How to Form a Chapter
The following information is for any individuals interested in forming a state Chapter of AARST. The guidance submitted below by the Chapter Council follows best practices for a chapter based on AARST National by-laws, the Chapter Bylaws template, AARST Chapter Affiliation Agreement, and the Certificate of Incorporation template. AARST staff will take care of the incorporation legalities and guide the organizers through the entire process.
AARST GUIDANCE FOR CHAPTER FORMATION AND OPERATION
Membership in AARST can offer an effective path to achieve professional and business success. AARST is recognized by government policy makers, the press, and business leaders as a guiding force in the radon industry. The AARST Chapters provide 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 chapter can bring together a variety of interested parties to locally deliver continuing education training; influence legislation and public opinion; and address other local matters. The Association’s by-laws (Sec. 9.04) authorize the Board of Directors to approve the formation of chapters. Affiliate Chapters conduct programs in accordance with the Chapter Affiliation Agreement and in support of local initiatives. Regular communication between Chapters and AARST National AARST enables National to readily respond to the needs of Chapters that are can directing the skills, talents, and advocacy voice of members to achieve ends that are in the interest of the radon industry as a whole.
Regular two-way communication makes strong local and national organizations. To assist members, the following guidance for the formation and operation of a chapter is provided.
- Chapter Startup
- Step 1: Create Petition
- Step 2: Chapter Submits Petition
- Step 3: AARST National Creates Legal Entity and Supporting Documents
- Step 4: AARST National Submits Documents to the Chapter
- Step 5. Chapter Signs Affiliation Agreement
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 Director 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 and B. Names interim officers.
- The petition, including the names and addresses of 15 members and a list of initial officers, is submitted to AARST National.
- AARST staff will verify that the petitioning members are members in good standing of AARST and present the petition and any supporting documents to the Board.
- The Board will decide on whether to accept the Chapter. 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.
- The Executive Director will transmit the Board’s decision to the organizing group.
Once approved, AARST National will establish the chapter as a legal entity by filing articles of incorporation of s single-member non-stock nonprofit corporation with AARST National as its only member. AARST National will develop the Chapter’s bylaws. AARST National will prepare the Chapter’s Affiliation Agreement for signature by the initial officers identified in the petition.
The Executive Director sends to the Chapter officers copies of Articles of Incorporation and By-laws.
The Chapter officers sign and return one copy of the agreement to AARST National.
Ongoing Operation of the Chapter
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.
- Meetings should be conducted in an orderly fashion using guidance from Robert’s Rules of order.
- Regular elections should be held to designate leadership in a manner to create revolving leadership roles
- Members should be notified well in advance (such as 3-4 weeks) of meetings and other activities.
- Minutes of all meetings, including any 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 AARST National.
- Annually, a membership report, copies of newsletters, and other communications should be sent to AARST National.
- Chapter Membership & Fee Guidelines
- Chapter Meetings
- Chapter Communications with National AARST
- Chapter Representation to National
- Dissolution of a Chapter
- Resolution of Disputes
AARST National dues include the affiliated chapter’s share of the dues. Members will be billed directly by AARST National for AARST National dues. A chapter’s voting members must be in good standing with the chapter and AARST National, which includes a member’s dues 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, and hold executive committee meetings regularly. Chapters are encouraged to address issues that are relevant to their geographic area. Possible activities can include:
- Encouraging ethical business practices.
- Offering continuing education
- Becoming the reliable information resource for the media, and community, at large.
- Becoming the representative voice for legislative change.
- 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 (or a delegate) serves as a voting member of AARST’s Chapter Council. The Chapter Council has two elected members with voting rights that represent the chapters during AARST Board Meetings. Chapters are urged to fund the participation of their 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:
- Lack of membership.
- 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.
- Poor ethical conduct or violations of AARST ethical codes by the Chapter’s officers and/or members.
- 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.
- 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.
- If the response is not timely, for example, 30 days, a follow-up certified letter is recommended.
- Additional communications may be addressed to the appropriate committee of AARST National for aid in resolution of a dispute.