By Laws and Policies
Article I Membership
Section 1: The annual membership fee for Devi Temple of Florida is $250
Qualifications: Membership in the Devi Temple of Florida. ("DTF") is open to any individual of Hindu heritage or anyone having an interest in and believing in the Hindu religion, tradition and philosophy, provided that he or she adheres to the Charter and Constitution of DTF, to the By-laws, to the rules and regulations of DTF hereafter lawfully adopted, and remains current in the payment of dues.
Section 2: Official Language: The official language of the HSNEF is English.
Section 3: Members are individuals who have paid their dues. First time members are those who were not members in the preceding year. For participation in any membership restricted activity, dues must be current. The membership status will be as per DTF record unless the congregant submits additional proof to support his/her claim within 10 days. In case of a dispute the matter will be referred to the nominating committee or in its absence the advisory committee which will make the final determination within 7 days and this decision will be final.
Section 4: Voting: In order to be eligible to vote, a Member must be eighteen (18) years or older. Membership entitles married couples to one (1) vote for each spouse. Unmarried members will have only one vote. In order to participate in the election process a member must pay his/her dues by April 30th of the current year
Section 5: Use of the Temple: The use of the Temple will be open to any individual of Hindu heritage or anyone having interest and believing in the Hindu 5 tradition without regard to membership status. Non-members may attend Temple functions, but otherwise have no rights or privileges available to Members. At the Board’s discretion non-members may be assessed a fee to attend non-worship Societies activities. Furthermore, the Board may restrict Non-Member’s nonworship related activities.
Section 6: Overriding the Board: Any decision made by the Board may be overridden by the vote of a simple majority of Members attending a duly called general body meeting in which a quorum of 40% of the membership is established; provided, however, that the Board may reinstitute its action if 75% of the total Board vote in favor of such; but provided, further, that any action so reinstituted may itself be overridden by the simple majority vote of Members attending a general body meeting in which a quorum of 50% of the membership is established, and if so overridden will then become final and binding upon the Society. Where these minimum requirements for a quorum are not established, no vote will be taken and the Board’s decision will stand. The quorum for voting in regards to the constitution and/or by-laws is described in Article XI Section 5.
Section 7: Calling a General Body Meeting: Ten (10%) of the membership may petition the Board for a general body meeting with a specific agenda. Once petitioned, the Board must call a general body meeting within 4 weeks.
Section 8: Membership Privileges: The society may at times decide to give the membership certain benefits. These benefits may include but not limited to reduced charges for rituals, rent to use the temple facility and others as determined by the Board. Qualified members can vote, grant proxy, contest elections and petition the board as stated in these by-laws. Any member may attend an open Board meeting provided that he/she shall not participate in the proceedings unless specifically permitted by the meeting Chairperson. Rights and privileges of membership may be suspended or revoked by the Board for any reason as determined by the Board. A vote in favor of termination or suspension of membership rights and privileges must be made by at least a 75% majority of the Board’s total members. The Board may review the revoked member’s status after 12 months. A vote to reinstate a member must be made by 75% of the Board’s total members. 6
Section 9: Members duty: Members agree to abide by these constitution and by-laws, and make reasonable effort to participate in the governance of the society. They will keep contact information like e mail addresses, postal addresses and phone numbers current, participate in election process and keep decorum in worship room.
Section 10: Membership Information Release/Privacy Protection: A) Only a membership list and addresses may be provided to members for relevant requests, as determined by the officers of the society’s board, in order to satisfy the rights and duties of members under these by-laws. The society’s secretary will control access to email groups for circulation of information without making email addresses public. B) A third party (non-member) may also request membership or other information as allowed by law governing Non-Profit Corporations. Such requests will need to be in writing and specify details about the requesting entity, the purpose for requesting the information and a signed assurance that the information is only for the use of the requesting entity and will only be used for the purpose stated. The officers of the Board will assess the relevance of these requests and approve its release if deemed appropriate. The Society may impose a fee for compiling this information.
Section 11: Membership renewal The Society shall send a notification to the congregation between December 15th and January 31st each year to the last mailing and email address on record as a reminder for membership renewal and to update appropriate demographic and contact information along with a self-addressed return envelope.
Section 12: Dues: Membership dues will be in an amount to be determined by the 7 Board from time to time. All Members must pay annual dues except the Life Members as discussed Article III. The Society's fiscal year will be from January 1 through December 31. Dues for the current year are due and payable by April 30th of that year. If dues remain unpaid, the rights and privileges of Membership will be suspended or terminated. There will be no prorated membership dues. All membership dues are non-refundable, non-transferable and the membership is nontransferable.
ARTICLE II Donations
Section 1: Levels of Donations: Various levels of donations will be recognized as follows:
A. Grand Founder: Donations of $10,000.00 and above received by Jan 1, 2019.
B. Founding Donor: Donations of $5,000.00 to $9,999.99 received by January 1, 2019.
C. Bronze Donor: $5,000 to $9,999.99
D. Silver Donor: $10,000 to 24,999.99
E Gold Donor: $25,000 to $49,999.99
F. Diamond Donor: $50,000 to $99,999.99
G. Platinum Donor: $100,000 and above
The Board may propose changes in the level of donations for established categories of Membership, as a change to the by-laws, but such changes will not take effect until after approval. The Board may establish additional donor categories and/or payment schedule for donation without a lag period provided, however, that the status of members in existing categories should not be changed.
Section 2: Donations Refundable/Non-Refundable: All donations, once made, become the property of the Society and are non-refundable and/or non-returnable. The Board at its sole discretion may initiate project specific donations. If the specific project is not initiated in three years the Board must notify the donor of this decision and the donor may receive a refund of the prorated portion of the 8 unspent amount, if he/she so chooses. If any funds remain after the completion of the specific project, those funds will be utilized by the board at its discretion.
Article III ADVISORY COUNCIL
Section 1: Purpose: An Advisory Council shall independently serve the Board and the members by providing advice, counsel, feedback, suggestions and recommendations to the Board in order to ensure that the Society’s fiduciary responsibilities and obligations are being met, the constitution and by-laws are being followed and to serve as a watchdog on various Society matters, and to assist on any other matters as called upon by the Board, or the general body.
A representative of the Advisory Council members may attend any board meetings, including closed meetings with the full privileges of the Executive Board without the right to vote. Member/s of Advisory Council, filling vacancies in the Board, as per Article V, Section 1 B, will have all the rights as a Board member, including voting.
Section 2: Non-Binding: Any such recommendations, advice, counsel, feedback or suggestions developed or reached by the Advisory Council shall not be binding upon the Board (with the exception of otherwise noted in Article XI Interpretation of the constitution and by-laws), which at all times has the final authority except as otherwise noted herein, but the Board shall duly review and strongly consider any such Advisory Council recommendations.
The Board’s action on the Advisory Council’s recommendations in whole or in part, shall be communicated to the members via e-mail or temple’s secure website. In the case of rejecting the 20 Advisory Council’s recommendations, a statement of rationale supporting the Board’s decision will be made. A Coordinator or an appointee will keep minutes of all the meeting of The Advisory Council which will reflect deliberations on all topics discussed. These minutes will be made available to all the members of The Advisory Council within two weeks of the meeting. Electronically approved minutes shall be considered provisional. Official minutes of meetings will be considered approved only when three members who attended the subject meeting sign and date the minutes in person. The Minutes of meetings of the Advisory Council may be deemed privileged minutes upon majority vote. Non privileged minutes will be communicated to The Board within two weeks of provisional approval. All privileged minutes of the preceding year will be reviewed by the members of The Advisory Council during the first meeting of the year to determine the eligibility for making it public.
Section 3: Staffing: The Advisory Council must be staffed from a pool consisting of Founders, Benefactors, past elected Executive Committee members, and past Board members who are current members of the society and have been so for five of the preceding eight years. The Advisory Council will be composed of 6 members from the pool of qualified individuals and they will select their own “Coordinator.” At any time, two members of the Advisory Council may ask that a meeting take place. A board member shall not serve on the advisory council until at least 2 years after last serving on the board unless he/she was filling the vacancy on the Board for less than one year. No current member of the Board shall have a seat on the Advisory Council
Section 4: Term: Advisory Council members will serve for a term of three (3) consecutive years. The term of office for the 6 members of the council are staggered such that two members will retire each year and two new members will be appointed to replace them. After completing a three year term on the advisory council, a member cannot serve on the council again for a period of one year. If the member has not completed the term of three years, his/her sit out period shall begin at the end of the original term of the vacating member. The member who is filling the vacancy in the mid-term will not have a sit out period if the vacancy is for less than one year.
Article IV Duties of Staff and Priests
A) Worship Staff: The priests employed by the Society will not perform priestly services for or at any of the other temples with or without remuneration. The priests are allowed to visit any temple as devotees and participate in any of the activities but cannot conduct the worship activity or give priestly advice or directions except for the below listed exception.
The priests can perform priestly services at other temples when a formal request is received by the Chairperson of the Society's Worship Committee and is approved by a majority of the members on the HR committee. In approving this request the HR committee will take the following into consideration.
1) There should not be any activity in our temple on the date requested that requires the services of the priest who has been requested to conduct services at the other temple.
2) The request should be for a non-routine service activity that happens infrequently.
3) The Priest should be available and willing to go. The Society will receive usual and customary remuneration for such services from the other temples.
B) Office Staff: The Office Staff will not apply for, or accept employment at any of the area temples while employed with the Society without the express approval of the HR Committee. The HR Committee will review and decide upon each request on a case by case basis. Under no circumstances will the office staff use any of the information available at the DTF office including e-mail addresses or other confidential information for personal benefit or for the benefit of any other organization. Such information is the property of DTF and cannot be taken or distributed even after the employment relationship ends. Violation of the above policies may result in immediate dismissal or other disciplinary action.