ARTICLE I – NAME AND LOCATION
1.1 Name. The name of the organization shall be the International Order of the Golden Rule (hereinafter referred to as “OGR”), a not-for-profit corporation organized under the non-profit laws of the State of Texas.
1.2 Location. The offices of “OGR” shall be located in Austin, Texas, and/or in such other localities as may be determined by the Board of Directors.
ARTICLE II – OBJECTIVES
2.1 The objectives of “OGR” shall be:
2.1.1 To promote the welfare of the funeral profession and the public whom we serve;
2.2 Relationship with Golden Services Group. It is the stated purpose of OGR to provide to its members the finest association benefits available. The Golden Services Group, a Delaware corporation, was created for the purpose of providing goods and services to the members of OGR. To that end, it is acknowledged that the Golden Services Group and OGR are irretrievably linked, in purpose and in fact, and are subject to the same direction and control. It is acknowledged that the governance of OGR and of the Golden Services Group may be continually interlocked through the appointment of the same Directors, Officers and personnel to positions of responsibility in both organizations.
ARTICLE III - MEMBERSHIP
3.1 Classifications. Membership shall consist of seven classifications, three of which are voting: Regular, Affiliate, and International; and four of which are non-voting: Auxiliary, Supplier, Emeritus and Academic. There shall be a separate, non-voting classification for Members Not in Good Standing.
3.1.1 Regular Membership: the single funeral home location designated by management as their primary business location. Within the classification of Regular Membership shall be two sub-classes, Exclusive and Non-Exclusive as defined by the board from time to time.
3.1.2 Affiliate Membership: additional funeral home locations with the same ownership as the main location.
3.1.3 International Membership: funeral establishments located outside the United States and Canada.
3.1.4 Auxiliary Membership: individuals formerly affiliated with OGR member firms who are no longer participating in the funeral profession.
3.1.5 Supplier Membership: any person or firm engaged in selling products or services to OGR members.
3.1.6 Emeritus Membership: may be extended to any person who has made an extraordinary contribution to the advancement of the purposes of OGR in the opinion of and by unanimous vote of the Board.
3.1.7 Academic Memberships:
126.96.36.199 Student Membership: mortuary science students.
188.8.131.52 Educator Membership: non-member educators, researchers, and academics engaged in the study, but not the practice of mortuary science.
3.2.1 Regular, Affiliate and International Members. In order to be considered for membership in OGR, a firm shall have been in business for a period of not less than two (2) years. In the best interest of the provision of a quality service by members of OGR to the public we serve, the Board of Directors may, with the approval of two-thirds of those Board members present and voting, suspend the two-year requirement.
184.108.40.206 Membership in OGR shall generally be limited to entities which are independently owned. Entities that may be excluded from membership in OGR, at the sole discretion of the OGR Board of Directors, include:
220.127.116.11 All eligible locations that are owned and managed by the same firm within 100 miles from the main member firm may be considered for and be brought into membership as Affiliate members. Volume shall be computed by totaling the number of cases in all locations, provided that any location refused membership or not eligible for membership shall not be included in the computation.
3.2.2 Auxiliary Membership. Individuals eligible for Auxiliary membership include the following: 1) any retired principal of an OGR member firm who has sold or otherwise disposed of his/her interest in that member firm; 2) the spouse of a deceased principal of an OGR member firm; or 3) any person who is a retired employee of a current or former OGR member firm, provided that such persons are no longer actively participating in the funeral profession.
3.2.3 Supplier Membership. Membership in OGR will include entities offering products, services or consultation to OGR members. Those directly or indirectly affiliated with any OGR Regular, Affiliate or International member as defined in Section 3.1 may be excluded from membership in OGR, as the sole discretion of the OGR Board of Directors.
3.2.4 Academic Memberships
18.104.22.168 Student membership in OGR will include all students of mortuary science at accredited colleges, universities or accredited trade schools. Eligibility ceases when the student graduates.
22.214.171.124 Educator membership in OGR will include all current faculty of mortuary science at accredited colleges, universities or accredited trade schools.
3.2.5 Regardless of ownership, management, control, employment or affiliation status of an applicant, membership may be denied at the sole discretion of the Board of Directors if it determines an applicant’s business and service objectives are inconsistent with OGR’s objectives as set forth in Article II. This section applies to all members.
3.2.6 As it is essential to the maintenance of the highest professional standards, a condition of any exclusive level of membership shall require a member, or a professional employee of a member, to continuously maintain the standards and requirements for exclusive status as determined and published by the Board from time to time.
3.3 Application approval. The Board shall consider each application for membership by applying the objectives set forth above in Article II. Membership in OGR shall become effective upon a two-thirds vote of approval by the Board of Directors. Regular, Affiliate and International members seeking exclusive membership status, as defined by the Board of Directors, will adhere to procedures described in OGR’s Organizational Policies.
3.4 Resignation. A member may resign at any time by filing a written resignation with the Executive Director. However, such resignation shall not relieve the member of the obligation to pay any dues or other outstanding financial obligations accrued and unpaid nor cause a refund of prepaid dues to be made.
3.5 Suspension, Expulsion and Termination. The Board of Directors of OGR may suspend, expel ,or terminate the membership of any member firm because of conduct which, after a hearing if requested by the member firm, but at the sole discretion of the Board of Directors, violates the licensing standards of the member firm’s state of residence; or is improper, is found to be unethical or inimical to the welfare of the membership as a whole. Any such action taken by the Board will be in accordance with the Board’s policies and procedures governing suspension, expulsion, or termination which the Board shall set an publish from time to time.
ARTICLE IV - DUES
4.1 Establishment of Dues. The Board of Directors shall annually review and establish rates of dues for Regular, Affiliate, Foreign, Auxiliary, Adjunct, Emeritus and Academic members of OGR.
ARTICLE V – MEMBER MEETINGS
5.1 Annual Conference. The Annual Conference shall be held at such place and on such dates as may be determined by the Board of Directors.
5.2 Special Meetings. Meetings of OGR other than the Annual Conference may be called at the discretion of the Board of Directors.
5.3 Notice of Meetings. Notice of any meetings of OGR shall be communicated to the last known address of each member (or member firm) not less than thirty (30) days.
5.4 Cancellation of Meetings. The Board of Directors may cancel any Annual or special meeting by a minimum of a two-third vote of the board voting in favor to cancel.
5.5 Voting. At all meetings of OGR, each member eligible to vote shall have one (1) vote on any matter submitted to the membership for a vote by the Board of Directors; such votes must be cast in person only. Unless otherwise specifically provided by law or these Bylaws, a majority vote of those present and voting shall govern.
5.6 Voting by Mail. Proposals to be offered to the members for a mail or electronic device vote shall first be approved by the Board of Directors. The proposal shall be published with a ballot mailed simultaneously to each member. The decision will be made by a majority of the ballots received within thirty (30) days from the day the ballot is mailed.
5.7 Quorum of Members. At any Annual or special meeting of members, a quorum shall consist of fifty (50) percent of those members registered for such meeting, provided that no less than fifty (50) members are present.
ARTICLE VI - BOARD OF DIRECTORS AND OFFICERS
Board of Directors
6.1.1 Number and Composition. The Board of Directors shall consist of the President, President-Elect, Secretary-Treasurer, Immediate Past-President and four (4) Directors who shall be elected as herein provided.
6.1.2 Authority, Responsibility and Duty of the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors of OGR shall have and exercise such powers as from time to time it may deem necessary or convenient to conduct and carry on the business and affairs of OGR, and to accomplish its objectives consistent with these Bylaws. It may also, in the execution of powers granted, delegate certain of its powers and authority to the Executive Committee. Such powers shall include, but shall not be limited to, the authority to make policy decisions for OGR; to establish rules and procedures for the Board of Directors and for OGR; to approve, modify or disapprove reports, resolutions or actions of officers or committees of OGR; to approve, or revise and approve, the Annual Budget for OGR prepared by the Executive Director; to approve, or revise and approve, and to amend if thereafter deemed by it to be appropriate, an Annual Financial Plan for OGR; to delegate to the President, the Executive Director or any committee the authority to proceed with authorized actions, consistent with the Annual Financial Plan then in effect; and to perform all other duties required under these Bylaws.
6.1.3 Term of Directors. The four independently elected Directors shall each have two-year terms expiring in succeeding years. Terms will be staggered so that no more than two positions would be replaced in any year.
Removal from office will be in accordance with the Boards policies and Procedures on Removal, which it shall set and publish from time to time.
6.1.6 Compensation. Members of the Board of Directors shall not receive any compensation for their services, except for reimbursement of such out-of-pocket expenses as the Board may authorize. In accordance with its reimbursement policies, which it shall establish and publish from time to time.
6.1.7 Manner of Election of Directors. Immediately after assuming office, the President shall appoint a Nominating Committee. The Nominating Committee shall, not less than one hundred twenty (120) days prior to the Annual Meeting of OGR, nominate a slate of candidates to fill Board vacancies. Any member of OGR may submit to the Nominating Committee additional names for consideration by the submission of a nominating petition signed by not less than three (3) nor more than five (5) members in good standing. The Nominating Committee shall nominate at least as many candidates for Directors as there are vacancies who shall give the Board as broad a geographical representation as is possible. The name and qualifications of each nominee shall be published and circulated to all members of OGR.
Directors shall be elected by mail ballot or electronic means in the manner provided in Article V, Section 5.6 of these Bylaws in advance of the Annual Meeting of OGR. Directors shall be installed at the Annual Meeting and serve until their successors shall have been elected and qualified.
6.1.8 Meetings of the Board of Directors. An Annual Meeting of the Board of Directors shall be held in conjunction with the Annual Conference of the members of OGR. Special meetings of the Board of Directors may be held at such time and place as the Board may prescribe. Special meetings of the Board may be called by the President or at the request of any five (5) members of the Board. In either event, due and proper notice shall be given to all Board members at least ten (10) days prior to the date on which the meeting is to be held. However, due and proper notice shall be deemed to have been waived at any time that all members of the Board of Directors agree that a meeting shall be held without notice and all members of the Board are gathered together, in person or by electronic means which allows all persons participating in the meeting to hear one another. In all instances when a Board meeting is held, minutes shall be kept of the proceedings and shall be placed in the official minutes of OGR.
6.1.9 Quorum. A majority of the members of the Board of Directors shall constitute a quorum for meetings of the Board.
6.1.10 Informal Action by Directors. No action of the Board of Directors shall be valid unless taken at a meeting at which a quorum is present except that any action which may be taken by the Board may be taken without a meeting if a consent in writing (setting forth the action to be taken) is signed by each Director entitled to vote.
6.2.1 The elected Officers of OGR shall be the President, a President-Elect and a Secretary-Treasurer, who shall be elected in the manner hereinafter provided and serve until their successors have been duly elected and assumed office.
6.2.2 Qualification for Office. Any member in good standing shall be eligible for nomination to any office of OGR provided that he/she shall have served at least one (1) year as a member of the Board of Directors prior to commencement of his/her elected term.
6.2.3 Nomination and Election of Officers. The Board of Directors shall, by motion and second, nominate a slate of Officers, one office at a time, in the following order: President-Elect and Secretary-Treasurer. Election to the office of President-Elect shall constitute an automatic election to the office of President for the succeeding year. The President shall serve one succeeding year as the Immediate Past President. The Board shall vote by secret or absentee ballot upon each office after the nominations for that office are closed in the above order. Prior agreement to serve shall be obtained from the nominated candidate. In elections for the offices of OGR, the President and Officers shall vote in the same manner as all other members of the Board.
6.2.4 Term of Office. Each elected Officer shall take office immediately upon his/her installation and shall serve for a term of one (1) year or until his/her successor is duly elected and qualified. Each elected Officer shall serve concurrently as a member of the Board of Directors and as a member of the Executive Committee.
6.2.5 Re-election, With the exception of the Secretary-Treasurer, no elected Officer shall be eligible for re-election to the same office until at least one (1) year has elapsed. The Secretary-Treasurer shall have no term limit.
6.2.6 Vacancies - Removal. Vacancies in any elective office shall be filled for the balance of the term thereof by the Board of Directors at any regular or special meeting. The Board of Directors at its discretion, with the approval of two-thirds of those Board members present and voting, may remove any Officer from office for cause.
6.2.7 Duties. The duties of the officers shall be as follows:
No Officer of OGR shall have the power to bind OGR unless specifically authorized to do so by the Board of Directors.
ARTICLE VII - EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
7.1 Composition. The Executive Committee shall be composed of the President, President-Elect, Secretary-Treasurer, and the Immediate Past-President
7.2 Authority and Responsibility. The Executive Committee may act for the Board of Directors between Board Meetings on all matters, except those specifically reserved to the Board by these Bylaws, pursuant to delegation of authority to such Committee by the Board of Directors. Actions of the Executive Committee shall be the actions of the Board until, or unless, the Board reverses or changes the Executive Committee's actions.
7.3.1 Should the office of President become vacant by death, disability, removal, or resignation, the President-Elect shall succeed to the office of the President for the balance of the vacated unexpired term and thereafter serve for the term for which he/she was elected.
7.3.2 Should the office of President-Elect become vacant by death, disability, removal, or resignation, the vacancy shall be filled at the next regular election or prior thereto by special election called by the President at his/her discretion.
7.3.3 Should the office of the Secretary-Treasurer become vacant by death, disability, removal, or resignation, the Board of Directors shall fill such vacancy for the unexpired term.
ARTICLE VIII – NOMINATING COMMITTEE
8.1 Composition. The Nominating Committee of OGR shall be composed of the Immediate Past President, the Executive Director and two members in good standing chosen by the President.
8.2 Duties and Responsibilities. The Immediate Past President shall serve as chairman of the Nominating Committee. The Committee shall not be required to hold a formal meeting, but may conduct its business by mail or electronic means and shall present nominations to the Executive Director on or before June 1st. The Nominating Committee may not nominate any of its own members for any office. Any member of OGR may recommend candidates for consideration by the Nominating Committee.
Nominations other than those submitted by the Nominating Committee may be made on petition of three to five members in good standing of OGR. Such petitions must be received by the Executive Director in the office of OGR not later than July 1st to qualify the names of nominees by petition to be placed on the ballot. Any individual's request to have his or her name removed from the ballot shall be honored. If, for lack of a candidate, a position is not filled, a vacancy shall be deemed to be created by resignation and shall be filled in accordance with Article VI, Section 6.1.5.
ARTICLE IX - STANDING AND SPECIAL COMMITTEES
In addition to the Executive Committee, the Board may from time to time designate and appoint other committees as it sees fit .
ARTICLE X - EXECUTIVE AND STAFF
10.1 Appointment. The Board shall employ a salaried staff head who shall have the title of Executive Director and whose terms and conditions of employment shall be specified by the Board.
10.2 Authority and Responsibility. The Executive Director shall be the chief executive of OGR, responsible for all operations functions. The Executive Director shall manage and direct all activities of OGR as prescribed by the Board of Directors and shall be responsible to the Board, shall employ and may terminate the employment of members of the staff necessary to carry on the work of OGR, and shall fix their compensation within the approved budget.
ARTICLE XI – INDEMNIFICATION OF OFFICERS AND DIRECTORS
11.1 Indemnification. Any person who was or is a party or is threatened to be made a party to any threatened, pending or competed action, suit or proceeding, whether civil, criminal, administrative or investigative (other than an action by or in the right of OGR) by reason of the fact that he/she is or was a Director, Officer, employee or agent of OGR, or is or was serving at the request of OGR as a Director, Officer, employee or agent, including the Executive Director, shall be indemnified by the corporation against expenses (including all attorney's fees and court costs), judgments, fines and amounts paid in settlement actually and reasonably incurred by him/her in connection with such actions, suit or proceeding if he/she acted in good faith and in a manner he/she reasonably believed to be in or not opposed to the best interests of OGR and with respect to any criminal action or proceeding, had no reasonable cause to believe his/her conduct was unlawful. A Director, Officer or employee shall not be indemnified for any manner for which he/she is held liable for negligence or misconduct in the performance of his/her duties.
The termination of any action, suit or proceeding by judgment, order, settlement, conviction or other plea of nolo contendere or its equivalent shall not, of itself, create a presumption that the person did not act in good faith and in a manner in which he/she reasonably believed to be or not opposed to the best interest of OGR, and, with respect to any criminal action or proceeding, had reasonable cause to believe that his/her conduct was unlawful.
11.2 Policy. Such written policy as is necessary to define and carry out the intent of these Bylaws may be adopted by the Board of Directors. Said policy can be amended by a majority vote of Board members present and voting during a properly called meeting of the Board.
ARTICLE XII - FISCAL AND MISCELLANEOUS
Constitution and Conventions
12.5.1 Gender and Number. As used in these Bylaws, personal pronouns shall be interpreted to refer to persons of either gender and relative words whenever applicable to more than one person shall be read as if written in the plural.
12.5.2 Titles, Headings and Captions. The titles, headings and captions appearing in these Bylaws are used and intended for convenience of description or reference only and shall not be construed or interpreted to limit, restrict or define the scope or effect of any provision.
12.5.3 Severability. If any provision of these Bylaws, or its application to any person or circumstance, is held invalid by a court of competent jurisdiction, the remainder of these Bylaws, or the application of the provision to other persons or circumstances, shall not be affected.
Revised October 18, 2013
Family Contact Program Requirements
New members of OGR are encouraged to use the Family Contact program for two (2) years after their application is approved.
Member firms that undergo a substantial change in ownership are encouraged to use the Family Contact program for two (2) years after the change in ownership occurs. For purposes of this policy, a “substantial change in ownership” is defined as the purchase of the main funeral home location by a person or a non-publicly traded entity not previously associated with the funeral home. This change in ownership will result in a change of the main contact person.
EDUCATOR & STUDENT MEMBERSHIP
To support and encourage research and advancement of the profession and to assist mortuary science students in acquiring and maintaining a working knowledge of all facets of the death care profession, OGR has established two categories of membership for the advancement of education: a Student and an Educator category. These two memberships were created to enable interested educators and students to receive official OGR publications, as well as participate in the continuing education programs and varied services of OGR.
All students of mortuary science at accredited colleges, universities or accredited trade schools are eligible for student membership. Eligibility ceases when the student graduates.
Neither Educator nor Student members shall have a vote in the operation of the association, nor can they serve as a Committee Chair or a Regional Chair. They are not prohibited from committee service.
SUPPLIER MEMBERSHIP LEVELS
Supplier membership has two levels: Business Membership and Endorsed Suppliers.
Any person or firm engaged in selling products or services to OGR members may apply to become a Business Member if they fulfill eligibility requirements stated in Section 3.2.3 of OGR’s Bylaws. They must:
Business Members in good standing may advance to Endorsed Supplier status by complying with the following requirements:
ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP DUES
OGR members shall pay annual dues according to the following schedule:
DUES REDUCTION FOR FINANCIAL HARDSHIP
To give members who are considering terminating members who are experiencing financial hardship, OGR will offer such members a 25 percent discount on annual dues if they agree to set up quarterly dues payments on a valid credit card and attend an OGR event within 12 months. (June 24, 2010).
Basic Level members who quality for Gold Level membership but are prohibited from doing so because of financial constraints may advance to Gold Level membership at the Basic Level membership dues rate. (Sept. 20, 2010)
DUTIES OF PRESIDENT
DUTIES OF PRESIDENT/ELECT
These duties become effective upon the absence of the President.
DUTIES OF SECRETARY/TREASURER
Board of Directors Nomination / ELECTION
Board members may, if elected each term, serve up to three consecutive terms as Directors-at-Large. After a Director has served three consecutive terms, at least two years must elapse from Board service before a Board member is eligible for be nominated for an additional Director-at-Large term.
Board of Directors Expense Reimbursement
Generally, the night of a Board meeting and one additional night may be reimbursed by OGR.
INTERNATIONAL ORDER OF THE GOLDEN RULE (OGR)
STATEMENT OF PURPOSE--This document establishes policies governing the reimbursement of travel and business related expenses incurred during the conduct of Association business. It is OGR’s policy to reimburse Board members for all ordinary, necessary and reasonable travel expense when directly connected with or pertaining to the transaction of Association business. Board members are expected to exercise prudent business judgment regarding expenses covered by this policy. When submitting expense reports to claim reimbursement, Board members are expected to neither gain nor lose financially.
OGR Board members are required to pay for all out-of pocket expenses and to submit a request for reimbursement accompanied by proper documentation (receipts) within two weeks of a meeting. Listed below are the items eligible for reimbursement. All directors will receive a 40% discounted registration fee to OGR meetings that they attend while a member of the Board. (Revised August 13, 2009)
Annual Conference & Educational Conferences:
President and Spouse:
President and Directors:
Other Association Meeting:
President or Designated Appointee):
EXPENSE REPORTING—All travel and business related expenses incurred by a Board member should be reported on the expense report form. The expense report must include a complete explanation of the business purpose of all expenses, signed by the Board member and submitted to the Executive Director for reimbursement within two weeks following the Board meeting or conference. The Executive Director will then submit the report to the Accounting Department.
Receipts are required to support expenses. All expense items of $25 or more must be supported by a receipt. If a receipt is lost or misplaced, a memo identifying the amount and the nature of the business expense can be submitted.
REIMBURSEMENT SCHEDULE—The Accounting Department normally processes checks within five business days of receiving the approved expense report.
TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS AND TRANSPORTATION—As travel plans become known, the Board member should provide the basic parameters for the trip and ask for the lowest fare available for the destination. The mode of transportation should be consistent with the travel destinations and time involved. OGR will reimburse for air travel in coach class.
LODGING--Lodging is a reimbursable expense when a Board member is required to be away from home overnight for business reasons. The availability, convenience, service and cost of adequate lodging vary between cities, geographic locations and seasons. Therefore, the Board member is expected to use prudent business judgment in the selection of lodging. In most cases, lodging is pre-arranged for all OGR sponsored events and is direct billed to the Association. Generally, the night of a Board meeting and one additional night may be reimbursed by OGR. Additional room nights will be the responsibility of the individual Board member unless a special request by the Executive Director requires that you arrive early or stay over after the meeting.
RENTAL CARS--Cars should be rented by Board members only when other means of transportation are unavailable, more costly or impractical. The use of a rental car must be justified as a business need and not as a matter of personal convenience.
Refueling--Board members are encouraged to refuel rental cars prior to returning to the drop-off area. This practice can save as much as 50% of the gasoline cost. Receipts for gasoline purchased must accompany the expense report.
OTHER REIMBURSABLE EXPENSES--The following incidental expenses, when related to travel or the conduct of OGR business are reimbursable:
NON-REIMBURSABLE EXPENSES--Although not all inclusive, the following is a list of expenses that are not reimbursable through the expense report:
Absentee Voting for OGR Officers
Bylaw 6.2.3 allows the use of absentee ballots in Board voting for the OGR offices of President-Elect and Secretary-Treasurer. For purposes of this Organizational Policy, absentee voting means the non-attending Board member may call the meeting room by telephone (or be called) at the time the election is taking place, and cast votes.
The procedure is that the non-attending Board member will speak to a Board member of his/her choosing, with an OGR staff member (either the Executive Director or his/her designee) listening in to confirm the vote. The attending Board member will mark the non-attending member’s vote on a separate piece of paper from his/her own vote.
Absentee ballots cast in the prescribed manner will be counted.
Composition. There shall be a body of Regional Chairpersons, composed of active members in good standing from various states in the United States, the provinces of Canada and international countries, whose members shall be appointed by the President with the approval of Board of Directors. The regional areas are grouped into twelve districts and are overseen by a Regional Chairperson and co-chair in each area. The President also appoints a Board member to each region as a “sponsor.”
Term of Office. Each Regional Chairperson is appointed for three years. The President can remove a Regional Chairperson during the term, with the approval of the Board of Directors. The President shall have the authority to reappoint a Regional Chairperson for an additional three year term. Board members can not serve as a Regional Chairperson concurrently. There shall be no limit on the number of terms that a Regional Chairperson may serve.
Roles and Responsibilities:
Regional Chair’s Role in the Membership Application Process:
In certain circumstances, the Regional Chair may be asked by the Board of Directors to conduct an on-site investigation of the applicant’s premise, unless an OGR staff member has been at the applicant’s premise six months prior to receipt of the application and the staff member is familiar enough with the premise to comment upon the quality of the management and facilities;
Compensation. Regional Chairpersons shall serve without pay or compensation, except for reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses as the Board of Directors may authorize.
How to Conduct an On-Site Investigation:
If a Regional Chair is asked to conduct an On-Site Investigation and Investigation Report, the following are guidelines to assist Regional Chairs in conducting a successful on-site investigation.
District Teleconference Meetings:
The President will appoint a Member from the sitting Board of Directors to serve as a Sponsor foreach region. The Board Sponsor may or may not have their principal business establishment in the particular region to which they are assigned, but will, nonetheless, serve as a conduit for support, information and exchange of ideas. Throughout the year, Regional Chairs meet via teleconferences held for each region. Those attending include the Regional Chair and co-chair, Board Member Sponsor, President of OGR, Executive Director and Director of Membership. Meetings usually take place prior to each Board of Director’s meeting.”
Family Contact Exemplary Service Award
Each year, OGR honors members who have shown exemplary service to families based on comments from families on their Family Contact Response Forms. The Independent publishes the comments in each issue. Members whose comments appeared in The Independent throughout the year receive an automatic nomination for the Family Contact Exemplary Service Awards.
In January, Regional Chairs will receive a ballot to review all nominations and vote for the top three funeral homes for the Gold, Silver and Bronze awards. The funeral homes selected receive an engraved marble plaque in recognition for their exemplary service. Members receive their awards at the Annual Conference banquet.
INVESTMENT POLICY STATEMENT
PURPOSE—The purpose of this statements is to provide a clear understanding between the International Order of the Golden Rule (OGR) and members, donors, investment managers and other interested parties concerning the investment policies and objectives of OGR’s assets. This statement outlines an overall philosophy that is specific, but is flexible enough to allow for changes in the economy, securities, market and OGR policy changes.
DELINEATION OF RESPONSIBILITIES—
ASSET ALLOCATION—The Executive Director in conjunction with the Finance Committee will make the overall allocation of equities, fixed income and cash investments, as they deem appropriate. The investment managers will have discretion, within the guidelines and prohibitions below to make individual security and industry decisions within their own discipline. The prudent person rule will apply to individual securities, asset allocation and industry/sector weightings.
PROHIBITIONS—The investment manager is prohibited from investing in letter stock, private placements, options, short sales, margin transactions, financial futures, commodities, or other specialized activities. No assets should be invested in speculative nature. Investments not specifically addressed by this statement are forbidden without OGR’s written consent. The investment policies and restriction presented in this statement serve as a framework to achieve the investment objectives at a level of risk deemed acceptable. These policies and restrictions are designed to minimize interfering with efforts to attain overall objectives, and to minimize excluding any appropriate investment opportunities.
COMMUNICATIONS—Meetings between the Executive Director and the investment manager will be held quarterly and on a “when needed” basis. Annually, there will be a meeting between the Board of Directors, Finance Committee and Executive Director at a location set by OGR. Investment reviews will be sent quarterly to individuals designated by the Executive Director.
AMENDMENTS—Amendments to this policy statement are allowed, as needed, by the Finance Committee once approved by the Board of Directors. Any such amendment will be forwarded in writing to the investment manager.
OGR will strive to maintain a minimum reserve fund equal to 100 percent of annual operating expenses based on the two most recent fiscal years. To achieve this goal, OGR should designate no less than 20 percent of each fiscal year’s net income towards this fund, plus allow the fund’s earnings to be added back into the fund. The contribution percentage may be increased at the end of each fiscal year based on net revenues and projected organizational needs.
ANNUAL BUDGET PROCESS
To facilitate the perpetuation of the association as well as the oversight and related financial management of the Order’s net assets, operations and cash flows, the Finance Committee and the Board of Directors shall endeavor to comply with the following guidelines prior to the adoption of the annual budget:
- MINIMUM ANNUAL INCOME TARGETS—The Order shall target annual net income of at least 4% of total revenues budgeted for the fiscal year.
- CAPITAL EXPENDITURES—The Order shall target annual capital expenditures which are not directly funded by a specific grant or contribution to be no greater than annual depreciation and amortization.
CONFLICT OF INTEREST POLICY
A conflict of interest arises when a person in a position of authority over the organization may benefit financially from a decision he or she could make in that capacity, including indirect benefits such as to family members or businesses with which the person is closely associated. This policy is focused upon material financial interest of, or benefit to, such persons. The purpose of a conflict of interest policy is to protect the organization’s interest; this policy is intended to supplement, but not replace, any applicable state and federal laws governing conflicts of interest.
A financial interest is not necessarily a conflict of interest in all cases. Under Article III, Section 2 of IRS Form 1023, a person with a financial interest may have a conflict of interest only if the appropriate governing board or committee decides that a conflict of interest exists.
Specifically, members of the Board of Directors shall:
This policy shall apply not only to all members of the OGR Board of Directors, but also shall apply to all members of OGR committees, task forces, and others in the OGR governance structure, as well as to all OGR employees. All references herein to the Board of Directors shall be construed also to refer to these additional individuals.
In connection with any actual or possible conflict of interest, each board member must disclose the existence of a financial interest and be given the opportunity to disclose all material facts to the Board of Directors. In an effort to aid such disclosure, each board member shall complete a conflict of interest questionnaire as circumstances warrant, but no less frequently than annually.
The Board of Directors shall review each member questionnaire and any other disclosures regarding the financial interests of its members. After disclosure of a financial interest, the board member shall leave the board meeting while the remaining board members discuss and vote on whether a conflict of interest exists.
For each financial interest disclosed to the Board of Directors, after exercising due diligence, the Board of Directors shall determine whether to (a) take no action, (b) ask the person to recuse from participation in related discussions or decisions within the organization, or (c) ask the person to resign from his or her position in the organization or, if the person refuses to resign, become subject to possible removal in accordance with the organization's removal procedures. The organization's Executive Director shall monitor proposed or ongoing transactions for conflicts of interest and disclosethem to the Board of Directors in order to deal with potential or actual conflicts, whether discovered before or after the transaction has occurred.
ANTITRUST COMPLIANCE POLICY
The International Order of the Golden Rule (OGR), as well as its for-profit division, Golden Services Group (GSG), has a policy of strict compliance with the Federal and state antitrust laws. The antitrust laws prohibit agreements, combinations and conspiracies in restraint of trade. Associations are common targets of antitrust plaintiffs and prosecutors.
The consequences for violating the antitrust laws can be severe. A conviction can carry stiff fines for the association and its offending leaders, jail sentences for individuals who participated in the violation, and a court order dissolving the association or seriously curtailing its activities. The antitrust laws can be enforced against associations, association members, and the association's employees by both government agencies and private parties (such as competitors and consumers) through treble (triple) damage actions. As the principal federal antitrust law is a criminal conspiracy statute, an executive who attends a meeting at which competitors engage in illegal discussions may be held criminally responsible, even if he or she says nothing at the meeting.
The antitrust laws prohibit competitors from engaging in actions that could result in an unreasonable restraint of trade. Above all else, association members should be free to make business decisions based on the dictates of the market – not the dictates of the association.
Some activities by competitors are deemed so pernicious and harmful that they are considered per se violations – it does not matter whether or not the activities actually have a harmful effect on competition; the effect is presumed. These generally include price fixing, allocation of customers, markets or territories, bid-rigging, and some forms of boycotts. In addition, there are many features that factor into price; agreements as to warranty duration, freight terms, or other factors that can directly impact price also are proscribed.
OGR members should avoid discussing certain subjects when they are together – both at formal OGR membership, Board of Directors, committee, and other meetings and in informal contacts with other industry members – and should otherwise adhere strictly to the following guidelines:
Antitrust laws are complicated. If any member is concerned that he or she may be in a “gray area,” that member should consult with legal counsel.
Any questions about OGR’s antitrust policy should be directed to OGR’s Executive Director & CEO.
This Whistleblower Policy of OGR: 1) encourages staff and volunteers to come forward with credible information on illegal practices or serious violations of adopted OGR policies; 2) specifies that OGR will protect the person from retaliation; and 3) identifies where such information can be reported.
1. Encouragement of reporting. OGR encourages complaints, reports or inquiries about illegal practices or serious violations of OGR’s policies, including illegal or improper conduct by OGR staff, by its volunteer leadership, or by others on its behalf. Appropriate subjects to raise under this policy include financial improprieties, accounting or audit matters, ethical violations, or other similar illegal or improper practices or policies. Matters such as alleged discrimination or harassment should also be addressed through this mechanism.
2. Protection from retaliation. OGR prohibits retaliation by or on behalf of OGR, staff or volunteers for making good faith complaints, reports or inquiries under this policy or for participating in a review or investigation under this policy. This protection extends to those whose allegations are made in good faith but prove to be mistaken. OGR reserves the right to discipline persons who make bad faith, knowingly false, or vexatious complaints, reports or inquiries or who otherwise abuse this policy.
3. Where to report. Complaints, reports or inquiries may be made under this policy on a confidential or anonymous basis. They should describe in detail the specific facts demonstrating the bases for the complaints, reports or inquiries. They should be directed to OGR’s chief employed executive or president; if both of those persons are implicated in the complaint, report or inquiry, it should be directed to OGR’s president-elect. OGR will conduct a prompt, discreet, and objective review or investigation. Staff or volunteers must recognize that OGR may be unable to fully evaluate a vague or general complaint, report or inquiry that is made anonymously.
DEATH NOTIFICATION POLICY
1. Notification of death. Upon notification to OGR of a death sent by a member, the OGR communications department will send an all-member email or broadcast fax to the membership announcing the death. The deceased’s family will receive a written acknowledgement from the President of OGR.
In addition, a notice is placed in The Independent and on the OGR web site. Prior to sending the notice, a Notification of Death form should be completed and sent to the OGR communications department to provide necessary information. The Notification of Death form, will ask for photo(s) to be sent to OGR’s Communication department. It shall be incumbent upon the member making the notification to provide photo(s) to OGR for inclusion in any memorial honor that OGR undertakes.
2. Memorial Program at Annual Conference. At each Annual Conference, those persons whose death notification has been received from a member by OGR’s Communication department and who have died since the previous Annual Conference will be honored at a memorial program during the opening session. Every effort will be made to include all deaths so notified; however, notifications received less than thirty (30) days prior to the Annual Conference may not be included in all aspects of the Memorial program
3. Flowers. OGR will send flowers or if the service has already occurred, a memorial gift in memory of those persons whose death notification has been received by OGR’s Communication department from a member.
4. Executive Committee Review. All names submitted by a non-member of OGR to the Communication department for inclusion in any or all of the aforementioned items of recognition shall be subject to review by the Executive Committee which will have final authority regarding the appropriateness for said inclusion.
Approved: November 22, 2013