CHAPTER TOOLBOX

The following information is for any region (individuals) interested in forming a Chapter of AARST. The guidance submitted below by the Chapter’s Committee follows best practices for a chapter based on AARST National by-laws, chapter board formation, chapter branding and business meeting, and regional support expectation of and for chapters.

AARST GUIDANCE FOR CHAPTER FORMATION AND OPERATION

INTRODUCTION

Membership in AARST can offer an effective path to achieve professional and business objectives. AARST is recognized by government, the press, and business leaders as a guiding force in the radon industry. A regional or state chapter provides members the ability to focus as a group on particular state and local issues while being identified with a respected national organization.

The formation of a regional or state chapter can bring together a variety of interested parties to raise local standards of practice; influence legislation and public opinion; and address other local matters. The Association’s by-laws (Sec. 9.01) authorize the Board of Directors to approve the formation of chapters. Authorized chapters submit reports to the Board on their activities while conducting programs in accordance with chapter needs. Regular communication between chapters and National AARST enables national to readily respond to the needs of local AARST groups at the same time they can direct the skills, talents and manpower of local members to achieve ends that are in the interest of the radon industry as a whole.

The regular two-way communication makes a strong local and a strong National radon organization. To assist members, the following guidance for the formation and operation of a chapter has been provided by the Board of Directors.

Written Communications Required: All formal communications regarding chapter startup directed towards National AARST by chapter officers, chapter members and non-chapter AARST members shall be written communications. Copies of those communications are to be sent to the Executive Secretary for appropriate dissemination. If oral communications occur or become necessary, these communications must also be documented in writing.

Members in good standing of the National Association may petition the Board of Directors to approve the formation of a new chapter in their area. The petition should include: A. Names and addresses of petitioners, B. Names interim officers C. A description of the geographical area or state to be covered by the charter, D. Local chapter name, E. Location where main focus of activities will occur (e.g. mailing address for secretary, treasurer, president or other officer). F. Potential membership base G. Statement of goals

The petition is submitted to the AARST National Chapters Committee. At AARST National, the resulting course of events include:

  1. With the assistance of AARST National’s Executive Secretary, the AARST National Chapters Committee will:
    1. Verify that the petitioning members are members in good standing of AARST National.
    2. Assist the chapter volunteers to develop a compatible set of by-laws and organizational structure. AARST National can make available several sets to use as examples for start-up chapters.
    3. Present the petition, chapter’s draft by-laws, and supporting documents to the Executive Committee.
  2. The Executive Committee will review the application and submit its recommendation to the Board.
  3. The Board will decide on whether to accept the Chapter and will transmit its decision to the organizing group.

Once approved, chapters can then proceed to elect officers and establish the chapter as a legal entity. Generally, the Secretary of State website (of the state where dues and other revenue are kept) should be consulted for the information the officers will need to establish an independent legal entity and establish the chapter as a non-profit organization. A bank account is opened in the name of the regional or state chapter using an appropriate IRS identification number. Typically, two signatures should be required for check signing purposes. It is necessary to comply with all federal and state laws to protect the chapter, National AARST, and the individuals involved in the chapter.

 

Following are links to obtain Federal Employee Identification Number – FEIN and to obtain form k1024 requesting 501 c 6 non-profit status from the IRS.

Obtain EIN from IRS –

https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/apply-for-an-employer-identification-number-ein-online

File with IRS for 501 c 6 non-profit status –

https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/k1024.pdf

Also check the State Department of Revenue website for required filings.

The Chapter Secretary sends to AARST Secretariat copies of documents relative to the chapter’s formation, e.g. By-laws, Charter Constitution, list if officers, etc. Regarding Chapter Approval: The AARST National Board of Directors reserves the sole and exclusive right to approve, disapprove or revoke any chapter’s authorization, approval or affiliation with AARST.

Ongoing Operation of the Chapter

CHAPTER AFFAIRS

As part of a National organization, Chapters must realize the need to conduct themselves in a business-like manner. Following are some of the things that need to be kept in mind.

  1. Meetings should be conducted in an orderly fashion using guidance from Robert’s Rules of order.
  2. Regular elections should be held to designate leadership in a manner to create revolving leadership roles
  3. Members should be notified well in advance (such as 3-4 weeks) of meetings and other activities.
  4. Minutes of all meetings including executive committee meetings, general membership meetings and committee meetings must be kept by the Chapter secretary. The minutes should be disseminated to Chapter members and made available for reference. A copy of the minutes should be sent to National AARST at the Secretariat.
  5. Annually, a membership and treasurer’s report, copies of newsletters and other communications should be sent to National AARST at the Secretariate.

In addition to the membership fees paid to AARST National, a chapter may also charge a membership fee. A Chapter, by vote, may choose to establish its own dues. These dues are solely owned by the Chapter and its members. A Chapter’s fee structure must reflect its cost to operate. Members will typically be billed directly by AARST National for AARST National dues. A chapter’s voting membership must be in good standing with the chapter and AARST National. As a minimum, a member’s dues to both must be paid and current to be a chapter member in good standing. Furthermore, AARST bylaws specify that a member in good standing must be in conformance with the scientific, technical, and ethical principles of the Association.

Chapters shall hold at least one, [ideally four or more] membership meetings per year. All chapters should hold membership and executive committee meetings regularly. Chapters are encouraged to address issues that are relevant to their geographic area. Possible activities can include:
  1. Encouraging ethical business practices.
  2. Offering continuing education
  3. Becoming the reliable information resource for the media, and community, at large.
  4. Becoming the representative voice for legislative change.
  5. Pooling resources to enable a more effective marketing of radon issues.

The Chapter’s secretary should make available a quarterly summary of activities to AARST National which may be published and distributed by AARST National. AARST National may disseminate information and poll members on emerging issues relevant to the membership through its network of chapters. Chapters can solicit support from AARST National and should be ready to mobilize support for National initiatives when asked.

The president of the chapter serves as a voting member of AARST National’s Board of Directors. The chapter president may designate an alternate to serve in his/her absence with full voting privileges. Such designations should be made in writing and presented to AARST National’s Secretary prior to the vote. Chapters are urged to fund the participation of its representatives.

The AARST National Board of Directors reserves the sole and exclusive right to approve, disapprove or revoke any chapter’s authorization, approval or affiliation with AARST for any reason including but not limited to the following examples of egregious occurrences:
  1. Lack of membership.
  2. Where there is sufficient cause demonstrating that the chapter has not complied with its bylaws or AARST National’s purpose as may be stated in AARST National’s bylaws.
  3. Poor ethical conduct or violations of AARST ethical codes by the Chapter’s officers and/or members.
  4. Chapters adopting bylaws or taking other actions which may be deemed to be unacceptable to the ethical or operating interests of AARST National.

All communications directed to National AARST shall be in writing.

  1. Initial contact: The initial contact should be a letter written to the President of the Chapter with a copy to the Chapter’s officers and the Executive Secretary relating the violation or complaint and requesting a written response relating appropriate action and giving a target deadline for the response. If the response is timely and the appropriate action taken, the violation will have been addressed.
  2. If the response is not timely, for example, 30 days, a follow-up certified letter is recommended.
  3. Additional communications may be addressed to the appropriate committee of AARST National for aid in resolution of a dispute.