Preface

The Elected Committee of Managers (ECM) of the Business Enterprises of Texas (BET) derives its authority from two sources: It was first established in 1971 by approval of the Texas Commission for the Blind and it is authorized by Title 45, Code of Federal Regulations, part 395.14, which implements the Randolph- Sheppard Act amendments of 1974. The purpose of the ECM shall be to serve as a channel of reciprocal communication and assistance between BET staff and BET licensees and to continually upgrade the quality of the BET for the benefit of the licensees and the program itself.

Definitions

Act: The Randolph-Sheppard Act

BET: business enterprise of Texas

CFR: Code of Federal Regulations, specifically referring to our section, 395.

Director: the director of the BET program.

SLA: State Licensing Agency, BET.

Days: the term day is to refer to a business day, excluding any recognized holidays.

Close of business: 11:59 pm central time of said ending day.

Geographic Area: Geographic region set as BC district.

Facility: a BET facility for blind vendors.

Quorum: Half of the number of serving representatives, plus one.

Representative: Elected Committee Representative

Regular Meeting: Meeting of the ECM in person, via conference call, or online virtual meeting. Workshop Meeting: Meeting of the ECM in person, via conference call, or online virtual meeting, with an agenda prescribing a particular action or duty.

Special: Meeting, election, or committee of the ECM performed in person, via conference call, or online virtual meeting, to act, discuss, or decide on time sensitive matters that may require immediate attention as deemed by these bylaws or called by the Chair of the ECM.

Simple Majority: Half, plus one, of present representatives.

Roll Call Vote: Vote submitted by named representative done publicly, as in person during a meeting, on a conference call, by email, or any designated electronic format.

Vendors: refers to licensed blind vendors in the BET program.

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ARTICLE I - ROLE AND FUNCTION OF THE ECM

Section 101. Functions stipulated in Title 34, CF, Part 395.14(B):

The ECM shall:
A. actively participate with the State Licensing Agency in major administrative decisions and policy and program development decisions affecting the overall administration of the State's vending facility program.
B. receive and transmit to the State Licensing Agency grievances at the request of blind vendors and serve as advocates for such vendors in connection with such grievances.
C. actively participate with the State Licensing Agency in the development and administration of a state system for the transfer and promotion of blind vendors.
D. actively participate with the State Licensing Agency in the development of training and retraining programs for blind vendors, and sponsor, with the assistance of the State Licensing Agency, meetings, and instructional conferences for blind vendors within the State.
E. Present proposals for establishment or change of policies, program development, and any other matters within its jurisdiction, from the Committee or other Managers to the SLA.
F. Review the Program Operation Budget and make recommendations concerning fiscal effectiveness of the budget.
G. Facilitate communication with Managers on all activities and matters of interest.
H. Actively participate with the SLA in the determination of the charge to set-aside funds for any purposes as set out in 34 C.F.R. 395.09.

Section 102. Meetings, Workshops and Conference Calls

A. The ECM shall meet quarterly, usually in January, April, July, and November.
B. Since the ECM is gathering, the meeting can constitute a workshop, as needed, or a normal meeting for the reporting of business.
C. At the beginning of the January meeting, election of Committee officers for the year will be held to fill the various offices authorized by these regulations, with the meeting proceeding under the new leadership.
D. SLA staff are normally invited to attend ECM meetings, but when needed, the ECM is authorized to determine a meeting to be closed to SLA staff and/or blind vendors not serving on or working on behalf of the Elected Committee.
E. When necessary and proper, additional workshops or special meetings shall be called by
1. The Chair of the Elected Committee
2. A simple majority vote of the Elected Committee, after all parties have been notified, five days before the vote.
3. A resolution presented on behalf of the state-wide body of blind vendors if a minimum of 25% of vendors agree.
F. To legitimize ECM voting, any vote must be recorded in person, on conference call meetings, online virtual meetings, or performed through a verifiable method, such as e-mail.
G. It is the duty of ECM representatives to
1. attend all official ECM meetings as notified, to include meetings, workshops, conference calls, and online virtual meetings.
2. Actively participate on the committee, ex: chairing committees and/or working on committees.
3. Communicate necessary information and report on committee activities to constituents.
When an ECM representative is unable or found to be unwilling to fulfill his/her responsibilities, the chairperson of the ECM shall be immediately notified. Continual absences or lack of participation regardless of reason, will be assessed by the executive board, and then presented to the ECM, whereas a two-thirds vote of the quorum is needed to remove the ECM in question. If this action results in removal from office, a special election shall be held to select a new representative of the district

 

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ARTICLE II – MEMBERSHIP

Section 201. Structure of the Committee:

A. The committee will be composed of elected representatives who are fully representative of all blind vendors in the program based on such factors as geography and vending facility type and size, with a goal of providing for proportional representation of blind vendors on Federal property and blind vendors on other property, in accordance with CFR 395.14 (a).
1. Two representatives will be elected from each designated ECM district. ECM districts shall be determined geographically in accordance with business consultant (BC) districts,
2. The ECM districts will be numbered in accordance with the BC districts.
3. The vote will be held district wide, for both positions, simultaneously.
4. If there is a two-person tie for the 1st position, both candidates will be selected, filling both spots.
5. If there is a tie for the 2nd position, the manager with the most seniority will fill the seat.
6. If there is a 3+ way tie for the 1st position, the two managers with the most seniority will be selected to fill both seats.
7. If seniority is unable to break a tie, the highest MAPR score will be used.
B. Both ECM representatives will share the responsibility of representing the entire district, there will be no dividing of districts based on any criteria.
C. In the event that one or both managers are not willing to accept a nomination for the district; the ECM Chairperson shall appoint one or two managers, as needed, from another district to serve for the duration of such term.

Section 202. Representative Qualifications:

To qualify to serve on the Elected Committee of Managers, a blind vendor must meet the following criteria:
A. Must be a licensee currently operating a facility in the district they represent.
B. Shall have successfully operated a facility for a minimum period of one year.
c. Must possess responsible character and a willingness to promote advancement of BET by being Current on all necessary licenses, inspections, and permits.

Section 203. Term of Office:

The term of office for ECM representatives shall be two years. It shall begin on January 1st. There shall be no limitation on the number of terms representatives may serve.

Section 204. Vacancies:

A. A representative who moves out of his/her district shall vacate the office.
B. Vacancies of a representative shall be filled by special election.
C. Special elections are governed by the procedures within Article II, Section 205 F of these By-Laws.
Section 204.1 Recall Election.
The district has the right to be fully represented and shall be granted the right to force a special election by petition requesting removal of a sitting ECM Representative before the completion of term.
A. The petition shall be sent to the ECM Chair and the sitting ECM Representative of that District.
B. The petition shall state the cause for recall.
C. The petition should be signed electronically or manually with a 2/3 of constituents of district requesting recall.
D. Upon receipt of petition, signatures will be verified.
E. With in 7 days upon receipt of petition, named representative may request for a conference call with his district to resolve differences. After five days of receiving petition and 2/3 of district managers named on petition uphold petition, a special election shall commence in pursuant to Article II, Section 205. F.
F. Sitting ECM representative from district shall not be restricted from running for current office as long all requirements are met.

Section 205. Elections:

A. The CFR, 395.14(A), Title 34, stipulates, "The State Licensing Agency shall provide for the biennial election of a State Committee of Blind Vendors which shall be fully representative of all blind licensees in the state program." Accordingly, personnel from the State Licensing Agency shall assist the ECM in conducting elections. Participation by any blind vendor in any election shall not be conditioned upon the payment of dues nor any other fees.
B. Nomination Procedure
(1) Notice shall be sent, in accessible electronic format, to each vendor in the voting districts prior to November 15, of the election year with instructions regarding the process of nominations.
(2) Only licensed vendors assigned a facility within the district may nominate representatives for that district.
(3) A licensed vendor may self-nominate, or nominate another vendor, in the district, any time prior to the issuance of ballots.
C. Voting
(1) Only licensed vendors permanently assigned to a district may vote for that district's representative.
(2) Voting, if conducted in person, shall be by secret ballot.
(3) Voting may be accomplished in a general meeting of area vendors, or by the election committee chair, or by one of the members of the Election Committee as delegated by the Election Committee Chair.
(4) Vendors who cannot attend an in-person election, if held, may vote by either email or text message, but any vote received after close of business on 14-December will not count, unless the 14th falls on a weekend, then the deadline is close of business the following business day.
D. The election committee shall schedule district elections so as to have all votes tallied by December 15, or the next business day, if it falls on a weekend.)
E. Odd numbered districts shall elect their representatives in odd numbered years, and even numbered districts shall elect their representatives in even numbered years.
F. Special elections
1. shall be called by the ECM Chairperson
2. A special election shall be held within two weeks of the existing vacancy unless the vacancy occurs thirty days or less from a normally scheduled election.
3. The time allowed for nominations and for returning ballots shall be set by the ECM Chairperson, in compliance with 205 F 2, above.
4. all vendors of the district shall be notified in accessible electronic format.

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ARTICLE III – OFFICERS

Section 301. Officers of the Executive Board

The officers of the ECM shall be Chairperson, Vice Chairperson, and Treasurer. They shall be selected from among the ECM representatives at the beginning of the January workshop meeting.

Section 302. Term of office:

A. The term of office for the ECM Chairperson, Vice Chairperson, and Treasurer shall be one year or until the expiration of their terms as ECM representative, whichever shall come first.
B. When the representative’s term expires and they are reelected, they shall complete their term as an ECM officer.
C. There shall be no limitation on consecutive terms served by any one person in any one office, other than those term limits stipulated in Article II Section 203, in these bylaws.

Section 303. Vacancies:

A. Vacancies of the office of Chairperson shall be filled by the Vice Chairperson.
B. Vacancy of Vice Chairperson, or Treasurer shall be filled by appointment by the Chairperson. Such appointments shall be for the duration of the unexpired term.

Section 304. Removal from Office:

A. The ECM shall have the power to remove from office, by a two-thirds vote, any representative for cause.
B. The representative affected shall be given, by e-mail, written notice of any such proposed action. Together with a detailed statement of the reasons for such action, thirty days before removal action consideration by the ECM.
C. notice shall be given by the Representative filing the removal petition. A copy of such notice shall be e-mailed to the ECM Chairperson, or in the event that the Chairperson is the representative affected or the petitioner, to the Vice Chairperson.
D. The officer shall have the right to respond to such notice.
E. A vacancy created in this manner shall be filled in accordance with Article III, Section 303 of these bylaws.

Section 305. Election of officers:

A. Election of the executive officers shall be held at the beginning of the ECM January meeting.
B. A quorum must be present for elections to proceed.
C. Nominations shall be from the floor, with each officer being nominated and elected in turn. Order of election shall be: Chairperson, Vice Chairperson, and treasurer.
D. Voting shall be by roll call.
E. Votes shall be counted by an impartial party agreed upon by the members of the ECM.
F. A tie vote shall be decided in favor of the Representative with the most Program seniority.

Section 306. Chairperson:

A. The Chairperson’s Meeting Duties
1 shall call additional workshops or special meetings as needed.
2. shall ensure that Representatives are informed of the time and place of all meetings.
3. shall provide the BET Director with agendas for quarterly or special workshop meetings no later than ten business days prior to the meetings.
4. shall preside over all ECM meetings, including workshops, conference calls, and online virtual meetings.
5. shall inform representatives of any issue of interest to BET licensees upon which input is needed.
6. shall encourage the productivity and actions of the committee, leading by example, in order to promote a positive working environment.
7. shall vote only to create or break a tie (or 2/3 for matters requiring a 2/3 vote). In the event of a ballot vote, the Chair shall vote with committee.
8. shall remain impartial during debate – the presiding officer must relinquish the position in order to debate the merits of a motion and may not chair the meeting again until the motion has been disposed of either temporarily or completely.
a. The Chair may relinquish position as presiding officer in this order,
1. Vice Chair, Treasurer, Chair of the Resolution Committee, and then Chair of Rules and Bylaws Committee
2. If none of the above members are present, then the Chair shall appoint another member to preside in his place.
9. shall apply Robert Rules of Order when presiding, duties to include:
• To open the meeting at appointed time ensuring a required quorum
• To introduce business in proper order per the agenda
• To decide all questions of order subject to appeal
• To recognize speakers
• To keep discussion germane to the pending motion
• To maintain order
• To put motions to a vote and announce results
• To declare the meeting adjourned when the group so votes.

Section 307. Vice Chairperson:

The Vice Chairperson shall serve as an administrative assistant to the Chairperson and shall perform those duties assigned to them by the Chairperson. The Vice Chairperson shall, in the absence or inability of the Chairperson, perform the duties of the Chairperson.

Section 308. Office of the Treasury:

A. Duties of the Treasurer
1. The Treasurer shall be responsible for all funds of the Elected Committee of Managers. The Treasurer will receive and deposit all currency, endorse checks, and deposit all funds into a commercial business checking account. The Chairman and Treasurer shall have signature authority for such commercial accounts.
2. The Treasurer shall serve as collector for any accounts owed the Elected Committee of Managers.
3. Disbursements will be remitted for accounts that are the responsibility of the Elected Committee of Managers.
4. Prior approval by the Executive Committee authorizing an expenditure of more than one thousand dollars, and less than two thousand five hundred dollars for a single transaction is required. All expenditures that exceed two thousand five hundred dollars must be approved by a majority vote of the Elected Committee of Managers; except the ECM will approve a budget ceiling for the annual training conference at its January meeting, and any adjustment to such ceiling must be approved by a majority vote of the ECM.
5. The Treasurer shall develop and maintain accurate records of revenue and expenses.
6. The Treasurer will assist the Finance Committee in preparing an annual budget.
B. Annual Accounting Year
1. The annual accounting year will be from January 1, - December 31.
2. A detailed financial report of revenue and expenses, including dated accounting for all cash in and cash out, shall be prepared and submitted via email, before each quarterly ECM meeting, to the entire committee.
3. These financial reports are to be posted on the ECM website, each quarter.
C. Purpose of Funds
1. The purpose of the funds is to assist the Elected Committee of Managers with expenses associated with training and especially with the annual training conference.
2. Funds may also be used for professional services such as legal and accounting for effective operation of the Elected Committee of Managers.
3. Miscellaneous materials, including office supplies, which are necessary in managing the business of the ECM.
D. Conflict of Interest
1. Funds shall not be utilized for the personal benefit of any ECM member, or his/her family, directly or indirectly.
2. An ECM member may only be reimbursed for expenses causally related to the business of the ECM, such as travel, for a reasonable amount, and must be approved in advance by a majority vote.
3. Reimbursement will only be provided for documented expenses.
E. Financial Review
1. If the ECM ceases to provide detailed quarterly financial reports, then a financial review shall be conducted at the end of the accounting year by a certified public accountant selected by the Executive Committee.
2. If an Annual Financial Review is required, then the report of the financial review shall be emailed, in accessible format, to all ECM members no later than 60 days after the end of the accounting year.
3. If a Financial review is required, then the annual report will be posted to the ECM website, under the financial report section, no later than 60 days after the end of the accounting year.
F. Tax Exempt Status.
1. This organization is set forth exclusively for educational and charitable purposes within the meaning of Section 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
2. Upon the dissolution of this organization, after payment or adequately providing for the debts and the obligations of the organization, the remaining assets shall be distributed to a non-profit fund, foundation or corporation, giving priority to those organizations that benefit the blind community, and those which are organized and operated exclusively for education and charitable purposes and which have established their tax exempt status under section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code

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ARTICLE IV – BUSINESS

Section 401. Business:

A. ECM business shall be transacted in person, at meetings or workshops, on conference calls, online virtual meetings and via email.
B. A recording device shall be used during ECM meetings to capture beginning and ending of meeting, guest speakers, and discussions on a motion and their end result.
1. The recording may be turned off to allow for those who would like to have the opportunity to speak off the record.
2. ECM recording or minutes shall be available upon request.
3. Recordings will be kept for 1 year or unless Chair chooses a different time frame.
C. The procedures for approval of motions via email are outlined
1. Any board member may make a motion via email.
2. The subject line should include the word “Motion”.
3. The first line of the body of the email should include the words “I move that the board approve, authorize, or recommend.
4. A second is not necessary to consider this motion.
5. The motion will have 2 days of discussion before the Chair shall put the question to a vote. The vote will expire in two calendar days or at the start of the next ECM meeting – whichever comes first.
6. Board members should reply all and include in the words “I vote No” or “I vote Yes” in the first line of their response.
7. The chair may cast a blank vote during email voting to establish a quorum when necessary.
8. Any board member may make a motion via email to consider previously proposed motion to be discussed on a conference call, prior to the proposed motion being placed for vote.
9. Committee member so designated by the Chair shall compile and maintain the
complete thread of the motion and its disposition including all secondary and
incidental motions.
D. Passage of ECM business shall require a simple majority vote of the quorum present, after all members have been notified of said meeting.
E. Proposals or resolutions to be submitted to the State Licensing Agency and/or to the BET licensees within the state, shall be in accessible electronic format. An official copy shall be kept in the ECM records.
F. BET licensees’ input shall be solicited for all ECM meetings.
G. The ECM shall assist the SLA, when necessary and proper, in acquiring a statewide vote of BET licensees on an issue. Such votes must be performed electronically, for documentation purposes.
H. All members of the ECM and blind vendors, not serving on the committee, present at a meeting of the ECM shall have the right to speak at least one time on each issue. It shall be the duty of the Chairperson and the representatives respectively to protect and preserve that speaker's right to voice his/her opinion without interruption.

 

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Bylaws Article V – Voting

Section 501. Voting:

A. The vote required for passage of ECM business shall be a simple majority of the quorum present, and the voting procedure shall be by roll call. The Chair shall be excluded from this voting except to act as a tie breaker.
B. The vote required for election of ECM officers shall be a simple majority of the quorum present, and the voting procedure shall be by roll call. Votes shall be counted by an impartial party agreed upon by members of the ECM.
C. The vote required to remove an ECM officer from office for cause shall be a two-thirds majority vote of the quorum present, and the voting procedure shall be by roll call. Votes shall be counted by an impartial party agreed upon by members of the ECM.
D. The vote required to amend these bylaws shall be a two- thirds vote of the quorum present, and the voting procedure shall be by roll call.
E. The Presiding Officer shall determine the method that votes by representatives may be submitted when the ECM is not meeting in person.
Other acceptable methods for voting may be on conference call, by email, or via designated electronic format.

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ARTICLE VI – COMMITTEES

Section 601 Standing Committees:

A. Standing committees shall be comprised of a committee chair and at least 1 other representative and may include non-ECM members.
B. The Resolution Committee,
1. Duties
a. responsible for drafting resolutions,
b. reviewing and approving resolutions presented to them by licensed Managers and interested parties for the benefit of the program,
c. submitting to the ECM and or SLA those resolutions that benefit the Blind Vendors and/or the BET Program.
C. The Finance Committee
1. Duties
a. drafting a budget for the ECM
b. Direct fundraising with all ECM members to acquire necessary and special funding.
c. Coordinating and participating with the SLA regarding BET budgets, expenses, and fiscal responsibility.
D. Election Committee,
1. Members that are seeking office may not serve on this committee.
2. Duties
a. coordinates elections for each district.
b. Ensure deadlines regarding nominations and votes are met.
c. Ensure all votes are properly documented, including sharing all election results with the licensed managers and BET staff.
d. Coordinate debates as Requested and agreed upon between candidates.
E. Communications Committee,
1. Duties
a. responsible for operations of the ECM website,
b. Responsible for maintaining the ECM’s Facebook and other social media platforms.
c. Responsible for other public relation platforms or the dissemination of information.
F. Training Committee
1. It is recommended to include participation of a graduate of a recent training class on this committee whenever possible.
2. Duties and Responsibilities
a. To actively participate with the SLA for the structure, review, and revision of a comprehensive training program in order to assist in the development of a curriculum to attain quality individuals for BET.
b. To provide recommendations to aid VR concerning the recruitment of BET applicants and for the skill assessments needed and proficiency to succeed in BET.
c. to actively participate with the SLA in developing procedures for the selection of training Managers and monitoring of objectives used in on-the-job training.
d. To actively participate in the verification of trainee’s completion of BET training curriculum by their achieving satisfactory test scores and completion of assignments.

Section 602 Special Committees

A. Special committees shall be comprised of a committee chair and at least 1 other representative and may include non-ECM members.
B. Special committees shall be established by authority of the ECM Chairperson or by the ECM itself as a business item at any ECM meeting.
C. Special committees shall be dissolved by authority of the ECM Chairperson or by the ECM itself as a business item at any ECM meeting.

Section 603. Structure of committees:

A. Chairpersons of ECM standing committees and special committees shall be appointed by the ECM Chairperson, and except for special committees, they shall be appointed from among the ECM representatives and shall be subject to removal by the ECM Chairperson when not properly performing their duties as committee chairpersons.
B. The normal term for a Chairperson of an ECM standing committee shall be one year.
C. Chairpersons of ECM standing and special committees shall select committee members from among the BET licensees within the state. ECM representatives, ECM officers, and chairpersons of other committees may be included in this selection process.
D. There shall be no limitation on the number of committees a person may chair. There shall be no limitation on the number of committees on which a person may serve.

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ARTICLE VII EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

Section 701. Executive Committee:

A. The officers of the ECM shall be the executive committee and shall function as the liaison between the State Licensing Agency and the ECM.
B. The executive committee shall propose all action deemed necessary and/or advisable and shall report these findings to the ECM without delay and ratification - by phone, in writing, in special meetings or in regular meetings, as circumstances warrant. C. No action taken by the executive committee of the ECM shall be valid without a majority vote of the ECM, and that vote must be properly documented and entered into the records of the ECM.

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ARTICLES VIII RULES OF DECISION

Section 801. Rules of Decision:

The rules of decision for the ECM shall be Robert's Rules of Order and these bylaws.
The Chair shall insure that the basic principles of parliamentary procedure are followed, or appoint a special committee to act as an advisor during meetings in order to ensure business is conducted in such manner.

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ARTICLES IX Amendments :

Section 901. Amendments:

These bylaws may be amended at any regular or special workshop meeting of the ECM by a two-thirds vote of the quorum present, after all ECM members have been duly notified of the meeting.

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Bylaws Adoption

APPROVED AND ADOPTED BY A TWO-THIRDS (2/3) MAJORITY OF THE MEMBERS OF THE BUSINESS ENTERPRISES OF TEXAS ELECTED COMMITTEE OF MANAGERS – June 20,2021.

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Disclaimer

The information on this page is the sole responsibility of the ECM and does not necessarily represent the views or positions of TWC.

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