↑ Return to Chapter Business

Chapter Bylaws And Operating Rules

Contra Costa County Chapter of the National Organization for Women


Article I. Name.

The name of the organization shall be the Contra Costa County Chapter of NOW.


Article II. Purpose.

NOW’s purpose is to take action to bring women into full participation in the mainstream of American society now, exercising all privileges and responsibilities thereof in truly equal partnership with men.  This purpose includes, but is not limited to, equal rights and responsibilities in all aspects of citizenship, public service, employment, education, and family life, and it includes freedom from discrimination because of race, ethnic origin, age, marital status, sexual preference/orientation, or parenthood.


Article II(a) Affirmative Action

The Chapter is committed to the inclusion of diverse voices and experiences, and to that end commits to affirmatively act to achieve a diverse membership and leadership.  Specific goals and affirmative measures shall be outlined in the Chapter’s operating rules.


Article III. Membership

Any person who subscribes to its purpose and who is a member of National NOW may be a member of the Contra Costa County Chapter of NOW. A new member may join National NOW and the chapter simultaneously upon payment of dues.


Article IV. Policy

The Chapter shall be bound by the National NOW bylaws and policy.  The chapter may pass policy governing the chapter structure and activities as deemed necessary by the membership.  A record of all chapter policies will be maintained by the President, Secretary/Recorder or other designated member.


Article V. Meetings

The Chapter shall hold at least six (6) membership meetings each year. One of these meetings, designated the annual meeting, shall be the meeting at which election of officers shall take place. All members must receive at least thirty (30) days notice of the annual meeting at which elections will be held.  Additional requirements regarding the number of types of meetings, and notice for those meetings, shall be contained in the operating rules of the Chapter.


Article VI. Dues

Section 1. Dues and specifics relating thereto shall be set forth in the operating rules of the Chapter.

Section 2. The fiscal year shall be January 1 to December 31.


Article VII. Officers/Board

Section 1. The officers shall be, at a minimum,  a President and a Treasurer,  .The composition and duties of the Board of Directors shall be specified in the operating rules of the Chapter.

Section 2. The officers and board shall be elected annually at the annual meeting. The time and date of the annual meeting shall be set forth in the operating rules of the Chapter.


Article VIII. Committees

Types of committees, their purpose, leadership, and membership shall be described by the operating rules of the Chapter. Committee chairs are appointed by the president of the chapter, with the advice and consent of the board of directors, for a one year term or, for ad hoc committees, for the time period for which the committee will be operating.


Article IX. Nominations

The nominating procedure shall be determined by the operating rules of Chapter.


Article X. Elections

Officers and board members must be elected by a majority vote or a majority of preferences counted in the final tally, if preferential voting is used. All members of the Chapter [who have been a member for more than thirty (30) days] are eligible to vote and all members must be notified at least thirty (30) days in advance of the election by the procedure prescribed in the operating rules of the Chapter. Other specific provisions relative to elections are detailed in the operating rules of the Chapter.


Article XI. Delegates to the National Conference

Delegates and alternates to the national conferences shall be elected in the number, manner, and timing determined by the national bylaws and National Credentials Committee. All Chapter members must be notified thirty (30) days in advance of this election. Further procedures for the election of delegates and alternates shall be detailed in the operating rules of the Chapter.


Article XII. Grievance Procedure

A grievance procedure is specified in the operating rules of the Chapter.


Article XIII. Operating Rules of the Chapter

There shall be a set of operating rules for the Chapter which must detail the items referred to in these bylaws and may contain any other operating rules determined by the Chapter. The operating rules must be accepted by a 3/5 vote of the Chapter members present and voting and must provide a method for amending the rules to give the membership advance written notice of an intended change and requires a 3/5 vote of the members present and voting.


Article XIV. Amendments

These bylaws may be amended by a 2/3 vote at any   meeting of the Chapter providing:

  • The proposed amendment has been submitted to the president 60 days in advance of the meeting.
  • Membership has been notified of the proposed amendment at least 30 days in advance of the meeting.


Article XV. Dissolution

The Chapter may be dissolved upon a 2/3 vote of its members present and voting, after advance notice of no less than sixty (60)  days to every member that dissolution of the chapter will be considered at that meeting. Upon dissolution of the Chapter, the board and officers shall, after paying or making provisions for payment of all liabilities of the Chapter, remit all remaining assets to the state NOW organization, National NOW, or any local Chapter of NOW.


Date adopted: October 8, 2013



Contra Costa County Chapter of the National Organization for Women

Operating Rules


These are the Operating Rules of the Contra Costa Chapter of the National Organization for Women (CCNOW) referred to in Article XIII of the chapter By-Laws.


Article I. Meetings

  1. CHAPTER MEETINGS – Chapter meetings shall be held at least six (6) times a year, at such dates, times, and places as determined by the Chapter board. Under some circumstances, there may be more or fewer meetings as determined by majority vote of the group. In order to transact business at the regularly scheduled general meeting, there must be a quorum of 1% of the membership in addition to at least two (2) members of the Executive Board.  Majority vote shall prevail except where stated differently herein or where this conflicts with Roberts Rules of Order Revised.


The Annual Meeting (for elections) shall be held in the fourth quarter of the year, preferably in November.  Officers elected at this time will assume their duties on January 1 following the election.  The period between the election and January 1 shall be one of transition with each outgoing officer training the incoming officer in the job.


  1. BOARD MEETINGS – Board meetings and/or committee meetings may be scheduled as necessary. The general membership should be notified of these meetings in advance of the meetings, preferably at least fourteen (14 days) in advance of the meeting. Notification of all meetings will be via an announcement via normal chapter communication vehicles which may include, but is not limited to, the chapter website, broadcast email to the members, or other means of communication determined to provide notification to the largest number of members possible.  Membership must be notified at least three (3) days prior to an emergency or special unscheduled meeting of the general membership.


The Executive Board shall meet at least once each year and at such other times as deemed necessary by the Board or the membership.  These meetings are open to NOW members only, who may listen and speak, but may not vote unless a Board member or designee of a Board member.  Generally, it is our policy that these Board meetings will be announced in advance to the general membership via normal channels of communication or at a general membership meeting.  It is also recognized that there will be times when the Board must meet without any advance notice to all members and it may do so, provided a quorum of Board Members is present.


Only emergency meetings may be scheduled on major religious holidays.


Article II. Membership and Dues

  1. MEMBERSHIP – Membership shall not be denied to any person because of sex, race, religion, national origin, age economic status, marital status, parenthood, or sexual orientation.


Any person may joint CCNOW by paying any member of the Executive Board the dues.  NOW members transferring from another State and/or Chapter may be a Contra Costa NOW member by proving NOW membership elsewhere and requesting in writing that the Treasurer transfer their membership.  NOW members wishing to join Contra Costa NOW in addition to another chapter may do so after proving their NOW membership and paying the Contra Costa Chapter portion of the dues described below.  Official CCNOW membership and all the privileges thereof shall beginning 25 days following the date when a dues check, cash or a written transfer request is received by an Executive Board member, or 25 days following the postmark date of a written request, even though chapter, State and National Processing may take longer.


  1. DUES – Dues are set in accordance with the National dues collection program. Scholarships, i.e., those persons wishing the chapter to fund all or a portion of their membership, must bring this issue to the Board each year 30 days before their membership renewal date.


Any member whose dues are in arrears six (6) months from her/his expiration date shall be dropped from the rolls and shall have no privileges of membership, but may be reinstated upon application, acceptance and payment of current dues. 



Article III. Nominations and Elections


  1. Nominating Committee


Nominations of the Chapter officers shall be overseen by a Nominating Committee elected by the Executive Board and announced in the chapter website or via normal chapter communications no later than 30 days prior to the scheduled elections meeting.  The committee shall be composed of at least three (3) CCNOW members in good standing.  Ideally members of the Nominating Committee may not be running for an office themselves.  Members of the committee may not be a member of the election committee for another member’s candidacy.


  1. The Nominating Committee is responsible for identifying and encouraging members to run for an office. The committee shall also accept any nominations made by any CCNOW member or themselves or of another member, determine if the nominee is eligible to be an officer, and inquire if the nominee will accept the nomination.
  1. The Nominating Committee is required to notify the membership (via chapter website or general chapter communications) of the nomination and election process no later than thirty (30) prior to the Annual Meeting.
  1. Nominations:

The Nominating Committee will also seek well-qualified members willing to serve for each office.  They may nominate one or more persons for each office.  Members of the Nominating Committee are not barred from becoming nominees themselves.  A person may be nominated for more than one office.  The nominations will be communicated to all members in the Chapter website or via normal Chapter communications, such that the notification is communicated at least thirty (30) days before the election.  At the election meeting the Nominating Committee Chair also calls for additional nominations from the floor.


At the Annual meeting the Treasurer and VP Membership (or alternatively, in order of precedence, the Board Advisor or President, if there is no VP Membership) will credential CCNOW members before the voting so that only CCNOW members vote.  The Nominating Committee shall submit its nominations in toto.  The Chair of the Nominating Committee will then call for nominations from the floor.  Once all nominations are presented the Chair will declare the nominations closed.


  1. Elections:

At close of the nomination process each nominee is allotted three (3) minutes to speak to the group.  The Nominating Committee will provide ballots (preferably pre-printed with nominee names and fields to record write in nominees or nominees from the floor) for casting secret ballots. The Chair shall appoint Tellers who are not running for any office to collect and count the ballots.  Alternatively, if there are no contested races and, with the agreement of all members present, the election may be held by voice vote/show of hands.  Votes can be cast for any person eligible to be an officer, even if they were not nominated.  In each case where a candidate has a majority of the votes cast, that candidate is elected.  For offices for which no candidate has a majority, the Chair announces, “No Elections” and new ballots are distributed for that/those office(s), the ballots cast and counted, and the process repeated until one candidate reaches a majority.


Although strictly speaking there is no prohibition against a person holding more than one office, it is understood that generally a member can serve in only one office at a time.  In the case where a person elected to more than one office is present (or has left a message), she/he can choose which of the offices to accept.  If absent, the group should decide by vote the office to be assigned, and then should elect person(s) to fill the other office(s).  In the unusual event that no one is willing to accept an office so that it remains vacant, another officer willing to do both jobs may be elected (Note that they have only one vote on the Executive Board.)


Article IV. Executive Board/Officers




  1. Only CCNOW members of a least 90 day duration at the time of the election may serve as officers. No officer shall be eligible for more than two consecutive terms in any one office.  Exceptions to the two term limit may be overridden by a two thirds (2/3) vote of the members voting in an election.  Each Board member shall present a written annual report to the membership at the close of her/his term.  Any person who is appointed to fill a vacancy or who assumes the office of President due to a vacancy shall be eligible to serve two full consecutive terms in that office.


  1. Each Board member shall further have the power to delegate any or all of the assigned duties or tasks of the office to other chapter members while retaining responsibility for the performance of said duties. This means that a Board member may delegate a CCNOW member to attend Board meetings as their alternate and cast their vote. The voting right delegation may not be used at consecutive meetings nor more than four (4) times a year.


  1. In the event that one person holds two offices, they shall have only one vote. (They may not delegate their other vote at all.) NOTE: The President may not also hold a second office as Chapter Treasurer.


  1. The following constitutes the Executive Board which shall also service as the Board of Directors mentioned in the by-laws, and shall be elected by the membership at the Annual Meeting. The minimum required chapter officers, and their duties, are:


  1. PRESIDENT – There shall be a President who shall be a voting member of the Board. The President shall be the principal spokesperson and chief administrative officer of the Chapter. The President shall further prepare agendas, preside at the Executive Board and Chapter meetings, act as the liaison to National, State and regional NOW, shall be knowledgeable and currently informed about National, State and Chapter policies and shall provide leadership in developing the chapter programs and goals.


  1. TREASURER – There shall be a Treasurer who shall be a voting member of the Executive Board, The Treasurer shall be the chief financial officer of the Chapter, shall prepare the budget, shall make recommendations on financial policy and procedures and implement the same when approved, shall disburse funds, and shall be responsible for issuing periodic financial reports to the Executive Board,  The Treasurer shall further collect initial membership dues, remit National and State dues to the State Treasurer, transmit corrections to National and maintain the current Official Chapter Membership list.


  1. BOARD ADVISOR – There shall be a Board Advisor position to provide continuity from one Board to the next. This position shall be held by the immediate past President unless she/he is elected to another office. (The position will be considered vacant if the immediate past President holds another office or is unable or unwilling to serve.)  When filled, the Board Advisor position has full voting rights on the Executive Board.


  1. OPTIONAL OFFICERS – The following officers are considered ideal for the proper functioning of the chapter and should be filled by suitable members where possible. The following job descriptions are considered as guidelines for the potential functions to be performed by the positions.  These optional officers will have voting privileges with full Executive Board rights and responsibilities:


  1. VICE PRESIDENT – The Vice President will assist the President in any or all duties as deemed necessary. The Vice President shall stand in for the President when required at both chapter and non-chapter functions. The Vice President shall be knowledgeable about National, State and Chapter policies, and will provide leadership when the President is unavailable.


  1. VICE –PRESIDENT ACTION – The VP Action shall coordinate the action program, including task forces, and an action team and may assemble emergency action groups to act on specific pressing issues at her/his discretion.


  1. VICE PRESIDENT PROGRAM – The VP Program shall develop programs for the meetings, including using the resources of Chapter membership, and will be further responsible for developing a Speakers Bureau which will research and deliver speeches and seek speaking engagements on behalf of NOW.


  1. STATE BOARD REPRESENTATIVE – The CCNOW California State board Representative will attend State Board meetings as the official CCNOW representative, shall report information regarding State activities and actions to the general membership, via normal chapter communication vehicles and shall further relay the concerns and recommendations of the Chapter to the State Board.


  1. VICE-PRESIDENT MEMBERSHIP – The VP Membership shall develop programs to recruit new Chapter members, including minorities, shall call non-members who attend the meetings, shall survey them as to their interests and, also, survey new members and put them in contact with appropriate action groups within the Chapter.


  1. VICE PRESIDENT PUBLIC RELATIONS – The VP Public Relations shall be responsible for publicizing Chapter activities in the media, promoting a favorable public opinion of NOW and keeping feminist issues before the public. The VP PR shall further be responsible for disseminating NOW literature to the public.


  1. RECORDER – The Recorder shall keep the minutes of all Chapter and Board meetings and shall report votes and actions taken in the Chapter website. The Recorder shall be responsible for chapter correspondence, shall further be responsible for the official Chapter Archives by maintaining copies of State and National Correspondence to any Board member and other written resource material in an orderly file.




  1. Task Force Chairs are considered to be part of the Chapter’s Executive Board, with all rights and responsibilities associated with being a member of the Board. Each task force gets one vote at the Board meetings; the task force will appoint a formal representative to the Board meetings. Normally, this will be the chair, but if the chair holds another office, or if the task force has multiple chairs, the task force must appoint a representative and communicate the decision to the chapter President before the Board meeting.  Only the official task force representative is allowed to vote for the task force at the Board meetings.  Only task forces which have been approved by a majority vote of the Board or the membership (at a regularly conducted general membership meeting) will be allowed to have a vote.


  1. Other positions may be created by the Board as necessary, and persons appointed to the positions by majority vote of the Board or the membership attending a regularly scheduled general meeting. Such positions do not have voting rights on the Executive Board. Examples include Fundraising Chair, Social Chair, Legislative Chair, etc.


  1. BOARD QUORUM – A quorum required to conduct a Board Meeting will consist of 2/3 of the sitting elected officers.




In the event of a vacancy in the Presidency the temporary line of succession will follow be the Vice President (if any), Vice President Action (if any) or treasurer followed by other officers in the order of office as listed in the Operating Rules, “Optional Officers” section.  Or, if the next officer does not wish to fill the office of the Presidency, the Board shall appoint an interim president to serve until the next general meeting.  The election shall be communicated to the general membership via the normal chapter communication mechanisms.


In the event of a vacancy in an office other than President, a replacement shall be appointed by a majority vote of the Board until an election is held.  A notice of the interim appointment and the special election to fill the vacancy shall be announced to the membership via standard chapter notification methods.  It is not required that a vacancy be filled via special election if the vacancy occurs after September 1.  In this situation, the appointed individual will hold the office until the Annual Elections that are held in November.



Article V. Authority



The ultimate authority for Chapter action shall reside in the Chapter membership.  The Chapter membership shall have the authority to overrule a decision of any subunit of the chapter, including the Board.  There shall always be a list of members attending a meeting.



Major policy-making decisions are those affecting the Chapter as a whole.  They may include, but shall not be limited to, political endorsements, monetary matters, and precedent-setting action.  The reasons for the policy-making decisions are to be stated in the decision (i.e., for this (these) reason(s), we are taking this (these) action(s)…) so that when the facts or reasons change, re-examination of the policy, or proposed actions may be made.  Whenever feasible, issues needing a major policy-making decision shall be communicated ahead of time in the chapter website and voted on at the regular general meeting.  A major policy-making decision may only be changed by a rescinding motion (requires 2/3 vote) or by an amending motion (3/5 vote) of the same group or a majority of the higher body.  Task forces, functional groups, committees, officers are all subordinate to the Executive Board, which is subordinate to the membership.



Elected officers and appointees must transact Chapter business primarily at the board meetings.  Emails may be used to conduct business but copies of relevant emails documenting actions and decisions should be maintained in the Chapter Archives by the Chapter Recorder.  Phone calls or other communication of a non-durable nature are not legitimate methods of transacting the business of the Board or Chapter except on an emergency basis.  In such circumstances any decisions made via non-durable communications must be documented in a follow-up memo, email (printed) or other durable media and a copy of the documentation included in the Chapter Archives. The documentation should include the date, names of those involved, a summary of the issue discussed and a description of any decisions made.


Development of outside projects/new ventures – not to include regular task force business or activity – shall be brought to the Board for discussion or appropriateness for chapter’s purpose and goals as well as ability to accomplish.


A quorum of the Executive Board is 2/3 of the sitting Board.  If an Executive Board vote results in a tie that cannot be resolved, then the issue is automatically postponed until the next scheduled meeting of the general membership for debate and resolution.


The Executive Board may take emergency action consistent with established NOW policy in the name of CCNOW when they cannot reasonably contact the membership and time is of the essence.  In these cases, any Board member should make a reasonable attempt to contact all Board members, present the facts and get a vote or schedule a quick meeting.  A minimum of 2/3 of the sitting board must be polled or in attendance at a quick meeting in order to make decisions.  A report of these actions, with who was contacted, must be published on the chapter website and documented I the Chapter archives.


Items purchased or outside contributions shall be discussed and voted on at Board meetings.  A quorum (2/3 of the Executive Board) shall be required to appropriate Chapter funds for any unbudgeted purchase exceeding $50 or any outside contributions.  Only elected officers have authority to spend Chapter funds up to $50 without prior Board approval.  Justification of such expenditures shall be discussed at the next Board or Chapter meeting.



Article VI. Task Forces and Functional Groups


The following groups may also be formed by a vote of either the membership or the Board.


  1. Task Forces will be formed to correspond with National and State Task Forces or to meet local needs. Their primary purpose is to take action. Task Force leaders may be appointed by the Board or may be elected by the Task Force membership.  Task Force chairs and appointees heading Functional Groups shall develop committees which will be the training ground for future leaders.  Task Forces may include, but are not limited to, the following:  a) Reproductive Rights, b0, Lesbian and Gay Rights, c), Child Care, d), Economic Equality, e), the Future of Feminism, f) Violence Against Women.


  1. Functional Groups are convened by the Board or Membership to fulfill a need within the Chapter or to perform a service to the community. These may include, but shall not be limited to, the following: a) Member Communication (e.g. website, newsletter), b) Fundraising, c) Consciousness Raising, d) Community Outreach, e) Social.  Functional Groups may be led by an appointee of the Board.


  1. Liaisons with other groups – individuals or groups may be appointed by the Board to serve as liaisons to other organizations in the community. Their responsibilities shall be to report to the Chapter on the activities of these organizations which may be related to NOW goals or purposes, define areas of unnecessary duplication of efforts, and may include, but shall not b limited to, the following: AAUW, Concord Status of Women Commission, Girls Inc., Planned Parenthood, YWCA, etc.



Article VI. Delegates to the National Conference


  1. Chapter Funding of Delegates to the National NOW Conference

The President, or designee, shall be a voting delegate to the National Conference and, budget permitting, the Chapter will fund the transportation and ½ the double room rate for the President/designed to attend the National Conference.  Other delegates shall be selected in whatever manner the membership decides each year.


  1. Chapter Delegates
  2. Any member of the Chapter who qualifies for election as a delegate/alternate to the National Conference shall be eligible to run for election as a delegate. If the Chapter is unable to fill all of its allotted delegate slots with Chapter members, any eligible member of NOW may be elected.
  3. All Chapter members are eligible to vote. There shall be separate ballots for delegate and alternate. Each member may cast as many ballots as there are delegate and alternate slots to be filled.
  4. Notice of the election of delegates and alternates shall be given as far in advance as possible. All nominations shall be from the floor. The president shall appoint at least two non-candidates to conduct nominations and elections.


Article VII. Grievance Procedure

In the event of a grievance involving the violation of a specific NOW policy or bylaw, each side to the controversy will designate one arbitrator and these two arbitrators will select a third arbitrator. Any person who has a conflict of interest may not serve as an arbitrator. The arbitrators, acting as a grievance committee, will conduct a private hearing on the matter at which both sides to the controversy may present their case. The arbitrators shall endeavor to resolve disputes to the mutual satisfaction of the parties, but if they are unable to do so, the majority’s decision becomes the decision of the grievance committee. If a party is dissatisfied with the decision, they may utilize the state NOW grievance procedure.


Article X. Amendments to Operating Rules

  1. These operating rules may be amended provided that such amendments are proposed by the Board or by any five (5) Chapter members. Notice of proposed amendments must be communicated to Chapter members at least thirty (30) days before the meeting at which the proposed amendment is to be voted on.


  1. Amendments to these Operating Rules must be approved by 3/5 of those members present and voting.


Article XI.  Affirmative Action and Diversity Outreach

The chapter’s affirmative action and diversity outreach plan shall consist of the following (this is an example of a plan):

  • : The following activities will be undertake, where possible, for the purposes of affirmative action and diversity outreach:
    • membership in coalitions dedicated to community diversity
    • urge diverse membership in coalitions with which we work
    • inclusion of organizations dedicated to diverse groups on newsletter mailing lists, speakers lists, and event planning committees or task forces
    • requests of organizations dedicated to diverse groups to include us in their outreach

Article XII. Finances

The Fiscal Year shall be from January 1 to December 31.  The President and/or Treasurer shall be authorized to sign checks for the Chapter.



Adopted 1979

Revised Jan. 1981

Revised Sept. 1983

Revised Aug. 1985

Revised Nov 1989

Revised Nov 1990

Revised Jul 1992

Revised Aug. 1995

Revised October 8, 2013

Revised February 27, 2016