Bylaws of Atlanta OutWorlders
Adopted at the 15 December 2002 business meeting and subsequently amended as indicated.
- 1 Section 1. Name
- 2 Section 2. Purpose
- 3 Section 3. Definitions
- 4 Section 4. Membership
- 5 Section 5. Meetings
- 6 Section 6. Voting
- 7 Section 7. Officers
- 8 Section 8. Fiscal Procedures
- 9 Section 9. Special Interest Groups, Committees, and Official and Affiliated Events
- 10 Section 10. Parliamentary Authority
- 11 Section 11. Amendment of Bylaws
Section 1. Name
The name of this organization shall be OutWorlders (the Organization).
Section 2. Purpose
The purpose of this organization shall be to provide an inclusive and friendly environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and diverse gender and sexual identities (LGBTQ+) in the community within forums including gaming as well as science fiction, fantasy, and horror media. This organization provides activities and programs that create community involvement within the LGBTQ+ community.[iv][xxiii]
Section 3. Definitions
OutWorlders, Inc. shall be referred to as the Organization.
Official Communication Methods shall be the OutWorlders website and Facebook Group
A full day shall be defined as a 24-hour period.
Section 4. Membership
A general member shall be anyone who subscribes to one of the Organization’s mailing lists. A sponsoring member is a general member who has paid the established dues. A member is not legally bound to the Organization nor is the Organization liable for any statement or action made by an individual member. Dues are established as $15 paid annually per calendar year. To vote at a business meeting, a member must have paid their dues to the Treasurer at least five business days prior to the meeting at which they wish to vote. A sponsoring member who wishes to decline the responsibility to vote may do so by notifying the Secretary in writing.[v][xv][xxii]
An announcements-only mailing list shall be created for sponsoring members of the Organization. The President and the Secretary shall be owners of the list; ownership shall be transferred in accordance with election results by the end of December of each calendar year.
A sponsoring member may resign their position at any time by notifying the Secretary of the Organization. A sponsoring member who resigns will not receive a refund of any dues already paid.
A member of the Organization may be removed from membership for not performing their duties, for misuse of the Organization’s funds, or for other misconduct at the Organization’s official and affiliated events, at committee and special interest group meetings, at regular business meetings, or in any other capacity associated with the Organization. A proposal to remove a member follows the standard voting procedures for proposals, with the exception that a 3/4 majority vote is required to adopt the proposal. The proposal may be considered with an emergency vote provided that the proposal has been sent to the sponsoring members mailing list no less than 10 days prior to the business meeting at which the proposal will be considered. Individuals who are removed from membership shall be banned from all of the Organization’s mailing lists.[xv]
Section 5. Meetings
The regular business meeting of the Organization shall be held on the third Sunday of each month at a time and place to be determined by the officers of the organization and announced at least one month prior to the meeting via official communication methods (including the announcement list).
Section 6. Voting
A proposal must be announced by submitting it to the Secretary in writing at a business meeting or by emailing its full text to the Secretary no later than 14 full days prior to the business meeting at which it will be considered. The Secretary shall post the full text of any proposal to be considered at a business meeting to an appropriate page on the Organization's website no later than 7 full days prior to that business meeting and shall announce the posting via official communication methods. If a proposal is amended during a discussion at a business meeting, then it cannot be adopted prior to the subsequent business meeting.[iii][xii][xxi]
Only sponsoring members of the Organization may vote on organizational business. An absentee ballot may be cast by a sponsoring member's giving a printed vote or sending an e-mail vote to the Secretary prior to the meeting at which the vote will be taken. An absentee ballot must include the sponsoring member’s full name, their email address, information identifying the proposal, and their vote (for or against). The sponsoring member may cast votes for more than one proposal on a single absentee ballot. A good faith effort shall be made to gather absentee ballots.[iii]
For a vote to be valid, a minimum of 10 sponsoring members or 25% of the sponsoring membership (whichever is fewer) must cast votes on the proposal. A proposal shall be adopted by an affirmative vote of a simple majority of voting members.
An emergency vote may occur to accomplish organizational business at a regular business meeting provided (a) that the proposer has made a good-faith effort to inform the sponsoring membership of the upcoming vote and provides documentation of those efforts at the time of consideration of the proposal, (b) that a 3/4 majority of sponsoring members vote to allow the emergency vote, and (c) that a 3/4 majority of voters vote to adopt the proposal. For an emergency vote, absentee ballots will be accepted with the same qualifications as a regular vote. A minimum of 10 members or 25% of the current sponsoring membership (whichever is fewer) must cast votes on the issue for the vote to be valid. A sponsoring member who has declined an invitation to join the Sponsoring Members mailing list or who has unsubscribed himself or herself from the Sponsoring Members mailing list shall not be considered in determining the minimum number of votes needed for consideration or adoption of a proposal.[i]
Section 7. Officers
Part A. Election
Elected officer positions shall occur annually at the regular business meeting of the Organization in December; voting shall be by secret ballot.[xvi] The following officer positions are elected positions: President, Vice-President, Treasurer, and Secretary. A candidate for an elected officer position must be a sponsoring member of the Organization who was nominated for the position prior to the close of the November regular business meeting. Self-nominations are allowed; however, all nominations must be seconded. A printed proposal is not required for a nomination. Elected officers serve from 01 January to 31 December of the year following their election. Candidates are encouraged to submit to the Election Coordinator their platforms and qualifications for posting to the mailing list for sponsoring members.
The Election Coordinator shall collect all ballots for the December election. The Election Coordinator shall keep all ballots for a period of three months; ballots are to be used only in the event that the results of the election are contested. In such a case, the Election Coordinator shall make every possible effort to conceal voters’ identities while providing information required to inform consideration of the contest. Following the three-month period, all ballots will be destroyed.
Part B. Appointment
Sponsoring Members may be appointed to appointed officer positions at a regular business meeting as necessary (except the Election Coordinator). The following are appointed officer positions: Events Coordinator, Historian, Internet Coordinator, Public Relations Coordinator, and Election Coordinator. With the approval of at least two other elected officers, the President shall appoint sponsoring members to appointed positions and shall announce such appointments at a regular business meeting. Appointed officers take office at the end of the meeting at which they were appointed and serve until the end of the January regular business meeting of the subsequent year, with the exception of the Election Coordinator, who serves from the end of the November regular business meeting at which they were appointed to the end of the March regular business meeting. The Vice President shall oversee the activities of the appointed officers.[ii][vi][xvii]
Part C. Duties
Each officer must keep records of correspondence used in their performance of their office (as appropriate) and make these available for review at the request of a sponsoring member. No member of the Organization may serve in more than one officer position simultaneously.[vii]
President. The President shall preside at the regular business meeting of the Organization, ensure that the members of the Organization are informed regarding organizational business, and monitor the other officers in the performance of their duties. The President shall be an ex officio member of each OutWorlders committee and special interest group. The President shall serve as an owner or moderator on each mailing list of the Organization.
Vice-President. The Vice-President shall perform the duties of the President at the President’s request and during any temporary absence or incapacity of the President, arrange facilities for regular business meetings, and perform other duties as assigned by the President. The Vice-President shall oversee the activities of the appointed officers. The Vice-President shall be an ex officio member of each of the Organization’s committee and special interest groups.[viii][xv]
Treasurer. The Treasurer shall manage, monitor, and report on the financial activities and financial status of the Organization at each regular business meeting. The Treasurer is responsible for all official fundraising events. The Treasurer shall ensure that the Organization’s bank account has two signatories, one of which shall be that of the Treasurer and the other of which shall be that of an elected officer who does not reside at the Treasurer's address and who shall be selected in the following order: President, Vice-President, or Secretary. With input from the current officers, the Treasurer shall compose a detailed organizational budget for the subsequent calendar year. The Treasurer shall notify the Secretary of payment of dues of sponsoring members.[xiv]
Secretary. The Secretary shall ensure that minutes are taken at each regular business meeting of the Organization, maintain archives of business proceedings, and submit all required business forms for the Organization’s activities. The Secretary shall keep a list of the sponsoring members of the Organization[viii][xv]
Events Coordinator. The Events Coordinator shall create and update a weekly calendar of events for the Organization and help new Special Interest Groups prepare their proposals for establishment. The Events Coordinator shall report at each regular business meeting about recently completed events and planned events, shall decide, with the advice of the President, if proposed affiliated events support the purpose of the Organization, and shall serve as an ex officio member of all event committees and special interest groups.
Historian. The Historian shall keep records of organizational activities to be made available at the request of any sponsoring member.[viii][xv]
Internet Coordinator. The Internet Coordinator shall design and keep current the Organization’s Internet site and e-mail addresses.[viii]
Public Relations Coordinator. The Public Relations Coordinator shall coordinate contact with outside organizations and provide release forms, press releases, guidelines for organizational style, and flyers for official events. The Public Relations Coordinator shall be responsible for social media presence. The Public Relations Coordinator shall report at each regular business meeting.[viii]
Election Coordinator. The Election Coordinator shall collect absentee ballots for the annual election of officers, shall count the ballots in the presence of a sponsoring member who is not a candidate for a contested office, and shall announce the results of the voting at the December regular business meeting. The Election Coordinator will keep secure all collected ballots until the end of the March regular business meeting, at which time the Election Coordinator will destroy them.
Part D. Departure or Removal from Office
An officer may resign their position at any time by notifying the President of the Organization or, in the case of the President’s resignation, the Vice-President and Secretary of the Organization.
An officer may be removed from office for not performing their duties, for misuse of the Organization’s funds, or for other misconduct at the Organization’s official and affiliated events, at committee and special interest group meetings, at regular business meetings, or in any other capacity associated with the Organization. A proposal to remove an officer follows the standard voting procedures for proposals, with the exception that a 3/4 majority vote is required to adopt the proposal. The proposal may be considered with an emergency vote provided that the proposal has been sent to the sponsoring members mailing list no less than 10 days prior to the business meeting at which the proposal will be considered.[xv]
Part E. Vacancies
If the President of the Organization resigns their position or is removed from office, then the Vice-President becomes President of the Organization immediately following publication of the President’s leaving office to the sponsoring members mailing list or its announcement at a regular business meeting.
If any other officer position becomes vacant, the President shall, with the approval of two other officers, appoint a sponsoring member to fill the position. This temporary officer shall serve until an appropriately elected or appointed officer takes the position. The Secretary shall announce the vacancy to the sponsoring members mailing list and, if the position is an elected position, call for nominations to be submitted by the subsequent regular business meeting. If there is only one nominee for a vacant position following the close of nominations for that position, that nominee shall assume immediately that position. Any appointed officer position may remain vacant, and its duties shared amongst officers.[ix]
Section 8. Fiscal Procedures
Part A. Operating Budget
At the December business meeting, the Treasurer shall present a recommended budget for the subsequent year. Following the meeting, the newly elected officers shall review the recommended budget and prepare an annual budget to present to the membership in January. This budget will include the name of the expense item, the maximum amount to be spent on that item, and title of the officer who will receive reimbursement for the item or who will arrange for payment of the item. This budget must be submitted 14 full days prior to the January business meeting. Approval of the budget as a whole shall constitute approval of each item in the budget. Until a budget is approved, individual expenses must be processed through the regular approval process.[xix]
Part B. Reimbursement of Expenses
A sponsoring member may receive a reimbursement for expenses related to an official event through one of the following procedures:
- If the expense is an approved expense in the operational budget, the individual identified in the sponsoring budget must present an original, dated receipt for the expense to the Treasurer to receive reimbursement. The organization guarantees reimbursement for no more than the total amount identified in the operating budget.
- A sponsoring member may submit a proposal to request reimbursement for the expense. If the proposal is approved, the individual receiving the reimbursement must present an original, dated receipt for the expense to the Treasurer to receive reimbursement. The Organization guarantees reimbursement for no more than the total amount identified in the approved proposal.[xx]
Section 9. Special Interest Groups, Committees, and Official and Affiliated Events
Part A. Special Interest Groups
Members of the Organization interested in a particular topic or activity may form a special interest group. Such a special interest group is an official part of the Organization in accordance with all of the following guidelines.[xv]
- The special interest group coordinator is a sponsoring member of the Organization.
- A proposal to establish the special interest group has been adopted at a regular business meeting of the Organization. The proposal must include the group's statement of purpose.
- The special interest group coordinator reports on group activities and expenditures at each regular business meeting of the Organization.
- The special interest group may request funding for activities in accordance with the Organization’s established procedures for voting on proposals.
- The special interest group's official status may be removed, as necessary, in accordance with the Organization’s established procedures for voting on proposals.
Part B. Committees
At any regular business meeting, a sponsoring member of the Organization can propose the creation of a committee to fulfill a specific charge and to continue until a specified ending event. Such a committee is an official part of the Organization in accordance with all of the following guidelines.
- The committee chairperson is a sponsoring member of the Organization.
- The committee chairperson reports on committee activities and expenditures at each regular business meeting of the Organization.
- The committee may request funding for activities in accordance with the Organization’s established procedures for voting on proposals and so long as the activities are directly related to the committee's charge.
- The committee shall be dissolved when its specified ending event is achieved. A committee may also be dissolved in accordance with the Organization’s established procedures for voting on proposals.
Part C. Official and Affiliated Events
The Organization’s official and affiliated events must support the purpose of the Organization. Official events must be hosted by a sponsoring member of the Organization, must be approved through the established procedures for voting on proposals, and are eligible for funding. Affiliated events must be hosted by a general member of the Organization and are not eligible for funding from the Organization. The Organization will provide advertising for official and affiliated events through its mailing lists and other appropriate outlets. The Organization assumes no liability for all and any injuries, including death, or damage to person or personal property that occurs at official or affiliated events of the Organization.[xv]
Section 10. Parliamentary Authority
The rules contained in the current edition of Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised shall govern the Organization in all cases to which they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with these bylaws and any special rules of order the Organization may adopt.
Section 11. Amendment of Bylaws
These bylaws may be amended at any regular business meeting of the Organization by a two-thirds vote, provided that the amendment has been submitted in writing at the previous regular business meeting.
[i]: Sentence added to clarify that members who removed themselves from the mailing list will not be considered in determining the minimum number of votes. Updated 15 August 2004.
[ii]: Sentence added to state that the Vice President shall oversee the activities of the appointed officers. Updated 20 February 2005.
[iii]: Paragraphs updated 18 February 2018.
[iv]: Use the language/acronym that is more commonly used amongst the community. Updated 18 March 2018.
[v]: Sentence added to foreshadow voting requirements in the voting section. Updated 18 March 2018.
[vi]: Reflect that appointed officer positions may be vacant and filled on an as-needed basis. Updated 18 March 2018.
[vii]: Sentence modified to allow for digital records to suffice. Updated 18 March 2018.
[viii]: Description of position modified to accurately reflect the role. Updated 18 March 2018.
[ix]: Add clarification that appointed positions aren’t a requirement. Updated 18 March 2018.
[x]: Remove paragraph mandating fundraiser events. Removed 18 March 2018.
[xi]: Section added to provide a single source of truth for words, phrases, and definitions used throughout the bylaws. Added 18 March 2018.
[xii]: Remove sentence that is reflected in the definitions section. Removed 18 March 2018.
[xiii]: Remove paragraph referring to the budget from the Voting section and add it to the Fiscal Responsibilities section. Updated 18 March 2018.
[xiv]: Remove sentence referring to budget proposals. Removed 18 March 2018.
[xv]: Updated to identify OutWorlders consistently as “the Organization.” Updated 18 March 2018.
[xvi]: Updated to specifically state that the positions are up for votes, not the current officers. Updated 14 August 2018.
[xvii]: Updated to specifically state that the positions are available to be appointed, not the current officers. Updated 14 August 2018.
[xviii] Updated title of the section from "Fiscal Responsibilities" to "Fiscal Procedures." Updated 14 August 2018.
[xix] Text copied from the Treasurer's responsibility paragraph to put all the steps of the process in one place. Added to clarify timing and procedures without changing the meaning of the original text. Updated 14 August 2018.
[xx] Renamed heading from "Event Budget" to "Reimbursement of Expenses," and the procedures have been rewritten to provide clear guidance on how sponsoring members can receive reimbursement for expenses for official events. Removed text referring to a detailed budget since, in practice, reimbursement has been for a single item, or a general category all paid on one receipt. If the sponsoring members do want more detailed information on expenses, they can ask for it while the proposal is being considered. Updated 14 August 2018.
[xxi] Updated to define what the official communication methods are, and to remove specific mention of technologies and to consistently refer to OutWorlders as “the Organization.” Updated 1 October 2018.
[xxii] Updated to increase membership dues from $10 to $15, adopted at the 2018-09-16 Business Meeting. Effective 1 January 2019. Updated 4 December 2018.
[xxiii] Updated to reflect the current purpose of the organization. Updated 2019-03-17.