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Getting Started as an ICG Board Member
The operation of International Costumers’ Guild (ICG) is governed by its Board of Directors. The Board consists of five officers selected by ICG members, and a representative from each of the ICG chapters. This page provides information and tips to new ICG Board members to help them get started.
The rules governing the operation of the ICG are contained in two documents.
The Bylaws are the “owner’s manual” for the organization. They describe the basics of how the ICG operates and what roles people have. Provisions in the Bylaws are voted on and can only amended by a majority of members. Actions by the Board or by committees cannot conflict with provisions in the Bylaws.
The Standing Rules are the ordinary rules and procedures about how the organization operates. Standing Rules are created and amended by the ICG Board, and can be invalidated by provisions of the Bylaws. By way of example, Article III of the Bylaws specifies how one becomes an ICG member, while the Standing Rule 3 specifies the types of membership and Standing Rule 4 sets the ICG membership dues. Neither conflicts with Article III. A Standing rule redefining membership would conflict with Article III.
It is a good idea for new Board members to spend some time reviewing the Bylaws and the Standing Rules to learn about how the organization works, and what latitude the Board has to make changes and implement new policies. There’s no need to memorize them, but it is useful to know what they do and do not say.
The general responsibilities of the five ICG officers are specified by Article VI of the ICG Bylaws. Specific responsibilities are scattered throughout the Bylaws and the Standing Rules. General responsibilities include
The President has overall responsibility to see that the ICG operates for the benefit of its members, presides at Board meetings, ensures that resolutions of the members and the Board are carried out, and provide overall direction and support for the organization.
The Vice President performs the duties of the President in the President’s absence or disability. The Vice President has no assigned roles but works with the President to identify areas to focus on. The office can be a good training ground for future Presidents.
The Recording Secretary maintains the records of the organization, including the Bylaws, Standing Rules, the proceedings of board meetings, and records of the various committees. As 501(c)(3) non-profit, ICG records are open, and available on the ICG website, except where they are required to remain confidential.
The Corresponding Secretary is responsible for official communications between the ICG and its members, chapters and SIGs, and with external organizations. By way of example, the Corresponding Secretary announces the place and time of member and board meetings, and issues certified copies of organization records, including the Bylaws, Standing Rules, elections, and board actions such as approval of a new Chapter or SIG.
The Chapter Treasurer is responsible for managing all aspects of the ICG’s finances. The Treasurer prepares the budget for approval by the Board, regularly reports on the organization’s finances, and files financial reporting documents as required.
Each chapter has a representative on the ICG Board. The selection and qualifications of chapter representatives are specified by Article V of the ICG Bylaws and Standing Rule 6. To qualify, the chapter representitive must be an officer of the chapter, at least 18 years of age, and an ICG member. It is up to the chapter how the officer is selected and the term of service. Some chapters designate an existing officer such as the President or Vice President to be its board representative. Other chapters have a dedicated officer who is elected by its members.
When a new chapter is approved and has adopted its bylaws and elected its officers, the chapter must inform the ICG President about who will represent it on the ICG Board and include that in its initial chapter membership list. The chapter must also inform the ICG President and include in its monthly membership update whenver the chapter board representative changes. The ICG President will generally contact new chapter board representatives to welcome them, ensure that they can participate in the Board’s online forum, and answer any questions.
The chapter board representative is also responsible for keeping the chapter informed about ICG activities and actions. Examples include upcoming meetings, new programs or initiatives, approval of the ICG budget, updates to the ICG website, applications of new chapters or SIGs, elections, and recipients of ICG awards. This is important because it maintains the connection between the chapter and the ICG, and enables the chapter to provide feedback to the ICG board on new or pending actions. The ICG may also communicate these things directly to members through announcements and newsletters, but the chapter representative should ensure that the chapter stays informed. Representation is a two-way street.
Some chapters find it useful to designate an “alternate” board representative who stays abreast of Board activities and can step in as the chapter representative if the need arises. The alternate should be someone who is eliglble to be the chapter board representative. The ICG itself has no notion of an “alternate” representative, so the alternate cannot act for the chapter, vote present at Board meetings, or participate in Board business without formally replacing the previous representative. The chapter must promptly notify the ICG President of the replacement to ensure that there is no gap in representation.
Board Meetings and Participation
All ICG Board members should fully participate in the business of the Board that takes place at its meetings. The ICG Board meets in person annually, and through an online forum during the rest of the year.
The ICG Board meets in person once a year at Costume-Con as part of the ICG Annual Meeting, as specified in Article IV of the ICG Bylaws. This provides a way for board members to get together in person to share ideas and discuss issues. The board usually meets before the members meeting. Members are invited to attend the board meeting.
If a chapter Board representative is unable to attend, the Chapter may designate an eligible alternate representative to the meeting by providing a letter signed by the chapter President in advance or at the meeting. A digital scan of the signed letter will be acceptable, subject to verification.
Because not all board members can attend, generally the only significant item of business transacted at this meeting is to elect the slate of ICG Officers The ICG is incorporated in the State of Maryland, and a peculiarity of its laws is that the Board must actually adopt the slate of Officers approved by the members at the members meeting. To do this, it goes into recess just before the members meeting, and resumes its meeting briefly once the member meeting adjourns.
The ICG President posts the agenda for the annual board and members meetings to the Annual Meeting page of the ICG website in advance of the meetings. The ICG Recording Secretary records the proceedings and publishes draft minutes to the Annual Meeting page afterwards. If the Recording Secretary is unable to attend, the ICG President or presiding officer appoints someone else to serve as secretary for the meetings. The draft minutes must be approved at the following Annual Meeting.
The ICG Board meets continuously during the year through the ICG-BOD Yahoo! group. All ICG members are welcome to view this list. It is the official minutes of the ICG Board while it meets online. The ICG President is the group moderator as presiding officer. All ICG Board members are required to join this list, and participate in board activities. To join, ask the ICG President to send an invitation, or use the “join” feature and state that you are a Board member and your office or chapter.
New Board members should read back over earlier postings to the ICG-BOD group to get some background and help provide continuity. The past year of activity should be sufficient in most cases, although it may be useful to go back several years in some cases, We recommend that board members change their group setting to receive individual emails rather than a daily digest to provide more immediate feedback about board activity. This also allows posting to the list by responding to the email, which is not possible with a daily digest.
Only ICG Board members, Committee Chairs, and those serving in certain roles such as Archivist can post to the ICG-BOD group. The ICG Corresponding Secretary also represents the interests of all Special Interest Groups (SIGs) on the board. Only ICG Board members can vote on business before the Board. The online meeting goes into recess 30 days before the ICG Annual meeting to ensure that no business is pending, and resumes immediately afterwards.
To ensure a quorum, attendance is taken within the first seven days of every month. Each Board member is asked to post a “check-in” message to the group. In the future, this may be done by setting up a poll instead. A reminder email is sent automatically just before the first of the month.Only Board representatives are required to check in, although committee chairs and those in other roles who are permitted to post may also check in.
The Recording Secretary takes attendance and notifies the President about who has and has not checked in each month.. The President may contact chapter representatives who have not checked in to determine their status. If the chapter representative cannot be contacted or fails to check in twice in a row, the Presedent may contact the chapter President and request the chapter to provide a Board representative.
If it is necessary for an eligible chapter board “alternate,” to take over from the regular representative, the chapter must promptly notify the ICG President. The previous representative will be removed from the group as a participant, and the new one will be invited to join. The President will also announce the change to the list. This process can normally be carried out with no gap in representation. An eligible alternate must also be an officer of the chapter.
The online meeting generally operates as a “committee of the whole.” Board members and others who can post are welcome to intoduce topics and participate in discussions on a range of topics of interest to Board members, including sharing ideas, discussing issues, and asking questions related to the operation of the ICG, and its Chapters and SIGs. Board members can also present statements or questions submitted to them by members. The ICG President, as group moderator and presiding officer, may on rare occasion limit discussion that is not directly related to business before the Board in the interest of good order.
Any Board member may formally bring business before the Board by making a motion. The President will ask for a “second” from another Board member. Once a motion and a second is made, the President assigns a number to the motion (e.g. 2015-03-01) and opens the floor for discussion on the motion. General discussion should generally take a back seat to discussion of the motion.
Discussion of the motion stays open for a minimum of fifteen (15) days to give all Board members a chance to participate. If the President determines that motion is still being actively discussed at that time, discussion will continue. If there is no further discussion, the President may close the discussion and call for a vote on the motion.
Voting is done using the Poll feature, with the options “yes,” “no,” and “abstain.” Only Board members are eligible to vote, and individual votes are anonymous. The voting period runs for fifteen (15) days, after which the poll is automatically closed and the President will report on the results. All polls are retained as part of the Board record.
While it is possible to have more than one motion in play in the online meeting, it is generally discouraged, and the President has discretion about this. As an example, if applications for two new chapters arrive a week apart, the President may permit the second one to be considered before voting has concluded on the first one because there is usually little discussion about approving chapter applications.