By-laws

By-laws of the Sierra Nevada Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America
Revised: February 2008

ARTICLE I – NAME
The name of this non-profit organization shall be the Sierra Nevada Chapter, Public Relations Society of America. (PRSA)

ARTICLE II – OBJECTIVES
In accordance with the objectives of the Public Relations Society of America, the objectives of this chapter shall be to advance the art and science of public relations in the public interest; to encourage research, discussion and study of the problems and techniques of the public relations profession; to strengthen and maintain the highest standards of service and ethical conduct by all members of the profession; to exchange ideas and experiences and collect and disseminate information that may enhance or improve the professional knowledge, standards, ethics and standing of the membership; and to promote fraternalism within the profession.

PRSA builds the public relations profession and the public relations professional in three core areas:

A. Advancing the Profession
To attain the overall goal as the standard bearer for public relations, PRSA maintains and continually enhances all existing Professional Development programs using media opportunities at all levels for individual member, chapter, section and national efforts concentrating on Accreditation and the Code of Ethics.

B. Strengthening the Society
While constantly seeking new strategies to increase membership and enrich member services, the Society will strive to develop cohesion among the national staff, board and the local operating units of the society. The Society will continue to develop a governance structure well adapted to change and one which will constantly measure the effectiveness of its performance.

C. Establishing Global Leadership
In order to position PRSA as the acknowledged worldwide brand of public relations excellence, PRSA is dedicated to strengthening alliances with other public relations organizations throughout the world, internationally marketing its products and services, and continuing to extend Accreditation worldwide.

ARTICLE III – MEMBERSHIP

Section 1 – Eligibility
To be eligible for membership in the chapter, a person must be a member in good standing of the public relations profession, and meet the national eligibility requirements established by PRSA. Any such member of the profession is eligible for membership in the chapter.

Section 2 – Admission to Membership
The pertinent provisions of the bylaws of PRSA shall govern admission to membership in PRSA. Any person admitted to membership in PRSA shall become a member of the chapter, if eligible, upon payment of chapter dues.

Section 3 – Associate Membership
Members of the Public Relations Student Society of America or recent graduates of a public relations program may be Associate Members for a period of two years, with a reduced fee for membership to both the national chapter and the local chapter. All membership categories and policies shall be consistent with the bylaws of PRSA National.

Section 4 – Retirement Status
Any member of the chapter who has been a member of PRSA in good standing for at least five years, has retired from a full-time public relations occupation, and is employed for less than 50 percent of the time in a public relations related endeavor is eligible for retirement. Applicable national dues will apply for national membership; local dues will be one-half of standard local dues and retired members will be eligible for the lowest price lunch offered at monthly chapter meetings. Members on retirement status shall enjoy all the rights and privileges of membership.

Section 5 – Termination of Chapter Membership
Any member who for any reason ceases to be a member of PRSA, or is dropped from PRSA’s roll for non-payment of dues, shall cease to be a member of the Chapter and shall be dropped from the chapter roll.

Section 6 – Rights and Privileges of Membership
Subject to the bylaws of PRSA, the right to serve as an Assembly Delegate or Alternate Delegate or as Professional Advisor to a PRSA chapter shall be members who are accredited. All efforts will be made to find an APR; however, should the case be that no APRs are available to serve, a non-accredited member of the Board willing to serve will be the chapter’s Delegate. Associate members may hold chapter offices of Vice President of Administration and Vice President of Finance until the chapter reaches substantial size (at least 50 members). Members in good standing shall have the right to participate in professional education seminars, reduced meal rates and any other privileges of membership.

ARTICLE IV – DUES

Section 1 – Amount
The amount of chapter dues shall be fixed annually by the chapter’s Board of Directors and shall be payable in advance to PRSA National. Reduced local dues will be afforded to students, non-profit agencies and retired PRSA individuals. Reduced rates will be considered one half of the regular local chapter dues. In addition, students, non-profit, and retired personnel will be eligible for the lowest price lunch at the monthly meetings, discounted rates for the annual professional development seminar and the annual Silver Spike Awards.

Retired individuals are defined in Article III, Section 3 of the bylaws.

Students are considered to be any individual taking a minimum of six credit hours from either an accredited community college or university and majoring in a communications, journalism or other field related to public relations.

A non-profit agency is considered any charitable or civic organization with an IRS designation of a 501 C (3) and derives some of its operating revenues from donations, and is acknowledged by a simple majority of the chapter’s Board of Directors as a non-profit agency.

Section 2 – Nonpayment of Dues
Any member whose chapter dues are unpaid for one month shall be considered not in good standing and shall not be entitled to vote, hold office, or enjoy other privileges of chapter membership. The member shall be notified of his/her lapsed dues and consequential dropped membership.

Section 3 – Fiscal Year
The fiscal year of the chapter shall be the calendar year.

Section 4 – Pro-Rated Membership
The local membership costs of members who join after June 30 of any year will be pro-rated to half the annual amount. All others joining within the first two quarters of the year must pay full membership.

Section 5 – Local Affiliate Membership
In order to allow prospective members to determine the potential value of membership in PRSA, the chapter will allow for a local Affiliate Membership, so long as the Affiliate member is also a National PRSA member. Local affiliates will be eligible to receive reduced rates for all chapter activities, including paying the member cost for monthly luncheons. The Board of Directors will determine local Affiliate Membership cost. Local Affiliate Members will not be eligible to vote for chapter officers, nor will they be able to receive national materials, or take part in national PRSA activities. The local Affiliate Membership will remain in effect for one year, at the end of one year the local Affiliate Member must declare his/her intention to join the chapter. If the local Affiliate Member decides not to join, he/she will be subjected to the same costs as non-members.

ARTICLE V – BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Section 1 – Composition
The governing body of the chapter shall be the Board of Directors consisting of the President, President-Elect, two Vice Presidents of Programming, Vice President of Administration, Vice President of Finance, Vice President of Communications, Vice President of Membership, Ethics Officer, the Immediate Past-President and the Assembly Delegate(s). All members of the Board of Directors will have voting privileges. The President-Elect shall automatically ascend to the position of President without having the stand for election a second time.

Section 2 – Vacancies
In the event of death, resignation, removal or expulsion of any officer, director or Assembly delegate, the Board of Directors shall elect a successor who shall take office immediately and serve for the balance of the term or until the next annual election.

In the event that the Nominating Committee has made every effort to secure a candidate to stand for office for the coming year and has still been unsuccessful in filling any office, the incumbent will remain in office until the Board of Directors elects a successor.

Section 3 – Removal
Any Officer who misses more than three consecutive board meetings without an excuse acceptable to the Board of Directors may be given notice of dismissal by the chapter President and replaced in accordance with Section 2 above.

Section 4 – Board Meetings
There shall be at least four meetings of the Board of Director at such times and places as it may determine. It shall meet at the call of the President or upon the call of any three members of the Board of Directors. Notice of each meeting of the board shall be given to each Director personally, via email, fax or by mail at least seven days in advance.

Section 5 – Quorum
A simple majority of the Board of Directors shall constitute a quorum of all meetings of the board. Virtual attendance through conference call or other technologically enhanced vehicle will constitute attendance. Voting by proxy through fax or email will be allowed if votes are received in response to the President’s request and prior to the meeting date.

Section 6 – Compensation or Reimbursement
No elected officer of the chapter shall be entitled to any salary or other compensation. Elected officers or assembly delegates may be reimbursed for their expenses incurred in connection with the performance of their duties only if an estimate for such expenses is provided in advance of the expenditure and only if the request is approved by a simple majority of the Board of Directors.

ARTICLE VI – OFFICERS

Section 1 – Chapter Officers
The officers of the chapter shall be a President, President-Elect, two Vice Presidents of Programming, Vice President of Administration, Vice President of Finance, Vice President of Communications, and Vice President of Membership, Ethics Officer, the Immediate Past President and the Assembly Delegate(s). A slate of officers presented by the Nominating Committee shall be elected by the chapter membership at its annual meeting for a term of one year, except for assembly delegates who serve a three-year term, and until their successors are elected and installed. No officer having held an office for two successive terms will be eligible for a third successive term of the same office.

Section 2 – President
The President shall preside at all meetings of the chapter and of the Board of Directors. The President shall appoint all committees with the approval of the Board of Directors and shall be ex-officio member of all committees except the Nominating committee, which the President chairs. The President will be responsible for writing and sending communiqu├ęs from the Chapter. Upon recommendation of the Nominating Committee, the President shall appoint, with concurrence of the Board of Directors, the Directors and Chairs of all Standing and Special Committees. The President shall perform all other duties incidental to the office.

Section 3 – President-Elect
The President-Elect shall assist the chapter President in the execution of presidential duties in preparation of becoming the next chapter President. The President-Elect will serve as a deputy of the President and perform presidential duties in the absence of the chapter President. This position will be responsible for participating in PRSA District and National conference calls as needed and as required by those bodies. The President-Elect shall perform all other duties as requested by the chapter President or incidental to the office.

Section 4 – Two Vice Presidents of Programming
There will be two VPs of programming to prevent onerous commitment. Each VP will have voting privileges. It shall be the primary responsibility of the Vice Presidents of Programming to coordinate the chapter’s monthly meeting programs. As feasible, the Vice Presidents shall provide the Board of Directors with a list of program subjects for review by the Board and will be responsible for contacting approved speakers, coordinating audio-visual needs and other requirements for the program. The Vice Presidents of Programming will work with the Vice President of Finance to ensure venue arrangements and payments are completed. It will also be the responsibility of the Vice President of Programming to organize and administer an annual professional development seminar. This position shall assist the President and perform such other duties as prescribed by the Board of Directors.

Section 5 – Vice President of Administration
The Vice President of Administration shall keep records of all meetings of the chapter and of the Board of Directors, send copies of such minutes to PRSA national headquarters as required in the national bylaws, issue notices of all meetings, maintain the records and history of the chapter, and perform all other duties customarily pertaining to the office.

Section 6 – Vice President of Finance
The Vice President of Finance shall receive and deposit all chapter funds in the name of the chapter in a bank or trust company selected and approved by the Board of Directors. The Vice President of Finance shall issue receipts and make authorized disbursements by check after appropriate consultation with the President or Board of Directors. The Vice President of Finance shall prepare the chapter’s budget, make monthly “year to date” financial updates, plus an “end of year” update to the Board of Directors and perform all other duties incidental to the office. The Vice President of Finance shall be a member of the Financial Review Committee that meets annually and prepares an annual review and report of the chapter’s financial records and books.

Section 7 – Vice President of Communication
It will be the responsibility of the Vice President of Communications to coordinate the activities of the chapter that pertain to communications with the chapter membership, friends of the chapter, the media and the public. In addition, this position will direct the completion and distribution of newsletters, press releases and other materials relating to special chapter projects and/or events. It will also be the responsibility of the Vice President of Communications to coordinate publicity for the chapter, and to assist the Vice Presidents of Programming with publicizing the monthly meeting by writing and coordinating the distribution of press releases. The Vice President of Communications will ensure the currency of the chapter website.

Section 8 – Vice President of Membership
The Vice President of Membership will actively recruit new members to the Chapter. The Vice President shall maintain all membership files and provide updates to National on an as needed basis. Membership packets will be made available at every Chapter meeting and via the internet. Membership shall work with the Director of Student Relations to recruit new graduates and associate members to the Chapter. The VP of Membership shall solicit membership recruitment from the chapter’s compiled “Friends of PRSA” mailing list at least once a year.

Section 9 – Ethics Officer
The Ethics officer shall seek education, training and guidance from PRSA’s Board of Ethics and Professional Standards (BEPS), the College of Fellows and PRSA National. It will be the responsibility of the Ethics officer to provide ethics education and consultation to local board and chapter members throughout the year and to stimulate and encourage PRSA chapter members to seek guidance and clarification when they have questions about ethical principles, practices and standards of conduct in their day-to-day practice. The Ethics Officer will work with the VPs of Programming to ensure one program for the year relates to Ethics, preferably during National Ethics Month.

Section 10 – Immediate Past President
The position of Immediate Past President will be filled by the individual who most recently served as the chapter President. The Immediate Past President will sit in an advisory capacity to provide guidance to the chapter board. The individual will assist in providing institutional memory for the chapter board, particularly on issues that have previously arisen during their tenure.

Section 11 – Assembly Delegate
The Assembly Delegate(s) shall serve as the chapter’s representative(s) at meetings of the PRSA Assembly and shall be elected by the chapter membership for a three-year term in accordance with provisions of the national bylaws of the PRSA.

ARTICLE VII – NOMINATIONS AND ELECTIONS

Section 1 – Nominating Committee
There shall be a Nominating Committee of no fewer than three members of the Board of Directors consisting of the Immediate Past President, current President and the President-elect. Additional committee members may be appointed by the Board President. The Nominations committee will convene no later than 90 days prior to the annual meeting.

Section 2 – Nominations
The Nominating Committee shall name a qualified nominee for each office and for each Assembly Delegate and Director whose term is expiring. It shall ensure that each nominee has been contacted and agrees to serve if elected. Additional nominations if any shall be accepted from members at the annual meeting provided the nominees have been contacted and agree to serve if elected.

Section 3 – Notice of Membership
At least thirty (30) days before the annual meeting of the chapter, the Vice President of Administration shall mail, email or fax to all chapter members the list of nominees prepared by the Nominating Committee.

Section 4 – Elections
Officers, Directors and Assembly Delegates shall be elected at the annual meeting of the chapter in November. Election shall be by majority vote of the members in good standing present and voting. Balloting in contested elections shall be by secret ballot.

ARTICLE VIII – COMMITTEES

Section 1 – Standing Committees
Standing Committees of the organization shall include:

  • Director of Professional Development
    • PRSA National/District Delegates
  • Director of Student Relations
  • Director of Annual Awards
    1. Silver Spike Program
    2. Silver Spike judging
    3. Pioneers in PR Programming
  • Director of Community Service

The Directors of these Standing Committees shall be recommended by the Nomination Committee, for selection by the President with concurrence of the members of the Board of Directors. The Directors may select individuals from among the membership to assist them in their duties.

Director of Professional Development
The Director of Professional Development promotes and administers the professional accreditation programs as designed by PRSA national. The Director of Professional Development will be responsible for encouraging APRs to fulfill their chapter obligations. It will be the responsibility of the Director of Professional Development to actively encourage and solicit chapter members to take the national accreditation tests.

Director of Student Relations
With an eye to promoting the profession and maintaining collaborative relations with the University of Nevada Reno’s chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America, the Director of Student Relations will serve as a liaison between the professional and student chapters. Ideally, the director will be accredited. If an APR is not available to take on the full commitment of the position, an APR must serve as advisor to the student chapter. The Director will coordinate the mentor program with the student chapter and the chapter mixers. The Director will provide board development guidance and work with the Vice President of Membership to recruit new graduates to the professional chapter.

Director of Annual Awards
The Director of Annual Awards will ensure the success of the annual Silver Spike Awards and the General membership meeting, to be held each November. The director will coordinate the Silver Spike Awards event itself: seeking sponsors, determining theme and orchestrating the event. Budget for the event must be approved by the Board of Directors prior to expenditure. The director will recruit a subcommittee chair to coordinate the judging services: arranging for Sierra Nevada Chapter awards to be judged and providing for the judging of another PRSA chapter’s awards. The trade arrangement must be approved by the Board of Directors prior to commitment. In addition, this subcommittee chair will call for entries for the Silver Spike Awards and chair the committee of judges.

Director of Community Service
Each year the Sierra Nevada Chapter will make a contribution of pro-bono public relations work to a worthy non-profit within the Truckee Meadows. The Director of Community Service will solicit nominees, prescribe a strategy of participation and coordinate the services to the non-profit. The Board of Directors must approve the project. The director shall preside over the Community Service committee and recruit interested participants.

Section 2 – Special and Ad Hoc Committees
Special committees will be established and appointed by the President with the approval of the Board of Directors. They include, but are not limited to:

  1. Financial Review
  2. Bylaws Review

The Financial Review Committee consists of the Vice President of Finance, who shall chair the committee, and two non-board members appointed by the President to conduct an annual review of all of the chapter’s financial transactions and records. The committee shall commence their work 60 days prior to the end of the calendar year and conclude their work and report to the board by the end of each calendar year.

The Bylaws Review Committee should consist of a minimum of three members appointed by the President. The committee can be empanelled by the President, or by a majority vote of the Board of Directors when necessary to review, revise or amend the Chapter Bylaws. The Chapter Bylaws will be reviewed for timely revisions at least once every three years. In those instances where Chapter Bylaws need to be revised to remain consistent with PRSA National Bylaws, the changes will be made by the Vice President of Administration and members will be notified of the change.

Section 3 – Committee Reports
The Director or Chair of any special committee shall report its activities regularly to the Board of Directors. All committee activities shall be subject to approval by the Board of Directors.

ARTICLE IX – CHAPTER MEETINGS

Section 1 – Annual Meeting
There shall be an Annual Meeting in November of each year at such time and place as may be designated by the Board of Directors. The purpose of this meeting will be for the discussion of chapter business and election of new officers.

Section 2 – Special Meetings
Special meetings of the chapter may be called by the President, the Board of Directors or upon written request by 25 percent of the chapter members.

Section 3 – Notice of Meetings
Notice of the Annual Meeting shall be mailed to members at least thirty (30) days in advance. Notice of a regular meeting or special meeting shall be mailed to each member at least ten (10) days in advance.

Section 5 – Quorum
A majority of the members of the chapter shall constitute a quorum at any meeting of the chapter.

ARTICLE X – CHAPTER MEETINGS

These bylaws may be amended by a two-thirds vote of the members present at any meeting at which a quorum is present, provided such proposed amendment(s) has/have been approved by the chapter’s Board of Directors and at least thirty (30) days notice has been given to all members of any proposed amendments(s). Amendments adopted in accordance with this provision become effective only after approval by the PRSA National Board of Directors.