National Association of VA Optometrists Constitution
Developed: December 1997, Amended November 2009, Amended October 2019
We, Doctors of Optometry, who are members of the medical staff at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Centers, Hospitals, Outpatient Clinics, Blind Rehabilitation Centers, or Extended Care Centers, or who have an interest in VA optometry programs, in order to achieve our mutual goals of encouraging and promoting the best possible primary eye and vision care for our nation’s veterans and promoting the education, training, professional growth, and welfare of optometric staff, research/clinical fellows, residents, and students, do ordain and establish this Constitution.
The name of this non-profit organization shall be the National Association of VA Optometrists (NAVAO), hereinafter referred to as the Association.
Membership: Any VA staff, attending, or consultant optometrist, or any other optometrist having an interest in VA optometry shall be eligible for membership in the NAVAO with all its benefits, rights, privileges, and duties as provided in the By-Laws. VA research/clinical fellows and residents shall be also eligible for membership but without voting rights and may not run for an elected office. Of the members in good standing, hereinafter referred to as Members, those present at a business meeting shall form a quorum. Membership dues shall be specified in the By-Laws.
Management of the business of the Association shall be vested in its Executive Committee. The Executive Committee shall consist of the President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer, and Immediate Past President. The Executive Committee, with the assistance of the Association’s officers (hereinafter referred to as the Board), other standing committees as provided in the By-Laws, and special committees appointed by the President or by a quorum majority of the Board, shall study and act upon particular topics and/or issues of interest to the Association.
The Board will consist of the following members:
Immediate Past President
Members at Large (up to three)
American Optometric Association (AOA) Representative (Ex-Officio)
American Academy of Optometry (AAO) Representative (Ex-Officio)
The President and Vice-President must be full-time members at a VA facility which offers direct patient care. The President, Vice-President, Secretary, and Treasurer will be elected biennially as provided in the By-Laws. The Membership Director, Newsletter Editor, and Members-at-Large will be appointed (and may be terminated) by the President. The AOA and AAO Representatives are appointed by their respective executive committees at the request of the Board. All Board members shall serve two consecutive calendar years. Re-election or reappointment to the same or other Board position is allowable; however, a Board member may not hold more than one position simultaneously. A quorum of the Board is a majority of its members.
In order to preserve the dignity and the integrity of the Association, the Board, by majority vote of its members, may remove from office any elected official. In the following order of succession, the Vice-President, Secretary, and Treasurer will assume the office of the Presidency for the remainder of the term in the event of vacancy due to resignation, illness, or death. In the event of such vacancy of the other elected offices, the President shall appoint a replacement member for the remainder of the term.
Duties of Officers
President. It shall be the duty of the President to direct the business of the Association, to call together and preside at all meetings of the Executive Committee or Board, to call and preside at an annual meeting of Members of the Association, and to see that the Constitution and By-Laws are enforced. The President is an ex-officio member of all standing and special committees. The President shall serve as the official representative of this Association in its contacts with other optometric, public, and private organizations. He or she may serve a maximum of two consecutive terms of this office.
Vice-President. The Vice-President shall act as an alter-ego to the President and shall assume all the duties and responsibilities of the President during his or her absence. The Vice-President will serve as an ex-officio member of all standing committees and selected special committees, according to the wishes of the President. The Vice-President may serve a maximum of two consecutive terms of this office.
Secretary. The Secretary shall transcribe the minutes and record the roll of the annual meeting and will carry out the correspondence of the Association as determined by the President. The Secretary shall also transcribe the minutes of the monthly VA Optometry Service conference calls and distribute them to the Members. He or she may serve an indefinite number of terms.
Treasurer. The Treasurer shall receive all monies paid to the Association and keep an accurate account of all funds received and disbursed for official activities. The Treasurer shall make a verbal and written report of all financial matters to the membership at the annual meeting. The Treasurer is the chair of the Finance Committee. He or she may serve an indefinite number of terms.
Membership Director. The Membership Director will serve as the liaison with the Office of the Director, VA Optometry Service. In this capacity he or she will receive notification and contact information for those individuals newly hired for positions as optometrists within VA. The Membership Director welcomes the new Members to VA Optometry and NAVAO and provides them with information regarding VA Optometry and NAVAO. The Membership Director is the chair of the Membership Committee.
Newsletter Editor. For the purpose of maintaining a formal communications link with the membership, the Newsletter Editor is responsible for publishing an informative newsletter at least two times a year and more frequently if directed by the President. Co-editors may be appointed to fulfill this task.
Immediate Past President. The Immediate Past President will continue on the Board for the purpose of providing guidance based upon previous experience with Association activities.
American Optometric Association Representative (Ex-Officio). Upon request by the Board, a representative of the AOA will be named to a two-year (renewable) term as a non-voting member of the Board. This person will serve as liaison to the AOA Board of Trustees.
American Academy of Optometry Representative (Ex-Officio). Upon request by the Board, a representative of the AAO will be named to a two-year (renewable) term as a non-voting member of the Board. This person will serve as liaison to the AAO Executive Council.
Members-at-Large. Up to three Members-at-Large may be appointed by the President to assist the Board in governing the organization.
Amendments: This Constitution may be amended by the affirmative vote of two-thirds of a quorum of Members at the annual meeting. In order to be put to a vote, proposed amendments must be submitted to the President 120 days prior to the annual meeting either with a request for approval by a two-thirds majority of the Board or with an attached endorsement signed by one-fourth of the Members. Acceptable proposals will then be submitted to the Newsletter for publication in an issue preceding the annual meeting. Adopted amendments shall become effective immediately and written notification will be given to all Members via the next Newsletter edition.
Dissolution: Dissolution of this Association may be affected upon the submission of a written request signed by two-thirds of the Members, which sets forth the reason(s) for such action. After the Board has settled any outstanding indebtedness, any remaining funds in the treasury shall be donated to a non-profit national optometric organization as determined by a quorum majority of the Board.
By-Laws: By-Laws pertinent to this Constitution shall be formulated and adopted by the affirmative vote of two-thirds of a quorum of Members and are amendable.
By-Laws (December 1990) Amended December 1992, December 2006, November 2009, November 2010, November 2016, October 2019
Membership. To establish and maintain membership in good standing and to be entitled to all the benefits, rights (including voting rights), privileges, and duties of the Association, annual dues are to be submitted to the Treasurer or his/her designee by January 31 of each year for general and retired members and by August 31 of each year for optometric research fellows and optometric resident members. There will be a $5 late fee for dues received after this date for general members. Dues will not be accepted for the current calendar year after August 31; dues received after August 31 will be applied to the following calendar year. Dues will not be accepted at the annual business meeting or banquet. Membership may be terminated by quorum majority vote of the Board for failure to pay dues or by a two-thirds vote of a quorum of Members for just cause. The Treasurer or his/her designee will ensure that a financial statement is sent to each Member. All newly hired VA optometrists will be provided free membership in the Association for the calendar year in which their employment at the VA commenced. Those hired in the last quarter (October, November, and December) of the calendar year, will also receive free membership for the following calendar year. All Members will receive a Membership Certificate when they initially join the Association. There will be a $10 fee for replacement Membership Certificates. The membership year of the Association will be January 1 through December 31. The membership year for optometric research/clinical fellows and optometric residents will be July 1 through June 30.
Honorary Membership. Honorary membership may be granted by a quorum majority vote of the Board and following two-thirds confirmation of a quorum of Members. Honorary members shall not be charged dues.
Dues: The annual dues for membership shall be $60.00 for all Members except for optometric research/clinical fellows, retired VA optometrists and optometric residents who shall owe $25.00. There will be no initiation fee. Dues payments received after January 31 and prior to September 1 of each year shall be assessed a $5 late fee. The fiscal year of the Association will be January 1 through December 31.
Duties of the Board: The Board will assist the President in the governing of the Association and will carry out duties as outlined in the Constitution and these By-Laws. At the request of the President, the Board will convene either face-to-face at the annual meeting which is held during the AAO annual meeting or via telephone conference calls at any time for justified reasons. At the request of a consortium of three or more Board members, the President must call a meeting of the Board to enable them to carry out functions consistent with their defined duties.
Standing Committees: The following standing committees, with the exception of the Executive Committee, shall have its members appointed from the membership by the President and will be specifically assigned duties by and shall report to the Board periodically as determined by the President or a quorum majority of the Board. The Board shall be empowered to remove from committee by quorum majority vote any committee member for such cause as will preserve the dignity and integrity of the Association.
The Executive Committee. The Executive Committee shall be advisory to the President on all policy matters of the Association. A majority of the committee must approve all expenditures of funds greater than $250.00.
The Finance Committee. The Finance Committee monitors funds and assists the Treasurer in the collection and disbursement of funds. The committee also projects future financial demands and sources for the Association.
Membership Committee: The Membership Committee recommends means for membership retention and growth and monitors pertinent data regarding the Members. The Membership Director will serve as committee chair and will compile data for the Association Directory, typically to contain VA addresses, FAX and telephone numbers (FTS and commercial), and at the discretion of the individual members, home phone numbers and addresses. The committee will distribute orientation packages to new VA optometrists.
Professional Relations Committee. The Professional Relations Committee monitors matters pertinent to the Association relative to the AOA (including the Council on Optometric Education, Council on Clinical Optometric Care, Armed Forces Optometric Society), AAO, the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO), and other professional groups. Specific committee members will serve as liaison to each organization.
Residency Committee. The Residency Committee is charged with promotion of residency programs and to keep the Board abreast of issues pertinent to the residency system including issues related to the AOA Council on Optometric Education.
Nomination and Election Process: The President will call for nominations three months before the annual business meeting of every odd-numbered year. Nominations may come from any Member for him or herself or for another Member. Each member may nominate one person per office (including him or herself) and may not nominate the same person for more than one office. Nominations are closed thirty days after the call for nominations. The individuals receiving the most and second-most number of nominations for each office will be contacted by the teller of ballots (an individual selected by the Immediate Past President) and those who wish to run will be given an opportunity to submit a brief profile and statement for publication prior to the election. An individual may run for only one office in an election. Balloting will be performed electronically. Results shall be reported to the teller of ballots, votes will remain confidential. Candidates receiving a plurality for each office will be declared the winner. Election results will be formally announced at the annual meeting. In the event of tie, a runoff will take place at the annual meeting.
Parliamentary Authority: Robert’s Rules of Order shall govern the Association in all cases to which they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with the established Constitution or By-Laws.
Newsletter: A quarterly newsletter, entitled “OPTIMUM VA”, will be electronically distributed to all Members at no charge. The Newsletter Editor may call upon any VA or non-VA source for relevant material to be published. He or she may also accept letters to the editor for publication from any VA or non-VA source provided the material received is in good taste without libel. Other mailings throughout the year may be authorized by the President.
Amendments: These By-laws may be amended by the affirmative vote of two-thirds of a quorum of Members.