Maryland Ornithological Society, Inc. Manual of Operation

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INTRODUCTION:

The Manual of Operation of the Maryland Ornithological Society, Inc. (MOS) is a supplement to the Bylaws for the purpose of defining procedures, as well as giving amplification to certain areas of the Society’s functions. It is prescribed by the Bylaws, ARTICLE Xll. It shall be reviewed regularly by the Bylaws Committee and revisions recommended as needed. The Board of Directors must approve all changes or additions by a two-thirds vote. Changes may be instigated by the Board of Directors or the general membership.

  1. MEMBERSHIP AND DUES

I.A. Classes of membership with dues:

I.A.1. Individual: Members shall pay annual dues of $20.00.

I.A.2. Household: Annual dues of $25.00 shall include all members of the household sharing the same address. Only one copy of Society publications shall be sent to a household, but each member shall be entitled to vote at Society membership meetings.

I.A.3. Sustaining: Those members who pay annual dues of $50.00 per person.

I.A.4. Life: Those members who contribute the sum of $1000.00 in no more than four annual installments in consecutive years. No further shall be required from these members. Life membership dues shall go to the Operating Fund.

I.A.5. Junior: This membership class shall be limited to persons under eighteen years of age. They shall pay dues of $5.00 and shall be entitled to vote at meetings of the Society and to receive publications.

I.A.6. Honorary: This membership is awarded to an individual for meritorious services on behalf of the purposes and objectives of the Society. Any member of the Society may nominate, in writing to the President, a candidate for Honorary membership, citing the qualifications of the individual. The President shall submit the name to me Board of Directors at the next meeting for a decision. Election must be by unanimous vote of the Directors voting. An Honorary member shall have all the privileges of an individual member and shall pay no dues to the Society thereafter.

I.B. Methods of dues payment:

I.B.1. Chapter members shall pay dues to their local chapters which shall forward dues to the Society Treasurer in keeping with the above classes. Chapter dues may also be levied.

I.B.2. Members-at-large are persons who wish to be associated with the Society, but are unable to be active in any local Chapter. They may belong to any of the previously specified classes of membership, and shall forward their dues directly to the Treasurer.

I.B.3. The membership year begins September 1. Dues by new members joining on or after March 1 shall be one-half for all classes, except Sustaining and Life.

  1. DUTIES OF OFFICERS OF THE SOCIETY

The officers, their election, terms, and removal are set forth in the Bylaws, ARTICLE IV.

II.A. President’s duties:

II.A.1. To call and preside at all meetings of the Society, which include membership, Board of Directors and Executive Council.

II.A.2. To appoint, subject to the approval of the Board of Directors, Executive Secretary, the Editors of Maryland Birdlife and Maryland Yellowthroat, other administrative officers, the standing committees and their chairs, and any special committees.

II.A.3. To serve, ex-officio, on all standing and special committees, except the Nominating Committee.

II.A.4. To call for and receive written annual reports of all committee chairs and chapter presidents prior to the annual meeting.

II.A.5. To formulate, and cause to be projected, together with the Board of Directors, the policies of the Society.

II.A.6. To report to the Board of Directors those matters requiring decisions and initiating such actions necessary to reach a decision.

II.A.7. To report to the Board of Directors any action of the Executive Council.

II.A.8. To sign necessary documents and any notes of the Society under the provisions of ARTICLE Xl of the Bylaws. Checks drawn on the checking account for budget expenses as well as other items not included in the annual budget but approved by the Board of Directors, in amounts less than $10,000.00 may be signed by either the Treasurer or the President. Checks of $10,000.00 or more must be signed by both the President and the Treasurer.

II.A.9. To maintain regular communication with the Executive Secretary.

II.A.10. To represent or arrange to have the Society represented when necessary.

II.A.11. To perform such additional duties that may be assigned to the President by the Board of Directors.

II.A.12. To serve as coordinator of the Outreach Group of committees.

II.B. Vice-president’s duties:

II.B.1. To serve on the Executive Council and Board of Directors.

II.B.2. To assume the duties of the President in his/her absence.

II.B.3. To serve on the Budget Committee.

II.B.4. To represent the President when so requested.

II.B.5. To serve as coordinator of the Education Group of committees.

II.C. Treasurer’s duties:

II.C.1. To serve on the Executive Council, the Board of Directors, and the Budget and Investment Committees.

II.C.2. To receive all monies, including dues on a monthly basis from Chapter Treasurers, pay outstanding debts, and to keep financial records of all the transactions of the Society.

II.C.3. To prepare brief financial statements for the Board of Directors at its meetings.

II.C.4. To prepare a full and detailed financial statement as of April 30 to be presented at the annual meeting.

II.C.5. To sign notes of the Society under the provisions of ARTICLE Xl of the Bylaws. Checks drawn on the checking account for budget expenses as well as other items not included in the annual budget but approved by the Board of Directors, in amounts less than $10,000.00 may be signed by either the Treasurer or the President.

II.C.6. To see that required tax statements are prepared and filed; collect, prepare and submit the required documents and records for an annual professional audit of the Society’s books.

II.C.7. To serve as coordinator of the Finance Group of committees.

II.D. Secretary’s duties:

II.D.1. To serve on the Executive Council and the Board of Directors.

II.D.2. To keep minutes of membership meetings, Board of Directors and Executive Council meetings.

II.D.3. To send a copy of all minutes to the Board of Directors not more than fourteen days after the meetings.

II.D.4. To collect, maintain in a safe-deposit box, and retrieve as needed, important documents of the Society, such as the Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws, Manual of Operation, and deeds to properties owned by the Society. The documents referred to are the original signed and dated papers. Other copies may be disseminated as requested by the President or the Board of Directors.

II.D.5. To prepare and sign such documents as may be legally required by banks, IRS, etc.

II.D.6. To be the custodian of the Seal of the Society.

II.D.7. Receives and certifies ballots cast by mail by the Board of Directors. Mails results of vote to all members of the Board, listing by name how each voted.

II.D.8 To serve as coordinator of the Administrative Group of committees.

II.E. Past President’s Duties:

II.E.1. To serve on the Executive Council and the Board of Directors.

II.E.1. To serve as coordinator of the Birds and Habitat Group of committees.

II.F. Executive Secretary’s duties:

II.F.1. To reproduce and distribute memoranda and other written communications when requested by the President or the Secretary.

II.F.2. To refer voice-mail received on the Society’s 800 number to the appropriate officer or committee chair, or to directly respond to inquiries seeking assistance and information of the Society.

II.F.3. To refer correspondence addressed to the Society to the appropriate officer or committee chair, or to directly respond to inquiries seeking assistance and information of the Society. The Executive Secretary is responsible for arranging that mail be picked up from the Society office at Cylburn Mansion, 4915 Greenspring Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21209.

II.F.4. To perform such other administrative duties that may be assigned by the President or the Board of Directors from time to time. The Executive Secretary is a contractual employee who works at the pleasure of the President and the Board of Directors until employment is terminated by either party, following at least one month’s notice. The office of the Executive Secretary should be separate and distinct from that of the Secretary, as the Executive Secretary is a non-voting member of the Board of Directors, but is responsible for the operation and management of the Society’s office. At the time of employment, the Executive Secretary shall be given a job description including the foregoing duties.

II.G. Maryland Birdlife Editor’s duties:

II.G.1. To perform the usual editorial duties pursuant to the timely quarterly publication of Maryland Birdlife. Those duties include the writing, collecting, assignment, and editing of articles and other feature items for inclusion in Maryland Birdlife.

II.G.2. To serve as member of the Communications Committee.

II.H. Maryland Yellowthroat Editor’s duties:

II.H.1. To perform the usual editorial duties pursuant to the timely publication of Maryland Yellowthroat. Those duties include seeking out volunteer columnists, reviewers, and other authors, writing articles, searching out books for review, and generally producing a well-edited newsletter that addresses current information needs of the membership. Additionally, the Maryland Yellowthroat Editor shall work closely with the Calendar Compiler to ensure as timely and as complete a calendar of Chapter events as possible for presentation to the membership.

II.H.2. To serve as a member of the Communications Committee.

III. LOCAL CHAPTERS

Local Chapters of the Society are established and dissolved under the provisions of ARTICLE Vl of the Bylaws. In addition to the requirements listed in ARTICLE Vl, there are diverse responsibilities assigned to the Chapters.

III.A. They shall furnish the Society with information as may be requested. including. but

not restricted to the following:

III.A.1. Annual report of activities, submitted to the President at least ten days before the annual meeting.

III.A.2. List of newly-elected Chapter officers and Directors, along with their contact information, to the Secretary at the same time as the annual report.

III.B. They shall follow these requirements:

III.B.1. To forward Society dues to the Treasurer and membership reports, including changes or additions to contact information, on a monthly basis, to the Society Mailing List Coordinator. The reports would include a designation as to whether each member will allow publication of his or her telephone numbers or other contact information on any of the MOS State or Chapter web pages.

III.B.2. To send copies of the annual printed programs to the person who compiles the calendar for the Maryland Yellowthroat.

III.C. They are encouraged to assist in the following:

III.C.1. Reporting of planned activities, such as lectures, films, field trips, and social events to the Maryland Yellowthroat Editor or designated assistant for publication in the newsletter of the Organization.

III.C.2. Encouraging members to supply information and articles to the Editors of Maryland Birdlife or Maryland Yellowthroat for publishing in either of the two periodicals. Also encouraging members to share their expertise by lecturing, giving workshops, etc., to other Chapters.

III.C.3. Coordinating or assisting in area Christmas Bird Counts, May Bird Counts, Bluebird Trails, or other environmental projects, and the reporting of sightings of rare or endangered bird species.

III.C.4. Publicizing and encouraging participation in the Society research grants and scholarship programs.

III.D. The local chapters of the Society currently are:

1. Allegany/Garrett 9. Howard
2. Anne Arundel 10. Kent
3. Baltimore 11. Montgomery
4. Caroline 12. Patuxent
5. Carroll 13. Talbot
6. Cecil 14. Washington
7. Frederick 15. Tri-County
8. Harford
  1. BOARD OF DIRECTORS VOTE BY MAIL

The authority for this procedure is given in ARTICLE Vll, Section 6.

IV.A. Vote on questions:

IV.A.1. The motion shall be fully and clearly stated in writing by the Secretary, including who made and who seconded the motion.

IV.A.2. A suitable ballot form shall be prescribed by the Board for all voting by mail. Each ballot shall provide three options as follows:

  1. In favor,
  2. Opposed to; and
  3. For deferral of action until the next meeting of the Board of Directors.

IV.A.3. A date, not later than 20 days after the mailing, shall be specified for the receipt and the counting of the ballots.

IV.A.4. Each ballot must be signed and dated by the officer or Director voting. Date of receipt must be certified on each ballot by the Secretary. Ballots received after the specified time shall not be counted.

IV.A.5. Any motion to be approved by mail shall receive not less than a two-thirds vote of the full Board in affirmative.

IV.A.6. Within 10 days of the counting of the ballots, the Secretary shall mail the result of the vote to all members of the Board of Directors, and shall list by name how each member voted.

IV.A.7. In the event a secret ballot is deemed necessary, either by the President and the Executive Council, or by the makers of the motion, the procedure in Robert’s Rules of Order (Revised), latest edition, shall be used.

IV.B. Vote on filling a vacant office other than the President:

IV.B.1. A mail vote is not necessary if the vacancy can be filled at a Board meeting.

IV.B.2. The Nominating Committee is notified of the vacancy with the stipulation that only a Board member who holds no other elected State office is eligible. The Nominating Committee selects a candidate or candidates and obtains consent from each.

IV.B.3. A ballot containing the nominee(s), with a space for a write-in vote shall be mailed to all the members of the Board. If a write-in vote is used, a statement must accompany the returned ballot with the proviso that consent was obtained. A date, not later than 20 days after the mailing, shall be specified for the receipt and counting of the ballots by the Secretary.

IV.B.4. Each ballot must be signed and dated by the officer or Director voting. Date of receipt must be certified on each ballot by the Secretary. Ballots received after the specified time shall not be counted.

IV.B.5. Within 10 days of the counting of the ballots, the Secretary shall notify by mail all candidates and other members of the Board of Directors of the result of the election. In the case of multiple candidates, a plurality of the votes cast is sufficient for election. Ballots need not be kept longer than the next Board meeting when the new official takes office.

  1. STANDING COMMITTEES

There are 17 standing committees at this time, appointed by the President, under the provisions of ARTICLE IX of the Bylaws: Budget, Bylaws, Communications, Conference, Conservation, Development, Investment, Library, Long-Range Planning, MD/DC Records, Research, Sanctuary, Scholarship, Seasonal Counts, Statewide Educational Activities, and Youth Programs. Only members in good standing are eligible for committee membership. Standing committees as well as any ad hoc or special committees appointed by the President from time to time shall be clustered into 5 groups, each to be coordinated by a member of the Executive Council. The goal of this clustering is to facilitate communication between committees with similar missions and the Executive Council. This clustering is not intended to interfere with the independent operations of these committees. These groups and the designated chair are:

Administrative Group (Secretary)

  • Bylaws
  • Conference
  • Nominations
  • Awards
  • Historian
  • Merchandise/Sales
  • Mailing List

Birds and Habitat Group (Past President)

  • Atlas
  • Conservation
  • Nest Records
  • Records
  • Research
  • Sanctuary
  • Seasonal Counts

Education Group (Vice President)

  • Library
  • Scholarship
  • Statewide Educational Activities
  • Youth Program

Finance Group (Treasurer)

  • Budget
  • Investment
  • Development

Outreach Group (President)

  • Communications (Publications, Website)
  • Long-range Planning
  • Youth Programs
  • World Series of Birding

V.A. Budget Committee:

This committee shall consist of five members including its chair. The Vice-President and the Treasurer of the Society are designated members. It shall be responsible for the preparation of the annual budget for the ensuing fiscal year, beginning May 1st, to be submitted to the Board of Directors at the final Board meeting preceding May 1. In considering the budgets for the endowed committees (Research, Sanctuary, Scholarship, Statewide Educational Activities, and Youth Programs) for the coming fiscal year, the Budget Committee will limit the budgeted amount as follows: the sum of the current fiscal year’s earnings from the endowment, earmarked contributions received during the current fiscal year, anticipated external grants to be received during the coming fiscal year (e. g. scholarships supported by other organizations through MOS), and a carryover amount equal to the unspent budgeted funds during the current fiscal year, but the carryover amount shall be limited to the amount of the endowment earnings during the current fiscal year. Since exact numbers for all these amounts are not known at the time of the budget proposal, estimates will be used. At the end of the current fiscal year, the actual numbers will be inserted in the budget to replace the estimates. Half the earnings of the Education fund will be allocated the limit for the Statewide Educational Activities Committee and half for the Youth Programs Committee. The Budget Committee has the option of proposing less than this limiting amount for the budget of any of these committees. Expenditures in excess of those in the budget (as it was approved by the Board of Directors) need to be approved specifically by the Board of Directors or by the Executive Council.

V.B. Bylaws Committee:

This committee shall have at least three members, with one designated as chair. It shall have the responsibility of suggesting changes to the Bylaws, which it regards as necessary, to the Board of Directors, for discussion and approval, and then submitted to the membership for final vote, according to ARTICLE XlII of the Bylaws. The changes may arise from the committee itself, from written suggestions submitted by members, or from the Board of Directors. The Bylaws Committee shall also suggest changes to the Manual in like manner as the Bylaws changes, according to ARTICLE Xll of the Bylaws, submitting them for approval by a two-thirds vote of the Board of Directors before incorporating them into the Manual.

V.C. Communications Committee:

The Communications Committee shall consist of at least 5 members, including the editor of Maryland Birdlife, the editor of the Maryland Yellowthroat, and the webmaster for the MOS Internet site. It shall be responsible for preparing and distributing both the printed and electronic publications of the Society, including Maryland Birdlife, the Maryland Yellowthroat, the Field List of the Birds of Maryland, state checklists, the state website, and other brochures and reference materials as needed. The Committee will establish consistent editorial guidelines for written and graphical elements. It will help other committees that need to produce publications (e.g., the sanctuary guide), and will advise chapters that seek assistance.

V.D. Conference Committee:

This committee has an unspecified number of members. It shall study sites for the Annual Meeting of the Society and then submit site recommendations to the Board of Directors for approval. The Committee shall include an individual designated as Conference Coordinator for the upcoming conference. The Conference Coordinator and individuals s/he designates shall make all local arrangements, plan all activities, and prepare notices to send to the membership, including suggested Bylaws changes, if any, and a list of nominees for office. It shall also coordinate meeting plans with the President.

V.E. Conservation Committee:

This committee shall have not less than five members, including the chair. It shall advise the President on conservation issues that are of concern to the Society. It shall report to the Board of Directors, and also the membership when so directed by the President or the Board. There shall be a contact person in each MOS chapter, with the default contact person being the chapter president.

V.F. Development Committee:

This committee shall consist of four members including chair, Treasurer, membership custodian and EarthShare Coordinator. The primary purpose of the Development Committee is to encourage membership and means to complete the mission of the Society through outreach. This may involve the acquisition of funds through participation and encouragement of annual giving through workplace annual giving campaigns (e.g. Environmental Fund of the Maryland/EarthShare) and through remembrance of MOS in bequeaths. It also includes participation in local events facilitating the appreciation of birdlife. The EFC Coordinator assists the Development Committee through monitoring of EFC activities, annual submission, and outreach to encourage annual giving. The membership custodian serves the Development Committee through the maintenance of the State membership list and to provide for the dissemination of Society information to all new members.

V.G. Investment Committee:

This committee shall consist of four members, including the chair and the Society Treasurer as a non-voting member. All disbursements, transfers of funds, and other similar actions required pursuant to the committee’s decisions shall be performed by the Treasurer.

The committee shall develop target asset allocation percentages (e.g. percentages of equities and fixed income investments) for MOS investments; MOS investments should be periodically rebalanced to maintain those targets. The committee will make no change in these target asset allocation percentages without approval of the Board of Directors. The committee may, with approval of the Board of Directors, retain an investment manager for a fee to select the MOS investments to meet the targets. Otherwise, the committee shall have the duty of investing available funds. The committee shall invest only in low-cost passively managed index mutual funds investing in equities or fixed income instruments, money market mutual funds, certificates of deposit, or interest earning savings accounts. The committee may invest in other instruments only with approval of the Board of Directors.

The committee shall maintain an Investment Policy Statement reflecting the Committee’s current views of MOS’ investment strategy and goals. The Treasurer shall retain a copy of the Investment Policy Statement.

The committee may specify additions to or reductions of accounts other than the operating fund on deposit in banks and building and loan associations. Unneeded cash in the operating fund may be similarly handled by the Investment Committee upon its release by the Board of Directors.

MOS shall indemnify and hold harmless its officers, directors, and the members and chair of the investment committee from any claims made, including any defense costs, with respect to management or administration of its investments, except claims for fraud or criminal activity.

The chair shall keep the President promptly and thoroughly informed of the committee’s progress and decisions.

V.H. Library Committee:

This committee shall have at least three members with one member serving as chair. It shall have the authority to oversee the Society’s collection of books, periodicals and other library materials. It shall retain copies of all publications that may be generated by the Society, and acquire other publications that are deemed pertinent; and shall catalog and store properly all materials. It shall place collections in the sanctuaries that have proper facilities for their care, and shall provide for the availability of the library materials to the membership and non-member scholars interested in conducting research. It shall also be responsible for any audio-visual materials that the committee deems proper for acquisition.

V.I. Long-Range Planning Committee:

This committee shall consist of at least three members, including the chair. It shall study the operation of the Society and shall recommend goals to be achieved for the improvement of the Society. It shall also study methods and practices which have been proposed for use in reaching these goals. Additionally, the Long-Range Planning Committee shall work with each committee in developing its own goals and long-range plans.

V.J. MD/DC Records Committee:

The primary duty of the Records Committee is to review reports of rare bird sightings in Maryland and the District of Columbia. The Committee shall establish procedures for the submission of reports; publish a list of reviewable species; publish a summary of its work periodically in Maryland Yellowthroat and Maryland Birdlife; and maintain an official list of the birds of Maryland and the District of Columbia.

This committee shall consist of nine voting members, a Chair, and a non-voting Secretary. Terms of office for the voting members shall be three years, staggered such that each year, three of the members complete their terms. New term voting members shall be elected by the current term voting committee members. The term of office for the Chair shall be one year. The MOS President shall appoint the Chair after consultation with the current term voting members of the Committee. The Chair may be filled by either one of the voting members or an additional nonvoting member. The Secretary shall be appointed by the Chair to a one-year term. The Secretary shall accept sighting reports, distribute reports to the voting members for review, tally votes, and maintain the committee’s files.

V.K. Research Committee:

This committee shall consist of no fewer than five members, including the chair. It shall award grants for research conducted primarily in the State of Maryland. Grant applicants need not be Maryland residents. The committee shall provide written guidelines for proposals. It shall review proposals for their value in ornithology or ecology and ascertain whether all conditions of grants are met. It shall also report to the Board of Directors the particulars of each grant and an annual summary of monies received and disbursed.

V.L. Sanctuary Committee:

The MOS Sanctuary committee shall consist of at least five members in addition to a chair. Preferably members shall be apportioned with at least one from the Eastern Shore counties, one from the Western Maryland counties, and the rest at large. There shall be a contact person in each MOS chapter, with the default contact person being the chapter president. Functions: The Committee shall set the course for MOS sanctuaries, plan and implement the budget, report to MOS on its activities and accomplishments, establish good relations with other conservation groups, and update the MOS Sanctuary Guide, web sites and other materials as needed. In addition the Committee shall select a Sanctuary Manager for each sanctuary. The Sanctuary Manager shall make an annual report to the Sanctuary Committee and complete annual tasks as determined by the Committee.

V.M. Scholarship Committee:

This committee shall consist of no less than six members, including the chair. It shall administer the awarding of scholarships by the Society, and shall develop standards and guidelines, both for the candidates and the committee. Candidates for scholarships must be residents of Maryland, at least 18 years of age, and involved with training young people. This committee shall work with chapters in order to locate candidates. There shall be a contact person in each MOS chapter, with the default contact person being the chapter president.

V.N. Seasonal Counts Committee:

This committee is headed by a coordinator, who shall provide guidance, advice, and assistance to the various count compilers. The coordinator serves as Chair of the Committee, which also has as members the compilers for the various seasonal counts carried out under the auspices of the MOS. Any other members as required by the coordinator shall also be recruited for the committee. The purposes of the Seasonal Counts Committee are to set dates, to provide reporting forms for publication in MD Yellowthroat, to inform the membership of county-level compilers for the various counts carried out on a seasonal basis, and to ensure timely delivery of the compiled results to the Editor of MD Birdlife. At present the Committee is responsible for May Count, Fall Migration Count, and Mid-Winter Count. Other seasonally-occurring counts may be added as necessary.

V.O. Statewide Educational Activities:

This committee shall have four members, including the chair. It shall be responsible for the development and operation of special state-sponsored activities such as programs, workshops, and field trips. These activities will give members special opportunities to learn about birds and birding in Maryland, while encouraging them to interact and cooperate with other members across the state.

V.P. Youth Programs:

The committee shall consist of at least four members to include the chair and President. The Youth Programs Committee’s primary function is to encourage the appreciation of birds and bird habitat conservation to minors through mentorship and education. Examples include youth-oriented educational programs, youth birding trips and competitions.

Adopted: 1 March 2014