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USGenWeb Bylaws


I. NAME


The name of this organization shall be "The USGenWeb Project." The name, "The USGenWeb Project," and "The XXGenWeb Project" (where XX is the two-letter postal code abbreviation for each state) are service marks and reserved exclusively for The USGenWeb Project and any websites representing The USGenWeb Project.

II. PURPOSE


A. The USGenWeb Project is an organized group of volunteers working to create an online center for genealogical research by linking every county in the United States. The purpose of this organization shall be to gather genealogical and historical information for free online access by researchers

B. This purpose shall be accomplished by presenting websites which shall be central repositories of historical and genealogical research data, donated either by the website coordinator or other contributors. In presenting this information, the foundation of the organization shall be at the local websites (county, township, parish, town, etc.) which shall be linked to the state websites which shall be linked to the national website. The USGenWeb Project shall also provide a "digital library" called The USGenWeb Project Archives.

III. STATUS AS AN ORGANIZATION


The USGenWeb Project, as a group of volunteers participating in a not-for-profit organization, is considered to be an "Unincorporated Non-Profit Association."

IV. MEMBERSHIP

A. The only requirement for membership in The USGenWeb Project is a desire to assist in gathering and disseminating genealogical and historical information for free online access by researchers.

B. The USGenWeb Project is an equal opportunity organization and will not tolerate discrimination in any form because of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, marital status, disability, sexual orientation, etc.

V. COMPOSITION OF ADVISORY BOARD


The Advisory Board membership shall consist of: the National Coordinator, four (4) State Coordinator Regional Representatives, eight (8) Local Coordinator Regional Representatives, one (1) representative each from The USGenWeb Archives Project, The USGenWeb Census Project, and The USGenWeb Tombstone Project, and beginning in 1999, one (1) at-large representative. All shall have voting privileges except the National Coordinator who shall vote only in the case of a tie. The regions from which State Coordinator and Local Coordinator Representatives are elected shall be decided by the Advisory Board on an annual basis.

Article V was amended as follows by a vote of the membership in August 2005:
The Advisory Board membership shall consist of: the National Coordinator, four (4) State Coordinator Regional Representatives, eight (8) Local Coordinator Regional Representatives, one (1) Special Projects representative elected by members of the special projects, and one (1) at-large representative. All shall have voting privileges except the National Coordinator who shall vote only in the case of a tie. The regions from which State Coordinator and Local Coordinator Representatives are elected shall be decided by the Advisory Board on an annual basis.

VI: DUTIES/QUALIFICATIONS OF ADVISORY BOARD


A. The Advisory Board shall perform the duties prescribed by these Bylaws, and by accepted parliamentary procedures.

B. The National Coordinator is responsible for the day-to-day administration of The USGenWeb Project and serves as the public representative for the project. The National Coordinator shall preside at all meetings of the Advisory Board, serve as an ex officio member of all sub-committees, and maintain the national organizational mail lists (i.e., State Coordinators, Advisory Board, and any appropriate sub-lists).

Section 3. The responsibilities of the Advisory Board shall include: addressing any problem issues as they arise, aiding the state projects upon request, overseeing elections, advising and mediating, if necessary, any grievances or appeals, and appointing a Webmaster to maintain the national website.
Article VI, Section C was amended as follows by a vote of the membership in August 2007:
C. The responsibilities of the Advisory Board shall include addressing any problem issues as they arise; aiding the state projects upon request; establishing and overseeing committees; reviewing grievance appeals in accordance with the Grievance Committee Procedures, and appointing a webmaster to maintain the national website.

D. It shall be the responsibility of the Webmaster and the Advisory Board to ensure that the national website is in compliance with the stated bylaws of The USGenWeb Project.

E. The Advisory Board shall also have the responsibility to remove links from the national website, as appropriate, to websites which fail to meet the established guidelines/standards for The USGenWeb Project or to websites which display inappropriate content. Coordinators of any websites found to be in non-compliance shall be notified of such and shall be given a period of two (2) weeks in which to bring their website into compliance. The two-week time limit shall be flexible based on justifiable reasons presented by the website coordinator.

F. The Advisory Board shall also be responsible for administering the domains, usgenweb.com, usgenweb.net and usgenweb.org, over which The USGenWeb Project membership has control and for which the members are the official lessees.

G. In the case of a vacancy in the office of National Coordinator, the Advisory Board shall elect an Acting National Coordinator from its membership to serve until a special election can take place within 90 days.

H. In the event a board member is unable to complete his/her term, the Advisory Board will appoint a replacement to serve until the next scheduled election.

I. Nominees for National Coordinator shall have the following qualifications: at least one year (the twelve months immediately preceding an election) of continuous service and current activity as a member in good standing, and eligibility to vote within The USGenWeb Project. Qualifications of nominees for State Coordinator Representative, Local Coordinator Representative, and Special Project Representative are the same with the addition that their service shall have been as a State Coordinator, Local Coordinator, or one of the various positions associated with the Special Projects, respectively. "In good standing" is demonstrated by responding promptly to email, actively supporting researchers' efforts to find information, maintaining their website with appropriate, up-to-date content, and serving as a good example of the guidelines and standards of The USGenWeb Project.

VII. ELECTION PROCEDURES


A. A subcommittee to oversee elections shall be appointed by the Advisory Board. The Elections Subcommittee shall consist of Advisory Board members and volunteers from the members of The USGenWeb Project.

B. It shall be the responsibility of the Elections Subcommittee to announce those positions for which nominations are needed.

C. Nominations shall be received during the first two weeks of June. A list of candidates shall be posted to the national website on or before the voting period begins on July 1, with profiles/bios to be posted on July 1. The voting period shall be July 1 through July 31. Terms of office shall begin on September 1. In the event a member is nominated for more than one position, the nominee shall notify the Elections Subcommittee for which office they wish to declare their candidacy.

D. A majority of those members voting shall elect. No member shall hold more than one voting office at any one time.

E. All members of the Advisory Board, with the exception of the the National Coordinator, shall be elected to two-year terms. The National Coordinator shall be elected to a one-year term.

F. All members of The USGenWeb Project, excluding Look-Up Volunteers and Transcribers, shall be eligible to vote.

VIII. ADVISORY BOARD PROCEDURES

A. Nine (9) voting members of the Advisory Board shall constitute a quorum.

B. Issues shall require a 2/3 majority, of those board members voting, to pass.

C. For major issues, the Advisory Board will announce, at least 48 hours in advance, when the vote will be taken in order for members to have the opportunity to voice their opinion.

D. Voting records of the Advisory Board membership shall be posted publicly.

IX. GUIDELINES/STANDARDS FOR WEBSITES/MEMBERS


A. All websites shall include prominent display of The USGenWeb Project logo on the home page. A state project logo may be required depending on the guidelines/standards in effect for that state.
IX. A was amended as follows by a vote of the membership in July 2010:
A. All websites shall include prominent display of The USGenWeb Project logo on the home page. If linked, this logo may only be linked to the USGenWeb National site. A state project logo may be required depending on the guidelines/standards in effect for that state. If linked, a state project logo may only be linked to the appropriate state site.

B. Solicitation of funds for personal gain is inappropriate. This is defined as the direct appeal on the home page of any of the websites comprising The USGenWeb Project for funding to do research, to pay for server space, to do look-ups, etc. A website may, however, acknowledge any entities who may host their website (i.e., provide server space at no cost) or may include a link to a coordinator's personal page on which they offer research services for reimbursement. The acknowledgement may include a link to the hosting entity's website. A website may list research materials and/or services which may be for sale/hire, either by the coordinator, a genealogy society, or others. Such a listing shall not be on the main web page for the site, but may be linked from the main web page. It may be appropriate to include a disclaimer that the coordinator and The USGenWeb Project do not guarantee the contents of such research materials and/or the expertise of any professional researchers.

X. COPYRIGHT


A. In The USGenWeb Project, copyright of websites resides solely with the creator of the web page(s). Their inclusion as part of The USGenWeb Project does not give any irrevocable right, implied or otherwise, to The USGenWeb Project to permanently use the material.

B. In The USGenWeb Project, copyright to queries and any other data submitted to any state or local websites resides with the submitter. The submission of queries and other data to The USGenWeb Project implies that The USGenWeb Project may continue to post the material until/if such time the submitter requests removal.

C. In The USGenWeb Project, copyright to data contributed to any special projects resides with the contributor, who agrees that The USGenWeb Project, as a not-for-profit group, has permanent use of the data. The permanent use agreement is conditional upon the non-profit nature of The USGenWeb Project and will become null and void if The USGenWeb Project should ever cease to be non-profit.

D. All members of The USGenWeb Project shall be responsible for adhering to The USGenWeb Project's Official Copyright Policy which may be found, along with further information about copyright, at The USGenWeb Project national website, http://www.usgenweb.org/volunteers/copyright.html.

XI. LOCAL PROJECTS


A. Each state organization shall provide local websites which reflect whatever divisional structure is appropriate for that state.

B. Each local project shall have a Local Coordinator who is appointed according to whatever rules/guidelines are appropriate for their state. All Local Coordinators shall be subscribed to the state mailing list.

C. The local website shall also include a direct link to the state project, an easily accessible area devoted to researcher's queries, and any additional requirements specified by the state organization.

D. If a Local Coordinator can no longer perform their duties for any reason, those sections of the website submitted or donated by contributors other than the website coordinator, shall remain with the website, unless the submitter(s)/contributor(s) indicates otherwise.

XII. STATE PROJECTS


A. Each state shall have a State Coordinator who manages the state website and oversees the state project. In addition, each state shall have an Assistant State Coordinator or other support team in place that can take charge in case the State Coordinator becomes unavailable for a period of 30 days, unless there are extenuating circumstances.

B. The state website shall include direct links to the county pages, The USGenWeb Project national website, The USGenWeb Project Archives (Digital Library) at both their own state and the national levels, The USGenWeb Project's Guidelines/Standards for county websites (which includes a link to the Official Project Name/Logo page), The USGenWeb Project Copyright Information page, and the WorldGenWeb Project.

C. It shall be the responsibility of each state organization to ensure that the state project is in compliance with the stated bylaws of The USGenWeb Project.

D. State Coordinators shall remain subscribed to the State Coordinators mailing list and maintain a current mailing list of all local-level coordinators. State Coordinators shall provide their name, postal address, and phone number to the National Coordinator to be held in strictest confidence and only used in the case of an emergency.

E. State projects are empowered to develop/adopt any additional rules/bylaws and guidelines, as appropriate, for their state so long as they do not conflict with these bylaws. State projects shall be highly encouraged to develop and adopt rules/bylaws that cover grievance procedures within the state

F. It shall be the responsibility of each state project to periodically review local-level project websites to ensure compliance with The USGenWeb Project/XXGenWeb Project established guidelines/standards.

G. The state project shall have the responsibility to remove any links to websites which fail to meet The USGenWeb Project/XXGenWeb Project established guidelines/standards.

H. State Coordinators shall be elected to those positions by the local-level coordinators within the state. Those State Coordinators and Assistant State Coordinators in place at the time these bylaws are adopted shall be exempt from election procedures, unless he/she/they are removed, resign, or are unable to perform their duties.

I. State Coordinators and Assistant State Coordinators are subject to possible removal by a 2/3 vote of the Advisory Board and a 2/3 vote of the Local Coordinators within the state. A quorum of 75% of the Local Coordinators shall participate in order for the vote to be binding.

J. If a State Coordinator is unable to perform his/her duties, the Assistant State Coordinator, or other support team, shall serve until an election can take place within the state. In the case of state projects with more than one Assistant State Coordinator, they shall choose one among themselves to serve in the interim.

XIII. SPECIAL PROJECTS

A. Special projects shall be established by The USGenWeb Project to promote the gathering of information in specialized areas. A coordinator shall be appointed by the Advisory Board to organize the project and enlist volunteers. In addition, each special project shall have an Assistant Project Coordinator or other support team in place that can take charge in case the Project Coordinator becomes unavailable for a period of 30 days, unless there are extenuating circumstances. Special projects shall be repositories for public domain or research documents and shall provide an easily accessible website for online research by the genealogical community. A collection of links does not constitute a special project, although links to appropriate websites maintained by other individuals or organizations are encouraged.

B. The name of the special project shall be The USGenWeb ______ Project

Section 3. The staff members of The USGenWeb Archives Project, The USGenWeb Census Project, and The USGenWeb Tombstone Project shall each elect one Special Project Representative to serve as a voting member of The USGenWeb Project Advisory Board.
Article XIII, C was amended as follows by a vote of the membership in August 2005:
C. The staff members of any special projects (as defined in Section 1) shall elect one Special Project Representative to serve as a voting member of The USGenWeb Project Advisory Board.

D. Project Coordinators shall be elected to those positions by the project staff.

E. Project Coordinators are subject to possible removal by a 2/3 vote of the Advisory Board and a 2/3 vote of the project staff. A quorum of 75% of the project staff shall participate in order for the vote to be binding.

F. If a Project Coordinator is unable to perform his/her duties, the Assistant Project Coordinator, or other support team, shall serve until an election can take place among the project staff. In the case of special projects with more than one Assistant Project Coordinator, they shall choose one among themselves to serve in the interim.

XIV. GRIEVANCE PROCEDURES AND APPEALS PROCESS


Section 1. All members of The USGenWeb Project have the right to request that the Advisory Board advise on issues related to grievances and appeals and to mediate, if necessary.

XIV, A was amended as follows by a vote of the membership in August 2007:
A. A standing Grievance Committee will be established.

Section 2. Members should submit their grievance or appeal to one or more of the board representatives from their region.
XIV. Bwas amended as follows by a vote of the membership in August 2007:
B. The Grievance Committee will operate under the Grievance Policies and Procedures. Changes to the Grievance Policies and Procedures may be made by the Advisory Board or may be proposed by the Grievance Committee for approval by the Advisory Board. The current Grievance Policies and Procedures shall be displayed on the National website.

XIV, C was added as follows by a vote of the membership in August 2007:
C. The Advisory Board will appoint the initial members of the Grievance Committee. Thereafter, the Grievance Committee will recommend for approval by the Advisory Board a slate of members to fill vacant positions.

XIV, D was added as follows by a vote of the membership in August 2007:
D. The Grievance Committee will administer a fair, orderly, and timely resolution of a grievance in accordance with the Grievance Policies and Procedures.

XIV, E was added as follows by a vote of the membership in August 2007:
E. The resolution of a grievance is binding upon the membership.

XIV, F was added as follows by a vote of the membership in August 2007:
F. All actions, whether by the national Grievance Committee or by a grievance process at a state or special project level, shall be characterized by fairness, courtesy, and respect for the dignity and the rights of each individual. To that end, the following rights and responsibilities apply to all grievance processes within the USGenWeb Project, XXGenWeb Projects, and Special Projects.

XIV, 1 was added as follows by a vote of the membership in August 2007:
F.1. A member may choose to act as his or her own representative, or may select someone to act as his or her representative. The member retains the right to change or dismiss the representative at any step of the procedure; however, such action will not affect the point at which the change or dismissal occurs.

XIV, 2 was added as follows by a vote of the membership in August 2007:
F.2. When a member is dismissed from a position in a State, Local, or Special Project, that member's position may not be filled until the expiration of the time for that member to file a grievance. When the said member files a grievance, that position may not be filled unless the grievance resolution against the member calls for the member to lose that position. Nothing should prevent the unlinking of the member's website and establishing a temporary website pending resolution of any grievance.

XIV, 3 was added as follows by a vote of the membership in August 2007:
F.3. Nobody shall be discriminated against for participating in the grievance process.

XV. PARLIAMENTARY AUTHORITY


The USGenWeb Project shall be governed by accepted parliamentary procedure, except in those cases where such procedure conflicts with the existing bylaws of The USGenWeb Project.

XVI. AMENDMENT TO BYLAWS


A. These Bylaws may be amended by the membership of The USGenWeb Project through a two-thirds (2/3) majority of those members participating during the voting period.

B. Any state project may propose an amendment by sending their proposal to one or more of the Advisory board members representing their region and including the exact wording of the proposed amendment. Upon receipt of the proposed amendment, the Advisory Board representative(s) shall request the Webmaster to post the proposed change on the national website and the National Coordinator to post to the State-Coord-L List, and any other appropriate lists, for dissemination to the members.

C. The proposed amendment, with the sponsor's name and date of posting, shall remain posted for a period of at least thirty (30) days prior to the annual voting period of July 1-July 31. Any proposed amendment shall require a minimum of five (5) states as co-sponsors to command that it be placed on the ballot. State projects wishing to co-sponsor the amendment shall notify the Advisory Board and make an announcement on the USGenWeb-All Mailing List.

D. Voting on any proposed amendment to the bylaws shall be during the annual voting period of July 1-July 31 and a two-thirds (2/3) majority, of the members voting within that time frame, is required for the amendment to pass.

E. In the case of an urgent matter affecting the well-being of The USGenWeb Project, the Advisory Board may propose an amendment and disseminate it to the membership without the required co-sponsorship. In this case, the proposed amendment shall be posted to the national website and disseminated to the membership within two (2) business days. The proposed amendment shall remain posted for a minimum of three (3) business days. A special ballot shall be prepared and voting shall be for a period of five (5) business days. A two-thirds (2/3) majority, of The USGenWeb Project membership, voting within that time frame, shall be required for the amendment to pass.

F. Any proposed amendment, not obtaining the required co-sponsorship, may not be proposed again until the next regularly scheduled voting period. Any proposed amendment not obtaining the approval of the membership after appearing on the annual ballot three (3) times shall be considered a dead issue.

USGenWeb Project: Bylaws | Standard Rules | Special Rules

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