Constitution of the Ohio Fire Chiefs' Association, Inc.
As amended, July 15, 2021
ARTICLE I - NAME AND PURPOSE
ARTICLE I - NAME AND PURPOSE
Section 1 – This organization shall be known as The Ohio Fire Chiefs’ Association, Inc. herein called the Association.
Section 2 – The purpose of this Association is to promote education, best practices and study ways and means to cope with the ever increasing need for better understanding of the complex problems which are being presented to the fire protection and emergency medical services of our nation.
In recognition of the necessity for unity, we, the Fire Chiefs of the fire protection and related services of the State of Ohio, form an Association, the aim of which shall be to provide an opportunity to discuss and study methods to apply in our endeavor to reduce to a minimum Ohio’s loss of life and property through destruction by fire and natural or man-made calamity; also to establish a medium through which there can be an interchange of ideas, practice and experience dealing with matters of general interest for the betterment of the service.
ARTICLE II - MEMBERSHIP
ARTICLE II - MEMBERSHIP
Section 1 - The membership of the organization shall consist of the following:
A. Individual Members – Chiefs, Deputy Chiefs, Assistant Chiefs, Shift Commanders, Duty Officers, or other individuals in similar positions in organized fire departments of political subdivisions, or such other persons designated as Chief of departments in industrial, military, or other not-for-profit fire organizations under contract with political subdivisions as approved by the Board of Directors, shall be eligible for Individual Membership upon payment of annual dues. Individual Members in good standing, as defined in Article II, Section 2 at the time of retirement may, after such retirement, continue such membership by continuance of the payment of annual dues, providing such members are not identified with fire protection on a commercial basis.
B. Departmental Membership shall include those not-for-profit fire/EMS departments serving populations of 10,000 or less which are operated by a political subdivision or are under contract with a political subdivision. Departmental members shall be entitled to the same privileges as an Individual Member with the exception of serving in an elected position. Dues for the Departmental Members shall be the same as for the Individual Members and the department shall designate the individual voting on its behalf by having that person present the department membership number at the time of voting.
The Departmental Membership will include one vote and will entitle the department to all membership benefits.
Individual memberships are not affected by this membership so that if a Chief Officer had an individual membership, the department would have two memberships and thus have two votes, and so on. Dues would be the same for an individual member.
C. Corporate Members – Persons, firms, and corporations engaged in the sale or manufacture of fire apparatus, equipment, devices or general fire department supplies shall be eligible for Corporate Membership upon the payment of annual dues. Such members shall be entitled to all the privileges of the Association except the right to vote or hold elective office.
D. Honorary Members – Members of the legislature and administrative bodies, or other worthy recipients may be made Honorary Members of the Association. The Board of Directors may bestow Honorary Membership by a majority vote of those in attendance at a meeting of the Board. Individual Members may nominate individuals for Honorary Membership. Nominations for Honorary Membership shall be considered by the Board of Directors upon receipt of a written recommendation from an Individual Member of the Association to the Executive Director. They shall have all the privileges of the Association except the right to vote and hold elective office, and shall be exempt from the payment of annual dues.
E. Retired Members – Retired Membership may be conferred on individuals who, upon retirement from the fire service, have been members of the Association for a period of not less than five (5) years immediately preceding retirement, provided they are not identified with fire protection on a commercial basis. Retired Members shall be entitled to vote and hold office, and they shall be exempt from payment of dues.
Annual dues shall be recommended by the Board of Directors and approved by the Individual Members of the Association.
Application for membership shall be made in writing to the Ohio Fire Chiefs’ Association. Applications shall not be accepted unless accompanied by payment of annual dues in such amount as has been established by the Association.
Section 2 – Member in Good Standing - The right to vote or hold office shall be denied all members whose dues for the current year are not paid in full at the time of the election or have been removed from the Association for cause as outlined in Article 2, Section 3.
Section 3 – Expulsion of Members – The Board of Directors shall have the authority to expel from the Association any member guilty of any violation of the principles of the Association as expressed in this Constitution. Grounds for expulsion include, but are not limited to:
a) Misrepresentation of qualifications for membership.
b) Bringing discredit to the Association.
c) Conduct unbecoming an officer of the fire service.
d) Conviction of a felony.
When there is reasonable basis for the belief that a member is guilty of a violation, the Board of Directors shall summon such member for an appearance before them. At this time, the member so summoned shall be given the opportunity to show cause why he/she should not be expelled. After the member has presented a defense, the Board of Directors shall vote on whether the member should be expelled from the Association. A majority of the Board of Directors present must vote for expulsion before the member may be expelled. The vote shall be conducted by secret ballot. An expelled member forfeits all the privileges of the Association.
ARTICLE III - BOARD OF DIRECTORS
ARTICLE III - BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Section 1 – There shall be a Board of Directors consisting of the President, President-Elect, Vice-President, Sergeant-at-Arms, six District Directors, and three At-Large Directors. The Immediate Past President may be an invited guest to the Board of Directors meetings, with expenses paid.
Section 2 – Only one Individual Member from the same department may hold a position as an officer or other position on the Board of Directors.
- A member running for the open Director-At-Large position shall not be from the same district as either of the two Director-At-Large members.
Section 3 - Any member of the Association seeking election to any of the elective offices specified in Article III, Section 1 of the constitution and bylaws shall:
- Be an Individual Member of the Association in good standing at the time of filing and upon installation.
- Serve on the Ohio Fire Chiefs' Association Board of Directors, as a Trustee of the Ohio Fire and Emergency Services Foundation, as a Committee Chair of a Standing Committee, or a combination of the three, for a minimum of three consecutive years out of the previous 5 years, prior to seeking the office of President-Elect.
- In the event that a member vacates his/her fire department position through retirement or otherwise while holding an elected office, the member may continue to hold said office until completion of the term. If, at any time, such officer accepts a position that, in the opinion of the Board of Directors, conflicts with the interests and values of the OFCA, the Board of Directors may, with a minimum of 75% of the Board voting in the affirmative, remove that person from office, thereby creating a vacancy in that office.
Section 4 - Any member of the Association seeking election to President-Elect shall serve on the Ohio Fire Chiefs' Association Board of Directors, as a Trustee of the Ohio Fire and Emergency Services Foundation, as a Committee Chair of a Standing Committee or a combination of the three for a minimum of three consecutive years prior to seeking the office of President-Elect.
Prior to application for an Association employee position or other compensated or contracted position, an officer shall resign that officer position, and may not be elected or appointed as an Officer while employed or compensated as a contract employee.
Section 5 - No Association employee or other compensated or contracted person may file or otherwise seek election to an officer position unless such Association employee or other compensated or contracted person shall have resigned as a member of the Association’s staff or other compensated or contracted position not less than two years prior to filing or appointment, and will not be eligible for re- employment with the Association for a period of two years from the date of resignation (if not subsequently elected or appointed as an Officer) or the date of conclusion of his/her term as an Officer.
Section 5 - Questions of eligibility shall be resolved by the Nominations and Elections Committee.
ARTICLE IV - DUTIES OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS, ELECTED OFFICERS AND COMMITTEES
ARTICLE IV - DUTIES OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS, ELECTED OFFICERS AND COMMITTEES
Section 1 - President – The president shall:
- Be the official representative and spokesperson for the Association.
- Serve as the chair of the executive committee.
- Preside at meetings of the Association and at meetings of the board of directors, preserve order and decorum and decide questions of order. Whenever a question of procedure arises, “Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised,” shall be used as a guide.
- Ensure that all committees, work groups or task forces operate according to the constitution and bylaws and Association policies.
- Call a special meeting of the board of directors when so requested by a majority of the board of directors or whenever the president determines necessary.
- Name additional committees, work groups, or task forces and appoint their chairs for the term of office to accomplish the goals and objectives of the Association.
- Be an ex-officio member of all standing committees and sections.
Section 2 – President-Elect – The President-Elect shall assist the President in every possible way. In the absence of the President, the President-Elect shall perform all the duties of that office and shall automatically succeed to the office of President at the end of the President’s term.
Section 3 – Vice-President – The Vice-President shall assist the President and President-Elect in every possible way, and shall work closely with the Executive Director in overseeing the finances and records of the Association.
Section 4 –Executive Director - The Executive Director may or may not be a member of the Association and shall serve at the pleasure of the Board of Directors. The Executive Director shall be appointed by and may be removed by a majority vote of the entire Board of Directors.
The Executive Director shall collect all monies due the Association and shall have custody of the funds of the Association. All monies belonging to the Association shall be deposited in the name of The Ohio Fire Chiefs’ Association, Inc., in a solvent bank subject to the approval of the Board of Directors. The Executive Director shall keep a true and correct record of all monies received and disbursed, and shall, at each conference, present a written detailed report of all monies received and paid out during the preceding year.
Except for the necessary expenses of this office, the Executive Director shall incur no expenses in the name of the Association without the authority of the Board of Directors or the Association assembled in Annual Conference. The Executive Director shall not honor any expense incurred by an officer, member, or member of any committee, except by authority of the Board of Directors or the Association assembled in conference.
The Executive Director shall perform such duties as the President or Board of Directors shall require. When required to be absent from home on business of the Association, all this employee’s necessary traveling and hotel expenses shall be paid by the Association.
It shall further be the duty of the Executive Director to keep a complete record of the proceedings of the Association and the Board of Directors, and to have available said record not later than thirty (30) days after said meeting. The Executive Director shall receive and answer all correspondence and communications pertaining to the business of the Association and shall attend the Annual Conference presenting a written statement of the work of this office for the preceding year.
It shall be the duty of the Executive Director to establish registration facilities in connection with the Annual Conference headquarters, and require each registrant of all classes to pay a registration fee set by the Board of Directors.
Section 5 – Sergeant-at-Arms – The Sergeant-at-Arms shall inspect members and guests for credentials, maintain order and perform such other duties as directed by the presiding officer.
Section 6 – Board of Directors – The affairs of the Association shall be managed by its board of directors.The board of directors shall transact all business of the Association, including the operation of an office to handle Association business, and conduct all business in connection with the annual conference, except where other provided. They shall have the authority, and it shall be their duty, to expunge from the printed minutes of any meeting of the Association that which, in the opinion of the board of directors, is of such nature as to be objectionable or offensive to the Association or its individual members.
Section 7 – All necessary travel and hotel expenses incurred in connection with attendance at meetings of the Board of Directors, excluding the Annual Conference, shall be paid by the Association.
Section 8 – In the event of a vacancy occurring in the office of President, the 1st Vice-President shall assume all duties and authorities of the office, the 2nd Vice-President shall assume the duties of 1st Vice-President and the Board of Directors shall appoint an interim 2nd Vice-President. In the event of a vacancy occurring in both the office of President and 1st Vice-President, the 2nd Vice-President shall assume the duties of the President and the Board of Directors shall appoint an interim 1st Vice-President and 2nd Vice-President.
The Board of Directors shall have the right to fill or leave vacant all vacancies not otherwise provided for herein, occurring in their body or in any of the offices of the Association for the unexpired term.
Section 9 - Bonding of Officers - The executive director and those employees or officers authorized to receive and administer funds by the board of directors shall be bonded by the Association in an amount approved by the board of directors.
Section 10 – Committees
Standing Committees - Committee with a continued existence, formed to do its assigned work on an ongoing basis.
- The Conference Committee shall oversee the planning and logistics of the annual conference. The Chairperson shall be appointed by the President at the conclusion of the last completed Conference. The Chairperson shall follow the guidelines established by the Board of Directors and shall be responsible for developing the program for the next Annual Conference in cooperation with the various committees of the Association. The Chairperson shall suggest topics and/or programs for the Conference, and in conjunction with the Host Committee, provide a program for the spouses and guests who accompany the members to the Conference. All plans and programs shall be presented to and be approved by the Board of Directors before final acceptance.
- The Constitution Committee shall prepare any proposed amendment or changes to the Constitution. A copy of the proposed amendments or changes shall be distributed to the membership as per Article VII-Amendments, Section 2,-Paragraph 1.
- The Emergency Medical Services Committee shall keep informed of all matters affecting emergency medical service. They shall keep the membership advised of all such information. They shall be the liaison between the Association and all agencies and departments of the State of Ohio involving emergency medical services.
- The Legislative Committee shall keep informed of proposed legislation affecting the fire service and update the Association of such information. They shall work for the passage or defeat of all legislation affecting the fire service and the Association.
- The Membership Committee shall increase and develop all categories of membership within the Association. The Committee will continuously review membership benefits and programs and suggest/develop new benefits and/or programs that will be relevant and helpful to the membership. The Committee will serve in an advisory capacity to the Board of Directors with respect to membership benefits, programs, and classifications.
- The Metro Chiefs Committee shall represent agencies with a population of 50,000 and greater and 100 or more full time employees.
- The Nominations and Elections Committee shall accept nominations for the necessary elective offices and present those names to the membership prior to the election.
- The Retired Chiefs’ Committee shall keep informed of all matters affecting retired Chiefs of the Ohio Fire Service. All such information shall be communicated to the membership of the Association.
- The Policy Committee shall be responsible for developing an annual policy agenda for the Association, which shall be presented and adopted by the Board of Directors. The committee shall research and recommend policies that align with the mission of the Association.
- The L.O.D.D. Committee shall provide necessary assistance and support to families and fire departments of fallen firefighters as requested. The primary mission of the team is to provide assistance and comfort to the family and department and help with filing Department of Justice - Public Safety Officer's Benefits, state and local benefits.
- The Publications Committee shall be responsible for developing, organizing and publishing magazines, web articles, and other such media as may be deemed necessary to carry the message and activities of the Association to its’ members.
- The Volunteer Committee shall keep informed of all matters affecting volunteer fire departments. Such information should be passed on to the appropriate officer or committee for further action, if necessary.
Additional Standing Committees
The Board of Directors shall appoint additional standing committees as necessary to assist with the goals and objectives of the Ohio Fire Chiefs Association. Standing Committee chairpersons shall be appointed by and report directly to the President or his/her designee, and serve a term of one year. Chairpersons may be reappointed for consecutive years with Board approval.
Sub-committees shall be formed by the chairperson of standing committees as necessary. A sub-committeeis a small committee consisting of members of a larger committee and which is set up to look into a particular matter.
Task Force Groups
Task Force Groups shall be appointed as necessary by the President or his/her designee. A task force is a temporary organization created to solve a particular problem. Task Force Groups shall report directly to the President or his/her designee.
Technical Advisory Committees
Technical Advisory Committees shall be formed as necessary by the President or his/her designee. A TAC is a group who assists the OFCA and protects the interests of the industry by making recommendations to the President concerning policies and procedures. Technical Advisory Committees shall report directly to the President or his/her designee.
OFCA sections allow members to network and share information with members who share their interests. Each section offers a unique array of benefits specifically tailored to meet the needs of its members. Sections also spread their professional expertise throughout the fire service community through publications (print and electronic), workshops and conferences, websites and online discussion forums.
ARTICLE V - ELECTION OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
ARTICLE V - ELECTION OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Section 1 – Candidates for President, President-Elect, Vice President, Director-At-Large and Sergeant at Arms
Members who desire to be candidates and are qualified in accordance with Article II, Section 2 of the constitution, shall submit their name, membership number, office being sought, a profile of their qualifications, and their platform (not to exceed 300 words) to the Nominations and Elections Committee, in writing by February 1 of the year they are seeking election. The Nominations and Elections Committee shall certify the eligibility of candidates for the election.
All candidates shall personally present their qualifications and plans for improvement of the Association in various caucuses of the Association.
The offices of President and President-Elect shall be for a two-year term. The office of President-Elect shall be elected in even-numbered years. The office of Vice President shall be elected in odd-numbered years for a two-year term. The office of Sergeant-at-Arms shall be elected in even-numbered years for a two-year term. The three At-Large Directors shall serve three-year terms, with one At-Large Director elected each year.
Section 2 - Publication of Candidate Information - The executive director shall see that the profile and platform of the candidates in Section 1 above are provided in the official publication of the Ohio Fire Chiefs’ Association in the next publication following February 1. A candidate’s profile and platform shall also be distributed electronically to the membership in the first regular electronic communication by the Association in March and May.
Section 3 – Unanimous Ballots - For any office for which there is only one (1) nomination, the presiding officer shall instruct the chair of the elections committee, as the representative of the Association, to cast a ballot for such nominee and shall thereupon declare such nominee elected.
Section 4 – Balloting Process - For all offices for which there are two (2) or more candidates, the Elections Committee shall conduct an election. A contested election of the officers of the Association shall be by a written ballot during the Conference, at such time and location as pre-designated by the Conference Director and Nominations and Elections committee.
Only Individual and Retired members registered for the Conference shall be eligible to vote. The candidate receiving the highest vote tally, both Conference and Absentee votes, shall be elected to office. In the event of a tie vote, a coin flip by the President shall decide the winner.
Absentee Ballot: an absentee ballot should be available to members who request a ballot no later than May 31st of the election year. Ballots must be returned to the office and postmarked by June 30th.
The committee shall meet to tabulate the ballots. The committee will provide the executive director, board of directors and the candidates with the "official results".
Section 5 – Candidate Withdrawal or Removal - In the event that one or more candidates for an elective office request removal from the ballot (or are found to be ineligible to run for said elective office) subsequent to preparation and distribution of the mail or electronic ballot, with the result that there is only one candidate for said elective office, the Nominations and Elections Committee is hereby authorized to declare the mail or electronic ballot, or that portion of the mail or electronic ballot for the elected office, invalid, and to present a motion at the annual meeting for election of the single candidate by acclamation.
Section 6 – Elections "Official results" of the vote will be presented to the membership during the Annual Conference. The candidate receiving the highest vote tally shall be elected to office.
Section 7 - Conduct of Elections and Disputes - The complete conduct of the elections and decisions in any matters of dispute that may arise during such elections shall be in the hands of the Nominations and Elections Committee.
Section 8 - Election Campaign Practices - Election campaigns are expected to be conducted on the highest level. Any questions concerning ethics of the campaign should be referred to the Nominations and Elections Committee.
Section 9 – Election of District Directors - Six (6) Individual Members elected to the board of directors as district Directors shall be elected for a term of three (3) years, at a district caucus held at the annual conference. The nominations for said officers shall be held in the appropriate caucuses. In the event there is no majority vote for a candidate on the first ballot, the voting on the second ballot shall be confined to the two candidates receiving the greatest number of votes on the first ballot. In the event of a tie vote, a coin flip conducted by the presiding officer shall decide the winner. Candidates shall personally present their qualifications and plans for the improvement of the Association to their respective caucus. The president shall appoint a member of the board of directors to preside and conduct the caucus. Said district directors shall serve so that one-third (1/3) of those elected shall be elected each year at the annual conference, and that one-third of the directors’ term of office shall expire each year. Two members shall be elected to the board of directors each year for a term of three (3) years. One director shall be elected from each of the following districts: Northeast, Southeast; North Central, South Central; Northwest, Southwest. The six directors, with the immediate past president presiding, shall constitute the Nominations and Elections Committee.
ARTICLE VI – MEETINGS
ARTICLE VI – MEETINGS
Section 1 – Annual Conference shall be held at such places as announced at the previous Conference. The dates and places of ensuing Conferences shall be determined by agreement of the Board of Directors, Conference Committee Chairperson, and the Host Committee.
Section 2 – The Board of Directors shall have the authority to cancel or change the place or time of the Annual Conference in case of extraordinary circumstances which, in the opinion of the said Board of Directors, would justify such action. Fifteen (15) Individual Members of the Association shall constitute a quorum for transaction of business at the Annual Conference. The Board of Directors shall approve the program schedule for the Annual Conference.
Section 3 – Directors’ Meeting – The Board of Directors shall meet not less than four (4) times each year. Meetings of the Board of Directors shall be called by the President, who shall designate the date and place of such meetings.
Section 4 – A simple majority of the members of the Board of Directors shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business at any meeting of the Board of Directors.
ARTICLE VII - AMENDMENTS
ARTICLE VII - AMENDMENTS
Section 1 – The Constitution of the Association may be amended by the membership of the Association. Members in good standing requesting such alteration or revision shall submit their proposal in writing to the board of directors of the Association by February 1. To be considered by the full membership, any proposed changes must have the approval of the board of directors OR a petition signed by fifty (50) regular members in good standing of the Association.
Section 2 – The Executive Director shall notify all Individual Members of the Association no less than ninety (90) daysprior to the date set for the opening of the annual conference. Publication of such notice shall appear in a publication directed to the membership of the association. In addition, notification will be distributed electronically to the membership.
Section 3 – The Nominations and Elections Committee shall establish and approve safeguards required to maintain the integrity of the balloting process prior to initiation of any balloting. The office headquarters will prepare and send a mail or electronic ballot to all members eligible to vote. The mail or electronic ballot shall be sent at least sixty (60) days prior to the date set for the opening of the annual conference and must be received by the Nominations and Elections Committee at least fifteen (15) days prior to the opening date of the conference. The committee shall meet to tabulate the ballots. The committee will provide the executive director, board of directors and the candidates with the “unofficial results” and otherwise make such results available to the membership of the association at least 30 days prior to the conference. A two-thirds vote of the Individual Members and Retired Members voting shall be necessary for the adoption of any proposed amendment to the said Constitution. Results of the vote will be presented to the membership during the business meeting of the annual conference. All amendments of the Constitution shall become effective immediately following their adoption unless otherwise provided.
Section 4 – Technical updates (grammatical corrections, typographical errors, advances in types of communication, etc.) that do not change the intent of a Constitution chapter or section shall be authorized by a majority vote of the Board of Directors and shall go into effect immediately.
ARTICLE VIII - EMERGENCY DECLARATION
ARTICLE VIII - Emergency Declaration
Section 1 – Declaring an Emergency - An emergency declared at the State or Federal level for the health and safety of the public can be recognized by the Executive Board of the Ohio Fire Chiefs’ Association. An Emergency Declaration, without action by State or Federal officials, may also be enacted by a sixty percent (60%) majority vote of the entire Board of Directors of the OFCA. A declared state of emergency allows for alterations in the operations of the Association, following recommended guidelines as stated in the declaration, which would benefit the members and allow for uninterrupted operations of the organization.
OFCA AWARD PROGRAM
OFCA AWARD PROGRAM
It is the intention of the Ohio Fire Chiefs’ Association to recognize the efforts of persons who are performing, or have performed, outstanding deeds relating to the fire service. Therefore, the following awards are established for this purpose.
Distinguished Service Award
The Ohio Fire Chiefs' Service Award may be awarded to an individual or group who has performed outstanding services to the Association or the fire service in general. No more than two such awards are to be given per year.
Any member may nominate an individual or group for the Distinguished Service Award. Nominations shall be submitted in writing at least ninety (90) days prior to the Annual Conference, with full explanation of the reason (s) the individual or group should be so honored, to the Executive Director.
The Board of Directors shall determine the Distinguished Service Award recipient, if any, by a majority vote of those in attendance at a meeting of the Board sixty (60) to ninety (90) days prior to the Annual Conference.
The type of award presented shall be determined by the Board of Directors. Awards will be recognized at the Annual Conference.
The Ohio Fire Chiefs’ Association Award of Valor
The Ohio Fire Chiefs' Association Award of Valor may be presented to anyone who performs an outstanding act of heroism.
Any member who has a nominee for this award shall submit a nomination, in writing, to the Executive Director. The Board of Directors shall decide if the proposal is within the intended purpose of the award and accept or reject the proposal.
The type of award presented and the presentation of the award shall be determined by the Board of Directors.