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Bylaws

Houston Unit 174

American Contract Bridge League

(As amended 4/26/15)

American Contract Bridge League Unit No. 174 exists under the sanction of the American Contract Bridge League and functions as an unincorporated nonprofit association in compliance with the Constitution, Bylaws and regulations of the American Contract Bridge League.

ARTICLE I

OBJECTIVES OF THE ORGANIZATION

The objectives of the organization shall be:

To preserve and promote the best interest of the competitive or tournament form of contract bridge and any modification thereof;

To cooperate with and assist the League in the promotion and conduct of contract bridge tournaments conducted by the League in the city of Houston and surrounding areas within the Unit jurisdiction;

To conduct contract bridge tournaments under its own auspices within its jurisdiction;

To prescribe rules of eligibility for participati-n in tournaments within its jurisdiction;

To consider and pass upon reports of dishonest, unethical or improper conduct of participants in tournaments and games and to bar or suspend persons within its jurisdiction guilty of such conduct from further participation in tournaments and games;

To promote the development and organization of affiliated clubs within the Unit;

To conduct such other activities as may be in keeping with its principal objectives.

No member of the Unit shall receive any pecuniary gain from his membership in the Unit except as specifically provided as salary, wages, or expenses in the Bylaws.

ARTICLE II

UNIT JURISDICTION

The geographical area within which this Unit may operate shall be such as is presently assigned to it by the Board of Directors of the American Contract Bridge League, Inc., and as it may hereafter be modified from time to time. This area presently includes all that territory bounded by the Gulf of Mexico in the south, and the outer limits of the following counties of the State of Texas on the north, east and west, Chambers, Liberty, Polk, Trinity, Houston, Leon, Robertson, Milam, Lee, Fayette, Lavaca and Jackson.

ARTICLE III

MEMBERSHIP

Any person of good moral character who resides within the playing area of the Unit is eligible for membership.

Such person shall become a member upon complying with such requisites as the Board of Directors by resolution may from time to time adopt, and upon payment of the annual dues.

Membership shall bind the applicant to full compliance with and adherence to these Bylaws, the Unit's charter, and the Charter and Bylaws of the American Contract Bridge League, Inc.

Except as may be otherwise provided herein, a member shall enjoy and possess all rights of membership equally with all other members.

Membership in the Unit shall carry with it membership in the League.

If a member changes his official residence to a place outside the playing area of the Unit, he shall cease to be a member of the Unit. Further:

He also ceases to be a member of the League unless and until he is accepted by a unit in the area of his new residence.

No one may be a member of more than one (1) unit.

A member remains in good standing unless:

He has failed to pay his dues within six (6) months following the expiration date of the Unit's fiscal year; or

He has failed to pay his dues within thirty (30) days following notice by Certified or Registered Mail sent at least thirty (30) days after the expiration of the Unit's fiscal year; or

He has been disciplined under Article VI, Section 9.F of these Bylaws.

A member in good standing shall be entitled to vote or be eligible for election or appointment to any office in the Unit only after a waiting period of thirty (30) days following acceptance by the Unit.

ARTICLE IV

DUES

The annual dues shall be prescribed under the regulations of the American Contract Bridge League, Inc.

The Board of Directors shall have no power to levy any special assessments.

Any person duly elected to membership shall pay dues for the entire year without abatement.

ARTICLE V

MEMBERSHIP MEETINGS

The annual meeting of the members and elections of Directors shall be held during the Houston Spring Tournament, at a time and place fixed by the Board of Directors, and due notice, not less than twenty (20) days, shall be sent by mail, if possible, to all members. Publication in the Scorecard may serve as written notice by mail. Notice will be posted in all clubs.

Special meetings of the membership may be called by the President of the Board of Directors at any time upon due written notice, not less than twenty (20) days to all members. The President shall also be required to call a special meeting of the membership upon written request of not less than seven (7) percent of the membership in good standing. The notice of any special meeting shall contain an agenda of matters to be taken up at such meeting.

A quorum for the transaction of business at any annual or special membership meeting shall be seven (7) percent of the total membership in good standing at the date of sending out notice of such meeting.

ARTICLE VI

UNIT BOARD OF DIRECTORS

The affairs of the Unit shall be managed and conducted by a Board of Directors, all of whom must be members in good standing of the Unit.

The Board shall be made up of nine (9) Directors, each elected for a term of three (3) years, three (3) new Directors being elected annually.  The term of the newly elected Directors shall begin at the beginning of the first Board of Directors' meeting after the election, and shall expire at the time that his successor's term begins. No director shall hold office more than two 3-year terms consecutively.

The Board of Directors, within a reasonable time prior to the annual membership meeting, shall select a Nominating Committee composed of five (5) persons. Said Nominating Committee shall meet prior to the mailing of notices of the annual meeting, and shall prepare a slate of Nominees at least twice that of the number of vacancies to be filled. Incumbent elected Directors shall be automatically re-nominated for a second term of office at the expiration of the first term to which they were elected, unless the Board of Directors shall be informed, either in writing or orally at the Board Meeting when the Nominating Committee is selected, that such Director chooses not to be so nominated. Said slate is to be placed in nomination at the annual meeting of membership to fill the vacancies existing on the Board of Directors.

The names of the persons nominated by the Nominating Committee shall be made known to the members in the notice of the annual meeting.

Additional nominations for Directors may be made by the membership, but such nominations must be submitted in writing, signed by at least fifty (50) members in good standing, to the Secretary of the Unit, by mail, not more than 10 days after giving notice as provided in the preceding paragraph.

Every qualified member shall be entitled to one (1) vote for each Director to be elected. All ballots shall be secret. Each vacancy must be voted for on each ballot or said ballot will not be counted. The Board of Directors shall appoint judges to conduct elections.

Three voting methods shall be allowed: Absentee by mail, early electronic voting, or voting in person at the Annual Election Tournament. Proxy votes shall not be allowed. For security reasons, all written official ballots shall be numbered. Only members of Unit 174 in good standing shall be allowed to vote. A copy of the latest membership roll from ACBL shall be used to determine those members in good standing.

Absentee Balloting: Any member may vote by Absentee Ballot. The member must contact the Election Judges by U.S. mail, e-mail, or telephone requesting an Official Ballot. If the Voter is a member in good standing an Official Ballot will be sent to the Voter at the voter's address of record, in a small unsealed envelope. Upon receiving the Official Ballot, the Voter should complete the ballot, seal it inside the small envelope provided, and place the small sealed envelope inside another envelope addressed to the Election Judges. The back flap of the outside envelope must be signed by the Voter. If no signature is provided, the ballot will not be counted. The Absentee Ballot must be postmarked no later than two weeks (14) days before the Election Tournament begins, and must be received by the Election Judges no later than two (2) days before the Election Tournament begins in order to be counted.

The Election Judges shall cross off the names of the Absentee Voters on the Official Membership List prior to the start of the Election Tournament. This modified list shall then be used for the voters to sign at the Election Tournament when they cast their ballots. Election results will be announced during the annual meeting.

Election shall be by plurality of votes; that is, the three candidates with the highest number of votes are elected. In the event of a tie for third place, a runoff shall be held by ballot of those present before the final session of the tournament and the result shall be announced in all playing venues before the end of the tournament.

Any election protest or recount of the votes must be received in writing by the unit secretary within 72 hours of the tabulation of ballots.

Any vacancy occurring on the Board of Directors shall be filled by the Board of Directors, and any person so appointed shall hold office during the unexpired term.

The Board of Directors shall hold monthly meetings, due notice of which shall be given to all Directors by the Secretary. Special meetings may be called by the President, or by a quorum of the Board, and the Secretary shall give due notice of such special meetings to all Directors.

Any Director failing to attend four (4) of the regular monthly meetings during each elected year, for any cause, shall be automatically removed from office and Section 6 of Article VI shall be invoked.

A quorum of the Board of Directors shall consist of not less than five (5) Directors.

The Board of Directors shall have the following powers and duties, in addition to those powers granted elsewhere in these Bylaws and the Laws of the State of Texas:

To acquire, hold, administer, maintain, and dispose of all property of the Unit;

To appropriate the funds of the Unit for the purposes set forth in these Bylaws;

To hire and discharge employees, including an Auditor, and to supervise their conduct and fix their compensation;

To provide for an audit by a Certified Public Accountant or a review of Unit financial procedures, books and records by a competent independent reviewer. The frequency of the audit or review will be determined by the Board of Directors. Notwithstanding the above, in any year in which the Unit hosts an NABC, a full audit by a Certified Public Accountant will be conducted;

To conduct, manage and supervise, and control all of the business and financial affairs of the Unit, including but not limited to the conduct of tournaments, the selection of all dates and locations for holding such tournaments, and the making of all contracts in connection therewith;

To censure, expel, suspend or otherwise discipline any member. But no member shall be censured, suspended, expelled, or otherwise disciplined until he has been furnished with written charges, to which he has had time to reply, or until after a hearing of which he has received reasonable notice. He may be represented by counsel. Disciplinary action taken by a Unit may be appealed in accordance with the American Contract Bridge League, Inc. appeals regulations. The right of a member against whom charges are pending to play in tournaments during such pendency shall not be affected unless otherwise directed by the Board.

To authorize all payments in excess of the sum of One Hundred Dollars ($100).

No Member of the Board of Directors shall be a salaried employee of the Unit.

ARTICLE VII

UNIT OFFICERS

The officers of the Unit shall consist of a President, one or more Vice-Presidents, a Secretary and a Treasurer. The offices of Secretary and Treasurer may be held by one person.

The new Board of Directors defined in Article VI, Section 2, shall elect all officers at its first meeting following the annual membership meeting and election, and those elected shall hold office for one (1) year; or until their successors shall have been duly elected. No Member of the Board of Directors shall hold the office of President more than once in a three (3) year term and may not serve as President two (2) consecutive times.

All officers must also be Directors, except the Secretary and Treasurer, who may or may not be Directors.

The President shall preside at all meetings of the membership and of the Board of Directors, of which he shall act as Chairman. He shall supervise and manage the affairs of the Unit, and perform all other duties incidental to his office. He shall be a Member ex-officio of all committees, and it shall be his duty and responsibility to appoint and supervise all committees.

The Vice-President shall assist the President in the execution of his duties, and perform such other duties as the Board or the President may direct.

The Secretary shall perform all duties usually attendant upon the office of Secretary; he shall attend all sessions of the Board of Directors, and all membership meetings. He shall keep lists of all member and affiliated clubs, records and correspondence, and minutes of all meetings of the Board and of the membership.

The Treasurer shall have the care, custody, and responsibility of all funds, securities and property of the Unit, and shall keep full and accurate accounts of receipts and disbursements in books belonging to the Unit, and shall deposit all moneys and other valuables in the name and to the credit of the Unit in such depositories as may be designated by the Board of Directors. He shall disburse the funds of the Unit as may be directed by the Board of Directors, taking proper vouchers for such disbursements, and shall render to the Directors, at all meetings or whenever they require it, an account of all his transactions as Treasurer and of the financial condition of the Unit. He shall, as required by the Board of Directors, be bonded in such sum or sums and with such surety or sureties as shall be satisfactory to it, conditioned upon the faithful performance of his duties and for the restoration to the Unit in case of his death, resignation, retirement, or removal from office of all books, papers, vouchers, money and other property of whatever kind in his possessions or under his control belonging to the Unit.

ARTICLE VIII

IMPEACHMENT

Any officer or Director may be removed from office for cause at any meeting of the Board of Directors, provided six (6) Directors present shall so vote. Any officer or Director against whom impeachment charges shall be brought shall be notified in writing by Registered Mail of such charges, at least ten (10) days prior to the meeting and shall be given an opportunity to be heard before the Board of Directors, and to be represented by counsel of his own choosing. The action taken by the Board of Directors shall be conclusive and final.

ARTICLE IX

STANDING COMMITTEES

NOMINATING COMMITTEE: This committee shall be composed of five(5)members in good standing, appointed by the Board of Directors, within a reasonable time prior to the annual meeting of the members; its duty shall be to prepare a slate of Nominees for election to the Board of Directors.

RULES AND ETHICS COMMITTEE: This committee shall be appointed by the President, shall be composed of a reasonable number of members in good standing, and shall be charged with the duty and responsibility of investigating and holding hearings on all matters pertaining to matters of conduct and ethics among Unit members. Their findings and recommendation shall be reported to the Board of Directors.

TOURNAMENT COMMITTEE: This committee shall be appointed by the President, chaired by a Director, and shall consist of a reasonable number of members in good standing; its duties shall be to make all arrangements necessary for holding tournaments within the complete authority of the Unit, subject to the regulations of the League. Said committee shall present a proposed budget to the Board for approval prior to each tournament and shall render a complete report to the Board following each tournament.

ARTICLE X

SPECIAL COMMITTEES

Special Committees may be appointed by the Board of Directors or the President from time to time, as necessity may dictate, and such committees are automatically dissolved when the purpose for which they were created has been fulfilled.

ARTICLE XI

AMENDMENTS TO THE BYLAWS

Amendments to the Bylaws maybe proposed by the members of the Unit upon petition signed by at least seven (7) percent of the membership and submitted to the Secretary at least ninety (90) days in advance of the annual meeting, or any special meeting called for the purpose, or upon petition signed by at least six (6) Members of the Board of Directors. It shall be the duty of the Secretary to incorporate the text of the proposed amendment in the notice of such meeting. The concurrence of two-thirds (2/3rds) of all members of the Unit present and voting shall be required to pass any amendment.

ARTICLE XII

RULES OF ORDER

Robert's RULES OF ORDER, Revised, shall be accepted as the governing authority for procedure of this organization in all matters not specifically covered by these Bylaws.

ARTICLE XIII

Notwithstanding any other provision of these Bylaws, all motions, petitions and acts of committees which require notice to the Membership must be in the hands of the Unit Secretary at least sixty (60) days in advance of the Deadline for formal notice to members.