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State Committee of Vendors By-Laws

Preamble

Unless otherwise indicated in these by-laws, the terms below are defined as follows:

  • Business Enterprises Program means all the activities of the State agency in Florida designated to administer the Randolph-Sheppard Act, as amended.
  • Licensee means a legally blind person who has been trained and issued a written license as qualified and eligible to operate a vending facility in the Business Enterprises Program.
  • Vending Facility means a business established and maintained by the Business Enterprises Program.
  • Vendor means a licensee who holds a Licensed Operator Facility Agreement with the Division of Blind Services’ Business Enterprises Program to operate a vending facility.

Unless otherwise qualified in these by-laws, any other terms in 34 Code of Federal Regulations, Section 395.1 and definitions in Section 413.051(2), Florida Statutes (2002), are incorporated by reference.

ARTICLE I

The name of this Committee shall be the State Committee of Vendors (hereinafter “Committee”).

ARTICLE II

Purposes of this Committee shall include but not be limited to:

  1. Representing the interests of all vendors and other licensees involved in the Business Enterprises Program (hereinafter “Program”), including acting as advocates for such licensees collectively and individually in disputes with the Program.
  2. Participating with the Program in all administrative decisions with regard to the development and administration of policies and procedures including but not limited to the following:
    1. A fair and unbiased transfer and promotion system for licensees.
    2. The training and re-training of licensees including upward mobility programs for vendors.
  3. Sponsoring, with the assistance of the Program, meetings and conferences for licensees.
  4. Engaging in an ongoing process of information sharing, discussions, and good-faith negotiations with the Program to promote mutual respect for the perspectives, interests, and responsibilities of each party. 

ARTICLE III

Duties and responsibilities of this Committee shall include but not be limited to:

  1. Calling meetings and formulating agendas.
  2. Reviewing all material relevant to the Program.
  3. Establishing work groups for study and development of the Program.
  4. Maintaining all records of the Committee’s activities.
  5. Informing licensees of procedures for submitting and having grievances heard.
  6. Reviewing and acting upon all data pertaining to inventory, budgeting and financial arrangements of the Program.
  7. Reviewing, preparing and acting upon all procedures for transfer, promotion, training, retraining and upward mobility of licensees.
  8. Reviewing, preparing and acting upon specifications and procedures for supervision and promotional activities for the Program.
  9. Receiving and voting upon major administrative proposals to establish or change Program policies, procedures and other Program development.
  10. Developing administrative proposals to establish or change Program policies or procedures and submitting its proposals to the Program for consideration.
  11. Communicating regularly with all licensees.

ARTICLE IV

Section A - Composition

  1. The State shall be divided into areas, which equalize as nearly as practicable the representation of licensees, as required by Federal Regulations and State Rules.  Such areas shall constitute Committee Districts.
  2. The number comprising the Committee shall be one Representative and one Alternate from each District, plus one Chairperson and one Vice-Chairperson.
  3. In the event, the Chairperson tenders a resignation to officials in the Program’s administration; the elected Vice-Chairperson shall ascend to the position of Chairperson.  In the event a Vice-Chairperson so ascends or tenders a resignation; it shall be at the joint discretion of the Program and the Committee as to the election of another Vice-Chairperson as long as a Chairperson is actively in service on the Committee.  Such election to fill the remainder of the vacated Vice-Chairperson’s term shall be in accordance with these by-laws.
  4. In the event, a Representative tenders a resignation to the Committee’s Chairperson; the elected Alternate shall ascend to the position of Representative.  In the event an Alternate so ascends or otherwise tenders a resignation; it shall be at the discretion of the District as to the election of another Alternate as long as a Representative is actively in service on the Committee.  Such election to fill the remainder of the vacated Alternate’s term shall be in accordance with these by-laws.

Section B - Elections

  1. The Committee shall collaborate with the Program to develop a procedural plan for holding of elections on a biennial basis; such plan to include but not be limited to time, place, and method of voting.  Any plan so formulated shall include a provision for a minimum of fourteen (14) calendar days written notice to hold an election.
  2. If the Program fails to enter into an agreement with the Committee to establish a procedural plan for elections and/or fails to conduct such elections accordingly, the Committee is hereby authorized and instructed to take all necessary action for itself and for licensees within the State to conduct the election of Committee members.
  3. Any vendor who holds a Licensed Operator Facility Agreement (hereinafter “LOFA”) with the Program on the date of an election shall be eligible to vote for one candidate as Committee Representative and one candidate as Committee Alternate for the District in which his or her vending facility is located.
  4. Any eligible voter may be a candidate for the Representative or Alternate position from the District in which he or she is eligible to vote.  Persons nominated must signify a willingness to serve if elected.
  5. Committee Representatives and Alternates shall be elected by a simple majority of those vendors attending a properly called election meeting in a District.  If no candidate receives a majority of the votes in the first election, a run-off election shall be conducted.  Elections shall not be held more than sixty (60) calendar days prior to but no later than on the first day of each biennial meeting of vendors.  Each newly elected Committee member shall take office upon the adjournment of such biennial meeting.
  6. Any vendor who holds a LOFA with the Program on the date of an election shall be eligible to vote for one candidate as Committee Chairperson and one candidate as Committee Vice-Chairperson.
  7. An eligible voter in any District who has been licensed in the Program for three (3) years prior to an election may be a candidate for Chairperson or Vice-Chairperson of the Committee.  Persons nominated must signify a willingness to serve if elected.
  8. The Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson of the Committee shall be elected by a simple majority of the votes cast by vendors in attendance at a biennial meeting of vendors.  If no candidate receives a majority in the first election, a run-off election shall be conducted.  Nominations for Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson shall take place at the biennial meeting one day prior to the vote being taken.  There shall be no additional nominations on the day of the election.  The newly elected Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson shall take office immediately upon the adjournment of the biennial meeting at which the election was held.
  9. All voting shall be by secret ballot, except as allowed by Article IV, Section E (3).  Absentee ballots shall not be counted in either event, and there shall be no proxy voting allowed.
  10. The term of office for a Committee Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson, Representative or Alternate shall be for two years or until their successors are elected.
  11. There shall be no limitations on the number of terms a Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson, Representative or Alternate can serve.

Section C – District Representation Recall Requirements

  1. An elected Representative or Alternate may be recalled when two thirds of a District’s vendors request such action in writing to officials in the Program’s administration.
  2. Upon receipt of such written request, the Program shall immediately notify the Representative or Alternate involved and establish a date, time and place for a recall meeting in the District, providing fourteen (14) calendar days written notice.  Persons so recalled shall be afforded an opportunity to speak at the recall meeting.
  3. The recall of a Representative or Alternate shall be effected by a two-thirds vote of vendors attending the recall meeting.  There shall be no proxy voting allowed.
  4. In the event, a Representative is recalled, the Alternate shall ascend to the position of Representative for the remainder of its term.  In the event the Alternate so ascends or is recalled, the election of a new Alternate shall be held in accordance with these by-laws.  Any person so elected under these circumstances shall take office immediately and serve the remainder of the term for the position of the person recalled.

Section D – Committee Leadership Impeachment and Removal Requirements

  1. An elected Chairperson or Vice-Chairperson may be impeached when either two thirds of the Program’s vendors or when two thirds of the Committee’s Representatives request such action in writing to officials in the Program’s administration.
  2. Upon receipt of such written request, the Program shall immediately notify the Chairperson or Vice-Chairperson involved and establish a date, time and place for impeachment proceedings to take place in one of the following venues:
    1. A statewide meeting of vendors, if the impeachment request originates by a proper petition of vendors.
    2. A special meeting of the Committee, if the impeachment request originates by a proper written petition of the Committee itself.
  3. Any meeting to hear impeachment arguments shall be called providing fourteen (14) calendar days written notice to the originating petitioners.  Persons so impeached shall be afforded an opportunity to speak at the impeachment meeting.
  4. Removal of an impeached Chairperson or Vice-Chairperson shall be effected by a three-fourths vote of vendors or Representatives attending a properly called impeachment meeting.  There shall be no proxy voting allowed.
  5. In the event a Chairperson is so removed, the Vice- Chairperson shall immediately ascend to the position of Chairperson for the remainder of its term.  In the event the Vice-Chairperson so ascends or is removed by impeachment, the election of a new Vice-Chairperson shall be held in accordance with these by-laws.  Any person so elected under these circumstances shall take office immediately and serve the remainder of the term for the position of the person removed.

Section E - Vacancies

  1. An election to fill a vacancy of a District’s Representative or Alternate shall be conducted by the Program calling for a District meeting of effected vendors providing fourteen (14) calendar days written notice.  Such elections shall adhere to the election provisions in Article IV, Section B (3 & 4).
  2. Replacement Representatives or Alternates shall be elected by a simple majority of vendors eligible to vote in the District needing new Committee representation. Any person so elected under these circumstances shall take office immediately and serve the remainder of the term for the vacated position.
  3. A vacancy occurring in the positions of Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson more than six (6) months prior to a biennial meeting of vendors may be filled in accordance with the following provisions:
    1. The Program shall solicit nominations for the position of Committee Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson by mail from all eligible vendors. 
    2. The Program shall prepare and mail to all eligible vendors a written ballot of all persons so nominated and verified eligible in accordance with provisions in Article IV, Section B (7), providing a postmark deadline for casting a ballot.
    3. The Program and two (2) persons approved by simple majority of the remaining Representatives of the Committee shall count the ballots no sooner than fourteen (14) calendar days past the postmark deadline.
    4. To be elected, a candidate must receive a majority of the mail ballots cast.  Persons so elected shall immediately assume the remainder of the position’s term.
    5. Any person so elected under these circumstances shall take office immediately and serve the remainder of the term for the vacated position.

ARTICLE V

Section A – Selection Panel

The Committee shall appoint licensees or others as deemed appropriate to serve on the Program’s Selection Panel.  Such appointment requires a two-thirds majority vote of the Committee.

Section B – Grievance Board

The Committee shall appoint licensees or others as deemed appropriate to serve on the Program’s Grievance Board.  Such appointment requires a two-thirds majority vote of the Committee.

Section C – Work Groups

The Committee may form work groups to review and study issues pertinent to the Program, the Committee, or the biennial meeting of vendors.

  1. The Chairperson shall take responsibility for the appointment and conduct of the work groups.
  2. Work groups may include Committee members; Program personnel, licensees or others deemed accomplished in the area being studied.
  3. Work groups may make recommendations to the Committee for consideration.

ARTICLE VI

  1. Expenses incurred or authorized by the Committee in the carrying out of its purpose or its statutory duties and responsibilities shall be paid for as management services from set-aside and matching federal funds, or from general revenue or grants and donations, in part or in whole.  Such expenses shall be paid in accordance with the Program’s prevailing requirements and conditions.
  2. Committee members, including appointed members the Selection Panel, the Grievance Board and work groups shall be entitled to per diem and travel expenses, as provided by prevailing State law, while engaged in official activities of the Committee, unless otherwise agreed to by the Committee and the Program.
  3. The Committee shall request the Program to provide budgetary support for needs outside its usual and customary activities provided for herein.  Such costs shall be paid for as a part of management services from set-aside and matching federal funds, or from general revenue, or grants and donations, in part of in whole. Such expenses shall be paid in accordance with the Program’s prevailing requirements and conditions.

ARTICLE VII

These by-laws may be amended in accordance with the following provisions:

  1. These by-laws may be amended at any statewide meeting of vendors or by mail ballot involving the entire membership of vendors.  Any amendment shall originate in one (1) of two (2) manners:
    1. Submission by written petition of at least one third of the vendors eligible to vote for Committee candidates; or
    2. Submission by a majority vote of the Committee.
  2. Any proposed amendment shall be submitted in writing to all vendors thirty (30) days prior to a vote at a statewide meeting of vendors or by return ballot postmarked within no more than thirty (30) days of its mailing.
  3. Adoption of proposed amendments requires an affirmative vote by two thirds of vendors present at a statewide meeting or by two thirds of returned mail ballots.
  4. In the event of a mail ballot process, the Program and two (2) persons approved by the Committee shall count the ballots no sooner than fourteen (14) calendar days past the postmark deadline.

Article VIII

The Committee and its activities shall be conducted in accordance with prevailing federal and state laws, rules and regulations.  Its meetings shall be guided by parliamentary law as contained in Roberts Rules of Order, revised, as deemed appropriate.  The Chairperson of the Committee shall preside at all statewide meetings of vendors and other licensees and at all meetings of the elected Committee, except that in case of the Chairperson's absence or inability to preside for any cause, the Vice-Chairperson shall preside.

History

Amended on 9-24-89 by majority vote of Vendors attending Statewide Seminar in Jacksonville, Florida.

Amended on 9-14-03 by majority vote of Vendors attending Statewide Seminar in Orlando, Florida.

Florida Bureau of Business Enterprise

Providing Tools and Support for Legally Blind Vendors in the Food Service Industry