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318 Donelson Pike, Nashville, TN

The American Legion Department of Tennessee

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CONSTITUTION & BY-LAWS

OF

THE AMERICAN LEGION

DEPARTMENT OF TENNESSEE

Revised June 2018

PREAMBLE

For God and Country, we associate ourselves together for the following purposes: To uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States of America; to maintain law and order; to foster and perpetuate a one-hundred percent Americanism; to preserve the memories and incidents of our association in the Great Wars; to inculcate a sense of individual obligation to the community, state and nation; to combat the autocracy of both the classes and the masses; to make right the master of might; to guard and transmit to posterity the principles of justice, freedom and democracy; to consecrate and sanctify our comradeship by our devotion to mutual helpfulness.

CONSTITUTION[1]

ARTICLE I

NAME

Section 1.  The name of this organization shall be The American Legion, Department of Tennessee.

Section 2.  Department headquarters of The American Legion, Department of Tennessee is located at 318 Donelson Pike, Nashville, Tennessee 37214.

ARTICLE II

NATURE

Section 1.  The American Legion, Department of Tennessee, is a civilian organization; membership therein does not affect nor increase liability for military or police service.  Rank does not exist in the Legion; no member shall be addressed by his military or naval title in any convention or meeting of the Legion.

Section 2.  The American Legion, Department of Tennessee, shall be absolutely nonpolitical and shall not be used for the dissemination of partisan principles or for the promotion of the candidacy of any person seeking public office or preferment.

ARTICLE III

ORGANIZATION

Section 1.  The American Legion, Department of Tennessee, shall be organized in Posts, as hereinafter provided.  The State will be divided into three Divisions: East, Middle and West.  Each Division will be further divided into Districts.

ARTICLE IV

ELIGIBILITY

Section 1.  Any person shall be eligible for membership in The American Legion who was a member of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, or Air Force of the United States and assigned to active duty at some time in accordance with the eligibility dates found in the National Constitution and By-Laws of The American Legion; or who, being a citizen of the United States at the time of his entry therein, served on the active duty in the armed forces of any of the governments associated with the United States during any of the said eligibility periods; provided, however, that such service shall be terminated by honorable discharge or honorable separation or continued honorably during or after either of said periods; provided further, that no person shall be entitled to membership who, being in such service during any of said periods, refused on conscientious, political or other grounds to subject himself to military discipline or unqualified service.

Section 2.  There shall be no form or class of membership except an active membership, and dues shall be paid annually or for life.

Section 3.  No person may be a member at any one time of more than one Post.

Section 4.  No person, who has been expelled by a Post, shall be admitted to membership in another Post without the consent of the expelling Post, except that where such consent has been asked for and denied by such Post, he may then appeal to the Executive Committee of the Department of the expelling Post for permission to be admitted to membership in another Post, and shall be ineligible for membership until such permission is granted.

ARTICLE V

DEPARTMENT CONVENTION AND MID-WINTER CONFERENCE

Section 1.  The legislative body of this organization shall be the general membership when it meets at the Department Convention and Mid-Winter Conference.  The place or each Convention or Conference to be fixed by the vote of the preceding convention or conference.  In the event that the preceding convention/conference does not fix a place thereof, the Department Executive Committee shall decide upon the meeting place, set the dates and time for said convention/conference.  The Department Commander shall be the Chairperson of the Department Convention and Mid-Winter Conference and the Department Adjutant shall serve as the Secretary of the same.  The election of Department Officers shall be held annually at the Department Convention.

Section 2.  At the Department Convention and Mid-Winter Conference, each chartered Post of The American Legion in the state shall be entitled to five delegates and five alternates; provided the Post has in good standing the fifteen members required for Charter.  One additional delegate and alternate is authorized for each additional fifteen members or major fraction thereof.  No delegate shall be seated until annual dues to the state organization are paid.  Delegates shall be chosen at Post meetings not less than one week before the Department Convention or Mid-Winter Conference.

Section 3.  Each registered delegate shall be entitled to one vote.  The vote of any registered delegate absent, and not represented by an alternate delegate, shall be cast by the majority of the registered delegates from his Post.  There shall be no unit rule.  Alternates for registered delegates shall have all the privileges of registered delegates, except that of voting.

Section 4.  A quorum shall exist at a Department Convention or Mid-Winter Conference when Posts representing five hundred delegates are present and qualified to vote, regardless of whether the Posts represented have all of the delegates or alternates to which they are entitled present or only a fraction thereof.

Section 5.  The rules of procedure at the Department Convention and Mid-Winter Conference shall be those set forth in Robert’s Rules of Order.  The Department Executive Committee (DEC) may submit, to the convention/conference, a group of rules to be known as “The Standing Rules of the Convention.”  The DEC may ask the Department Judge Advocate to prepare a draft of the Standing Rules of the Convention for their consideration.  Adoption of these Standing Rules of the Convention will require a two-thirds vote in favor by the Convention/Conference delegates.  

Section 6.  All resolutions to be considered at a Department Executive Committee Meeting, a Department Convention or a Mid-Winter Conference shall be submitted to the Department Adjutant at least thirty (30) days in advance of the convention/conference at which they are to be considered, and to the Chairman of the Resolutions Committee at least twenty (20) days in advance of the convention/conference  at which they are to be considered, unless these time limits are waived by a majority vote of the Resolutions Committee.

Section 7.  All resolutions presented to the Department Convention or Mid-Winter Conference must have the approval of the respective Posts submitting the resolution.  The Post Commander or the Post Adjutant must sign such resolutions.

Section 8.  All resolutions must be submitted to the convention/conference through the Department Resolutions Committee.

Section 9.  The newly elected Department Commander shall call the newly elected Department Vice-Commanders and District Commanders to a meeting immediately following the adjournment of the Department Convention.  Therefore, the newly elected Department Commander, the three Vice-Commanders and the District Commanders, who are elected and installed during the most recent Department Convention for the ensuing year and who are present for the entire first meeting and orientation session will be allowed one way mileage from the location of the Department Convention to member’s respective Tennessee American Legion Post Home, and the lodging per diem for one day at the Department Convention Motel/Hotel, if a night was spent and a motel/hotel receipt can be presented, and they have not already been authorized reimbursement for the same based on the office held before the Department Convention.

ARTICLE VI

NATIONAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEEMAN

The National Executive Committeeman (NEC) and an Alternate National Executive Committeeman (ANEC) shall be biennially elected by the Department Convention at the convention next preceding the expiration of the terms of the present elected incumbents.  In case of the death, resignation or removal of the National Executive Committeeman, the ANEC shall become the NEC and shall serve for the balance of the unexpired term.  A new ANEC shall be elected at the next Department Convention to serve the balance of the unexpired term of the ANEC.  In the event of the death, resignation or removal of both the Committeeman and the Alternate Committeeman, the Department Commander shall appoint a successor to the office of National Committeeman, who shall serve until the next meeting of the Department Convention where new NEC and ANEC will be elected to serve the balance of the current term.

ARTICLE VII

DEPARTMENT OFFICERS

Section 1.  At the Department Convention there shall be nominated and elected a Department Commander, who cannot serve until properly installed at the same Department Convention.  All candidates for Department Commander must be members in good standing at their respective Post.  At the Division caucus, conducted during the Department Convention, there shall be a Vice- Commander for each of the three grand divisions elected, who cannot serve until properly installed at the same Department Convention.  The Department Commander shall be elected by the convention as a whole but each Department Vice-Commander shall be elected by a caucus of the delegates from each respective grand division.

Section 2.  The Department Vice-Commanders and the District Commanders shall be eligible if the person is a member of an American Legion Post in good standing within his respective Division or District from which he is elected.

Section 3.  District Commanders shall be nominated and elected at their respective District Conventions held in their respective districts at least 30 days prior to the Department Convention, but cannot serve until properly installed at the next Department Convention. 

Section 4.  All elections conducted for Department Commander, National Executive Committeeman, Alternate National Executive Committeeman, Vice-Commanders and District Commanders will be held on a delegate basis, with voting strength based on current paid membership as of the day of the nomination and election.

Section 5.  The term of office for all department officers shall begin at the adjournment of the Department Convention, at which they were installed and shall end upon the adjournment of the next succeeding Department Convention, or until their successors are duly chosen and installed.  Upon the death, resignation or removal of the Department Commander, the Department Vice-Commander of the Division from which the Department Commander was elected shall act as Department Commander until the next Department Convention.  All vacancies in other Department offices not otherwise provided for shall be filled by the Department Commander.

Section 6.  Each District Commander may if he so desires, appoint a District Adjutant, District Sergeant at Arms and/or a District Chaplain.  If the District does appoint such officers, they shall be officially recognized by the Department as District Officers.

Section 7.  (a)  A Department Adjutant shall be elected by the Department Executive Committee (DEC).  Such Adjutant shall serve a probationary period of two (2) years, after which such Department Adjutant shall serve without tenure.  The Adjutant may be dismissed by the DEC during this probationary period at their discretion upon a majority vote of the DEC.  After the successful completion of the probationary period, the Department Adjutant shall be subject to removal only when two-thirds of the members of the DEC determine it to be for cause and in the best interest of The American Legion. 

                 (b)  The Department Executive Committee and the Department Adjutant may, by contract, delineate the duties, responsibilities and compensation of such Department Adjutant provided that no terms of such contract shall be in conflict with, or derogation of, the duties and responsibilities of the Department Adjutant as set forth in the Constitution and By-Laws of the American Legion, Department of Tennessee.

                 (c)  All persons having the custody of funds shall give adequate bonds, which shall be approved by the Department Executive Committee.

Section 8.  The Department Executive Committee may elect an Assistant Department Adjutant in their discretion.

Section 9.  The Department Commander shall, following his election, appoint a Department Chaplain, a Department Judge Advocate, a Department Historian, a Department Service Officer, a Department Public Affairs Officer and a Department Sergeant-at-Arms.  Such appointees shall serve at the pleasure of the Department Commander.

Section 10.  There shall be the following standing committees:

                     a.  Department Executive Committee

                     b.  Finance Committee

                     c.  Resolutions Committee

                     d.  Constitution and By-Laws Committee

                     e.  Membership Committee

                     f.  Public Relations Committee

                     g.  Personnel Committee

                     h.  Awards Committee

The Department Commander is an ex-officio member of all standing committees.  The Department Commander shall have authority to appoint special committees as the need arises.

ARTICLE VIII

DEPARTMENT EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

Section 1.  Between the Department Convention and Mid-Winter Conference, the administrative power shall be vested in the voting members of the Department Executive Committee (DEC).  The DEC shall have nineteen voting members and shall be composed of the following people:  the Department Commander, the three Vice-Commanders, the National Executive Committeeman, the Alternate National Executive Committeeman, the three immediate Past Department Commanders and the ten District Commanders.  [The number of Districts is currently ten.  The DEC has the authority to modify this number and the membership of the DEC will be adjusted accordingly.] 

Section 2.  Ten members of the Department Executive Committee shall constitute a quorum.

Section 3.  The Department Judge Advocate shall be present in an advisory capacity at all meetings of the Department Executive Committee.

ARTICLE IX

POST ORGANIZATION

Section 1.  Those who desire to form a Post shall make application for a temporary charter to the Department Commander. When such application, properly executed, is approved by the Department Commander or the Department Executive Committee, the temporary charter will be issued by the National Commander and the National Adjutant.

Section 2.  The minimum membership of a Post shall be fifteen members.

Section 3.  A temporary charter shall be granted and shall state that it is granted on the recommendation of the Department and on the following conditions: 

                  a.  All acts heretofore duly and properly taken for the formation of the above named Post are recognized and confirmed by the National Executive Committee.

                  b.  The above named Post shall uphold the declared principles of the American Legion and shall conform to and abide by the regulations and decisions of the Department and of the National Executive Committee, or other duly constituted national governing body of the American Legion.

                  c.  This charge is subject to revocation by the National Executive Committee on the recommendation of the Department.

Section 4.  After a temporary charter has been in effect for a probationary period of at least ninety days, application for a permanent charter may be made.  Such probationary period shall not exceed one year upon the termination of which the Department shall determine whether a permanent charter shall be issued or denied and the action of the Department shall be final.

Section 5.  All charters shall be countersigned by the Department Commander and the Department Adjutant.

Section 6.  The Department Executive Committee may suspend the permanent charter of a Post in Tennessee.  The DEC may recommend the revocation of a permanent charter and final approval of this revocation must come from the National Executive Committee.  All action to suspend or revoke a Post permanent charter must be done in accordance with the procedures mandated by Article III, of the National By-Laws and the Uniform Code of Procedures for the Revocation, Cancellation or Suspension of Post Charters.

Section 7.  Each Post will adopt a Post Constitution and/or By-Laws.  All Post members will have access to the current copies of the Post Constitution and/or By-Laws.  Copies of these documents, and any subsequent revisions/amendments, shall be provided to the Department Adjutant.

Section 8.  The officers of the local Post shall be:

     a.  Post Commander

     b.  One or more Post Adjutants

     c.  Post Service Officer

     d.  Such other officers as the Post shall deem necessary.  Such discretionary officers may include, but are not limited to, the following positions:

1.     One or more Vice-Commanders

2.    Post Finance Officer

3.    Post Sergeant-at-Arms

4.    Post Historian

5.    Post Chaplain

6.    Post Judge Advocate

Section 9.  Each Post shall have a Post Executive Committee.  The membership of the Post Executive Committee shall be set forth in the Post Constitution or By-Laws.  The Post Commander, the Post Adjutant(s), and the Post Service Officer shall be ex-officio members of the Post Executive Committee.  Additional officers may be included as ex-officio members of the Post Executive Committee at the discretion of the Post so long as such membership is laid out in the Post Constitution or By-Laws.

Section 10. All officers of the Post for the ensuing year shall be elected and certified to the Department Adjutant not later than five days prior to the announced dates of the Department Convention.  Certification to be made on forms furnished or prescribed by the Department.  No delegate of any Post shall be seated at the annual Department Convention unless the certification is timely forwarded to the Department Adjutant.

Section 11.  All Post homes shall be property identified with appropriate signs, preferably with Legion emblem.

Section 12.  No Post home or real property owned by the Post shall be encumbered or sold except by majority vote at a regular or special meeting of the Post.  Each Post member is entitled to thirty days advance, written notice of meeting where such a vote will be taken to encumber or sell Post property.

Section 13.  All posts shall be incorporated.  Posts will annually submit proof of their corporate status to the Department Adjutant.

Section 14.  Each Post of the American Legion, Department of Tennessee, shall be the judge of its own membership, subject to the restrictions of the National and Department Constitutions and By-Laws.

Section 15.  Each Post shall safeguard their membership information.  All Post Officers must protect this information and insure that it is not released for any private, political or commercial purpose.

ARTICLE X

FINANCE

Section 1.  The revenue of the American Legion, Department of Tennessee, shall be derived from annual membership dues and such other sources as may be approved by the National and Department Executive Committees.

Section 2.  The National Convention shall determine the amount of national dues.  The Department Executive Committee shall set the department dues.  Each Post shall set the amount of their post dues.  No post may set an annual amount of dues that is less than the amount of the national and department dues combined.

Section 3.  Membership dues collected at the local Post shall include the national, department and local dues.  The national and department portions of the dues collected by each Post shall be forwarded to the Department Adjutant without any delay.  The Department Adjutant shall retain the department dues and forward the national dues to the National Treasurer without any delay.

Section 4.  Legion membership is annual.  The Legion year runs from January 1st to December 31st.  Annual dues shall be paid by October 20th of each year prior to the start of next calendar year.  National and department dues shall be paid for a full year, irrespective of the month in which the member shall join the local Post.

Section 5.  Membership is not considered paid until payments reach the appropriate authorities at the Post, Department and National levels.  If membership dues have not paid by January 1 or each calendar year, the member becomes delinquent.  If dues have not been paid by February 1, the member is suspended, but nevertheless may continue as a member with no privilege to vote or hold office.  If dues have not been paid by June 30th, the member will be dropped form the rolls of the American Legion and his membership forfeited. 

ARTICLE XI

DISCIPLINE OF A POST

Section 1.  The Department Executive Committee (DEC) may suspend a Post Charter or recommend the revocation of a Post Charter.  Any Post failing to meet the obligations imposed upon it by the Constitution and By-Laws, or ceasing to function for six months as an American Legion Post, or voluntarily ceasing to function as a post, or merging with one or more other Posts, or refusing to pay the Department and National per capita dues, or under such other conditions as might make such action necessary; shall upon written order of the DEC surrender its charter for suspension or revocation.  Upon failure to surrender such charter, immediate steps may be taken for its revocation or suspension.

Section 2.  Permanent charters may be suspended by the Department Executive Committee (DEC) in accordance with the procedures mandated by Article III, of the National By-Laws.  The DEC will follow the Uniform Code of Procedures for the Revocation, Cancellation or Suspension of Post Charters, as adopted by the National Executive Committee.  Should the DEC order the suspension of a Post Charter, the DEC will set a probationary period no longer than two years wherein the Post will be directed to correct whatever deficiencies that existed and led to the suspension.  The decision of the DEC shall also state with specificity what restrictions are to be placed on the suspended Post during the period of suspension.

Section 3.  The Department Executive Committee may recommend the revocation of a Post’s permanent charter.  This recommendation will be forwarded to the National Executive Committee for final action.  The decision of the National Executive Committee will be final.  In deciding whether to recommend the revocation of a charter, the DEC shall follow the Uniform Code of Procedures for the Revocation, Cancellation or Suspension of Post Charters, as adopted by the National Executive Committee.

Section 4.  Any decision by the Department Executive Committee to suspend or revoke a Post Charter may be appealed to the National Executive Committee under procedures set forth in the Uniform Code of Procedures for the Revocation, Cancellation or Suspension of Post Charters.  The decision of the National Executive Committee is final.

Section 5.  Upon revocation of a Charter, the Post shall immediately surrender its charter to the Department Commander or the Department Executive Committee (DEC).  The DEC is authorized, empowered and directed by and through its duly authorized agents to take possession, custody and control of all the records, property and assets of said Post; provided, however, that nothing herein shall be construed as requiring the Department of Tennessee to assume any financial responsibility as to such property.  The DEC may provide for the transfer of the members in said Post to other Posts of their choice, subject to the approval of such other Posts.  The DEC is authorized to take all necessary and proper steps to wind up and close the affairs of such Post.  The DEC is authorized and empowered to take control of any assets of said Post and use such assets for the benefit of the Department.

Section 6.  Should any Post, as a result of internal problems, fail to have a minimum compliment of officers either by resignation, neglect or refusal to serve, for carrying on the Post business, the Department Commander or Department Adjutant shall be authorized to appoint temporarily the necessary officers for the purpose of conducting the affairs of the Post until such time as officers may be duly elected.

Section 7.  Any Post whose charter has been suspended may apply to be reinstated at the conclusion of the probationary period set by the DEC.  Application for reinstatement shall be made in writing to the DEC.  This application will acknowledge the issues that led to the suspension and must include a report on actions the Post has taken to address these issues.  The DEC may immediately reinstate the Post or may set an additional probationary period between six and twelve months.  If a second period of probation is ordered by the DEC, the Post must again report to the DEC at the end of that period and demonstrate what the Post has done to correct any issues that led to the second probation.  The DEC will review this report and may remove the probationary status or initiate procedures to revoke the Post Charter. 

ARTICLE XII

CHANGE OF RESIDENCE

Section 1.  Any member in good standing desiring to change his membership shall be entitled to a certificate from his Post stating his membership and the duration thereof.

ARTICLE XIII

AMENDMENTS

Section 1.  This Constitution may be amended or revised at the Department Convention or the Mid-Winter Conference by a two-thirds affirmative vote of the duly qualified delegates thereto.  Any proposed amendments or revisions shall first have been made available at the preceding Department Convention or Mid-Winter Conference and also have been made readily available to the membership at large at least two months before the amendment or revision is to be voted on. 

Section 2.  (a)  All proposed amendments or revisions shall be submitted through the Department Adjutant to the members of the Resolutions Committee, the Finance Committee and the Constitution & By-Laws Committee and then to the Department Executive Committee.  Proposed amendments/revisions shall be in the hands of the Department Adjutant thirty days prior to the Department Convention or Mid-Winter Conference. 

                  (b)  The Department Adjutant shall forward the proposed amendments/revisions to the DEC, the Resolutions Committee, the Finance Committee and the Constitution & By-Laws Committee at least twenty days in advance of the Department Convention or Mid-Winter Conference.  After review, the Resolutions Committee, the Finance Committee and the Constitution & By-Laws Committee will forward the proposed amendments/revisions, with their recommendations, to the Department Executive Committee.  Such recommendations will be reduced to writing.

                   (c)  The Department Executive Committee will conduct its own review and prepare recommendations in writing.   The recommendations of the DEC, the Resolutions Committee, the Finance Committee and the Constitution & By-Laws Committee will also be presented to the next succeeding Convention or Mid-Winter Conference after they have been published to the general membership.

Section 3.  Any proposed amendments or revisions will be presented at a Convention or Mid-Winter Conference to the above committees, they then will be published to the general membership along with the written recommendations of the above committees and only then presented to the next Convention of Mid-Winter Conference for a vote.  The Department Adjutant will ensure the proposed amendments or revisions, along with the committee recommendations, are published in such a fashion as they will be readily available to all members of the general membership of the Department.

Section 4.  The Department Constitution and By-Laws may be amended at any Department Convention or Mid-Winter Conference, without any prior notice, if there is a unanimous vote in favor of such amendment(s).

Section 5.  No proposed amendment or revision shall be submitted through the Department Adjutant, the Department Resolutions Committee, the Department Finance Committee, the Department Constitution & By-Laws Committee or the Department Executive Committee, unless the proposed amendment or revision shall have first received the formal endorsement of a Post in the form of a resolution.

Section 6.  The only exception to the above provisions is that the Department Executive Committee (DEC) is authorized to amend or revise this Constitution by a two-thirds vote of the membership thereof, to conform to any changes made at any time in the National Constitution of the American Legion when such amendments or revisions cannot, in the opinion of the DEC, be deferred to the next Department Convention or Mid-Winter Conference.  The action of the DEC shall be placed before the Department Convention or Mid-Winter Conference for ratification.

Section 7.  In the event of any conflict between the provisions of the National Constitution and By-Laws and the Department Constitution and By-Laws, the National Constitution and By-Laws shall prevail.

 

BYLAWS

ARTICLE I

DEPARTMENT EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

            Section 1.  It shall be the duty of the Department Executive Committee (DEC) to pass upon all matters relating to the administration of this organization; to review, pass upon, accept or reject all audits or reports of the business and accounts of the Department Adjutant as to the proper and safe investment of the Department funds; and the said DEC may at any time during its term of office call upon the Department Adjutant for a report of accounts and of all business transacted by him in the execution of his office.  The DEC shall have power to remove for cause any Department officer from office, including members of the DEC, but said officer shall not be removed unless two-thirds of the members of the DEC shall vote in favor of such removal.

            Section 2.  The Department Executive Committee (DEC) shall meet in business session at least twice a year, and at any time upon call of the Department Commander or any seven voting members of the DEC. At least five days written notice shall be given all members of the DEC of any regular or special meeting of such committee.  Such notice shall be mailed to the address of record in the Department Adjutant’s office.  No business shall be transacted at any special or called meeting of the DEC except such as shall be specifically stated in the call.  Business of a routine nature may be considered, even if not specifically listed in the call to the meeting.  The Department Adjutant will insure that all meeting of the DEC are preserved in such a fashion as they may be later reviewed.

            Section 3.  Meetings of the Department Executive Committee, held in conjunction with a Department Convention or Mid-Winter Conference, shall be open to the general membership.  All Legionnaires may attend and observe but will not be entitled to actively participate in the meeting.

            Section 4.  Upon receiving a formal call from the Department Headquarters, the travel and hotel expense of the voting members of the DEC, Department Judge Advocate, Department Sergeant-at-Arms, the five members of the Finance Committee, the three members of the Resolutions Committee and the three members of the Constitution & By-Laws Committee, shall be reimbursed.  This reimbursement shall be limited to the least expensive of the round trip mileage rate or airfare rate from the individual’s Tennessee American Legion Post to the meeting location.  The hotel compensation shall be limited to the one nights hotel stay at the hotel selected by the Department.  Individuals must be present for roll call and remain for the entire length of their respective called meeting in order to be eligible to claim expenses.  A copy of the hotel/motel bill must be presented in order to claim the authorized daily lodging per diem.

            Section 5.  Any matter relating to the business of this organization not specified in these By-Laws shall be referred to the Department Executive Committee for the determination and adjustment thereof.

            Section 6.  The Department Executive Committee (DEC) shall have the authority to make reasonable regulations for the routine operation of the Department.  Any member of the Department may propose regulations for the DEC to consider.  The proposals must be in writing and signed by the person making the proposal. No proposed regulation may be contrary to any provision of the Department Constitution or By-Laws.  A proposed regulation may only address one topic.  A regulation may be adopted by the DEC with a majority vote in favor of the regulation.  Any regulations adopted by the DEC will be numbered sequentially and then presented to the next Department Convention for ratification.  A majority vote of the Department Convention will ratify the regulation.

            Section 7.  Whenever a vacancy exists, the Department Executive Committee shall elect a Department Adjutant.  Once elected, the Department Adjutant shall serve until such time as he resigns or is removed by the DEC.  Each newly elected Department Adjutant will serve a two-year probationary period.  During this time the Department Adjutant may be dismissed at the discretion of the DEC and upon a majority vote.  Once the probationary period is successfully completed, the Department Adjutant shall be subject to removal only when two-thirds of the members of the DEC determine it to be for cause and in the best interest of The American Legion. 

            Section 8.  The Department Executive Committee (DEC) shall have the power to enter into a contract with the Department Adjutant for a salary or compensation for services of the said officer and other office expenses and for the faithful performance of their duties, within the limitations of the Constitution and By-Laws of the Department of Tennessee as the said DEC may regard as expedient and proper.  It is expressly understood that the DEC retains the power to remove the Adjutant for cause at any time.

            Section 9.  All questions affecting the election, eligibility for office and conduct of Department officers shall be referred to and determined by the Department Executive Committee.  All questions affecting the election, eligibility for office and conduct of Post officers shall be referred to and determined by the Executive Committee of the Post involved which shall be the final authority thereon.

Section 10.  No list of the Department membership, or any sub group thereof, shall be furnished to any persons outside of the Department Headquarters.  The Department Adjutant will insure that the Department membership lists are not used by any person or organization for political or commercial purposes.  Any exception to this rule must be approved by the Department Executive Committee by a two-thirds vote.

ARTICLE II

DEPARTMENT OFFICERS

            Section 1.  DEPARTMENT COMMANDER.  The Department Commander shall be the executive head of the American Legion, Department of Tennessee, with full power to enforce the provisions of the Department Constitution, Department By-Laws, and the will of the General Membership.  The Commander shall be the chairperson of the Department Convention, the Mid-Winter Conference and the Department Executive Committee.  He shall perform such other duties as are usually incident to the office.

            Section 2.  DEPARTMENT VICE-COMMANDERS.  The three Department Vice-Commanders shall act as representatives of the Department Commander on all matters referred to them by the Department Commander.  Upon request of the Department Commander, one of the Vice-Commanders may preside over any meeting of the Department Convention, the Mid-Winter Conference or any meeting of the Department Executive Committee.  The Vice-Commanders shall perform such other duties as are usually incident to the office.  If the Department Commander is unable to perform the duties of his office, the Vice-Commander from the same Division as the Department Commander shall assume the duties of the Department Commander until the Department Commander is able to resume his duties, or until the next Department Convention, whichever comes first.

            Section 3.  DEPARTMENT DISTRICT COMMANDERS.  The District Commanders shall act as representatives of the Department Commander and the Department Vice-Commanders on all matters referred to them by such officers, and shall perform such other duties as are usually incident to such office.

            Section 4.  DEPARTMENT ADJUTANT.  The Department Adjutant shall be responsible to the Department Commander, the Department Executive Committee and the General Membership for the proper administration of their respective policies and mandates.  The responsibilities of the Department Adjutant shall include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. Supervising the headquarters staff.
  2. Providing advice to Post Officers concerning Post operations.
  3. Being responsible for the preparing of programs, agendas, and allied materials for conventions, conferences, seminars and other meetings.
  4. Preparing and disseminating information and reports required by the National Organization.  The Adjutant will act as a liaison between the Department staff and National Headquarters staff.
  5. Maintaining a record of all current officers for the Post, Department and National Organizations with correct addresses.  He will keep the same information on all Department and National committee appointments.
  6. Keeping a record of the membership of each Post.
  7. Collection of the annual per capita dues for the Department and shall also be responsible for forwarding the National organizations share to said organization in a timely manner.
  8. Serving in a liaison capacity between the Department and any other organizations, corporations, governmental bodies, the general public and the media.
  9. Serving as the editor of the Department newspaper “The Tennessee Legionnaire.”  As editor he will be responsible for editing, printing and distribution of the newspaper.
  10. Publishing a quarterly financial statement in “The Tennessee Legionnaire” listing revenues and expenditures.
  11.  Keeping the Chairman of the Finance Committee advised of the status of Department investments and will invest specified amounts of Department funds in such types of securities and/or financial institutions as agreed upon.
  12. Providing access to all Department financial records that are requested by the Department Commander, the Department Executive Committee or any member of the Finance Committee. 
  13. Reporting to each member of the Department Finance Committee an annual record of receipts and disbursements made by him during the preceding year and he shall keep all record books in readiness at all times for inspection and auditing of all accounts.
  14. Sign all checks, disbursing funds of the Department and shall make periodic reports of such expenditures and the financial condition of the Department to the Department Finance Committee.

The Department Adjutant shall receive such compensation or salary for his services and other expenses, as the Department Executive Committee may deem appropriate.

The Department Executive Committee may authorize an Assistant Department Adjutant in its discretion.  The Assistant Adjutant will work under the supervision and direction of the Department Adjutant.

            Section 5.  DEPARTMENT JUDGE ADVOCATE.  The Department Judge Advocate shall advise the Department Officers and the Department Executive Committee on all Department legal matters, including the construction and interpretation of the Department Constitution and By-Laws.  The Department Judge Advocate shall perform such other duties as are usually incident to the office.

            Section 6.  DEPARTMENT HISTORIAN.  The Department Historian shall collect from year to year all records and data of value and interest for the Department, and shall compile during his term of office a complete history of the year’s activities.  He shall also assist Post Historians in the performance of their duties.  The Department Historian shall serve as the Chairperson of the Department Awards Committee.  He shall have such other duties as the Department Commander or the Department Executive Committee shall prescribe.  

            Section 7.  DEPARTMENT SERGEANT-AT-ARMS.  The Department Sergeant-at-Arms shall assist the Department Commander and the Department Adjutant with all Department meetings.  He shall take charge of the colors and all equipment and see that the meeting room is set up in accordance with the instructions from the Commander and/or Adjutant.  He will make himself available for assignment during all business and social functions.  The Department Sergeant-at-Arms shall have the authority to appoint such assistants as may be necessary to assist him in the performance of his duties, subject to the approval of the Department Commander.

            Section 8.  DEPARTMENT CHAPLAIN.  The Department Chaplain shall perform such divine services as may be necessary, adhering to such ceremonial rituals as may be recommended by National and Department Headquarters.

            Section 9.  DEPARTMENT PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICER.  The Department Public Affairs Officer (PAO) will be the chair of the Public Relations Committee.  The PAO will assist the Department Commander, the Adjutant and the Posts in publicizing the affairs of the Department and various Posts throughout the Department.  The Department Public Affairs Officer shall perform such other duties as are usually incident to the office.

ARTICLE III

STANDING COMMITTEES

            Section 1.  The Department Executive Committee (DEC) is addressed in separate sections of the Constitution and the By-Laws.

            Section 2.  The Department Finance Committee shall consist of five members.  The Department Commander shall appoint members, to the Department Finance Committee for a three-year term as terms expire.  The Department Commander will name one of the members of this Finance Committee to serve as a Chairman during the term of his administration.  The Commander shall insure that all three Divisions of the State are represented on this committee.

It shall be the duty of the Department Finance Committee to consider all matters pertaining to finance, appropriations and any requests for appropriations as they relate to the Department.  The Committee shall advise the Department Adjutant on all matters relating to Department funds.  The Committee shall check all receipts, expenditures and other Department financial records and submit any recommendations to the Department Executive Committee that the Finance Committee deems appropriate.

The Finance Committee will review any resolution submitted if the resolution has any financial consequences to the Department.  The Finance Committee will attach its findings and recommendations to all such resolutions before they are presented to the DEC, the Department Convention or the Mid-Winter Conference.

           Section 3.  The Resolutions Committee will consist of three members, one from each Division of the State.  The Department Commander will appoint the members of this Committee and further designate one of them to serve as chairperson.

The Resolutions will consider all resolutions submitted to the Department.  The Committee may reject any resolution that is not in the proper format if the deficiency is a matter of substance.  All properly formatted resolutions shall be reviewed by the Committee and will be forwarded to the DEC, the Department Convention and the Mid-Winter Conference with the recommendation of the Committee attached thereto.

Posts submitting resolutions are encouraged to have a representative present at the meeting of the Resolution Committee that is considering their resolution.  The representative will be allowed to address the Committee and will also answer any questions posed by the Committee.

           Section 4.  The Constitution and Bylaws Committee will consist of three members, one from each Division of the State.  The Department Commander will appoint the members of this Committee and further designate one of them to serve as chairperson.

The Constitution and By-Laws Committee will consider any proposed amendments or revisions to the Department Constitution or By-Laws.  Upon completing this review, the Committee will attach its recommendations concerning the revision or amendment and these will be forwarded to the DEC, the Department Convention and the Mid-Winter Conference.

            Section 5.  The Membership Committee will consist of four members.  Three of the members will come one each from each Division of the State.  The Department Commander will appoint the members of this Committee and further appoint one additional person to the committee and that person shall serve as chairperson.  This Committee will perform any tasks assigned to it by the Department Commander.

            Section 6.  The Public Relations Committee will consist of three members, one from each Division of the State.  The Department Commander will appoint the members of this Committee and further designate one of them to serve as chairperson.  The chair person will be the Department Public Affairs Officer.  This Committee will perform any tasks assigned to it by the Department Commander.

            Section 7.  The Personnel Committee will review and hear grievances of the full time employees of the Department of Tennessee.  The Committee shall be composed of the Commander, Immediate Past Commander and the Department Judge Advocate.  The Department Judge Advocate shall be the Chairman of the Committee.  Before any employee shall be terminated, the employee shall have the right of appeal to the personnel committee.  The Department Executive Committee must ratify the decision of the personnel committee.

            Section 8.  The Department Awards Committee will consist of three members, one from each Division of the State.  The Department Commander will appoint the members of this Committee.  The Department Historian shall be one of the three members and will serve as the chair of the committee.  This committee will meet as needed to review and select winners eligible for various Department awards.

 ARTICLE IV

RESOLUTIONS

            Section 1.  Resolutions are the preferred method for setting official policy in the American Legion.  Posts are encouraged to use the resolution process at the Post Level when any significant action is contemplated by the Post.  Guidance on drafting resolutions can be found at www.legion.org/resolutions

            Section 2.  Any Post wishing to bring a matter before the Department Convention, Department Mid-Winter Conference or the National Convention should first draft and pass an appropriate resolution at the post level and forward any adopted resolution to the Department Adjutant for consideration at the Department level.  Such adopted resolutions must be timely filed with the Department Adjutant or they will be deferred to a subsequent convention/conference.

Section 3.  All resolutions to be considered at a Department convention or conference shall be submitted to the Department Adjutant at least thirty (30) days in advance of the convention/conference at which they are to be considered.  The Adjutant will insure that copies of the resolution are provided to the DEC and all appropriate committee members at least twenty (20) days in advance of the convention/conference at which they are to be considered, unless these time limits are waived by a majority vote of the committee considering the resolution.

            Section 4.  When the Department Adjutant receives a timely filed resolution from a Post, he will insure that copies of the resolution are forwarded to each member of the Department Executive Committee (DEC) and all appropriate committee members.

            Section 5.  All resolutions will go to the Department Resolutions Committee which will insure that the resolutions are in a proper format.  The Committee may reject any resolution that is not in the proper format if the deficiency is a matter of substance.  All properly formatted resolutions shall be reviewed by the Committee and will be forwarded to the DEC and the Department Convention/Mid-Winter Conference with the recommendation of the Committee attached thereto.

           Section 6.  The Constitution and By-Laws Committee will consider any proposed amendments or revisions to the Department Constitution or By-Laws.  Upon completing this review, the Committee will attach its recommendations concerning the revision or amendment and these will be forwarded to the DEC, the Department Convention or the Mid-Winter Conference.

           Section 7.  The Finance Committee will review any resolution submitted if the resolution has any financial consequences to the Department.  The Finance Committee will attach its findings and recommendations to all such resolutions before they are presented to the DEC, the Department Convention or the Mid-Winter Conference.

           Section 8.  The Resolutions, Constitution & By-Laws, and Finance Committees may conduct their reviews simultaneously.  Once each responsible committee has completed its review, their recommendations will be forwarded to the Department Executive Committee.  That body may consider the committee recommendations in developing the recommendations of the DEC.  The recommendations of the DEC will be forwarded to the Department Convention or the Mid-Winter Conference along with the recommendations of any committee that has reviewed the resolution.

           Section 9.  All properly formatted resolutions will be submitted to the Department Convention or the Mid-Winter Conference for its consideration.  A majority vote of the Convention or Mid-Winter Conference will be needed to approve any resolution.  If the resolution addresses an issue at the Department level, the majority vote will be final.  If the resolution addresses a matter of national concern, the Department Convention or Mid-Winter Conference will vote whether to forward the resolution for consideration at the next National Executive Committee meeting.

ARTICLE V

NOMINATION AND ELECTION OF OFFICERS

            Section 1.  Any person wishing to serve, or nominate another to serve, in an elected position at the District, Division or Department level, shall submit an approved post resolution nominating that person.  For positions at the District and Division level, the post resolution must come from a post within the respective District or Division for the position being sought.  Such resolutions must be forwarded to Department Headquarters no later than the first day of December, in the year preceding the election.

            Section 2.  The Department Adjutant will insure that all nominating resolutions are published in “The Tennessee Legionnaire” and will be posted on the Department web site.

            Section 3.  If no timely nominating resolutions are submitted to Department Headquarters, and the date for electing a position has arrived, the properly assembled body for that position may take nominations from the floor.

ARTICLE VI

MONIES AND COLLECTIONS

            Section 1.  All Department and Post officials handling American Legion monies shall be properly bonded with good and solvent surety company as surety to cover the average amount of money and assets handled in single year.

            Section 2.  The premium on the bond of Department Officers or appointees and Department staff, shall be paid from Department funds.  The premium on the bond of Post Officers and appointees shall be paid for the respective post funds.  The bonds provided by the Department and Post officials shall be approved by the respective Department and Post Executive Committees.

            Section 3.  In case of delinquencies in the payments of amounts due Department Headquarters, action shall be taken at once by the proper officials to bring about a speedy and complete settlement.

ARTICLE VII

NATIONAL CONVENTION DELEGATES

            Section 1.  The delegates and alternates to represent this Department at the National Convention shall be elected at the Department Convention.

            Section 2.  One delegate and one alternate shall be elected by each District at its caucus at the convention for each unit of members for which the Department is allowed one delegate and alternate in the National Constitution, exclusive of fractional part of the unit, upon nomination submitted to the Department Convention by each respective District caucus.

            Section 3.  Any additional delegates and alternates allowed by the National Constitution and By-Laws shall be elected at large by the Department Convention; provided, however, that the Department Commander and Department Adjutant shall be delegates at large, and the Department Commander shall be the Chairman of the Department delegation to the National Convention.

ARTICLE VIII

TITLES AND BADGES OF OFFICE

            Section 1.  Upon election and installation, or upon appointment, certain Legionnaires are entitled to claim a title/office and the accoutrements of said office.  No one may assume such title or accoutrement until properly assuming said office.

            Section 2.  Various colored caps are authorized within the Legion.  The following is a list of persons authorized to wear certain colored caps”

                              a.  Blue caps.  All Legionnaires that are current on their dues are entitled to wear this cap.

                  b.  Blue and White caps.  Officers elected and installed as District Officers are entitled to wear this cap during their term of office.

                  c.  White caps.  The following Department Officers are authorized to wear the White cap:  the Department Commander, Department Adjutant, the three Department Vice-Commanders, the Department Judge Advocate, the Department Historian, the Department Sergeant-at-Arms, the Department Chaplain, the Department Membership Chair, the Department Public Affairs Officer and the Department Service Officer.  Elected Department Officers are not authorized to wear the white cap until properly installed in their position.  Appointed Department Officers are not entitled to wear the white cap until officially notified of their appointment.

                 d.  Red caps.  Only two members in the Department are authorized to wear the red cap.  These members are the National Executive Committeeman and the Alternate National Executive Committeeman.  These members are only authorized to wear the red cap after they are installed in their position at the conclusion of the National Convention.  Any other persons desiring to wear a red cap must receive authorization from National Headquarters.

ARTICLE IX

DISCIPLINE OF POST MEMBERS

            Section 1.  Each Post of the American Legion shall be the judge of its own membership, subject to the restrictions of the National and Department Constitutions and By-Laws, except that no person who is a member of any organization which has as its aim the overthrow of the United States Government by force or violence, or who subscribes to the principles of any group opposed to our form of government, shall be eligible to become or remain a member of the American Legion.

            Section 2.  Members may be suspended or expelled from the Legion only upon a proper showing of cause.  Charges shall be based upon disloyalty, neglect of duty, dishonesty or conduct unbecoming a member of the American Legion.  All charges must be made under oath in writing by the accusers, and no member in good standing shall lose his membership until given a fair trial by their Post in such manner as generally prescribed herein.

            Section 3.  Posts seeking to suspended or expel a member must insure that all proceedings are fair and comport with due process.  At a minimum these proceedings should include the following:

            a.  The charges must be in writing, made by another member of the Post and be under oath.

b.  The accused will be given written notice of charges.  The Post will maintain documentation of service of the charges on the accused.

c.  The accused has a right to be represented by counsel of his own choice.  All expenses for such counsel shall be borne by the accused.

d.  The accused will have an opportunity to file an answer to the charges.  Sufficient time must be given to file an answer.

e.  If the accused requests a hearing, a hearing will be held before the Post Executive Committee.  The accused will be given sufficient time to prepare for this hearing.

f.  Two-thirds of the panel assembled to hear the case must concur in the decision to suspend or expel before any negative action may be taken.

e.  If the panel votes to expel or suspend the member, the member will be informed of his right to appeal the decision to the Department Executive Committee.  The accused will be informed that any such appeal must arrive at Department Headquarters within 45 days of the Post’s panel decision to expel or suspend.

            Section 4.  The Department Executive Committee (DEC) will expeditiously consider any appeals of expulsion or suspension.  The DEC will consider whether the proceedings were fair and may also consider the substance of the allegations.  The decision of the DEC will be final.

ARTICLE X

AUXILIARIES

            Section 1.  The American Legion, Department of Tennessee, recognizes an auxiliary organization known as “The American Legion Auxiliary,” organized in accordance with the regulations of the National Constitution and governed by such rules and regulations as may be prescribed by the National Executive Committee and thereinafter approved by the Department Executive Committee.

ARTICLE XI

SONS OF THE AMERICAN LEGION

            Section 1.  The American Legion, Department of Tennessee, recognizes a program known as “The Sons of the American Legion,” organized in accordance with the regulations of the National Constitution and governed by such rules and regulations as may be prescribed by the National Executive Committee and thereinafter approved by the Department Executive Committee.

ARTICLE XII

AMERICAN LEGION RIDERS

            Section 1.  The American Legion, Department of Tennessee, recognizes a program known as “The American Legion Riders,” organized in accordance with the regulations of the National Constitution and governed by such rules and regulations as may be prescribed by the National Executive Committee and thereinafter approved by the Department Executive Committee.

ARTICLE XIII

AMENDMENTS

            Section 1.  These By-Laws may be amended or revised at the Department Convention or Mid-Winter Conference by a two-thirds affirmative vote of the duly qualified delegates thereto.  Any proposed amendments or revisions shall first have been made available at the preceding Department Convention or Mid-Winter Conference for committee review and also have been made readily available to the membership at large at least two months before the amendment or revision is to be voted on. 

            Section 2.  (a)  All proposed amendments or revisions shall be submitted through the Department Adjutant to the members of the Resolutions Committee, the Finance Committee and the Constitution & By-Laws Committee and then to the Department Executive Committee.  Proposed amendments/revisions shall be in the hands of the Department Adjutant thirty days prior to the Department Convention or Mid-Winter Conference. 

                             (b)  The Department Adjutant shall forward the proposed amendments/revisions to the DEC, the Resolutions Committee, the Finance Committee and the Constitution & By-Laws Committee at least twenty days in advance of the Department Convention or Mid-Winter Conference.  After review, the Resolutions Committee, the Finance Committee and the Constitution & By-Laws Committee will forward the proposed amendments/revisions, with their recommendations, to the Department Executive Committee.  Such recommendations will be reduced to writing.

                           (c)  The Department Executive Committee will conduct its own review and prepare recommendations in writing.   The recommendations of the DEC, the Resolutions Committee, the Finance Committee and the Constitution & By-Laws Committee will also be presented to the next succeeding Convention or Mid-Winter Conference after they have been published to the general membership.

            Section 3.  Any proposed amendments or revisions will be presented at a Convention or Mid-Winter Conference to the above committees, they then will be published to the general membership along with the written recommendations of the above committees and only then presented to the next Convention of Mid-Winter Conference for a vote.  The Department Adjutant will ensure the proposed amendments or revisions, along with the committee recommendations, are published in such a fashion as they will be readily available to all members of the general membership of the Department.

            Section 4.  The Department Constitution and By-Laws may be amended at any Department Convention or Mid-Winter Conference, without any prior notice, if there is a unanimous vote in favor of such amendment(s).

            Section 5.  No proposed amendment or revision shall be submitted through the Department Adjutant, the Department Resolutions Committee, the Department Finance Committee, the Department Constitution & By-Laws Committee or the Department Executive Committee, unless the proposed amendment or revision shall have first received the formal endorsement of a Post in the form of a resolution.

            Section 6.  The only exception to the above provisions is that the Department Executive Committee (DEC) is authorized to amend or revise these By-Laws by a two-thirds vote of the membership thereof, to conform to any changes made at any time in the National Constitution or By-Laws of the American Legion when such amendments or revisions cannot, in the opinion of the DEC, be deferred to the next Department Convention or Mid-Winter Conference.  The action of the DEC shall be placed before the next Department Convention or Mid-Winter Conference for ratification.

            Section 7.  In the event of any conflict between the provisions of the National Constitution and By-Laws and the Department Constitution and By-Laws, the National Constitution and By-Laws shall prevail.

 


[1] Any reference in the Constitution and By-Laws to the male gender shall be deemed to include the female gender.

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