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Untitled Document
Untitled Document
By Laws

NEW ENGLAND HINDU TEMPLE, Inc.

 

("NEHTI")

 

 

 

 

 

 

By-laws

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ratified by the

 

 

 

 

 

Members of New England Hindu Temple, Inc.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

on

31st May 2002


TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

 

ARTICLE - I             GENERAL

1.1              Incorporation   

1.2              Applicable Rules

 

ARTICLE - II            PURPOSE     

                           

ARTICLE  - III          DEFINITIONS

 

ARTICLE - 1V          MEMBERSHIP

 

ARTICLE - V            NEHTI ORGANIZATIONS

5.1              General Principles

5.2              Structure

5.3              General Body

5.4       Board of Trustees

5.5              Stewardship Council

 

ARTICLE - VI          NEHTI TRUSTEES & OFFICERS

6.1              Trustees

6.2              Board Officers

6.3              Chairman of the Board of Trustees

6.4              Secretary

6.5              President

6.6              Treasurer

 

ARTICLE - VII         ELECTIONS

 

ARTICLE - VIII       DISSOLUTION

 

ARTICLE - IX          AMENDMENTS TO THE BY-LAWS

 

ARTICLE - X            CONTRACTS, LOANS, CHECKS, DRAFTS, NOTES AND OTHER INSTRUMENTS

 

ARTICLE - XI          EFFECTIVE DATE & TRANSITION RULES

 

APPENDIX A            Board Committees

A.1      Temple Operating Committee

A.2      Internal Audit Committee

A.3      Safety & Security Committee

A.4      Finance Committee

A.5      Devotee Liaison Committee

A.6      Youth, Cultural and Educational Programs Committee

ARTICLE I - GENERAL

 

1.1     INCORPORATION

 

1    New England Hindu Temple, Inc., (also referred to as "NEHTI") was incorporated in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on 21st July 1978, under the provisions of Chapter 180 of the General Laws of Massachusetts.

 

2    Sri Lakshmi Temple (hereafter referred to as the "Temple" or "SLT") is the only operation of NEHTI. The Temple, as of this amendment, has the following deities and sannidhis consecrated according to Agama Shastras (Pancharatra tradition): Ganesha, Sri Lakshmi (presiding deity), Venkteswara, Nataraja and Shivakami (utsava murthies), Navagrahas, Subramanya, Shasta (utsava murthy), Garuda, and Anjaneya.

 

3    The current address of NEHTI for the purpose of administration is 117 Waverly Street, Ashland, MA 01721 and for correspondence is P.O. Box 1716, Framingham, MA 01701-0201. Without amending these By-laws these addresses may be changed, as necessary, at a later date with suitable notification to the General Body and the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

 

1.2     Applicable Rules

 

1           The deliberations and conduct in the meetings of the General Body and all other NEHTI entities (Board of Trustees, Committees and Subcommittees, and other bodies) set up pursuant to the provisions of these By-laws shall conform to the procedures stipulated in  " Robert's Rules of Order, Simplified and Applied," 2nd Edition, Hungry Minds Publishers, New York, 2001.The Board of trustees may adopt later editions of these Rules.  

 

2           The following will be the hierarchy of laws that are applicable to the conduct of NEHTI affairs, in the descending order of precedence: Federal laws, State laws, Ashland town laws and ordnances, these By-laws, actions approved by the members of the General Body, proposals, motions and rules voted and passed by the Board of Trustees, stipulations in the Policy and Procedures Guidelines.

 

3           All motions and proposals, in each of the entities of NEHTI, shall be approved by a simple majority of the members present and eligible to vote, except where alternative requirements are explicitly indicated in these By-laws.

 

4           The numerical value of votes resulting from the application of fractions, stipulated in these By-laws for passage of a resolution, proposal or a motion shall be rounded to the nearest integer value for the enumeration of member votes (eg., 6.6 to 7, 7.33 to 7, 7.50 to 8, 8.7 to 9, etc).

 

5           Words implying the masculine gender in these By-laws shall also imply the feminine gender.

 

 

ARTICLE II - PURPOSE

 

 

The purposes of NEHTI are to:

 

1       Provide a common place of worship for those who subscribe to the Hindu Religion.

 

2       Promote the advancement of the Hindu Religion.

 

3       Provide a forum for other matters relating to belief in and the practice of Hinduism

 

4       Cooperate with other organizations to promote inter-religious understanding.

 

5       Organize and/or participate in social, educational, welfare, relief, and other charitable programs.

 

 

ARTICLE III - DEFINITIONS & ACRONYMS

 

3.1     DEFINITIONS

 

The various terms used in these By-laws are defined as follows:

 

Close Relative:
A person who is a spouse, personal partner, child, sibling, in-law, first cousin,or a business partner.

Contractor:
A person or an institution who performs services to NEHTI under a business contract with a specific scope of work, amount and time of payment of a sum of money being specified in the contract.  A contractor is not to be construed as an employee of NEHTI.

Board Committee:
A Committee authorized and appointed by and accountable to the Board of Trustees.

Board of Trustees (BOT):
An executive Board consisting of Trustees elected by the members or The Board:                                  of the General Body of NEHTI and Trustees appointed to fill any

                                                 Vacancies due to the resignation or removal of elected Trustees.

By-laws:
Refers to the most recent set of rules and regulations included in this document, which have been ratified by the General Body of members pursuant to a process specified in these By-laws.

Due Cause:
A situation arising from illness, death in the family, required presence in a court-of-law or other judicial bodies, acts of God, etc..

Due Process:
A process by which a person associated with NEHTI against whom a disciplinary action is being contemplated is given an opportunity to defend himself before a specified council or a committee.

Dues:
A fee or an assessment set by the Board of Trustees, charged by NEHTI to a person qualified and eligible to become a member.

Employee:
A person who is employed by NEHTI either as a temporary or permanent worker under an employment contract.

Entity:
The General Body of Members of NEHTI, or the Board of Trustees, or a Committee constituted by the Board of Trustees (such as a Board Committee, Sub-Committee, Task Force, Operational Sub-Committee, etc).

Founder(of the Temple):
One of fourteen persons who conceived the idea of establishing a Temple in the greater Boston area, contributed personal time and funds to its establishment, and is named as a Director of NEHTI in its Articles of Organization.

General Body:
The totality of NEHTI members in good standing and whose membership status is current by virtue of complying with all membership requirements stipulated in these By-laws.

Grandfather clause:
A provision in the By-laws allowing the requirements, conditions and privileges of membership, officers' tenure and other conditions prevailing before the date of ratification of these By-laws by the General Body to continue for those who were members, trustees, officers, employees and devotees of NEHTI before the above date.

Hinduism:
A religious tradition with origins in India based on "sanatana dharma" (eternal truth), which accepts the authority of the Vedas, and is characterized by acceptance of Brahman as the Ultimate Reality. It also refers to religious practices and rituals related to the worship of various manifestations or incarnations of divinity in the form of Hindu gods and goddesses.

Independent Committee:
An Ombudsman type Committee of five persons (current Trustees excluded), set up by the Board of Trustees and constituted from time to time, to resolve issues, and provide binding arbitration within the constrains of these By-laws. This Committee shall consist primarily of members of the Stewardship Council but may include other respected citizens of the Temple community.

Majority Vote:
A resolution in a meeting of an entity is deemed to be approved by a majority vote when the number of favorable votes it receives is one more than one half of the number of entity members present in the meeting (unless the number of members that needs to participate is explicitly specified elsewhere in these By-laws), provided that the meeting fulfills the quorum requirements.

Member:
Any permanent legal resident of North America who agrees and promises to uphold the provisions of these By-laws, whose application for membership has been approved by the Board, and whose membership is current in terms of dues payment and other requirements stipulated in these By-laws.

Member in good standing:
A member who has not violated the requirements for continued membership of NEHTI nor has been convicted in a court of law for criminal offenses.

Officer of NEHTI,Board Officer or Officer:
A Trustee elected by the Board, as its designated Officer, to implementa Board authorized role or a function. Board Officers include the Chairman, the Secretary, the President, the Treasurer and any other officer elected and designated by the Board.

NEHTI:
Refers to New England Hindu Temple, Inc. ("NEHTI").

Operation:
An entity or activity sanctioned and controlled by NEHTI. The operation can be an independent unit with separate management, accounting and financial reporting or an organizationally separate entity with all finances and budgets being a part of NEHTI.

Quorum:
The minimum number of persons that need to be present, to start the meeting of an entity or at the time a member calls for a (quorum) count during meeting, in order for the deliberations of the meeting to be legal. Except in the case of the General Body meeting, the presence in the meeting of at least one more than one half of the total current members of the entity, which is meeting, constitutes a quorum.

The attendance, initially and at the time of quorum roll calls, by at least ten percent of the eligible-to-vote NEHTI membership or twenty five eligible-to-vote NEHTI members, whichever number is larger, constitutes the quorum for a NEHTI General Body Meeting.

Stewardship Council:
A permanent Council consisting of the Temple founders and other respected NEHTI members to provide non-binding guidance, and other advisory resources to the Board of Trustees and the General Body.

Term:
The duration of time for which a person is elected or appointed to a position.

Term Limit:
The maximum number of full consecutive terms any person can hold the same office.

Trustee:
A person serving on the Board of Trustees after being elected by the members of the General Body eligible to vote or appointed by the Board.

Two thirds vote:
A resolution in a meeting of an entity is deemed to be approved by a two thirds majority vote when the number of favorable votes it receives is equal to or more than two thirds of the number of entity members present in the meeting (unless the number of members that needs to participate is explicitly specified elsewhere in these By-laws), provided that the meeting fulfills the quorum requirements.

Volunteer:
A person who provides services to NEHTI on an unpaid basis by his own free will at the request of Trustees or employees. A volunteer is neither an employee nor a contractor of NEHTI.

 

 

3.2            ACRONYMS

 

BOT                Board of Trustees of NEHTI

DLC                Devotee Liaison Committee

FINCOM        Finance Committee

GB                   General Body of NEHTI members

GBM               General Body Meeting

IAC                 Internal Audit Committee

NEHTI             New England Hindu Temple, Inc.

PPD                 Policies and Procedures Document

SLT                 Sri Lakshmi Temple

SSC                 Safety and Security Committee

TOC                Temple Operations Committee

YCEP              Youth, Cultural and Educational Programs Committee

 

 


ARTICLE IV  - MEMBERSHIP

 

1          Membership in NEHTI is open to any person of Hindu faith who satisfies all of the following requirements:

 

a)            A legal permanent resident of North America

b)            Eighteen years or older at the time of application

c)            Subscribes to and abides by the provisions of these By-laws

d)            Complies with payment of membership dues and other stipulations of NEHTI

 

2          NEHTI is supported mainly by non-refundable membership dues and other contributions; fines or financial forfeitures may not be imposed upon its members.

 

3          Every eligible person who desires to become a member of NEHTI shall complete, sign, and submit the Board approved membership application form together with the membership dues.

 

4          In addition to meeting the requirements indicated in item 1 above, a person shall be considered for membership in NEHTI only when his application is counter signed and recommended in writing by at least two current members.

 

5          Membership in NEHTI is confirmed only after the application has been reviewed and approved by the Board of Trustees. The effective date of the approved membership shall be the beginning of the calendar quarter in which the membership dues are fully paid.

 

6          The Board of Trustees may deny membership to any person with or without cause. In case of non-approval a notification shall be sent, within a reasonable time, by the Secretary to the applicant along with a refund of any membership fees paid by the applicant.

 

7          A person shall cease to be a NEHTI member when either of the following conditions are fulfilled:

 

a)         The Secretary notifies the member of the default in the payment of his membership dues and the balance of membership fees is not paid within 30 days of receipt of the notice.

or,

 

b)         The Board, by a two-thirds majority vote passes a resolution to revoke the membership of the member provided, he is not a Trustee.

 

8          Any member may resign at any time by filing a written resignation letter with the Secretary of NEHTI.

 

GRANDFATHER CLAUSE:              The requirements of Article IV of these By-laws shall not apply to persons who are members of NEHTI before the date of ratification of these By-laws. However, they will be governed by the requirements in the By-laws in effect before the ratification of these By-laws.

ARTICLE  V - NEHTI ORGANIZATION

 

5.1     GENERAL PRINCIPLES

 

5.1.1    NEHTI Obligations

 

NEHTI shall maintain Officers' and Directors' Liability insurance of sufficient coverage, to indemnify and hold harmless the Trustees, Officers, employees and agents of NEHTI (collectively referred to as "NEHTI Officials") from any third party claims, damages, losses, and expenses arising out of or resulting from the performance by NEHTI Officials of their respective duties and responsibilities to NEHTI. The indemnification shall continue during and beyond the term of a NEHTI Official for actions and performances undertaken when the said official was in active NEHTI service. NEHTI shall provide, at its own cost or through its insurance coverage, legal defense to any NEHTI Official whose official action or work product on behalf of NEHTI is the subject of litigation.

 

5.1.2    NEHTI Organizational Requirements

 

The organization of the Board of Trustees, Committees, and Operational Units (hereinafter referred to as "entities") under NEHTI shall be governed by the following principles.

 

1          The meeting of any entity shall require a quorum. Otherwise, the actions approved by the entity shall not be valid.

 

2          All elected and appointed officials shall serve only to provide functional accountability and undertake responsibilities.

 

3          Meetings of all entities shall, in general, be open to members of NEHTI; however, the Chairman of each entity shall have the prerogative to make specific meetings or part of a meeting open only to members of that entity and/or to invited special guests.

 

4          Any person whose removal is being voted on by an entity shall not participate in that vote.

 

5          A person elected by an entity to serve on a subsidiary entity shall not be removed from his office by members of the subsidiary entity.

 

6          Trustees, Board Officers, Committee members and volunteers shall perform NEHTI related work on an honorary basis; no payments shall be made for the services rendered.


5.2      STRUCTURE

 

The governing structure of NEHTI shall consist of the following:

 

1          The General Body constituted by the members of NEHTI

 

2          The Board of Trustees ("BOT") consisting of twelve (12) members ("Trustees") elected by the General Body. The Board shall be the Legislative and Administrative body of NEHTI accountable only to the General Body of NEHTI members.

 

3                    The Stewardship Council (SC) consisting of at least five but not more than eight Temple founders and other respected members of the Temple community. The SC shall provide advisory services to the Board of Trustees and the General Body of members as and when needed.

 

4          Committees formed by and reporting to the Board.  A Trustee shall chair each of these Committees and Board shall approve their members.  These committees shall be the following:

 

a)       The Temple Operations Committee (TOC) to conduct the day-to-day affairs of the Temple.

 

b)       The Internal Audit Committee (IAC) with broad responsibilities for auditing the financial affairs, physical inventory, budgets, income and expenditures of NEHTI and the Temple.

 

c)       The Safety & Security Committee (SSC) to evaluate, develop and facilitate the implementation of both short term and long term safety and security policies for NEHTI and the Temple.

 

d)       The Finance Committee (FINCOM) to advise the Board on all financial matters

 

e)       The Devotee Liaison Committee (DLC) to serve as a resource for membership development, volunteer base development and fund raising in support of all NEHTI activities

 

f)       Youth, Cultural and Educational Programs Committee (YCEP) to develop, facilitate and foster events and programs related to the advancement of Hindu culture, scriptures and theology among the youths of the community, and the devotees.

 

5        Other Ad hoc or Operational Committees (for example, capital projects, infrastructure maintenance and construction, priests' affairs, pooja coordination, etc) may be setup by either the Board or the Temple Operations Committee to assist in the general management of NEHTI and Temple affairs.

 

The organizational structures, functions and responsibilities of the above committees are described in Appendix A to these By-laws.

 

Note:         The formation, role and responsibilities of an Independent Committee are not covered by the above requirements but indicated in Article III "Definitions and Acronyms."


5.3            THE GENERAL BODY (of NEHTI Members)

 

5.3.1    PURPOSE

 

The purpose of the General Body (GB) of members is to set the overall direction for the conduct of NEHTI affairs and to elect members to the Board of Trustees.

 

5.3.2        FORMATION

 

NEHTI members in good standing constitute the General Body of members.

 

5.3.3    RESPONSIBILITIES

 

The GB has the overall responsibility to ensure that NEHTI is administered in an effective and efficient manner consistent with the purposes of the organization, these By-laws and the Laws of the Land. The GB shall exercise this responsibility primarily by electing the Trustees to the Board of NEHTI, by ratifying the By-laws.

 

5.3.4    FUNCTIONS

 

The GB has the following functions:

 

1          Elect the Trustees of NEHTI.

 

2          Deliberate on matters of extraordinary interest and importance to NEHTI, either in a scheduled annual meeting or in a special meeting convened as per the provisions indicated elsewhere in these By-laws.

 

3          Amend, as and when necessary, these By-laws by following the procedure outlined elsewhere in these By-laws.

 

4          Discuss in the General Body meeting issues/proposals, which may be submitted by members eligible to vote, when such issues/proposals are delivered to the Secretary, in writing, at least two weeks before the General Body Meeting for inclusion in the agenda of the General Body Meeting.

 

5          Deliberate and discuss the issues in the agenda, in the General Body meeting, and vote to send the motions or resolutions to the full General Body for final approval by members eligible to vote.

 

5.3.5    MEETINGS

 

1           The Annual meeting of the General Body of Members of NEHTI shall be held on the last Sunday of April.

 

2          Special Meetings of the General Body may be called by a majority of the entire Board of Trustees to bring forth matters of extraordinary interest. A petition signed by one-third of the General Body members eligible to vote and delivered to the Secretary of the Board of Trustees may also request a Special Meeting. The Secretary shall arrange for a Special Meeting within six weeks from the date of receipt of such a petition.

 

3           Except for the election or recall of Trustee(s) and amendment of these By-laws, any questions or issues submitted by members eligible to vote shall be included in the meeting agenda, provided that the questions/issues are submitted to the Secretary in writing two weeks before the meeting of the General Body or the Special Meeting. Unless provided otherwise in these By-laws, a simple majority vote of at least 50 percent of members of the General Body eligible to vote shall decide any issue/question.

 

4          Participation in the meetings of the General Body shall be open to all NEHTI members in good standing.

 

5.3.6        POWERS

 

The General Body of NEHTI shall be the institution of final authority on:

 

1          Modifying, amending or otherwise rewriting By-laws consistent with,  (i) the Hindu religion, (ii) the intent of the founders of NEHTI, and (iii) the purposes expounded in these By-laws.

 

2          Deciding, by a two-thirds vote of members eligible to vote, issues related to installation of additional vigrahams (idols), moving of existing vigrahams (idols) and such other religiously significant matters.

 

3          Implementing, by a seventy five percent vote of eligible to vote members, mergers with other religious organizations, or dissolving NEHTI as an organization.

 

 

5.4             BOARD OF TRUSTEES  (BOT)

 

5.4.1    PURPOSE

 

The purpose of the Board of Trustees is to ensure the upholding and execution of the provisions in the By-laws and to facilitate the administration of the affairs of NEHTI.

 

5.4.2    FORMATION

 

The Board shall consist of twelve (12) Trustees, each eligible Trustee being elected for a term of three years by the General Body of members at the Annual General Body Meeting, subject to the transitional rule stated elsewhere in these By-laws. The election of the Trustees shall be phased-in such that every year four (4) Trustees are replaced.


            5.4.3    RESPONSIBILITIES

 

The Board has the fiduciary, administrative and operational responsibilities to achieve the purposes and objectives of NEHTI. It shall, by appointing appropriate persons, committees or entities, execute these responsibilities in a diligent manner.

 

5.4.4    FUNCTIONS

 

The Board shall:

 

1          Be the sole governing body of NEHTI.

 

2          Exercise all powers of NEHTI to organize its affairs to achieve the purposes outlined in the By-laws.

 

3          Ensure the diligent compliance of the local, state, federal laws, and NEHTI By-laws by all NEHTI entities.

 

4          Develop goals, strategies and plans, and implement appropriate actions, for the short and long-term development, viability, and success of NEHTI and the Temple

 

5          Maintain and manage the records of NEHTI with suitable safeguards.

 

6          Authorize and appropriate budgets for various activities of NEHTI including and not limited to, Temple operations, major Temple functions, construction and all other extraordinary expenses.

 

7          Ensure that periodic review is conducted by the Internal Audit Committee to inventory NEHTI property and to audit income, expenditures, and compliance with appropriated budgets.

 

8          Ensure the conduct of an annual audit of all NEHTI financial transactions by an external, independent certified public accountant.

 

9          Initiate, review, authorize or otherwise approve the expenditure of capital development projects (purchase of real estate, building construction, major repairs, institution of security systems, etc).

 

10                Establish expense threshold amounts above which two signatures of specified NEHTI Officers are required.

 

11                Supervise the management of assets and interests of NEHTI.

 

12                Elect Officers to facilitate the administration of the affairs of NEHTI.  Election of the Board officers shall be accomplished in the first mandatory meeting of Board after the General Body meeting.

 

13                Elect Chairmen of various Board Committees during the first mandatory meeting of the Board after the General Body meeting. Also, review and approve by a majority vote the members of the Board Committees recommended by the respective Chairmen.

 

14                Establish policies related to membership conforming to the provisions of these By-laws. Review, discuss, debate and vote on NEHTI membership applications in a reasonable time.

 

15                Consider, deliberate and, vote on any proposal, introduced by a Trustee during Board meetings and seconded by another Trustee. Proposal approval shall be by a majority vote unless otherwise specified elsewhere in these By-laws.

 

16                Initiate the development of or modification of existing "Policy and Procedures Document (PPD)."  The PPD shall elaborate the requirements of these By-laws and provide guidance for their execution. The Board shall ensure that the PPD is suitably amended to reflect the decisions of the Board expressed through the acceptance of proposals or resolutions. A proposal approved by the Board shall be binding even if it contravenes the statements in the PPD.

 

17                Ensure the compliance of the formation and functioning of the Committees indicated in Appendix A to these By-laws.

 

18            Review and modify as needed, and in consultation with the Stewardship Council, the structure, formation, responsibilities/functions or other details of the Committees indicated in Appendix A to these By-laws. The process for modifying the content of Appendix A shall not be subject to the requirements described in Article IX for amending these By-laws.

 

19                Empanel an Independent Committee when needed to resolve issues, which the Board is unable to resolve.

 

20                Utilize the services of the Stewardship Council as needed to receive advice on major religious or strategic issues that need to be addressed.

 

21                Constitute, when necessary, ad hoc Committees with specified charters and life terms to discuss and recommend actions on issues of special concern to the Board. The Board shall appoint a chairman for each such Committee and approve its members recommended by the chairman of such a committee.

 

22        Appoint an eligible member from the General Body to fill any vacancy arising from the resignation, incapacitation, removal or death of a Trustee, and to serve only until the next Annual General Body meeting. The appointment of a person to fill such a vacancy shall be accomplished within 45 days after the effective date of the occurrence of the vacancy.

 

23                Authorize the hiring and/or removal of priests and other employees of the Temple or of any other operation. Also, review, authorize or amend salary amounts, bonuses, pension payments and other employee benefits recommended by the President.

 

24                Decide by a majority vote and approve the appointment of candidate to all other official positions recommended by NEHTI Officers.

 

25                Appoint emissaries to represent NEHTI or the Temple at meetings of other official, cultural, religious, press or media organizations.

 

26                Ensure that all recommendations made by entities are deliberated and voted on by the Board.

 

27                Select and nominate potential candidates for election to the Trustee positions subject to the procedures stipulated elsewhere in the By-laws.

 

28                Strive to appoint qualified new persons to fill Board Officer positions.

 

29               Provide NEHTI members with important information on the affairs of NEHTI, including the activities of the various Committees, through quarterly reports or other mailings. Also any modifications to Appendix A shall be communicated to NEHTI members in these quarterly reports. Normally, the Secretary shall coordinate the correspondence with NEHTI members; however, under special circumstances the Board may designate another Trustee to perform any and all functions required under this item.

 

30                Accept a proxy vote/statement from a Trustee who is unable to attend a Board meeting provided the said Trustee submits a written authorization to the Secretary designating another Trustee to vote on his behalf, only on proposals or motions, not including any amendments, that were previously included in the agenda for the specified Board meeting.

     

      5.4.5    MEETINGS

 

1          The first meeting of the Board shall be on the second Sunday following the Annual Meeting of the General Body. At this meeting the Board, with a quorum of Trustees present, shall elect by a simple majority from its membership, the Chairman, the Secretary, the President, the Treasurer and Chairmen of Board Committees described in Appendix A, all to serve for a term of one year.

 

2          The Board shall meet at least four (4) times in a calendar year ("mandatory meetings"), once every quarter approximately 90 days apart.  At the first meeting of the Board after the annual meeting of the General Body the Secretary shall establish the dates of the mandatory meetings of the Board for the rest of the term of the current Board. The Board may meet more often, as and when needs arise. 

 

3          The Chairman or a majority of the Trustees of the Board can call a special meeting of the Board to discuss any urgent issues by notifying all Trustees in writing or by email, at least two weeks before the meeting date.

 

4          Any Trustee may call an emergency meeting of the Board, to discuss and act on an emergency issue, by informing all Trustees expeditiously (say, within a day). Such an emergency meeting shall be held with the concurrence of a majority of all Trustees expressed through emails or telephone calls to the Secretary or the Chairman. The meeting may be held in person or by conference call or by email at a time and place agreeable to the majority of Trustees.

 

5          Voting on all matters in the Board meetings shall be by a show of hands or by roll call, except in the case of elections, which shall be by secret ballot. Voting by electronic means (email, fax) shall be allowed when there is urgency and it is impossible for the Trustees to meet physically at a short notice. The secretary shall record in the minutes of the Board meetings the individual Trustee vote cast either in person or by electronic balloting except in the case of secret ballots.  The overall tally of the secret ballot votes shall be included in the minutes.

 

6          The Chairman of the Board shall conduct the Board meetings. In his absence the Secretary shall perform these functions.  In the absence of a specific designee to conduct the Board meetings during the absence of both the Chairman and the Secretary, the Board may appoint by a majority vote, any other Trustee to conduct that specific Board meeting.

 

7          The Secretary (and in his absence any other designated Trustee) shall record the deliberations of and tally the votes in each Board meeting and develop the minutes of each meeting. The draft minutes of previous meetings shall be discussed in a subsequent Board meeting and when approved by a majority vote shall become the official record.

 

 

5.5              STEWARDSHIP  COUNCIL (SC)

 

            5.5.1    PURPOSE

 

The purpose of the Stewardship Council is to provide guidance, mentoring, advisory services and institutional memory to the Board of Trustees. 

 

            5.5.2    FORMATION

 

The Stewardship Council (SC) shall be formed with five to eight members consisting of the Temple founders and other respected NEHTI members. The Board shall appoint the members of the Stewardship council and fill, vacancies, as and when they arise. In the selection of a NEHTI member to serve on the Stewardship Council, history of contributions by the individual to Hindu organizations and/or the Hindu religion shall be given special consideration.

 

5.5.3    ROLE / RESPONSIBILITIES

 

The Stewardship Council shall provide non-binding guidance, and other advisory resources to the Board of Trustees and the General Body.  The responsibilities of this Council shall include:

 

1          Providing vision and guidance on religious matters of a policy nature, especially regarding the conformity of religious practices of NEHTI and the Temple with Hindu scriptures and traditions, especially the Agama Shastras.

 

2          Developing recommendations and action items to ensure the long-term viability and success of NEHTI and the Temple.

 

3          Advising on other matters referred to it by the Board.

 

 

ARTICLE  VI - NEHTI TRUSTEES & OFFICERS

 

6.1     TRUSTEE

 

6.1.1        ELIGIBILITY

 

A candidate for the office of Trustee shall fulfill each of the following conditions. He shall be:

 

1          Twenty-five (25) years or older on 1st January of the year in which the term of the Trustee begins.

 

2          A NEHTI member in good standing for at least two years.

 

3          A citizen or legal permanent resident of the United States.

 

4          Not a salaried employee or a contractor of NEHTI or the Temple,

 

and shall have

 

5          Paid all membership dues for eight calendar quarters immediately prior to the date of election.

 

6          No personal, financial, business or fiduciary interests that conflict with those of NEHTI.

 

7          No close relative serving as a Trustee whose term overlaps the term of the Trustee position.

 

8          No current business contractual arrangements or dealings with NEHTI.

 

It is desirable for a candidate for Trustee to have experience as a Temple volunteer for two years.

 

6.1.2        ELECTION or APPOINTMENT

 

1          A Trustee shall be elected at the Annual General Body Meeting of NEHTI members, pursuant to the process specified in Article VII of these By-laws.

 

2          The normal term of an elected Trustee shall be three years beginning on the date of the first meeting of the Board of Trustees after the Annual General Body meeting (in which the Trustee is elected) and ending on the date of the first Board Meeting three years later.

 

Note:         The term of a Trustee due to retire within a year following the effective date of these By-laws may be extended (by a few days) to conform to the above rule.

 

Exception:  A person selected to fill the vacancy created by the resignation or removal of a Trustee shall serve for less than or equal to one year.

 

3          The Board shall fill a vacancy on the Board by appointing an eligible NEHTI member as a Trustee, on an interim basis, to serve until the next Annual General Body meeting (see $ 5.4.4.22).

 

6.1.3        DUTIES and RESPONSIBILITIES

 

1          A Trustee shall safeguard the best interests of the Temple, observe utmost professionalism and integrity in conducting the affairs of the Temple, and shall not breach the confidence placed in him.

 

2          A Trustee shall attend and participate in all Board meetings.  A Trustee shall not be absent from more than two consecutive mandatory meetings of the Board, without due cause.

 

3          A Trustee shall have no personal or business conflicts of interest with the affairs of NEHTI. Should such a conflict be proven, he shall immediately resign from the Trustee position.

 

4          A Trustee shall be provided with voting prerogatives and may, in any Board meeting, exercise his vote either in person or by proxy, the latter pursuant to the requirements specified in $ 5.4.4-30.

 

6.1.4        RESIGNATION, REMOVAL or RECALL

 

1          A person can resign his Trustee position by sending a written letter to the Secretary indicating the reasons for and the effective date of the resignation. The resignation is effective as of the date of acceptance by the Board in a scheduled, special or urgent meeting.

 

2          The Board shall remove a Trustee from the office for not attending, without due cause, two consecutive mandatory quarterly meetings of the Board.  A Trustee removed for this cause shall not be afforded the process indicated in item 4 below.

 

3          The Board shall recommend to the General Body the removal of a Trustee from the office when, in the opinion of the majority of the entire Board, the member's actions or statements, business interests or association with other organizations compromise the welfare or interests of NEHTI.

 

4          A Trustee may be removed from his position only after each of the following steps is followed, sequentially.

 

a)         One-fifth of the members in good standing of NEHTI sign a written petition to remove a named Trustee, providing reasons for the removal.

Or

The entire Board of Trustees by a two-thirds majority, excluding the Trustee to be removed, adopts a removal resolution naming the Trustee to be removed and the causes for the removal.

 

b)         The members' petition or the Board resolution is received by the Secretary or his alternate, if he is the Trustee to be removed.

 

c)         The Secretary or his alternate notifies the petition or the Board resolution to the members of NEHTI eligible to vote, and to the subject Trustee, through mail and/or email within two weeks after receiving the petition or the Board resolution.

 

d)         The Secretary facilitates the polling of the members of NEHTI eligible to vote by sending ballots in the mail within thirty days after receiving the petition or the Board resolution and tabulates the ballots received.

 

5          The Trustee identified in the process specified in item 4 shall be removed from office only if,

 

a)         At least fifty percent of NEHTI members in good standing and eligible-to-vote participate in the vote

and

 

b)         Of the members participating in the vote at least two-thirds vote is in favor of removal of the subject Trustee.

 

6          A Trustee who is removed pursuant to NEHTI members' petition or Board Resolution shall be ineligible to serve on the Board of Trustees for a period of five years following his removal.

 

6.2     BOARD OFFICERS

The provisions described in the subsequent sub-sections of this section are applicable to all Board Officers, unless exceptions are indicated. Board Officers include the Chairman and Secretary of the Board of Trustees and, the President and the Treasurer of the Temple.

 

The Board may create any other titled Board Officer position and elect a Trustee to fill the position subject to the Board defining clearly the role, responsibilities, duties and term of office of the new Board Officer. All other provisions and requirements that are applicable to the above-identified Board Officers shall be also be applicable to the newly created Board Officer position.

 

 

 

                6.2.1    ELIGIBILITY           

Any person who fulfills the following conditions is eligible to hold the position of a Board Officer.

 

1          Has served as a Trustee on the Board for at least one year, and

 

2          Has not previously held the specific Board Officer position for two consecutive terms immediately prior to the term under consideration.

 

6.2.2    ELECTION

A Board Officer is elected by a simple majority of the Board of Trustees at the first mandatory meeting of the Board held after the Annual General Body Meeting.

 

6.2.3        TERM OF OFFICE

 

The normal term of office of the Board Officer shall be one year or the end of Trusteeship period which ever is shorter. By a two-thirds vote, and with the Board Officer not voting, the Board may extend his term by one additional year.

 

Note:       The term of office of appointed Board Officers (The President and the Treasurer under the previous By-laws) shall end on the date of the first Board of Trustees meeting held after the Annual General Body meeting convened following the effective date of these By-laws.

 

 

6.2.4        RESIGNATION, REMOVAL or TEMPORARY ABSENCE

 

1          The resignation by a Board Officer shall be allowed when a written letter/email is sent to the Secretary. The resignation is effective as of the date the Secretary receives the letter. If the resignation is by the Secretary, the Chairman shall be the recipient of the letter.

 

2          Not withstanding the requirement of item 1, the resignation of a Board Officer made orally during a Board meeting shall be effective immediately when at least two thirds of the members present during the meeting stipulate in a written, signed statement,

before the end of the Board meeting, confirming the oral resignation statement from the resigning officer and the resignation is recorded in the minutes of the Board meeting
.

 

2          A Board Officer may be removed from his position by a simple majority vote of the Board of Trustees, not including the Officer concerned, subject to the following "due process":

 

a)      The officer is sent by mail/email a list of issues, concerns and causes for the proposed removal, signed by a majority of Board members.


b)      The officer is given two weeks from the date of receipt to respond in writing


c)      The Board meets within 30 days to discuss the issues and the officer is provided an opportunity to present his case to the Board before the Board votes on the removal.


 

3         A Board Officer may be removed, immediately, from his position, by a two-thirds majority vote of the entire Board. , immediately.


4         A Board Officer shall inform the Board when he is unavailable to carryout his functions due to absence for over two weeks. He shall designate another Trustee to perform his functions, temporarily, consistent with other provisions in these By-laws.

 

5          A Board Officer shall be deemed to not hold that office when he is incapacitated for over a month. During such absence the next in line, specified in these By-laws, shall be considered as the temporary Board Officer.

 

6          The Board Officer shall cease to hold the office when incapacitated for over three months. In such a contingency, the Board shall appoint an alternate Board Officer.

 

 

6.2.5        TRANSITION OBLIGATIONS

 

At the completion of his term, or on upon resignation or removal, a Board Officer shall:

 

1          Transfer to the next person elected to his office or the Secretary or his alternate, promptly but no later than two weeks, all records, books, lists, computer data files, keys, and any and all other NEHTI and Temple property either generated by him during his tenure or acquired from the previous person holding that office.

 

2          Submit to the Secretary, within two weeks after relinquishing his office, written documentation, with his signature, confirming the transfer of all NEHTI and Temple property.

 

3          Inform, in writing and within one week of the end of his term, bank(s) and other financial institutions of the change in his official position and relinquish any signature authority on bank accounts, investment accounts, certificates of deposit, purchase and sales agreement on real property, etc. A copy of this written documentation shall be provided to the Secretary for his files.

 

Failure to comply with the requirements in this sub-section shall be considered as a dereliction of the fiduciary responsibility of a Board Officer. The Board is empowered to take such actions as may be deemed appropriate to recover NEHTI property, including but not limited to legal notice and action.

 

 

6.3     CHAIRMAN

 

                6.3.1    DUTIES and RESPONSIBILITIES

The duties and responsibilities of the Chairman shall include,

 

1          Fiduciary responsibility for NEHTI.

 

2          Conducting and presiding over the meetings of the General Body.

 

3          Submitting an Annual Report approved by the Board of Trustees to the General Body on the operations of NEHTI for the previous calendar year.

 

4          Convening periodic meetings of the Board of Trustees for the purposes of long range planning and to discuss the affairs of the different activities and finances of NEHTI.

 

5          Facilitating discussions in the Board meetings by following, strictly, the Robert's Rules of Order.

 

6          Implementing all resolutions of the Board of Trustees.

 

7          Disbursing funds from the Chairman's account to the Temple operations, consistent with the Board approved and appropriated budgets.

 

8          Issuing checks on the Chairman's account to make only those payments approved and authorized by the Board. All checks issued by the Chairman shall be countersigned by another Trustee who has been authorized by a majority vote of the Board to countersign. The Chairman shall have a discretionary budget, approved by the Board, for conducting the meetings and affairs of the Board.

 

9          Ensuring the orderly conduct of the affairs of NEHTI.

 

10                Appointing, with the approval of the Board, the Chairman of a Nominating Committee to select candidates for Trustee election

 

11         Recommending to the Board suitable candidates to chair various Board Committees. 

 

12          Providing a leadership role in strategic planning, enhancing the role of NEHTI in the community, and facilitating fundraising and expansion of the Temple.

 

13          Ensuring that all entities of NEHTI abide by all applicable Federal, State, Local town laws and resolutions passed by the General Body and the Board of Trustees.

 

6.4     SECRETARY

 

                6.4.1    DUTIES and RESPONSIBILITIES

The duties and responsibilities of the Secretary shall include,

 

1          Recording the minutes of the deliberations in Board meetings. He shall, in addition prepare, circulate to the Trustees and obtain the final approval of the minutes in a subsequent meeting of the Board. The minutes shall indicate the voting record of each member on all motions and proposals, except for secret ballot issues.

 

2          Conducting the balloting (by voice vote, secret paper ballot, or roll call) and recording the votes of Trustee on all motions made in the Board. Also, tallying all votes cast and announcing the results before the end of the Board meeting.

 

3          Informing members of the Board meeting schedules and agenda.

 

4          Conducting electronic polling of Trustees on matters of urgency when presented with petitions, which comply with the requirements for such petitions indicated elsewhere in these By-laws.

 

5          Safeguarding all papers related to the Board and NEHTI.

 

6          Coordinating all correspondence between the Board and NEHTI members. Under special circumstances, the Board may designate another trustee to perform these duties (see $5.4.4.29).

 

7          Acting as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees during the temporary absence of the Chairman.

 

8          Preparing, in participation with and approval of the Board, a Policies and Procedures Document.

 

9          Presenting membership applications to the Board in a timely manner and assigning membership numbers to new members approved by the Board.

 

10          Maintaining the membership records and related electronic database(s) and being responsive to the information needs of NEHTI members.

 

11          Conducting fair and impartial elections for the office of Trustees.

 

12          Disseminating information of urgency or of importance to Trustees in a timely manner.

 

6.5     PRESIDENT

 

                6.5.1    DUTIES and RESPONSIBILITIES

The duties and responsibilities of the President shall include,

 

1          Conducting the affairs of the Temple in a fiscally responsible manner under the broad directions from the NEHTI Board of Trustees.

 

2          Preparing, in consultation with and help from the Treasurer, and inputs from Committee Chairmen, budgets for different expense categories for the Temple over the term of his office; Presenting the budgets to and obtaining the required appropriations from the NEHTI Board.

 

3          Presenting to the Board the annual plans for the functioning of the Temple and obtain approvals where necessary.

 

4          Authorizing the disbursement of funds from the Temple's account within the budget parameters appropriated by the Board.

 

5          Implementing, in an expeditious manner, the emergency recommendations of the Safety & Security Committee and other Safety and Security measures approved by the Board.

 

6          Countersigning checks issued by the Treasurer for expenses incurred by the Temple when the amount exceeds a threshold value set by the Board. The President may sign and issue checks on behalf of the Temple when the Treasurer is unavailable for longer than two weeks provided the check is counter signed by another Board designated Officer.

 

7          Selecting candidates for Priests and other staff and presenting his recommendations to the NEHTI Board for approval.

 

8          Defining, supervising, and managing the roles, functions, and responsibilities of the Temple manager and other Temple employees.

 

9          Developing the schedule of priests, and other staff, for the day-to-day operations of the Temple, external poojas and functions, and special Temple functions.

 

10          Ensuring the cleanliness of the Temple and providing an environment conducive to the performance of prayers and poojas.

 

11          Coordinating with the Chairman of the Safety & Security Committee to ensure that the Temple and its premises are safe and secure.

 

12          Hiring appropriate contractors, workmen and other resources to maintain and upkeep the Temple and other NEHTI owned buildings, residences and other properties.

 

13          Utilizing the resources of standing and adhoc Committees to achieve the efficient operation of the Temple.

 

14          Attending, in a timely manner, to complaints and suggestions of devotees, NEHTI members and others in consultations with the Devotee Liaison Committee.

 

15          Interfacing with and empanelling volunteers to assist the Operation in manning the Temple office, and in other Temple activities.

 

16          Developing and publishing, on at least a quarterly basis, a newsletter on Temple activities.

 

17          Coordinating with various Committees (such as the Priests Committee, Pooja Committee, Cultural Committee, etc).

 

18          Developing specific policies and schedules for the use of Temple space by non-NEHTI groups, cultural organizations, devotee requested religious functions, etc. Approving, on a case-by-case basis, the use of Temple premises.

 

19          Enforcing existing written policies (and developing new ones when required) related to employee supervision, staff performance reviews, bonuses, handling of complaints, disciplinary actions, dismissal, etc.

 

20          Preparing the necessary paperwork and coordinating with legal counsel on matters related to visa applications, travel and other arrangements for priests and other workers invited to come from overseas.

 

6.6     TREASURER

 

                6.6.1    DUTIES and RESPONSIBILITIES

The duties and responsibilities of the Treasurer shall include,

 

1          Acting as the Comptroller for NEHTI in addition to the role of a Treasurer

 

2          Receiving, recording and safekeeping all funds belonging to NEHTI and the Temple.

 

3          Organizing the periodic collection, counting, recording of receipts and prompt depositing in a bank of the money and other offerings deposited in the collection boxes [hundis, etc.] in the Temple.

 

4          Disbursing funds, which have been duly appropriated by the Board of Trustees and authorized either by President of  the Temple or by the Board.

 

5          Submitting accounts of all transactions and financial dealings to the President of the Temple, in reasonable time and when requested by the latter and to the Board of Trustees at its mandatory meetings.

 

6          Updating, in a timely manner, financial records on expenses to date, payables and other commitments.

 

a.             The Treasurer shall also perform, at least once a month, comparison of Board authorized budget amounts and actual expenses incurred (or committed). Any time the expenses incurred or accrued exceed 75 % of the appropriated budget, the Treasurer shall notify the President as soon as possible.

 

7          Disbursing funds or issuing checks only when proper receipt, expense report or a specific invoice is provided with details of (i) the written authority or contract under which the work was performed, (ii) the total budget authorized for the work, (iii) signature of a Board Officer or the Temple staff vouching that the work was actually performed and is acceptable.

 

Exception: This requirement shall be waived for purchase of low value items, photocopying, acquisition of off-the-shelf items or other small purchases. The Treasurer shall obtain the Board's authorization to set the ceiling dollar values for items to be covered under this exception.

 

8          Providing financial records and other relevant information, without exception, to the NEHTI Internal Audit Committee, when requested.

 

 

ARTICLE  VII - ELECTIONS

 

Members of the Board of Trustees shall be elected at the Annual General Body Meeting pursuant to the provisions in this Article.

 

7.1        ELIGIBILITY TO VOTE

 

1          Any NEHTI member in good standing who has paid the membership dues for, at least, four calendar quarters preceding (i) the election date for electing Trustees, or (ii) the date of ratification vote in a referendum on other issues submitted to the General Body of members, shall be eligible to vote.

 

2          A candidate for the position of Trustee shall have paid membership dues for at least eight continuous quarters preceding the nomination date.

 

7.2       NOMINATIONS

 

Trustee candidates may be sponsored by the Board of Trustees or nominated by NEHTI members pursuant to the following procedures.

 

1              Board Nominations:

           

a)         The Chairman of the Board with the approval of the Board may appoint a Nominating Committee of five members of NEHTI of which three shall be from the current Board of Trustees. The Chairman of the Board and the Secretary shall not be members of the Nominating Committee.

 

b)         The Nominating Committee must select and present to the Board a pool of candidates at least equal to but not more than twice the anticipated Board vacancy. The Nominating Committee may recommend or rank order candidates.

 

c)         The Board shall be the final authority for selecting and nominating, from the pool of candidates presented, a number of candidates equal to the number of trustee vacancies.

.

d)         The Secretary shall include on the ballot names of the candidates nominated by the Board, provided such selection is made at least four weeks before the election date.

 

2       NEHTI Member Nominations:

 

a)         Nominations may also be made by signature petition, for each candidate, from at least seven NEHTI members (excluding the candidate) eligible to vote in the election as of the day of signing of the petition, giving the names of their nominee(s).

 

b)         The nomination petitions shall be signed by the candidates indicating their acceptance to stand for the election.

 

c)         The petition, duly accepted in writing by the nominated candidates, shall reach the Secretary at least four weeks before the election date.

 

d)         The Secretary shall include on the ballot names of the candidates properly petitioned by NEHTI members and communicated to him at least four weeks before the election date.

 

7.3        election of trustees

 

1          The Secretary shall prepare a paper ballot on which shall be indicated the names of approved candidates. These ballots shall be mailed to or picked up in person by the NEHTI members eligible to vote.  The ballot shall provide clear instructions for voting (including the date and time by which the ballots have to be returned, allowed modes of delivery, prohibitions on writing on the ballot, etc). The Secretary shall mail the ballots to NEHTI members eligible to vote, at least two weeks before the date of the Annual General Body meeting.

 

2          The Trustee elections shall be conducted by secret ballot.

 

3          The ballots received on or before the specified deadline and deemed properly marked shall be enumerated, before the representatives of candidates, during the Annual General Body Meeting.

 

4          The Secretary shall announce the names of winning Trustee candidates during the Annual General Body Meeting.

 

ARTICLE  VIII -  DISSOLUTION

 

The liabilities of NEHTI are limited to the assets of NEHTI. In the event of dissolution, the assets of NEHTI shall be distributed in accordance with the Articles of organization.


ARTICLE  IX - AMENDMENT TO THE BY-LAWS

 

These By-laws may be amended by fulfilling the following requirements.

 

1(a)      A By-laws Amendment petition is voted by the Board of Trustees with a two thirds (2/3) majority of the entire Board.

 

OR

 

1(b)      A written petition signed by at least one third (or 33.3%)of the members of NEHTI eligible-to-vote is delivered to the Secretary of NEHTI specifying the proposed Amendments to the By-laws.

 

2          Subject to the fulfillment of the process in 1(a) or 1(b) the Board shall set up a By-laws Amendment Review Committee with a Trustee as the Chairman and consisting of six other members of which at least two shall be Trustees to review, assess and if necessary rewrite the petition in a language consistent with a legal document. The document developed by the By-laws Amendment Review Committee shall be reviewed by an attorney for legal and procedural correctness. The Secretary shall present to the Board for a vote the document reviewed and modified (if necessary) by the attorney no later than nine months from the date the petition is received by the Secretary.

 

3          The Board shall determine if a mail balloting is appropriate or if a special meeting of the General Body is to be called into session to consider the proposed Amendments. The Board shall set the date of the special meeting of the General Body, or of the ratification date of the Amendment. The ratification date shall not be later than one year from the date the petition is received by the Secretary.

 

4          The Secretary shall send to every NEHTI member eligible to vote (per $7.1.1) at least six weeks prior to the special meeting of the General Body or the date of ratification of the Amendment set by the Board, a notification with the text of the proposed amendments and a ballot for voting. The deadline for the receipt of the completed ballots shall be specified which shall not be earlier than one month from the date of notification.

 

5          The amendment(s) shall be considered as approved provided that more than fifty percent of NEHTI members eligible to vote return the ballots on the amendment(s) and two-thirds of the properly marked returned ballots are in favor of the amendment(s).

 

ARTICLE  X - CONTRACTS, LOANS, CHECKS, DRAFTS, NOTES AND OTHER INSTRUMENTS

 

1          The working capital of the Temple shall be deposited in the name of Sri Lakshmi Temple in a bank or trust company designated by the President and the Treasurer and approved by the Board of Trustees. Only the President and the

Treasurer of the Temple shall operate these accounts. The Board of Trustees shall establish a limit on the amount of checks that each authorized officer of the Temple is allowed to issue. Checks exceeding this limit shall require two authorized signatures for encashment.

 

2          Any investment of the assets of NEHTI by the Chairman of the Board of Trustees should have prior approval of the Board of Trustees and should be consistent with the Internal Revenue Service Code, 501, (c) as amended.

 

3          The Board of Trustees may authorize any Board Officer or Officers, agent or agents, to enter into any contract or execute and deliver any instrument in the name of and on behalf of NEHTI, and such authority may be general or confined to specific instances.

 

4          Upon the Authorization of the Board of Trustees, NEHTI may:


a)            Purchase, lease, sell or mortgage real estate.


b)            Obtain a loan on behalf of NEHTI.


c)            Enter into a contract for construction or services or both.


 

5          Checks, draft, notes or other instruments for payment of money drawn or endorsed in the name of NEHTI shall, unless the Board of Trustees votes otherwise, be signed by the Chairman of the Board and one other designated member of the Board.

No checks or other instruments as aforesaid shall be signed or endorsed in blank.

 

6          Procurement by NEHTI or by the Temple of construction, professional, labor or travel services, equipment or supplies shall not be made without proper written quotations from contractors or vendors. In general, at least three competitive quotes

from three different contractors/vendors shall be solicited.

 

7          All authorization from NEHTI or the Temple for contract work or procurement of equipment and supplies shall be in the written form (letter specification, contract letter, purchase order, etc) and shall include, as a minimum, the name of the

vendor, details and quantity of items being procured or work to be performed, the total price of the contract, delivery schedule, inspection and payment terms. The contract or the purchase order shall be signed by a responsible officer authorized

to make such procurements and bind NEHTI contractually.

 

8          The Board shall develop a list of exempt items and categories (utilities, small quantity photocopying, miscellaneous hardware items, etc.) and threshold dollar amounts below which the requirements of procurement policies specified in

item 6 and 7 shall not be applicable. These amounts and items shall be indicated in the Policies and Procedures Document.

 

ARTICLE  XI - effective date  & TRANSITION RULES

 

1          The date ("Effective Date") when these By-laws take effect shall be the date of the next Annual General Body meeting convened following ratification by the General Body. The provision in these By-laws shall govern all NEHTI activities,

including elections, on or after the effective date. All previously ratified By-laws shall be considered null and void.

 

2          The term of the Trustees due to retire on the effective date of these By-laws shall be extended by two weeks and terminate with the first meeting of the Board of Trustees following the Annual General Body meeting (See the note under section 6.1.2).

 

3          The number of Trustees to be elected in the Annual General Body meeting on the effective date of these By-laws shall be such as to constitute a full complement of 12 Trustees in the Board. The number of Trustees elected each subsequent year

shall follow the timetable indicated in the attached Table 1 until the cycle of electing four (4) Trustees every year is achieved. The transition period shall terminate when the Board consists of twelve Trustees each of whom is elected for a full three-year term.

 

4          To fill Trustee vacancies with less than complete service periods (ie., less than three years) the principle, "the highest vote getter gets the longest allowable term" shall be followed. A lottery shall be resorted to allocate the Trustee terms in case of tie votes.

 

5          The term of office of appointed Board Officers (The President and the Treasurer under the previous By-laws) shall end on the date of the first meeting of the Board convened after the Annual General Body meeting occurring after the effective

date of these By-laws (see the note under section 6.2.3).

 

This Article shall cease to be a part of the By-laws when the transition period is completed.

 


 

 

 

 

 

TABLE - 1

TRANSITION PLAN

ELECTION OF TRUSTEES

 

Election

Year

Number

Of

Trustees

Elected

Name of the Trustee

Trustee Term begins on the day of first Board meeting following the Election held on the last Sunday of April

2000

to

2001

2001

to

2002

   2002

to

 2003

2003

to

2004

2004

to

2005

2005

to

2006

2006

to

2007

2007

to

2008

2000

3

Phani

 

 

 

Sekhar

 

 

 

Solai

 

 

 

2001

3

Jay

Resigned

 

 

Viswanathan

 

 

Ramanathan

 

 

 

2002

4

A1

One Trustee for 2 year and three Trustees for 3 year term.

 

 

 

A2

 

 

A3

 

 

A4

 

 

2003

6

B1

One Trustee for 1 year, one Trustee for 2 years,  four Trustees for 3 year term.

 

 

B2

 

 

B3

 

 

 

B4

 

 

 

B5

 

 

 

B6

 

 

 

2004

4

C1

Four Trustees each for 3 year term.

 

 

C2

 

 

C3

 

 

C4

 

 

2005

4

D1

Four Trustees each for 3 year term.

 

D2

 

D3

 

D4

 

 

No. of elected Trustees on the Board

9

9

9

12

12

12

12

12

 

NOTE:  Assumes that the General Body of members will ratify the new By-laws in year 2002.

            It will then take effect on the day of the Annual General Body Meeting in April 2003.

 


APPENDIX  A

 

BOARD COMMITTEES

 

In this Appendix are described the structure, formation, responsibilities and functions of various Committees to be appointed by the Board of Trustees to facilitate the management of NEHTI affairs.  A Trustee appointed by the Board shall chair each of these Committees. The term of each Committee is one year unless extended by a resolution of the Board.

 

A.1 TEMPLE OPERATIONS COMMITTEE (TOC)

 

A.1.1   PURPOSE

 

The purpose of the Temple Operations Committee (TOC) is to implement the policies and procedures established by the Board and to conduct the day-to-day operations of the Temple.

 

A.1.2   FORMATION

 

The TOC shall consist of the President and the Treasurer of the Temple, and the Chairman of the Safety & Security Committee. The President shall be the Chairman of TOC.

 

The TOC Chairman, in consultation with other Board Officers on the Committee, shall determine the number and make up of this Committee to include other persons from the Temple community. The TOC Chairman shall submit the names of persons selected from the Temple community to serve on the TOC to the Board for approval.

 

A.1.3   RESPONSIBILITIES

 

The TOC shall be responsible for:

 

1          Operating the Temple, on a day-to-day basis.

 

2          Providing to the devotees and visitors a Temple environment, which is clean, reasonably quiet, safe and conducive to peaceful worship.

 

3          Ensuring that all employees and priests adhere to codes of conduct specified in the employee handbook.

 

A.1.4   FUNCTIONS

 

The TOC shall:

 

1          Undertake the administrative and operational responsibilities needed to ensure the smooth running of the Temple and achieving the purposes of NEHTI.

 

2          Ensure the conduct of day-to-day religious services in the Temple.

 

3          Approve and coordinate other activities held within the Temple such as devotee requested functions, religious and educational instruction classes, and other cultural activities.

 

4          Oversee the performance of religious services at the Temple and off-site services.

 

5          Organize special religious events (poojas, homams, yagnams, utsavams, kumbhabhishekams, etc.)

 

6          Administer the affairs of employees, priests and routine contractor operations

 

7          Ensure the proper maintenance of Temple structures, priest's quarters, grounds, parking lot, etc., and such other NEHTI facilities as the Board may identify.

 

8          Actively utilize the resources of the Board committees to coordinate activities such as financial planning, publications, cultural and educational events, devotee liaison, safety, etc., to accomplish the operating activities and objectives.

 

9          Arrange for the publication and dissemination of quarterly report to NEHTI members on the past and future religious and other activities of the Temple.  Also, prepare and publish the schedules of Temple religious functions and other events, at least once in three months, and ensure its wide distribution to devotees through direct mailing and/or emails, and posting on the official NEHTI website.

 

10          Interface and coordinate with Board committees for publications, cultural and educational events, devotee liaison, safety, etc.

 

11          Develop the annual operational budget and after review by FINCOM present it to the Board of Trustees for approval.

 

12          Ensure that all operational activities and expenses conform to the approved budgets

 

13         Ensure that the Temple operation strictly follows the requirement for joint signatures of the President and the Treasurer for approving expenditures in excess of the threshold amount set by the Board (see $5.4.4.10). Also ensure the strict adherence to the requirements of contracts and purchases specified in Article X, $ 6 and $ 7.

 

A.1.5   MEETINGS

 

The TOC, at the request of the President, shall meet as and when necessary, but at least 6 times a year, to carry out its tasks and responsibilities. The majority of the members of TOC may also request the President for a meeting of the TOC, if deemed necessary.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A.2 INTERNAL AUDIT COMMITTEE (IAC)

 

A.2.1   PURPOSE

 

The purpose of the Internal Audit committee (IAC) is to oversee the financial compliance of NEHTI and to ensure that NEHTI officers manage the Board appropriated funds properly and consistent with the provisions of these By-laws.

 

A.2.2   FORMATION

 

The IAC shall consist of a Chairman and eight other members. Other members of the Committee shall be drawn from the pool of general NEHTI membership, devotees and other volunteers, preferably, with a background in the accounting profession.

 

A.2.3   RESPONSIBILITIES

 

The IAC functions shall include:

 

1          Performing periodic audits of NEHTI and the Temple books for income, expenditure and other compliance with generally accepted accounting practices.

 

2          Coordinating with the Treasurer on all financial and accounting matters related to NEHTI and the Temple operation.

 

3          Alerting the Board, in a timely manner, on any findings of impropriety or egregious accounting practices, or other fiscal violations or problems.

 

A.2.4   FUNCTIONS

 

The IAC shall:

 

1          Conduct on an ongoing basis a review and analysis of income, expenditures and other financial transactions of NEHTI and the Temple.

 

2          Provide the Board with quarterly financial statements and reports.

 

3          Conduct physical inventory of  NEHTI and Temple assets.

 

4          Review the financial performance or status of various NEHTI projects.

 

5          Recommend improvements, if any, to:

 

a)          Bookkeeping, computerization, and other transactional systems or procedures.

b)          Security in counting, holding, handling, transporting and banking of funds collected in the Temple.

c)          Procedures employed by the Treasurer for disbursing funds.

.

 

A.2.5   MEETINGS

 

The IAC shall meet at least four times in a year and more often, on an as needed basis. The Chairman of the Committee shall call the meetings.

 

A.2.6   POWERS

 

The IAC is,

 

1          Empowered to request and investigate, transactional papers, computer files or other supporting material related to financial transactions and physical inventory from all NEHTI officers and employees.

 

2          Authorized to share interim findings with the Treasurer to enable him to take immediate corrective action on urgent matters.

 

3          Responsible for submitting its report to the Board of Trustees.

 

 

A.3    SAFETY & SECURITY COMMITTEE (SSC)

 

A.3.1   PURPOSE

 

The purpose of the SSC is to evaluate, develop and facilitate the implementation of both short term and long term safety and security policies. Such policies should aim to provide a safe and secure environment for devotees, members, employees, contractors and other visitors to the Temple as well as to other NEHTI owned buildings, properties, and premises.

 

A.3.2   FORMATION

 

The SSC shall consist of five to seven members. The President of the Temple shall be a member of this Committee.

 

A.3.3   RESPONSIBILITIES

 

The SSC shall be responsible for safety and security audits and shall report on these matters to the Board of Trustees. The SSC may consult with the Temple Operating Committee members to obtain inputs on changing various activities within the Temple to enhance safety and security.

 

A.3.4   FUNCTIONS

 

The SSC shall:

 

1          Facilitate the conduct of periodic safety and security audits of the Temple, NEHTI buildings and properties.

 

2          Develop strategies and rules to enhance the safety of devotees, regular and temporary employees, contractors, and other visitors to the Temple, NEHTI buildings and properties.

 

3          Ensure the compliance by NEHTI and the Temple with all town, state and federal government building and safety regulations. Provide recommendations to the Board and oversee its implementation, if approved.

 

4          Proactively work with the Religious Committee to facilitate and enable the conduct of Hindu religious ceremonies and other functions, safely.

 

5          Develop and/or update "Safety and Security Guideline Document" for use by the Temple staff, employees, contractors and other authorized personnel.

 

6          Interface with the local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, and fire departments on all safety and security issues concerning NEHTI.

 

7          Prepare and present to the Board an annual report outlining NEHTI Safety & Security issues and recommendations for implementation.

 

8          Develop an annual budget for safety equipment, operations and implementation.

 

      A.3.5   MEETINGS

 

The SSC shall meet as many times as the Chairman and members jointly decide it is necessary to perform the functions outlined above, but not less than twice in a calendar year. The Chairman or any Committee member may call an emergency meeting, to deal with urgent safety and security issues.

 

A.3.6  POWERS

 

SSC is empowered to:

 

1          Modify, temporarily, activities within the Temple and its surrounding premises, which pose immediate potential hazards to persons within or outside the Temple building, or compromise the personal safety of participants and/or observers in any religious function or other activities. Any permanent modifications shall be subject to Board approval.

 

2          Issue, with Board approval, specific directives on safety to the Temple employees and/or contractors for mandatory observance and implementation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A.4 FINANCE COMMITTEE (FINCOM)

 

A.4.1   PURPOSE

 

The purpose of the Finance Committee (FINCOM) is to assist the Board by providing advisory support and recommendations on financial issues.

 

A.4.2   FORMATION

 

The FINCOM shall consist of a Chairman and six other members. Members of this Committee shall be drawn from the pool of NEHTI members, devotees and other volunteers with some experience in financial transactions and budgeting. 

 

A.4.3   RESPONSIBILITIES

 

The functions of FINCOM shall include:

 

1        Performing budget proposal reviews and providing the Board with advice.

 

2        Analyzing the short term and long term impacts of capital projects.

 

3        Advising the Board on financial matters including revenue enhancements.

 

A.4.4   FUNCTIONS

 

The FINCOM shall:

 

1        Assist the Treasurer in preparing the financial performance results for presentation to the Annual General Body meeting.

 

2        Provide assistance in the preparation of financial and other documents for presentation or submission to local, state, or federal government agencies.

 

3        Provide help in the development of documents and reports, tax filings, etc., to comply with all financial regulations and laws.

 

4        Advise the Board on issues related to service contracts, large capital item purchases, and construction projects.

 

5        Assist in investment decisions and recommend means for improving rates of return on NEHTI investments, consistent with the principle of preserving NEHTI's capital assets.

 

6        Review and recommend policy changes, when requested by the Board, on employee salaries, temporary employment, employee benefits, etc.

 

A.4.5   MEETINGS

 

The FINCOM shall meet at least four times in a year and more often, on an as needed basis. The Chairman of the Committee will call the meetings.


A.5 DEVOTEE LIASON COMMITTEE (DLC)

 

A.5.1   PURPOSE

 

The purpose of the DLC is to serve as a resource for membership development, volunteer base development and fund raising in support of the activities of all other committees of NEHTI. 

 

A.5.2   FORMATION

 

The DLC shall consist of five members including the Chairman.  Members shall be drawn from the pool of devotees.

 

A.5.3   RESPONSIBILITIES

 

The DLC shall:

 

1          Focus on long-term needs and activities of NEHTI and the Temple.

 

2          Serve as a resource for devotees to voice their views and identify their needs that are not addressed by other committees.

 

A.5.4   FUNCTIONS

 

The DLC shall:

 

1          Develop, facilitate and foster programs to enhance the membership among the devotees of the NEHTI.

 

2          Serve as a resource for developing, facilitating and fostering programs for fund raising in support of the activities of NEHTI and the Temple.

 

3          Develop, facilitate and foster plans and programs for the recruitment, utilization and retention of volunteers in support of the various activities of NEHTI and its Committees.

 

4          Develop and present to the Board, through the President, an annual plan and budget. . Maintain a roster of volunteers and implement the annual plans after approval by the Board.

 

A.5.5   MEETINGS

 

The DLC shall meet as many times as the Chairman and members jointly decide it is necessary to perform the functions outlined above, but not less than twice in a calendar year.

 

 

 

 

A.6 YOUTH, CULTURAL AND EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS COMMITTEE (YCEP)

 

A.6.1   PURPOSE

 

The purpose of the YCEP is to develop, facilitate and foster events and programs related to the advancement of Hindu culture, scriptures and theology among devotees.

 

A.6.2   FORMATION

 

The YCEP shall consist of five members including the Chairman. Members shall be drawn from the pool of NEHTI members and devotees.

 

A.6.3   RESPONSIBILITIES

 

The responsibilities of YCEP include:

 

1          Developing and implementing policies, procedures and programs for both the short-term needs of devotees and long-term impact on the community.

 

2          Developing programs and events for the benefit of the youth and the elders in our community.

 

3          Promoting the holding cultural activities including, but not limited, to music concerts, classical dance recitals, language lessons, Veda classes, youth programs, interfaith activities, etc.

 

A.6.4   FUNCTIONS

 

The YCEP shall:

 

1          Develop, short term and long-term plans and budgets for cultural advancement of the community and present the plan to the Board through the President for approval and funding.

 

2          Facilitate and foster events and programs related to Hindu culture or traditions, with particular regard to the needs of the youth and the elderly.

 

3          Organize cultural events including music recitals, dance performances, religious lectures, discussion sessions on Hindu philosophy, etc.

 

4          Cooperate and coordinate with other local, state and national cultural organizations.

 

5          Organize and promote events and programs related to the education of language, arts and scriptures pertaining to Hindu Religion.

 

6          Support NEHTI's participation and representation in programs related to interfaith activities and furthering the knowledge and understanding of the Hindu religion among the broader community.

 

7          Maintain a roster of volunteers and implement the annual plans through them after approval by the Board.

 

8          Continue and strengthen the activities of the Youth committee and follow/modify the charter established for Youth Committee.

 

      A.6.5     MEETINGS

 

The YCEP shall meet as many times as the Chairman and members jointly decide it is necessary to perform the functions outlined above, but not less than twice in a calendar year.


 
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Temple Timings: Mon-Thu 9AM-12PM & 5:30PM-09:00PM, Fridays 9AM-12PM & 5:30PM-09:00PM, Sat,Sun & Holidays 9AM-09:00PM  (Timings subject to weather conditions)