Version 1.0 – Written in February, 2008 by the Board Chair, Prasad Sammeta
Version 2.0 – Written in January, 2013 by the Bylaws Team (Chair: Seetharamudu Ande; Team members: Tulasiram Ravuri & Raja Brahma)
Version 3.0 – Written in November, 2013 by the Bylaws Team (Chair: Satyaswarup Addagarla; Team members: Tulasiram Ravuri & Raja Brahma)
Article I. Name
The name and title of this organization shall be “American Progressive Telugu Association”, herein after referred in short as “APTA”. It shall be a not-for- profit organization registered under the laws of the State of Kansas and shall exist in perpetuity.
Article II. Objectives & Purposes
Section 1: The objectives and purposes of APTA shall be the following:
Preserve and maintain the heritage of people of Telugu language origin;
Assist and promote cultural, educational, social, economic and community affairs of the Telugu speaking people;
Collaborate, cooperate and assist in the organization of periodic member networking events;
Foster friendship and understanding between Telugu speaking people and the other communities and to support humanitarian causes from time to time;
Any other non-profit community service events as determined by the Board of Directors.
Section 2: The APTA shall have all powers of the corporation organized as a not-for-profit, as are now or shall hereafter be conferred by the statute of the State of Kansas.
Article III. Membership
Section 1: Membership in APTA shall be open to any Telugu speaking person or any person of Telugu origin or descendant of such family, residing in North America and abide by the objectives and purposes defined in Article II.
Section 2: Membership categories in the organization shall be as follows:
Annual members Life members
Student Members – Student Members do not need to pay any membership fee, but are expected to become the paid members after they get jobs. They are entitled to participate in all activities of the organization except that they are not eligible to vote or contest in any elections.
Annual Members – Members who pay membership fee of $25 per calendar year are considered as Annual Members. Annual members are entitled to participate in all activities of the organization except that they are not eligible to vote or contest in any elections.
Life Members – Members who pay one time membership fee of $100 are considered as Life Members. Life Members are entitled to all the benefits in the organization for the life. They are eligible to vote and contest subjected to the criteria defined per each position.
Patron Members – Members who pay membership fee of $ 1000 or more within one calendar year are considered as Patron Members. They shall have all the benefits and rights as Life members.
Honorary Members – APTA Board may recognize people of eminence with distinguished services and offer them Honorary Membership. Nomination of such members shall be approved at least by 51% (4 out of 7 members) majority of the Board.
Section 3: Except for Patron or Honorary members, every other member can be referred by at least one current Life Member. Apart from the current member references, new members can join APTA via the references of online social media, web site, and media coverage. Membership committee shall maintain records of all members and the respective sources of references.
Section 4: Suspension, Revocation and Reinstatement of membership: Demonstrated activity against the objectives and purposes of APTA as defined in Article II shall constitute grounds for revocation of membership. Such members can initially be suspended and an explanation sought through a notice within 30 days. The Board of Directors may review the explanation and if satisfied may reinstate the member back or may pass a permanent revocation. The Board Chair may seek advice on these matters from APTA Advisory Committee (AAC, defined later in the document). Any life or patron member can report a complaint to the Board.
Conviction of a member for any criminal offense involving moral turpitude shall constitute reason for automatic revocation of membership
Article IV. General Body
Section 1: The General Body shall consist of Life Members and Patron Members.
Section 2: The General Body shall have the right to amend the Bylaws and to elect and recall members of the Executive committee and Board of Directors and delegates to represent APTA in affiliated organizations. Such voting initiatives can be initiated by the APTA Elections Committee (AEC, as defined in this document in the following sections) after receiving petitions from the General Body. AEC can recall a subset or full elected committees with or without cause, by two-thirds (66%) of the participating voters’ consent.
Article V. Board of Directors
Section 1: The business of this organization shall be managed by a Board of Directors consisting of Seven (7) members, hereafter referred as “The Board”. Six (6) members shall be elected by the General Body and the seventh one will be the current President of the APTA Executive Committee. The President will have the voting privilege like all other Board directors do.
The Board can implement the resolutions with a common majority (4 out of 7 board members agreeing) in the Board.
The Chairperson and the Secretary shall be elected from the members of the Board and will be decided by the majority vote (4 out of 7 members). The term of each Director shall be two (2) calendar years. The term of the Chairman and of the Secretary shall be one calendar year. The Chairman of the Board will also be a member of the Executive committee automatically and will also have the voting privilege like all other Executive members. An elected Board member shall serve no more than two terms consecutively. The Executive President as an ex-officio of the Board term will not count
against these two terms.
Section 2: Four out of seven (4 of 7) members of the Board shall constitute a quorum and the meetings of the Board of Directors shall be held minimally once in a quarter.
Each director, including the Executive President, shall have one vote and such voting may not be done by proxy.
The Board may make such rules and regulations covering its meetings as it may in its discretion determine necessary. The meeting shall be chaired and moderated by the current Chairperson and proceedings shall be recorded by the Secretary, unless the Chair person delegates such responsibility to another Board member in special situations.
Section 3: The Board shall have control and manage business of the organization and all the properties and funds belonging to APTA. Except for the minimum balance mandated by bank limits and some amount for maintenance expenditure, all unused funds shall be deposited in FDI insured securities or similar deposits, to be able to withdraw the funds on demand. The Board shall have authority to do an internal audit.
Section 4: The eligibility for Director of the Board shall be limited only to Patron members who have been a life member at least for two full years (24 months) and in addition, they must have served either in the Executive committee or in the Board for at least one year or as a Board or Executive Nominated Committee Chair for at least one year. The Life membership can be upgraded to Patron membership by paying the remaining membership dues before the Election Nomination Date.
Section 5: The Board will nominate a few committees. These committees include, but not limited to
APTA Bylaws Committee (ABC): The purpose of this committee is to conduct the process to amend Bylaws based on feedback that is provided by the Board (the Board may seek the feedback from its membership on what bylaws need to be amended and the Board will be the final authority to take any decisions on the Bylaws amendment processes and procedures).
APTA Election Committee (AEC): The purpose of this committee is to mainly conduct the annual/bi-annual election process for all eligible elected positions, but also some similar tasks such as the approvals/rejections on Bylaws Amendments, recalling an executive member, to name a few.
All the above committees are responsible to the Board Chair. The Board Chair will nominate the Chair for each of these committees after gaining a majority (4 of 7) support of the Board members.
Each committee will have a total of three or more members (one Chair and others being members). Each Chair of these committees can nominate two or more members of his/her choice to be part of the committee.
Eligibility of the Chair for the above Board-nominated committees: Must meet one of the following requirements.
Served as a member of board for at least one year
Served as a core member of executive committee for at least one year
Served as a member for any of the Board or Executive nominated committees for at least one year
APTA Advisory Committee (AAC):
AAC team shall have an indefinite term and constitute of a few elderly and/or well recognized people that have rendered their services to the Telugu community in the past. This team works independently and the core purpose of this committee is to be the advisory team for the Board in legislative, judicial, legal and disciplinary matters and to provide an opinion to the board on any ambiguous issues, deemed by the Board.
Article VI. Executive Committee
Section 1: The Executive Committee shall consist of six (6) elected officers and the Chairperson of the Board:
The intent of the executive committee is to be the operating committee that conducts the day-to-day business of the organization. The Executive Committee shall implement annual goals and objective established by the Board.
Four out of seven (4 of 7) members of the Executive shall constitute a quorum and the Executive committee meetings shall be held minimally once in a quarter.
The term of the Executive Committee shall be one (1) year. Executive committee members can serve no more than two terms consecutively in the same role. The Board Chair as an ex-officio of the Executive term will not count against these two terms.
Section 2: The eligibility to become an Executive committee member shall be limited to either Life member or to Patron member, who has been a member for at least one full year (12 months).
Section 3: The President: The President shall be the principal executive officer of APTA and shall preside at all the meetings of the Executive Committee. The President may nominate the Chairpersons of committees, after gaining a majority (4 out of 7) support of the executive committee.
These committees (called as Nominated committees) include, but not limited to,
ASEP Committee: Conduct the annual APTA student education program.
Communications Committee: Be the centralize team to moderate communications to its members.
Membership Committee: Manage the membership registrations, welcome notes and carry the membership related operations.
Emergency relief Committee: Be the centralized team to help respond to emergencies called out by Board or Executive Committee.
Regional Vice Presidents: There shall be one Regional Vice President for East, West, North, South and Central regions and shall be nominated by the President. They shall be responsible for all of their regional activities, membership drive within their regions, nominating State/city Coordinators within their region and maintaining contacts for support in various activities in their region.
Above committees are responsible to the Executive President.
Each of the committee will have three or more members (one Chair and others being members). Each Chair of these committees can nominate its members of his/her choice to be part of the committee. If there needs to be more members added to the committees, the Chairs of the committees can work with the President.
Eligibility of the Chair for the above Executive nominated committees: Must be a life member for at least one full year (12 months).
Eligibility of the Executive President:
Must be a life member for at least two full years (24 months)
Must have served either in the Executive Team or as Executive Nominated Committee Chair for at least one full year (12 months)
The President shall also be one of the Directors of the Board as ex-officio member.
Section 4: Vice President: The Vice President shall assist the President in all matters and shall assume the duties of the President in his/her absence. He will be the ex-officio member of all the committees nominated by the Executive committee.
Section 5: Secretary: The Secretary shall be the custodian of the Seal of APTA and all records and papers belonging to APTA and keep minutes of all the meetings; maintain the list of all members and notify of all the General Body meetings to the members.
Section 6: Treasurer: The Treasurer shall receive all monies for APTA and shall be the official bookkeeper of all APTA finances. He/she can write the checks up to amounts of $500.00 and a co-signature of President shall be required for the amounts exceeding a limit of $500.00. He/she shall submit the accounts to such examinations as the Executive Committee may direct. The Treasurer shall prepare the Tax returns and submit them to the succeeding Treasurer in the annual General Body meeting. The succeeding Treasurer shall file the Tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service. The Treasurer will also be responsible for finalizing annual accounts and getting them audited by a nominated internal auditor(s) and submit them for approval within Executive/Board of Directors and General Body meeting.
Section 7: Joint Secretary: The Joint Secretary shall assist the Secretary in all matters and assume the duties of the Secretary in his/her absence.
Section 8: Joint Treasurer: The Joint Treasurer shall assist the Treasurer in all account reconciliations and assume the duties of the Treasurer in his/her absence.
Article VII: Decision Making in Board and Executive Committee:
All decisions are made based on a majority i.e. 4 out of 7 of the members of the respective Board or Executive Committees.
All financial decisions made in the executive committee must be reviewed and approved by the Board.
If the Executive Committee is making a financial decision that meets the following criteria, those decisions must be approved by the Board prior to the spending the monies.
If the amount is more than $1,000 any time.
Or the cumulative spending for that year is more than $10,000, then all financial decision with any amount (i.e. even less than $1,000)
Article VIII: Election & Voting
Section 1: All Life Members and Patron members are eligible to vote for APTA General Body elections provided they are in the list of members prepared 90 days prior to the election notification date .
Life Members and Patron members can contest in elections subject to the eligibility criteria defined for those positions.
Section 2: Student and Annual Members are not eligible to vote or contest in General Body elections or in other kinds of elections such as Bylaws Amendments, Recalling an Executive etc.
Section 3: For election of officers, ballots shall be provided and conducted by APTA Election committee. It can either be the online process or the traditional physical-mail-sending process to all eligible members.
Section 4: At all meetings, except for the election of officers and directors, all votes shall be by voice.
Section 5: At any regular or special meeting, if a majority so requires, any question may be voted upon in the manner and style provided for election of officers and directors. At all votes by ballot the chairman of such meeting shall, prior to the commencement of balloting, appoint a committee of three who shall act as “Election Commission” and who shall, at the conclusion of such balloting, certify in writing to the Chairman the results and the certified copy shall be physically affixed in the minute book to the minutes of that meeting.
No member of Election Committee shall be a candidate for office or shall be personally interested in the question voted upon.
Section 6: Election Procedure:
60 days before the expiry of the term, the Board of Directors shall appoint an APTA Election Committee (AEC) and informs the latter about the vacant positions that would go for the election. The AEC in turn will send a letter (or an E-mail) to all members of APTA seeking nomination for the positions falling vacant including that of the retiring Board of Directors members of APTA. The nomination process will be closed after two weeks from the date of first notification. If nomination process results in more than one candidate for any of the announced positions, the AEC will scrutinize the candidates and
propose election by the eligible members. Ballot papers will be sent to all the eligible members and a date is set for their return. Ballot papers on receipt will be counted by the AEC in the presence of the contesting candidates or their representatives and candidates with majority votes will be declared elected. Section 7: Overriding principles on eligibility for Executive Committee, Board of Directors and Chairs of nominated committees:
No contestant is eligible for filing nominations for more than one position to the office (Executive Committee and Board of Directors) during an election.
No elected member shall hold two positions (Executive committee, Board of directors, Chairs of the nominated committees) simultaneously. Before accepting the 2nd position, one must resign from the previous position.
The Board Chair and the Board Secretary are considered as board members only and hence treated as holding only one position respectively.
Article IX: Meetings
Section 1: Annual Meeting: There shall be at least one Annual General Body meeting of APTA in every calendar year.
Section 2: Special Meetings: Special meetings of the General Body may be called for by the Board of Directors or upon the written request to the President of the Executive by at least one third (33%) of the total voting members. Special meeting shall be held at such time/place as the Executive Committee may determine but within forty-five (45) days of such a request.
Section 3: Notification & Quorum: Members shall be notified of the time, place and the agenda of all General Body meetings, not less than two (2) weeks in advance and not more than thirty (30) days before the date of such meetings. 20% of the total-voting members present in person shall constitute the quorum at the General Body meeting. No proxies shall be permitted.
Section 4: In case of differences on any specific issues between the members of the Executive, majority’s (four out of seven) opinion of the Executive is taken as the final resolution.
Section 5: Disputes – For all and any disputes within APTA, the Majority Verdict (four out of seven members) of the Board of Directors shall be the final judgment.
Section 6: Failure to attend three meetings successively by any Board Director or Executive member may be considered as lack of commitment. Unless a satisfactory explanation is received in advance, the Director or the Executive member may be removed with a majority’s (four out of six) and the position can be declared vacant. Vacancies in the Board and Executive committee shall be filled by a vote of the majority (four out of six) of the remaining committee members, subjected to the eligibility criteria of the Board and Executive position and the term of such Board Director or Executive will be until the next election.
Article X: Order of Business
Reading of the Minutes of the preceding meeting.
Reports of Committees.
Reports of Officers.
Old and Unfinished Business.
Article XI: Seal
The APTA shall have a common Seal with power to break, change or renew the same when necessary.
Article XII: Bylaws Amendments
The Board may seek Amendments to the Articles of Bylaws from the General Body by referring to APTA Bylaws Committee (ABC) and the recommendations by ABC shall be approved whole by the Board or alternatively for the below process.
The Articles of Bylaws may alternatively be amended at any General Body meeting. The proposed Amendments shall be notified to the voting members at least two (2) weeks before the date of the meeting. The Amendment process would require a 2/3rd majority of the total participating voters. No proxies shall be permitted.
Article XIII: Dissolution
In the event of dissolution of APTA, it shall, after paying or providing for payment of all liabilities under Sec. 501 c (3), transfer the funds and assets to another not-for-profit organization as approved by the General Body.
Article XIV: Activities
Section 1: APTA Student Assistance Program (ASEP) is to extend assistance to the needy students in US and in India. This program is mainly to encourage merit students to continue education at Junior/College level as well in professional courses. APTA shall request donations from its members and organize student assistance every year before start of academic session.
Section 2: APTA Medical Assistance Program (AMAP) is to extend assistance for treatment and medicines to people in US and in India, who cannot afford expenses due to weak financial status. APTA shall request donations from its members and other donors and organizes medical camps in India and extend individual assistance upon recommendation of the doctors treating the poor patients.
Section 3: APTA Talent Search and Assistance Program (ATSAP) will recognize people of extraordinary talents and assist them financially to encourage their development. APTA shall request donations from members/donors and assist such recognized people of extraordinary talents.
Section 4: Connectivity within US by electing state/city coordinators, who would act as points of contact for assisting members of APTA within their local jurisdictions.
Section 5: Coordination with India through a team of elected coordinators, who would liaise APTA and the associated organizations within India in assisting the Student community, undertake welfare activities like rural drinking water, assist renovate schools in the villages, undertake medical camps to bring health awareness and so on.
Section 6: Organize annual national meet in the month of October/November in a place chosen in advance. A team elected for this purpose will be taking charge for planning the resources and other requirements for such a meet and communicate well in advance with membership, make arrangements for such conference including arrangements for cultural competitions, stay nearer to the venue and other associated services.
Section 7: APTA will publish an annual directory of members and distribute copies to the members on roll.
Section 8: APTA shall organize a website of its own and maintain it for better communications with its membership. A committee nominated for this purpose will be taking charge of day to day management of this site.
Article XV: Budget and Financing
APTA shall prepare the annual budget during the 1st quarter of each year and publish it on its website for information of its membership.
Section 2: The Treasurer shall open a savings/checking account in a reputed bank. This shall be a joint account between President of the Executive and Treasurer and checks shall be valid with both signatures.
Expenditures above $1000 would need a prior approval of the Board. Per Section 3 of Article V, the Board authorizes to transfer the required funds from secured deposits to checking/saving for the Treasurer & President to draw the funds.
Section 3: Treasurer of APTA shall maintain all the records of the expenses and receipts and get these audited on an annual basis and a report and balance sheet of assets and liabilities submitted to executive/Board of Directors and to the general body for approval
Article XVI: Bylaws Implementation Guidelines
These Amendments of Bylaws are changing the tenure of the Executive Committee and restrictions on the consecutive terms.
These amendments of bylaws are also introducing change to the restrictions on the consecutive terms.
Since these are introduced for the first time, we want to make sure that these Bylaws are not impacting in a negative or positive way for the aspiring office bearers. So for the first year elections i.e. before March 2014, we are going to relax the consecutive tenure restriction. However, any elections held after March 2014 will take consecutive tenure restriction in effect.