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EARS Bylaws
Ver.4, January 25th, 2012

Article I: Name

This registered non-profit organization shall be known as the Engineering And Recording Society of Chicago, referred to hereinafter as EARS.


Article II: Objectives

EARS is created to educate, inform, and bring together all professionals, enthusiasts, and students who share a common interest in professional audio and its related fields and occupations, and to promote a general appreciation for excellence in sound quality.

Reports of evaluations and tests by members of EARS or its committees shall be for the information of the membership and shall represent solely the views of their authors.  EARS as a body shall neither endorse nor criticize any product, service, dealer, or manufacturer; indeed, it shall actively discourage, deny, disclaim, and dispute any such action.


Article III: Membership and Dues

a) Any person sharing the common interests of the members of EARS as set forth in Article II may become a member upon submitting the Society's dues to the Treasurer and by joining agrees to accept the Bylaws as published.

b) The annual membership fee shall be recommended by the Steering Committee and approved by a simple majority vote at any appointed meeting. Currently as of February 2010, the yearly dues are as follows: $40.00 per year for the Professional Membership, $25.00 per year for the Student Membership, and $30 per year for the Associate Membership.

Professional Members: Eligible to serve on committees; eligible to attend member specific events including the annual Holiday Party meeting in December; eligible to vote in EARS elections.

Student Members: Eligible to serve on committees; eligible to attend member specific events with the exception of the Holiday Party; Student Members may attend the Holiday Party for $15 along with any additional fees required for attendance; not eligible to vote in general EARS elections. Upon joining, student membership status will be extended to an individual as long as they can demonstrate enrollment in a college, university, or technical degree program, after which individuals must renew as a professional member. Upon joining or renewing, student members must provide the name of the school they are attending and their student ID number for verification.

Associate Members: Not eligible to vote in general EARS elections; not eligible to serve on committees; eligible to attend member specific events for an additional fee. The Associate membership is created for individuals who reside out of town but would like to access certain areas and features available only to members on the EARS website.

Visitors: Not able to serve on committees, cannot go to member specific events, cannot vote.

c) The membership year shall begin on the last Tuesday of October for one year. For new members joining at or after the October meeting but before or at the April meeting, a full year's dues shall be required. For new members joining after the April meeting but before the October meeting, a full year plus six months dues shall be required to join.

d) There shall be no attendance fee for most meetings. If, however, the President foresees the need for additional revenue to offset the expense of a special meeting, a nominal fee may be required from all those attending, whether members or visitors.  All members shall be notified of the amount of the fee at least one week before the special meeting.


Article IV: Officers

EARS shall have five officers: President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, and EARDRUM editor. Officers may serve as ex-officio members of any ad-hoc committees. The President cannot occupy another office while serving as President. The President's term shall be one year, after which a general election will be held. The President's tenure shall be limited to two consecutive terms; following a minimum one year hiatus, the former President shall once again become eligible to run for that office. The Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, and EARDRUM editor shall be appointed directly and at the sole discretion of the President.


Article V: Steering Committee

The management of the affairs of EARS shall be carried out by a Steering Committee, consisting of the five officers (see Article IV), the Founding and Original Members of EARS, and all former Presidents of EARS. The Steering Committee shall convene for general meetings twice per year; on the third Monday of January and on the second Monday of September at a location to be determined by the President. Steering Committee meetings may be called by the President and or the Steering Committee at large at any other time in the calendar year in special cases where an urgent matter needs to be addressed. EARS will provide for food expenses at all Steering Committee meetings, to be disbursed by the Treasurer. Individuals are responsible for their own beverage purchases.

A quorum of the Steering Committee must be present for any action that requires a vote. All Steering Committee decisions shall be determined by majority vote of those present. The President shall be chairperson of the Steering Committee. In cases where the President cannot attend, the Vice-President shall act as chairperson.

The Steering Committee shall have the sole power to interpret the Bylaws, and to decide upon matters not provided for therein.  It will also review proposals for appropriate disciplinary action of any member.  The actions and decisions taken by the Steering Committee will be reported in the forthcoming issue of the EARDRUM.

Confidentiality: All Steering Committee members must honor the confidentiality of EARS proprietary information that adds competitive value to the organization. This includes printed, presented, or otherwise discussed information. Violations of this rule could subject a member to disciplinary action up to and including expulsion from the group. To protect against vindictive or false accusations, the accused party has the right to address the group at a reasonable time. After doing so a supermajority vote of 66% is required to decide the disciplinary action.

Inappropriate Behavior: The Steering Committee may apply the following penalties to the members:

  1. admonishment,
  2. suspension, for a maximum period of one year,
  3. expulsion, to be graduated according to the seriousness of the misdemeanor, and the circumstances of each case considering the following causes:

    • Non-fulfillment of the obligations imposed by the bylaws and/or the Steering Committee,
    • notorious bad behavior,
    • voluntary harm to EARS, provocation of serious disorders, or behaving in a way which is notoriously harmful to the interests of the membership.
The disciplinary penalties referred to above will be decided by the Steering Committee once the party involved has presented his (or her) defense. In all cases the affected party can resort to an appeal to the next Steering Committee meeting to be held, within a period of 30 days of notification of the penalty. Regarding his rights as a member, in the supposed case that the penalized member holds office, sits on a committee, or other position, the Steering Committee may suspend him in this capacity until the Steering Committee has resolved his case.

As of February 2010, the Steering Committee officially recognizes the "Founding Members" of EARS (those present on the infamous elevator ride at the New York AES show in October of 1985) as Michael Rasfeld, Marty Feldman, and Michael Freeman. In addition, the Steering Committee officially recognizes the "Original Members" of EARS (those individuals who greatly contributed early on to the inception and formation of EARS) as Timothy Powell, Mike Konopka, Beth McCay, Reid Hyams, Jerry Soto, Joe Tortorici, Gary Khan, Benj Kanters, and Tom Haban.


Article VI: Meetings

General meetings shall be held on the last Tuesday of each month unless otherwise noted. If any meeting is cancelled due to inclement weather or other reasons, it will be held at the earliest practical date thereafter.

At the discretion of the President, EARS will provide for an annual stipend of $1,500 per calendar year to purchase food, drink, and sundries for consumption at general meetings and events. The monies shall be dispersed by the Treasurer or by use of the EARS corporate debit card. This stipend is separate and apart from funds provided for the annual Holiday Party and Barbeque.

Nominations for the office of President will take place at the September meeting each year. Any current member can nominate any other current member for President but both must be present at the meeting. Members cannot nominate themselves. The Steering Committee shall then appoint two (2) election judges to oversee all election proceedings. An election judge cannot be a candidate. The appointment of the election judges shall be announced in the forthcoming EARDRUM. The EARDRUM will also list the email and mailing address where all ballots are to be sent.

At the October meeting, each nominated candidate shall be given the opportunity to present their platform and take questions from the general EARS assembly within a reasonable time frame. 

At the start of the November meeting, each candidate, at their option, shall again be given the opportunity to present their platform to the general EARS assembly. Immediately following, a general election will be held to select the next president. The voting shall take place via paper ballots for those present at the meeting; by email sent directly to the election judge for those who wish to vote early or cannot attend; and ballots mailed directly to the election judge prior to the election. Email votes must be received 24 hours prior to the election event. Dues must be current for each voting member. Lapsed dues may be made paid to the treasurer right up to the point of voting. New members who join less than 30 days prior to the election are NOT eligible to vote in an effort to discourage vote-stacking. The election results shall be announced on the floor of the meeting by the election judges at the conclusion of the vote tabulation.

Annual Barbeque and Holiday Party:
EARS shall host two special meetings each year; the annual EARS Barbeque on the last Tuesday of August and the annual Holiday Party on the last Tuesday of December. The President shall determine the location and faire for each event.

Barbeque:
EARS will provide funds for all food, beverages, plates, cups, napkins, silverware, condiments, charcoal, and provision of a grill through the cooperation of individual members. As an outreach and incentive for new members to join, at this event, only one year's dues will be required to become a member through October of the following year. This incentive is extended only to new members in attendance at the Barbeque.

Holiday Party:
Also known as the "Jeff Hamilton Memorial Holiday Party" the President will determine the location, generally a restaurant or a tavern with food. Each member may invite one guest. An attendance fee of no more than $25 may be required from each member and each guest. Student Members may attend for $15 in addition to any attendance fees.



Article VII: Ad Hoc Committees

The president shall have the power, subject to the approval of the Steering Committee, to form ad hoc committees and to appoint their members and chairpersons.


Article VIII: Amendment to the Bylaws

The Bylaws may be amended with consent of a simple majority by a quorum of the Steering Committee.


Article IX: Fiscal Matters

Section 1: Dues and Other Fees

The annual membership fee shall be recommended by the Steering Committee and approved by a simple majority vote at any appointed general meeting. Currently as of February 2010, the yearly dues are as follows: $40.00 per year for the Professional Membership, $25.00 per year for the Student Membership, and $30 per year for the Associate Membership. There shall be no attendance fee for most meetings. If, however, the President foresees the need for additional revenue to offset the expense of a special meeting, a nominal fee may be required from all those attending, whether members or visitors.  All members shall be notified of the amount of the fee via the EARDRUM or by e-mail at least one week before the special meeting.

Individuals shall be responsible for any and all fees resulting from a check returned to EARS for any reason.

Section 2: Recurring Payments

The President and Treasurer shall be responsible for disbursement of recurring payments such as annual insurance premiums, payments to the state of Illinois for the EARS corporation, and payments to the web hosting company, etc.

Section 3: Expenditure of Funds

The President and Treasurer shall be responsible for all expenditures of the Society's funds, consistent with the objectives outlined in Article II. Payments may be authorized, for example, to individuals or organizations for services rendered, such as honoraria for speakers or as reimbursement for expenses incurred on behalf of EARS.

Reimbursements will be made for members' out-of-pocket expenses where those expenses have been authorized by the President and Treasurer.  Officers having authority to disburse EARS funds in an emergency shall include the President, the Vice President, and Treasurer in that order.

At the discretion of the President, EARS will provide for an annual stipend of $1,500 per calendar year to purchase food, drink, and sundries for consumption at general meetings and events. The monies shall be dispersed by the Treasurer or by use of the EARS corporate debit card. This stipend is separate and apart from funds provided for the annual Holiday Party and Barbeque.

EARS will provide for food expenses at all Steering Committee meetings, to be disbursed by the Treasurer. Individuals are responsible for their own beverage purchases.


Article X: Membership

Section 1: Membership Year

The membership year shall begin on the last Tuesday of October for one year.

Section 2: Rights of Members

Payment of dues shall entitle a member to participate in all the activities of EARS as defined in Article III, section (b).

Section 3: Expulsion of Members

The Steering Committee, acting on behalf or at the mandate of the membership, shall have the power to recommend expulsion of a member.  The procedure for discussing and voting on an expulsion shall require a majority vote by a quorum of the Steering Committee. This extreme measure shall be recommended if the member is deemed to have abused the right of membership, such as persistently misrepresenting their connection with EARS for his or her own personal gain, or by flagrantly disregarding the provisions of the last paragraph of Article II. A prorated refund of dues shall be returned to an expelled member.


Article XI: Officers

Section 1: Duties

President:
The President shall preside at all general EARS meetings and Steering Committee meetings and have as their primary responsibilities the following:

  • Ensure the continued solvency of EARS.
  • Select the monthly meeting place of all EARS meetings and plan for any special programs or events.
  • Share responsibility with the vice president for industry relations, described below.
  • Share information with the EARDRUM editor for editing and publishing the EARDRUM.
  • Appoint, as appropriate, Committees to provide for special events undertaken by EARS such as concerts, fund raisers and social events.
  • Ensure that the normal business of EARS is handled in a timely manner.
    Function as the principal spokesperson for EARS in all public forums as required.


  • Vice President:
    The Vice President, in the President's absence, shall preside at general EARS meetings or meetings of the Steering Committee or, in the Secretary's absence, record the minutes.  The Vice President shall share in the duties of the President in a manner that both officers see fit. The Vice President shall share responsibility with the President for industry relations. Industry relations shall include acting as agent to represent EARS in initiating and maintaining contacts with professional audio and music industries or groups.  The purpose shall be to develop and maintain beneficial relationships with those industries. 


    Secretary:
    The Secretary shall compile and maintain records and create a recap for each Steering Committee and general EARS meetings which shall include:

  • A record of any business conducted including member's opinions and decisions.
  • A description  of the events and location of the meeting.
  • A tally of those present at general EARS meetings.
  • Minutes of the most recent Steering Committee meeting including a list of those present and announcements of proposed amendments to the Bylaws, all for submission to the EARDRUM editor.
  • The Secretary will work with the Treasurer to determine the eligibility of any member to vote and provide the President with any notes necessary for reporting on the last Steering Committee meeting to the membership. 


    Treasurer:
    The Treasurer shall have as their primary responsibilities the following:

  • Collect membership dues and keep record of those members current and lapsed.
  • Manage the Society's checking account, disburse checks to vendors and out-of-pocket expenses for members as well as honoraria for guest speakers.Deposit monies collected from dues and contributions.
  • Submit proper forms and payments to appropriate federal and state offices to maintain the Society's corporate standing.
  • Work with the Secretary to determine the eligibility of any member to vote.
  • Make recommendations to the Steering Committee concerning the setting of dues.
  • Manage the Society's funds in a manner approved by the Bylaws and Steering Committee.
  • Respond to all enquiries from the President and Steering Committee concerning membership and dues and process all replies.
  • Provide a detailed report in writing each year for the January Steering Committee meeting concerning the financial condition of EARS and the purposes for which its monies are being spent.
  • Supply the Steering Committee with a general report as required.


  • EARDRUM Editor:
    The EARDRUM Editor shall collect and compile notes and articles submitted for inclusion into the monthly EARDRUM newsletter. The beginning of each issue of the EARDRUM shall include the volume (consecutive year of production) and number (month of year) for that issue. The EARDRUM shall be sent out to both the membership and the EARS mailing list no less than one week prior to the next general EARS meeting. The EARDRUM Editor shall have the freedom and discretion to write articles, include and edit submissions from members, include any newsworthy articles, include photographs, arrange the order and layout, and include any other information that fulfills the objectives of Article II. The EARDRUM Editor shall include the most recent general meeting re-cap and recent decisions of Steering Committee as submitted by the Secretary in whole without editing, as well as the announcement of the location and agenda of the next EARS meeting as provided by the President. The final draft of the EARDRUM shall be submitted to the President for proofreading and/or further recommendations, but the President may not alter the content of the final draft. If the President deems the content inadequate, inappropriate, or otherwise not adhering to the objectives of Article II, and has exhausted attempts to remedy the article with the EARDRUM Editor, the President may refer the article and or EARDRUM Editor to the Steering Committee for further evaluation and remediation.


    EARS Webmaster:
    In the current absence of an officially appointed Webmaster to construct, service, and maintain the EARS website, such duties may be performed by volunteers possessing the required technical skills as coordinated by the President. The Steering Committee will recommend and approve the content contained within.

    Section 2: Terms of Office

    Terms of the elective office of the President shall begin immediately after the results of the election at the November meeting and continue for one year until the following election. As stated in Article IV, the president's tenure shall be limited to two consecutive terms; following a minimum one year hiatus, the former president shall once again become eligible to run for that office. The remaining officers shall be appointed directly and at the sole discretion of the president.

    Section 3: Removal from Office

    The tenure of any officer may be terminated for acting in a manner deemed contrary to EARS' best interests.  Any member can petition the Steering Committee via the Secretary to consider that petition within one month. The officer in question and the Steering Committee members shall be informed of this petition by the Secretary. If the Secretary is the officer being petitioned, then the Vice-President shall inform the Secretary and the Steering Committee. At the Steering Committee meeting the officer in question will have the opportunity to respond to the petition, and the Committee members shall vote on a recommendation for or against removal from office. A simple majority by a quorum of the Steering Committee shall be required to remove an incumbent from office.

    Section 4: Vacancies

    If a vacancy exists due to lack of a volunteer for an office such as Secretary or Treasurer, the other officers shall share the duties of that office as mutually agreed upon until the President appoints a member to fill the vacancy. In the absence of the ability to fill a vacancy, the President may fill that office only with the approval of the Steering Committee.

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