Bylaws

Bylaws of the Society of Government Economists
Amended on February 1, 2015 and on November 19, 2021

Table of Contents

ARTICLE I. NAME

The organization shall be known as the Society of Government Economists, hereinafter referred to in these bylaws as the Society or SGE.

ARTICLE II. OBJECTIVES AND POLICIES

Section A. Purpose. This Society is organized for professional and educational purposes, principally these listed below:

  1. Promote the professional development of government economists and economists interested in the economics of public policy.
  2. Encourage discussion, research, and education in the field of economics.
  3. Promote the visibility of research produced by government economists.

The Society has exclusively charitable and educational purposes within the meaning of Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.

Section B. Policies.

  1. There shall be no discrimination as regards to race, religion, sex, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, or age in any of the Society’s activities.
  2. The Society shall not adopt a resolution nor take a public position in support of a political action or candidate for public office.

ARTICLE III. MEMBERS

Section A. Membership.

  1. Any person with an interest in or knowledge of economics and economic policy or who works for a government entity or on government economic issues may qualify as a regular member.
  2. Members are required to pay membership dues as established in the standing rules of the Society.
  3. If questions arise regarding an individual’s membership, eligibility shall be decided by a majority vote of the Board of Directors.
  4. All members shall abide by the American Economic Association Code of Professional Conduct, as adopted on April 20, 2018.

Section B. Class of Members.

  1. Individual. Any member who furthers the objectives of the Society, and fulfills the membership requirements as outlined above in Section A.
  2. All individual members shall have voting rights and be eligible to hold office.
  3. Institutional. Any profit or non-profit organization, institution, government entity or association wishing to support the Society and its objectives may become a member. Rights and privileges of institutional membership will be outlined in the standing rules of the Society.

ARTICLE IV. FINANCING

Section A. General. The Society shall keep assets that exceed any debts. The Board of Directors shall approve all new investment instruments.

Section B. Dues. The annual dues of the Society shall be set by a majority vote of the Board of Directors.

ARTICLE V. ELECTED OFFICERS

Section A. Composition. The Directors of the Society shall consist of at least 8 and no more than 15 members. Eight of these Directors will hold the following Officer Positions: President, Vice-President, Treasurer, Executive Secretary, Membership Director, Website Director, Conference Director, and SGE@ASSA Director. These officials, known collectively as the Executive Board, shall perform the duties as prescribed in Article VI of the bylaws and by parliamentary authority adopted by the Society. The remaining members receive the title of At-large members. All Directors shall be members in good standing of the Society at the time of their nomination and election.

Section B. Election.

  1. All ballots shall be collected electronically as determined by the Election Committee.
  2. The President and Vice President shall be elected for a one-year term, or until their successors are elected.
  3. Persons in each other position (Executive Secretary, Treasurer, Membership Director, Website Director, Conference Director, SGE@ASSA Director, and At-large Members) shall be elected for a two-year term or until a successor is elected.
  4. Officers are expected to hold their positions for the full term of their office. Those who must resign prior to the completion of their full term because of unforeseen circumstances, are encouraged to time their resignation to allow for the election of a successor during the annual election cycle.
  5. No officer shall hold the same position for more than three consecutive terms.
  6. For each officer position, elections shall be decided by a plurality of votes cast. In the case of a tie, the undecided contests shall be decided by lot under the supervision of the Election Committee.
  7. Elections for the new board shall take place between February and April each year, approximately a month before the Annual Conference, via electronic voting supervised by the Election Committee.
  8. The new officers shall be announced via email to all members, posted to the website, and announced during the Annual Conference.

Section C. Vacancy. A vacancy in office may be filled by a majority vote of the Board of Directors for the time period of the vacancy, with the exception of a vacancy in the office of President, in which case the Vice President shall automatically become President.

ARTICLE VI. DUTIES OF ELECTED OFFICIALS

1.  The President shall:

a. Assist the officers in implementing SGE programs.

b. Appoint an Executive Director, Evening Seminar Chair, Parliamentarian, and establish all standing committees as outlined in Article XI with the approval of the Board of Directors.

c. Appoint special committees not outlined in Article XI with the approval of the Board of Directors, subject to reappointment by the succeeding President.

d. Be an ex-officio member of all Society committees, except the Election Committee.

e. Conduct meetings in accordance with established parliamentary procedures.

f.  Execute contracts and incur obligations as required to carry out Society programs and objectives as budgeted. Non-budgeted items greater than three hundred dollars ($300.00) shall require the approval of the Board of Directors.

g.  Shall be involved with the organization of the Annual Conference with the Conference Director.

h.  Present the Annual Report of the Society at the Annual Conference or electronically if the Annual Conference is cancelled.

i.  Organize an annual event for the Board within a few months of the elections at which new Board Members are inaugurated.

j.  Perform other duties as may be required.

2.  The Vice President shall:

a.  Preside in the absence of, or at the request of, the President.

b.  Participate in the general management of the Society.

c.  Be an ex-officio member of all Society committees, except the Election Committee.

d.  Perform other duties as may be required.

3.  The Treasurer shall:

a.  Record all receipts and disbursements.

b.  Deposit funds in financial accounts established in the name of the Society in accordance with sound financial principles.

c.  Pay expenses within the budget in a timely manner and pay other expenses, not within the budget, which are approved by the Executive Board.

d.  Prepare payer or reimbursement information to support conferences and other membership events.

e.  Prepare and present annual financial reports or as requested by the Executive Board.

f.  Prepare all necessary tax reports by the Society.

g.  Have all the books and records available for inspection by the Board of Directors.

h.  Submit books for audit by an accredited accountant or auditor, not a member of the Society, at any time that the board or membership demand an audit.

i.  Be an ex-officio member of the Budget and Finance Committee.

j.  Perform other duties as may be required.

4.  The Membership Director shall:

a.  Work with other officers as needed to maintain a current list of Society members.

b.  Coordinate sending reminders to members to pay annual dues.

c.  Conduct a membership campaign.

5. The Executive Secretary shall:

a.  Call the roll at each meeting to establish that a quorum is present.

b.  Keep accurate minutes of all meetings of the Society and of the Executive Board.

c.  Supervise the publication of all Society publications, notices, and correspondence.

d.  Supervise the filing of all documents and essential correspondence, maintain a current file of bylaws and standing rules.

6. The Website Director shall:

a.  Update the Society’s website.

b.  Maintain archives of SGE web materials.

c.  Coordinate SGE website, email list, and social media accounts with Treasurer and other officers as needed.

d.  Work with officers and members to post approved communications.

7. The Conference Director shall:

a.  Oversee all conference planning and development of promotional conference materials.

b.  Advise the President and Board of Directors of conference planning progress on a regular basis.

c.  Maintain an accurate accounting of finances.

d.  Recommend the SGE Conference registration fee that must be approved by the Board of Directors by a two-thirds vote.

e.  Organize a committee to help oversee the planning and day of event logistics for the SGE Conference.

f.  Delegate conference tasks to other Board Members.

g.  Oversee all seminar committees (evening and lunchtime research seminars) and luncheon events, including those held jointly with the National Economists’ Club.

8. The SGE@ASSA Director shall:

a.  Establish a committee with the President to select papers for ASSA sessions.

b.  Establish the schedule for the Call for Papers, selection of papers, and notifications of results. In addition, launch and manage the paper submission website and prepare the submitted papers for the Committee to review.

c.  Compose the Call for Papers.

d.  Correspond with ASSA on all related matters.

e.  Report the committee decisions to all paper submitters.

f.  Confirm with the membership director that all submissions have at least one author who is a member of the Society.

g.  Advise the President and the Board of Directors of the progress on a regular basis.

h.  Work with the Website Director and Board of Directors to advertise the Call for Papers and promote the selected sessions.

i.  Represent SGE at any ASSA events along with the President.

j.  Track SGE session attendance at the ASSA meetings.

9.  At-large members shall:

a.  Serve on the standing committees.

b.  Attend Board meetings.

c.  Support activities related to the annual conference.

d.  Attend the annual member’s meeting and annual conference.

ARTICLE VII. APPOINTED OFFICERS

Section A. General. The appointed officers of the Society shall be an Executive Director, an Evening Seminar Chair, and a Parliamentarian selected by the President with approval from the Board of Directors. The Parliamentarian’s term shall not exceed the term of the President (unless approved by the succeeding President). The Executive Director shall serve for no more than three consecutive 2-year terms.[1] Appointed officers do not have voting rights in Board meetings.

[1] This position was elected in 2021, with a term expiring in 2025. The current Executive Director will hold the position as an elected director until 2025.

Section B. Duties of Appointed Officers.

1.  The Executive Director shall:

a.  Carry out administrative duties (schedule meetings, mail, maintain records, etc.) as assigned.

b.  Represent the Society as requested by the Board e.g., collaborating with other organizations, organizing conference sessions for the Society, etc.

c.  Attend Board meetings.

d.  Attend the annual member’s meeting and annual conference.

e.  Develop, maintain, and support a strong Board of Directors; serve as ex-officio of each of the Society’s committees.

f.  Build partnerships and recruit new members, promote the Society, and recruit Board Members for open positions.

2.  The Evening Seminar Chair shall:

a.  Select speakers in coordination with the Evening Seminar Committee.

b.  Prepare seminar announcements.

c.  Keep the Board of Directors and Conference Chair up to date on the seminar committee activities.

3.  The Parliamentarian shall:

a.  Advise the President on parliamentary procedures when requested.

b.  Attend Executive Board meetings if requested.

c.  Attend the annual meeting of the Society.

d.  Be an ex-officio member of the Bylaws and Standing Rules committees.

Section C. Removal of Officers or Directors

The Board of Directors may remove any Director or Appointed Officer from their position with at least a 2/3rds vote.

ARTICLE VIII. GENERAL COUNSEL

The Executive Board may select a general counsel who shall advise the organization on legal matters.

ARTICLE IX. MEETINGS

Section A. Annual Meeting. The President shall call a meeting of the full membership of the Society once a year. Notice of this meeting shall be sent to the membership at least thirty (30) days prior to the date of the meeting.

Section B. Board of Directors Meetings. The Board of Directors shall meet at least quarterly to conduct Society business. Board meetings shall be called by the President. At least three-days-notice shall be given to all Board members. The three-days-notice requirement may be waived for an emergency meeting.

Section C. Any member may request a meeting of the full membership with at least 5 other current members. The request for a meeting should be submitted to a Director of the Board, and the Board will respond in a reasonable time frame to set up the meeting.

ARTICLE X. BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Section A. Composition. The two immediate past Presidents may serve as ex-officio, non-voting, members of the Board of Directors.

Section B. Quorum. A majority of the Board of Directors shall constitute a quorum. Proxy voting is not permitted.

Section C. Authority. The Board of Directors shall conduct the affairs of the Society. It shall ensure that the business of the Society is conducted in accordance with the bylaws and standing rules of the Society.

ARTICLE XI. COMMITTEES

Section A. Budget and Finance Committee. A Budget and Finance Committee shall be composed of the Treasurer and up to four members of the Society appointed by the President. It shall be the duty of this committee to prepare a budget for the fiscal year following the election, and to submit it to the Board of Directors. The proposed budget shall include a statement of the Society’s current financial status, a review of the Society’s recent financial experience, and anticipated revenues and expenditures by type and/or program. It shall require a two-thirds vote of the Board of Directors to adopt or amend the budget.

Section B. Bylaws and Standing Rules Committee. The Bylaws and Standing Rules Committee shall study the current bylaws and standing rules of the Society and shall initiate changes as necessary. The bylaws committee shall be appointed by the President. A bylaws committee shall be convened at least once every three years. Any changes to the bylaws require a two-thirds vote of the Board of Directors.

Section C. Conference Coordinating Committee. The Conference Coordinating Committee, under the direction of the Conference Director shall, with the approval of the President, arrange all the details of the annual conference.

Section D. SGE@ASSA Committee. The SGE@ASSA Committee shall be composed of the SGE@ASSA Director, the President, and up to four members of the Society. The Committee, under the direction of the SGE@ASSA Director, shall determine the papers and sessions to put forth for the ASSA annual meeting, using the criteria outlined in the Standing Rules.

Section D. Nominating Committee. The President shall appoint a Nominating Committee, consisting of members in good standing who are not themselves eligible for office (as they indicate they would not serve if elected). The Nominating Committee shall select at least one nominee for each elected position of the Society and may solicit nominations from the membership. There is no limit on the number of nominees per position. Each candidate shall indicate to the Nominating Committee their willingness to serve, if elected. The Nominating Committee shall request from each candidate a statement about their previous participation in the Society, their qualifications for office, and goals if elected. The Nominating Committee shall attempt to verify the accuracy of statements made by candidates and shall delete any portions of statements that do not conform to these guidelines. The Nominating Committee shall forward their nominations to the Elections Committee.

Section E. Elections Committee. The President shall appoint an Elections Committee, consisting of members in good standing who are not themselves eligible for office (as they indicate they would not serve if elected), to conduct the election. The Elections Committee shall arrange for publication to members and prospective members a notice that includes the nominations by the Nominating Committee. The Elections Committee shall prepare an information sheet containing the name of each candidate and candidate statements. The Elections Committee shall prepare and receive the official ballots, describe procedures for casting the ballot, and set the final date for receipt of valid ballots. The order for candidates for each office on the ballot shall be randomly placed and allow for write-in choices. On the official ballot, the names of all candidates shall be shown without any indication of incumbency or method of nomination; these items will be shown on the information sheet. The Elections Committee shall certify ballots as valid, tabulate the ballots, summarize and certify results, submit the results to the Board of Directors no later than one week following the deadline date for receipt of ballots, and promptly notify each candidate of the results of the election.

Section F. Other. Other committees, standing or special, shall be appointed by the President as the Society or the Board may deem necessary to carry on the work of the Society. The President shall be an ex-officio member of all committees, including the Nominating Committee and the Election Committee except if the President is eligible for office (i.e., the President must agree that he or she would not serve if elected in order to serve on the Nominating Committee and the Election Committee).

Section G. Reports. Each standing and special committee shall maintain appropriate files and records, which shall be saved electronically and passed on as directed by the incoming president.

ARTICLE XII. PARLIAMENTARY AUTHORITY

The rules contained in the current edition of Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised shall govern the Society in all cases to which they are applicable, and in cases where they are not consistent with the current bylaws, or with any special rules of order which the Society may adopt.

ARTICLE XIII. AMENDMENT OF BYLAWS

These bylaws may be amended by a two-thirds vote of the Board of Directors.

ARTICLE XIV. DISSOLUTION

Dissolution may be authorized by a majority vote of the Board. Upon dissolution, all creditors shall be properly notified, and any financial assets not obligated to pay the Society’s debts shall be distributed for one or more exempt purposes, within the meaning of section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, or the corresponding section of any future federal tax code, or shall be distributed to the federal government, or to a state or local government, for a public purpose according to the laws and applicable regulations of the District of Columbia.

ARTICLE XV. CONFLICTS OF INTEREST

Section A. PURPOSE. The purpose of the conflict-of-interest policy is to protect this tax-exempt organization’s (the Society) interest when it is contemplating entering into a transaction or arrangement that might benefit the private interest of an officer or director of the Society or might result in a possible excess benefit transaction. This policy is intended to supplement but not replace any applicable state and federal laws governing conflict of interest applicable to nonprofit and charitable organizations.

Section B. DEFINITIONS.

1. Interested Person

Any director, principal officer, or member of a committee with governing board delegated powers, who has a direct or indirect financial interest, as defined below, is an interested person.

2. Financial Interest

A person has a financial interest if the person has, directly or indirectly, through business, investment, or family:

a.  An ownership or investment interest in any entity with which the Society has a transaction or arrangement,

b.  A compensation arrangement with the Society or with any entity or individual with which the Society has a transaction or arrangement, or

c.  A potential ownership or investment interest in, or compensation arrangement with, any entity or individual with which the Society is negotiating a transaction or arrangement.

  • i.  Compensation includes direct and indirect remuneration as well as gifts or favors that are not insubstantial.

A financial interest is not necessarily a conflict of interest. Under Section C, Part 2, a person who has a financial interest may have a conflict of interest only if the appropriate governing board or committee decides that a conflict of interest exists.

Section C. PROCEDURES.

1.  Duty to Disclose

In connection with any actual or possible conflict of interest, an interested person must disclose the existence of the financial interest and be given the opportunity to disclose all material facts to the directors and members of committees with governing board delegated powers considering the proposed transaction or arrangement.

2.  Determining Whether a Conflict of Interest Exists

After disclosure of the financial interest and all material facts, and after any discussion with the interested person, he/she shall leave the governing board or committee meeting while the determination of a conflict of interest is discussed and voted upon. The remaining board or committee members shall decide if a conflict of interest exists.

3.  Procedures for Addressing the Conflict of Interest

a.  An interested person may make a presentation at the governing board or committee meeting, but after the presentation, he/she shall leave the meeting during the discussion of, and the vote on, the transaction or arrangement involving the possible conflict of interest.

b.  The chairperson of the governing board or committee shall, if appropriate, appoint a person or committee to investigate alternatives to the proposed transaction or arrangement.

c.  After exercising due diligence, the governing board or committee shall determine whether the Society can obtain with reasonable efforts a more advantageous transaction or arrangement from a person or entity that would not give rise to a conflict of interest.

d.  If a more advantageous transaction or arrangement is not reasonably possible under circumstances not producing a conflict of interest, the governing board or committee shall determine by a majority vote of the directors without a financial interest whether the transaction or arrangement is in the Society’s best interest, for its own benefit, and whether it is fair and reasonable. The governing board or committee shall decide whether to enter into the transaction or arrangement in conformity with that determination.

4.  Violations of the Conflicts of Interest Policy

a.  If the governing board or committee has reasonable cause to believe a member has failed to disclose actual or possible conflicts of interest, it shall inform the member of the basis for such belief and afford the member an opportunity to explain the alleged failure to disclose.

b.  If, after hearing the member’s response and after making further investigation as warranted by the circumstances, the governing board or committee determines the member has failed to disclose an actual or possible conflict of interest, it shall take appropriate disciplinary and corrective action.

Section D. RECORDS OF PROCEEDINGS. The minutes of the governing board and all committees with board delegated powers shall contain:

  1. The names of the persons who disclosed or otherwise were found to have a financial interest in connection with an actual or possible conflict of interest, the nature of the financial interest, any action taken to determine whether a conflict of interest was present, and the governing board’s or committee’s decision as to whether a conflict of interest in fact existed.
  2. The names of the persons who were present for discussions and votes relating to the transaction or arrangement, the content of the discussion, including any alternatives to the proposed transaction or arrangement, and a record of any votes taken in connection with the proceedings.

Section E. COMPENSATION.

  1. A voting member of the governing board who receives compensation, directly or indirectly, from the Society for services is precluded from voting on matters pertaining to that member’s compensation.
  2. A voting member of any committee whose jurisdiction includes compensation matters and who receives compensation, directly or indirectly, from the Society for services is precluded from voting on matters pertaining to that member’s compensation.
  3. No voting member of the governing board or any committee whose jurisdiction includes compensation matters and who receives compensation, directly or indirectly, from the Society, either individually or collectively, is prohibited from providing information to any committee regarding compensation.

Section F. ANNUAL STATEMENTS.

Each director, principal officer, and member of a committee with governing board delegated powers shall annually sign a statement which affirms such person:

  1. Has received a copy of the conflicts of interest policy,
  2. Has read and understands the policy,
  3. Has agreed to comply with the policy, and
  4. Understands the Society is charitable and to maintain its federal tax exemption, it must engage primarily in activities intended to accomplish its tax-exempt purposes.

Section G. PERIODIC REVIEWS. To ensure the Society operates in a manner consistent with charitable purposes and does not engage in activities that could jeopardize its tax-exempt status, periodic reviews shall be conducted. The periodic reviews shall, at a minimum, include the following subjects:

  1. Whether compensation arrangements and benefits are reasonable, based on competent survey information, and the result of arm’s length bargaining.
  2. Whether partnerships, joint ventures, and arrangements with management organizations conform to the Society’s written policies are properly recorded, reflect reasonable investment or payments for goods and services, further charitable purposes and do not result in inurement, impermissible private benefit or in an excess benefit transaction.

Section H. USE OF OUTSIDE EXPERTS. When conducting the periodic reviews as provided for in Section 7, the Society may, but need not, use outside advisors. If outside experts are used, their use shall not relieve the governing board of its responsibility for ensuring periodic reviews are conducted.