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Obsolete Potomac Chapter NRHS By-Laws

Obsolete version


AS OF OCTOBER, 1986 (rendered obsolete by amendments approved April 17, 2012)

Article I: Name
Article II: Purpose
Article III: Principal Office
Article IV: Board of Directors
Article V: Officers
Article VI: Nominations and Elections
Article VII: Membership
Article VIII: Dues
Article IX: Meeting of Members
Article X: Quorum for Meeeting of Members
Article XI: Amendments
Article XII: Removal of Officers and Directors
Article XIII: Expulsion of Members
Article XIV: Claims; Indemnity
Article XV: Financial Records
Article XVI: Bonds
Article XVII: Earnings
Article XVIII: Fiscal Year
Article XIX: Travel Expenses
Article XX: Authorized Representation
Article XXI: Dissolution


The name of this organization shall be NATIONAL RAILWAY HISTORICAL SOCIETY, POTOMAC CHAPTER, INC. (hereinafter referred to as the Chapter.)


The purpose for which this Chapter is formed and the business or objectives to be carried on and promoted by it are mainly historical, educational, and are not for profit. The more particular objectives are:

a. To preserve the historical materials of railway transportation of all kinds.
b. To collect data on the history of transportation and to issue publications relating to this subject.
c. To acquire by purchase, lease, or otherwise real or personal property.
d. To mortgage, sell, deed, lease or otherwise manage real or personal property in a manner appropriate for museums and the above mentioned purpose.
e. To increase understanding of the various phases of Rail Transportation by sponsoring or cooperating in the operation of inspection trips to various Rail Transportation facilities.
f. To sponsor rail trips, photographic excursions, conventions, lectures, motion picture and slide showings, exhibitions, banquets, and other undertakings of a fundamentally educational character.


The principal office of the Chapter shall be located in Montgomery County, Maryland.


Section 1. There shall be a Board of Directors (hereinafter called the Board) consisting of the five elected Chapter officers and four directors at large which shall conduct the corporate affairs of the organization. The Board shall meet at the call of the President or at the request of two-thirds of the members of the Board to conduct required Chapter business and shall have the authority and functions normally delegated to a Board of Directors with its actions subject to review of the membership.1 Authority to approve expenditures without membership review is limited to $500.2 Larger expenditures must be approved by the membership at a regular membership meeting- A quorum of the Board shall consist of six3 members, but members may cast their vote by phone or mail, without their physical presence. Simple majority vote of the quorum of Board of Directors in contact shall prevail.

Section 2. The directors at large shall be members in good standing elected for alternating two year terms except that in the first fiscal year following acceptance of these By-laws two of the directors at large shall be elected for a one year term. They shall take office on the 1st day of January following their election.

Section 3. All powers not specifically reserved to the membership or denied to the Board shall remain with the Board. Any action of the Board, other than the expenditure of up to $500, may be reversed by a vote of two-thirds of the membership present and voting at the next Chapter meeting.


Section 1. The officers of the Chapter, in order of rank, shall be a President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, and Chapter Director. These officers shall be elected by the membership annually. Chapter officers will take office the 1st of January following their election and serve for the ensuing year or until their successors are installed.

Section 2. The President shall be the Chief Executive Officer of the Chapter and the Chairman of the Board. The President may appoint such other officers of the Chapter as he or she may desire, including committee chairmen. The President shall be an ex-officio member of all committees and shall coordinate all activities of the Chapter. Expenditures of $100 or less may be authorized by the President.

Section 3. The Vice President shall assume the President's duties in his absence.

Section 4. The Secretary shall prepare and maintain minutes4 at all meetings, assist in election procedures as prescribed in these By-Laws and handle all correspondence not otherwise delegated. The Secretary shall preside at Board and Chapter meetings in the absence of senior officers.

Section 5. The Treasurer shall conduct the financial affairs of the Chapter and provide a financial statement5 at each Board meeting. The Treasurer shall present an annual formal Treasurer’s Report to the Board. He/she shall be responsible for the Chapter’s bank accounts and a record of its assets. The Treasurer shall preside at Board and Chapter meeting in the absence of senior officers.

Section 6. The National Director of the Chapter shall represent the Chapter on the Board of Directors of the NRHS. The Chapter Director shall preside at Chapter meeting in the absence of senior officers.


Section 1. Nominees for Chapter officers must be 21 years of age or older. Nominees for directors at large must be 18 years of age or older. All nominees must be members in good standing and must have been a Chapter member for at least one year. Nominations for directors at large and Chapter officers shall be made by a Nominating and Election Committee to be appointed by the President in September of each year. The nominees shall be presented to the membership at the October meeting. Members in good standing may nominate candidates for office from the floor at the October meeting. Nominations from the floor must be accompanied by a written statement of acceptance of the nomination by the person to be nominated. Elections will be conducted by written ballot distributed to members in good standing following the October meeting, providing there is more than one candidate for any office. Said ballots must be received by the Chairman of the nominating and election committee at least five (5) days prior to the November meeting. The nominating and election committee shall be responsible for insuring a secret ballot and an accurate vote count.

Section 2. Whenever an elective office becomes vacant, for whatever reason, the President shall make a temporary appointment for a period not to exceed three months. If the unexpired term will exceed three months, the Board shall present its nominee to fill the vacancy, at a membership meeting, within five (5) weeks following the vacancy. Nominations by the members and elections shall follow the usual procedures.


Section 1. Any person of good character, sixteen years of age or over, interested in the objectives of the Chapter and the National Railway Historical Society, Inc., shall be eligible for membership.

Section 2. For all purposes, Chapter membership shall be dependent and predicated on national membership in the National Railway Historical Society.

Section 3. Applicants shall be sponsored by Chapter members in good standing. Applications for Chapter membership shall be submitted to the Treasurer6. All applications shall be accompanied by the proper amount of Chapter and national dues as of the date of the application. Any recommendation for acceptance or rejection shall be presented by the Treasurer and voted upon by the Board of Directors7.

Section 4. Honorary memberships shall be conferred for a lifetime upon individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the objectives of the Chapter following: (1) nomination in writing by four members in good standing clearly stating the contributions of the nominee, (2) recommendation for approval by the Board, and (3) approval of a majority of the Chapter membership assembled in meeting. Failure of the Board to recommend approval will terminate further consideration of the nomination. The nominee cannot be renominated for two years. Such members shall be accorded all the privileges and responsibilities of a regular member except that they may not hold elective office and they shall not be required to pay any dues.


Section 1. Annual dues shall consist of a combination of National and Chapter dues. Those persons already members of the NRHS shall pay only the Chapter dues. Persons joining after July 1st of any year shall pay one-half of the annual dues of the Chapter, plus the required National dues. All memberships expire on December 31st of each year. Renewal dues are due on January 1st and must be received by the Treasurer no later than March 15th of the same year for the member to remain in good standing.

Section 2. The annual National dues are fixed by the National Board of Directors of the National Railway Historical Society, Inc.

Section 3. The Chapter annual dues shall be any amount as may be recommended by the Chapter Board of Directors and approved by a majority of the Chapter members assembled in meeting.

Section 4. To encourage new memberships, the Board may offer extended coverage to new members at any time not to exceed sixteen months membership for the payment of one year’s dues.


Section 1. Chapter meetings shall be held monthly at a date, time, and place to be recommended by the Board of Directors and approved by a majority of Chapter members assembled in meeting. Special Chapter meetings may be convened by the Board as required.

Section 2. A present and simple majority vote shall prevail at any meeting of members.


At least 20 percent8 of the Chapter membership shall constitute a quorum for conducting business at a Chapter meeting.


Proposed amendments to these By-Laws must be presented in writing to the Board. The Board will review same and place the proposed amendment and its recommendation in the next Chapter newsletter. A vote on the proposed amendment as submitted to the Board will be held at the second monthly meeting following the newsletter.


Should it become necessary to remove an officer or director from office for actions detrimental to the Chapter, the officer or director may be removed by a two-thirds vote of the members in good standing present and voting at a regular meeting of the membership, or at a special meeting called for this purpose, after the following procedures have been taken: A written request for removal, stating in detail the reasons for the request, shall be sent to the President by certified mail or presented to the presiding officer at a regular meeting of the membership. The request shall be signed by the initiating member and countersigned by two additional members in good standing. The President shall promptly notify the officer or director and shall appoint a special investigating committee of five members in good standing, composed of former officers and/or directors if available, and turn the removal request over to the committee for investigation and report without delay. The investigating committee shall interview all parties concerned. Upon receipt of the report of the investigating committee, the President shall present it to the Board of Directors at its next regular or special meeting. If the investigating committee report does not concur with the request for removal, the Board may, by majority vote, terminate the matter and must then notify the membership of its findings.

If the committee report concurs with the request for removal, the Board shall adopt a resolution referring the request for removal to the membership with its recommendation. The President shall then notify in writing by certified mail the officer or director concerning whom the request for removal was filed of the action taken, and the final action to be taken at the next regular membership meeting and request that the officer or director concerned appear at the said meeting to answer the charges made in the request for removal. If the officer or director resigns, the matter shall be terminated. Following this hearing, or if the officer or director concerned fails to appear without having requested a delay, the final vote shall be taken. If the officer named in the request for removal should be the President, all actions directed to be taken by the President in this Article shall be taken by the Vice President. At the discretion of the Board, the officer or director named in the request for removal may be suspended from his duties upon the receipt of the request until final action has been taken in the matter and shall not attend any meetings of the Board of Directors during that period.


In the event it becomes necessary to expel a member for actions detrimental to the Chapter, the member may be expelled by a two-thirds vote of the members, in good standing, present and voting at a regular meeting under the following procedure: A request for expulsion of a member must be submitted in writing to the President. It must state the reasons why expulsion seems necessary, and it must be signed by three (3) members in good standing. The President shall so notify the member in question and in writing turn the expulsion request over to the Board for investigation and prompt report. The Board shall interview all parties. If the Board report favors expulsion, the President shall offer the member the opportunity to resign from the Chapter. If the member does not resign the President shall read the expulsion request and the report of the Board at the next meeting. The member shall then be given the opportunity to answer the charge made in the expulsion request. The vote on expulsion shall then be taken. If the member does not appear, and has not requested a delay, the vote of expulsion shall be taken.


Section 1. The Chapter assumes no responsibility for property which may be brought into or left at Chapter-sponsored activities nor for any accident or injury to any person or property.

Section 2. Members are responsible and liable for damage done by them to Chapter assets.


The financial records of the Chapter shall be audited every three years9 or upon changeover of the Treasurer, whichever is less. This audit shall be conducted by a certified public accountant appointed by the Board of Directors, provided that the auditor shall not be a member of the Board of Directors. The report of the auditors shall be made available to the membership.


As determined by the Board of Directors, the Treasurer and other officers shall be bonded in such principal amounts as the Board shall direct10. The Treasurer shall be responsible for procurement and maintenance of bonds and for timely payments of premiums and all other costs from Chapter funds.


No part of the earnings of this corporation shall inure to the benefit of, or be distributable directly or indirectly, to its members, officers, directors, or other private persons, except that the corporation shall be authorized and empowered to reimburse such persons for actual expenses incurred on official business of the Chapter, and to make payments and distributions in furtherance of the purposes and objectives set forth in Article II of these By-Laws. No substantial part of the activities of the corporation shall be the carrying on of propaganda or otherwise attempting to influence legislation, and the corporation shall not participate in, nor intervene in (including the publication or distribution of statements) any political campaign on behalf of any candidate for public office. Notwithstanding any other provision of these By-Laws, the corporation shall not carry on any other activities not permitted to be carried on by a corporation exempt from Federal income tax under Section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 (or the corresponding provision of any future United States Internal Revenue Law).


The fiscal year of the Chapter shall correspond with the calendar year.


1. The National Director of the Chapter, or an alternate designated by the President, is entitled to reimbursement for travel expenses to meetings of the directors of the National Railway Historical Society, Inc.
2. Other individuals may be reimbursed for travel undertaken on behalf of the Chapter. Reimbursement shall be paid only for travel outside the Washington/Baltimore metropolitan area.
3. Reimbursement for transportation by public conveyance shall be limited to the lowest applicable round-trip rail or air fare. Reimbursement for travel by private automobile shall be at the mileage rate currently allowed by the Internal Revenue Service for deductions of mileage for charitable purposes plus applicable tolls and parking charges. Automobile reimbursement shall not exceed the applicable rail or air fare.
4. Reimbursement for meals and lodging shall be for actual expenses, limited to the amounts permitted U.S. government employees for those purposes at the location where incurred. No other travel expenses may be reimbursed.
5. The Board of Directors shall approve all travel in advance.


No Chapter member or group of Chapter members shall have authority to officially represent or act as agent for the Chapter or to make any commitment or utterance on behalf of the Chapter unless that member or group of members has been duly authorized to represent the Chapter by the Board or by a majority vote of Chapter members voting in a duly convened Chapter meeting.


The Potomac Chapter will cease to exist in accordance with National Society rules if the membership falls below six members or by affirmative vote of members assembled in meeting. In event of dissolution all assets shall be distributed as determined by the membership to a non-profit group or groups whose purpose is in concert with that of Article II of these By-Laws.

Proposed bylaw revision for travel expenses:


1 Revised May, 1984. Eliminated the requirement for Board meeting minutes to be read at the next month's Chapter meeting.

2 Revised May, 1984. Increased from $250.00

3 Revised May, 1984. Decreased from seven.

4 Revised May, 1984. Adds the word "maintain".

5 Revised May, 1984. Eliminates the requirement for written reports at each Board meeting, and adds the requirement for a formal annual report.

6 Revised May, 1984. Changed "membership committee" to "Treasurer".

7 Revised May, 1984 to replace "membership" with "Board".

8 Revised May, 1984. Reduces the percent comprising a quorum from "35%." to "20%.".

9 Revised May, 1984. Conduct an audit every three years or when Treasurer leaves. Formerly it was an annual requirement.

10 Revised October, 1986. Gives the Board the option of determining when the Treasurer or other members of the Board should be bonded.

11 Revised May, 1984. Eliminated reimbursement for rail or air fare only. Also eliminated reimbursement of only half the transportation costs for the director's meeting held in conjunction with the annual Convention.

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