Kwamena Blankson, President, Madison, Connecticut
Kathleen Flaherty, Vice President, Middletown, Connecticut
Tom Masseau, Secretary Little Rock, Arkansas
Steven Stone, Treasurer, Ashland, Ohio
Nancy Alisberg, West Hartford, Connecticut
Arthur Baer, Queens, New York
Kristina Kapp, Fremont, Ohio
Imari Kariotis, Salton CIty, California
Vesper Moore, New York, New York
James Rye, Erie, Michigan
Samantha Smith, Dallas, Texas
NARPA, P.O. Box 855, Huntsville, AL 35804
Last Updated September 6, 2023
NARPA’S mission is to support people with psychiatric diagnoses to exercise their legal and human rights, with the goals of abolishing forced treatment and ensuring autonomy, dignity and choice.
ARTICLE I: NAME AND MISSION
1. NAME The corporation shall be known as the National Association for Rights Protection and Advocacy (hereinafter called NARPA).
2. MISSION: NARPA's mission is to support people with psychiatric diagnoses to exercise their legal and human rights, with the goals of abolishing forced treatment and ensuring autonomy, dignity and choice.
ARTICLE II: BOARD OF DIRECTORS
1. BOARD OF DIRECTORS
The general management of the day-to-day affairs of NARPA shall be invested in the Board of Directors who shall be elected as provided in these by-laws. The number of directors shall be up to 17. A majority of the Board of Directors must concur in any decision requiring Board action.
NARPA’s goal is to ensure meaningful and significant representation on the Board of people who self-identify as consumers/survivors/ex-patients, or who state they have been psychiatrically labeled. NARPA also strives for racial, ethnic, and geographic diversity among board members. The process for electing members of the Board of Directors shall not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, age, residence, diagnosis/label, military status, or gender.
The officers of NARPA shall consist of a president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer elected from the Board of Directors. At the discretion of the directors the positions of secretary and treasurer may be merged into that of secretary-treasurer.
The Board of Directors may employ an Administrator to carry out the day-to-day operations of NARPA, implement Board policy, and work with the Executive Committee and the full Board. The Administrator shall serve at the pleasure of the Board of Directors. The Administrator shall report directly to the President of the Board.
4. MEETINGS OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
The Board of Directors will schedule regular meetings at least quarterly, in person or electronically. The President or his/her designee will send reminder notices at least seven (7) days before scheduled meetings.
Special meetings of the Board to may be called by the president or by at least 1/3rd of the Board members. Notice of the time and place of that meeting shall be sent to each Board member as soon as possible after determining the need for the meeting.
Motions may be made and votes conducted electronically.
The Board shall have Standing Committees as listed below. The President may also appoint ad hoc committees or workgroups as needed to respond to issues that arise. All committee chairs shall be members of the Board of Directors or Emeritus members. Except for the Executive Committee, which consists of the officers, members of other committees may include Directors, Emeritus Directors, and others who support NARPA’s mission and values, express interest, and have relevant expertise.
Standing Committees shall be as follows:
(a) The Executive Committee shall consist of NARPA officers. In an emergency which does not permit timely action by the full board, the executive committee may take immediate action and report to the full Board.
(b) A Nominating Committee shall be established to carry out the procedures described in Article III, section 3. It is the responsibility of the nominating committee to solicit applications for the NARPA Board, generate a slate of candidates, and provide a slate of candidates for Board officers.
(c) A Public Policy Committee shall be established to carry out the following responsibilities: As charged by the Boards of Directors, Public Policy Committee may initiate, intervene, file friend of the court briefs, or otherwise participate in litigation or take a public position when such action is consistent with the Mission Statement of NARPA and any agenda or priorities which may have been adopted by NARPA. If the public policy committee is not unanimous, the issue shall be sent to the entire Board, as above. Such decision by the Board shall be made by teleconference or by electronic vote.
(d) A Conference Committee shall be established each year to plan the Annual Conference (or webinar series, if an in-person conference is not possible).. The conference chair shall be responsible for all aspects of the annual conference and shall establish a conference committee consisting of board members and individuals who have attended at least one NARPA conference. The president shall supervise the activities of the conference chair. A separate budget for the conference chair may be approved by the Board of Directors.
e). A Social Media Committee shall be established to develop and maintain NARPA’s electronic media presence, including the website, Facebook page, and YouTube account.
6. BOARD MEMBER RESPONSIBILITIES
Board Members should be selected on the basis of involvement in activities consistent with the purpose and mission of NARPA, and a demonstrated personal commitment to protecting the rights of people with psychiatric labels. Board members are required expected to:
(1) attend and actively participate in regularly scheduled Board meetings, special meetings, and the annual conference
(2) actively serve on at least one standing committee
(3) assist with tasks at the Annual Conference, including registration, evaluations, presenting workshops, etc.
(4) provide current contact information to the Administrator.
7. EMERITUS BOARD MEMBER STATUS
Any member of the Board of Directors who has served for more than one year may request a change in their status from Director to Emeritus Member, for any reason, including, but not limited to, the expiration of a time-limited term. An Emeritus Member shall hold a non-voting seat on the Board of Directors but shall not be eligible to hold office. Emeritus members may chair standing or ad hoc committees, with the exception of the Executive Committee. Attendance at meetings of the Board of Directors shall not be required. Such Emeritus Members shall receive all notices and communications directed to the Board at large, can serve on committees, and shall be welcome to attend any and all Board and Annual Meetings.
ARTICLE III: BOARD TERMS
1. SELECTION OF DIRECTORS
The members of the Board of Directors of NARPA shall be elected by a majority vote of the other members of the Board of Directors annually. Candidates must have attended at least one NARPA Conference. Election to the Board of Directors will not be restricted in any way because of race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, age, residence, diagnosis/label, military status, or gender. Nominations and self-nominations of people with psychiatric labels and people of color are strongly encouraged.
2. TERMS OF DIRECTORS
The term of office is three years. Directors may serve two consecutive terms. After serving two full terms, an individual must wait at least one year before rejoining the Board. Board members’ terms of office are staggered so that approximately one-third of the Directors’ terms expire each year.
3. NOMINATION AND ELECTION OF DIRECTORS
Upon expiration of a Director’s final three-year term, the remaining members of the Board of Directors shall vote to fill the vacant position.
A Nominating Committee shall be established. Anyone who has attended at least one NARPA conference can nominate an individual for membership on the Board. Individuals can self-nominate. Nominations shall be made to the Nominating Committee at least 60 days prior to the scheduled annual election. Thirty (30) days prior to the election, the Nominating Committee shall submit to the full Board a list of nominees equal to the number of vacant positions, plus at least two additional nominees (if possible).
Voting shall be by paper or electronic ballot and the secretary shall tabulate the results. Individuals receiving a majority of votes cast will be considered elected to vacant positions and begin a three-year term effective immediately. In the event there is no majority, a second round of voting shall be held. If no decision can be made because of a lack of a majority, the President shall cast the deciding vote.
If a vacancy on the Board of Directors occurs at a time outside the time frame of Article III, Section 3, the President shall ask for a vote on whether to fill the vacant position or whether to leave the position open until the next annual election. If the vacant position is the President, the Vice President shall assume the duties of the President until the position can be filled.
4. ELECTION OF OFFICERS
The term of office for officers shall be one year. It is the responsibility of the Nominations Committee to develop and disseminate a slate of nominees for Board officers at least 30 days before the annual vote is taken.
Voting shall be by paper ballot or by electronic voting. Selection of officers shall be by a majority of votes cast. If only one nomination is made for an officer position, by motion, voting can be by acclamation. Officers shall be selected prior to selection of new Board members.
5. REMOVAL OF DIRECTOR OR OFFICER
A director or officer may be removed at the discretion of the Board by a 2/3 majority vote. A director or officer may be removed if absent for three consecutive meetings, including teleconferences, special meetings or the annual conference.
ARTICLE IV: DUTIES OF THE OFFICERS
The president shall be the principal officer of NARPA, shall be responsible for day-to-day operations, and shall supervise the Administrator. The president shall preside over all board meetings and perform such duties and exercise such power as expressed or implied in the Articles of Incorporation and by these by-laws, as may be necessary and proper to carry out expressed and implied duties. The President may appoint such committees as may be necessary, and shall, with the approval of the Board of Directors, fix the compensation of all employees.
The president shall have served on the Board of Directors for at least one year prior to his or her election.
2. VICE PRESIDENT
As the Board may deem necessary, there may be one or more vice presidents. In the absence of the president, the vice president shall perform duties of the president and in the absence of both president and vice president, the secretary shall assume the duties of the president.
The secretary shall keep or cause to be kept, the minutes of all meetings of the Board of Directors . The secretary shall keep, or cause to be kept at the principal office or at such place as the Board of Directors may order, electronic files of minutes of all meetings of the Board of Directors.
The treasurer, subject to the direction of the Board of Directors, shall have general charge of the financial affairs of the Corporation. S/he may delegate day-to-day management of financial affairs to the Administrator, and will oversee the Administrator’s performance of these tasks. S/he shall keep or cause to be kept full and accurate records of the receipts and disbursements of the Corporation.
The treasurer shall have custody of all funds, securities, and valuable documents of the Corporation, and may delegate these tasks to the administrator. S/he shall deposit or cause to be deposited all moneys of the Corporation in such depositories as may be designated by the Board of Directors. S/he shall ensure that an audit of the Corporation's accounts happens on an annual basis. S/he shall report or cause a report on the financial status of the Corporation on at least a bi-monthly basis.
The treasurer shall be responsible for the timely filing of all forms required by law of nonprofit corporations to retain NARPA’s tax exempt status, and may delegate this task to the Administrator.
5. EXECUTION OF INSTRUMENTS
All instruments obligating NARPA to amounts in excess of $5,000 and all grants involving more than $5,000 shall be executed by the president on behalf of NARPA, only after an approval by the majority of the Board of Directors. Such approval may be given by telephone, personal meeting, electronically, or in writing. All leases shall be executed by the president only upon a prior authorization of a majority of the Board of Directors similarly given.
ARTICLE VI: NOTICES
1. METHOD OF GIVING NOTICES
Whenever notice is required to be given by these by-laws, it may be served by sending notification to the last known email address of individuals.
ARTICLE VII: GENERAL PROVISIONS
1. ASSETS ON DISSOLUTION
No part of the net earnings of the corporation shall inure to the benefit of, or be distributable to, its members, trustees, officers, or other private persons, except that the corporation shall be authorized and empowered to pay reasonable compensation for services rendered and to make payments and distribution in furtherance of the Mission Statement.
Upon the dissolution of the corporation, the Board of Directors shall, after paying or making provision for the payment of all of the liabilities of the corporation, dispose of all of the assets of the corporation exclusively for the purposes of the corporation in such manner, or to such organization or organizations organized and operated exclusively for charitable, educational, religious, or scientific purposes as shall at the time qualify as an exempt organization or organizations under Section 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 (or the corresponding provision of any future United Stated Internal Revenue Law), as the Board of Directors shall determine. Any of such assets not so disposed of shall be disposed of by the Court of Common Pleas of the county in which the principal office of the corporation is then located, exclusively for such purposes or to such organization or organizations as said Court shall determine, which are organized and operated exclusively for such purposes. The corporation shall not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distribution of statements) any political campaign on behalf of any candidate for public office. Notwithstanding any other provision of these articles, the corporation shall not carry on any other activities not permitted to be carried on (a) 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) or (b) by a corporation, contributions to which are deductible under Section 170(c) (2) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 (or the corresponding provision of any future United States Internal Revenue Law).
On behalf of NARPA, the Board of Directors may accept any contribution, gift, bequest, or devise for the purposes of NARPA.
3. AUDITING OF BOOKS
At least once a year, the Treasurer shall submit to the Board of Directors a full statement of the finances of the corporation.
The seal of the corporation shall be as follows: National Association for Rights Protection and Advocacy.
5. AMENDMENT OF BYLAWS
Except as otherwise provided in the Articles of Incorporation or by these by-laws, these by-laws may be altered, amended, or repealed or new by-laws may be adopted by a 2/3-majority vote of NARPA Board members. Notice of proposed modifications of these by-laws shall be provided to members at least 14 days in advance of a vote.
Revised October 2021.