Constitution and Bylaws
Name and Objectives
SECTION 1. The name of the club shall be the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of Hampton Roads.
SECTION 2. The objectives of the club shall be: (a) to encourage and promote quality in the breeding of purebred Bernese Mountain Dogs and to do all possible to bring their natural qualities to perfection; (b) to urge members and breeders to accept the standard of the breed as approved by the American Kennel Club as the only standard of excellence by which Bernese Mountain Dogs shall be judged; (c) to protect and advance the interests of the breed by encouraging sportsmanlike conduct in and out of the ring at sanctioned matches, dog shows, obedience trials, tracking tests, draft tests, and other competitions involving dogs; (d) to conduct dog–related activities, sanctioned matches, specialty shows, obedience trials, and tracking tests under the rules and regulations of The American Kennel Club, and conduct draft tests under the rules of the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America; (e) to do all in its power to protect and advance the interests of the breed by providing a medium for Bernese Mountain Dog fanciers to join in social activities and educational opportunities; (f) to promote the Club’s Code of Ethics as an educational tool.
SECTION 3. The club shall not be conducted or operated for profit and no part of any profits or remainder or residue from dues or donations to the club shall inure to the benefit of any member or individual.
SECTION 4. The members of the club shall adopt and may from time to time revise such bylaws as may be required to carry out these objectives.
SECTION 1. Eligibility. There shall be six (6) types of membership open to all persons who are in good standing with The American Kennel Club and who subscribe to the purposes of this club. While membership is to be unrestricted as to residence, the club's primary purpose is to be representative of the breeders and exhibitors in its immediate area. Types of Membership:
Regular Membership — Individual — Open to persons 18 years of age and older who enjoy all the privileges of the club, including the right to hold office, sponsor, nominate and second and are entitled to one (1) vote. Regular Members are counted in the quorum for club meetings. A Regular Member may transfer at any time to Associate Membership by written request to the Secretary, with any change in dues to be effective for the following year.
Regular Membership — Household — Open to two (2) persons 18 years of age and older residing in the same household who will enjoy all the privileges of the club, including the right to hold office, sponsor, nominate and second and are entitled to two (2) votes. Children, from age 9 to under age 18, in the same household will have the same rights as a Junior Member. One membership application will be completed for each household. If there are other adults in the household, they shall be looked upon as welcome guests but not as members.
Associate Membership — Individual — Open to person 18 years of age and older who lives outside of the club’s area or who lives in the club's area but does not anticipate regular attendance at meetings. An Associate Member shall be informed of all club meetings and activities, shall receive the club newsletter, may serve on committees and may participate in all club activities, but may not vote, hold office, sponsor, nominate or second, and is not counted in fulfilling quorum requirements. An Associate Member may transfer to Regular Membership by written request to the Secretary at the time of yearly membership renewal and dues payment.
Associate Membership — Household — Open to two (2) persons 18 years of age and older residing in the same household who live outside of the club's area or who live in the club's area but do not anticipate regular attendance at meetings. An Associate Member shall be informed of all club meetings and activities, shall receive the club newsletter, may serve on committees and may participate in all club activities, but may not vote, hold office, sponsor, nominate or second, and is not counted in fulfilling quorum requirements. Associate Members may transfer to Regular Membership by written request to the Secretary at the time of yearly membership renewal and dues payment. Children, from age 9 to under age 18, in the same household will have the same rights as a Junior Member. One membership application will be completed for each household.
Junior Membership — Open to any person 9 years of age to under 18 years of age with parental consent. A Junior Member may not vote, hold office, sponsor, nominate or second and is not counted in fulfilling quorum requirements. At age 18, a Junior may convert to Regular or Associate Membership upon written request to the board by the Junior Member.
Lifetime Membership — May be conferred by a majority vote of the board of directors on an individual who has been a long-time member, usually 20+ years, whose participation and service to the club are meritorious. Lifetime members shall pay no dues, but are eligible to vote and to hold office.
SECTION 2. Dues. Membership dues shall not exceed $50.00 per year and are set by the board prior to sending out the dues notices. Dues are payable on or before the 1st day of January of each year. No member may vote whose dues are not paid for the current year. During the month of November the Treasurer shall send to each member a statement of dues for the ensuing year.
SECTION 3. Election to Membership. Each applicant for membership shall apply on a form as approved by the board of directors and which shall provide that the applicant agrees to abide by these Constitution and Bylaws and the rules of The American Kennel Club. The application shall state the name, address and occupation of the applicant and it shall carry the endorsement of two members in good standing who are unrelated and from separate households. Accompanying the application, the prospective member shall submit a one time, non–refundable application fee as determined by the board. All applications are to be filed with the Secretary and each application is to be read at the first meeting of the club following its receipt. The applicant shall attend a minimum of two (2) club functions, one of which must be a regular meeting of the club. At the next club meeting following the applicant’s attendance at two (2) club functions, one of which must be a regular meeting of the club, the application will be voted upon in a secret ballot. Affirmative votes of 2/3 of voting members present shall be required to elect the applicant. The Membership Chairperson and one voting member shall count the ballots and the Secretary shall send written notice to the applicant of the result. Annual dues will be payable by the new member upon acceptance. Applicants for membership who have been rejected by the club may not reapply within six months after such rejection and shall require the endorsement of two new sponsors who are unrelated and from separate households.
SECTION 4. Termination of Membership. Memberships may be terminated: (a) by resignation. Any member in good standing may resign from the club upon written notice to the Secretary, but no member may resign when in debt to the club. Obligations other than dues are considered a debt to the club and must be paid in full prior to resignation. (b) by lapsing. A membership will be considered as lapsed and automatically terminated if such member’s dues remain unpaid thirty (30)days after the first day of the fiscal year; however the board may grant and additional thirty (30) days of grace to such delinquent members in meritorious cases. In no case may a person be entitled to vote at any club meeting whose dues are unpaid as of the date of that meeting. (c) by expulsion. A membership may be terminated by expulsion as provided in Article VI of these bylaws.
Meetings and Voting
SECTION 1. Club Meetings. Meetings of the club shall be held six (6) times a year within the greater Hampton Roads Area at such hour and place as may be designated by the board of directors. Written notice of each such meeting shall be mailed, emailed, or posted on the first page of regular publications by the Secretary at least 10 days prior to the date of the meeting. The quorum for all such meetings shall be 20 percent of the voting members in good standing. If there is no quorum, the meeting becomes a social gathering with no business being conducted. The minutes will show that a quorum was not present and therefore the meeting could not be held. Members may elect to receive e-mail notification of club meetings, dues notices, minutes, and newsletters; and board members may elect to receive notification of board meetings via email; provided that the member or board member has signed an authorization agreeing to this method of communication. Such authorization, which is revocable, will also release the club from any liability should the notification be received late or not received by the member or board member due to circumstances beyond the club's control.
SECTION 2. Special Club Meetings. Special club meetings may be called by the President, or by a majority vote of the members of the board who are present and voting at any regular or special meeting of the board; and shall be called by the Secretary upon receipt of a petition signed by five voting members of the club who are in good standing. Such special meetings shall be held in within the greater Hampton Roads Area at such place, date and hour as may be designated by the person or persons authorized herein to call such meetings. Written notice of such a meeting shall be mailed, emailed, or posted on the first page of a regular publication by the Secretary at least five days and not more than 15 days prior to the date of the meeting, and said notice shall state the purpose of the meeting, and no other club business may be transacted thereat. The quorum for such a meeting shall be 20 percent of the voting members in good standing.
SECTION 3. Board Meetings. Meetings of the board of directors shall be held quarterly six times per year within the greater Hampton Roads Area at such hour and place as may be designated by the board. Written notice of each such meeting shall be mailed, emailed, or posted on the first page of a regular publication by the Secretary at least five days prior to the date of the meeting. The quorum for such a meeting shall be a majority of the board.
SECTION 4. Special Board Meetings. Special meetings of the board may be called by the President; and shall be called by the Secretary upon receipt of a written request signed by at least three members of the board. Such special meetings shall be held in within the greater Hampton Roads Area at such place, date, and hour as may be designated by the person authorized herein to call such meeting. Written notice of such meeting shall be mailed, emailed, or posted on the first page of a regular publication by the Secretary at least five days and not more than 10 days prior to the date of the meeting. Any such notice shall state the purpose of the meeting and no other business shall be transacted thereat. The quorum for such a meeting shall be a majority of the board.
SECTION 5. Voting. Each voting member in good standing whose dues are paid for the current year shall be entitled to one vote at any meeting of the club at which he is present. Proxy voting will not be permitted at any club meeting or election.
Directors and Officers
SECTION 1. Board of Directors. The board shall be comprised of the four officers and three (3) other persons, all of whom shall be members in good standing and all of whom shall be elected for two–year terms at the club’s annual meeting as provided in Article IV and shall serve until their successors are elected. General management of the club’s affairs shall be entrusted to the board of directors. The President, Secretary, and one Director will rotate together in two–year terms, and in alternate years, the Vice President, Treasurer and the two other Directors will rotate together in two-year terms.
SECTION 2. Officers. The club’s officers, consisting of the President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer, shall serve in their respective capacities both with regard to the club and its meetings and the board and its meetings. (a) The President shall preside at all meetings of the club and of the board, and shall have the duties and powers normally appurtenant to the office of President in addition to those particularly specified in these bylaws. (b) The Vice President shall have the duties and exercise the powers of the President in case of the President’s death, absence or incapacity. (c) The Secretary shall keep a record of all meetings of the club and of the board and of all matters of which a record shall be ordered by the club; shall have charge of the correspondence, notify members of meetings, notify new members of their election to membership, notify officers and directors of their election to office, keep a roll of the members of the club with their addresses, and carry out such other duties as are prescribed in these bylaws. (d) The Treasurer shall collect and receive all moneys due or belonging to the club. Moneys shall be deposited in a bank designated by the board, in the name of the club. The books shall at all times be open to inspection by the board and a report shall be given at every meeting on the condition of the club's finances and every item of receipt or payment not before reported; and at the annual meeting an accounting shall be rendered of all moneys received and expended during the previous fiscal year. The Treasurer shall be bonded in such amount as the board of directors shall determine. (e) The offices of Secretary and Treasurer may be held by the same person, in which case the board shall be comprised of six (6) persons.
SECTION 3. Vacancies. Any vacancies occurring on the board or among the offices during the year shall be filled until the next annual election by a majority vote of the members of the board at its first regular meeting following the creation of such vacancy, or at a special board meeting called for that purpose; except that a vacancy in the office of President shall be filled automatically by the Vice President and the resulting vacancy in the office of Vice President shall be filled by the board.
The Club Year, Annual Meeting, Elections
SECTION 1. Club Year. The club’s fiscal year shall begin on the first day of January and end on the last day of December. The club’s official year shall begin immediately at the conclusion of the election at the annual meeting and shall continue through the election at the next annual meeting.
SECTION 2. Annual Meeting. The annual meeting shall be held in the month of October at which officers and directors for the ensuing year shall be elected by secret ballot from among those nominated in accordance with Section 4 of this Article. They shall take office immediately upon the conclusion of the election and each retiring officer shall turn over to the successor in office all properties and records relating to that office within 30 days after the election.
SECTION 3. Elections. The nominated candidate receiving the greatest number of votes for each office shall be declared elected. The three (3) nominated candidates for other positions on the board who receive the greatest number of votes for such positions shall be declared elected.
SECTION 4. Nominations. No person may be a candidate in a club election who has not been nominated. During the month of May the board shall select a Nominating Committee consisting of three members and two alternates, not more than one of whom may be a member of the board. The Secretary shall immediately notify the committeemen and alternates of their selection. The board shall name a chairman for the committee and it shall be such person's duty to call a committee meeting, which shall be held on or before June 30. (a) After the first year of club formation, qualifications for nominees must be: to have been a Regular Member for at least one year, to have attended at least three (3) regular meetings within the past year, and to have demonstrated being a working/participating member of the club. (b) The committee shall nominate one candidate for each office and positions on the board and, after securing the consent of each person so nominated, shall immediately report their nominations to the Secretary in writing by July 15th. (c) Upon receipt of the Nominating Committee's report, the Secretary shall, at least two weeks before the August meeting, notify each club member by mail, email, or through posting in a regular publication the candidates so nominated. (d) Additional nominations may be made at the August meeting by any voting member in good standing, provided that the person so nominated does not decline when their name is proposed. Further, if the proposed candidate is not in attendance at this meeting, the proposer shall present to the Secretary a written statement from the proposed candidate signifying willingness to be a candidate. No person may be a candidate for more than one position. (e) Nominations cannot be made at the annual meeting or in any manner other than as provided in this Section.
SECTION 1. The board may each year appoint standing committees to advance the work of the club in such matters as dog shows, obedience trials, trophies, annual prizes, membership, and other fields which may well be served by committees. Such committees shall always be subject to the final authority of the board. Special committees may also be appointed by the board to aid it on particular projects.
SECTION 2. Any committee appointment may be terminated by a majority vote of the full membership of the board upon written notice to the appointee; and the board may appoint successors to those persons whose services have been terminated.
SECTION 1. American Kennel Club Suspension. Any member who is suspended from the privileges of The American Kennel Club automatically shall be suspended from the privileges of this club for a like period.
SECTION 2. Charges. An individual member may prefer charges against another individual member for alleged misconduct prejudicial to the best interests of the club. Written charges with specifications must be filed in duplicate with the Secretary together with a deposit of $50.00, which shall be forfeited if such charges are not sustained by the board following a hearing. The Secretary shall promptly send a copy of the charges to each member of the board or present them at a board meeting, and the board shall first consider whether the actions alleged in the charges, if proven, might constitute conduct prejudicial to the best interests of the club. If the board considers that the charges do not allege conduct which would be prejudicial to the best interests of the club, it may refuse to entertain jurisdiction. If the board entertains jurisdiction of the charges, it shall fix a date for a hearing by the board not less than three weeks nor more than six weeks thereafter. The Secretary shall promptly send one copy of the charges and the specifications to the accused member by certified mail, return receipt requested together with a notice of the hearing and an assurance that the defendant may personally appear in his own defense and bring witnesses if he wishes.
SECTION 3. Board Hearing. The board shall have complete authority to decide whether counsel may attend the hearing, but both complainant and defendant shall be treated uniformly in that regard. Should the charges be sustained after hearing all the evidence and testimony presented by complainant and defendant, the board may by a majority vote of those present reprimand (A written reprimand directed exclusively to the member may be somewhat detailed but an official (published) reprimand should only indicate that subsequent to a Board (hearing)―...member (x) was officially reprimanded as a result of charges filed by member (y).‖) or suspend the defendant from all privileges of the club for not more than six months from the date of the hearing. And, if it deems that punishment insufficient, it may also recommend to the membership that the penalty be expulsion. In such case, the suspension shall not restrict the defendant’s right to appear before his fellow members at the ensuing club meeting which considers the board's recommendation. Immediately after the board has reached a decision, its finding shall be put in written form and filed with the Secretary. The Secretary, in turn, shall notify each of the parties of the board's decision and penalty, if any.
SECTION 4. Expulsion. Expulsion of a member from the club may be accomplished only at a meeting of the club following a board hearing and upon the board's recommendation as provided in Section 3 of this Article. Such proceedings may occur at a regular or special meeting of the club to be held within 60 days but not earlier than 30 days after the date of the board's recommendation of expulsion. The defendant shall have the privilege of appearing in his own behalf, though no evidence shall be taken at this meeting. The President shall read the charges and the board's finding and recommendation, and shall invite the defendant, if present, to speak in his own behalf if he wishes. The members shall then vote by secret ballot on the proposed expulsion. A quorum of 20 percent of the voting members is necessary. A 2/3 vote of those present and voting at the meeting shall be necessary for expulsion. If expulsion is not so voted, the board’s suspension shall stand.
SECTION 1. The club may be dissolved at any time by the written consent of not less than 2/3 of the voting members in good standing. In the event of the dissolution of the club other than for purposes of reorganization whether voluntary or involuntary or by operation of law, none of the property of the club nor any proceeds thereof nor any assets of the club shall be distributed to any members of the club, but after payment of the debts of the club its property and assets shall be given to a charitable organization for the benefit of dogs selected by the board of directors.
Order of Business
SECTION 1. At meetings of the club, the order of business, so far as the character and nature of the meeting may permit, shall be as follows:
Minutes of last meeting
Report of President
Report of Secretary
Report of Treasurer
Reports of committees
Election of officers and board (at annual meeting)
Election of new members
SECTION 2. At meetings of the board, the order of business, unless otherwise directed by majority vote of those present, shall be as follows:
Reading of minutes of last meeting
Report of Secretary
Report of Treasurer
Reports of committees
SECTION 1. The rules contained in the current edition of ―Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised,‖ shall govern the club in all cases to which they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with these bylaws and any other special rules of order the club may adopt.