Conference of County Court Judges of Florida
(Effective July 27, 1996)
(Amended July 2008)
ARTICLE I NAME
This organization shall be known as: “Conference of County Court Judges of Florida”.
ARTICLE II PURPOSE
The purpose of this organization shall be:
SECTION 1. To conduct conferences and institutes to provide continuing judicial education and to conduct forums in which the County Court Judges of Florida may meet to discuss mutual problems and solutions.
SECTION 2. To develop programs for the improvement of the administration of justice in the State of Florida and to study/improve legislation in the field of the administration of justice in the State of Florida.
SECTION 3. To acquire and disseminate information to all County Court Judges for the improvement of their courts, practice and procedure.
SECTION 4. To provide a unified voice for the County Court Judges of Florida in their dealings with the Legislature, Executive Branch, Supreme Court, State agencies and the citizenry of Florida.
ARTICLE III MEMBERSHIP
SECTION 1. Members shall be the duly commissioned County Court Judges of the State of Florida.
SECTION 2. Voting members shall be those County Court Judges of the State of Florida whose dues have been paid or waived as well as those judges who have retired in good standing, who are not currently practicing law, and who still maintain an active role in the Conference of County Court Judges. Good standing means that a judge has not been removed from office.
SECTION 3. Associate members shall be those former County Court Judges who have retired in good standing, who are not currently practicing law, and who no longer maintain an active role in the conference. Annual dues for associate members shall be waived. Associate members shall not be voting members.
SECTION 4. Dues for voting members shall be determined by a majority vote of the Board of Directors.
ARTICLE IV OFFICERS
SECTION 1. The officers of this Conference shall be a President, President-elect Immediate Past-President, Secretary, Treasurer, Editor, one Vice President from each of the Appellate Districts, and the Circuit Representatives.
Circuit Representatives shall be responsible for ordering and presenting newly elected/appointed judges within their circuit a desk name plate on behalf of the Conference. Circuit Representatives shall be responsible for timely notification to the Conference Award and Merit Committee of the investiture and retirement of Conference members. Circuit Representatives shall also be responsible for notifying the Conference Award and Merit Committee of times of bereavement, sympathy, congratulations and similar dates of note on behalf of the Conference members within their circuit so that the Conference Award and Merit Committee may take timely and appropriate action.
It shall be the responsibility of Circuit Representatives from time to time to distribute and retrieve conference surveys or other documents of conference interest and to encourage each Conference member within his or her circuit to actively participate in such surveys or inquires.
SECTION 2. The President shall preside at meetings, appoint committees, and be the Executive Officer for the Conference and the Board of Directors, and shall carry out the duties usually associated with the office of President. The President shall be one of four conference delegates to the American Bar Association and shall have the responsibility for attending the annual American Bar Association Convention on behalf of this conference.
SECTION 3. The President-elect shall be considered First Vice President of the conference, and shall perform such duties as usual to that office. He or she shall preside in the absence of the President, and upon resignation of the President, shall automatically become President and shall serve the uncompleted term of his or her predecessor and, if having been elected to the office of President-elect in accordance with that portion of the Bylaws covering elections, shall be installed as President for one full year term at the annual meeting, unless he or she shall decline such office.
SECTION 4. The immediate Past-President shall serve as a member of the Board of Directors and Executive Committee and shall assume such duties as assigned to him or her by the President and shall act in an advisory capacity to the President, Executive Committee, and the Board of Directors.
SECTION 5. The Secretary shall keep the minutes of the conference and Board meetings and shall be responsible for providing those minutes on a timely basis to the Editor for publication to the general membership. The Secretary shall carry out all other duties usual to that office and shall be responsible for the safekeeping of these Bylaws to assure that they are compiled in final form after all amendments, and are made readily available to the membership upon proper demand.
SECTION 6. The Treasurer shall bill for and collect dues, keep the funds of the Conference and pay its bills and expenses, and shall carry out all other duties as are usual to this office and as are assigned by the President. The Treasurer shall prepare a financial report for the Conference twice per year. One report shall be presented at the Annual Business Meeting. Copies of both financial reports shall be made available to the general membership upon proper demand. It shall be the responsibility of the Treasurer to assure compliance with any and all tax and reporting requirements. Further, the Treasurer, shall prepare a proposed budget to be presented annually to the Board of Directors at the annual meeting for the ensuing fiscal year. The proposed budget shall be presented to the members of the Board at least seven (7) days prior to the annual meeting after the Treasurer assumes office and shall be voted upon by the Board at that meeting.
SECTION 7. The Editor shall be responsible for the preparation and distribution of the Conference newsletter which shall be published at regular intervals throughout the year. The Editor shall be responsible for the publication and distribution of Conference and Board minutes and other reports of general interest on a timely basis. The Editor shall serve as chair of the Editorial Committee.
SECTION 8. County Court Judges of each appellate district who are voting members of the Conference shall elect respectively a Vice President at the annual meeting, and this Vice President shall be the leader for his or her district. The Vice President shall report to the conference on any areas of interest or specific concerns within his or her own district. Each district Vice-President shall cooperate in striving to make the Conference a unified, effective organization, fairly representing the interests and needs of all members throughout the State of Florida. District Vice Presidents shall serve as members of the Editorial Committee.
SECTION 9. County Court Judges of each judicial circuit who are voting members of the Conference shall elect, respectively, a Circuit Representative during a caucus to be held during the annual meeting. It is the duty of the Circuit Representative to schedule circuit- wide meetings with members between annual meetings, to keep minutes of the circuit- wide meetings, and to report the results and recommendations of the circuit-wide meetings to the Conference at the annual meeting. Each Circuit Representative shall cooperate in striving to make the Conference a unified, effective organization fairly representing the interests and needs of all members throughout the State of Florida.
ARTICLE V BOARD OF DIRECTORS
SECTION 1. There shall be a Board of Directors comprised of the officers of this Conference and all Past Presidents who are members of the Conference who have not attained senior judge status, Conference Manager, Legislative Chair, and Web Administrator.
SECTION 2. Subject to the limitations contained in these Bylaws, the business affairs of this conference shall be controlled by the Board of Directors. In addition to responsibility for conference management as described in Article XII, the Board of Directors shall be responsible for:
(A) Establishing the objectives and priorities at the annual meeting that shall be pursued during the ensuring year by the Conference.
(B) Nominations for new officers at large of the Conference of County Court Judges of Florida.
(C) Selection of the site and time of the annual meeting and any other major meetings.
(D) Recommendations to the Executive Committee regarding the respective needs of the various circuits.
(E) Establishing the position of the Conference on matters of public policy subject to review by the Conference at its annual meeting.
ARTICLE VI EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
SECTION 1. There shall be an Executive Committee comprised of the current President, President-elect, Treasurer, Secretary, Immediate Past-President, Editor, and District Vice- Presidents, Conference Manager, Legislative Chair, and Web Administrator.
SECTION 2. The Executive Committee shall have the authority to act for the Board of Directors in the periods between Board meetings.
ARTICLE VII REPRESENTATION OF CONFERENCE ON OTHER BODIES
SECTION 1. As provided in Article V, Section 12, Florida Constitution as revised in 1968 and subsequently amended, and any future amendment thereto, the Conference shall select the number of representatives to the Judicial Qualifications Commission specified in that provision. The representatives shall serve the term provided for by the Constitution or general law. A qualified member shall not be precluded from serving more than one term on the Judicial Qualifications Commission. Any vacancy shall be filled in the matter set forth in Article VIII of these bylaws.
SECTION 2. As provided in Rule 2.225, Rules of Judicial Administration, and any future amendment thereto, the Conference shall select the number of representatives to the Florida Judicial Management Council specified in that provision. The representatives shall serve the term provided for by Rule 2.225 and any vacancy shall be filled in the matter set forth in Article VIII of these bylaws.
SECTION 3. As provided in the rule on the Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee, and any future amendment thereto, the Conference shall select the number of representatives to the Committee specified in that provision. Those representatives shall serve the term specified by the committee rule. Any vacancy shall be filled in the manner set forth in Article VIII of these bylaws. Since there is no specified term for representatives to the Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee the current representatives shall be eligible to serve one year from the effective date of these bylaws.
SECTION 4. The Conference shall recommend delegates to the ABA to be appointed by the Chief Justice for the purpose of representation at ABA meetings. These recommendations shall be made on an annual basis. The President shall be one of those delegates and the President shall recommend three other delegates to the Chief Justice.
SECTION 5. In the event that a Joint Committee of the Conference of Circuit and County Judges is established the Conference shall select the number of representatives to the Committee agreed to by the two Conferences. The representatives shall consist of individuals who are voting members of the Florida Conference of County Court Judges and who hold the offices agreed to by the two Conferences.
SECTION 6. There are various other bodies to which the Chief Justice appoints county judges and considers the recommendation of the Conference. The President shall recommend appointment to these bodies when appropriate.
SECTION 7. Only voting members shall be eligible to hold all of the aforementioned positions. Any member serving a fixed term on any of the aforementioned bodies as of the effective date of these bylaws shall complete that term. All representatives who hold elected positions on any of the aforementioned bodies shall be eligible to serve only two full terms in that representative position unless adherence to this restriction would be inconsistent with any provision of law. In that case the provision of law would be controlling.
ARTICLE VIII CONFERENCE ELECTIONS AND APPOINTMENTS
(A) Notice of vacancies in office subject to election at the upcoming annual meeting shall be published 30 days prior to the annual conference. Only voting members of the Conference may nominate candidates or hold office.
(B) The Board of Directors shall act as a nominating committee and, with the exception of the offices of Circuit Representative and District Vice President, shall nominate at least one candidate for each office during the Winter Board meeting. The Board of Directors shall also nominate the appropriate number of representatives to the Judicial Qualifications Commission, to the Judicial Management Council, and to the Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee. The Board may also designate a nominating subcommittee to solicit and receive nominations for each office subject to election. The subcommittee shall forward all such nominations to the Board of Directors to be announced at the Winter Board meeting and published in the minutes thereof. Nominations of the Board need not be seconded.
(C) From the close of the Winter Board meeting until the general session of the annual meeting any voting conference member may nominate any other voting conference member for office. All such nominations must be made and seconded in writing and submitted to the Conference President and Secretary.
(D) At the general sessions of the annual meeting all existing nominations shall be announced. Immediately thereafter, nominations from the floor may be made. Nominations from the floor must also be seconded.
(E) Elections for District Vice President and Circuit Representatives shall be conducted by the respective groups immediately after the general election or, if possible, while votes from the general election are being tabulated. Proxy voting shall be permitted to the extent permitted by Article VIII, Section 4.SECTION 2. The election of officers and representatives to the Judicial Qualifications Commission, Judicial Management Council, and Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee shall be held at a general session of the annual meeting. The Board of Directors shall be responsible for the conduct of the elections. There is no quorum requirement for elections during the general session. In each officer election, the person receiving a majority of the votes cast shall be declared the winner. In the event there is no clear majority, a runoff election shall be scheduled immediately between the two candidates receiving the highest number of votes.
SECTION 3. After the election and at the conclusion of the annual meeting of the conference all elected officers and members of the Board of Directors shall assume office, except the President-elect shall become President by virtue of having been elected President-elect and having served in such a capacity immediately precedent to the annual meeting.
SECTION 4. Proxy voting shall be allowed at the annual meetings for all Conference elections. However, no Conference member may exercise more that two (2) other Conference members’ votes by proxy. All proxies must be in writing and signed by the person making the proxy who must be otherwise eligible to vote. All written authorizations must be delivered by the member authorized to exercise the proxy to the presiding officer at the respective election covered by said proxy.
(A) Vacancies in office occurring after the annual meeting other than the office of President, President-elect, and immediate Past-President shall be filled by appointment by the President until the next annual meeting. However, when a vacancy occurs in the office of Circuit Representative, the circuit having that vacancy shall have fifteen (15) days within which to replace their own representative. If the Circuit Representative is not replaced by the circuit within fifteen (15) days then the responsibility to appoint that representative reverts to the President.
(B) Should the office of President-elect become vacant except as provided in Section 5(C) of this Article, said office shall be filled by a member appointed by the Executive Committee at a special meeting. The meeting shall be called and the vacancy filled within thirty (30) days of the vacancy. If the annual meeting occurs within thirty (30) days of said vacancy then, the vacancy may be filled at the annual meeting by general election.
(C) Should the office of President and President-elect become vacant at the same time, then the office of President shall be assumed by the Secretary and the office of President- elect and the office of Secretary shall be filled by members appointed by the Executive Committee at a special meeting as outlined in Section 5(B) of this Article. If the annual meeting occurs within thirty (30) days of said vacancy then the vacancy may be filled at the annual meeting by general election. Should there be a need for a special meeting of the Executive Committee it shall be presided over by the Immediate Past-President, or in his or her absence or inability, by the Treasurer.
(D) Should the office of Immediate Past-President become vacant, the vacancy shall be assumed by the member who most recently has served as Immediate Past-President, and if there are none, this office shall remain vacant until such time as there is an Immediate Past-President.
(E) Should a vacancy occur in the office of County Court Representative to the Judicial Qualifications Committee, County Court Representative to the Judicial Management Council, or County Court Representative to the Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee, then said vacancy shall be filled by appointment of the President as soon as is practical so long as the vacancy occurred more than 30 days from the annual meeting. If the annual meeting of the conference is scheduled to occur within thirty (30) days of said vacancy, then the vacancy shall be filled by nomination and election at the annual meeting consistent with these bylaws.
SECTION 6. The terms of office for all officers shall be for one (1) year.
SECTION 7. At the end of the annual meeting the President shall automatically be succeeded by the President-elect. However, upon motion made by the President-elect and approved by a majority vote of the members present at the annual meeting the President and President-elect may serve a second consecutive term. The motion must be made priorto the conclusion of the Winter Board meeting. This motion shall be voted upon at the general session of the annual meeting prior to the nominations and elections for office of President-elect. In no event may a President or President-elect serve more than two consecutive terms in each such office. If the motion is not made or if the motion is made and defeated, then the President-elect shall succeed the President and there shall be an election for the office of President-elect in conformity with these bylaws.
SECTION 8. A President-elect appointed in accordance with Section 5(B) or 5(C) of this Article shall serve until the next annual meeting at which time the term of office shall expire, and he or she shall not automatically become President at the next annual meeting unless duly elected to the presidency by the Conference. In that event the office of the President will be subject to nomination and general election in the same manner as the other elections of officers covered by these Bylaws.
SECTION 9. In the event that the annual meeting is cancelled for any reason the President shall convene a meeting of the Executive Committee within 30 days of official notice of cancellation or as soon as practical. The Executive Committee shall set the method of election for those subject to election. The Executive Committee shall insure that the election is as consistent as practical with the bylaws as found in Article VIII and shall be conducted via a secure and verifiable means using readily available internet technology.
ARTICLE IX PARLIAMENTARY PROCEDURES
SECTION 1. The Rules of Parliamentary Procedures set forth in Roberts Rules of Order, as such rules may be revised from time to time, shall govern the proceedings of this conference, subject to such special rules as may be adopted by this conference.
SECTION 2. Within thirty (30) days of assumption of office, the President shall appoint a Parliamentarian for the upcoming year. The Parliamentarian shall, at the request of any member, interpret the Rules of Parliamentary Procedures as they relate to the proceedings of the conference, subject to such special rules as may be adopted by the Board of Directors.
ARTICLE X IMPEACHMENT
Any officer of the Conference or member of the Board of Directors may be removed from the office for misfeasance or nonfeasance in office, or for any act or failure to act in any capacity which may reflect adversely upon this Conference. A majority vote of the Board of Directors shall constitute the petition for removal, but a two-thirds (2/3) affirmative vote of the members present and voting at the annual meeting or any other special meeting called by the President with at least thirty (30) days notice to the general membership shall be required for impeachment. No vote may be taken unless such person has been notified in writing of the impeachment proposal. Such person shall be given an opportunity to address the members of the Board of Directors, as well as the general membership, before a final vote on the impeachment proposal is taken. Any vacancy created by such removal shall be filled in the same manner as other vacancies.
ARTICLE XI COMMITTEES
SECTION 1. Standing committees shall be created for the investigation, study or implementation of matters relating to the general purposes, business and interest of the Conference of a continuous and recurring character. The Board of Directors shall determine the scope of responsibility and the duties of each standing committee. There shall be the following standing committees: Administration and Management Committee; Judicial Assistants Committee; Awards and Merit Committee; Legislative Committee; Civil Rules Committee; Professional Relations Committee; Conference Committee; Senior Judge Committee; Criminal Rules Committee; Sentencing Committee; Editorial Committee; Small Claims Committee; Education Committee; Traffic Rules Committee
(A) Although all conference members are encouraged to attend standing committee meetings, membership shall be determined by Presidential appointment to existing vacancies. However, in no event shall standing committee membership be reduced by eliminating a member whose current term has not expired other than pursuant to Section 9 of this article.
(B) Unless otherwise defined herein, standing committee members shall serve one (1) year terms. The President shall be responsible for appointing standing committee members upon the creation of any vacancies during his or her term. The President shall also select the chair and vice-chair from the committee members. The chair and vice- chair shall each serve one (1) year terms. The vice-chair shall automatically replace the chair of any committee upon the creation of a vacancy in mid-term. However, the vice- chair shall not automatically succeed the chair at the beginning of the next term. Committee membership shall reflect proper geographical, ethnic, racial, and gender balance. There is no prohibition against reappointment of committee chairs, vice-chairs, or members.
SECTION 3. The district Vice Presidents and the Editor shall make up the Editorial Committee for the Conference newsletter. It shall be the responsibility of the District Vice Presidents to provide articles for publication in the conference newsletter. The President in conjunction with the Editor shall determine the frequency with which the District Vice Presidents shall provide such articles. The articles can be written by the District Vice President or by someone in his or her district. However, the ultimate responsibility for providing the articles for publication rests with the District Vice President.
SECTION 4. Membership on the Joint County and Circuit Court Committee shall be made annually by appointment of the President subject to the approval of the Board of Directors, and whenever possible shall be consistent with the circuit court membership on that committee.
SECTION 5. Membership on the Education Committee shall include all conference members who currently serve as Dean, Associate Dean, or Chairperson of the College of Advanced Judicial Studies, the Florida Judicial College, and the Traffic School.
SECTION 6. In an effort to assure equal representation from all jurisdictions, the Legislative Committee shall consist of the twenty (20) Circuit Representatives or their designee for that year, three (3) members at large appointed by the President, all Past- Presidents, the President, and President-elect.
SECTION 7. In addition to standing committees, the President shall have authority to create committees to investigate, study, and implement matters relating to specific purposes, business and interests of the Association (Conference) of an immediate or non- recurring character. The term of such committee shall end at the next annual conference of the Association (Conference) following its creation unless continued by action of the successor President.
SECTION 8. Appointment of chairpersons and members of the committees described in Article XI, Section 1 shall be made annually by the President, who is authorized also to appoint successors, in the event of death, resignation, or disqualification.
SECTION 9. If any member of any regular or standing committee over the course of one year does not actively participate in the committee, the chair, after notice to and discussion with the member, may recommend to the President of the conference that the member be replaced and the President may then replace that member.
SECTION 10. Each committee shall meet during the annual meeting of the conference and during any other regularly scheduled general conference meetings. Other meetings of each committee shall be held upon call of its chairperson or upon call of the conference president.
SECTION 11. The President and President-elect shall be ex officio members of all committees.
ARTICLE XII CONFERENCE MANAGEMENT
SECTION 1. The Treasurer shall have the authority to authorize payment of conference expenses in the amount of $150.00 or less. The President shall have the authority to authorize conference expenses in the amount of $500.00 or less. For amounts greater than $500.00 the President must authorize payment along with the President-elect, Secretary, Treasurer, or Editor. The Treasurer, upon receiving proper written authorization shall pay those bills authorized in accordance with this Section and shall pay those bills incurred as a result of standing policy or authorization of the Board of Directors.
SECTION 2. Such business that comes before the Conference may be adopted if approved by a majority of the members of the Board of Directors at a properly scheduled Board meeting after a quorum is established. A quorum is established by having present a majority of the members of the Board of Directors after having given reasonable notice to all members. Proxy voting is not permitted for establishing a quorum or for voting on conference business. Members may be present by telephone for both purposes of a quorum and voting. Any member of the Board of Directors serving as a Board member in more than one capacity may not exercise more than one vote on any single issue.
SECTION 3. Pursuant to Article VI, Section 2, the Executive Committee in the periods between Board meetings may also have authority to approve conference business upon a majority vote with the same authority as the Board of Directors. The Executive Committee cannot vote on conference business unless quorum is established. Executive Committee quorum is established by having present a majority of voting members after having given reasonable notice to all members. Proxy voting is not permitted for establishing quorum or for voting on conference business. Members may be present by telephone for both purposes of quorum and voting.
SECTION 4. The fiscal year for the Conference shall be from July 1 through June 30 of the following year.
ARTICLE XIII ANNUAL MEETING
SECTION 1. The annual meeting of the Conference shall be a Summer Conference and shall be held in the month of June or July as selected by the Board of Directors after recommendation from the Conference Committee.
SECTION 2. Nothing contained in these Bylaws shall be construed to prevent the calling of special meetings of the Conference by the President and/or Executive Committee or the calling of committee meetings by the President and/or Executive Committee or the respective chairpersons of committees.
ARTICLE XIV ADOPTION OR AMENDMENT OF BYLAWS
SECTION 1. These Bylaws must be adopted by two-thirds (2/3) vote of those members in attendance at the annual meeting held during the calendar year 1993. These bylaws shall be effective immediately upon approval as described herein. The provisions of these bylaws specifying time requirements for nominations and second terms shall be waived only for the 1993 annual elections since the nominating period described herein shall have expired prior to the approval of these bylaws.
SECTION 2. These Bylaws shall be amended only by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of those members in attendance at a meeting called pursuant to Section 3 of this Article.
SECTION 3. Adoption of these Bylaws or amendment of these Bylaws may be made only after notice to the general membership in writing no less than thirty (30) days prior to the time of the annual meeting or special meeting of the Conference. Proof of posting of notice thirty (30) days prior to such meeting shall satisfy this requirement.