The American Legion Post 363
Department of Wisconsin
Constitution and By-Laws
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 associations in All 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 promote peace and goodwill on earth; to safeguard and transmit to posterity the principles of justice, freedom and democracy; to consecrate and sanctify our comradeship by our devotion to mutual helpfulness.
ARTICLE I - NAME
Section 1. The name of this organization shall be The American Legion Post 363. Johnson-Hershman, Inc. Department of Wisconsin.
ARTICLE II - OBJECTS
Section 1. The objects and purposes of this Post shall be to promote the principles and policies as set forth in the foregoing preamble, and the National and Departmental Constitutions of the American Legion, so far as are applicable.
ARTICLE III - NATURE
Section 1. This Post is a civilian organization and membership therein does not affect or increase liability for military or police service.
Section 2. The organization shall be absolutely non-political and shall not be used for dissemination of partisan principles and shall not be used for the promotion of the candidacy of any person seeking public office or preferment. This includes political viewpoint photos showing support while taken with members in Legion attire.
Section 3. Rank does not exist in The American Legion. No member shall be addressed by his military title in any meeting of this post.
ARTICLE IV - MEMBERSHIP
Section 1. Eligibility for membership in this Post shall be as prescribed by the National Constitution of The American Legion.
Section 2. Application for membership shall be made in writing under such regulations as may from time-to-time be prescribed by the Post Executive Committee. Post Executive Committee is described as the current Officers of the Post.
Section 3. All applications for membership shall be acted upon at the next Post meeting or current Officers meeting following the making of such application, and shall at such meeting, be accepted, rejected or referred for further investigation and consideration. We will require running of a background checks, contacting potential members parole officers to verify their restrictions prior to casting a vote. If three (3) or more Members of the Post Executive Committee cast their vote against acceptance of said application, then such application shall be recorded as rejected. A rejected application shall not again be considered until after the expiration of six (6) months from the date of rejection. Verification of the DD214 by a current officer.
Section 4. Any member of this Post may be expelled for cause by a two thirds (2/3) vote of the Post Executive Committee after charges are preferred under oath in writing and a fair trial with due process had upon the same. A trial can be identified as the member receiving the denial with the officers of the post to hear the potential members concerns and appeal to the denial received.
Section 5. A member who has been expelled or suspended from this Post for any cause may be reinstated to membership by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the membership present in a Post meeting, and the payment of current dues for the year in which reinstatement occurs. An effort to retrieve post identifiable materials, could be any item that could relate the member leaving under unfavorable conditions, that could provide a misrepresentation of our post. Items could be but not limited to the post hats, covers, jackets, or items that have Post 363 on them
Section 6. No person who has been expelled by a Post shall be admitted to membership in this Post without the consent of the expelling Post, except that where such consent has been asked for and denied by such Post. He or she may then appeal to the State Executive Committee of the Department of the expelling Post for the permission to apply for membership in this Post and shall be ineligible for membership until such permission is granted.
Section 7. National Constitution recommendation. Article IV, Discipline of Post and Members: Section 2. A Post may suspend or expel a Post member from The American Legion only after providing the member due process and a proper showing of cause. Charges shall be based upon disloyalty, neglect of duty, dishonesty and/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 their membership until given a fair trial by the Post or Department 15 in such manner and form as the Post or Department By-Laws and Post or Department Executive Committee shall prescribe. Section 3. Any member who has been suspended or expelled has the right of appeal to their Department Executive Committee, or to the Department Convention, according to the provisions in the By-Laws of such Department. The decision of the Department shall be final.
Section 8. State Constitution recommendations. Article XI, Discipline. Section 3. (a) Members may be suspended or expelled from The American Legion only upon proper showing of cause. Charges shall be based upon disloyalty, neglect of duty, dishonesty, and conduct unbecoming a member of The American Legion. All charges must be made under oath in writing of the accusers, and no member in good standing shall lose his membership until given a fair trail by the Post of which he/she is a member, in such manner and form as the Department Bylaws and Department executive Committee shall prescribe.
Section 8. Cont. (b.) Any member who has been suspended or expelled has the right of appeal to the Department Executive Committee or Department Convention, according to the provisions of the Bylaws of the Department. The decision of the Department shall be final.
Section 8. Cont. (c). A member whose dues for the current year have not been paid by 1 January, shall be classified as delinquent. If his/her dues are paid on or before 1 February, he/she shall be automatically reinstated. If he/she is still delinquent after 1 February, he/she shall be suspended from all privileges. If he/she is still under suspension on 30 June of such year, his/her membership in The American Legion shall be forfeited. A member so suspended or whose membership has been so forfeited may be reinstated to active membership in good standing by vote of the Post and payment of current dues for the year in which the reinstatement occurs. The Post, at its opinion, may also require a member whose membership has been so forfeited to pay on year’s arrears in dues as a condition precedent to reinstatement.
Section 9. A welcome correspondence or denial correspondence will be provided to potential member after the officers have concluded their meeting. Either correspondence provided ensuring detailed information.
ARTICLE V - OFFICERS
Section 1. The Principle Officers of this Post shall be the Commander, First Vice Commander, Second Vice Commander, Adjutant and Finance Officer. Other Officers shall be a Chaplain, Service Officer, and a Sergeant-at-Arms, Historian, Communication Officer, and such other officers as may be deemed necessary by the Post. All Officers shall hold office until their successors are duly installed or as otherwise provided. Any Officer or Executive Committee Member may be removed for inefficiency by the Executive Committee, a two-thirds (2/3) vote of said Executive Committee being necessary to affect such removal.
Section 2. The administration of this Post of The American Legion shall, except as may otherwise be provided by the Bylaws, be under the supervision of an Executive Committee which shall consist of the current years Officers of the Post. The term of office for the Officers shall be for one (1) year, and they shall be elected as stipulated in the Bylaws. The Post Commander shall preside at all meetings of the Executive Committee. The Bylaws may provide for such other administrative committees as the business of the Post may require.
Section 3. Every member of this Post in good standing shall be eligible to hold office or to serve in any elected or appointed capacity in this Post. Nominated members for an upcoming officer position, who at the current time holds an officer position with our post or another veteran organization would require a preapproval from the Current Officers.
Section 4. The duties of Officers and the Executive Committee persons shall be those usually pertaining to such offices and committees and as may be further provided in the Bylaws.
ARTICLE VI - FINANCE
Section 1. The revenue of this Post shall be derived from membership or initiation fees, from annual membership dues and from such other sources as may be approved by the Post Executive Committee. Other sources are building rentals, brat fries, Pancake & Porkie, Raffle Banquet, Ball Diamond Concession Stand, ect.
Section 2. The amount of such membership or initiation fees and the amount of such annual dues shall be fixed and determined by the Executive Committee based on the anticipated needs of this Post. Currently membership dues are $35.00 per year.
Section 3. A minimum of two Officers count incoming funds.
Section 4. A member whose dues for the current year have not been paid by 1 January, shall be classified as delinquent. If his/her dues are paid on or before 1 February, he/she shall be automatically reinstated. If he/she is still delinquent after 1 February, he/she shall be suspended from all privileges. If he/she is still under suspension on 30 June of such year, his/her membership in The American Legion shall be forfeited. A member so suspended or whose membership has been so forfeited may be reinstated to active membership in good standing by vote of the Post and payment of current dues for the year in which the reinstatement occurs. The Post, at its opinion, may also require a member whose membership has been so forfeited to pay on year’s arrears in dues as a condition precedent to reinstatement.
ARTICLE VII - AMENDMENTS
Section 1. This Constitution is adopted subject to the provisions of the National Constitution and Wisconsin State Constitution of the American Legion. Any amendments to said National Constitution or Department Constitution which is in conflict with any provision hereof, shall be regarded as automatically repealing or modifying the provisions of this Constitution to the extent of such conflict.
Section 2. This Constitution may be amended at any Post meeting by a vote of two thirds (2/3) of the members of said Post attending such regular meeting. Providing that the proposed amendment shall have been submitted in writing and read at the next regular meeting of said Post. The regular membership meeting to follow the reading of amended request and providing further that written notice shall have been given to all members at least twenty (20) days in advance of the date when such amendment is to be voted upon, notifying said members that at such meeting a proposal to amend the Constitution is to be voted upon. In other words, the amendment notice will be provided at one regular membership meeting and the next regular members meeting will be voting on the amended request.
ARTICLE I - NAME AND OBJECT
Section 1. The Post existing under these Bylaws is to be known as The American Legion Post 363, Johnson-Hershman, Inc., Department of Wisconsin.
Section 2. The objects of this Post are as set forth in the Constitution.
ARTICLE II - MANAGEMENT
Section 1. The government and management of this Post are entrusted to an Executive Committee consisting of the Post Officers to be known as the Executive Committee.
Section 2. The Executive Committee shall consist of Members of the Post Officers. The Post shall have five (5) Principle Officers, a Commander, First Vice Commander, Second Vice Commander, Adjutant and Finance Officer. The Post shall have five (5) other elected officers, a Sergeant-at-Arms, Chaplain, Historian, and a Service Officer. All Members of the Executive Board shall be elected as set forth in Article VI.
Section 3. All vacancies existing in the Executive Committee or any office of the Post for any cause other than expiration of a term shall be filled by an appointment made by the Commander with approval of a majority of the Executive Committee. A person appointed shall hold office for the unexpired term of the Member of the Executive Committee or office who he/she succeeds. A vacancy shall exist when a Member of the Executive Committee is absent without just cause for a continuous period of two (2) consecutive Executive Committee meetings. Reasons constituting a just cause shall be determined by the remaining Members of the Executive Committee.
ARTICLE II - DUTIES OF THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
Section 1. The Post Executive Committee shall meet for organization and such other business as may come before it at the call of the Commander within thirty (30) days after the installation of new Principle Officers and new Members of the Executive Board. Thereafter, the Post Executive Committee shall meet at the call of the Commander at least every month and as often as said Commander may deem necessary. The Commander shall call a meeting of the Executive Committee upon a joint written request of three (3) Members of the Executive Committee. Five (5) Members of the Executive Committee shall constitute a quorum thereof.
Section 2. The Post Executive Committee shall authorize and approve all expenditures of Post funds and generally, shall have charge of and be responsible for management of the business aaffairs of this Post; shall recommend the expulsion of Post members as prescribed in Article IV, Section 4 of the Post Constitution; and, shall approve or disapprove appointments made by the Commander as prescribed in Article II, Section 3 of these Bylaws.
ARTICLE IV - DUTIES OF OFFICERS
Section 1. Duties of the Post Commander. It shall be the duty of the Post Commander to preside at all meetings of the Post, to have general supervision over the business affairs of the Post and shall be the Chief Executive Officer of the Post. He/She shall appoint an Audit Committee consisting of the Adjutant and two (2) other members to audit the records of the Finance Officer and such audit shall be reported to the Executive Committee. This audit shall be conducted annually and at such other times as the Commander deems appropriate. He/She shall perform such other duties as may be directed by the Executive Committee. The Post Commander shall serve as Ex-Officer to all committees, boards, and commissions.
Section 2. Duties of Vice Commanders. The Vice Commanders shall assume and discharge the duties of the Office of Commander in the absence of the Commander or when called upon by the Commander or Executive Committee. He/she should be familiar with the ceremonial protocols for regular meetings and will likely be called upon to conduct one or more meetings during the year due to an absence of the Post Commander. Knowing how to develop an agenda, run a meeting and follow protocol are useful skills to develop. Vice Commanders should be ready to fill in for the Commander at a moment’s notice. Second Vice Commanders should be looking for ways to involve members in the post activities, operations and programs to assist the first vice commander by providing improved member retention. As well as the Second Vice Commander should be contacting other veterans and civic groups to verify each patriotic holiday and observance receives the respect it deserves.
Section 3. Duties of the Adjutant. He/She shall have charge of and keep a full and correct record of all proceedings of Post meetings and Executive Committee meetings; keep such records as the Department and National organizations may require; render reports of membership annually or when called upon at a meeting and under direction of the Commander. He/she shall have custody of all the minute books and binder, files, records, and other property or equipment used in the performance of the duties of his office. He/she shall receive all annual membership dues. He/she shall ensure MyLegion.org remains up to date. He/she shall ensure correspondents are completed. He/she should review and maintain a copy of the Post Adjutant’s Manual as it has detailed instructions on handling of membership cards, per capita payments and other duties of the adjutant.
Section 4. Duties of Post Finance Officer. The Finance Officer shall have charge of all finances of the Post and see that they are safely deposited in a local bank or savings institution in the Post's name and shall report once a month to the general membership the condition of the finance of the Post. The post adjutant, in all matters relating to finance, should carry on the work in the close correlation with the finance officer. Department headquarters would be consulted for potential blanket bond arrangements. Post accounting forms assist in meeting the requirements of the American Legion post in maintaining a correct and permanent membership and finance record. No special knowledge of bookkeeping or accounting is requiring. He/she needs to be prompt in remitting national and department per capita fees and cards to department headquarters. It is essential the Finance Officer maintain accurate financial records for all post operations and activities. The executive Committee shall approve payment for such bonds from Post funds.
Section 5. Duties of the Chaplain. The Chaplain shall be charged with the spiritual welfare of the Post members and will offer divine, but non-sectarian, in the event of dedications, funerals, public function, etc., adhering to such ceremonial rituals as are recommended by national or department headquarters from time-to-time. The Post Chaplin dose not necessarily need to be a clergyman but must be a person capable of moral and intellectual leadership and one who fives dignity and respect to the office. The Chaplin should be in close touch with the commander and other post officers and should attend all meetings of the post. The Manual of Ceremonies gives an important place to the chaplain in the conduct of meetings, the observance of patriotic occasions, funeral services, and dedication ceremonies. At all these events, the chaplain is the moral leader. The Chaplain should work with the post historian on grave registration work and inspire the post to decorate veteran graves on Memorial Day. Besides officiating at post members’ funerals when requested, the chaplain can serve their bereaved families. The chaplain may also chair the post’s Veterans Administration Voluntary Services (VAVS) Committee, which coordinates volunteer work at nearby VA facilities. The American Legion Chaplain’s Handbook, available online and through department headquarters, officer’s guidance for post chaplain and religious emphasis committee.
Section 6. Duties of Sergeant-at-Arms. The Sergeant-at-Arms shall preserve order at all meetings and shall perform such other duties as may from time-to-time be assigned by the Commander. The Sergeant-at-arms arranges the meeting hall and assists the post commander and adjutant in preliminary arrangements for meetings, including leading the color detail during presentation and retirement ceremonies. This person is the expert on Flag etiquette, knows proper flag etiquette, and plays a leading role in the post color guard, burial detail and other pageantry. He/she is the logical person to the chair a welcome committee, which can have a tremendous influence on the post’s image, membership and relationship with members. Every Legionnaire wants to feel part of the group, particularly new Legionnaires attending their first few meetings. The sergeant-at-arms must make certain new members are welcomed, introduced and made to feel they are important to the post. He/she encourages members to attend meetings and advise the commander on who should be acknowledged.
Section 7. Duties of the Service Officer. The Service Officer shall be an initial point of contact regarding veteran issues by providing veterans in the community where the post is located with basic information and assistance, including referral as directed by the Department Service Officer (DSO). The job requires a competent, dedicated and organized person, preferably one is readily available to provide assistance. The post service officer is responsible for bringing awareness to all veterans and their dependents the rights and benefits granted them by law. The Post Service officer must know how to access and utilized the expert services available through the American Legion, state and federal government agencies, and local community agencies. The job requires timely submission of information to full-time professionals, so veterans and their dependents are adequately represented. The service officer’s report should be standard part of every meeting. Per our small post some assistance benefits may be passed on to the local Department Service Officer (DSO). He/she maybe accountable to the Adjutant for all administrative practices and decisions executed by his/her office.
Section 8. Duties of the Communication Officer. The Communication Officer shall maintain and upkeep the Post’s Facebook page: American Legion Post 363 Johnson-Hershman, Inc Denmark WI. Assisting in getting information out to public. It is the Communication Officer’s responsibility to ensure that the By-laws and all other binders remain up to date.
Section 9. Duties of the Historian Officer. The Historian shall be responsible for the compiling of complete historical record of the Post and is cumulative. He/she shall have the ability to request assistance from the officers of the Post therein information necessary for the performance of his/her duties and should have close cooperation between the post adjutant and the historian. The former works with records on matters of current interest, the latter on matters of historical interest. The post historian should also keep in touch with the department historian and be prompt in answering inquires. An annual report should be made to the department historian prior to the department convention. Copies of printed material regarding the post should be deposited in local and state libraries, as well as in the post and department archives. This will prevent complete loss of records through fire or other catastrophe, as well as provide source material for those looking for information about the American Legion. And outline for a one-year post narrative history and yearbook is provided in the Appendix (pages 139-149). The post historian should attend department conventions and make a point of knowing what historians of nearby posts are doing. The department Historian can advise post historians on department and national post history contests, historians associations, and materials to assist in maintaining best practices.
Section 10. Duties of the Judge Advocate. The primary duty of the judge advocate is to supply professional advice in the conduct of post business or to procure proper counsel. This officer is the guardian of the constitutional form of post government. The judge advocate can also supply valuable assistance to other post committees and officers and should maintain contact with local government officials. The judge advocate commonly has the duty, with others, of auditing post financial accounts. This is done annually, usually before the election of officers, or more frequently at their discretion. Per The state Constitution: The Judge Advocate shall be the Attorney-at-Law licensed to practice in the State of Wisconsin. His/her duties shall be to interpret the Constitution, Convention resolutions, procedures, and other Department regulations, and give his opinion thereon only at the request of the Post Commander, and to prosecute or defend, upon the behalf of the Post, any action before any court.
ARTICLE V - COMMITTEES
Section 1. The Post Commander, within thirty (30) days of a vacancy shall appoint the chairperson of those committees he/she may deem appropriate. Additional committee chairpersons may be appointed by the Commander from time-to-time as may be necessary. Committees shall consist of any member (s) of the Post elected by the committee chairperson.
ARTICLE VI - ELECTIONS AND APPOINTMENTS
Section 1. The five (5) Principle Officers of the Post, Members of the Executive Board and other Officers will be elected annually. At the Regular Member Meeting of the Post held in January nominations will be made and accepted, the election will be held at the Regular Member Meeting in February and installation of the Principle Officers, other Officers and Members of the Executive Board will take place at the Regular Member Meeting in March. Exceptions to this rule are noted in the following Section 2.
Section 2. The term of office for all Officers shall be for one (1) year or until their successors are elected or appointed.
Section 3. The Nominating Committee shall announce those members selected at the first meeting in March, at which time their selections will be approved or disapproved from a motion on the floor.
Section 4. Upon approval or disapproval of the Nominating Committee selection, nominations for the Principle Officers and the Executive Board Members may be made from the floor from among the members of the Post. No nominations from the floor will be accepted at the annual election meeting. Nominated members must be in good standing with our post. Require member to have completed a minimum of ONE year as an American Legion member.
Section 5. At such election meeting, a majority vote of those members present shall be required to elect any Principle Officer, other Officer or Executive Board Member. The candidates with the highest number of the membership votes shall be considered elected.
Section 6. Each office shall be balloted/show of hands upon separate in the following order: Sergeant-at-Arms, Chaplain, Service Officer, Finance Officer, Adjutant, Vice Commanders and then the Commander. Election for the Executive Board Members will be held concurrently. If upon the first ballot no candidate shall have a majority vote of the membership present, the low candidate shall be dropped upon succeeding ballots until from among those duly nominated one of the candidates shall have received a majority vote of the membership present.
Section 7. The newly elected Officers and Executive Board Members shall be installed at the first membership meeting following the election.
Section 8. The Post Commander shall appoint any Officer deemed necessary by the Executive Committee not mentioned by these Bylaws.
Section 9. When a vacancy exists in the office of Commander, the First Vice Commander shall assume the duties of that office until the next annual election and the Second Vice Commander shall assume the duties of the office of Senior Vice Commander.
Section 10. No person shall hold more than one (1) elective office in this Post or with another Veteran Organization at the same time, as it could result in a conflict of interest. Unless one hundred percent (100%) preapproved by the current Officers.
ARTICLE VII - CONVENTION DELEGATES
Section 1. Delegates and Alternates to a Department Convention shall be appointed by the Post Commander and approved by the Officers. Such appointments shall be made at least twenty (20) days prior to the date of the convention. The Executive Committee may authorize such expenses for Delegates and Alternates as the Committee deems appropriate.
ARTICLE VIII - MEETINGS
Section 1. The Executive Committee could meet prior to the Regular Meeting of each month at the time and place as designated by the Commander. Special Meetings of the Executive Committee may be called by the Commander or upon the written request submitted to the Commander by five (5) Members of the Executive Committee.
Section 2. The Order of Business for the Executive Committee Meeting shall be:
a. Reading of Minutes of previous meeting.
b. Finance Officer's Report.
c. Reports of Committees, if any.
d. Unfinished Business and Approval of Bills.
e. New Business and Correspondence.
f. Any Other Business for the Good of the American Legion.
Section 3. A quorum at a Regular or Special Meeting shall consist of those Members in attendance. Five (5) Executive Committee Members shall constitute a quorum of the Executive Committee. No Executive Committee meeting shall be conducted in the absence of a quorum.
Section 4. Regular Member Meetings of the Post shall be held on the third Wednesday of each month at such place and time as designated by the Commander.
Section 5. The Order of Business for Regular Member Meetings of the Post shall be as suggested by National Headquarters. This may be done by having the Adjutant read minutes of the Executive Committee Meeting.
Section 6. The Post Commander or a majority of the Executive Committee shall have the power to call a Special Meeting of the Post at any time. Upon a written request in writing by five (5) Post members to the Commander a Special Meeting shall be called.
Section 7. All meetings of this Post and the meetings of the Executive Committee of this Post shall be conducted pursuant to our Constitution, as revised, except as herein otherwise provided.
ARTICLE IX - NOTICES
Section 1. Every member shall furnish the Post Adjutant with his/her address for mailing purposes, phone number and if acceptable email information for contact purposes.
Section 2. A member whose dues for the current year have not been paid by January 1st shall be considered delinquent. If his/her dues are paid on or before February 1st, he/she shall automatically be reinstated. If he/she is still delinquent after February 1st, he/she shall be suspended from all privileges, including the right to vote. If he/she is still under such suspension on June 13th of such year, his/her membership in The American Legion shall be forfeited.
Section 3. Notices of Special Meetings of the Post shall be given by email, text, or phone call by the Commander or Adjutant to each member at least ten (10) days prior to such meeting. A brief statement of the purpose of the Special Meeting shall be given in the contact notice.
Section 4. The Commander or Adjutant shall notify each Member of the Executive Committee of all Special Meetings of the Committee.
Section 5. Immediately following the annual election, the Commander shall advise the Post Adjutant to furnish the names and addresses of the newly elected Commander, Adjutant, Finance Officer, Service Officer, Historian, Judge Advicate, and Sargent at Arms to the Department Adjutant.
ARTICLE X - LIMITATIONS OF LIABILITIES
Section 1. This Post shall not incur, nor cause to be incurred, any liability or obligation whatsoever which subject to liability any other post, subdivision, group of men or women, members of The American Legion, or other individuals, corporations or organizations.
ARTICLE XI - AMENDMENTS
Section 1. These Bylaws may be amended at any Regular Membership Post Meeting by a vote of two thirds (2/3) of the members of the Post attending such Regular Member Meeting, provided that the proposed amendment shall have been submitted in writing and read at the preceding Regular Member Meeting of the Post and further provided that written notice in email form shall have been given to all members at least twenty (20) days in advance of the date when such amendment is to be voted upon, notifying the members that at such Regular Member Meeting a proposal to amend the Bylaws is to be voted upon.
ARTICLE XII - EFFECTIVE DATE AND ENABLING PROVISION
Section 1. The Constitution and Bylaws shall become effective on the convening of the Regular Member Meeting following the date of adoption of this Constitution and By-Laws.
Section 2. All provisions of Articles of previous Constitutions and/or Bylaws of this Post will be null and void upon effective date of this Constitution and Bylaws, except where specifically provided for in this Constitution and Bylaws.
Section 3. All approved motions and/or authorizations duly recorded in the minutes of Post meetings or in the minutes of the Executive Committee meetings, under the previous Constitution and Bylaws are hereby affirmed and ratified, and will remain in full force and effect until rescinded or modified pursuant to Article XI of these Bylaws.