Suncoast Mental Health Counselors Association

SUNCOAST MENTAL HEALTH COUNSELORS ASSOCIATION

BYLAWS

Approved: June 18, 2021

Article I Name and Purpose

Section 1. Name

This association will be known as the “Suncoast Mental Health Counselors Association,” hereafter referred to as SMHCA. SMHCA is incorporated in Florida as a 501(c)(6) corporation.

Section 2. Affiliation

This association is the District III affiliate of the Florida Mental Health Counselors Association (FMHCA) and is recognized by FMHCA as the association to represent mental health counselors in Citrus, Hernando, Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas and Sumter counties consistent with the Purposes as set forth in Article I, Section 3. Both FMHCA and SMHCA are independent and autonomous professional associations.

Section 3. Purpose

The purpose of SMHCA is to provide a means for mental health counselors in District III of the Florida Mental Health Counselors Association, working as a chapter of the organization, to do the following:

·       Address institutional and social barriers that impede access, equity, and success for clients through ongoing advocacy efforts.

·       Contribute to the establishment and maintenance of minimal training standards for mental health counselors.

·       Contribute to the reduction of client harm by encouraging mental health counselors to explain the potential risk and ethical considerations of using “unproven” or “developing” techniques or psychotherapy procedures with no scientific basis.

·       Contribute to the understanding of individuals from different cultural backgrounds within our diverse society by considering dimensions such as culture, ethnicity, nationality, age, gender, sexual orientation, mental and physical characteristics, education, family values, religious and spiritual values, socioeconomic status and unique characteristics of individuals, couples, families, ethnic groups and communities.

·       Coordinate with other professional organizations to promote the advancement of the mental health profession.

·       Promote legislation that recognizes and advances the profession of mental health counseling.

·       Promote positive relations with mental health counselors and other mental health practitioners in all work settings to enhance the profession of mental health counseling.

·       Promote scientific research and inquiry into mental health concerns.

·       Promote the profession of mental health counseling.

·       Promote the utilization of empirical or scientific foundation for the selection of mental health counseling techniques, procedures, or psychotherapies.

·       Provide a public forum for mental health counselors and other mental health practitioners in all work settings to enhance the profession of mental health counseling.

·       Provide a system for the exchange of professional information among mental health counselors through electronic and printed media. 

·       Provide professional development programs for mental health counselors to update and enhance clinical competencies.

·       Provide the public with information concerning the competencies and professional services of mental health counselors.

  • Article II Membership, Dues and Ethics

    Membership application to SMHCA shall be completed on the SMHCA website or by mail accompanied by the appropriate fee. 

    Section 1. Classes of Membership 

  • 1.     General Member
  • Must possess a minimum of a master’s degree in human services; may be unlicensed or licensed in another related mental health profession; work or previously worked in a clinical or educational setting. Privileges include full voting rights, participation in all activities, eligibility for non­‐elected office and chairing a committee.
  • 2.     Licensed Mental Health Counselor Member
  • Must possess a current Florida Mental Health Counselor license and be in good standing with the State of Florida. Privileges include full voting rights, participation in all activities, eligibility for office and chairing a committee.
  • 3.     Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern Member
  • Must be a Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern in Florida. Must have earned a master's degree from a regionally accredited program in mental health counseling or a closely related field. Registered Interns must include a letter from Supervisor certifying they are under supervision. Privileges include full voting rights, participation in all activities, eligibility for non-elected office and chairing a committee.
  • 4.     Student Member
  • Must be currently engaged in a graduate program leading to a masters or doctoral degree in counseling or a related field. Privileges include voting rights and participation in all activities and committees; exclusions include holding elected office and chairing a committee.

Section 2. Dues

Annual dues shall be established by the Board of Directors. Dues statements will be sent out electronically. Optional automatic membership renewal is available. 

Section 3.  Severance of Membership

A member will be dropped from membership for any conduct that tends to injure SMHCA or that adversely affects its Bylaws or the referenced Professional Code of Ethics. A member will be dropped from membership for: 

·       nonpayment of dues

·       falsely documenting that membership qualifications have been met 

·       having been disciplined by the 491 Board  

·       by action of the Board of Directors

Article III Election

Section 1. Ballots

The officers of SMHCA shall be elected by signed or electronic ballot received by the designated date. Ties will be decided by another ballot. The nomination process will begin in January and culminate at the June Annual Membership and Election Meeting.

Section 2. Nominations

Officers of the Association will be nominated and elected annually consistent with the policy established by the board and adhering to the following schedule:

·      January: Nominations Committee initiates nominations process for the year

·      March: Nominations Committee provides update on candidates for consideration

·      April: Nominations Committee presents slate of prepared candidates for office

·      May: Publication of list of nominees and a procedure for voting

·      June: Deadline for completion of voting procedure

Newly elected officers will be installed and assume office at the June Annual Membership and Election Meeting. 

Section 3. Vacancies

Vacancies in any office, except that of President, shall be appointed and approved by a majority of a quorum of the Board for the unexpired term.

Article IV Meetings

Section 1. Annual Membership Meeting

The Annual Membership and Election Meeting will be held in June. The agenda for such meeting will include:

·      Installation of newly elected officers

·      Ratification of any bylaws changes previously approved by the Board of Directors

 

Section 2. Special Meetings

Special meetings may be called by the President or three members of the Board. Written notice of the agenda, time, and location of the special meeting must be delivered to each Board member no less than five days prior to the meetings.

Section 3. Quorum

Three of five elected officers and one-­half (50%) of vote-­eligible Board members attending a Board Meeting will constitute a quorum.

Section 4. Member Attendance

General members in good standing are invited to attend Board Meetings at any time without a vote.

Article V Board of Directors

Section 1. Composition

Voting members of the Board of Directors (Board) shall be composed of the President, President-­Elect, Past-­President, Secretary, Treasurer, all standing committee chairpersons and appointed Board members.

Section 2. Meetings

The Board shall meet at least five times per year. Meetings shall be scheduled by the President or by requests of three members of the Board.

Section 3. Duties and Responsibilities

The Board will conduct and manage the business of the Association in accordance with these Bylaws. The Board may engage the services of an independent contractor as needed. No policy decisions may be delegated to any other entity.

The Board is empowered to approve and disapprove membership applications, approve committee chairs appointed by the President, appoint members to office if a vacancy occurs, approve and disapprove expenditures, approve and disapprove projects, and undertake other actions for the organization that are not contrary to the Bylaws. 

Section 4. Appointment and Discharge

A. Appointment

Officers of the Board will be elected by ballot. Additional Board members will be appointed by the President and must be approved by a majority of a quorum of the Board. 

B. Discharge

A majority of a quorum of the SMHCA Board of Directors will be required to remove voting members of the Board of Directors from his/her position with the exception of elected officers. The procedure for removing an officer from his/her position will be established by policy. A member of the Association must initiate the process of removal from office in writing. Two additional letters from members of the board supporting removal from office must accompany the initial charge. Ethical violations must be dealt with according to procedures detailed in policy relating to such matters as set forth by the Code of Ethics. The following reasons for removal apply to all Board members:

·      Failure to act in accordance with the established legislative platform or purposes of SMHCA

·      Failure to carry out duties/responsibilities of office

·      Missing three consecutive board meetings

·      Violation of professional, legal or ethical codes

C. Resignation

Board members may resign by submitting written notice of intent 30 days prior to resignation. 

Section 5. Expenses

Expenses of $500 or more other than those in the approved budget must be presented to the Board and approved by the majority of a quorum of the Board. Expenses under $500 other than those in the approved budget may be approved by both the President and Treasurer without Board approval.

Article VI. Elected Officers Descriptions & Duties

Section 1. Elected Officers

The elected officers of SMHCA shall be President, President-­Elect, Past-­President, Secretary, and Treasurer. Officers will be elected by ballot and installed during the June Annual Membership and Election Meeting. Officers will be members of FMHCA and encouraged to be members of AMHCA.

A. President

1. Qualifications: Professional LMHC member of SMHCA, active member of SMHCA for at least one year, reside or work in District III of FMHCA

2. Term: One year

3. Duties:

a. Preside at SMHCA Board meetings

b. Serve as ex-officio member of all committees

c. Appoint a Chairperson for each Standing Committee, subject to the approval of the Board of Directors by a majority of a quorum of the Board, thereafter, within 60 days of the June Annual Membership and Election Meeting

d. Appoint special committees as needed

e. Perform other duties as necessary and appropriate to the office of President including meeting agenda preparation

B. President-­Elect

1. Qualifications: Professional LMHC member of SMHCA, active member of SMHCA for at least one year, reside or work in District III of FMHCA

2. Term: One year

3. Duties:

a. Assume Presidential duties in the absence of the President

b. Become President for the unexpired term should a vacancy occur in the office of the President

c. Become President when current President’s term expires

d. Assume other responsibilities as decided by the Board of Directors

C. Secretary

1. Qualifications: Professional LMHC member of SMHCA, active member of SMHCA for at least one year, reside or work in District III of FMHCA

2. Term: One year

3. Duties:

a. Maintain an attendance record of all SMHCA Board Meetings 

b. Record minutes of all SMHCA Board Meetings, and distribute promptly to Board Members

c. Prepare correspondence of SMHCA as directed by the President or by the Board of Directors

D. Treasurer

1. Qualifications: Professional LMHC member of SMHCA, active member of SMHCA for at least one year, reside or work in District III of FMHCA

2. Term: One year

3. Duties:

a. Receive and deposit all SMHCA funds

b. Disburse, by check, funds authorized by the President or Board

c. Close annual Association books as of the June election in accordance with our fiscal year of July 1st through June 30th

d. Submit records to the Board of Directors monthly or as requested

e. Be responsible for any correspondence related to federal or state tax law

f. Chair the Finance Committee

E. Past-President

1. Term: One year post-completion of Office of President

2. Duties: Serve as advisor to the President and Board of Directors

Section 2. Appointed Board Members

Additional Board members will be appointed as needed and be current members of the Association appointed by the President and approved by the majority of a quorum of the Board to serve a term of one year

A. Parliamentarian – nonvoting

The Parliamentarian will serve as an advisor to the President and the Board regarding parliamentary procedures and be responsible for ensuring meetings follow the process outlined by “Robert’s Rules of Order.”

B. Graduate Student Representative – voting

A current student member enrolled in a graduate Mental Health Counselor Program. The Graduate Student Representative will serve on the Membership Committee and be a liaison between SMHCA and the Universities and their students.

C. Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern Representative – voting

A current Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern. The Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern Representative will serve on the Membership Committee and be a liaison between SMHCA and the Registered Mental Health Counselor Interns.

D. Counselor Educator Representative – voting

A Counselor Educator on the faculty of a Graduate Mental Health Counselor Program. The Counselor Educator Representative will serve on the Membership Committee and function as a liaison to the Board with regard to the current concerns of graduate school mental health counselor faculty.

E. Two Members “At Large” as appointed by the President – voting

The two “At Large” Board members shall be members in good standing with interest and willingness to further the organization’s purpose.

F: Committee Chairpersons

All Standing Committee Chairs serve on the Board and have voting privileges as members of the Board.

Article VII Standing and Special Committees

Section 1. Standing Committees 

Chairpersons are appointed by the President and approved by a majority of the quorum of the Board. Each committee may have as many members as desired. Consultants from the general public may be engaged to assist the committees but will not be formal members of the committee. The Committee Chair with the approval of the President may fill a vacancy on any Standing Committee.

A. Legislative

Informs and enlists the support of the Board and membership regarding key legislation and political activity related to mental health counseling. The committee will act as a liaison between SMHCA, FMHCA, and its lobbyists in the identification and action on laws, programs and practices affecting the practice of mental health counseling.

B. Professional Development

Assesses the professional development needs of the membership and plans, coordinates, and ensures the presentation of workshops and the provision of CEUs.

C. Membership

Actively promotes SMHCA and FMHCA membership. Members will include: Counselor Educator Representative, Graduate Student Representative, Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern Representative, and other members as appointed by the Chair and/or the President.

D. Public and Community Relations

Promotes all Association events using appropriate advertisement media including social networking sites. Works closely with the Board and all Committee Chairpersons to relay their interests and concerns to the members and the public as appropriate. The Committee will promote understanding and positioning of mental health counseling to the public, third party payers, employers, and other professionals.

E. Finance

Chaired by the Treasurer. Prepares a budget for the upcoming fiscal year and presents it to the Board for approval at the first meeting of the fiscal year. The Committee produces monthly reports and at the end of the year provides the Board with an accounting of income and expenditures. They may submit revisions to the approved budget as it becomes necessary.

F. Nominations 

The Nominating Committee shall be composed of three members appointed by the President and approved by the Board: Chairperson, member of the Board, and one member from the membership at large. The duties of the Nominating Committee shall include securing validation of eligibility and consent of nominees for each office, accepting nominations beginning in January and presenting a slate of prepared candidates by April. The Nominating Committee shall establish policies and procedures to ensure that only ballots returned by SMHCA members will be counted.

Section 2. Special Committees

The President may create Special Committees as issues of concern arise. The role and purpose of Special Committees will be determined in consultation with the Board.

Article VIII: Adoption & Ratification, Amendment and Publication

Section 1. Adoption and Ratification - These Bylaws, revised and approved by the Board of Directors, are effective June 18, 2021 subject to ratification by the membership.

Section 2. Amendment - These Bylaws may be amended by a majority of a quorum of the Board of Directors subject to ratification by the members at the June Annual Membership and Election Meeting. 

Section 3. Publication - All amendments adopted by SMHCA will be distributed electronically to the membership upon adoption.

Section 4. Continuity – The Secretary of SMHCA will be responsible for maintaining an official copy of these Bylaws and amendments thereto and for passing same to his/her successor.

Article IX: Code of Ethics

Members are expected to abide by the American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA) Code of Ethics. Licensed mental health professionals must abide by the regulations published by the State of Florida governing 491 licensees in the state and the Administrative Code Rules set by the Florida Board of Clinical Social Work, Marriage and Family Therapists and Mental Health Counselors.


    Suncoast Mental Health Counselors Association is a 501(c)6 non-profit organization.
    Copyright © 2016. All Rights Reserved

    Suncoast Mental Health Counselors Association
    P.O. Box 28128 Kenneth City, Florida 33709

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