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To submit a Proposed Amendment to the Constitution of Vietnam Veterans of America Incorporated, click here


Convention Committee Reports, September/October 2014

BY LESLIE DeLONG, CHAIR

September 1 marked the opening of the constitution amendment process that ends at the seventeenth National Convention in Springfield, Illinois, next July. Any member, chapter, or state council may submit a proposal for a constitution amendment. Constitution amendments may be submitted electronically using the online form on the VVA website (instructions below) or may be mailed to the VVA national office using either a printed copy of the online form or the form that will appear in the next issue of The Veteran.

The deadline for submitting proposed constitution amendments is March 22, 2015 (“at least 120 days prior to the commencement of the National Convention” per the VVA Constitution). No proposals will be accepted after midnight on March 22, 2015. The Constitution Committee will meet on April 10, 2015, during the National Board of Directors meeting in Silver Spring, Md., to review all proposed amendments and prepare its report to the membership. The committee’s report will be made available via email and on the VVA website no later than May 22, 2015.

The committee will hold an open hearing at the Convention before the amendments are presented to the delegates for consideration. We encourage everyone to attend this hearing to learn about the amendments and voice their opinions.

The Constitution Amendment Form is located at www.vva.org Fill out the form completely, then click “Submit.” You will immediately receive a receipt.

Be sure to include your membership number on the form. This is the only way we can ensure that only VVA members submit proposed amendments.


Eight constitutional amendments were passed by the delegates at the 16th National Convention in Jacksonville, Florida.  A description of the changes and their significance follows:

1. Article I National Provisions, Section 3 Membership.  The following has been added:

B. Honorary Life Membership.  Upon the signed recommendation of a national officer, the conference of state council presidents, a state council, or a chapter, an individual not otherwise eligible for membership shall be eligible for honorary life membership with the approval of the national board of directors.  An honorary member shall be entitled to attend meetings and speak but shall not be entitled to make motions, vote, or hold office.

Significance:  The amendment establishes constitutional authority for honorary life memberships.  The honorary memberships would be given to an individual not otherwise eligible for membership and only after request by one of the listed entities and approval of the National Board of Directors.

2. Article I National Provisions, Section 4, National Board of Directors, Paragraph B, Sub-paragraph 1, Clause a.  Strike out “the greatest number of votes” and replace with “plurality.”  The clause now reads as follows:

At the National Convention, the delegates shall elect by plurality, from among the nominees, the Directors necessary to fill the Directorships for terms of two (2) years.

Significance:  This amendment eliminates confusion and standardizes the language used for this type of voting process throughout the section.

3. Article I National Provisions, Section 4, National Board of Directors, Paragraph K.  Strike out “In the event of illness or injury to the regional director” and replace with “Upon request by a regional director and approval from the board.”  The paragraph now reads as follows:

K. After election, a Regional Director shall nominate, within 30 days, an alternate, subject to ratification by a majority of the region’s State Council Presidents.  Upon request by a regional director and approval from the board, the ratified alternate shall be empowered to sit as a voting member of the National Board of Directors, for no more than two (2) consecutive meetings and entitled to be heard on each matter brought before the National Board of Directors. 

Significance:  This enables the seating of the alternate director for any Board-approved absence such as family emergencies, among others.

4. Article I National Provisions, Section 5, Officers, Paragraph A.  Insert “by a majority vote” in the first sentence.  The sentence now reads as follows:

A. The delegates to the National Convention shall elect from the membership of the Corporation, by majority vote, a President, a Vice President, a Secretary, and a Treasurer.

Significance:  The additional wording clarifies and prescribes the vote necessary for the election of national officers.

5. Article II State Provisions, Section 4, Officers, Paragraph B.  Insert the following language at the end of the paragraph. 

…..If no candidate runs to fill the vacancy at the next state council meeting, the President may fill the position by appointment subject to approval by a vote of the delegates to the council at the state council meeting following the appointment.

Significance:  This amendment enables the state council president to appoint an individual to a vacant officer position, other than president, if no one can be found to run for election at the next meeting after the vacancy occurs.  The appointment is subject to approval by the state council delegates at the next meeting.

6. Article III Chapter Provisions, Section 5, Board of Directors, Paragraph A.  Strike the word “five” and replace with “three” in the first sentence.  Strike the words “at least two” and replace with “any” and insert “at a minimum” after “shall consist” in the second sentence.  The paragraph reads as follows:

A. The membership of the Board of Directors, inclusive of the Officers set forth below, shall consist of not less than three or more than twenty (20); and the exact number shall be determined by the Board of Directors, subject to the approval of the members of the Chapter.  The Board of Directors shall consist at a minimum of the elected officers plus any directors elected from the membership.

Significance:  this amendment enables small chapters to have a small board of directors consisting of, at a minimum, the president, vice-president and the secretary/treasurer.

7. Article III Chapter Provisions, Section 7 Committees, Paragraph A.  Strike the entire paragraph and replace with the following:

A. The Election Committee shall consist of three members elected at the annual meeting.  The committee shall receive nominations, submit a slate of candidates thirty days before any election, and be the teller’s committee at the election; nominations shall be opened immediately prior to any election.

Significance:  This amendment standardizes the language related to the election process and clarifies the duties of the committee on the chapter level.

8.   Appendix II Standing Committees.   Add a new paragraph, Paragraph P.           

P. The PTSD and Substance Abuse Committee shall support and advocate actively for the health care (diagnoses, clinical practices, clinical research, treatments, specialized programs, and related educational efforts) necessary to meet the needs of veterans with PTSD, substance addictions, and other debilitating psychological reactions to trauma resulting from military service.  This support and advocacy shall also include family members of such veterans.

Significance:  The amendment establishes the PTSD and Substance Abuse Committee as a standing committee of the organization. 

The Constitution Committee thanks all of the members who submitted proposed amendments and the convention delegates for their participation and support throughout the amendment process.


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