Bylaws

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;

  • To provide the opportunity for the exchange of information through discussion, study and publications;
  • To conduct or participate in meetings and conferences of interest to funeral directors and others within the profession;
  • To develop and encourage the practice of high personal and professional conduct among funeral directors;
  • To establish and maintain good relations between members and other funeral directors, and the people in their respective communities;
  • To provide funeral directors with information, counsel and assistance on all matters relating to the practice of funeral directing consistent with the public interest;
  • To cooperate with other groups or individuals in or related to the practice in the common endeavor to advance funeral service as a profession;
  • To increase the ability of independent funeral homes to compete with the class of publicly-owned funeral homes.

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:

3.1.7.1 Student Membership:  mortuary science students.

3.1.7.2 Educator Membership: non-member educators, researchers, and academics engaged in the study, but not the practice of mortuary science.

3.2     Eligibility           

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.

3.2.1.1 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:
  • Entities that are publicly held (i.e., firms in which interests are traded on an established securities market) or whose management or control is in or by such publicly held entities, or persons affiliated with such entities.
  • Entities in which management control is held by a private equity firm or firms (i.e., firms which, through their own capital or capital raised from investors, invests in companies not publicly held).
3.2.1.2 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

3.2.4.1 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.
3.2.4.2 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. 

  • Proxy voting.  A member may not appoint a proxy vote or otherwise act for the member by signing an appointment form either personally or by attorney-in-fact.

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.

  • Board Qualifications.  Members of the Board of Directors will be limited to persons who are members in good standing and have an ownership interest in, or are employees of, an OGR member firm.  Further, it shall be a qualification of OGR Board membership that he/she not be a principal, employee or under a personal service contract to a firm disqualified from membership by Article III, Section 3.2.2 of OGR’s Bylaws.
  • Vacancies and Removal. The Board of Directors shall fill any vacancy occurring on the Board of Directors between Annual Meetings.  A Director so appointed to fill a vacancy shall serve the unexpired term of his/her predecessor.  The Board of Directors may, at its discretion, by affirmative vote of two-thirds of those Board members present and voting, remove any Director for failure to properly execute his/her fiduciary responsibilities.

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.  

Officers

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:

  • President: The President shall preside over the meetings of the Board of Directors and the Annual Meeting of the membership.
  • President-Elect: The President-Elect shall perform the functions of the president in his/her absence.
  • Secretary-Treasurer: The Secretary-Treasurer shall be responsible for the preparation and retention of the minutes of the meetings, review the financial status of the Association, and shall report to the Board of Directors its financial status at all regular meetings of the Board.  The Secretary-Treasurer may delegate any portion of his/her duties to qualified personnel. Election to the office of Secretary-Treasurer does not ensure election to higher office within OGR.

No Officer of OGR shall have the power to bind OGR unless specifically authorized to do so by the Board of Directors.

  • Immediate Past-President: The Immediate Past President remains an officer and director for one year following his/her term as President and chairs the Nominating Committee  

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. 

Vacancies

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

  • Fiscal Year Definition.  The fiscal year for OGR shall begin on January 1st of each year and end on December 31st of the same year.
  • Annual Budget.  Each year, prior to the beginning of the fiscal year, the Board of Directors shall adopt a budget for the ensuing fiscal year, which may be amended from time to time.
  • Control of Funds.  All funds, whether membership dues or other revenues derived from OGR programs or activities, shall be held for safekeeping and disbursement as directed by the Executive Director or the Board of Directors, pursuant to these Bylaws and Financial Plan of OGR then in effect.
  • Definition of “Good Standing.”  As used in these Bylaws, the phrase “good standing” is defined as being current in all financial obligations (dues and purchases) and consistently upholding the Standards of Ethical Conduct, contra: a Member Not in Good Standing, 3.1.8. 

                            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.

  • Effective Date and Amendments.  These Bylaws including all amendments approved by resolution of the Board of Directors duly adopted on November, 3 2007, and as otherwise ratified and confirmed in all respects by such resolution, shall be effective as of February 7, 2010.  Thereafter, these Bylaws may be altered, amended, or repealed by a two-thirds favorable vote of the members of the Board of Directors and two-thirds of the votes cast by members. Amendments to these Bylaws shall become effective after adoption by the Board of Directors and subsequent approval by the membership.

Revised October 18, 2013
Approved March 29, 2014 at Annual Business Meeting


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.

Business Membership

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:

  • Have been in business at least one year;
  • Submit a Business Member application;
  • Pay the annual dues fee.

Endorsed Suppliers

Business Members in good standing may advance to Endorsed Supplier status by complying with the following requirements:

  • Have been in business for at least two years;
  • Have been an OGR Business Member for at least one year;
  • Offer a unique product or service feature to OGR members;
  • Had its product or service “live” in at least five companies for at least six months;
  • Confirm the company is not directly or indirectly affiliated with any OGR Regular, Affiliate or International member;
  • Submit an executed mutual Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA), the company’s Executive Summary and its business brochures;
  • Identify the company’s name as it will be used in the endorsement program;
  • Agree to pay OGR fees stated in the “Annual Membership Dues” section of the Organizational Policies.

ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP DUES

OGR members shall pay annual dues according to the following schedule:

  • Basic: $595 per firm, plus $1.75 per case over $1,000 for firms arranging more than 30 calls per year;
  • Gold Level: $1,054 per firm, plus $3.40 per case over $1,000 for firms arranging more than 30 calls per year;
  • Affiliate: $165;
  • Supplier/Business Member: $350;
  • Auxiliary: $150;
  • Endorsed Supplier: Service provider—4.5 percent of net income in quantifiable (negotiable based on individual factors); Product providers—fees at 7-10 percent of gross sales ranging from $50,000-$200,000 (fees are negotiable for sales above $200,000);
  • International: $350;
  • Student: $35 per person;
  • Educator: $50 per person.

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 

  • Appoint a Nominating Committee;
  • Appoint Regional chairpersons;
  • Appoint committee chairpersons and members;
  • Preside over Board meetings and the Annual Conference;
  • Assist Association staff in the development of agendas for meetings;
  • Author the President’s Message for The Independent;
  • Serve as facilitator and presenter at programs/conferences (as  necessary);
  • Serve as a resource to the membership.

DUTIES OF PRESIDENT/ELECT 

These duties become effective upon the absence of the President.

  • Appoint a Nominating Committee;
  • Appoint Regional chairpersons;
  • Appoint committee chairpersons and members;
  • Preside over Board meetings and the Annual Conference;
  • Assist Association staff in the development of agendas for meetings;
  • Author the President-Elect’s Message for The Independent;
  • Serve as facilitator and presenter at programs/conferences (as  necessary);
  • Serve as a resource to the membership.

DUTIES OF SECRETARY/TREASURER

  • Review the monthly financial statements of the Association;
  • Report on the financial status of the Association at Board Meetings;
  • Serve as a resource to the membership at all OGR functions where you are in attendance;
  • If a need arises, you may be asked to perform duties in addition to those outlined above.

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. 

TRAVEL POLICY

INTERNATIONAL ORDER OF THE GOLDEN RULE (OGR)
BUSINESS EXPENSE GUIDELINES AND REPORTING
REQUIREMENTS POLICY FOR BOARD OF DIRECTORS 

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:

  • Transportation (air or rail; taxi; rental car; parking)
  • Lodging (room and tax only)
  • Meals (outside of the meals provided at the meetings)
  • Telephone (reasonable charges)

Board Meetings:

President and Directors:

  • Transportation (air or rail; taxi; rental car; parking)
  • Lodging (room and tax only) the night prior to and the night of the Board meeting
  • Meals (night prior to and days of meeting only, if not provided; other meals only by prior approval of the Executive Director)

Other Association Meeting:

President or Designated Appointee):

  • Transportation (air or rail; taxi; rental car; parking)
  • Lodging (room and tax only)
  • Meals (outside of the meals provided at the meetings)
  • Telephone (reasonable charges)

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.  

  • Room Type–If not pre-arranged in conjunction with an OGR sponsored meeting, a single room in a moderately priced business class hotel is the corporate standard. Guaranteeing a room reservation is the responsibility of the Board member when traveling independently. When attending an OGR Board meeting, Board members should provide their arrival and departure information to the Director of Meetings who will then make your room reservations.  The room night prior to the Board meeting and the night of the Board meeting will be charged to the OGR Master Account.  Additional room nights will be the responsibility of the Board member.
  • Cancellation–If it is necessary to cancel a hotel reservation, the room reservation must be canceled by the time specified by the hotel to avoid a "no show" charge. If the cancellation is made directly with the hotel, Board members should request and retain a "cancellation number" as documentation of the transaction. "No-show" charges are not reimbursable except when uncontrollable conditions prohibit the Board member from following the above procedures.
  • Reimbursement and Documentation--Lodging charges are to be reported on the expense report form, only when paid out of pocket by the Board member, and must be detailed so that other charges (e.g. meals, phone calls, etc.) are shown separately. The paid bill is required documentation for reimbursement of lodging and charges must be recorded in the appropriate section of the expense report.

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.

  • Reimbursement and Documentation--Car rental expenses must be documented on expense reports and includes the original car rental receipt.
  • Insurance–Board members should check with their insurance agent to determine if the additional insurance coverage offered by the car rental company is necessary.

OTHER TRANSPORTATION

  • Personal Car–Board members may utilize personal cars for Association business travel. The use of personal cars for business will be reimbursed at the standard rate prescribed by the IRS (Check with the Director of Accounting for the current rate). This mileage allowance covers all auto costs (e.g. gasoline, repairs, insurance, etc.) other than parking and toll charges.  OGR will reimburse the cost of business travel by personal car up to the cost of a roundtrip, coach airline ticket to the same destination.
  • Taxi Cabs, Buses and LimousinesBoard members should choose the most reasonable ground transportation available, consistent with travel schedule and business requirements.  Receipts are required for all transportation expenses.

MEALS

  • Reimbursement for Actual ExpenseA Board member can be reimbursed for the actual cost of daily meals associated with their attendance to a Board meeting when substantiated by receipts. The Association will reimburse for the reasonable cost of meals and Board members should exercise prudence when incurring meal expenses. It is preferred that Board members traveling together pay for their own meals. However, if it is necessary for one to pay for others, the names of those paid for must be included on the expense report.

OTHER REIMBURSABLE EXPENSES--The following incidental expenses, when related to travel or the conduct of OGR business are reimbursable:

  • Parking
  • Tips/Gratuities – 15% recommended at restaurants - $1 per bag portage -  $2-$3 per day hotel housekeeping

NON-REIMBURSABLE EXPENSES--Although not all inclusive, the following is a list of expenses that are not reimbursable through the expense report:

  • Personal articles
  • Barber/Hairstylist
  • Traffic fines
  • Hotel room movies
  • Hotel fitness center charges
  • Hotel spa charges
  • Cell phone roaming fees
  • High speed Internet

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.

Regional Chairpersons

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:

  • Assist with recruiting and retention activities in cooperation with the Membership Department;
  • Promote attendance at meetings and conferences;
  • Conduct on-site investigations for funeral homes applying for membership;
  • Participate in discussions and decisions regarding programming and products and services;
  • Advise the Board in regard to resolving membership grievances in their area;
  • Vote for the Family Contact Exemplary Service Award winners;
  • And other duties as the Board may determine from time to time.

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.

  • Please conduct the on-site investigation as soon as possible.  We recommend within two weeks of notification from the home office.  Timing is very important.  We realize that circumstances may not allow you to travel to the applicant’s site.  Distance and demands of operating your own funeral home may be factors.  We certainly understand.  If you are unable to conduct the investigation, please recommend an alternate funeral director who might take this responsibility.  The member relations staff would also be glad to find another member who may be geographically closer to the applicant and may have time in their schedule;
  • Please make the visit arrangements with the applicant directly.  OGR will reimburse you up to $250 of your expenses.  Please save any receipts.  We will provide the Expense Report at the time of the investigation;
  • Complete the 25-point Investigation Questionnaire covering your impressions of the funeral home. “Impression” is the key word because there is no exact formula for what makes a good funeral home.  Please use your best judgment.  Give your overall first impression, your impressions of the building interior, visitation rooms, chapel, selection room, rest rooms, vehicles and other aspects of the funeral home.  OGR provides a copy of the 25-point checklist prior to visiting the applicant;
  • Complete the Investigation Report providing your overall evaluation of the applicant and the applicant’s funeral home.  OGR provides a copy of the Investigation Report prior to visiting the applicant;
  • When the investigation is completed, submit the Investigation Questionnaire and Investigation Report to the home office via fax.  Instructions are provided with all forms with the fax number.  We submit all of the combined information to the Board for approval.

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—

  • OGR Board of Directors—The OGR Board of Directors is charged with the authority of this policy Statement to hire and fire investment managers with the advice and upon the recommendation of the Finance Committee and the Executive Director of the OGR.  The Board is responsible for all investments made by OGR, but as a practical matter, will delegate day-to-day management of the assets to the Executive Director and investment managers hired for that purpose.
  • Finance Committee—The Finance Committee is charged with the direct oversight of investment managers when hired, asset allocation of the OGR funds and oversight of outside consultants hired to assist the above.  As a practical matter, the Committee may assign day-to-day management to the Executive Director of the OGR.
  • Consultants—The Executive Director upon approval of the Board of Directors may designate an investment broker or financial advisor to act as consultant to OGR regarding the investment of the OGR monetary assets.  Their duties are, but not limited to, advice on asset allocation, screening and day-to-day monitoring of investment managers, independent reporting of investment results, custodianship of the OGR assets and any other duties the Board or the Executive Committee deems appropriate.

OBJECTIVES—

  • Long-Term Objectives—The assets in excess of the Operating account shall be deemed Long-Term Assets with an investment of horizon of 5 years.  The asset allocation for the Long-Term shall be consistent with an allocation of a Moderate Growth Investor Model.  Annual rebalancing will occur to keep the long-term portfolio true to its asset allocation.  Mutual funds must meet the criteria of Morningstar Benchmarks and must be recommended 3 stars or above.  Upon one quarter of lackluster peer performance and failing to continue as a leader in its specific sector, notification will come to the Executive Director and a proper recommendation will be derived.  The goal is to maintain investment funds that rank amongst their peers in the upper quartile. Up to 35% of OGR’s corporate equity can be placed in long-term investments defined as mutual funds and other equities.  The 35% is gauged against the most recent of either the audited year-end financials or the final unaudited year-end financials.  The amount in long-term investments is reviewed at each face-to-face OGR Board of Directors meeting, or more frequently as requested by the Secretary-Treasurer and/or Executive Director.  The Board may elect to leave more than 35% of corporate equity in long-term investments, but only upon specific vote of the full Board. 
  • Operating Account, Cash and Equivalent Objective--Approximately 17% of the current year expense budget is to be kept liquid in SIPC insured money market or Certificate of Deposit investments.  The goal is to have readily accessible funds for the general operations of OGR and interest beyond that point is additional.
  • Short-Term Objectives--The remaining cash after long-term and operating account requirements are met, will be managed in short-term investments.  The short-term fund objective is safety of principal and shall be invested in a prudent manner to achieve this objective.  The short-term investment fund shall be invested by the Secretary-Treasurer and Executive Director in consultation with the financial advisor in such a way that half the short-term funds can be accessed in a 3 to 6 month period if need be. The comparable amount will be invested with a shorter than 3-year time horizon.  It is the goal to exceed money market rates if the first goal is safety of principal. 

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.

  • Equity Securities--Equity securities including equity mutual funds must be traded on the United States domestic over-the-counter markets.  The investment manager should invest only in publicly traded securities.  The use of proper due diligence, asset allocation and screening shall take place to remain compliant with investment objectives.
  • Fixed Income Securities-Fixed income securities may be U.S. Government and its Agencies, money markets, certificates of deposit, municipal debt, corporate debt and preferred securities as well as convertible issues of U.S. dollars.  The minimum credit quality rating as set by Standard and Poors (S&P) is “AA”.  Mutual funds conforming to the policy guidelines may be used to implement the investment program.  The discretion of a laddered portfolio, maturities and duration are left to the decision of the investment manager in accordance with the objectives in section III.
  • Cash and Equivalents--Cash and cash equivalents may be invested directly in the money market mutual funds, commercial paper, banker’s acceptance notes, certificates of deposit and corporate notes.  All investments must be in U.S. dollars.

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.

RESERVES POLICY 

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:

  • Avoid placing one's own self-interest or any third-party interest above that of OGR; while the receipt of incidental personal or third-party benefit may necessarily flow from certain OGR activities, such benefit must be merely incidental to the primary benefit to OGR and its purposes;
  • Not abuse their Board membership by improperly using their Board membership or OGR's staff, services, equipment, materials, resources, or property for their personal or third-party gain or pleasure, and shall not represent to third parties that their authority as a Board member extends any further than that which it actually extends;
  • Not engage in any outside business, professional or other activities that would directly or indirectly materially adversely affect OGR;
  • Not engage in or facilitate any discriminatory or harassing behavior directed toward OGR staff, members, officers, directors, meeting attendees, exhibitors, advertisers, sponsors, suppliers, contractors, or others in the context of activities relating to OGR;
  • Not solicit or accept gifts, gratuities, free trips, honoraria, personal property, or any other item of value from any person or entity as a direct or indirect inducement to provide special treatment to such donor with respect to matters pertaining to OGR without fully disclosing such items to the Board of Directors;
  • Provide goods or services to OGR as a paid vendor to OGR only after full disclosure to, and advance approval by, the Board, and pursuant to any related procedures adopted by the Board;
  • Not persuade or attempt to persuade any employee of OGR to leave the employ of OGR or to become employed by any person or entity other than OGR; and
  • Not persuade or attempt to persuade any member, exhibitor, advertiser, sponsor, subscriber, supplier, contractor, or any other person or entity with an actual or potential relationship to or with OGR to terminate, curtail or not enter into its relationship to or with OGR, or to in any way reduce the monetary or other benefits to OGR of such relationship.

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.

Procedures:

  1. 1.      Duty to disclose—

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.

  1. 2.      Determining whether a conflict of interest exists—

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.

  1. 3.      Procedures for addressing the conflict of interest—

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:

  • DO NOT discuss prices, fees or rates, or features that can impact (raise, lower or stabilize) prices such as discounts, costs, salaries, terms and conditions of sale, warranties, or profit margins. Note that a price-fixing violation may be inferred from price-related discussions followed by parallel decisions on pricing by association members — even in the absence of an oral or written agreement.
  • DO NOT agree with competitors as to uniform terms of sale, warranties or contract provisions.
  • DO NOT exchange data concerning fees, prices, production, sales, bids, costs, salaries, customer credit, or other business practices unless the exchange is made pursuant to a well-considered plan that has been approved by OGR’s legal counsel.
  • DO NOT agree with competitors to divide up customers, markets or territories.
  • DO NOT agree with competitors not to deal with certain suppliers or others.
  • DO NOT try to prevent a supplier from selling to your competitor(s).
  • DO NOT discuss your customers with your competitors.
  • DO NOT agree to any association membership restrictions, standard-setting, certification, accreditation, or self-regulation programs without the restrictions or programs having been approved by OGR’s legal counsel.
  • DO insist that OGR meetings that have agendas are circulated in advance and that minutes of all meetings properly reflect the actions taken at the meeting. All OGR meetings generally should have written agendas prepared and circulated in advance.
  • DO leave any meeting (formal or informal) where improper subjects are being discussed. Tell everyone why you are leaving. Seek legal advice before rejoining the discussion.
  • DO ensure that only OGR staff sends out all written and electronic correspondence on behalf of OGR and that OGR officers, directors, committee members, or other members never make any representation, publicly or privately, which would appear to represent an official policy or position of OGR without the express authorization of OGR executives. The U.S. Supreme Court has determined that recommendations or exhortations in antitrust areas by individuals who might appear to represent an association in some capacity can jeopardize the association; those in positions of responsibility for OGR must be especially cautious.
  • DO ensure that if questions arise about the legal aspects of OGR’s activities or your individual responsibilities under the antitrust laws, you seek advice and counsel from your own counsel or from the staff and counsel of OGR.

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.

WHISTLEBLOWER POLICY

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