Bylaws and Policies
The name of this society shall be Palomar Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.
The purpose of this society is to create fellowship through which each person may be enriched by the ideas of others; to foster the principles of freedom, community, moral integrity, and the dignity of humankind; to seek truth regardless of its source; to respect each other and enjoy the right of individual conviction; and to maintain a society in which these principles will be proclaimed and practiced so that each person may freely seek a religious philosophy. Our goal is to create a better life here and now for the human family. This is our bond of union. We shall maintain religious services and a ministry, provide for religious education and encourage other activities; religious, educational, service and social, in keeping with our purpose.
Any person, seventeen years of age or over, regardless of race, age, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender expression, disability or ethnicity who signs a membership card and makes an annual identifiable financial contribution, may be a Voting Member of this society. Voting privileges begin sixty (60) days after signing as a member.
Upon the Minister(s) recommendation, the Executive Board may vote to give persons younger than seventeen status as a Voting Member.
The Finance Director, Pledge Recorder, and Membership Chair review the membership list thirty days before the end of each fiscal year. The membership Chair notifies, in writing, Voting Members who have not made an identifiable financial contribution in that fiscal year that they will be dropped from the membership roll if a contribution is not received by the end of the fiscal year.
Persons less than seventeen years of age may become a Youth Member. Annual financial contributions are not mandatory.
Persons who want to establish themselves as part of this society, but do not want to become Voting Members may become an Associate Member. Associate Members must make an annual identifiable financial contribution to retain their status.
Upon the Minister(s) recommendation the Executive Board may vote to make members of long standing who can no longer support the society financially Member Emeritus. A Member Emeritus is honored for past contributions of work and financial support.
This Fellowship shall be a member of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) and of the Pacific Southwest District (PSWD). It is the intention of this Fellowship to make financial contributions to the Association and to the District.
Section 1: Notification of Congregational Meetings shall be sent to all members at least two (2) weeks in advance, unless the Executive Board shall consider a shorter time necessary to deal with an emergency. The regular newsletter may be used for notification.
Section 2: The Annual Congregational Meeting is held in May or June. The Executive Board decides the time and place for the meeting. At each annual meeting, the congregation:
- elects a new Executive Board and a new Nominating Committee to serve for the following fiscal year.
- elects one member to serve on the Committee on Ministry for a single two-year term.
- adopts the budget for the following fiscal year.
- reviews the Finance Director’s report and other committee reports.
- acts on any other appropriate business.
Section 3: All Other Meetings: Other congregational meetings may be called by the Executive Board as deemed necessary, or by written request of twenty percent (20%) of the membership. The business transacted at the meetings called by the membership shall be limited to that specified in the call to the meeting, which must be stated in advance.
Section 4: Rules of Order: All meetings of the congregation and the Executive Board shall be conducted according to Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised.
Section 5: Major Affairs and Policies of the Fellowship shall be decided at congregational meetings.
Section 6: The Presiding Officer may appoint another person to chair the meeting at any time, and may appoint tellers to count ballots.
Section 7: Voting: All votes at congregational meetings must be cast in person, by absentee ballot, or by proxy.
Section 8: Absentee Ballots: Members unable to attend congregational meetings may vote by signed, written statements to the secretary. Absentee ballots may be counted only for items of business that are not revised or amended at the meeting.
Section 9: Proxy Voting: For a period not to exceed one year an absent voting member may assign to another voting member the right to vote as a proxy by completing a form provided for this purpose countersigned by the Secretary. Only one proxy may be carried by any member.
Section 10: Quorum: A quorum for the Annual Meeting and for any regular congregational meeting shall be twenty five percent (25%) of those eligible to vote. A quorum of 40% of those eligible to vote is necessary at a meeting called to consider certain special important subjects; these subjects such as calling or dismissing a Minister, real estate transactions, mortgages, indebtedness, making large expenditures of funds, making important changes of policy, recalling officers. The quorum count shall include only members attending in person or voting by proxy, but excluding absentee ballots.
Section 11: A Simple Majority of votes cast in person, by absentee ballot or by proxy shall decide an issue to amend the By-Laws. To dispose of real estate, a majority of two-thirds of the votes cast in person or by absentee ballot or by proxy shall be required. To call a Minister, a majority of four-fifths of the votes cast in person, or by absentee ballot or by proxy shall be required.
Section 1: Executive Board
The Executive Board consists of five officers; a President, a President-Elect, a Past President, a Secretary and a Finance Director.
- At each Annual Meeting, the congregation elects a President-Elect, a Secretary and a Finance Director.
- Eligibility: A person must be a voting member of the Fellowship to be nominated or appointed to the Board. Two members of a committed couple or of the same household, sharing the same address, may not be members of the Board at the same time.
- Nominations from the floor will be accepted, provided that proposed candidates have read the job descriptions, provided a biographical sketch, and agreed to serve.
- The President-Elect serves a three-year term; one year as President-Elect, followed by one year as President, followed by one year as Past President.
- The President is an ex-officio member of all committees, teams and task forces, except for the Nominating Committee, the Committee on Ministry and the Search Committee.
- Upon completing the post of Past President, the out-going Past President is ineligible for election to the Board for three years.
- The Secretary may serve for up to two consecutive terms.
- Upon completing the post of Secretary for a second term, the out-going Secretary is ineligible for election to the Board for one year.
- The Finance Director may serve for up to three consecutive terms.
- Upon completing the post of Finance Director, the out-going Finance Director is ineligible for election to the Board for one year.
- Vacancies: The Executive Board shall fill any vacancies on the Board by appointment after seeking the advice of the Nominating Committee and the Leadership Development Committee. In the event that the position filled is the President-Elect or President, the Board must present the appointee at the next annual meeting for a vote of confirmation. The Board shall fill any vacancies on the Nominating Committee (after using all elected alternates) by appointment, after seeking the advice of the Leadership Development Committee and the Committee on Ministry.
- A Board position shall be considered vacant upon:
- The death or written resignation of the Board member.
- The Board member’s failure to meet the requirements for Fellowship membership.
- The Board member’s absence from three meetings in a one-year period without due cause.
- The recall of the board member by congregational vote.
- The Executive Board is empowered to carry out the general policies of the Fellowship and to create new policies as needs and circumstances require. It has general charge of the property and assets of the Fellowship. It conducts the business affairs of the Fellowship. It executes or controls other administrative affairs of the Fellowship. The Executive Board is responsible for implementing the vision of the Fellowship and directives of the congregation as agreed to at a congregational meeting.
Fiscal Limitations. If the Executive Board anticipates spending more than 10% over the currently approved budget, it shall call a congregational meeting to obtain approval from the congregation to raise the budget. If the Executive Board anticipates spending more than 10% over the currently approved budget, it shall call a congregational meeting to obtain approval from the congregation to raise the budget.
- Quorum: Quorum for meetings of the Executive Board shall not be less than three people. Meetings shall be scheduled in a manner that permits as many Board members as possible to attend.
- Board members are permitted to select assistants (who must be voting members of the Fellowship) to share in the routine duties of their office. Such assistants must first be approved by a vote of the Board. Board members other than the President may arrange for assistants to temporarily stand in as a voting member for that Board member during foreseen absences.
- The President appoints a Parliamentarian to rule on questions of order at congregational meetings.
Section 2: Nominating Committee
The Nominating Committee nominates a slate of candidates consisting of one or more individuals for each open seat on the Executive Board, the open position for the Committee on Ministry, and the Nominating Committee for the following year. Nominees must be voting members of the Fellowship.
The Nominating Committee ensures that the names and biographies of the nominees are published in the call for the annual meeting.
The Nominating Committee consists of five (5) members and two alternates, and shall themselves choose who are regular members and who are alternates.
Candidates may not have served on the Nominating Committee the previous year, and may not be members of the Executive Board, The Committee on Ministry, or the Search Committee simultaneously.
The Nominating Committee is elected at the annual meeting for a term of one year.
The Nominating Committee actively solicits nominations for the Nominating Committee of the following year and submits the nominees as a slate of seven to the President-Elect. The President-Elect ensures that biographical information is disseminated before the annual congregational meeting as well as available at the annual congregational meeting. If there are nominations from the floor, the top seven candidates will be elected.
Section 3: Voting
If more than one candidate has been nominated for an office, voting for that office must conducted by secret, written ballot.
Section 4: Recall of Board Members
Anyone elected to an office in the Fellowship by a vote of the membership may likewise be recalled from office by a vote of the membership, provided:
- The recall vote has been requested by petition of at least twenty percent (20%) of the members eligible to vote; and
- Notice of the recall is contained in the call to meeting; and
- A quorum of at least forty percent (40%) of the members eligible to vote is present.
Section 1: Qualifications of the Minister:
The Minister shall have been accepted in fellowship by the UUA, or be actively seeking such fellowship.
Section 2: Calling a Minister:
A Minister shall be called upon recommendation of the ministerial search committee, by a four-fifths (80%) majority of the qualified members of the Fellowship voting in person, or by absentee ballot or by proxy at any meeting called for that purpose. The quorum for such a meeting shall be forty percent (40%) of the voting members of the Fellowship.
Section 3: Search Committee:
The Search Committee consists of five members elected by the Congregation from a slate put forward by the Nominating Committee.
- The Nominating Committee creates the slate by selecting members of the Fellowship with consideration to diversity (age, gender, length of membership, theological leanings, etc.) to ensure a committee that’s representative of the congregation.
- Members of the Search Committee may not serve on the Board, the Nominating Committee or the Committee on Ministry during the search process.
- This Search Committee works in cooperation with the Unitarian Universalist Association’s Department of Ministry to select a Ministerial Candidate, then recommends the Candidate to the Board.
- Upon approval of the Candidate, the Board recommends the Candidate to the Congregation.
- The Congregation votes whether to call the Candidate as the new Minister at a Special or at the Annual Congregational Meeting.
With consensus, the Board and the Minister may use their discretion to:
- Disband the Committee on Ministry and allow the Search Committee to function as the Committee on Ministry during the search process.
- Appoint the Search Committee to serve as the Committee on Ministry during the newly called Minister’s first year. Following the first year, at the next Annual Congregational Meeting, three members of the Search Committee drop off the Committee on Ministry, so two new members can be elected according to our By-Laws.
The Minister shall be responsible for offering leadership in devotional and denominational activities. The Minister shall have freedom of the pulpit as well as freedom to express personal opinions outside the pulpit.
Section 5: Dismissing a Minister:
The Minister may be dismissed by a majority vote of the qualified members of the Fellowship voting in person, or by absentee ballot, or by proxy at any meeting called for that purpose. The quorum for such a meeting shall be forty percent (40%) of the voting members of the Fellowship.
Section 6: Termination of Office:
Three months notice must be given either by the Minister, in the event of resignation, or the Fellowship, in the event of dismissal of the Minister. This time period may be reduced by mutual agreement of both parties.
Section 7: Ministerial Participation:
The Minister(s) shall be ex-officio member(s) of the Executive Board and of all committees as agreed on with the Executive Board, with the exception of the Nominating Committee and the Search Committee.
Section 8: Committee on Ministry:
The Committee on Ministry consists of four members elected by the congregation from a slate presented by the Nominating Committee. The members agree to serve for one term of three years.
Terms are staggered. Elected terms for the initial slate will reflect the ongoing staggered terms. Committee on Ministry members may not serve on the Executive Board or as the Coordinator of the Council of Committees, Activities, and Teams.
The Committee on Ministry meets monthly under normal circumstances. The Committee chooses one member each year to serve as the Chair. The Chair is responsible for disseminating information, soliciting items for the agenda, and running the meeting.
The Committee on Ministry is responsible for:
- supporting members in living the congregation’s mission and covenant;
- evaluating and supporting the fulfillment of the mission and covenant, and
- consulting with professional clergy and other staff, the executive board, task forces, teams, committees, and members of the congregation and sharing the Committee’s impressions of the effectiveness of ministry to the congregation.
Candidates for the Committee on Ministry should be active members familiar with the congregation’s history and culture; respected and trusted by lay and clergy; able to focus on the big picture mission, covenant, and ministry; skillful in communication, and committed to the well-being of the whole.
THE FISCAL YEAR
The fiscal year shall be July 1 through June 30.
These by-laws, so far as allowed by law, may be amended by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the qualified members of the Fellowship voting in person, or by absentee ballot, or by proxy at any meeting called for that purpose. Notice of any proposed by-law changes shall be contained in the meeting notice sent at least two (2) weeks in advance of the meeting.
DISSOLUTION OF THE FELLOWSHIP
Should this Fellowship cease to function and the members vote to dissolve it, any assets of the Fellowship shall be transferred to the Unitarian Universalist Association for its general purposes, transfer to be made in full compliance with whatever laws are applicable.