of the school representatives, inform each new teacher of general branch meetings and encourage their attendance.
v) carry out any additional responsibilities as determined by the branch.

 IX. BRANCH REPRESENTATIVE COUNCIL

A. There shall be established a branch representative council which shall consist of:
a) The executive of the branch; and
b) One representative from each school and board office operating within the branch

B. Duties of the Council Members
a) To attend all meetings of the council or provide for an alternate from his/her unit;
b) To seek the advice on agenda items to be dealt with at council meetings;
c) To keep the unit informed of all activities and decisions of the council.

C. Meetings of the Council
a) The council shall meet at such times and at such places as it may itself determine but, in any event, shall meet no fewer than two (2) times in any school year.
b) The executive may call a meeting of the council at any time, provided that notice of such meeting is given to each representative not less than three (3) days prior to the date of such meeting, except in the case of emergency meetings;
c) The executive shall have the authority to call an emergency meeting of the council for specific purpose which shall be a matter of record, and such meeting shall be deemed to be an emergency meeting of the council and no written notice shall be necessary in such event, provided, however, that such emergency meeting shall have power to deal only with the purpose for which it is called.
d) Meetings of the council shall be open to all branch members;
e) All branch members may participate in debate as per the standard rules of order;
f) Only council members may vote, however, on any matters placed before the council.

X. QUORUM AT MEETINGS

 a) The quorum for the transaction of business at any duly constituted general meeting shall be (number) members of the branch. (However, such factors as communicating adequate notice of meetings, announcement of the agenda items to be considered at the meetings, and an assurance that such communications reached the members may be considered as constituting quorum requirements in lieu of any fixed number.)

 b) The quorum for the transaction of business at any council or executive meeting shall be one-half the number of schools plus school board offices within the branch boundaries.

 XI. NUMBER OF MEETINGS

 a) The number of general meetings to be held during a school year will be dependent upon the amount of business to be conducted and shall be left to the discretion of the executive. There shall be, however, at least two (2) general meetings a year including the annual general meeting. Branches may elect to have a biennial general meeting rather than an annual general meeting.

XII. NOTICE OF MEETINGS

a) Notice of general meetings should be given at least five (5) days prior to such meetings. Notices shall be sent to each school rep to be disseminated to their respective school staff. In the case of an emergency meeting, the notice shall be posted at least twenty-­four (24) hours prior to the meeting.

b) Notices of council meetings shall be given by the secretary at least three (3) days prior to the meeting. The unit representative shall inform the members within the unit of such meetings.

c) Notice of an executive meeting shall be given by the secretary, or president, to all executive members at least two (2) days prior to the meeting.

XIII. AGENDA OF MEETINGS

a) A draft agenda will be drawn up and sent to each school rep to be disseminated to their respective school staff at least two (2) teaching days prior to the general meeting.

b) The agenda shall be presented at the start of the meeting and approved or amended.

XIV. ORDER OF BUSINESS AT MEETINGS

The order of business at any general meeting shall be:
a)Consideration of agenda
b) Minutes of previous meeting
c)Report of action arising from previous meeting
d) Other business arising from previous meeting
e)Correspondence
f)Reports of committees
g) Reports of officers
h) Unfinished business
i)New Business
j)Elections
k) Adjournment

XV. EMERGENCY MEETINGS 

a) An emergency meeting for a specific reason may be called with a twenty-four (24) hour notice in any of the following ways:
i) By the president;
ii) By a request, in writing, from at least (number) members of the branch;
iii) By the vice-president in the absence or upon the request of the president.

b) In the case of (a)(ii), an emergency meeting must be called within three (3) teaching days after the written request has been received.

c) At an emergency meeting only the topic for which the meeting was called may be discussed.      

XVI. BUSINESS TO BE CONDUCTED AT A GENERAL MEETING ONLY

a) Any decision on the following items of business can only be obtained at a duly constituted general meeting of the branch:
i) Resolutions for convention
ii) Delegate or alternate to Convention (other than president)
iii) Election of officers (when necessary)
iv) Approval of any reports (i.e. treasurer’s committee, etc.)
v) Revision to by-laws
vi) Branch policy or guidelines
vii)  Branch nominations for Association awards

b) In choosing delegates/alternates to Convention or electing officers, every effort shall be made to ensure proportional gender representation and generational equity based on branch membership.

XVII. REMOVAL OF OFFICERS

The president or any executive member may be removed from office by a vote of non-confidence of two-thirds of the members in attendance at any meeting, providing that proper notice is given. For the purpose of this by-law, proper notice shall be deemed to be a period of not less than five days.

XVIII. COMMITTEES OF THE BRANCH

a) The president, upon consultation with the executive, shall appoint all standing and special committees and their chairs. Unless otherwise stated in these by-laws, all standing committees shall be appointed by the last of September and their term of office shall be until the end of the school year. All special committees shall be appointed as the need for such committees arises and shall automatically dissolve when they fulfill the purpose for which they were formed.

b) The following shall be the standing committees of the branch with their purpose and structure:

i) Nomination Committee. This committee shall consist of two (2) members and a chairperson who should be the immediate past president, any other past president, or any member of the branch. Its purpose will be to carry out the election of the Executive in accordance with these by-laws.

ii) Social Committee. This committee shall consist of two (2) members and a chairperson. Its purpose shall be to plan and organize any social events of the branch.

iii)   Resolutions Committee. This committee shall consist of two (2) members and a chairperson. Its purpose shall be to process resolutions to be submitted to the membership for ratification for submission to the Convention.

iv) Audit Committee. This committee shall consist of two (2) members, a chairperson and one other member. Its purpose shall be to complete an audit of the operating account of the branch as per the branch registration form by June 15th.

c) The president shall serve as an “ex-officio” member of all committees.

d) Each committee shall submit a report to the president of their deliberations and activities.

e) Committees or committee members not fulfilling their duties may be replaced by the president.

XIX. FINANCIAL PROCEDURES

The following financial procedures shall be adhered to by the branch:

a) All funds shall be kept in an institution approved by the branch.

b) All funds from any source shall be duly recorded by the treasurer and deposited in the operating account.

 c) All cancelled cheques shall be retained for a minimum period of two years following the end of the financial year.

d) All payments by the branch shall be by cheque.

e) Record of any cash donations shall be kept in an appropriate receipt book.

f) All cheques shall be signed by the treasurer, president, and one other branch member.

g) Bills and/or receipts shall be obtained in all transactions and retained for a minimum period of two years following the end of the financial year.

h) Fiscal year shall be from September 1st to August 31st.

i) An Executive shall attempt to pay all bills before their term of office expires.

 XX. RULES OF PROCEDURE

Any question arising at any meeting whatsoever regarding the conduct or procedure will be determined by reference to “Robert’s Rules of Order” and the Canadian Teachers’ Federation Advice on the Conduct of Meetings.

XXI. AMENDMENTS TO BY-LAWS

a) These by-laws may be amended by a two-thirds (2/3) majority vote at any general meeting of the branch provided written notice is given at a previous general meeting and the proposed changes approved by the Provincial Executive.

b) A copy of said notice shall be sent to school reps to be disseminated to their respective school staff five (5) teaching days prior to the meeting on which the proposed amendment is to be voted.