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POLICY and Procedures (Proposed for 2021)

Summary

  1. The utmost care has been taken to preserve the intentions of the ECP founders. Deana Jirak and Christina (Jirak) O’Donnell, daughters of founder Dr. Ivan Jirak, reviewed and concurred that the proposed rewrite is essentially appropriate and does not undermine the foundation of the club.
  2. No expanded power or control of club officers is present in the revisions.
  3. The majority of the Constitution becomes Policy which retains the foundations of the club protected by a strong amendment process.
  4. The Policy Statements become Procedures which are protected by the same amendment process.
  5. The resulting combination is still two separated categories: Policy and Procedures, but can be presented as a single publication (web page) - this simplifies the constant jostling back and forth between two separate publications and confusion as to what document covers the subject of conversation.
  6. The rewrite resulted in 13 Policy and 7 Procedure sections (from 15 Constitution and 6 Policy Statement sections). Overall, the volume is greatly reduced with more succinct and digestible coverage and little to no redundancy.
  7. A main objective of this comprehensive conversion is to make the Policy and Procedures relevant to our current, modern club instead of updating piecemeal.  Many vestiges of the mid-century ECP were still present and are now updated.
  8. A “legal numbering” system is now employed, replacing the more cumbersome “article, paragraph, section, item” convention used (which was appropriate in the mid-twentieth century).
  9. Overly-formal or legalese language has been replaced by clearer, more natural language no longer including future tense.
  10. Some key updates to the content are:
  • Added Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy
  • Elections will be held every TWO years (as opposed to every year) - officers will serve two-year terms
  • Board of Governors is renamed simply to “Board”
  • Officers (elected) are retitled Elected Officers and Appointees are retitled Appointed Officers as they are all Officers of the club.  Board still consists of only Elected Officers (sans the President).
  • Equipment Chair title changed to Equipment Manager
  • Decision-making for issues is simplified to “approval by Membership vote” which allows for use of modern forums such as electronic polling and Member emails and whatever the future holds.
  • The amendment process is now universal for the now combined Policy and Procedures with a clear process appropriate for the current club.

Policy and Procedures

Policy

1.  The name of this organization is "The Explorers Club of Pittsburgh" and is officially abbreviated "ECP".

2.  The ECP was organized in 1947 to promote exploratory science and adventure. The functions of the club are to:

2.1.  Promote explorations in the US and abroad.

2.2.  Educate interested persons in exploratory science and skills.

3.  The club’s official brand must be used in official communications and any exceptions must be approved by the Board.

4.  Membership

4.1.  Members must be at least 18 years of age.

4.2.  Membership is subject to review and approval by a Membership Coordinator. If rejected, the reason for rejection is to be provided to the applicant.

4.3.  Any change in membership types, levels, or fees requires approval by Membership vote.

4.4.  Some club content is only made available or distributed to Members.

5.  Honored Members

5.1.  The Flag Member honor may be granted to persons in perpetuity under the following considerations: must have made significant contributions towards achieving the club's goals of research, education, and adventure, and must have been a continuous Member for a minimum of five years. Flag Members retain a right to vote on the Board for twelve months following their approval by Membership. There must be no more than two Flag Members with Board voting rights at any time. Each Flag Member receives a flag bearing the club’s name and logo at the club's expense.

5.2.  The Life Member honor may be granted to persons in perpetuity under the following considerations: must be a Flag Member, have been a continuous Member for a minimum of ten years, and have contributed to the club and its objectives in such a manner as to warrant the highest honor the club can bestow. Life Members are exempt from paying a Membership fee.

5.3.  Any Member can nominate candidates to the Board for Flag or Life Membership honor. The nomination is to include a written description of the candidate's qualifications and worthiness for the honor. If approved by the Board, final approval is required where the candidates' qualifications are presented with the candidate absent from the forum until Membership vote concludes. If approved by Membership vote, the qualifications must be published to the Membership via the newsletter or other means.

6.  Elected Officers

6.1.  The seven Elected Offices are: President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, Activities Chair, Editor, and Equipment Manager.

6.2.  Elections for all Offices are held every two years or when a vacancy occurs.

6.3.  Officers may be re-elected indefinitely.

6.4.  In the event that an Elected Officer neglects their duties as determined by a majority of the Board, actions to assist or replace the Officer must be taken in a timely manner.

6.5.  Elections

6.5.1.  Only Members can participate in elections.

6.5.2.  Elections are performed by polling all Members.

6.5.3.  Voting is anonymous with winners determined by majority vote.

6.5.4.  Every other Year Elections

6.5.4.1.  Each Elected Officer position must have at least one candidate prior to the November General Meeting.

6.5.4.2.  The President will appoint a Nominations Coordinator to be responsible for ensuring a full slate of candidates and receive nominations from Members.

6.5.4.3.  The Nominations Coordinator will present all current candidates at the November General Meeting.

6.5.4.4.  The Nominations Coordinator will provide a complete set of candidates through official communication channels at the beginning of December.

6.5.4.5.  Annual elections must conclude at the December General Meeting with the newly Elected Officers assuming their duties on January 1 of the following year.

6.6.  The President

6.6.1.  Presides and serves as a moderator of General Meetings and may delegate this duty to other Elected Officers.

6.6.2.  Votes at General Meetings only in the case of a tie.

6.6.3.  Provides consideration and approval of Policy and Procedure Changes

6.6.3.1.  Ensures that any requested Policy and Procedure amendments are considered by the Board.

6.6.3.2.  Presents any Policy changes from Board Meetings at each General Meeting.

6.6.3.3.  If any portion of the club Policy suggested by the Board seems to find disfavor with Members, the President must address the club's wishes.

6.6.4.  Appoints other club Officers as needed.

6.6.5.  In the event of a vacancy in the office of the President the Vice President is promoted to be the President. The office of Vice President must be filled by election.

6.7.  The Vice President must assume the duties of the President when the President is absent and is responsible for the speaker and/or presentation for each General Meeting.

6.8.  The Secretary is responsible for preparing and publishing notices, agenda, and minutes of both the Board and General Meetings or delegating these responsibilities if needed. The Secretary applies all amendments to the published Policy and Procedures.

6.9.  The Treasurer must facilitate ongoing and timely monetary transactions for the club, and record transactions for financial bookkeeping.

6.9.1.  The Treasurer must perform annual financial evaluation, file annual and other tax reporting documents, and provide annual financial reports in the service of annual budgeting and review.

6.9.2.  The Treasurer must provide an update on the financial status of the club within a timely manner, upon request.

6.10.  The Activities Chair is responsible for promoting all club activities and events. They collect pertinent information concerning events of interest to the Members and promote them.

6.11.  The Editor is responsible for timely publishing official news and information to the Members. Publications may include a newsletter (currently the EXPLORER). Official news is announcements and reports of club meetings, events, activities, and items received from Members. Other news items of interest may be included which are not considered official club news.

6.12.  The Equipment Manager maintains control of all club equipment and rents equipment to Members in accordance with Members’ input. The Equipment Manager determines rental rates, establishes rental procedures, and provides the inventory details either in a persistent manner (via the club website) or to the club Officers and Members upon request.

6.13.  Additional roles and responsibilities of Appointed Officers are covered in the Procedures.

7.  Appointed Officers

7.1.  Appointed Officers are per the President (Policy 6.6) and may be challenged by the Board.

7.2.  Appointed Officers may consist of a Membership Coordinator, Librarian, Historian, Environmental Coordinator, and System Administrator.

7.3.  There may be more than one Appointed Officer for roles where it is beneficial.

7.4.  Appointed Officers’ roles and responsibilities are covered in the Procedures.

8.  The Board

8.1.  The members of the Board are the Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, Activities Chair, Editor, Equipment Manager, and Flag Members in official capacity.

8.2.  The Vice President presides at the Board Meetings and sets the dates, place and frequency of such meetings which are then provided to the Editor for the newsletter and official communication channels.

8.3.  The Board must meet regularly to maintain club operations and address Member needs; a quorum of four Board members is required to conduct official business.

8.4.  The Board may request reports from the Chair of any committee or any Appointed Officer whenever it is deemed necessary.

9.  Committees

9.1.  A committee may be formed to address issues, special activities, schools, or any other appropriate club need.

9.2.  Any Member may be appointed to chair any committee by the President, without approval by all Members.

10.  General Meetings

10.1.  General Meetings must be held monthly to provide Members a forum for discussion and decision regarding club business and activities.

10.2.  The date or occurrence for any subsequent meeting may be changed by Membership vote.

10.3.  Meetings are open for all Members and the public to attend.

10.4.  A quorum of ten (10) Members or 20% of all Members, whichever is fewer, is required to conduct official business at a General Meeting.

11.  Expenditures

11.1.  The club will use an annual budgeting process.

11.2.  The President, with the consent of one other Elected Officer, may spend no more than $50 unbudgeted in any month without approval by Membership vote.

11.3.  All other unbudgeted expenditures must be approved by Membership vote.

12.  Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment

12.1.  Discrimination or harassment based on age, race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, or gender identity), national origin, or disability will not be tolerated.

12.1.1.  Forums include General and Board Meetings, all School activities and events, and any club activity or event.

12.1.2.  Interactions include spoken word and written word including email content, text messages and social media posts.

12.1.3.  The following behaviors are unacceptable and prohibited: discriminatory jokes, unwanted sexual bantering or jokes, inappropriate touching, posting or messaging discriminatory or sexual content, unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, unwelcome verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature, unwanted mocking, and any discriminatory remarks.

12.2.  Any Member serving in a leadership role, including but not limited to Officers, school instructors and committees, and event coordinators must acknowledge this policy before the beginning of their service. School Chairs are responsible for directing committee members and instructors to this policy.

12.3.  Any Member or person interacting with club Members that personally experiences discrimination or harassment are strongly encouraged to report the incident.

12.4.  Any Member that observes an incident or receives a harassment complaint must report the incident.

12.5.  Complaint Procedure

12.5.1.  Harassment complaints and incident reports should be delivered to the President verbally or in writing via mail or email. In cases where the President is not available or is the subject of the complaint or incident, the Vice President will serve as the primary point of contact.

12.5.2.  Complaints will be treated with confidentiality by those receiving the complaint or participating in a harassment investigation to the greatest possible extent.

12.5.3.  The President or Vice President will provide for prompt, thorough and impartial investigation of harassment complaints.

12.5.4.  The President or Vice President will provide for prompt and effective corrective and preventive action when necessary.

12.5.5.  If suspension or expulsion of the Member is the determined corrective action, the Board should be consulted.

12.5.6.  The Board may be consulted only if confidentiality can be maintained.

12.5.7.  The victim and any Members involved in the reported incident will be informed of the status of the complaint, the results of the investigation and any corrective and preventive action taken.

12.6.  Intimidation or retaliation against any victim or reporting persons involved will not be tolerated and will result in corrective and preventive action.

13.  Club Dissolution

13.1.  In the event of club dissolution all equipment and funds must be donated to a local non-profit organization, approved by Membership vote at the final club meeting.

13.2.  The Elected Officers must continue to serve until all club matters are appropriately settled.

Procedures

1.  General

1.1.  Permission of the Board must be obtained to use the club's name or logo for publicity.

1.2.  All publications and letters written on behalf of the club must be approved by the Board or by a Membership vote.

1.3.  The Board will maintain a Privacy Policy to protect all Members’ personal information.

2.  The Board

2.1.  The Board may hold notational votes outside of board meetings where timely action is needed.

2.2.  Discussion and voting must take place via voice or video calls, online discussion forum, email, or poll where every Board member has viable access for participation.

2.3.  For written communications, the words 'MOTION PROPOSED' must appear in the subject line.

2.4.  Any Board member may require the action be held until the next Board Meeting.

2.5.  The motion must remain open for at least 72 hours for any discussion after which a decision is determined by majority approval per explicit responses.

2.6.  Any board member can elicit final responses and declare the decision.

2.7.  The motion and decision must be recorded in the minutes of the next Board Meeting.

3.  Finances

3.1.  Budget

3.1.1.  On an annual basis, the Members approve an operating budget which is used to guide the financial decisions of the club.

3.1.2.  The President appoints a Budget Committee by June of each year. This Committee must consist of a minimum of three club Members.

3.1.3.  The Budget Committee prepares a proposed budget for the following calendar year. This budget will include detail on projected income and anticipated expenditures.

3.1.4.  The Budget Committee must submit a proposed budget to the Board no later than the end of September for review.

3.1.5.  The Board-reviewed budget must be provided to Members by way of the newsletter and at any end of year General Meetings.

3.1.6.  The budget must be approved by a January Membership vote.

3.1.7.  If the budget is not approved by the January General Meeting, the budget from the previous year will serve as the temporary budget up to April 30. If a new budget has not been approved by April 30, no expenditures will be made, except by Membership vote.

3.2.  Auditing

3.2.1.  The financial records will be audited whenever deemed necessary by the Board or when a new Treasurer is elected.

3.2.2.  An audit must be performed by an Audit Committee of at least three Members.

3.2.3.  In the case of a new elected Treasurer, the Audit Committee will include the incoming Treasurer and two other Members who are not Officers.

3.2.4.  In the case of no change of Treasurer, the Audit Committee will consist of at least three Members who are not Officers.

3.3.  Special Funds

3.3.1.  George Bogel Memorial Fund. A fund must be maintained and used for the funding of conservation related activities of interest to the club. When the balance in the George Bogel Fund is less than $3,000, 15% of each new and renewing membership fee must be allocated to the George Bogel Memorial Fund.

3.3.2.  Mike Brown Memorial Expedition Grants (MBEG) Fund. A fund must be maintained for grants in support of worthy club expeditions with eligibility and application process provided to Members. When the balance in the MBEG Fund is less than $5,000, 15% of each new and renewing membership fee must be allocated to the George Bogel Memorial Fund.

4.  Appointed Officers Roles and Responsibilities

4.1.  A Membership Coordinator is responsible for:

4.1.1.  Onboarding new, managing current, and keeping record of past Members.

4.1.2.  Maintaining a Member management system including a database of current and lapsed Members.

4.1.3.  Member records must include any honors and may include other pertinent details such as offices held, schools involvement, etc.

4.1.4.  Attending to all Member concerns including renewals, changes in membership levels, access to club offerings and services, the privacy policy and any Member’s information privacy concerns.

4.1.5.  If collecting membership fees manually, outside of the Member management system and payment methods (via cash or check), they must transmit the collections to the Treasurer in a timely manner.

4.1.6.  They may also engage in activities to promote new Members.

4.2.  The Activity Chair may recruit or reconfirm the Activity Coordinators yearly to assist with activities.

4.2.1.  The Activity Chair may remove an Activity Coordinator who becomes inactive.

4.2.2.  Activity Coordinators are not club Officers.

4.2.3.  Activity Coordinators shall advocate and be the point of contact for the activity by helping current, new, or prospective Members get connected with others in the club also interested in the activity and any events planned for it.  This should involve the following as able:

4.2.3.1.  Seek out new Members at General Meetings that indicate the activity as one of their interests and help them connect with and explore the activity.

4.2.3.2.  Answer incoming emails to the club related to the activity.

4.2.3.3.  Inform club Members of any local events or news related to their activity.

4.2.3.4.  Encourage any Members that are planning an event on their own or as a small/closed group to consider opening it up to all Members in the form of a club event.

4.2.3.5.  Ensure that at least one event for their activity occurs every year.

4.3.  A Librarian manages all media including books, videos, and files owned by the club, making them conveniently available to Members.

4.3.1.  An inventory must be made available in a persistent manner or published at least once each calendar year.

4.3.2.  All items borrowed must be returned in a timely manner.

4.3.3.  A deposit of five dollars must be collected for any item borrowed.

4.3.4.  Rental fees must be charged as follows:

4.3.4.1.  Two (2) month loan period, deposit is returned, and no fee collected.

4.3.4.2.  For each month an item is out after the second month a charge of one dollar must be collected or deducted from the deposit refund.

4.4.  A Historian keeps a record of all relevant club information including but not limited to amendments of Policies and Procedures, other club official records, committee reports, published club activities, and achievements.

4.5.  An Environmental Coordinator will:

4.5.1.  Coordinate the environmental and conservation activities of the club.

4.5.2.  Present relevant environmental news and issues to Members via General Meetings and official communication channels.

4.6.  A System Administrator maintains the club’s internet domain registration and management system(s).

4.7.  A Publicity Coordinator seeks out and informs Members of opportunities to publicize the functions and activities of the club.

5.  Equipment

5.1.  Equipment is available to club Members which is validated by the Equipment Manager at the time of rental.

5.2.  All pertinent information must be tracked including but not limited to Member name, equipment identification, condition, and dates of use and intended return.

5.3.  Rental fees are set by the Equipment Manager to encourage and accommodate the typical needs of Members. The rental fees must be published.

5.4.  All equipment must be returned in a timely manner.

5.5.  For lost, stolen or damaged items, 75% of the replacement cost must be paid by the Member.

5.6.  Fees are paid either at the time of rental or return.

5.7.  Requests for purchases of equipment can be initiated by the Equipment Manager or any Member.

5.8.  Climbing Gear

5.8.1.  Ropes, rigging gear, and climbing harnesses are available only for club-sanctioned climbing and mountaineering activities.

5.8.2.  The Equipment Manager must retire ropes on a timely basis or if they have been damaged.

5.8.3.  The Equipment manager is responsible for coordinating a group inspection of the club's rope inventory each year including evaluation, categorization, and marking.

5.8.4.  School Directors will inform the Equipment Manager of any rope damage or abuse, such as leader fall, excessive abrasion, or chemical exposure, etc.

5.8.5.  All ropes shall be clearly marked, and a record kept of their usage by the Equipment Manager.

5.8.6.  The club will maintain two classifications of ropes:

5.8.6.1.  Static ropes - to be used only where dynamic loading will not occur (i.e., top roping, rescue training, rappelling, caving). These ropes must be used only for the Rock Climbing School and club-sanctioned climbing events.

5.8.6.2.  Dynamic ropes - to be used by the Mountaineering School as needed and by the Rock Climbing School as a second or trailing rope.

6.  Schools

6.1.  School Committees

6.1.1.  Each school must be overseen and managed by a committee.

6.1.2.  The Committee Chair must be appointed by the President at least three months before the school is expected to begin.

6.1.3.  The Chair forms their committee.

6.1.4.  The committee recommends standards and criteria for the conduct of the schools, selection of instructors, and a director for each school after soliciting applicants for that position.

6.1.5.  The committee reports to the Board regularly.

6.1.6.  The Committee Chair submits an ending report to the Board at the conclusion of the school. The report must include, at minimum, income, expenses, a list of successful students, participating instructors, and recommendations for improvements to the school. The Board is responsible for passing the report onto the next committee.

6.1.7.  Any surplus income must be deposited into the club’s General Fund.

6.2.  School Equipment

6.2.1.  All equipment used by the schools must be part of the club equipment.

6.2.2.  Equipment must be tracked by a school committee member to ensure it is returned to the Equipment Manager.

6.2.3.  Equipment deposits are required from students of an amount sufficient to cover loss or damage.

6.2.4.  The deposit will not be refunded if the equipment is not returned within 30 days following the conclusion of the school.

6.2.5.  Students are responsible for the return of the equipment in order to have their deposit returned.

6.2.6.  The School Committee will review the circumstances of any loss or damage to equipment. If it is determined that the loss or damage was due to the clear negligence of an individual, that individual must be required to replace the item. Otherwise, the loss or damage is considered part of the normal wear and tear of operating the school.

6.2.7.  A club-sanctioned event such as the Roast or Halloween party, that offers rock climbing is expected to meet the safety criteria (such as helmets) of the Rock Climbing School.

6.3.  Students

6.3.1.  Participants in a school must be Members.

6.3.2.  By exception, non-Members having special skills not adequately represented in the club (e.g., medical specialists, rescue groups) may provide instruction in those skills with approval by the Board.

6.3.3.  All students and instructors must sign a liability waiver form, approved by the Board, to participate in the school.

7.  Amendments

7.1.  Amendments to the Policy and Procedure can be proposed by Members including Officers.

7.2.  The Board finalizes the language of proposed amendments.

7.3.  Proposed amendments must be presented to the Members in a timely manner via official communication channels.

7.4.  Proposed amendments are officially adopted by Membership vote.

7.5.  Amendments must be officially recorded by way of the meeting minutes, ongoing publication, and provided to the Historian.

Adopting the motto "Research, Education, and Adventure" in 1947, for three generations the ECP has provided the opportunity to learn new skills and meet new friends who share a willingness to accept the physical and mental challenges of outdoor exploration and adventure.

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Contact Us: info@pittecp.org


Mailing Address:
5715 Beacon Street, No. 516
Pittsburgh, PA   15217

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