Constitution and By-Laws of Ruskin Post 389


Constitution and By-Laws of Ruskin Post 389
The American Legion, Department of Florida, Inc.

Adopted on September 2nd, 2015
Supersedes previous, undated version.



Preamble

The National Preamble is adopted without modification:  For God and Country, we associate ourselves together for the following purposes: To uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States of America; to maintain law and order; to foster and perpetuate a one hundred percent Americanism; to preserve the memories and incidents of our associations in the Great Wars; to inculcate a sense of individual obligation to the community, state and nation; to combat the autocracy of both the classes and the masses; to make right the master of might; to promote peace and good will on earth; to safeguard and transmit to Posterity the principles of justice, freedom and democracy; to consecrate and sanctify our comradeship by our devotion to mutual helpfulness.

Article I--Name
Section 1.  The name of this organization shall be American Legion Ruskin Post 389, Inc., a non-profit corporation registered in the State of Florida.  It may also be known locally as American Legion Post 389, Post 389, or the Ruskin American Legion Post.

Article II--Nature & Object
Section 1.  The American Legion is a civilian organization; membership therein does not affect or increase liability for military or police service.  Rank does not exist in The American Legion; no member shall be addressed by his military or naval title in any convention or meeting of the Legion.

Section 2.  The American Legion shall be absolutely non-political and shall not be used for the dissemination of partisan principles, nor for the promotion of the candidacy of any person seeking public office or preferment.

Section 3.  The purpose of the Post is to promote the principles and policies set forth in the preamble and in the National and Departmental Constitutions of The American Legion.

Section 4.  Outside guidance.  The Post is governed by this, its own Constitution and By-Laws.  The Commander and Executive Committee may consider, but are not obligated to follow operating procedures used by District, Department, or National level CBLs, The Officer Guide, or other guidance EXCEPT where said guidance is specifically intended to be directive on subordinate Posts.  

Article III--Post Organization and Incorporation
Section 1.  Ruskin Post 389 is comprised of members, elected officers, appointed officers, an Executive Committee which functions as the Board of Directors for the corporation, standing committees, special committees, and two Programs of the Post--The Sons of the American Legion Squadron of Post 389,  The American Legion Riders of Post 389.  Post recognizes an Auxiliary Unit of the American Legion, whose members are dedicated to the success of this Post, but are not subject to this Constitution and By-Laws.

Section 2. Real property of the Post shall be vested in American Legion Ruskin Post 389, Inc. The Florida Articles of Incorporation Charter Number is N09000008251 issued August 21, 2009.

Section 3. Executive Powers.  The Post belongs to the members, and all its decisions are the responsibility of the members.  Certain decision-making authority is vested in Post officers and the Executive Committee, as described in this Constitution and By-laws.  Powers not granted to the officers and Executive Committee remain vested with the members.

Section 4.  The Board of Directors of this corporation shall consist of the named members of the Executive Committee, and shall be updated annually.

Section 5.  Vital Records.  The following vital records of the post will be presented to the Commander-elect no later than installation:

Post Charter
Post Constitution & By-laws, as amended.
Membership Records and Schedule of Fees and Dues
All Minutes of Post meetings and Executive Committee meetings
The Post budget and a record of bonded officers
All Checkbooks, ledgers, financial records, and the status of all obligations of the Post, certified by the Audit Committee.
Articles of Incorporation with the State of Florida as a Non-Profit Organization, as well as documentation of fees and reports having been submitted.
All tax records including documentation of the Post’s status under Rule 501 of the Internal Revenue Code (501(c)3, etc.), if applicable.

Article IV--Membership and Eligibility
Section 1.  Eligibility for membership.  Any person shall be eligible for membership in THE AMERICAN LEGION who was a member of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard or Air Force of the United States and assigned to active duty at some time during any of the following periods: April 6, 1917, to November 11, 1918; December 7, 1941, to December 31, 1946; June 25, 1950, to January 31, 1955; February 28, 1961, to May 7, 1975; August 24, 1982, to July 31, 1984; December 20, 1989, to January 31, 1990; August 2, 1990, to the date of cessation of hostilities as determined by the Government of the United States; all dates inclusive, or who, being a citizen of the United States at the time of his entry therein, served on active duty in the armed forces of any of the Governments associated with the United States during any of said periods; provided, however, that such service shall have been terminated by honorable discharge or honorable separation, or continued honorably after any of said periods; provided, further, that no person shall be entitled to membership who, being in such service during any of said periods, refused on conscientious, political or other grounds to subject himself to military discipline or unqualified service.   

Section 2.  Verification.  Eligibility for membership will be verified from discharge or other types of documents prior to an application being acted upon by the Post.  A copy of the document that was verified (except military ID) will be retained as a permanent record of the Post.  Examples of acceptable documents include current active duty military ID or retiree ID, current or expired membership cards from the American Legion or Veterans of Foreign War, or other organizations whose membership requirements are no less stringent than those of the American Legion.  Members found to be ineligible for membership after being accepted into the Post shall have their membership revoked.

Section 3. Transfers.  Transfers are current members in good standing at another American Legion post, who wish to be members of Post 389.  A valid, current membership card from another American Legion post is evidence of eligibility, and the post will put a copy of that membership card in the member’s file.  Further, Post 389 will contact the losing post, in accordance with the By-Laws, to ensure the member has not been expelled.  The Adjutant will inform the membership of his findings when the application is considered for acceptance by the Post members.

Section 4.  Reinstatement. Former members may reapply for membership.  Back-dues may be required. In keeping with National Constitution and By-Laws, no person may be a member of more than one post at a time.  No person expelled by a Post shall be admitted to membership in this Post without the consent of the expelling Post, or Department in the case of an appeal.  

Section 5.  Application. Membership application shall be in writing on the National form.

Section 6.  Acceptance.  All complete, qualifying applications shall go before the next Post meeting for a vote.  Applicants shall not be present during the vote.  

Section 7.  Membership and Dues. There is no form or class of membership except an active membership, and dues shall be paid annually or for life.  Annual dues not paid by 31 December are expired, and those members become former members, who must be reinstated if they wish to remain members of the Post.  

Section 8. Charter Members.  Members whose names appear on the Post Charter may be referred to as “Charter Members.”  This designation recognizes new members who formed the Post. It is an honorary commemoration of the historic event, not a form or class of membership.  

Article V--Post Officers
Section 1.  Elected Officers.  Annually, the Post elects the below-listed officer positions from Post members in good standing.  “Good Standing” is retained by all members, current in their dues, who are not under sanction by the Post.  The Post may decide to hire, rather than elect, a Finance Officer.
 Commander
1st Vice Commander
2nd Vice Commander
Finance Officer
Sergeant-at-Arms
Historian
Chaplain

Section 2.  Appointed Officers.  The below listed officers may be appointed by the Post Commander.  The Post Commander shall present appointments to the Executive Committee, and the Executive Committee shall confirm the appointment, or may reject the appointment for reasons presented to the Commander in writing, and endorsed by a majority of the Executive Committee.  Appointed officers serve at the pleasure of the appointing official and may be removed at any time for any reason.  The Post may remove an appointed officer for cause, in accordance with the By-Laws.  
Adjutant
Judge Advocate
Service Officer

Section 3.  Mandatory Officer Positions.  The Post considers the Commander, Finance Officer, Adjutant, and at-large member positions to be “mandatory officer positions,” as they are essential to running the post.  Mandatory positions shall not be vacant, but shall be filled immediately by appointment for the remainder of the term of office, or in the case of the Commander until another election can take place.  

Section 3a. Officer Vacancy.  The Commander may, at his/her discretion, fill vacant officer positions by appointment with approval of Post, or permit them to remain vacant, until the next election.

Section 4.  Assuming Duty. Post Officers shall be installed and shall enter upon their duties immediately upon installation.  Nothing here is intended to prohibit the Commander-elect from having unofficial, formative meetings of the newly elected officers and Executive Committee prior to installation in order to plan for a smooth transition to their duties.

Section 5.  Certification.  All elected and appointed officers of the Post shall be certified to the Department Adjutant, not more than fifty (50) days, nor less than ten (10) days prior to the Annual Department Convention using forms furnished by the Department Adjutant.

Article VI--Post Executive Committee
Section 1.  The Post authorizes an Executive Committee to take care of the routine and administrative functions of the Post, including routine financial transactions and employment actions for the good of the Post. The Executive Committee (also known as the E-Board) shall consist of the following Post officers and committeemen.  
Commander
1st Vice Commander
2nd Vice Commander
Finance Officer
Chaplain
Sergeant at Arms

A number of committeemen elected by Post membership equal to the number of delegates authorized at the Department Convention.

Section 2. The Post Executive Committee will be advised by the Staff Judge Advocate, the Adjutant, and the previous year’s Past Commander, if eligible and willing to serve, all non-voting advisors to the Executive Committee.  This list is not intended to prevent the Commander or Executive Committee from requesting any other officer, committee chair, or member to provide advice to the Executive Committee.
Section 3.  Official Executive Committee List. The Post Commander will finalize the Executive Committee roster within 10 days of installation of officers and committeemen, and shall submit the list to the Post Adjutant and the District Commander within 30 Days.  Changes to the membership of the Executive Committee shall be submitted to the Post Adjutant and District Commander within 30 days.

Section 4.  Executive Committee Quorum. As the Executive Committee is empowered to transact essential business of the Post.  The following members must be present to conduct business: A Committeeman AND (Commander OR 1st Vice) AND (Finance Officer OR a Committeeman), for a total of three, minimum.

Section 5.  Mandatory meetings.  The Executive Committee will meet no less than four times per year, one of those in October.

Section 6. Accountability.  The Executive Committee shall exercise judgment in using its authority, and shall always be subject to the authority of the Post members.  At Post meetings the Executive Committee will report decisions made and expenditures authorized.  The members may require explanations of, or move to make changes to, actions of the Executive Committee.  A floor vote to accept the report approves the Executive Committee decisions.  The Post may exclude specific items from approval while accepting the remainder of the report.  

Section 7.  Bonding.  The Executive Committee shall ensure anyone with access to Post or Program funds is bonded in accordance with National requirements.  The Executive Committee has a duty to review all bonds since insurance companies will refuse claims if a bonded person has a record of dishonesty.

Section 8.  Discipline.  The Executive Committee shall hear and make recommendations to the Post members in cases of reprimand, suspension or removal of Post Officers, and expulsion or suspension of members of the Post.  It shall comply with these Constitution and By-Laws and with the American Legion rules for trials.  The Post may sanction members for up to one year.

Article VII--Standing Committees
Section 1.  The Post recognizes the following standing committees, some of which may be inactive:  Americanism; Audit; Ceremonials; Children and Youth; Economic; Events; Executive; Finance; Foreign Relations; Graves Registration and Memorial; House & Entertainment; Legislative; Membership; Officer Nominations and Elections; Publicity and Public Relations; Veterans Affairs and Rehabilitation, National Security, Strategic Planning and Self Inspection, and Visiting or VAVS.

Section 2.  The Post commander, immediately upon taking office each year, shall appoint chairmen of the following mandatory standing committees: Audit; Ceremonials; Membership; and Strategic Planning and Self Inspection.

Article VIII--Finance
Section 1.  Income.  The revenue of this Post shall be derived from membership dues and from other sources approved by the Post.

Section 2.  Written Table of Dues and Fees.  The amount of membership dues and the amount of any other dues, fees, or fines, shall be decided by the Post and kept by the Adjutant in written form as a Table of Dues and Fees.

Section 3.  National dues.  The Post shall pay National and Department per-capita dues on all annual membership dues collected.  These must be transmitted to Department Headquarters within thirty (30) days after receipt of such dues.

Section 4. Bonding. Post members who have access to cash and property of the Post shall be bonded in accordance with National requirements.

Section 5.  Audits.  There shall be a complete audit of the finances, accounts, property, and business affairs of the Post at least once annually or upon the termination of the duties of an officer or employee responsible for Post funds.  Audits will be conducted by the Audit Committee.  Reports of the Audit Committee shall be made to the Post before an officer or employee terminates his responsibility.  Programs of the Post shall comply with this standard.  The Post Audit Committee may perform audits of Post programs if requested by the program.

Article IX--The American Legion Auxiliary
Section 1.  The Post recognizes an auxiliary veterans service organization known as American Legion Auxiliary, Unit 389, Department of Florida.  It is part of the American Legion family of organizations.

Section 2.  Membership in the Auxiliary shall be as prescribed in the National and Department Constitution for The American Legion Auxiliary.  Its members have committed themselves to support the mission of the American Legion, but in all other ways have formed as an organization separated from American Legion Post 389.

Section 3.  The Auxiliary shall be governed as set forth in the National and Department American Legion Auxiliary Constitution and By-Laws.

Article X--American Legion Riders
Section 1.  The Post authorized a chartered program known as The American Legion Riders, Ruskin Post 389, The American Legion, Department of Florida. The American Legion Riders uphold the declared principles of The American Legion and abide by the regulations and decisions of the Department, District and the Post. The Program governance is set forth in the Department Standard Operating Procedures for the American Legion Riders and its own Chapter Constitution and By-Laws, approved by the Post.  The American Legion Riders Department of Florida exercises jurisdiction over the operations of all chapters organized in Florida.  The suspension or revocation of ALR Charters rests with the Department.

Section 2.  Membership. The American Legion Riders (ALR) is a community service program for members of The American Legion, The American Legion Auxiliary, and The Sons of The American Legion members, who share an interest in motorcycling. Eligibility for membership in The American Legion Riders shall be as prescribed by the national constitutions of those organizations, and is limited to current members in good standing with those organizations.

Section 3. Operating Procedures.  All officers of the Chapter must be Legionnaires and members of Post 389, and must be installed by the Post.  The Chapter officers are responsible and accountable to the Post Executive Committee.

Section 4.  Finances. The Chapter will provide a financial report to the Post Executive Committee, as requested.  The program will comply with bonding and auditing requirements set forth in this Constitution, Article VIII.  

Article XI--Sons of the American Legion
Section 1.  The Post authorized a chartered program known as The Sons of the American Legion Squadron of Ruskin Post 389, Department of Florida.  The Squadron selects service activities in support of the four pillars of The American Legion, placing emphasis on preserving American traditions and values, improving the quality of life for our nation’s children, caring for veterans and their families, and teaching the fundamentals of good citizenship.  The squadron’s charter may be revoked by the Detachment of Florida.

Section 2.  Membership. Qualification for membership is prescribed by the Sons of the American Legion National Constitution.  

Section 3.  Operating Procedures.  The Squadron Commander and officers responsible for financial transactions must be Legionnaires and members of Post 389, and must be installed by the Post.   The Squadron officers are responsible and accountable to the Post Executive Committee.

Section 4.  Finances. The Squadron will provide a financial report to the Post Executive Committee, as requested.  The program will comply with bonding and auditing requirements set forth in this Constitution, Article VIII.  

Article XII--Amendments
Section 1.  This Constitution may be amended at any regular Post meeting by a vote of two-thirds of the members of the Post attending, provided the proposed amendment was submitted in writing and read at the last meeting of the Post and that written notice was posted on the Post website at least five (5) days in advance of the date when such amendment is to be voted upon.

Section 2.  This constitution is adopted subject to the provisions of the National Constitution and the Constitution of the Department of Florida.  Any portion in conflict with National or Department guidance is void to the extent of the conflict.


BY-LAWS

These By-Laws are a continuation of the Constitution and By-Laws of American Legion Ruskin Post 389 of the American Legion, Department of Florida, adopted on September 2nd 2015.  

Article 1--Name and Object
Section 1. The name and object of this Post are set forth in the Constitution, Articles I & II.

Article 2--Management
Section 1.  The government and management of this Post are at the direction of the Post members.  The Commander provides guidance, and an Executive Committee provides routine administration of the Post, as described in the Constitution.  

Section 2. The Post Commander relinquishing command, having successfully completed a full term (one year) in office, may agree to serve on the Executive Committee as a voting member for the following one year, in the position of Past Commander.

Section 3.  The only official means of conducting Post business is at scheduled meetings of the Post or Executive Committee, where a quorum is present.  Impromptu meetings are prohibited.

Article 3--Elections
Section 1.  The annual elections of Post Officers and Executive Committee members shall be as prescribed by the Department Constitution and within this Article.

Section 2: Timelines.  Nominations for Post officers will be held during the April Post meeting.  Elections will take place the following month, in May.

Section 3.  Notice of Elections.  The Post Adjutant shall notify the Post members of the annual elections at least fourteen days prior to such election and the notice shall state the time and place of the election.  Notice may be made by voice at a Post meeting, AND must be posted at the Post home, if applicable; AND on the Post web site; AND if there is more than one candidate for any vacancy, then via either U.S. mail OR e-mail, to addresses on file with the Post.  

Section 4.  Nominations.  Nominations for Post Officers and at-large Executive Committee members to serve on the Executive Board shall be made at the April Post meeting.  All nominations shall be made from the floor.  A candidate for office must be a member of this Post in good standing.  No candidate may run for more than one elective position.  Nominees for an elected office must accept the nomination in person or by notifying the nominator ahead of time.

Section 5.  Ballots.  Whenever there is more than one nominee for any office, or more than three nominees for committeeman), voting for all offices shall be by secret paper ballot.  The Commander shall appoint three impartial judges to conduct the election.  The judges will insure all nominees and all voters are eligible and in good standing.  An official ballot shall be prepared with the names of the candidates. No other ballot shall be used.  A blank line shall be left under each office for write-in votes.  Members must mark the ballot in order for a vote to count.  Ballots will be sent out in advance by mail and e-mail, and will be available at the meeting location.  Ballots may be returned by mail or voted in person.  There will be no proxy voting (where one member casts a ballot in the name of another member), but a member may request assistance from a judge to mark his own ballot.
Section 6.  Election Day.  Elections will be held the day of the May Post meeting, before the meeting begins.  The balloting shall be under supervision of the judges of election, of whom at least one must be on duty while the polls are open and until the results are announced.  The counting of the ballots shall be open to observation by any of the candidates or their authorized representatives.  No ballot shall be counted if mutilated or if containing votes for more than one candidate for the same office.  It is not necessary for a voter to cast a vote for every office.  After the ballots are counted, the judges shall immediately make a written report to the Post Commander who shall report the election results to the membership during the Post meeting.  In the event of a tie, the meeting shall be suspended and a run-off ballot will be taken immediately, unless one or more ballots were mailed in and those members not present at the meeting.  In that event, the run-off will take place at the next regular Post meeting.  Run-offs will be via secret write-in ballot on blank paper.

Section 7.  All questions arising from any election which cannot be resolved by a unanimous decision of the three judges of election will be referred to the Executive Committee for resolution.

Article 4--Installation
Section 1.  Installation of Post Officers shall take place at a time and manner prescribed by the Department Constitution.  The uniform for officers and officers-elect at an installation is a white shirt and black pants.

Article 5--Resignation
Section 1.  Officers and Executive Committee members wishing to resign their position must do so in writing to the Post Commander.  Post Commanders wishing to resign will submit their written resignation to the 1st Vice Commander.  Commanders who resign their office are not eligible to serve on the Executive Committee as a Past Commander.

Article 6--Manual of Ceremonies
Section 1.  The Post shall be guided by The American Legion Manual of Ceremonies and Post Officer’s Guide in the conduct of meetings and other ceremonies.  The authority for questions on conduct of meetings shall be Roberts Rules of Order.

Article 7--Executive Committee
Section 1.  First Meeting.  Non-binding organizational meetings may take place prior to installation.  The Executive Committee shall meet for official organization and other business at the discretion of the Post Commander within fifteen days after the installation of the new Officers.

Section 2. Meeting & Audit Scheduling.  The Executive Committee shall meet at least four times per year, The Executive Committee shall meet in October to schedule the regular Post meetings for January through December of the next calendar year, and at least four Executive Committee meetings, one of which will be in October.  The dates, times, and places of the meetings should be decided in a way that maximizes participation by the members. The Executive Committee will schedule at least one financial audit prior to installation of officers the following year.

Section 3.  Emergency or Special meetings.  The Post Commander may call an Emergency Meeting or Special Meeting of the Executive Committee at any time by notifying each member as to time, place and topic.  The Post Commander shall call a meeting of the Executive Committee upon the joint written request of two or more members of the Executive Committee.  The stated purpose of the meeting will constitute the meeting agenda.  No other business may be conducted.  Sequential meetings may be held on the same day in order to cover different topics.

Section 4.  Quorum requirements are stated in Article VI of the Post Constitution.  Impromptu or unscheduled meetings of the Executive Committee are not permitted.

Section 5.  Authorized expenses.  The Post Commander and/or Executive Committee shall have the final decision on the employment and termination of any and all employees.  The Executive Committee shall approve all emergency expenditures in excess of one hundred ($100.00) dollars.  Such approval may be obtained by phone and/or e-mail polling of the Executive Committee, without the need to hold an Executive Committee Meeting, unless two or more members of the Executive Committee request a meeting in writing in order to decide the expenditure. The emergency payments of any amount less than one hundred ($100.01) dollars may be authorized by the Post Commander.  The above limits apply to any combined sum of expenses related to the same emergency.

Article 8--Duties and Conduct of Officers
Section 1.  Upon installation of elected Post Officers, the Adjutant will provide each with a current edition of the Constitution and By-laws from the National, Department, and Post levels, as well as the current Officers Guide and the Manual for Ceremonies (electronic is acceptable).  The newly installed Officers will familiarize themselves with their responsibilities.
Section 2.  Duties of the Post Commander:  It shall be the duty of the Post Commander to preside at all meetings of the Post and to have general supervision over all the business affairs of the Post, and to serve as the Chief Executive Officer of the Post.  The Commander shall approve all orders directing the disbursement of Post funds and shall make an annual report covering the business of the Post for the year, and recommendations for the ensuing year, which shall be read at the annual meeting and a copy thereof immediately forwarded to the Department adjutant.

Section 3.  Duties of the 1st Vice Commander: The 1st Vice Commander will assume and discharge the duties of the Post Commander in the absence of, or when called upon by the Post Commander.  He will notify the District Commander in the event of the Commander’s inability to continue serving. He shall automatically be chairman of the Executive Committee, and Membership Committee.  He shall ensure annual dues are submitted on time.  

Section 4.  Duties of the 2nd Vice Commander:  The 2nd Vice Commander will assume and discharge the duties of the 1st Vice Commander in the absence of the 1st Vice Commander, or when called upon by the Post Commander.  In the absence of both the Post Commander and the 1st Vice Commander, he shall assume the office of Post Commander.  He shall automatically be chairman of the Events Committee.  He shall ensure audits are completed in accordance with the By-laws.

Section 5.  Duties of the Adjutant:  The Adjutant shall maintain Post membership rosters, meeting minutes, and other official Post records within the Post, and other records required by the Department and National organizations.  He shall report membership status to the 1st Vice Commander prior to each Post meeting, and handle all correspondence of the Post.  He will make meeting minutes available to any member upon request, and while minutes may be e-mailed to members, they will not be posted on the Post Website.  When meeting minutes documentation is needed by outside organizations in order to provide goods or services to the Post, a redacted form of the minutes shall be provided.  The Adjutant provides an electronic copy of the current version of the National, District, and Post Constitutions and By-laws, the Officers Guide, and the Manual for Ceremony to each newly elected officer and Executive Committeeman.  

Section 6.  Duties of the Finance Officer.  The Finance Officer shall have full charge of all finances and see they are held in a local bank, and shall report the status of Post funds to the Executive Committee and to the Post as required.  He shall give a receipt for all funds turned over to him.  He shall sign all checks issued by the Post.  In his absence, the Post Commander or Post Adjutant may sign such checks.  He shall be custodian of all deeds, abstracts of title of property owned by the Post, Certificates of Incorporation, insurance policies (bonds), a current inventory of all Post property, and all documents of a similar nature. He shall establish special accounts as directed for funds earmarked for the Building Fund, Reserve Funds or other purposes.  He shall automatically be chairman of the Finance Committee.

Section 7.  Duties of the Sergeant-at-Arms:  The Sergeant-at-Arms shall preserve order at all meetings and shall perform other duties as may be assigned to him by the Post Commander.   He will be responsible for the Post Colors to insure that they are properly secured.  He will introduce to the Post Commander all the visiting comrades and guests of the Post.  He will ensure that the Post Colors are displayed at all meetings.  He will ensure that all persons attending Post meetings are members of Post 389 in good standing, unless they are guests approved by the Post Commander.  He will track fines levied against members, as to their payment status.  He may collect fines and will deliver collected monies to the Finance Officer.  He shall automatically be chairman of the Ceremonials Committee.  

Section 8.  Duties of the Post Historian:  The Historian shall be charged with the individual records and incidents of the Post and its members and shall perform other duties as may be assigned to him by the Post Commander.   Histories are to be typed and maintained in a loose-leaf binder prepared for the purpose.  The history will be kept within the Post (if applicable) in a locked container.  The history will contain copies of the Constitution and By-Laws of the Post, the Department of Florida, and the National Headquarters.  He shall automatically be chairman of the Publicity and Public Relations Committee.

Section 9.  Duties of the Post Chaplain:  The Chaplain shall be charged with the spiritual welfare of Post comrades and will offer divine service in the event of dedications, funerals, public functions, etc. and adhere to such ceremonial rituals as are recommended by the National and Department Headquarters or which are prescribed within The American Legion Manual of Ceremonies.  He shall automatically be chairman of the Graves Registration and Memorial Committee, and the VAVS Committee.

Section 10.  Duties of the Post Service Officer:  The Post Service Officer shall be charged with all matters pertaining to service to Post comrades in the prosecution of just claims related to their military service.  He will obtain Service Officer training at his earliest opportunity.  He shall automatically be chairman of the Veterans Affairs and Rehabilitation Committee.

Section 11. Duties of the Judge Advocate:  The Judge Advocate provides advice in the conduct of the Post business, or procures proper counsel when required.  He advises Post officers and committees. The JA is the guardian of the constitutional form of Post government.

Section 12. Conduct--Attendance. Post Officers and Executive Committee members who have unexcused absences from three consecutive meetings shall be referred to the Executive Committee for removal from office since the position is effectively vacant.  Absences may be excused in advance by the Post Commander or 1st Vice Commander.  Anyone removed in this manner may be further sanctioned by the post, if warranted, so as to be ineligible for elected office for one year.

Article 9--Membership
Section 1. Active Duty Military.  A current Active Duty Military ID card is acceptable evidence of eligibility for membership.  Military ID cards will not be photocopied.  Instead, a memo will be placed in the permanent record of the member stating verification of eligibility was determined by the applicant’s current U.S. Military Active Duty ID card.  In the case of Reservists and Guardsmen, a copy of orders to active duty (Title 10) service will be accepted.

Section 2.  Acceptance. Applications for Post membership shall be accepted, rejected or referred for further consideration.  At a Post meeting, if a majority of the members cast their vote against acceptance of an application, then a second vote is required to determine whether the application shall be recorded as rejected or referred. The 1st Vice Commander, or other member of the Post Executive Committee, will notify the applicant of the decision of the membership as soon as practical, and within 72 hours.  In the event an application is rejected or referred, the member will only be told the decision was made by a vote of the members present, and the date of the next membership meeting at which the application will be reconsidered, if applicable.  An applicant may not withdraw an application after a vote by the Post.

Section 3.  Upon admission, the Post shall present the new Legionnaire a copy of the Post Constitution and By-Laws, and an American Legion lapel emblem.

Article 10--Committees
Section 1.  Committees exist to make recommendations to the Post and to execute appointed responsibilities. The formation of committees, their duration and assignment or changes to chairmen is initiated by the Commander and is subject to review of the Executive Committee and ultimate approval by the Post.  Mandatory Committees (as indicated below) must be activated by having a chairman appointed.  

Section 2. Americanism Committee—Appointed by Commander. The Americanism Committee shall be charged with the inspiration of patriotism and good citizenship by arrangements for proper observance of patriotic occasions; encouragement of patriotic and civic phases of instruction in schools; Americanization of aliens; combating anti-American propaganda by education of the general public in American ideals through public forums, etc., and activities for community and civic betterment.

Section 3.  Audit Committee—A mandatory Committee.  Appointed by Commander. The 2nd Vice is normally the Chairman of this committee. The committee is advised by the Judge Advocate.  It shall audit Post financial accounts. Whenever a Post Finance Officer leaves office, the Audit Committee shall audit his accounts and inventory all assets and liabilities, and transfer them to the new Finance Officer.  A copy of the Audit Committee actions signed by all members of the committee will be read to the Executive Committee.  The Finance Officer shall not conduct the audit of Post accounts, but shall participate as requested by the committee Chairman.

Section 4. Ceremonials Committee— A mandatory Committee.  Chaired by Sergeant at Arms.  The principal duty of the Ceremonials Committee is to insure Post compliance with applicable ceremonial procedures and dress standards.

Section 5. Children and Youth Committee—Appointed by Commander with Co-Chair invitation to Auxiliary Unit 389.  The Committee organizes the Post to provide aid and service to children of veterans and to better their conditions so that no child of a war veteran shall be in need of the necessities of life.  The Committee cooperates with other established agencies in the community.

Section 6.  Economic Committee—Appointed by Commander with Co-Chair invitation to Sons of the American Legion Squadron 389.  The Post Economic Committee is primarily concerned with local employment programs, Veterans preference, government employment and re-employment rights.

Section 7.  Events Committee—Chaired by 2nd Vice with Co-Chair invitation to American Legion Riders 389.  This Committee is primarily concerned with organizing fund-raising events.

Section 8.  Executive Committee—A mandatory Committee.  Chaired by 1st Vice. The Executive Committee is responsible for routine Post operations and administration.  The Chairman reports to the Post for approval of all actions.

Section 9.  Finance Committee - A mandatory Committee.  Chaired by Finance Officer. This Committee shall be charged with the administration of financial policy, preparation of budget recommendations and supervision of receiving, disbursing and accounting of all Post funds.  

Section 10. Foreign Relations Committee - Appointed by Commander. This committee has become active as America has recognized its responsibility as a world leader. Maintaining and securing world peace and friendship abroad through community endeavors have become as essential as any aspect of treaty law.

Section 11.  Graves Registration and Memorial Committee - Chaired by Chaplain.  The duties of this committee involve recording of grave sites and complete information on veteran's burial in cemeteries assigned to the Post. Special assistance can be given the service officer in providing flags, headstones or proper interment in national cemeteries.

Section 12. House & Entertainment Committee - Appointed by Commander.  

Section 13.  Legislative Committee - Appointed by Commander.  The Legislative Committee needs to have knowledge of what is going on in Congress - what we favor or oppose, and should be ready to initiate action in support of our position when requested by the national or Department organization.

Section 14.  Membership Committee - Chaired by 1st Vice.  The Membership Committee shall have charge of all matters pertaining to the membership of the Post, including the procuring of new members, reinstatements and eligibility of members.
Section 15.  National Security Committee-- Appointed by Commander. This Committee works with and coordinates Legion efforts with the Local Civil Defense Council on matters pertaining to national, civilian and home defenses. It shall assist the armed forces of the United States in recruiting efforts and in every way be active in community activities for the defense of the nation and the security of the American home.

Section 16.  Publicity and Public Relations Committee—Chaired by Historian.  Charged with the promotion of public support of the Legion's program by the establishment of proper contact with The American Legion Magazine, Department and National Legion news service and by local publicity of Post programs and activities through press releases and social media such as the Post website, Facebook and Twitter.

Section 17. Strategic Planning and Self Inspection.  Appointed by the Commander.  Prepares a five-year plan for the Post.  Conducts annual self-inspections to evaluate strengths and weaknesses, recommend improvements and recognizes outstanding performance.  Invites District participation to link Post activities to Department and National objectives.

Section 18.  Veterans Affairs and Rehabilitation Committee—Chaired by Service Officer. Supervise all matters pertaining to service to comrades in the prosecution of all just claims against the United States or state government, employment, relief, etc.

Section 19.  Visiting or VAVS Committee—Chaired by Chaplain.  Charged with visiting and comforting members and their families when sick or bereaved, and with visiting ex-service personnel in hospitals.

Article 11--Resolutions
Section 1.  All resolutions of State or National scope presented to and accepted by the Post shall merely embody the opinion of the Post.  A copy shall be forwarded to the Department Headquarters for approval before any publicity is given or action taken.

Article 12--Table Dues of and Fees
Section 1.  Annual Review.  Post may have annual dues, fees and fines separate from the annual dues required by The American Legion for annual membership and life membership.  If so, the Executive Committee will ensure the Post’s Table of Fees and Dues is current.

Article 13--Post Meetings
Section 1.  Place.  The regular meetings of the Post shall be held at an appropriate, accessible location.  

Section 2. Time.  Post meetings shall be scheduled once per month.  The Executive Committee will select the date and time of the regular Post meetings to suit the members. Any member of the Executive Committee may, with concurrence of the majority of committee members, rescheduled or cancel Post meetings.  In the event of extraordinary circumstances unforeseen by the Executive Committee, such as weather, or venue unavailability, the Post Commander may reschedule or cancel a regular Post meeting within three days of the meeting.

Section 3. Special Meetings.  Secret or impromptu meetings of the Post are not permitted.  The Post Commander is authorized to call Special meetings of the Post at his discretion, making an effort to contact all members of the Post.  Additionally, the Post Commander must call a Special Meeting upon receiving a written request from a majority of the Executive Committee or from fifteen members of the Post, specifying the reason(s) for the meeting.  The agenda for meeting should be limited to the reason(s) specified.

Section 4.  Quorum.  Five members of this Post, in good standing, shall constitute a quorum for a regular or special meeting of the Post, when together at the scheduled time and place.  

Section 5.  Procedures.  The Post shall follow The American Legion Manual of Ceremonies and Post Officer’s Guide in the conduct of meetings and other ceremonies.  The authority for questions on conduct of meetings shall be Roberts Rules of Order.

Section 6.  The Post Commander may solicit motions from the floor, but will not make or second motions. The Post Commander is a voting member who will only vote to break a tie.  

Section 7.  Dress Code.  All Officers of the Post shall wear the designated American Legion cap during regular and special meeting of the Post.  Officers and officers-elect shall wear white shirts and black pants for installation.  Post members are encouraged, but not required, to wear the American Legion cap.  All clothing must be clean, in good repair, and in good taste.

Section 8.  Conduct.  The Post Commander is at all times responsible for the conduct of the meeting.  The Sergeant at Arms, at direction of the Commander, and on behalf of the members of the Post, shall inform members or guests when they are out of order, or may soon be out of order.  Shouting; interrupting; inciting by applause, whistles or shouts; booing; profanity; improper dress; and walk-outs are disorderly. Beverages and tobacco are permitted during the meeting if permitted in the venue, however there shall be no alcohol on the head table, and beverages may not be carried from place to place during a Post meeting.  All members present will suspend side-bar conversations when a Legionnaire has been recognized by the Commander.  All members are encouraged to vote on motions before the Post.

Article 14--Trials
Section 1.  Trials will be carried out in accordance with the Department of Florida’s “Rules for Trials.”  A trial is required when the potential punishment is suspension, expulsion, or removal from office.  A trial requires written charges of disloyalty, neglect of duty, dishonesty, and/or conduct unbecoming a Member of the American Legion, either sworn to by the accuser, or otherwise verified. The jury's decision must be presented to the Post at the next regularly scheduled meeting. The Post can approve, disapprove, or modify the findings of the jury and any punishment awarded. The Post’s decision shall be binding unless, within forty live (45) days, the accused appeals to the Department of Florida in accordance with its "Rules Governing Appeals."

Article 15--Communications
Section 1. Official correspondence between the Post and its members, debtors, creditors, or suppliers requires a means to verify delivery, such as certified U.S. Mail, electronic delivery receipts, and process service by a court.  

Section 2.  The Post prefers two-way face-to-face meetings, video teleconferences, and phone calls for discussing and resolving issues because such communications are superior to one-way communication such as e-mail in such circumstances. In-person conversations ensure shared meaning and resolve misunderstandings as they occur. Participating in meetings via electronic teleconference is permissible when doing so will not cause undue disruption to the meeting, and when the method used is not prone to exploitation by unknown parties on the net without the knowledge of the participants.  Examples of acceptable methods are point-to-point telephone connections, password protected phone bridges, Skype connections, and encrypted virtual private networks.  Examples of unacceptable methods include party lines, and phone conference bridges without meeting passwords.

Section 3. E-mail, text messages, and voicemail may be used for official and unofficial correspondence to and between members, debtors, creditors and suppliers, provided delivery is verified.  Occasionally circumstances require physical delivery, such as with official forms, membership cards and legal documents. E-mail may be used in place of regular mail for sending information of general interest, at the discretion each member affected.  E-mail, text messages and voicemail shall not be assumed to have been received, unless acknowledged by the recipient.  The Post will collect and maintain mailing addresses, e-mail addresses and phone numbers of Post members, and will protect the privacy of members’ information.

Section 4.  The Post will have a webmaster.  A member of the Post is preferred but not required.  The official website of Post 389 is www.legion389.org.  The Post Adjutant and the Post Historian may be made responsible jointly for coordinating website content.

Section 5.  Official mail.   Official mail should be sent to the address listed in the Not-For-Profit Corporation Amended Annual Report. Mail received at this mailbox is received and distributed by the Post Adjutant:  P.O. Box 944 Ruskin, FL 33575.

Section 6.  Physical Address.  Until a Post home is established, the physical address of Post 389 shall be as the Post Commander directs.

Article 16--Limitations of Liabilities
Section l.  The Post shall not incur any liability or obligation that subjects other American Legion entities, individuals, corporations or organizations to a liability or obligation.

Article 17--Amendments
Section 1.  These By-Laws may be amended by two-thirds vote of the Post members attending a regular or special meeting, provided the proposed amendment was submitted in writing and read at the preceding regular meeting of the Post, and posted on the Post web site, or via direct mail or e-mail, at least five days in advance of the vote.

Section 2.  These By-Laws are adopted subject to the approval of the Department Commander, Department Adjutant, and Department Judge Advocate.







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