By Laws





Revised: October 2015



This edition of the By-laws of The Association of Boards of Visitors of New York
State Facilities for the Mentally Disabled Inc. includes amendments to the 1983
original as duly passed at the annual meetings of The Association in October 1984,
October 1985, October 1986, October 1988, October 1999, October 2003, October
2010, October 2013 and October 2015.




Newly appointed members of the Boards of Visitors are urged to familiarize
themselves with the By-Laws.
By-laws must be responsive to the changing needs of The Association. Therefore,
all Boards of Visitors are encouraged to review them periodically and keep in mind
that amendments may be offered by any member of a Board of Visitors of New
York State.

Name and Purpose
Section 1: The name of The Association shall be THE ASSOCIATION OF BOARDS OF
MENTALLY DISABLED, INC., herein after referred to as The Association.

Section 2: The mission of The Association is to provide effective oversight and advocacy for
people with mental and developmental disabilities who receive services from the
State of New York. The Association seeks to enhance the skills and abilities of
board members in carrying out their statutory responsibilities through education,
effective networking, collective advocacy and communication.


The membership of The Association shall be open to all members of the Boards
of Visitors of New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities
facilities and the Boards of Visitors of New York State Office of Mental Health


Section 1: The membership dues for members shall be recommended by the Executive
Committee and approved by the majority vote of the members at the Annual

Section 2: Dues shall become due April 1 of each year for an individual to become a member
in good standing of the Association for the coming year.

Section 3: Only members of The Association who have paid the current dues will be
considered to be in good standing and entitled to vote or hold any office in The


Annual Meeting
Section 1: The Annual Meeting shall be held during the Fall of the year
(Preferably in October) at a time and place determined by the
Executive Committee.

Section 2: All members of Boards of Visitors shall be invited to and encouraged to
participate in the Annual Meeting.

Section 3: The order of business for the Annual Meeting shall include:
a. Call to order
b. Appoint a Parliamentarian
c. Minutes of previous meeting
d. Officer’s report
e. Committee reports
f. Unfinished business
g. New business
h. Resolutions
i. Bi-annual election of officers
j. Adjournment

Section 4: Notice of the time and place of the Annual Meeting shall be sent to each member
not less than 30 days prior to the date of the meeting.

Section 5: Ten percent (10%) of the members of The Association shall constitute
a quorum for transaction of business. A simple majority of the quorum rules
unless otherwise specified in the By-laws.

Section 6: Resolutions for action at the Annual Meeting shall be received by the
Corresponding Secretary forty-five (45) days prior to the Annual Meeting and
will be included in the mailing for the meeting.



Section 1: The officers of The Association shall be:
a. President
b. Two Vice Presidents - one representing the Boards of Visitors appointed to
serve the Psychiatric Centers, and one representing the Boards of Visitors
appointed to serve the DDSOs.
c. Recording Secretary
d. Corresponding Secretary
e. Treasurer

Section 2: Association officers shall be elected for a term of two (2) years. They may be reelected only once to the same office, serving no more than two (2) consecutive
full terms; except the treasurer, who may serve five (5) terms.

Section 3: Officers shall be elected at the Annual Meeting held in even numbered years by a
majority of the members in good standing.

Section 4: The Presidency shall alternate between a member of a Board of Visitors from a
Psychiatric Center and a member of a Board of Visitors from the DDSO.

Section 5: An officer may resign his/her office, or may be determined to be incapacitated. In
the case of the latter, the officer’s incapacity shall be determined by the lack of
communication with any of the other officers of the Executive Committee for up
to but no more than six (6) months, and for a determination made by a designated
officer of the Executive Committee, who would secure information to verify that
the absent officer is not able to assume the duties of his/her office in The
Association. The officer so designated would report to the members of the
Executive Committee who would have to approve the absent officer’s removal by
a two-thirds (2/3) vote, which would be effective immediately.

Section 6: All officers must be members in good standing with the Association. Any
violation of Public Officer's Law or unethical behavior will constitute immediate
dismissal from the Association by vote of the Executive Committee.

Section 7: When a vacancy occurs among the officers, the President shall fill such vacancy
with the advice and consent of the Executive Committee, and that appointhed
officer shall serve for the remainder of the term. Should the President be unable
to complete his or her tenure, the Vice President representing that affiliation shall
assume the office for the remainder of the term.

Section 8: Newly elected officers shall assume office on the first day of January following
the date of certification of election. To assure an orderly transition, each outgoing
officer shall familiarize his/her successor with the duties of the office in the
interval between the election and January 1.

Section 9: All officers shall assume such duties as assigned by the membership or as
contained elsewhere in these By-laws and, at the conclusion of their terms of
office, shall turn over to their successor all records pertaining to that office.


Election Procedure
Section 1: There shall be a Nominating Committee consisting of one representative elected
from each region by the members from that region and two members-at-large
appointed by the President. All the members of the Nominating Committee must
be in good standing with the Association to serve on the committee.

Section 2: At the first meeting of the Nominating Committee, a Chairperson is selected who
shall serve as Election Coordinator.

Section 3: The proposed slate shall be sent to the Corresponding Secretary at least sixty (60)
days prior to the Annual Meeting for mailing to the membership at least forty-five
(45) days prior to the Annual Meeting.

Section 4: Additional nominations may be made by petition signed by at least five (5)
Association members, each of whom represents a different Board of Visitors, with
no more than two (2) Board members coming from the same region. Such
petition must be filed with the Recording and Corresponding Secretaries at least
thirty days (30) prior to the Annual Meeting for mailing to the membership at
least twenty (20) days prior to the Annual Meeting. There may not be
nominations “from the floor".

Section 5: If no valid petitions are received, no ballots will be sent out to the membership.

Section 6: When the Corresponding Secretary is a candidate for election to office, the
President shall appoint a non-candidate to receive the ballots.

Section 7: The election shall take place at the Annual Meeting. Prior to the election, the
President shall appoint two (2) tellers, one from a Psychiatric Center and one from
a DDSO, who are not candidates for elected office, to receive the ballots from the
Corresponding Secretary or alternate and to count the ballots.


Duties of Officers
Section 1: President: The President shall:
a. Preside at all meetings of The Association, the Board of Directors and the
Executive Committee.
b. Act as the Chief Executive Officer of The Association.
c. Represent and speak for The Association publicly when advisable and when so
directed by the Board of Directors or the Executive Committee.
d. Be the Association’s liaison with the Governor’s Office, OPWDD, OMH,
Justice Center, and other appropriate agencies and organizations or may designate
a member of the Board to represent him/her to carry out any of these responsibilities. This must be with the approval of the Executive Committee.
e. Appoint the chair of all Association committees with the exception of the
Nominating Committee.
f. Appoint a Parliamentarian.
g. Appoint ad hoc committees as needed.
h. Be a member ex-officio of all committees, with the exception of the
Nominating Committee.
i. Must give prior approval of all checks and drafts of two hundred and fifty
($250.00) dollars or more.
j. Make an annual report of activities on behalf of The Association at the Annual
k. Appoint legal counsel to serve without compensation.
l. Appoint an Associate Treasurer in consultation with the Treasurer and who
resides in the same geographic area as that individual. The Associate Treasurer
must be a member in good standing and would act as a backup or assist the
Treasurer in the performance of their duties as described in Section 5. The Associate Treasurer will serve the same term as the duly elected treasurer.
m. Appoints a total of four (4) Delegates-at-large from the five regions who serve
at the President’s discretion. They may be re-appointed by an incoming president.
The Delegates-at-large are not elected officers, but they must be members in good
standing. They serve on the Executive Committee and at least one committee to
which they may be assigned by the President.
n. In the absence or disability of the Treasurer, the President shall designate a
member of The Association, with the approval of the Executive Committee, as
Treasurer Pro-Tem. In the interim between Treasurers, the President shall be
empowered to sign checks.

Section 2: The Vice President representing the same client population as the President shall in
the event of the incapacity or absence of the President assume the duties and
responsibilities of the President. In the event of the incapacity or absence of said
Vice President, the other Vice President will assume the duties and responsibilities of
the President. The Vice Presidents shall carry out other responsibilities as designated
by the President.

Section 3: Recording Secretary: The Recording Secretary shall:
a. Keep an accurate record of the proceedings of all meetings.
b. Prepare the minutes for distribution.
c. Maintain records

Section 4: Corresponding Secretary: The Corresponding Secretary shall:
a. Send all notices of meetings thirty (30) days prior to the meeting.
b. Maintain a current mailing list of all members including associate members.
c. Carry on official correspondence of The Association as required.
d. Maintain Records

Section 5: Treasurer: The Treasurer shall:
a. Keep accurate books of account.
b. Make the books available for inspection or audit when called upon by the
President or Executive Committee.
c. Maintain an accurate, separate financial record of dues.
d. Sign all checks or drafts drawn on the name of The Association
e. Make a full financial report at the Annual Meeting.
f. Maintain financial records.


Article VIII
Board of Directors
Section 1: There shall be a Board of Directors which shall be made up of Presidents of each
Board of Visitors (or the designated representative of the President), elected
officers of The Association, four (4) Delegates at Large and past presidents of The
Association who are in good standing.

Section 2: The Board of Directors shall meet at least four (4) times per year. Special
meetings may be called by the President or at the written request of seven (7)
members of the Board.

Section 3: The Board of Directors is authorized to act for The Association between Annual
Meetings or special meetings of the Association.

Section 4: A quorum of the Board of Directors shall consist of seven (7) members.

Section 5: Only Board of Director members in good standing, who have paid membership
dues, are entitled to vote.

Section 6: The Corresponding Secretary will notify the Board of Directors of the time and
place of the meeting at least thirty (30) days prior to the date of the meeting.


Executive Committee
Section 1: There shall be an Executive Committee consisting of the elected Officers, the four
(4) Delegates-at-Large, and the immediate past presidents of The Association,
who are still members in good standing.

Section 2: At the first meeting after the first day of January following the date of
certification of the biannual election, the Executive Committee shall designate a
certified public accountant, an accounting firm, or an Association audit committee
to perform an independent audit of The Association's financial records and

Section 3: The Executive Committee shall be authorized to act for the Board of Directors
between Board meetings and on issues specifically so stated by the Board of
Directors. by teleconference, email or direct contact.


Section 1: All members of The Association in good standing have the right and privilege to
join and work on a Standing Committee of their choice with two exceptions:
a. The Awards Committee is made up of past recipients of the Louis J. Billittier
b. The Nominating Committee is made up of one representative from each region
and two people appointed by the President.

Section 2: Standing Committees of The Association shall be:
a. By-laws Committee
b. Children’s Service Committee
c. Government Relations Committee
d. Membership Committee
e. Program Committee
f. Site Selection Committee
g. Awards Committee
h. Newsletter Committee
i. Forensic Committee
j. Geriatric & Medically Frail Committee
k. Nominating Committee

Section 3: The Standing Committees shall have the following duties:
a. Bylaws Committee
1. Shall review the existing By-laws and propose any changes as needed at
any annual meeting.
2. Shall receive from the membership recommendations for changes.
3. Shall process said recommendations as amendments for action at the
next Annual Meeting. (As per Article XII – Section 4)
b. The Children’s Service Committee shall address itself to the unique concerns of
children with psychiatric and developmental problems both in psychiatric and
DDSOs, residential programs and the community and formulate recommendations
for the Board’s action.

c. The Government Relations Committee
1. Shall review pending legislation, which affects the welfare of the people
served by OMH and OPWDD.
2. Shall inform The Association of the possible impact of all such
legislation and bills on the welfare of the client population.
3. Shall prepare bills for introduction to the legislature.
4. Shall work with governmental representatives on issues relating to the
people served by OMH and OPWDD.
5. Shall prepare and conduct the annual legislative reception.

d. Membership Committee
1. Shall be concerned with enlarging the membership of The Association.
2. Shall mail dues notices to every Board of Visitor member annually in
3. The Membership Committee shall acquaint newly confirmed members
of The Boards of Visitors with the policies and procedures of The

e. Program Committee
1. Shall prepare the program for all meetings and the Annual Meeting in
consultation with the President.
2. Shall implement said program. Make all necessary arrangements.
f. Site Selection Committee shall select sites for all meetings of The Association
and make all the necessary arrangements, with the exception of the regional
g. Awards Committee shall establish criteria for award nominations prepare
material and specify selection process.
h. Newsletter Committee shall issue The Association Publication reporting events
and news items of interest and importance to Boards of Visitors members and
community leaders.
i. Forensic Services Committee shall address the unique concerns of individuals in
forensic/secure psychiatric facilities and shall formulate recommendations for
action by the Association.
j. Geriatric, medically frail committee shall address issues surrounding elderly and
medically frail individuals serviced by OPWDD and OMH.
k. Nominating Committee convenes to choose candidates to serve as a slate of
officers in the Association.

Section 4: Ad-Hoc Committees. Ad Hoc Committees may be convened as needed.

Section 5: Committee membership is open to all Association members in good standing.
a. Standing Committee Chairs serve at the pleasure of the President.
b. Committee Chairs shall be prepared to report at Board of Directors meetings.


Section 1: For organizational purposes, New York facilities shall be grouped into five (5)
regions. The members of the Boards of Visitors, designated by the Governor’s
appointment to a particular facility, are automatically members of The Association’s regional structure. The five (5) regions are:
Region 1: Psychiatric Centers (Western Region)
Buffalo, Elmira, Rochester, Western New York Children’s
Finger Lakes (Craig, Monroe & Newark) Western New York (J.N. Adam & West
Region II: Psychiatric Centers (Central New York Region)
Binghamton, Hutchings, St. Lawrence, Capital District, Mohawk Valley
Broome, Sunmount, Capital District, Central NY
Region III: Psychiatric Centers (Hudson River Region)
Rockland, Mid-Hudson, Rockland Children’s
Hudson Valley, Taconic
Region IV:  Psychiatric Centers (New York City Region)
Bronx, Bronx Children’s, Creedmoor, Kingsboro, Kirby, Manhattan, Queens
Children’s, Brooklyn Children’s, South Beach
Metro NY (Bronx & Manhattan), Staten Island, Brooklyn
Region V: Psychiatric Centers (Long Island Region)
Sagamore, Pilgrim
Long Island, Bernard Fineson

Section 2: Members of The Association of Boards of Visitors in each region may hold a
regional meeting if the facilities of the said region have interest in doing so.


Rules and Regulations
Section 1: Fiscal Year: The Association shall operate on a fiscal calendar year beginning
January 1st and ending December 31st of the same year.

Section 2: Audit: There shall be an annual audit of the financial records of The Association.

Section 3: Funds: All funds of The Association shall be deposited in a bank approved by the
Executive Committee.

Section 4: Expenses: Appropriate expenses required in the transaction of business of The
Association shall be paid as determined by the President, the two Vice Presidents,
and the Treasurer.

Section 5: Roberts’ Rules of Order Newly Revised shall be the parliamentary authority of
The Association.

Section 6: Retention of Records: The records of the recording secretary and the treasurer
will be maintained for seven (7) years in a designated place as approved by the
Executive Committee.


Section 1: These By-laws may be amended at any Annual Meeting of the members of The
Association by a two-thirds vote of the members in good standing, present.

Section 2: A copy of the proposed amendments with information about voting at the Annual
Meeting must be included with the notice of the Annual Meeting.

Section 3: Members of The Association wishing to propose By-Law amendments must send
a copy of the proposed By-Law change to any member of the By-laws Committee
one hundred and twenty (120) days prior to the Annual Meeting.

Section 4: By-law amendments may be introduced from the floor at the Annual Meeting.

A unanimous vote of the membership present, and in good standing, is required for passage of said amendments