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Proposed Revisions to AMC Western MA Chapter Bylaws

[NOTE: The revised chapter by-laws were approved at the chapter's annual meeting on November 5, 2021.]

From time to time the Chapter’s Executive Committee reviews the Chapter’s operating bylaws and recommends any changes that are needed. We are in the process of doing this now in preparation on voting on these amendments at the annual meeting on November 5, 2021. The Chapter’s current bylaws are posted on the Chapter’s public website at this URL: https://www.amc-wma.org/bylaws

In late 2020, the Appalachian Mountain Club’s Board of Directors approved the Chapter’s request to change its official name from the “Berkshire Chapter” to the “Western Massachusetts Chapter.” This action triggered a review of the Chapter’s bylaws, since at a minimum the bylaws needed to be revised to reflect the Chapter’s new name.

To that end, a sub-committee of the Executive Committee conducted a bylaw review and recommended several amendments, including but not limited to those required to reflect the Chapter’s new name. These recommendations are being presented to the Chapter’s full membership for their consideration. Per Article VII of the existing bylaws, all changes to the bylaws must be approved by a two-thirds vote of those members present at a Chapter Annual Meeting or Special Meeting. It is the intent of the Chapter’s Executive Committee to call for a vote on the new bylaws at the Chapter Annual Meeting scheduled for Friday, November 5, 2021.

To facilitate an informed vote, the Executive Committee has prepared two versions of the bylaws: (1) a “markup” version in which text to be removed is indicated using strikeout, and new text is indicated using underlining; (2) a clean (“no markup”) version showing only the new bylaws after all revisions have been applied. Below the changes are explained.

Summary of Amendments

  1. Throughout the bylaws, each instance of the name “Berkshire Chapter” is replaced with “Western Massachusetts Chapter”.
  2. Article III (Membership) is amended to clarify the operating region of the Chapter. Instead of the vague usage “Western Massachusetts area”, the revised article specifically enumerates the four counties that comprise Western Massachusetts. The intent of this amendment is to reinforce the public’s understanding of our Chapter as encompassing Franklin, Hampshire and Hampden counties, and not limited to just Berkshire county.
  3. Article IV (Administration) Section 7 is amended to clarify and streamline language pertaining to Standing Committees which maintain their own operating accounts. Historically, particular committees (e.g., the Appalachian Trail and Mountaineering committees) have engaged in frequent activities and programs which bring in revenue and/or incur costs. Rather than burdening the Chapter Treasurer with handling all the associated financial transactions, it has made sense for each such committee to set up its own account and manage its own funds, with proper budgeting, planning, transparency and reporting. The existing bylaws can be read as implying that every standing committee must so manage its own funds, which isn’t intended or consistent with current practice. Furthermore, the AMC has promulgated extensive written policy documentation around Chapter-level financial practices. The amendments to this section clarify the conditions under which standing committees may establish their own financial operations, and require that such operations follow documented AMC policies.
  4. Article IV (Administration) Section 13 is amended to clarify and streamline language pertaining to Chapter authority to issue official pronouncements. The intent is to ensure that all public statements made by the Chapter via any communication venue or platform are consistent with official AMC policy.
  5. Article V (Meetings) Section 1 is amended to eliminate an unnecessarily restrictive requirement on the scheduling of the Chapter Annual Meeting. The revised section allows the Annual Meeting to be scheduled on any date within the first two weeks of November.
  6. Article V (Meetings) Section 2 is amended to eliminate unnecessary specificity in how Chapter members are notified of Special Meetings. It is no longer environmentally sustainable or cost-effective for the Chapter to send notifications to members through the U.S. Mail. Instead, the Chapter routinely uses all available online methods to contact members, including postings on the Chapter’s public website (https://www.amc-wma.org/), Facebook page, MeetUp group, and e-mail messages to members having valid e-mail addresses on file with the AMC.
  7. Article VIII (Discrimination) is amended to prohibit discrimination, harassment, or hostility toward others of any kind, using language that is significantly broader and more inclusive than in the current bylaws. In addition, the revised text sets a clear expectation that Chapter members comply with the Club’s Code of Conduct, posted publicly at this URL: https://cdn.outdoors.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/29123821/AMC-Code-of-Conduct-2018.pdf

Here is the link to the "markup" version of the bylaws: https://www.amc-wma.org/files/bylaws/WM_Chapter_Bylaws-2021_Revisions-Final-markup.pdf

Here is link to the clean version: https://www.amc-wma.org/files/bylaws/WM_Chapter_Bylaws-2021_Revisions-Final-no-markup.pdf

Please e-mail any questions or comments about the recommended bylaw amendments to chair@amc-wma.org.

We look forward to the discussion and vote on these amendments at our upcoming Annual Meeting.

Signed,

Brant A. Cheikes

Chair, AMC Western Massachusetts Chapter

On behalf of the Chapter Executive Committee