Bylaws

Revised 9.1.2020

Association of VA Vocational Rehabilitation Professionals

CONSTITUTION AND BY-LAWS

SECTION I. NAME OF ORGANIZATION

The organization shall be known as the Association of VA Vocational Rehabilitation Professionals (AVAVRP) hereinafter referred to as the Association, or AVAVRP.

SECTION II. PURPOSE

The purpose of the Association is to support and advocate for VA Vocational Rehabilitation professionals and enhance the quality and effectiveness of Vocational Rehabilitation services provided to Veteran beneficiaries through education and training, leadership, promotion, and member collaboration. 

The Association will advocate for the recruitment, retention, and recognition of VA Vocational Rehabilitation Professionals. To further its objectives, the Association may collaborate with established Vocational Rehabilitation organizations and other organizations that are relevant to Vocational Rehabilitation practice in health care settings.

SECTION III. MEMBERSHIP

To become a member, a person must complete the membership application on the Association’s website (www.avavrp.org) and pay Association dues. Membership is renewed annually by payment of Association dues on the website.    There are five levels of membership:  full membership, emeritus membership, retirement membership, student membership, and associate membership.

Full membership:

Any person employed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) whose job title is classified as Vocational Rehabilitation Specialist or Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, or whose current responsibilities are designated as providing professional services within the Vocational Rehabilitation discipline, shall be eligible for full membership. This includes supervisors, program managers, coordinators and staff in national positions under a Vocational Rehabilitation Program in the Veterans Health Administration and/or the Veterans Benefits Administration of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Full members shall be able to participate in all activities of AVAVRP, receive all general mailings, and may vote or hold elected office. Full members may also fill vacant positions on the Board as appointed by the President including:  Congressional Liaison, Website Manager, Newsletter Editor, and Conference Chairperson. 

*The annual dues for Full membership are $30.00.

Emeritus membership:

Any former member of AVAVRP shall be eligible for election to emeritus membership, this includes current and retired employees. Emeritus membership shall be available to other persons who have distinguished themselves in promoting the purpose of AVAVRP and who are nominated for such membership by a member of the Executive Committee. 

Emeritus members shall be able to participate in the activities of AVAVRP and shall receive all general mailings, but they may neither vote nor hold elected office. Emeritus members may fill vacant positions on the Board as appointed by the President, including:  Congressional Liaison, Website Manager, Newsletter Editor, and Conference Chairperson.

*The annual dues for the Emeritus membership are $15.00.

Retirement membership:

Any individual who has retired as a professional working in Vocational Rehabilitation services and/or has an interest in the vocational rehabilitation profession, shall be eligible for retirement membership in AVAVRP.  

Retired members shall be able to participate in the activities of AVAVRP and shall receive all general mailings, but they may neither vote nor hold elected office. Retired members may fill vacant positions on the Board as appointed by the President, including:  Congressional Liaison, Website Manager, Newsletter Editor, and Conference Chairperson.

*The annual dues for the Retirement membership are $15.00.

Student Affiliate membership:

Any Vocational Rehabilitation Intern within the Veterans Health Administration or the Veterans Benefits Administration of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, shall be eligible for election to Student Affiliate membership in AVAVRP.  

Student Affiliate members shall be able to participate in the activities of AVAVRP, including membership on committees and special interest groups, and shall receive all general mailings. Student Affiliate members may neither vote nor hold elective office.

Student Affiliate membership expires at the end of the membership year in which he/she ceases to function in a Vocational Rehabilitation Intern role at Veterans Health Administration and/or the Veterans Benefits Administration of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

*The annual dues for Student Affiliate membership are $10.00.

Associate of AVAVRP:

Any individual who wants to engage in advocacy and provide support for VR professionals (i.e., representative from a VR organization or a closely related field.)

Associate members shall be able to participate in the activities of AVAVRP and shall receive all general mailings, but they may neither vote nor hold elected office. Retired members may fill vacant positions on the Board as appointed by the President, including:  Congressional Liaison, Website Manager, Newsletter Editor, and Conference Chairperson.

*The annual dues for the Associate of AVAVRP membership are $15.00.

SECTION IV. ELECTED OFFICERS

Officers of the Association must be Full members, are elected by the voting members, and serve a term of two years beginning the first day of the calendar year.

Officer positions and duties are as follows:

Past President:

Acts on behalf of the President, as requested. Participates in Executive Committee meetings, conference calls, and emails.

President:

Sets the agenda and presides over meetings of the membership and Executive Committee conference calls. The President represents the Association with VA Central Office personnel, national rehabilitation organizations, and other individuals who may have a relationship or liaison with AVAVRP or who are relevant to VA Vocational Rehabilitation Professionals.

Vice President/President Elect*:

Acts as President in the absence of the President. Participates in Executive Committee meetings, conference calls, and emails. May lead special projects or task forces.

*The Vice President/President Elect will serve two years, then two years as President, then two years as Past President.

Treasurer:

Manages the funds of the Association, including completing paperwork and paying Association expenses. Answers inquiries from members/prospective members regarding membership dues and payment.  Provides monthly financial reports to the Executive Committee. Participates in Executive Committee meetings, conference calls, and emails.  Serves as Chair of the Financial Committee.

Secretary:

Keeps records (minutes) of membership and Executive Committee meetings / conference calls. Requests and distributes CRC credits for members.  Participates in Executive Committee meetings, conference calls, and emails.

Nominations Chairperson:

Contacts members who are potential candidates for elected office. Receives inquiries from members who are interested in running for elected office. Establishes nomination and voting deadlines and facilitates the election process every two years by sending out the call for nominations, voting ballots, and the results of the election to membership.  Participates in Executive Committee meetings, conference calls, and emails. Serves as Chair of the Nominations Committee.

SECTION V. EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

It is the responsibility of the Executive Committee to carry out the functions and purposes of the Association. 

The responsibilities of the Executive Committee shall include:

1.   Creating and approving agreements and contracts.

2.   Adopting an annual budget and establishing policies for disbursing and accounting funds.

3.   Hearing and acting upon reports of all committees.

4.   Authorizing the appointment of special committees.

5.   Establishing procedures and performing duties needed to carry out the mission and purpose of AVAVRP.

6.   Approving appointment of members to represent AVAVRP with other rehabilitation organizations or government agencies.

The Executive Committee includes the elected officers, as well as the following members, who are either elected by AVAVRP membership or appointed by the President as indicated in the descriptions below.

Members-at-large:

Three at-large members are elected to represent members who are staff vocational rehabilitation professionals (full members) or previous employees (emeritus or retired members). The at-large members are voting members of the Executive Committee. At-large members are elected for two-year terms which begin the first day of the calendar year.

Duties of the Members-at-large include: participating in Executive Committee meetings, conference calls, and emails; promoting AVAVRP with their constituents and encouraging AVAVRP membership; participate in membership activities, including follow-up on membership expirations, maintaining membership distribution lists, and/or answering questions regarding membership status and/or the criteria and procedure for joining AVAVRP or renewing membership; polling the members they represent regarding issues or proposals resulting in actions or positions to be taken by the Association; and special projects determined by the Executive Committee.

Members-at-Large serve as co-chairs of the Membership committee.

The following members are appointed by the President and are voting members of the Executive Committee with duties as outlined below:

Congressional Liaison:

Collaborates with the AVAVRP President and other professional associations and elected officials to support the goals of the Association. Shares information regarding activities and opportunities for VA Vocational Rehabilitation professionals to network and engage with national rehabilitation organizations or rehabilitation professionals outside of the VA.  Participates in Executive Committee meetings, conference calls, and emails.

Website Manager:

Maintains the AVAVRP website and manages the online membership database in collaboration with the Members-at-Large. The Website Manager participates in Executive Committee meetings, conference calls, and emails.

Newsletter Editor:

Designs, formats, publishes and distributes the Association’s newsletter.  Solicits newsletter content from the Executive Board and membership.  The Executive Committee acts as the Editorial Board for the Newsletter. The Newsletter Editor participates in Executive Committee meetings, conference calls, and emails.  The Newsletter Editor serves as Chair of the Newsletter Committee.

Conference Chairperson  Arranges/facilitates presentations during Executive Board meetings, and plans/facilitates special training events for members and other Vocational Rehabilitation professionals who are collaborating with the Association. Serves as Chair of the Conference Committee.

SECTION VI. REMOVAL & RESIGNATION OF EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEMBERS:

Removal:

Appointed members of the Executive Committee may be removed at any time at the discretion of the President. The President may, at their discretion, replace the terminated appointed member.

Elected officers who do not uphold the responsibilities of their office may be removed from office and the Executive Committee at any time by a majority vote of the Executive Committee. The President will appoint a replacement for the terminated officer until an election is held to elect a replacement.

Resignation:

An officer or appointed member of the Executive Committee may resign by giving a minimum of 30-days’ notice to the President.

If an officer resigns, the President will appoint a replacement until an election is held to elect a replacement.

If an appointed member resigns, a replacement may be appointed by the President.

If the President resigns the Vice President/President Elect will become President.

SECTION VII. ELECTIONS

The Executive Committee will hold elections to elect officers and three members at large to the Executive Committee, and to poll the membership or to decide other matters relevant to the purpose of the Association. 

A slate of officers will be developed by the Nominations Chairperson (or secretary or nominated officer if Nominations chair is vacant) by the end of the first week of November of the election year.

Nominations can be made by any current AVAVRP member and must be submitted to the Nominations

Chairperson (or secretary or nominated officer if Nominations chair is vacant) by email. 

Nominations can be a self-nomination or a nomination of another person; the person being nominated must provide their consent.

Elections will occur during the second week in November, and election results will be provided during the Executive Board Meeting on the third Tuesday of November of the election year.

Candidates for elected positions who receive the most votes will be elected.  Full Members of the Association are eligible to vote for elected members of the Executive Committee and to vote on issues brought to the membership by the Executive Committee. Elections will have a published closing date. Members who vote by the closing date will determine the election outcomes.

SECTION VIII.  ORDER OF SUCCESSION PLAN

In the event there are no nominations/elections for the President/Vice President positions, or the President position becomes vacant, the Executive Board will implement the following Order of Succession plan:

The first in line after the vacant president would be the vice president. If there is no vice president, then the following line of succession should be followed:   

Order of Succession:

Congressional Liaison

Nominations Chairperson

Secretary

Treasurer

Member-at-large (longest serving)

Conference Chairperson

Newsletter Editor

Member-at-large (2nd longest serving)

Member-at-large (3rd longest serving)

SECTION IX. EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE VOTING and QUORUM

Each member of the Executive Committee member has one vote. The member may appoint a proxy or designee for specific votes.

The presence of a majority of installed members on the Executive Committee is necessary to constitute a quorum at any conference call or meeting.

Action on any issue or proposal requires an affirmative vote by a quorum present at a meeting or conference call.

SECTION X. COMMITTEES

Membership on a committee is open to all members of AVAVRP.  To foster inclusion, active participation of AVAVRP members on the following standing committees is encouraged. 

Awards Committee:

Establishes award criteria, solicits nominations and selects award recipients for AVAVRP awards.

Membership Committee: 

Shall be co-chaired by the Members-at-Large. Responsible for carrying out activities aimed at increasing membership, recruitment, and retention, including following up on membership expirations, maintaining membership distribution lists, and/or answering questions regarding membership status and/or the criteria and procedure for joining AVAVRP or renewing membership, eliciting feedback from members, and completing special projects determined by the Executive Committee.

Conference Committee:

Shall be chaired by the Conference Chairperson.  Responsible for identifying and scheduling educational trainings and forums for professional development of AVAVRP members and enhancement of the vocational profession, as well as serving as an educational resource for rehabilitation professionals.

Newsletter Committee:

Shall be chaired by the Newsletter Editor.  Responsible for soliciting newsletter content from AVAVRP membership.

Nominations Committee:

Shall be chaired by the Nominations Chairperson. Assists Nominations Chairperson in recommending potential board members / officers.

Financial Committee:

Shall be chaired by the Treasurer.  Assists Treasurer in monitoring the budget and developing cost-analyses of various projects for AVAVRP

Special Committee:

The Executive Committee will appoint Special Committees to promote the vision and mission of AVAVRP as deemed necessary.

SECTION XI. MEETINGS

The current edition of Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised, shall govern AVAVRP Board Meetings when such rules of Order are applicable and consistent with the By-Laws and/or special rules of AVAVRP.  In cases wherein such rules are inconsistent, the By-Laws and/or special rules of AVAVRP will be given precedence.

Special Meetings:

Special meetings of the Executive Committee may be called by the President and/or upon a petition request of the majority of the Executive Committee of AVAVRP.

The minutes of a special meeting will be provided to each member of the Executive Committee. A summary of each meeting will also be provided to AVAVRP in a timely fashion.

Amendments:

Amendments may be proposed by the Executive Committee and adopted by a majority of members attending a meeting or quorum vote, provided the proposed amendments have been presented to the members.

Any member in good standing may propose amendments and refer to the Executive Committee for their review and recommendations. 

SECTION XII. DUES

The amount of the annual dues will be set by the Executive Committee. Sufficient dues will be set to pay for the costs of operating the Association.

SECTION XIII. NEWSLETTER

The Association will regularly publish a Newsletter. The Newsletter Editor, in collaboration with the Executive Committee, will establish publication dates.

SECTION XIV. WEB SITE

The Association maintains a website available to members and non-members. The website contains information regarding continuing education opportunities, resources that may be used on behalf of veterans, and publications and documents available to the members on a variety of topics relevant to vocational rehabilitation practice in the VA. Parts of the website will be available to the general public, other parts will be available only to members.

SECTION XV. REVIEW AND CHANGES TO CONSTITUTION AND BY-LAWS

The Executive Committee will periodically review the Constitution & By-Laws, make changes if indicated, and will make the Constitution & By-Laws available to the members for review and/or recommendations for changes. The Executive Committee has final responsibility for changes to the Constitution & By-Laws.

SECTION XVI. DISSOLUTION

The assets of AVAVRP shall be used only for the purposes as are herein prescribed. No income of AVAVRP shall inure to any individual.

If AVAVRP should ever be dissolved, its remaining assets shall be used only for such purposes and in such manner as is herein described.

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