Proposed Amendments to the GDUI Bylaws April 2017

The GDUI Bylaws and Resolutions Committee submits the following four (4) proposed amendments for consideration during the May 2017 Annual election.

In order to achieve a quorum, at least 75 members, which represents 15% of the membership, must vote.  Further, a two-thirds affirmative vote is required in order to adopt an amendment.

Members will have opportunities to ask questions about the proposed amendments during the Candidates/Amendments Forums which are scheduled on two separate dates prior to the elections.  The first will be held on Saturday, April 29, 2017, beginning at 1:00 P. M. (EDT) and the second will be held on Thursday, May 11, 2017 beginning at 8:00 P. M. (EDT). The call-in number for both forums is (712) 432-0075; access code: 919245 followed by the pound sign.

AMENDMENT 1: Non-discrimination and Freedom of Speech

Purpose: To acknowledge the principles of Freedom of Speech and non-discrimination.  Although technically not required because it is already included within the context of the existing provision, GDUI wishes to underscore its commitment to the principles of non-discrimination and freedom of speech with the additional proposed language in the last sentence below.


Section 1.03:  Affiliation

This Organization shall be a chartered special interest affiliate of the American Council of the Blind, and shall hence be subject to all requirements and obligations applicable to affiliates  of that organization.  GDUI embraces the principles of non-discrimination and freedom of speech.

AMENDMENT 2: Clarification of Affiliate Voting

Purpose:  to amend the language of subsection 4.06 (1), which deals with Affiliate Voting, in order to eliminate ambiguity and to conform with related sections 4.06(4) and 7.02.

Below is the proposed revision of 4.06 (1) followed by the current 4.06 (1).

Proposed revision of 4.06 (1):

4.06(1) Affiliate voting shall be limited to caucuses and business sessions taking place at the annual convention  where such business shall be strictly limited to matters coming before the ACB convention on which GDUI may wish to adopt positions or take specific actions.  At such a meeting, the membership may, by majority vote of those present and voting, call for a roll call vote on a specific matter of business.  When affiliate voting is authorized, each affiliate shall be entitled to one (1) vote for each seven (7) affiliate members, or major fraction thereof; however, no affiliate may have more than twenty-five (25) affiliate votes.

The current language of 4.06(1) is:

Affiliate voting shall be limited to caucuses and other activities authorized by the Board of Directors, with the exception that the membership at a properly called meeting, may, by majority vote of those present and voting, call for a roll call vote  on a  specific matter of business.  When affiliate voting is authorized, each affiliate shall be entitled to one (1) vote in any annual or special  meeting of the membership  or properly called telephonic or electronic election/meeting for each seven (7) affiliate members, or major fraction thereof; however, no affiliate may have more than twenty-five (25) affiliate members.

AMENDMENT 3: Designating a Seat on the Board for Immediate Past President

Purpose: designate the position of Immediate Past President as a seat on the Board.  This would involve the following changes.

5.03:  Immediate Past President 

The position of Immediate Past President shall be designated as a seat on the Board. 

  (1)The Immediate Past President shall have full voting privileges and shall serve until there is another Immediate Past President.

  (2) The designated position of Immediate Past President shall become available when the person serving as President in June of 2017 shall be duly qualified to succeed  to that office.

The present section 5.04 shall become 5.05 and read as follows:

5.05:  Board Of Directors

The Officers, Directors, Immediate Past President, and the three (3) additional members who are elected or appointed to the Board shall constitute the Board of Directors of this Organization, (hereinafter the Board).  All Officers shall be considered to be Directors as that term is used in the DC Nonprofit Code.

The current section 5.05 shall become 5.06 and shall read:

Section 5.06:  Locales of Directors

Of those Director positions that are elected to the Board, no more than three (3) members occupying those positions shall be from the same state, district, or possession.  For the avoidance of doubt, the Publications Editor, the Affiliate Liaison, the Guide Dog School Liaison, and the Immediate Past President are not elected positions on the Board.

AMENDMENT 4:  Eliminating Provisions for Run-off Elections

Purpose: Due to the costs of conducting elections, propose eliminating the provision for run-off elections (second elections).

The proposal involves eliminating sub-section 5.09 (3), which deals with second elections, and merging sub-sections 5.09 (2) and 5.09 (4), which deal with majority and plurality voting.

Changes to 5.09 Election and Tenure.  Propose elimination of sub-section 5.09(3) which reads: “In the event there are more than two candidates for any Officer position  and following the election, no candidate has received more than fifty percent of the votes cast for such office, a second election will be held immediately following the conclusion of the first election.  The two candidates receiving the most votes in the first election shall be candidates in the second election.  If either of the top two candidates elects not to stand for the second election, the candidate with the next highest vote total shall be a candidate for office in the second vote.  No additional nominees will be accepted for such office.”

5.09(2) reads “Officers will be elected by a majority  of the members present at the meeting.”  and

5.09(4) reads “Directors will be elected by a plurality of the members present at the meeting.”

Propose combining both into a new 5.09(2) to read, “Officers and Directors will be elected by a plurality of the members present at the meeting.”

End of proposed Amendments

GDUI has elected to proceed under Section 29.405.20(f) of the Nonprofit Code. If a member who is entitled to vote on these matters has any questions, please feel free to contact your Bylaws Committee members at .

Respectfully submitted,

Maria Hansen, Chair, Bylaws and Resolutions Committee

Lynn Merrill, Member

Ellen Telker, Member

Rick Roderick, Member

Maria Kristic, Member

Penny Reeder, Member

TransAtlantic Six-Legged Adventure

by: Gabriel Lopez Kafati

This past month of March marked the beginning of my fourth decade. As the big day was approaching, I grew with anticipation. Let me clarify: this year, the big day was not precisely my birthday, but the day in which my guide dog, Posh, and I prepared to embark in our first TransAtlantic journey. My 40TH birthday celebration was none other than a trip to Barcelona, Spain!

As is the case with any other travel preparations, Posh kept following every one of my moves around the house. I can already read the questions running through her furry head… “Where are we going now? How long will we be there? Will there be any play mates for me? Do you know I keep following you around because I want to make sure you won’t forget me? Will we be traveling in one of those tiny spots, or will we get upgraded?” Oh yes, and most importantly… “I’m watching you, so don’t you dare forget to pack my food!” Since our outbound was an evening flight, our day went by without major changes in our schedule; Posh ate and parked at her regular times. Although she might have noticed that I was being unusually stingy with her water bowl.

Barcelona was definitely the best place to celebrate my Big 40! A spectacular spring weather; tantalizing food and delectable sweets; an overflow of good wine; the company of awesome friends; and a vibrant atmosphere.

We enjoyed all the historic stages contained in every spot, and meeting people from all walks of life. Posh led our way through a bustling Barcelona; we navigated through sidewalks full of persons, other dogs, cigarette stubs, splashes of wine and beer, and all sorts of sounds and smells. We walked on narrow streets where cars make their way through bikes, pedestrians, and dogs. We crossed complicated intersections, including Calle Diagonal which traces the city from corner to corner, and where cars travel at highway speed. Posh really made the difference when it came to exploring and discovering each detail around us. She made sure our walks and visits ran smoothly, and she even suggested a detour in a winery, through a route that would have taken us where the bottles were being filled- most likely guided by her vino-trained sense of smell.

A week seemed like a day in the mist of all the fun and celebration. My first journey across the Atlantic with a guide dog was definitely incomparable. Posh really complemented every aspect and every part of this marvelous adventure with her brightness, her sweetness, and her silliness. Our inbound flight took off just before noon, and brought us back to Miami at mid afternoon, given the regression in the time zones. Posh was not amused with such a deal, as it did not agree with her regular dinner time. After this trip, I have added a few travel-related Posh thoughts and questions to her traditional list… “Now I understand that thing you humans call jet lag; I was cool with eating within local schedule, but I was also hungry at the times I would have been eating back home!” Getting upgraded is awesome in terms of our space, but how come I don’t get all those meals just like you do? From now on, I’ll be sure to ask how long a flight is going to be before you get me on one of those planes.” Oh yes! Most importantly… “When I sniffed my bed, I realized that there is no place like home!”