STANDING RULES

Wisconsin Victim Witness Professionals

 Fiscal:

The fiscal year of the Association shall be from January 1 through December 31.

The signatures of the President and Treasurer shall be recorded on the signature card for any financial accounts held in the name of Wisconsin Victim Witness Professionals.  Either the President or Treasurer may sign checks and make withdrawals from other accounts.

Dues:

Dues for renewing members shall be paid to the Treasurer of the Wisconsin Victim Witness Professionals by January 1 for that year. The dues are $35.00 for regular members and $25.00 for associate members and will become in arrears sixty (60) days following the date payable.  Any member who shall not have paid dues sixty (60) days after the date payable shall be dropped from the membership.

Policy for WVWP acknowledgment of officer fatalities

 In acknowledgment of the ultimate sacrifice made by Wisconsin Law Enforcement: the Wisconsin Victim   Witness Professionals will honor in the following manner:

  The membership as a whole is requested to forward information regarding active-duty officer fatalities in   Wisconsin to a member of the WVWP Board of Directors as soon as possible, who will in turn notify the full   board.

The board president, (or vice-president if necessary), will send condolences on behalf of the association to the Chief/Sheriff of the department experiencing the fatality.  Attached to the condolence letter will be a condolence card to the family of the deceased with a request that it be forwarded by the department.  The letter will also include a request to be informed if there is any foundation/memorial/benefit fund established for the officer.  The condolence letter will have a “blind cc:” to the local victim Witness Coordinator in order to ensure that information regarding any foundation/memorial/benefit fund is relayed to the association.

Upon being informed of the establishment of a foundation/memorial/benefit fund for the officer; the board president, (or vice-president if necessary), will instruct the Treasurer to send a check for $100.00 on behalf of the association. 

Standing Committees:

The following are Standing Committees that report to the Wisconsin Victim Witness Professionals Board of Directors:

Crime Victim Service Award Committee:

Categories include:  Professional, Law Enforcement, Business or Organization, Citizen or Volunteer, Victim Service Provider and Career of Caring.  Some who are nominated but are not selected to receive the award may get a recognition certificate under the category “Honorable Mention”.  This is a certificate on card stock paper, but is not framed.

Timeline:

  1. Select a committee (at least 3-4 members) to review and select awards. Appoint a chairperson.
  2. Send out nomination forms to WVWP members and encourage them to distribute to other victim advocacy groups in their county or in the state, e.g. law enforcement, shelters, hospitals, task force groups or committees, judges.
  3. Nominations should be returned no less than six weeks before the ceremony date.  (Generally, winners should be announced in conjunction with Crime Victims’ Rights Week.)
  4. Within one week of return date, number, copy and send to board members. The full board votes on each category and selects the winners and any honorable mentions.
  5. Within two weeks of return date, get certificates printed and take to be framed. Let WVWP Treasurer know cost so check can be cut or you can be reimbursed.
  6. Work with Conference Committee in planning awards ceremony/luncheon.
  7. Decide upon and arrange for keynote speaker if within three weeks of ceremony date, notify and invite recipients to ceremony. Letters should be sent to the nominators and     Regional Representatives for the honorable mention recipients as well.  The award should be presented to them by their local VW coordinator or WVWP regional representative as soon as possible after the ceremony. Luncheon invitations shall be extended to each winner plus one.  (In the event of an organizational winner – invitation shall be made to a representative of the organization plus one.) Winners may choose to bring additional guests to luncheon at their own expense.  The nominator will also be extended an invitation to the luncheon.
  8. See sample letters, certificates from previous years and check certificates for proper dates and spellings. Keep a file for reference and use by future committees and board Historian.

Annual Conference Committee:

An annual conference should be held and should include a business meeting and training sessions.  The Conference Committee chair should also be a member of the Professional Standards Committee and Awards Committee.  Members must be present at the annual meeting for voting purposes.  The following is a checklist and estimated timeline for this committee:

September:

1.  Inquire about Spring Judicial Conference Dates

2. Inquire with OCVS about Spring Nuts and Bolts Conference

By Early October:

1.  Meet with board members

2.  Form committee (give assignments)

3.  Narrow conference sites

4. Coordinate logistics for speakers and presentations with Professional Standards Committee

5.  Decide dates of conference

October-December:

1.  Call hotels for specifics and confirm availability

2.  Choose location

3.  Work with board Treasurer on possible grant funding for conference expenses

December:

1.  Review Hotel information/confirm choices

a)  Cost of rooms (state rates available, doubles and singles, number to be held)

b)  Cost of meals and breaks (state rates available, vegetarian choices, number needed to guarantee)

c)  Billing issues (direct bill to WVWP or some paid to hotel by individuals)

d)  Rental of conference room, equipment, parking etc.

e)  Availability of amenities, on-site meals, etc.

f)  Availability and prices of AV equipment, copies, presentation materials if needed

2.  Work with Awards Committee on luncheon details

3.  Determine community service activity and WVWP group activity

4.  Create brochure 

January-February:

1.  Sign hotel contract

2.  Confirm speakers’ equipment needs; travel needs; hotel needs; honoraria

3.  Order conference supplies (folders, pens, etc.)

4.  Coordinate with Professional Standards Committee on credential presentation  names/details

5.  Coordinate with Awards Committee on luncheon details

February-March:

 1.  Print and send brochure
 2.  Coordinate any needed presentation materials with Professional Standards Committee

March-April:

1.  Deadline for registration/confirm numbers of attendees

2.  Adjust hotel confirmation on rooms and meals as needed

April-May:

1.  Print name-tags

2.  Put folders together

By-Laws and  Standing Rules Committee:

The responsibilities of this committee shall be to review, consolidate and/or develop By­ Laws and Standing Rules amendments as provided in the By-Laws.

Legislative Committee:

A Legislative Policy statement shall be developed by the Legislative Committee which shall be revised/renewed bi-annually.  WVWP members may not use the name of Wisconsin Victim Witness Professionals to oppose or support legislation where WVWP has taken the specific opposite position.  This does not prevent members from acting on legislation in their individual capacity; however, they may not reference their association with WVWP, or otherwise use the name of WVWP in such action.

It is the responsibility of the WVWP Legislative Committee to:

1.  Inform the WVWP membership of bills under consideration by the State Legislature that would have a direct impact on victims, victim services, or witnesses. The members of this committee will be a clearing house for present legislation that is being considered by the Legislature. As needed, the committee will inform members of pending legislation.

2.  Take a position on specific bills as directed by the majority of the responding membership. Any member of the Association may request this committee to poll the membership and take the majority position on pending legislation.

3.  Possess the authority to initiate legislation that the majority of the membership deems important for victim services. Any member of the Association may request the committee to initiate legislation.

Membership Committee:

The Treasurer shall be the chair of this committee.

Persons employed by agencies providing Chapter 950 programs established after the start of the year, will be granted regular membership in the Association without a fee for the remainder of that year.  Membership shall run from January 1 through December 31.  Membership forms shall be sent to all agencies providing Chapter 950 services by November  1st and completion of the membership drive will be March 1st of each year. Download Membership form

Media/Website Committee:

1.  Newsletter to be issued quarterly to coincide with quarterly WVWP meetings.

2.  Newsletter may contain the following columns:

a.) WVWP Board Meeting Minutes.

b) WVWP Standing Committee Information and Reports.

c) Regional Profile highlighting one VW Coordinator or Specialist.

d) Judicial Joke of the Month (free-for-all!)

e) Resource connection listing useful web-site addresses etc.

f)  Heads up – highlighting coming trends like restorative Justice.

g)  Open letter from WVWP President.

h)  Regional Representatives will serve as contact people for Newsletter content.

Nominations and Elections Committee:

These guidelines represent an attempt to spell out, in uncomplicated terms, the requirements that the WVWP Association must meet in conducting elections.  However, the WVWP Board of Directors, not these guidelines, shall determine whether an election is valid.  These guidelines shall serve to direct the procedures used to conduct elections and ensure a democratic election process.

The WVWP President shall appoint a nomination/election committee which shall conduct the nomination and election process.  NO CANDIDATE FOR OFFICE MAY TAKE PART IN THE ELECTION PROCESS THAT INVOLVES THE PREPARATION, HANDLING, OR TABULATING OF BALLOTS.  Once the nomination process is completed, candidates for office must be removed from the committee.

Elections Held:

1.  Election of officers and Regional Representatives should be completed by the month of September.

Nominations:

1.  Nominations may be solicited or will be accepted by mail, email, phone, fax or personal contact.
2. Those nominated shall be afforded the opportunity to decline.
3.  Nominations for officers and representatives will be generally accepted during the month of June each year and shall close by July 1 of each year.
4.  Not less than 15 days prior to the holding of nominations for officers and representatives, a notice of nominations shall be mailed or emailed to each member.
5.  The notice shall indicate what offices are to be filled and should state the opening and closing dates of nominations.

Eligibility for Office:

In order to be nominated for President of the Association, the nominee shall have been a member of the Board of Directors within 5 years prior to the nomination.

Eligibility to Vote:

1.  Each member of the Association shall be entitled to one vote.

2.  Only registered WVWP Association members who are employed in Chapter 950 programs shall be entitled to cast a vote.

Challenges:

A “challenge” is a formal objection to someone’s right to run for office.  It must be raised by a member BEFORE the election is held. A challenge must be submitted in writing and signed.

1.  A challenge must be referred immediately to the nomination/election committee. The committee should meet as quickly as possible to rule on the challenge and report its decision to the membership.  A challenge determined to be valid may allow the extension of time limits for election of that particular office.

2.  Action on a challenge, or the committee’s ruling, may later be appealed to the full WV WP Board of Directors.  The filing of such appeal, however, should NOT be used as the basis to delay the election.

Preparation of Ballots:

1. The ballot should be titled “Official Ballot” and include the name of the Association and the date of the election.

2. The ballot should include instructions:  “Mark X next to the name of the person for whom you wish to vote”.  It is also advisable to add:  “Do Not sign your name” and “Do Not make any other marks on this ballot” .

3. The various offices to be voted on should be listed one at a time and after the designation of each office, the words “Vote for One” or “Vote for Three” or Vote for No More than Three” or whatever is appropriate should appear.  This should be followed by the name of each candidate with a box or circle by each name.  Include on the ballot any office for which there is only one candidate and indicate that candidate is declared elected. DO NOT print anything on the ballot to indicate which candidates are the incumbents.  Make sure each candidate’s name is properly spelled .

4. Candidates’ names shall be listed alphabetically on the ballot unless some other method is decided upon BEFORE the nominations have taken place.

5. No write-in votes shall be accepted.

6. Ballots may be submitted via US Mail, Fax or e-mail. The committee chairperson shall safeguard the ballots until the election takes place.

Election Procedure:

1. No member can authorize another to cast his/her vote for him/her.

2. No absentee ballots shall be allowed.

3. It is up to the Elections Committee to resolve the issue of the eligibility of any voter.  A voter not listed on the membership roster may be allowed to vote if he/she can produce evidence of membership.

4. No ballots shall be accepted after the date indicated.

Counting the Votes:

1. No less than two committee members shall participate in examining the ballots.

2. Deviations from instructions on the ballot such as marking a check mark instead of an X should not serve to void a ballot. If the intention of the voter is clear, count the vote.

3. If a voter has signed his/her name to the ballot, void the entire ballot.

4. Write-in votes are not counted at all; treat them as blank for the office for which a write-in appears.

5. For ballots listing more than one office, a ballot spoiled for one particular office does not void the entire ballot, only that particular office. Votes for those offices done correctly should be counted.

6. Keep a record of the number of totally void or totally blank ballots.

Election of Representatives:

1. The President and Secretary shall be elected in even numbered years and the vice­ President shall be elected in odd numbered years.

2. Each year, one representative from each region shall be elected

3. The Elections Committee shall first determine which candidate for the office of President/Vice-President and/or Secretary received the highest number of votes. Those candidates shall be declared elected.

4. The Elections Committee shall then determine which candidate from each region has received the highest number of votes. Those candidates shall be declared elected Regional Representatives.

5. The Elections Committee shall next determine the next candidate with the highest number of votes remaining on the ballot. This candidate shall be declared elected as an At-Large Representative.  In the event of a tie when determining the first At-Large Representative; all candidates remaining on the ballot tied with the highest number of votes shall be declared elected as At-Large Representatives and no second at­ large representative shall be selected.  In the event of a tie when determining the second At-Large Representative, all candidates remaining on the ballot tied with the highest number of votes shall be declared elected as At-Large Representatives.

Majority Vote:

1. The candidate for each office receiving a majority of the votes cast shall be declared elected.  Any remaining unfilled offices shall be filled through a run-off election.

Majority means: “more than one-half ‘.

Majority does NOT mean: “fifty-one  percent”

Majority does NOT mean: “fifty-one percent plus one”

If 99 valid votes are cast for an office, 50 votes is a majority even though 50 is less than 51% and less than 50% plus one.

Run-Off Elections:

If no candidate received a majority, a run-off election must be held for that office.  The ballot will contain two names for each office to be filled; this means listing the two candidates who ran and received the most votes in the original election.  The only way to avoid a run-off is for all candidates, except one, to withdraw.

1. 15-day notice requirement for the run-off election must be given.

2.  The run-off election shall take place as soon as possible and under the same general rules as were applied in the original election.

Protests:

A protest is not the same as a challenge.  A challenge questions the candidate’s right to run for office.  A protest questions the actual conduct of the election itself.

1.  A protest must be filed in writing within ten (10) days of the completion of the election with the election committee chairperson. The final decision of a protest should be made by the membership within thirty (30) days of receipt of the protest by the chairperson.

2.  If the membership decides the protest confirmed violations that were of such a nature that they may have affected the outcome of the election, they may order the election, or any part of it, set aside and a new election held. If the membership decides the violation was a minute technical violation that would not have likely affected the outcome of the election, they may vote to set aside the protest and not conduct a new election.

Installation  of Officers:

Those elected to office shall begin their term on October 1.Outgoing officers shall turn over to their successors all books, papers and other property” of the Association.

Length  of Term:

1. With the exception of the Treasurer and Board Historian, terms of office shall be for two years.

2. With the exception of the Treasurer and Board Historian, terms of office shall run from October 1 through September 30.

3. With the exception of the Treasurer and Board Historian, no officer may hold the same office for more than two consecutive terms.

4. The President, Secretary, at least one regional representative from each region, and two At-Large Representatives shall be elected in even numbered years.

5. The Vice-President, at least one regional representative from each region, and two At-Large Representatives shall be elected in odd numbered years.

6. The terms of office for Treasurer and Board Historian shall be determined by the President.

Voting Procedure:

1.   The mail or email to each member  should contain:

a) A ballot.

b) A set of instructions which may be printed on the ballot itself.

c) The mailing address, email address, and fax number to which the ballots may be returned.

2.  The member should be instructed to:

a) Mark the ballot.

b) Return the ballot by mail, email, or fax by the specified date. Ballots not received by the specified date shall be declared void.

3.  The time between mailing or emailing of the ballot and the return shall generally be twenty (20) days.

4.  When all ballots have been received, at least two members of the elections committee shall meet and tabulate the ballots.

Destroying Ballots:

At the Board of Directors meeting following the election, a motion shall be made to destroy the ballots.

Professional Standards Committee:

The committee will:

1.  Coordinate training for WVWP conferences

a)  Maintain the WVWP Core Training Areas grid which will be helpful for those applying for and renewing their credentials and in choosing pertinent conference topics each year.

b)  Choose speakers and subjects for WVWP Conferences and will work closely with the Conference Committee for organizational purposes.

c)  Prepare agenda (with a breakdown of training hours) for each training  offered.

2.  Administer  the  WVWP Credential Program

a)  Implement and maintain the WVWP Credential Program.  This will include the credential application process, requirements of each credential, an annual application and renewal process, and problem-solving with applicants.

b)  Form and implement a review process to determine eligibility of credential applicants.

c)  Prepare all credential certificates for distribution to approved applicants. The credential application process will generally run from November 1st to December 1st. Credentials will be reviewed and application approval or denial correspondence will be sent to the applicant by the end of December.

3.  Partner with The Department of Justice

a)  Regularly communicate with the Department of Justice Office of Crime Victim Services to facilitate improvements to victim/witness programs. This will include updating the administrative rules and other areas of concern to victim/witness professionals around the state.

b)  Work with the WVWP Treasurer, Conference Committee and Department of Justice Office of Crime Victim Services in securing funding assistance and partnerships in annual training opportunities.

ADOPTED-Annual  Business Meeting, 4/6/01,  Wausau, Wisconsin
REVISED AND ADOPTED-Annual Business Meeting, 4/18/02, Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin REVISED-Board  Meeting,  1/17/03, Mishicot,  Wisconsin
ADOPTED-Annual  Business Meeting, 4/3/03, Mishicot,  Wisconsin
REVISED AND ADOPTED-Annual Business Meeting, 4/23/04, Eau Claire, Wisconsin REVISED AND ADOPTED -Annual Business Meeting, 5/14/09, Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin
REVISED AND ADOPTED – Annual Business Meeting, 5/18/11, Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin
REVISED AND ADOPTED – Annual Business Meeting, 5/13/15, Neenah, Wisconsin
REVISED Board Meeting 7/22/16, Wausau, Wisconsin

REVISED AND ADOPTED – Annual Business Meeting, 5/17/17, Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin

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