ROCKLAND COUNTY WOMEN'S BAR ASSOCIATION BY-LAWS
-Revised as of December 6, 2018
Section 1 – Name
The name of the organization shall be the Rockland County Women’s Bar Association (hereinafter the Chapter). The organization is a Chapter of the Women's Bar Association of the State of New York (hereinafter the Association).
Section 2 – Purposes
The purposes of the Chapter are to carry out the purposes of the Association, to adopt policies not inconsistent therewith and to carry out those purposes in Rockland County, New York.
Section 1 – Interpretation
These By-Laws shall be read as consistent with the By-Laws of the Association. Whenever a discrepancy occurs, the Association's By-Laws shall control. The exercise of all powers and duties granted to the Chapter by the Association, when not expressly mentioned in these By-Laws, shall be in accord with the directives of the Association.
Section 1 - Active Members
Any member in good standing of the Bar of the State of New York who resides or works in Rockland County or in any adjacent county shall be eligible for active membership in the Chapter. Active members shall be entitled to hold any office in and to chair any committee of the Chapter, to vote in Chapter elections and to exercise any and all other rights and privileges of membership in the Chapter and the Association.
Section 2 - Associate Members
Any person admitted to practice before any Bar other than the State of New York, in good standing before that Bar, shall be eligible for Associate Membership. An Associate Member shall be entitled to vote in Chapter elections; but not in Association elections or with respect to Association By-Laws. Associate members shall be entitled to exercise all other rights and privileges of a member of the Chapter and the Association.
Section 3 - Preadmission Members
Law students and law school graduates not yet admitted to the Bar of the State of New York shall be eligible for Preadmission Membership. Such members shall be entitled to vote in Chapter elections or with respect to the By-Laws of the Chapter. Such members shall not be entitled to vote in Association elections or with respect to Association By-Laws. Such members shall not be entitled to hold office or chair any committee of the Chapter but shall be entitled to exercise all other rights and privileges of a member of the Chapter and the Association.
Section 4 - Retired Members
Any person who has retired from the practice of law in good standing from the Bar of the State of New York, pursuant to Section 118.1(g) of the State Rules of the Chief Administrator, and who resides in Rockland County or in any adjacent county shall be eligible for Active Membership in the Chapter as defined in Article III, Section 1. Retired Members shall be entitled to vote in Chapter elections and to exercise any and all other rights and privileges of active membership in the Chapter and the Association and shall pay dues as in the class of Active Member as set forth in Article IV, Section 1C.
Section 5 - Admission Procedure
All persons desiring membership in the Chapter shall complete an application, in such form as may be determined by the Board of Directors of the Chapter (hereinafter the “Board”). The application form shall require the applicant to affirm that she is a member in good standing of the Bar to which she has been admitted, except in the case of a Preadmission Member who shall affirm that she is engaged in the study of law, has graduated from law school or is awaiting admission to the Bar. The application shall also require the applicant to affirm a statement of intention to further the purposes of the Chapter. The application shall be reviewed for accuracy by the Committee on Membership and all applicants meeting the criteria set forth in this Article shall be admitted to membership upon paying the appropriate dues for the membership year.
Section 1 - Classes of Dues
For purposes of establishing the amount of membership dues, the members shall be divided into the following classes:
Preadmission Members: For purposes of the payment of dues, this class shall include law school students and those law school graduates who are awaiting admission to the Bar for a period of less than one year. Law school graduates who are awaiting admission for a period of time of one year or more years shall pay dues at the same rate as Active Members.
Associate Members: For purposes of the payment of dues, this class shall include those members defined above in Article III, Section 2 as well as those members who are members of another chapter of the Association and who have designated the other Chapter as their primary chapter.
Active Members: For purposes of the payment of dues, this class shall include those members defined above in Article III, Section 1 and in Article II, Section 4.
Sustaining Members: For purposes of the payment of dues, this class shall include those members defined above in Article III, Section 1 and in Article II, Section 4 who voluntarily choose to pay an additional sum to the Chapter to demonstrate their commitment to the work of the Chapter.
Section 2 - Amounts and When Due
The Board shall have the power by majority vote of all of its members, to establish the amount of dues for each of the above-described classes. Dues shall be due and payable on June 1st of each year, the first day of the fiscal year (hereinafter the “fiscal year”). If the Board so establishes, first time members joining after February 1, but before June 1, shall be entitled to pay a portion of the dues for that fiscal year or may be entitled to membership in the succeeding fiscal year. The Treasurer shall send out dues notices to all members.
The Treasurer shall send out a second dues notice to all members whose dues for the then current fiscal year have not been received. Members so notified shall not be entitled to vote or to receive any of the services offered by the Chapter until their current dues and any delinquent dues are paid. If such member has not paid her dues by January 31st of that fiscal year, that member, unless she shall have taken a leave of absence or shall have withdrawn from the Chapter, shall be considered delinquent and her name shall be removed from the list of members until such time as the current dues and any delinquent dues are paid.
Section 1 - Composition, Election and Term of Office
- The Officers of the Chapter shall be a President, a President Elect, a Vice President, a Recording Secretary a Corresponding Secretary, a Treasurer, and Delegate(s) to the Association Board of Directors. They shall be elected annually, by ballot by a majority vote of the members voting pursuant to Article IX at each annual meeting and shall be installed at a general membership meeting to be held in May or June of each year. Their term of office shall be for one (1) year and shall commence on June 1st in the year in which they are elected or the day they are installed whichever is later. They shall continue until their successors in office are installed or appointed and have taken office.
- No officer shall be eligible for election to the same office for more than two (2) consecutive terms unless the Board determines otherwise.
Section 2 – Vacancy
- If a vacancy shall occur in the office of President before the expiration of the term of office, the President Elect shall act as President for the duration of the unexpired term, provided however, that if the vacancy occurs as a result of a disability that will last for a limited period of time, the President Elect shall act as President only during such limited period of time.
- If a vacancy shall occur in an elected office other than the Presidency, before the expiration of the term of office, the Board shall elect a successor to fill that office for the duration of the unexpired term.
- A vacancy in an elective office shall be deemed to have occurred by reason of the disability, death, resignation, termination of membership, or removal from office of an officer. A determination of disabil¬ity shall be made by a majority vote of the Board in accordance with commonly accepted medical criteria of disability.
Section 3 – President
- The President shall be the chief executive officer of the Chapter and shall generally supervise and direct its affairs. The President shall preside at meetings of the Chapter and of the Board. The President shall appoint all committees and the chairpersons thereof, except the Committee on Nominations and the Advisory Committee. The President shall be ex-officio a member of all committees and as such may participate, without vote, in the proceedings thereof. The President shall also be a delegate to the Association’s Board of Directors.
- The President may delegate any duty imposed on her or any power granted to her by these By-Laws, except appointments of committees and their chairpersons and appointments required to be made by the Chapter under the By-laws of the Association.
Section 4 - President Elect
The President Elect shall perform such duties as may be delegated to her by the President or assigned to her by the Board and shall preside at meetings in the absence of the President.
Section 5 - Vice President
The Vice President shall perform such duties as may be delegated to her by the President or assigned to her by the Board and shall preside at meetings in the absence of the President and the President. Elect.
Section 6 - Secretary
- The Corresponding Secretary of the Chapter shall also be Secretary to the Board. She shall give written notice of meetings of the Association, the Chapter and of the Board in accordance with the provisions of these By-Laws and shall have primary responsibility for maintaining and updating the Chapter website and the Chapter’s social media presence The Corresponding Secretary shall prepare and release on behalf of the Chapter all publicity releases to newspapers, periodicals, radio, television or other media outlets.
- The Recording Secretary shall keep the records of the Chapter, keep the minutes of the Board and general meetings, and perform such duties as may be assigned by the President or the Board.
Section 7 - Treasurer
- The Treasurer shall have general charge of the funds of the Chapter, subject to the control of the Board.
- The Treasurer shall collect the dues and keep the accounts of the Chapter, furnish to the Secretaries the names of all persons who become members of the Chapter, deposit all funds received, and invest such funds as directed by the Board, report at each regular meeting of the Board and at membership meetings when requested by the President, send out the notice required by Article IX, Section 1, and make an annual report at the annual meeting.
- The Treasurer shall pay all bills incurred on behalf of the Chapter, as authorized by the Board and approved by the President and shall pay to the Treasurer of the Association the per capita charge for each fiscal year.
- The accounts of the Treasurer shall be reviewed at least annually by the Board and at such other times and in such manner as the Board may elect.
- The Treasurer shall prepare and submit all Financial Reports required by the Association or applicable law.
Section 8 - Delegate(s)
The Delegate(s) shall represent the Chapter on the Board of Directors of the Association and perform all duties in accordance therewith.
Section 1 – Composition
The Board of Directors (hereinafter "the Board") shall be the policy making body of the Chapter and shall consist of the Officers of the Chapter, seven elected members (the “Directors”), and the Immediate Past President of the Chapter.
Section 2 - Elected Members
- The Directors shall be elected for two (2) year terms at the annual meeting of the Chapter. They shall be elected for staggered terms, with four (4) directors elected one year and three (3) directors elected the following year.
- The term of office of an elected board member (a “Director”) shall commence on June 1st of the calendar year in which she is elected or the day she is installed whichever is later, and she shall continue in office until her successor is elected and has taken office. No elected board member shall serve for more than two full consecutive terms in that position unless the Board determines otherwise
- If any vacancy shall occur before the expiration of that Director's term of office, the Board by a majority vote, shall elect a successor who shall hold office for the duration of the unexpired term.
- A vacancy before the expiration of a Director’s term shall be deemed to have occurred by reason of the disability, death, resignation, termination of membership, or removal from office of any Director. A determination of disability shall be made by a majority vote of the Board in accordance with commonly accepted medical criteria of disability.
Section 3 - Meetings
The Board shall meet at least six (6) times a year upon written notice and attendance at scheduled board meetings shall be mandatory for elected directors. Seven (7) members shall constitute a quorum. A special meeting of the board may be called at any time by the President acting alone or by the President at the written request of four (4) members of the board. A scheduled meeting of the board may be cancelled for good cause by the President, or, in her absence, by the President Elect.
Section 4 - Powers and Duties
- The Board shall be responsible for the general management of the affairs of the Chapter. The Board may authorize contracts to be made on behalf of the Chapter by one or more of the officers, or by a standing or special committee. The Board shall have power to make such rules and regulations and take such action, not inconsistent with the Charter and By-Laws of the Chapter, or the By-Laws of the Association, as may be necessary to carry out its powers and duties under this section.
- The Board shall keep a record of its proceedings and report at the annual meeting or any meeting of the Chapter on any matter which in its judgment requires action by the Chapter.
- The Board may from time to time adopt measures for coordinating the respective functions of the committees and shall be empowered to determine controversies between or among the several committees.
- The Board shall be responsible for and have control of the custody, investment, expenditures and disposal of all property of the Chapter, other than the disposal of its real estate, which is subject to the direction of the membership.
- The Board may from time to time appoint or employ one or more persons who need not be members of the Chapter to perform such duties as may be assigned by the Board.
- When, in the judgment of the President, an action must be taken, or decision made quickly, and a timely meeting of the Board would be impracticable, such action may be taken or decision made by a conference call, or poll by telephone or e-mail of the Board. The affirmative vote of a majority of the Board shall be required in such event unless a greater number is required elsewhere by these By-Laws. An effort shall be made to reach all the members of the Board to secure their votes. The Recording Secretary will make a written record of the action taken and the vote thereon which shall include the names of the Board members polled and shall be entered in the minutes of the Board.
Section 5 - Removal from Office
- The Board shall have power by a two-thirds vote of the Board, to remove a member of the Board for neglect of duty, for conduct detrimental to the Chapter, the Association, or for conduct which violates the Rules of Professional Conduct. No such removal shall be made except on written notice stating the alleged neglect, alleged violation or alleged detrimental conduct and after an opportunity for a full and fair hearing by and before the other members of the Board. Such removal of a Board member does not automatically remove that person from membership in the Chapter. Removal from membership in the Chapter shall be made only in accordance with the appropriate provisions of these By-Laws.
- Any elected Board member who is absent without being excused by the President from three consecutive meetings shall cease to be a member of the Board and shall be automatically removed from office. After the second such absence, the Corresponding Secretary or the President shall send a notice informing such director that a third unexcused absence will result in automatic removal from the Board.
Section 1 - Standing Committees
The standing committees of the Chapter may include the following:
- Committee on By-Laws
- Committee on the Judiciary
- Committee on Legislation
- Committee on Membership
- Committee on Nominations
- Committee on Public Relations
- Committee on Programs
- Advisory Committee
The committee on nominations shall be governed solely by Article VIII of these By-Laws and the provisions of this Article shall not apply to said committee.
Section 2 - Special Committees
Special Committees of the Chapter may be appointed by the President acting alone or shall be appointed by the President upon a resolution of the Board or pursuant to a resolution adopted by the members of the Chapter at any meeting of the Chapter.
Section 3 - Members
- Appointment of committee members and participa¬tion of officers and members of the Board as members of committees shall be governed by these By-Laws.
- If any member of any standing or special committee is absent for three successive committee meetings without excuse presented to the committee, her place may be declared vacant by the chairperson of the committee.
- All vacancies in a standing or a special commit¬tee may be filled by the committee chairperson for the remainder of the term, subject to the approval of the President.
- The committee chairperson shall be the Chapter's representative to the corresponding Association committee or may, with the consent of the Board, delegate a member of her committee to so serve.
Section 4 - Reports
- The chairperson of each committee shall make such reports to the Board as it shall require and shall present to the board for action any recommendations which the committee may make for expenditures or otherwise. Each of the standing or special committees shall present its annual report in writing to the President on or before May 1st of each year.
- The chairperson of each committee shall upon filing her final report turn over to the President all files relating to the committee in her possession. The President may request such chairperson to retain the files until such time as the new chair of the committee has been appointed.
Section 5 - Expenditures by Committees
No committee shall contract for or make expenditures in excess of such appropriation as the Board shall authorize.
Section 6 - Operation of Committees
Each committee may adopt rules not inconsistent with these By-Laws for its operation. Such rules shall be subject to approval by the Board.
Section 7 - Resignation or Removal from Office of Chairperson
The chairperson of any committee who shall resign or shall have been removed from office for any reason prior to the completion of her term as chairperson, shall, upon the appointment of her successor, immediately turn over to her successor all files relating to the committee in her possession.
Section 8 - Committees on By-Laws
This committee shall be responsible for examining the Chapter's By-Laws and proposing amendments thereto, not inconsis¬tent with the By-Laws of the Association, where it deems it appropriate to do so and when it is directed to do so by the Board.
Section 9 - Committee on Judiciary
The purpose of the Committee for Judicial Screening is to examine thoroughly all candidates (“Candidates”) running for local judicial positions and for judicial positions in the Ninth Judicial District and to rate said Candidates. The Committee’s primary objective is to determine whether the Candidates meet appropriate standards of professional qualifications for the office sought. A Candidate is an individual seeking appointment for judgeship in the County of Rockland and/or the Ninth Judicial District of the State of New York. The committee shall inform the Board of its rating for each screened candidate. The Corresponding Secretary shall ensure that the results of the committee are forwarded to Rockland County publications. The rules regarding the Judicial Screening Committee are set forth in Article XV.
Section 10 - Committee on Legislation
This committee shall review proposed legislation, make recommendations concerning such legislation to the Board, and report the Board's position to the Chapter's members and the Association's Legislation Committee. It shall not transmit any report approving or disapproving a pending bill unless such report is authorized by the Board, either at a meeting or through the use of emergency procedures, or by the Chapter's members.
Section 11 - Committee on Membership
- It shall be the duty of this committee to prepare and keep a list of members of the Chapter, by class, and to obtain a list of all individuals eligible for membership in the geographic area served by the Chapter.
- It shall also be the duty of this committee to actively solicit members, to invite and welcome new members to the Chapter and to undertake social and other Events as are appropriate to increase membership and other participation in the Chapter. Such functions shall be coordinated with the committee on programs and shall be approved in advance by the Board.
Section 12 - Committee on Public Relations
- This committee shall work with the Corresponding Secretary to prepare and release on behalf of the Chapter all publicity releases to newspapers, periodicals, radio, television or other media outlets and to maintain and update the Chapter’s website and social medial presence.
- No release relating to any policy of the Chapter shall be issued without prior approval of the policy by the Board.
- It shall also be the duty of this committee to cooperate and maintain communication with other associations, government agencies and public groups.
Section 13 - Committee on Programs
This committee shall be responsible for arranging programs to be presented at the general membership meetings of the Chapter. It shall receive any guests at meetings of the Chapter and shall arrange for the entertainment of distinguished visitors. It shall coordinate its activities with the committee on membership and the committee on public relations.
Section 14-Advisory Committee
The past presidents of the Chapter shall constitute an Advisory Committee to the Board. The Chairperson of the Committee shall be chosen by the committee members and shall receive notices of the Board meetings. The committee shall have such duties and responsibilities as may be delegated by the President.
Section 1 – Purpose
The Committee on Nominations shall nominate candidates for the officers and directors of the Chapter to be elected at the succeeding annual meeting; the committee shall be open to suggestions and recommendations from the membership prior to making such nominations and shall solicit such suggestions at any time, including at any Chapter meeting held subsequent to the election of the committee.
Section 2 - Composition
The committee shall consist of five (5) members who shall be appointed by the President with approval of the Board. No more than two (2) members of the committee may be members of the Board.
Section 3 - Committee Procedure
- The chairperson of the committee shall be elected by the members of the committee.
- The committee shall communicate with each nominee to confirm his or her willingness to accept the nominated position.
- They shall review the qualifications of all nominees.
- A quorum shall consist of three (3) members.
- Voting shall be by closed ballot in any contested nomination.
- The committee shall give written notice of its nominations for the Chapter officers and directors to the Board by e-mail by March 1 of each year for review and approval.
- A member of this committee shall not be nominated for the position of President, President Elect or Treasurer.
Section 1 - Voting Qualifications
Except as otherwise provided by these By-Laws, every member of the Chapter in good standing shall be entitled to vote at any election of the Chapter provided that dues for the current year have been received by the Chapter from such member no later than March 15. No later than February 15, the Treasurer shall give written notice of the provisions of this section to all members of the Chapter from whom dues for the current year have not been received.
Section 2 - Voting Members
At any meeting at which an election is to be held the Treasurer shall present a list of all members entitled to vote.
Section 3 - Ballots
The paper ballot shall be in such form that all candidates proposed by the committee on nominations or pursuant to Section 4 of this Article shall be listed in separate columns under the designation of the office for which they are nominated. If the election for any office is uncontested, the secretary may read the nomination, and then conduct the election without using a paper ballot.
Section 4 - Nominations
Any five (5) members of the Chapter may by writing delivered to the Corresponding Secretary, not less than fifteen (15) days prior to the annual meeting, propose candidates for any or all of the Officers or Directors to be voted upon at such annual meeting. The Corresponding Secretary, not less than ten (10) days before the annual meeting, shall give notice to members of the Chapter of such proposed candidates, together with the candidates nominated by the committee on Nominations. Such notice shall contain a sample ballot which shall be in the form prescribed in Section 3 of this Article.
Section 5 - Notice
The Corresponding Secretary shall give notice of nominations and the rights of the members under Section 4 of this Article not later than thirty (30) days prior to the annual meeting.
Section 6 - Coordinating the Election
The President shall appoint two tellers, who, with the Recording Secretary, shall conduct the election and canvass the votes. A written report of the canvass of the votes for officers certified by the President or Recording Secretary shall be immediately forwarded to the Recording Secretary of the Association.
Section 1 - General Membership Meetings
The Board shall set the dates of the general meetings. There shall be at least six (6) meetings each year.
Section 2 - Notice of Meetings
Notice of the meetings shall be given to the membership at least 10 days in advance.
Section 3 - Annual Meeting
The annual meeting of the Chapter shall be held in April in each year. Elections for chapter officers and directors shall be held at the annual meeting.
Section 4 - Rules of Order
Unless otherwise provided, Robert's Rules of Parlia¬mentary Order Revised shall govern all meetings of the Chapter, except where it requires the use of terminology which is not gender neutral.
Section 5 - Special Meetings
Special meetings of the Chapter may be called by the President at her discretion and must be called by the President upon the written request of ten (10) members for the purposes specified in the request. Written notice of such meeting and of the object thereof shall be given by the Corresponding Secretary to all the members by mail, e-mail or other appropriate means at least five (5) days before the meeting and no business other than that specified shall be transacted at such meeting.
Section 6 - Quorum
At all annual, general or special meetings of the Chapter, except as herein otherwise provided, a quorum shall consist of eleven (11) members, and in case a quorum shall not be present at such meeting, it may be adjourned by the presiding Officer of the meeting. If the meeting is adjourned to a future date, notice of the new date shall be given to all members by the Corresponding Secretary.
Section 1 - Discipline of Members
A member may be censured, suspended or expelled from membership for good cause by two-thirds vote of the entire Board; but the board shall not censure, suspend or expel a member except upon written notice stating the cause for censure, suspension or expulsion and after an opportunity for a full and fair hearing by and before the Board.
Section 2 - Suspensions or Disbarments
Upon any final decision by a court or by a disciplinary body suspending or disbarring a member from practice, such person shall cease to be a member of the Chapter. A suspended person, upon application, may be restored to membership only by a majority vote of the entire Board after the period of suspension has expired.
Section 3 - Removal from Office
Any officer or member of the Board, who shall be suspended or expelled from membership for any cause, or who shall cease to be a member, shall cease to occupy that office or continue as a member of any committee which said member chairs, and the vacancy in that office or committee shall be filled in the manner provided by these By-Laws.
Section 1 - Proposal of Amendment
Any member may propose an amendment to these By-Laws. Such proposed amendment shall be submitted in writing to the Board. Upon such submission, the Board shall direct the Committee on By-laws to examine the proposed amendment for the sole purpose of determining whether it is consistent with the By-Laws of the Association. If the proposed amendment is inconsistent with those By-Laws, the Board shall confer with the member or members proposing the amendment for the purpose of bringing it into conformity with the Association By-Laws. The Board shall certify that all amendments whether made by a member or the Committee on By-Laws, are in conformity with the By-Laws of the Association and shall recommend approval or veto of such amendments to the membership.
Section 2 - Adoption of Amendment
Any proposed amendment consistent with the By-Laws of the Association shall be circulated to the membership at least fifteen (15) days prior to a regular or special membership meeting and the proposed amendment shall be placed on the agenda for discussion at that meeting. During any such discussion it shall be in order to propose and adopt amendments to the proposed amendment. The proposed amendment shall be voted on at that meeting. The affirmative vote of two-thirds (2/3) of those voting in the presence of a quorum shall be sufficient to adopt an amendment. Amendments shall be effective immediately unless another effective date is stated in the text thereof.
The Association’s By-Laws, define the circumstances under which the Association will indemnify the Chapter, and Chapter Officers, Directors and Members against any judgments, fines, amounts paid in settlement and expenses, including counsel fees and disbursements. The Association’s By-Laws further provides that the Association may, to the fullest extent permitted by law, maintain insurance to cover potential claims and suits, including for the potential liability and indemnification of the Chapter and the Chapter Officers, Directors and Members. In order to receive the benefit of such indemnification and insurance, upon receiving notice of a suit, proceeding, a threat of suit, or a claim against the Association or the Chapter, its Officers, Directors and Members, the President shall promptly notify the Association President and Association Recording Secretary in writing, and by email or other appropriate means, and forward any documentation received in connection therewith.
RULES OF THE JUDICIAL SCREENING COMMITTEE
The committee shall consist of four (4) members who shall be appointed by the President with approval of the Board. One of the four (4) members shall be designated the Chair of the Committee. At least one (1) member on the committee shall be on the Board.
Section 2-Confidentiality of the Evaluation
The work of the Committee is highly confidential. Deliberations at meetings of the Committee, any written reports generated by or for the Committee and any comments obtained about a Candidate must all be kept private and confidential. No Committee Member shall disclose at any time to anyone outside the evaluation process the information obtained, the deliberations of the Committee and any other part of the proceedings conducted hereunder.
Section 3-Committee Procedure
A. The Committee shall meet at such time and place mutually agreed upon by the Candidate and the committee. Each Committee Member has one vote. Committee Members must be present at the Candidate’s interview to vote on that Candidate.
B. Recusal. A Committee Member must recuse herself/himself from voting on a Candidate whose campaign/election she/he has actively participated in or directly made a contribution of any type or with whom she/he has a close relationship (including but not limited to family or business relationship or any circumstance that would give the appearance of bias, conflict or impropriety). Recusal precludes the recused Committee Member from being present in the room during the interview of, deliberations on, and voting on that Candidate. Should any Committee Member believe that recusal of another Committee Member would be appropriate, reasonable efforts should be made to discuss the matter directly with the Committee Member in question before raising it with others. The majority of the Committee Members present at the meeting have the right to determine whether the disclosed facts require recusal. Recusal does not preclude the recused Committee Member from offering information or opinions to the Committee.
C. Evaluation and Rating.
1) Candidates’ Applications: The Candidate’s application (including all attachments and related submissions including but not limited to writing samples) shall be obtained from the Candidate. Inquiry shall also be made directly to all applicable New York State ethical and grievance committees with respect to the Candidate.
2) Rating the Candidate. The Committee shall interview each Candidate using as the basis for the interview the following ratings:
a. Qualified. This rating is available for Candidates who, in the Committee’s opinion, possess the qualifications for the office. Candidates shall be found “Qualified” only if they exceed the minimum requirements of eligibility and competence.
b. Highly Qualified. This rating is available for Candidates who, in the Committee’s opinion, possess exceptional qualifications for the office. It is not reserved solely for sitting judges or judges seeking reelection.
c. Not Approved. This rating shall be applied to any Candidate who, in the Committee’s opinion, does not possess the qualifications for the office including but not limited to does not possess the professional conduct necessary for the position sought.
d. Disapproved for Refusal to Participate. This rating shall be applied to those Candidates who refuse to participate in the evaluation process.
e. Not Rated for a Legitimate Reason. This rating shall be applied to any Candidate whom the Committee is unable to evaluate.
f. Effective Dates of Ratings. A rating for a particular office will remain in effect for six months from the date the rating.
3) Criteria for Evaluation (include but are not limited to).
a. Experience. A Candidate shall possess knowledge and skill as may be required for the position sought.
b. Integrity. A Candidate shall be of high moral character and enjoy a general reputation in the community for honesty, ethics, fairness, industry and diligence.
c. Professional competence. A Candidate shall have demonstrated intellectual capacity, professional and personal judgment required for the position.
d. Judicial temperament. A Candidate shall have demonstrated a commitment to equal justice under law, impartiality, lack of any prejudices, sensitivity to issues of gender bias, courtesy and civility to counsel, litigants and court personnel, open-mindedness, and compassion;
e. In addition to the criteria set forth above, in evaluating the judicial performance of a judge seeking re-appointment or who has been nominated for a different judicial position, the following shall be considered:
i. preparation, attentiveness and control over judicial proceedings;
ii. judicial management skills;
iii. public disciplinary sanctions; and
iv. quality of judicial opinions.
4) Weight Given to Criteria. The Committee may determine the appropriate weight to be given to these criteria but should at least consider each of the above factors in rating each Candidate. The Committee may also determine what, if any, consideration should be given to any ratings a Candidate may have received previously from the Committee.
5) Appeals Procedure
a. Any Candidate, receiving a Not Approved rating who wishes to utilize the appeals process shall be advised, at the time of the notification of the unfavorable rating, that he/she must notify the President of the Association that he/she wishes to avail himself/herself of the process within twenty-four (24) hours of such notification.
b. The Appeals Panel shall give the Candidate notice of the meeting of the Appeals Panel at least two (2) business days prior to such meeting unless there is an agreement to meet sooner.
c. The Appeals Panel shall consist of the President, Immediate Past President, President Elect and two (2) alternates chosen by the President. An alternate shall sit if any member of the Panel cannot sit for any reason.
d. A unanimous vote is necessary to overturn the rating of the screening committee.
e. A Candidate requesting review by the Appeals Panel may appeal in person or may submit a written statement which shall be personally delivered to the President prior to the scheduled meeting of the Appeals Panel.
f. No sitting judge shall sit on the Appeals Panel.
g. No person serving on the Judicial Screening Committee shall serve on the Appeals Panel, either as a member or an alternate.
h. The Chair of the Judicial Screening Committee and any present Committee members shall make a presentation on behalf of the Committee to the Appeals Panel, including the vote, factors concerning the Candidate’s rating and the minority position if there is one.
i. The tape or a certified transcript of said tape shall be furnished to the Appeals Panel prior to the scheduled meeting. The Appeals Panel shall also be provided with any written documentation sent to the Judicial Screening Committee pertaining to the Candidate. The Appeals Panel shall listen to the tape “in camera”.
j. The Chair of the Judicial Screening Committee and the Committee members shall leave the room while the Candidate or her/his attorney (should the Candidate obtain one) presents his/her case but remain in the vicinity to be available to the Panel should they have any further questions. The Candidate may request to hear the tape or read the transcript in the presence of the Appeals Panel. The Candidate shall not be entitled to a copy of the tape or the transcript.
k. The Appeal Panel may ask questions of the Chair and the Candidate, recalling each as needed during the Appeal Session.
l. Upon completion of the inquiry portion of the Appeal Session, the Appeal Panel shall vote by written ballot to affirm or overturn the recommendation of the Judicial Screening Committee. The outcome shall be transmitted to the Candidate within 24 hours