CHAPTER XIII - POLICIES ADOPTED BY BVA NATIONAL BOARD OF DIRECTORS PERTAINING TO REGIONAL GROUPS

 

Section 1. General.

 

During the course of the past several years, the BVA National Board of Directors has, from time to time, adopted policies that pertain, either directly or indirectly, to BVA regional groups. Regrettably, such policies have not always been readily available to regional groups. This inaccessibility has sometimes caused confusion and misunderstandings on the part of regional groups, their officers and members. Accordingly, in an effort to make such policies more directly accessible to regional groups and to eliminate the aforementioned confusion and potential misunderstandings, the BVA National Board of Directors has elected to publish such policies as a part of this Manual.

Section 2. Past Policies (from 1965 to present)

 

A. The following are policies which have been adopted by the BVA National Board of Directors from 1965 to the present which pertain, either directly or indirectly, to BVA regional groups:

1. Policy: That, all current BVA Regional Group Volunteer Service Officers be accredited nationally with the Veterans Administration (DVA).

Adopted: BVA National Board of Directors' Meeting, New York, New York, July 14, 1970.

2. Policy: That, a person can receive the Major General Melvin J. Maas Achievement Award only once during their lifetime.

Adopted: BVA National Board of Directors' Meeting, New Orleans, Louisiana, August 6, 1978.

3. Policy: That, a person can receive the Irving Diener Award only once during their lifetime.

Adopted: BVA National Board of Directors' Meeting, New Orleans, Louisiana, August 6, 1978.

4. Policy: That, BVA regional groups be informed that in accordance with an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) ruling, they do not have federal tax-exemption by reason of being part of the National Association. The National Association will not obtain Federal tax-exemption for the regional groups based on the aforementioned IRS ruling. However, the regional groups may obtain such Federal tax-exemption separately, if they so desire.

Adopted: BVA National Board of Directors' Meeting, Los Angeles, California, August 5, 1979.

5. Policy: That, effective for 1982 and future years, the Irving Diener Award will be awarded to the Member or Associate Member who is judged to have made the greatest contribution to his/her regional group, and that BVA employees are ineligible for this award.

Adopted: BVA National Board of Directors' Meeting, Arlington, Virginia, August 9, 1981.

6. Policy: That, service-connected blinded veteran BVA employees and members of the BVA National Board of Directors are eligible for the Major General Melvin J. Maas Achievement Award.

Adopted: BVA National Board of Directors' Meeting, Arlington, Virginia, August 5, 1981.

7. Policy: That, seconding letters for nominations for BVA national offices not be published in the BVA BULLETIN.

Adopted: BVA Executive Committee Meeting, Washington, D.C., August 22 - 23, 1982.

8. Policy: That,

8a. Persons wishing to send letters to the BVA membership could do so if they prepared the letters ready for mailing as self-mailers, or in envelopes with the "FREE MATTER" indicia or stamps;

8b. They would be responsible for the accuracy of the letter's contents;

8c. The material would be delivered to the BVA National Office for affixing of address labels and mailing;

8d. A copy of the letter would be provided for the National Office records.

Adopted: BVA Executive Committee Meeting, Washington, D.C., August 22 - 23, 1982.

9. Policy: That, the cut-off date for determining the membership count in the regional groups be as close as possible to the date of the National Convention instead of using the end of the fiscal year (June 30) count as now done for determining which regional groups win the Gavel Awards.

Adopted: BVA National Board of Directors' Meeting, New Orleans, Louisiana, August 8, 1982.

10. Policy: That, commencing as soon as possible, mailing labels are to be sent by the BVA National Headquarters to BVA regional groups requesting same.

Adopted: BVA Executive Committee Meeting, Washington, D.C., November 11 - 12, 1982.

11. Policy: That, the policy concerning members campaigning for District Director elections shall be as follows:

11a. An individual running for office who desires to send out campaign literature/materials will first prepare a copy of his/her proposed campaign literature/material and forward same to BVA National Headquarters for screening and approval.

11b. At such time as the proposed campaign literature/material has been screened and approved by the BVA National Headquarters, the candidate will then prepare an appropriate quantity of such literature/material in a timely manner, place it in envelopes and mail same to the BVA National Headquarters where it will be screened for accuracy, labels affixed to the envelopes, and then mailed to members in the appropriate area (District).

11b(1) Campaign literature/material in 14-point type will have the envelopes stamped/printed FREE MATTER FOR THE BLIND; campaign literature/material in smaller than 14-point type will contain sufficient postage for mailing.

11b(2) One copy of the proposed campaign literature/materials with envelope flap unsealed, will be provided for the BVA National Headquarters files.

11c. These guidelines will be distributed to all candidates who are nominated for the appropriate District Director office.

11d. These guidelines will be placed in a Policy Manual for future use. Adopted: BVA National Board of Directors' Meeting, Arlington, Virginia, February 24, 1984.

Amended/Reconfirmed: BVA National Board of Directors' Meeting, Cincinnati, Ohio, August 21 - 23, 1994.

12. Policy: That, the purchase of memberships by regional groups is discouraged, and that any memberships purchased by a regional group in order to stimulate future memberships not be counted toward membership awards or be included in the voting strength of the group delegate at the National Convention.

Adopted: BVA Executive Committee Meeting, Arlington, Virginia, May 26, 1984.

13. Policy: That, registration fees for guests invited to BVA National Conventions will be paid as follows:

13a. For persons receiving awards-BVA National Headquarters pays.

13b. For persons participating in Convention seminars and other Convention events--the host regional group pays.

13c. For persons invited to participate in blind rehabilitation workshops, and other non-Convention type activities-BVA National Headquarters pays, if the persons' agencies (such as VA) cannot/will not pay.

13d. As a general rule: if the invited guests are part of the Convention activities, then the host regional group pays; if they are invited by BVA, then BVA pays. Also, "pay" means payment for those events the invited person actually attends.

Adopted: BVA Executive Committee Meeting, Arlington, Virginia, May 26, 1984.

14. Policy: That, BVA caps are approved for non-members such as Veterans Administration Voluntary Services (VAVS) persons and honorary members for regional groups provided that the wording on the caps makes it clear what the persons are, and that the caps are the blue, regular member, caps, e.g. IL RG Volunteer; PA RG Honorary Member, etc.

Adopted: BVA Executive Committee Meeting, Arlington, Virginia, November 12, 1984.

15. Policy: That, BVA regional groups, and not the BVA, pay for the travel of the BVA Executive Director to attend regional group meetings. Adopted: BVA Executive Committee Meeting, Arlington, Virginia, November 10, 1985.

16. Policy: That, the policy pertaining to members wishing to establish communications with officers and/or members of regional groups other than the group of which they are members is as follows:

16a. The initial communication will be sent to the BVA National Office prepared for mailing (with such postage as may be required), together with the name/designation of the person to whom it is to be sent.

16b. The National Office will address the envelope to the person designated by the originator and then mail it.

16c. Thereafter, it will the decision of the addressee whether or not to establish direct communication with the originator.

Reaffirmed: BVA Executive Committee Meeting, Arlington, Virginia, May 25, 1986 (policy has been in effect for many years).

17. Policy: That, a BVA regional group flag should have the name of the regional group on it.

Adopted: BVA National Board of Directors, San Juan, Puerto Rico, August 14, 1986.

18. Policy: That, the instructions pertaining to the nomination and election of delegates and alternates to the BVA National Convention, contained on the Official BVA Credentials Form, be amended to reflect that if alternate delegates are chosen, they must be elected and specifically named on the form. Adopted: BVA National Board of Directors' Meeting, Washington, D.C., March 17 - 19, 1990.

19. Policy: That, at future BVA National Conventions, the presentation of awards will be limited to BVA National-level awards. Adopted: BVA National Board of Directors' Meeting, Providence, Rhode Island, August 11, 1990.

20. Policy: That, with respect to the procurement of BVA regional group flags, the BVA National Headquarters will provide the specifications and a photograph, but that the regional group is responsible for having the flag made as well as the cost.

Adopted/Reaffirmed: BVA Executive Committee Meeting, Washington, D.C., November 9 - 10, 1990.

21. Policy: That, in the future, citations of those recipients of BVA Certificates of Appreciation who are unable to attend the BVA National Convention will not be read during the Father Carroll Memorial Breakfast (Luncheon).

Adopted: BVA National Board of Directors' Meeting,Washington, D.C., February 28 - March 2, 1991.

Amended: BVA National Board of Directors' Meeting, Reno, Nevada, August 17 - 19, 1997 to permit the reading of a citation for a COA recipient who is unable to attend the Convention to receive his/her award, but for which a designated representative will be present to receive the award on behalf of the recipient.

22. Policy: That, any regional group which is delinquent in holding at least one meeting during the fiscal year or submitting the minutes of such meeting(s) during the required time period as specified in Section 13a of Article XIV (Regional Groups) of the BVA National Bylaws or is delinquent in submitting the required financial report(s), pursuant to Section 13b of the same Article, is to be informed in writing that they are no longer in good standing, and that their delegate(s) will not be seated at the annual BVA National Convention, and further, that their annual Life Membership Fund (LMF) interest/dividend and annual dues apportionments will be withheld until such time as the required meeting is held and/or the required minutes/financial report(s) are submitted, whichever the case may be.

Adopted: BVA National Board of Directors' Meeting, Washington, D.C., February 28 - March 2, 1991

Amended: BVA National Board of Directors' Meeting, Reno, Nevada, August 18 - 20, 1991; BVA National Board of Directors' Meeting, Washington, D.C., March 17 - 19, 1994.


23. Policy: That, BVA members having access to BVA National stationary cannot use same for personal use, and that such persons are to be informed of subject policy by the BVA National Office.

Adopted: BVA National Board of Directors' Meeting, Nashville, Tennessee, August 15, 1992.

24. Policy: That, if a BVA member of the stature of the late Ken Clark of South Carolina passes away, an article paying tribute to that member will be published in the next issue of the BVA BULLETIN.

Adopted: BVA National Board of Directors' Meeting, Washington, D.C., February 25 - 27, 1993.

25. Policy: That, henceforth, the Gold and Silver Gavel awards will not be given to the same regional group.

Adopted: BVA National Board of Directors' Meeting, Washington, D.C., February 25 - 27, 1993.

26. Policy: That, henceforth, a label printout for a particular BVA regional group will include a label for the respective District Director and the FSP Representative having cognizance over the area in which the subject regional group is located.

Adopted: BVA National Board of Directors' Meeting, Washington, D.C., February 25 - 27, 1993.

27. Policy: That, henceforth, biographical sketches of candidates competing in District Director elections will be published unedited.

Adopted: BVA National Board of Directors' Meeting, Washington, D.C., February 25 - 27, 1993.

28. Policy: That, henceforth, under the provisions of Section 1 of Article XIV (Regional Groups) of the BVA National Bylaws, the minimum number of members required for a quorum for regional groups will be five (5) members.

Adopted: BVA National Board of Directors' Meeting, Tucson, Arizona, August 8 - 10, 1993.

29. Policy: That, henceforth, no announcements of BVA regional group meetings will be made in the BVA BULLETIN.

Adopted: BVA Executive Committee Meeting, Washington, D.C., November 12, 1993.

30. Policy: That, a previously-adopted policy prohibiting the use of the BVA emblem on regional group plaques is cancelled.

Adopted: BVA National Board of Directors' meeting, Washington, D.C., March 30 - April 1, 1995.

31. Policy: That, because of their positions and the nature of their work, BVA National Office and Field Service staff who are also BVA members are cautioned and required to observe the following guidelines governing their roles and responsibilities in the Association's internal political campaigns, elections, and other political activities.

31a. Employees who are BVA members must be nonpartisan and must not participate actively in any election campaign and/or electoral activities for District Directors.

31b. BVA National Office and Field Service staff who are BVA members will not use their position to:

31b(1) Obtain address labels and/or printouts of the membership for use by any candidate running for District Director.

31b(2) Telephone individual BVA members to encourage or ask them to vote for a specific candidate in a District Director election.

31b(3) Speak on behalf of any candidate in a District Director election before members at a regional group meeting or any other gathering of BVA members outside the BVA National Convention.

31c. All employees, who are Members or Associate Members, are encouraged to exercise their right to vote, when eligible, in District Director and National Officer elections.

Adopted: BVA National Board of Directors' Meeting, Washington, D.C., March 30 - April 1, 1995.

32. Policy: That, henceforth, all BVA regional groups are prohibited from selling any type of merchandise at any future BVA National Convention.

Adopted: BVA National Board of Directors' Meeting, Washington, D.C., March 30 - April 1, 1995.

33. Policy: That, posthumous nominations for the Major General Melvin J. Maas Award may be submitted for consideration by the panel judging the Maas Award nominations.

Adopted: BVA National Board of Directors' Meeting, Washington, D.C., March 30 - April 1, 1995.

34. Policy: That, commencing with the 50th BVA National Convention, BVA will pay the expenses (travel; two night's lodging) of the Irving Diener Award winner to attend the BVA National Convention for the purpose of receiving subject award.

Adopted: BVA National Board of Directors' Meeting, Washington, D.C., August 19 - 21, 1995.

35. Policy: That, commencing with the 50th BVA National Convention, BVA will pay the expenses (travel; two night's lodging) of the Major General Melvin J. Maas Achievement Award winner to attend the BVA National Convention for the purpose of receiving subject award. Adopted: BVA National Board of Directors' Meeting, Washington, D.C., August 19 - 21, 1995.

36. Policy: That, henceforth, information concerning wills, planned giving, and bequests may be published in future editions of the BVA Bulletin. Adopted: BVA National Board of Directors' Meeting, Washington, D.C., August 19 - 21, 1995.

37. Policy: That, henceforth, the BVA Administrative Director may approve regional group bylaws provided that such bylaws are in consonance with the standard (sample) BVA regional group bylaws.

Adopted: BVA National Board of Directors' Meeting, Washington, D.C., August 19 - 21, 1995.

38. Policy Modification: Modified the BVA policy concerning the limitation on the number of scholarships available to a recipient under the Kathern F. Gruber Scholarship Program so that commencing with the 1996 - 1997 academic year, the number of scholarships a recipient may receive with be limited to four. Adopted: BVA National Board of Directors' Action, November 15, 1995.

39. Policy: That, henceforth, the minutes of future BVA National Conventions will be limited by eliminating committee reports and minutes of LMF meetings and Investment Fund meetings (such reports/minutes will be retained on file at BVA National Headquarters, and any members in good standing obtain copies by writing to the National Headquarters, Attn: Administrative Director). LMF and Investment Fund end-of-the-fiscal-year reports will be included in the Convention Minutes. Adopted: BVA Executive Committee Meeting, Washington, D.C., November 10, 1996.

40. Policy: That, an investment policy of 50% of BVA cash reserves is hereby established by adopting a moderately conservative portfolio consisting of C.D.'s and U.S. Treasury Bills. Adopted: BVA National Board of Directors' Meeting, Washington, D.C., March 6 - 8, 1997.

41. Policy: That, the third floor conference room of the BVA National Headquarters is to be known hereafter as the "Sumner A. 'Tut' Vale Memorial Conference Room." Adopted: BVA National Board of Directors' Meeting, Washington, D.C., March 6 - 8, 1997.

42. Policy: That, BVA will pay no expenses for the winner of the Wilburn H. Long Employment Award associated with acceptance of subject award at the BVA National Convention. Adopted: BVA National Board of Directors' Meeting, Reno, Nevada, August 17 - 19, 1997. Policy no longer necessary because the Long award has been discontinued.

43. Policy Modification: Approved a modification of paragraph 3 of the Guidelines for BVA Certificates of Appreciation (COA) to:

43a. permit the reading of a citation for a COA recipient who is unable to attend the Convention to receive his/her award, but for which a designated representative will be present to receive the award on behalf of the recipient.


43b. establish the written policy that BVA will provide each recipient of a BVA COA a complimentary convention registration, but that such COA recipients will be responsible for their own travel and hotel expenses associated with accepting their respective COA awards at the BVA National Convention. Adopted: BVA National Board of Directors' Meeting, Reno, Nevada, August 17 - 19, 1997.

44. Policy: That, BVA send congratulatory letters to those BVA members reaching their 100th birthday where the blinded veteran member can be identified in a timely manner. Adopted: BVA Executive Committee Meeting, Washington, D.C., November 10, 1997.

45. Policy: That, a regional group chapter must go through its parent regional group to request labels from National, or the regional group must forward a letter to National (Attn: Membership Manager) designating a chapter officer who is authorized to request labels directly from National. Adopted: BVA National Board of Directors' Meeting, Washington, D.C., February 26 - 28, 1998.

46. Policy: That, regulations governing subordinate chapters of BVA regional groups be included as a section within the regional group's bylaws.

Adopted: BVA National Board of Directors' Meeting, Washington, D.C., February 26 - 28, 1998.

47. Policy: That, bidding by BVA regional groups to host the BVA National Convention will be in accordance with procedures agreed to in principal by the BVA National Board of Directors, such policy to be put into effect for the 53rd BVA National Convention (see Chapter XI (Hosting a BVA National Convention) of this Manual for further amplification of the bidding procedures).

Adopted: BVA National Board of Directors' Meeting, Washington, D.C., February 26 - 28, 1998.

48. Policy: That, use of credit cards for the conduct of BVA business will be implemented on a one-year trial basis. Adopted: BVA National Board of Directors' Meeting, Itasca, Illinois, August 9 - 11, 1998. Amended: BVA National Board of Directors' Meeting, San Juan, Puerto Rico, August 15 - 17, 1999 (trial basis to be continued for one additional year).

49. Policy: That:

49a. It is the intention of the BVA Bylaw regarding distribution of any financial gain by the National Convention (Section 9d(2), Article IX (National Convention)) that the host regional group be allocated the portion of that gain that is directly related to its successful fund-raising efforts, up to $3,000.


49b. It should be understood that:


49b(1) All gain should be remitted to the National Office after the books at the Convention are closed.

49b(2) Any gain to the regional group is not an expense item in the Convention income statement.

49b(3) The Board of Directors of the BVA is obligated to decide how much of the gain, if any, will be remitted to the regional group.

49b(4) The remittance to the regional group will be commensurate with the regional group's fund-raising efforts.

49c. The host regional group is responsible for providing to the Board of Directors an income statement clearly indicating the sources of revenue and all expenses. It should be clearly stated whether the host regional group or National was responsible for individual items of revenue.

49d. For example, registration fees, exhibitors' solicited by National, National sweepstakes and program ads obtained by National should be indicated as funds raised by National.

49e. Examples of funding obtained by the host regional group would be hotel room raffles, program ads solicited by the host regional group, local exhibitors obtained by the host regional group, monetary donations solicited by the host regional group, and non-monetary donations such as hospitality room supplies to which a value can be attached.

49f. The Board of Directors will carefully examine the income statement and make every effort to remit funds to the host regional group.

Adopted: BVA National Board of Directors Meeting, Itasca, Illinois, August 9 - 11, 1998.

50. Policy Modification: The BVA travel/travel reimbursement policy for BVA employees was modified. Due to the length of subject policy, it will not be enunciated here, but rather may be found in the updated BVA Personnel Policy Manual which will tentatively be published in November, 1999.

Adopted: BVA National Board of Directors' Meeting, Washington, D.C., March 4 - 6 1999.

51. Policy: That, BVA National Headquarters establish set per diem rate for each BVA travel site, and that the Board and staff be required to submit receipts for actual expenses up to the set per diem ceiling rate for both travel and lodging.

Adopted: BVA National Board of Directors' Meeting, Washington, D.C., March 4 - 6, 1999.

52. Policy: That, members of the BVA National Board of Directors be reimbursed at the same rate as the BVA National Headquarters staff when attending BVA National Conventions and Board meetings.

Adopted: BVA National Board of Directors' Meeting, Washington, D.C., March 4 - 6, 1999.

53. Policy: That, fees for security of the exhibitors' area at BVA National Conventions be paid by BVA National Headquarters (proceeds from exhibitors).

Adopted: BVA National Board of Directors' Meeting, Washington, D.C., March 4 - 6, 1999.

54. Policy: That, those regional groups which have either established subordinate chapter(s), or are planning to do so in the future, should amend their bylaws to include guidelines for the control and administrative support of such chapter(s).

Adopted: BVA National Board of Directors' Meeting, Washington, D.C., March 4 - 6, 1999.

55. Policy: That, with respect to gifts and/or bequests of stock to BVA, the appropriate stock broker will manage the stocks, and, if any such stocks are of low quality, the stock broker will sell the stocks in question and reinvest the monies realized from such sale. Dividends of managed stocks will be reinvested.

Adopted: BVA National Board of Directors' Meeting, San Juan, Puerto Rico, August 15 - 17, 1999.

56. Policy: Henceforth, BVA regional groups must sent out notification letters to all members in good standing at least ten (10) days in advance of any regional group meeting advising of the date, time, location and purpose of each meeting, and further, that address labels from BVA National Headquarters must be used for all such notification mailings.

Adopted: BVA National Board of Directors' Meeting, San Juan, Puerto Rico, August 15 - 19, 1999.

57. Policy Reaffirmation: Reaffirmed the previously-adopted policy which precludes subordinate chapters of BVA regional groups from opening their own bank accounts.

Reaffirmed: BVA National Board of Directors' Meeting, San Juan, Puerto Rico, August 15 - 17, 1999.

58. Policy: That, henceforth, telephone conferences be held twice a year between the District Directors and the Executive Director, with flexibility as to the times and dates of such

Adopted: BVA National Board of Directors' Meeting, SanJuan, Puerto Rico, August 15 - 17, 1999.