BYLAWS of the Florida Mental Health Counselors Association
A Florida Not-For Profit Corporation
Adopted: July 18, 1998
Revised January 29th, 2004; January 1, 2009; February 10, 2012;
January 8, 2014; May 17, 2014; September 10, 2014; June 8, 2015
ARTICLE I: NAME and PURPOSE
Section 1. Name
This association will be known as the "Florida Mental Health Counselors Association“ hereafter referred to as FMHCA. FMHCA is incorporated in Florida as a 501(c)(6) corporation.
Section 2. Affiliation
This association is a State Affiliate of the American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA), and is recognized by AMHCA as the association to represent mental health counselors in Florida consistent with the Purposes as set forth in Article I, Section 3. Both AMHCA and FMHCA are independent and autonomous professional associations.
Section 3. Purposes
The purposes of FMHCA are to:
Promote the profession of mental health counseling;
Provide a system for the exchange of professional information among mental health counselors through newsletters, journals or other scientific, educational and/or professional materials;
Provide professional development programs for mental health counselors to update and enhance clinical competencies;
Promote legislation that recognizes and advances the profession of mental health counseling;
Provide a public forum for mental health counselors to advocate for the social and emotional welfare of clients;
Promote positive relations with mental health counselors and other mental health practitioners in all work settings to enhance the profession of mental health counseling;
Contribute to the establishment and maintenance of minimal training standards for mental health counselors;
Promote scientific research and inquiry into mental health concerns;
Provide liaison on the state level with other professional organizations to promote the advancement of the mental health profession;
Promote the utilization of empirical or scientific foundation for the selection of mental health counseling techniques, procedures or psychotherapies;
Contribute to the reduction of client harm by encouraging mental health counselors to explain the potential risk and ethical considerations of using "unproven" or "developing" techniques or psychotherapy procedures with no scientific bases;
Contribute to the understanding of individuals from different cultural backgrounds within our diverse society by considering dimensions such as culture, ethnicity, nationality, age, gender, sexual orientation, mental and physical characteristics, education, family values, religious and spiritual values, socioeconomic status and unique characteristics of individuals, couples, families, ethnic groups and communities;
Provide the public with information concerning the competencies and professional services of mental health counselors; Promote equitable licensure standards for mental health counselors through the state legislature; and to
Address institutional and social barriers that impede access, equity and success for clients through ongoing advocacy efforts.
Section 4 Annual Meeting
A meeting of the membership will take place annually. The agenda for such meeting will include a review of the Association activities and accomplishments in the past year, financial report, legislative activities and ratification of any bylaws changes previously approved by the Board of Directors.
The Annual Membership Meeting will be called to order at the Annual Conference when held, otherwise by electronic media. A quorum at the Annual Membership Meeting will be the members present.
Notice of the date and time and method of attending the annual meeting will be sent to all members by email where possible, otherwise by notice in FMHCA’s online newsletter.
ARTICLE II: MEMBERSHIP
Section 1. Types of membership
There will be four types of membership: Clinical, Regular, Retired and Student. All four categories of members may vote at meetings of the membership.
A member is in good standing who has applied for membership in the type for which they qualify, has paid the applicable dues and remains current on organizational dues. Members will remain in good standing unless dropped from membership under a provision specified in Section 4 of this Article.
Section 2. Requirements of membership
To qualify for membership, an individual must meet specific requirements for the category of membership sought, as follows:
Eligibility: Applicants for clinical membership must document that they meet entry-level standards for professional recognition as a mental health counselor by 1) holding licensure in Florida as a mental health counselor, holding status as a Registered Intern or 2) holding approved status as an applicant for licensure examination. Anyone who qualifies for Clinical Membership must apply for membership in that category.
Procedure: A person becomes a clinical member of FMHCA upon demonstration that professional requirements have been met and their initial dues have been paid.
Obligations and Privileges: A clinical member must pay annual dues, and must adhere to the referenced professional Code of Ethics. A clinical member in good standing will be entitled to attend and vote at membership meetings of FMHCA, to hold office in FMHCA and may enjoy such rights and privileges as may from time to time be offered members.
Any person whose primary work related responsibilities are in mental health counseling or a related clinical practice will be eligible for regular membership in FMHCA. Regular members may attend and vote at membership meetings of FMHCA, and will not be eligible to hold office.
Any person who has completely retired from active practice as a licensed mental health counselor, or a professional equivalent from a state other than Florida, will be eligible as a Retired Member. Retired clinical members may attend and vote at membership meetings of the Association and will be eligible to hold any office in the Association with the exception of President or President-elect.
Graduate Student Member
Academic Requirements: Any student enrolled in a graduate program for half time or more (as defined by his/her college or university) in mental health counseling or a closely related field in a regionally accredited college or university will be eligible to become a Graduate Student Member of FMHCA. A member must be certified by his/her major professor as meeting this requirement. Graduate Student members may vote at membership meetings: they will not be eligible to hold office in the Association.
Section 3. Dues
Annual FMHCA dues will be established by action of the Board of Directors in accordance with these Bylaws and will be collected by the FMHCA Treasurer, or by such administrative person or organization as may be designated by the FMHCA President.
Section 4. Severance of Membership
A member will be dropped from membership for any conduct that tends to injure FMHCA or that adversely affects its Bylaws or the referenced professional Code of Ethics. A member will be dropped from membership for:
Nonpayment of dues;
Falsely documenting that membership qualifications have been met;
Having been disciplined by the 491 board, or
By action of the Ethics Committee and Board of Directors.
ARTICLE III: LOCAL CHAPTERS
Section 1. Organization of Local Chapters
The Association encourages the development of local Chapters to promote local interest and participation in the profession. New chapters may be accepted by the Board of Directors upon meeting the following criteria:
The group must consist of at least 12 members.
There may be no more than one FMHCA local Chapter in any given geographical area.
The Local Chapter will organize in accordance with the Bylaws of FMHCA and develop their own Chapter bylaws to reflect local operations and structure. They will assure that their chapter is in compliance with applicable FMHCA Bylaws concerning local chapters.
All officers of the Local Chapter will be members in good standing of FMHCA.
Charter status is awarded to the Local Chapter by the FMHCA Board of Directors.
The Local Chapter will be free to conduct its affairs at the local level in compliance with the Bylaws of the Association, and
Local chapters must present Chapter Bylaws to the FMHCA Board of Directors for approval to become an official Chapter of FMHCA.
Section 2. Reports
Each local Chapter will submit a written report annually by September 1 to the Secretary of the FMHCA Board to include 1) a summary of Chapter activities during the past year 2) a current roster of its officers and 3) a list of members.
Section 3. Charter Renewal Standards
Standards for charter renewal reflect the sound organization and development necessary for a Local Chapter of FMHCA.
The Secretary of the FMHCA Board will make recommendations annually to the FMHCA Board of Directors concerning charter renewal for each Local Chapter.
Standards and Procedures for Charter Renewal will be established by policy in accordance with the Bylaws.
Section 4. Involuntary Revocation of Chapter
The Board of Directors will have the power to revoke the charter of a Local Chapter when it is deemed in the best interests of the Association to do so.
Procedures for revoking the charter of a local chapter will be established by policy.
Section 5. Interest Sections of "Special Interest Groups" ("SIGs")
"Special interest Groups" (SIGs) may be organized on a statewide or local basis to promote professional interests not otherwise included in the organizational structure of FMHCA. A group of FMHCA members interested in establishing an interest section may petition the FMHCA Board of Directors for SIG status. The Board of Directors will adopt policies and procedures relative to formation, governance and funding of SIGs.
ARTICLE IV: OFFICERS OF THE ASSOCIATION
Section 1. Officers
1. The officers of this Association will be President, President-Elect, Past President, Secretary, Treasurer and four (4) At Large members. These officers will comprise the voting members of the Board of Directors of the Association. Only active or retired clinical members may hold office. All officers must be members in good standing of FMHCA and of the American Mental Health Counselors Association.
2. Officers of the Association will be elected at large from among members in good standing of FMHCA. Officers who have had one or more years of service on the FMHCA Board of Directors will be considered first for nomination to the office of President-Elect. In the event that no current or former Board member is available, willing or suitable for nomination, nominees may be sought without regard to prior Board experience.
3. The President, President Elect, Secretary, Treasurer and all At Large members will be elected for one (1) year terms. All officers will assume their elected office on July 1 of each calendar year. The President-Elect will succeed to the office of President of the Association on July 1 of the year following the commencement of his/her term as President-Elect, or upon the death or resignation of the President.
4. Upon conclusion of the President's term of office, he/she will continue as a voting member of the Board of Directors in the office of Past President for a term of one (1) year.
5. All Board vacancies will be filled by a policy established by the Board.
Section 2. Nomination and Election of Officers
Officers of the Association will be nominated and elected annually consistent with policy established by the board and adhering to the following schedule:
February 1: President appoints the Nominations and Elections Committee
March 1: Publication of "Call for Nominations"
May 1: Publication of list of nominees and a procedure for voting
June 1: Deadline for completion of voting procedure
July 1: Newly elected officers assume office
Publication may be by printed copies sent to members by US mail or by appropriate notice on the FMHCA website.
Section 3. Powers and Duties of Officers
The President will serve as a voting member and Chairperson of the FMHCA Board of Directors. The President will, with the approval of the Board of Directors, appoint the Chairperson of all Standing and Special Committees except 1) the Finance Committee, the Chair of which will be the Treasurer and 2) the Nominations and Elections Committee, the Chair of which will be the Past President. The President will have the power to act on behalf of FMHCA in legislative and regulatory matters requiring immediate action. The President will perform such other duties as are incidental to the office, or may be properly required by vote of the Board of Directors and/or specified by policy and/or the Board of Directors manual.
The President-Elect will serve as a voting member of the Board of Directors; coordinate the Committees and perform such duties as may be directed by the Board and/or as specified in the Board of Directors manual.
The Past President will serve as a voting member of the Board of Directors; serve as Chairperson of the Nominations and Elections Committee; and perform duties as may be directed by the President, the Board of Directors and/or by policy and/or the Board of Directors manual.
The Treasurer will serve as a voting member of the Board of Directors; serve as Chairperson of the Finance Committee; and perform other duties as may be directed by the President, the Board of Directors and/or by policy and/or the Board of Directors manual.
The Secretary will serve as a voting member of the Board of Directors; be responsible for the recording of minutes at all official meetings of the Board of Directors; be responsible for the timely distribution of these minutes to all members of the Board; serve as corresponding Secretary for all officially designated Board business, including receiving reports from local Chapters; and perform other duties as may be directed by the President, the Board of Directors and/or by policy and/or the Board of Directors manual.
The At-Large Members will serve as voting members of the Board of Directors, and perform such other duties as may be directed by the President, the Board of Directors and/or by policy and/or the Board of Directors manual. At Large Members may hold an Advisory Board position in addition to serving as an At-Large Member.
Section 4. Removal from Office
A two-thirds majority of the FMHCA Board of Directors will be required to remove an elected officer from his/her position.
Reasons for removal from office are:
Violation of professional, legal or ethical codes;
Failure to carry out duties/responsibilities of office, or
Failure to act in accordance with the established legislative platform or purposes of FMHCA.
The procedure for removing an officer from his/her position will be established by policy.
A member of the Association must initiate the process of removal from office in writing. Two additional letters from members supporting removal from office must accompany the initial charge. Ethical violations must be dealt with according to procedures detailed in policy relating to such matters as set forth by the Ethics Committee.
ARTICLE V: EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Section 1. Position
The Executive Director will be hired by FMHCA as an Independent Contractor reporting to the Board of Directors.
The Executive Director is responsible for the organizations’ administrative functions in the pursuit of its mission and financial objectives.
Section 2. Duties and responsibilities
The duties and responsibilities of the Executive Director are detailed in the Board of Directors manual and in the Executive Director’s job description.
ARTICLE VI: BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Section 1. Composition
Voting members of the Board of Directors of FMHCA will be composed of the President, President-elect, Past President, Secretary, Treasurer, and four (4) At-Large Members. Nonvoting members of the Board will include all members of the Advisory Board and the Parliamentarian.
Section 2. Duties and Responsibilities
The Board of Directors will be the agency through which the general administrative, policy, and executive functions of the Association are effected. The Board will be responsible for developing and implementing policies in accordance with these Bylaws.
The Board of Directors will conduct, manage and control the business of the Association in accordance with these Bylaws. The Board of Directors may, at its discretion, contract with an outside organization for administrative services to be determined. Such contract services will be on the basis of a written description of the services to be provided. No policy decisions may be delegated to a paid employee or any other entity. Employees of and other entities contracting with FMHCA will report to the President.
The Board of Directors approves charters submitted by Local Chapters.
The Board of Directors approves the formation of Special Interest Groups (SIGs).
The Board of Directors identifies issues and establishes priorities in the areas of mental health counseling.
Section 3. Meetings
The Board of Directors meets at least quarterly. Meetings may be held in person, telephonically or via the Internet. At least one "in person" meeting must be held annually. The President or a majority of the Board of Directors may call additional meetings. Each member or of the Board of Directors has one vote. A majority of the voting members of the Board of Directors constitutes a quorum.
All regular meetings of the Board of Directors will be open to members of the Association. The Board may meet in Executive Session (during which all nonvoting participants will be excluded) for 1) the purpose of considering personnel matters relating to hired employees, 2) when considering disciplinary action of a member or 3) for such other purposes as the board may determine by majority vote.
Section 4. Expenses
The President, President Elect and Executive Director are reimbursed for travel, lodging, food and registration at the FMHCA Annual Conference.
The President, President Elect and Executive Director are reimbursed for travel, lodging, food and registration at the AMHCA Leadership/Annual Conference.
Board members are reimbursed for travel expenses to the August Retreat. Receipts are required to receive reimbursement if paid for separate from the master account. (Other Retreat expenses are paid from the master account.)
Board members are reimbursed for expenses that have been pre-approved by the President or Executive Director when engaging in activities directly related to their respective board roles.
ARTICLE VII: ADVISORY BOARD
Section 1. Composition
The Advisory Board will be composed of the Chairperson of each Standing committee, the Chair and Co-chair of each Special Committee, the President of each local FMHCA chapter and the Parliamentarian.
The chair and co-chairs of all Standing and Special Committees will serve as direct communication/liaison links between their Committee and the Board and they will be members of the Membership Committee.
Local Chapter Presidents will serve as direct communication/liaison links between their Chapter membership and the Board. They will also serve as consultants to promote the purpose and work of FMHCA at the local level, and they will be members of the Membership Committee.
The Parliamentarian will serve as a member of the Advisory Board.
1) Qualifications: Has been an active member of FMHCA for at least one year, is knowledgeable concerning parliamentary procedure and is available to attend FMHCA Board meetings. The Parliamentarian may also serve in any Standing or Advisory Board position.
2) Term: Appointed by the President subject to approval by the Board. Serves at the pleasure of the President by whom appointed. May be re-appointed by succeeding Presidents.
3) Duties: Serves as an advisor to the President and the Board of Directors regarding parliamentary procedure and is responsible for ensuring that meetings follow the process outlined by Robert’s Rules of Order, 10th edition, as published by the Robert’s Rules Association, or by subsequent editions published by that association.
4) The position of Parliamentarian is a nonvoting position on the Board of Directors.
Section 2. Duties and responsibilities
It is the duty and responsibility of Advisory Board members to proactively provide information and advice to the President and Board of Directors. Advisory board members should take advantage of any communication means available to convey their advice to the President and Board.
Section 3. Meetings
The Advisory Board will meet together with the Board of Directors when invited by the President. They will actively participate in discussing matters under consideration but they will not have a vote nor will their presence count toward the quorum required to conduct Board business.
ARTICLE VIII: STANDING and SPECIAL COMMITTEES
Section 1. Standing Committees
Standing Committees are established to facilitate the organizational structure and well-being of the Association. Standing Committee members will serve for a period of one (1) year following their appointment or until the beginning of the next fiscal year, whichever comes first. Each committee will report to the Board of Directors, in writing, the salient activities, financial information and progress of the committee. All Standing Committee Chairpersons will be non-voting members of the Board of Directors as well as members of the Advisory Board.
The following will be Standing Committees of FMHCA:
1) The Nominations and Elections Committee will be responsible for carrying out nominations and elections procedures. The committee members will be appointed by the President and consist of 1) the Past President who serves automatically as the Chairperson of the Nominations and Elections Committee; 2) one other member of the Board of Directors; and 3) one clinical member of FMHCA in good standing who is not a member of the Board.
2) The Finance Committee will be appointed by the President prior to the beginning of the fiscal year, the Chair of which will be the Treasurer. The Committee will prepare a budget for the upcoming fiscal year and present it to Board of Directors for approval at the first meeting of the fiscal year. The finance Committee may submit revisions to the approved budget as it may become necessary or expedient.
3) The Ethics Committee will receive and review requests from Association members relating to the ethical conduct of Association members or officers and any other issue of an ethical nature that may come before the Association. It will make any recommendation for action to the Board of Directors.
4) The Bylaws Committee will receive and review proposals for amending the Bylaws and resolutions submitted by members and various components of the Association. The committee will make recommendations to the Board for revising the Bylaws as deemed appropriate. The committee will cause the Bylaws to be published and distributed to the membership every four years.
Section 2. Special Committees
The Bylaws establish Special Committees in these Bylaws in order to facilitate the professional development and best interest of Association members as well as other goals and purposes of the Association in the mental health counseling profession. Each committee will report to the Board of Directors, in writing, the salient activities, financial information and progress of the committee. All Special Committee Chairpersons will be members of the Advisory Board.
The following will be Special Committees of FMHCA:
1) The Governmental Relations Committee will be responsible for advocating and implementing the FMHCA legislative platform. Issues impacting the profession of mental health counseling at the state level will be addressed by FMHCA, including issues involving legislation, agency regulation and encroachment by other entities on the practice of mental health counseling. FMHCA will be represented regularly at 491 Board meetings. The committee will inform and enlist support from members as to pertinent legislative issues and positions beneficial to the membership. Advocacy for legislation that recognizes and advances the profession of mental health counseling will be a priority. The committee will identify and support laws, programs and practices affecting the practice of mental health counseling. The committee, at the request of the Board of Directors, will provide liaison on the state level with other professional organizations to promote the advancement of the mental health profession.
2) The Educational, Training Standards and Continuing Education Committee will have co-chairs, one of whom is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and one who is a counselor educator. This committee will monitor the professional development needs of the Association's members. It will develop and implement a comprehensive plan of continuing education directed towards clinical and practical issues. The committee will be responsible for providing workshops, publications, and in-service opportunities related to identified needs. The committee will communicate with other FMHCA committees concerning professional development activities for the membership.
The committee co-chair who is a counselor educator will be responsible for promoting the purposes and goals of FMHCA in counselor education programs in colleges and universities throughout the state.
3) The Membership Committee will actively promote FMHCA membership among Licensed Mental Health Counselors, Mental Health Counselor Interns, graduate students, counselor educators, and others with professional or job-related interests in mental health counseling.
Members of the Membership Committee will include the co-chairs of the Registered Intern and Graduate Student Committee, the co-chair of the Educational, Training Standards and Continuing Education Committee who is a counselor educator, local Chapter Presidents and such other members as may be appointed by the President.
4) The Registered Intern and Graduate Student Committee will have co-chairs, one of whom is a Registered Intern and one of whom is a graduate student.
The committee co-chair who is a registered intern will be responsible for promoting the purposes and goals of FMHCA as well as membership in the association among registered interns throughout the state.
The committee co-chair who is a graduate student will be responsible for promoting the purposes and goals of FMHCA as well as membership in the association in college and university programs statewide that are educating and training future Mental Health Counselors.
5) The Local Chapter Relations Committee will promote the formation of new local chapters; develop, maintain and implement a list of services provided by FMHCA to local chapters; prepare, maintain and distribute a “Guide to Local Chapter Formation and Operations Manual”; establish and maintain a working relationship with each chapter President; assure that local chapter bylaws are consistent with FMHCA bylaws; encourage local chapters to acknowledge their relationship with FMHCA on their website and printed material and report the status of local chapters annually to the Board after receiving and reviewing the local chapter annual report.
6) The Research Committee will promote scientific research and inquiry into mental health concerns.
7) The Military Service Committee will direct the attention of FMHCA members to the needs of veterans, their families and other military personnel, especially those whose active duty included service in combat zones. The committee will also provide members with information on governmental programs that provide opportunities for service to this population.
ARTICLE IX: ADOPTION & RATIFICATION, AMENDMENT and publication
Section 1. Adoption and Ratification
These Bylaws are adopted by the Board of Directors effective July 1, 1998 and are subject to ratification by the membership at the first Annual Meeting of the Membership subsequent to that date. These Bylaws, revised and approved by the Board of Directors, are effective June 10, 2015 subject to ratification by the membership.
Section 2. Amendment
These Bylaws may be amended by a two-thirds (2/3)·majority vote of the Board of Directors subject to ratification by the members at the first Annual Meeting of the Membership subsequent to such revision, or by a method to be determined by the Board of Directors.
Section 3. Publication
The Bylaws of the Association will be published in their entirety every four years, beginning with their promulgation (July 1, 1998). All amendments adopted by the Association will be printed and distributed to the membership upon adoption.
Section 4. Continuity
The Secretary of the Association will be responsible for maintaining an official copy of these Bylaws and amendments thereto and for passing same to his/her successor.
ARTICLE X: ETHICS
Section 1. Applicable Standards
The Ethical Standards published by the American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA) as they may from time to time be revised, are adopted as the ethical standards of FMHCA. In any instance where Florida State and/or federal law and the referenced ethical standards of AMHCA conflict, the higher or more stringent standard will apply. AMHCA's Standards of Ethics are the minimum standards of professional conduct and behavior for practicing counselors and therapists. All members are expected to familiarize themselves with these standards.