Governance Structure

CONSTITUTION AND BY-LAWS
REVISED APRIL 2004

MASSACHUSETTS PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION

ARTICLE I – NAME AND PURPOSE

1. The name of the organization shall be the Massachusetts Psychological Association, Inc.

2. The purpose of this Association shall be to advance psychology as a science, as a profession, and as a means of promoting human welfare by all means compatible within the provisions of Chapter 180 of the General Laws of Massachusetts.

ARTICLE II – MEMBERSHIP

1. There shall be four classes of members in this Association: Fellows, Members, Students, and Life Members.

2. Members of this Association shall either; hold an earned doctorate (or equivalent) degree in psychology from a regionally accredited university or college, or shall have been granted a license from the Massachusetts Board of Registration of Psychologists, or shall hold a current, valid full membership to the American Psychological Association. All accompanied by a signed ethics declaration that the applicant is not under ethics investigation

In addition, a category of “Academic Member” shall be identified. To be eligible to become an “Academic Member”, an individual shall meet the requirements for “member” as stated above and in addition must meet the following requirements;

a) Said individual does not engage in the applied practice of psychology for remuneration, and;

b) Said individual is primarily employed as an undergraduate educator in the field of psychology; or

c) Said individual is primarily employed as an educator in a graduate psychology program which does not prepare students for applied professional psychological practice, such as a program whose primary purpose is to prepare students to teach psychology or to engage in psychological research. Examples of programs which prepare students for applied professional psychological practice include, but are not limited to, clinical, counseling, industrial/organizational or school psychology programs.

3. Fellows of this Association shall have satisfied the requirements for member (in Article II section 2), and shall have had four full years of progressively responsible experience in teaching or in the professional practice of psychology after attaining the doctorate and shall have attained recognized standing in the field of psychology as demonstrated by such activities as advocacy for psychology, professional publications, professional contributions to the field of psychology, etc. Attainment of Fellow status in the American Psychological Association may be used to demonstrate qualifications for Fellow status.

4. Life Member status in this Association may be applied for by Fellows, or Members who have reached the age of sixty-five and have been members of this Association for at least fifteen years immediately preceding the application for life membership status. Life Members shall enjoy all the privileges of their previous membership category but shall be exempt from dues. They shall however be subject to a service fee as determined by the Board of Directors.

5. Student Members of this Association shall be students, who are enrolled, in a doctoral program in psychology in a regionally accredited university, college or professional school. Student membership may also be extended to graduates during their post-doctorate experience year prior to licensure as a psychologist. Student members may not vote or hold office in the Association except for one elected student position on the Board of Directors. Upon completion of the degree or completion of a post doctoral training sequence the student member shall inform the association and will be automatically promoted to member status.

Applicants for Student Member status must be endorsed by a faculty member of the applicant’s Department or field of concentration or by one member of the Association who can attest to the applicant’s student status. Student status is not available to licensed psychologists.

6. Applications for any class of membership, or for promotion from one class to another, including Life Member shall be submitted in writing to the Chairperson of the Membership Committee, and referred to the Membership Committee. Upon recommendation of the membership committee and a majority vote of the Board of Directors the applicant shall be elected to the appropriate membership category in the association

7. Upon recommendation of the Membership Committee the requirements for any class of membership may be waived in whole or in part in the case of an applicant of demonstrated eminence in psychology or related disciplines.

8. A former member who resigned while in good standing may apply for reinstatement by writing to the Chairperson of the Membership Committee, and may be reinstated by a vote of the Board of Directors.

9. A member [Fellows, Members, Academic Members, Life Members, Student Members] may be expelled from membership or otherwise disciplined for conduct that violates the code of ethics of the Association, which tends to injure the Association or to affect adversely its reputation, or is contrary to or destructive of its objectives. Allegations of such conduct shall be submitted in writing to the Ethics Committee which shall investigate allegations of unethical conduct on the part of any member, and shall determine whether the matter shall be dismissed or otherwise disposed of within the Ethics Committee or whether formal charges shall be filed with the Board of Directors

If the Ethics Committee votes to file any formal charges, the member shall have the right to a hearing on the charges before the Hearing Committee, no member of which shall be a member of the Ethics Committee, or have had prior connection to the case. In connection with the hearing, the member shall have the right to counsel, full opportunity to refute charges, the right to present witnesses and documents and the right to cross-examine any witnesses presented by the Ethics Committee. The Ethics Committee shall have the burden to establish the charges by a preponderance of evidence.

If the Hearing Committee recommends that the member be expelled or otherwise disciplined, or that the member be permitted to resign, the matter shall be referred to the Board of Directors. The member shall be entitled to file a written statement with the Board of Directors, and if he/she does so, the Ethics Committee may file a responsive statement. After consideration of the record and the recommendation of the Hearing Committee and any such statement that may be filed, the Board of Directors shall adopt the recommendation of the Hearing Committee unless [a] the Ethical Principles of the Association have been incorrectly applied, [b] the findings of fact of the Hearing Committee were clearly erroneous, [c] the procedures followed were in serious and substantial violation of the By-Laws of the Association, or [d] the disciplinary sanctions recommended by the Hearing Committee were grossly disproportional in the light of the evidence and the charge. If, within thirty days, the member does not request a hearing before a Hearing Committee, the matter shall be referred to the Board of Directors and the recommendations of the Ethics Committee shall be treated as the recommendation of the Hearing Committee. The Board of Directors shall render its decision within sixty days after receipt of the recommendation of the Hearing Committee.

The Board of Directors shall inform the member and the complainant of its final action, and it shall report in confidence to the membership the names of members who have been expelled and the ethical principles involved. When the Board of Directors deems it necessary to maintain the standards of the Association, or to protect the public, it shall also notify the American Psychological Association, the American Board of Professional Psychology, state or local licensing boards, other professional associations, the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards and the Council of the National Register of Health Service Providers in Psychology or other appropriate parties of its final action.

A member who has been expelled under the conditions described in this section may reapply for membership after five years have elapsed from the date of termination of his/her membership. Members who have been permitted to resign under the conditions described in this section may reapply after three years have elapsed from the date of termination. However, applications for readmission by members who have resigned under a stipulated agreement shall be considered only after the period of time specified in the agreement has elapsed. In all cases, the member must show that he/she is ethically as well as technically qualified for membership. Reapplication shall be considered first by the Ethics Committee, which shall make recommendation to the Membership Committee.

Only the Board of Directors may accept resignations of members. Termination of membership, either through submitted resignation or through dropping from membership for non-payment of dues of a member, whose conduct is under investigation by the Ethics Committee, will be deferred until the complaint is resolved. Any such member failing to cooperate fully with the Ethics Committee will be suspended until the case is resolved; or alternatively, with the recommendation of the Ethics Committee, the proposed termination will be completed with the recognition that the case remains unresolved and with the stipulation that the inquiry may be reopened if the member should reapply for membership and that communication of this disposition will be made to the complainant, all MPA members, the Board of Registration of Psychologists, and other individuals and professional bodies, as appropriate.

Upon show of cause members of MPA may have their membership in MPA suspended by the Ethics Committee. Suspension refers to the temporary abrogation of the rights and privileges of membership in MPA. A member under suspension may not:

  1. Hold voting privileges in MPA;
  2. Be a candidate for elected office in the Association;
  3. Utilize any service or participate in any Board or committee of MPA.

Members under suspension shall:

  1. Be notified at the time of suspension of the terms of the suspension and/or conditions for reevaluation of the suspension;
  2. Be responsible for paying MPA dues during the term of suspension;
  3. Receive communications sent to the general MPA membership.

Upon completion of the term of suspension, if no motion for expulsion is enacted, the member shall be reinstated to the membership category held prior to the suspension.

Notwithstanding the provisions of these By-Laws, where it is shown to the Ethics Committee that any member of the Association has been convicted of a felony [and such member shall have no further right to appeal from such conviction], or where any member of the Association has been expelled or suspended from the American Psychological Association, or decertified or unlicensed or had a certificate or license suspended by a state or local board, the Ethics Committee, after review of the record leading to such a conviction, expulsion, suspension, decertification, or loss of license, shall immediately suspend the membership of such member. Such action will be taken by the Ethics Committee in cases where it appears necessary for the protection of the public or to maintain the standards of the Association. Upon his/her response to the requirement to show good cause, or upon expiration of 60 days if no response is made, the Ethics Committee shall recommend to the Board of Directors whether the member shall be expelled from membership in the Association. The Board of Directors may, after a review of the entire record, expel the member or administer a lesser sanction.

ARTICLE III – BOARD OF DIRECTORS

1. The Board of Directors shall be composed of: a) six members at-large, b) five regional members elected by the members in their region, c) the Officers of this Association as directors d) one student member elected by the student committee and e) The American Psychological Association (APA) Council Representative (s). The Executive Director and other staff that she/he deems appropriate shall attend meetings of the Board of Directors as non-voting ex officio members.

2. Each year the members shall elect one or two Officers, two Directors at-large, and one or two regional representatives who shall assume office on July 1 and who shall serve for a term of three years or until a successor shall have been duly elected.

Upon adoption of these bylaw revisions shorter or longer terms of office may be designated to accomplish staggered terms of office in the interest of electing approximately an equal number of board members for each election cycle.

3. A Director elected specifically to this office who completes his or her term shall not be eligible to hold the same office within a period of one year but may stand for election as to a different Board position. APA Council Representatives hold office according to APA rules.

4. A Director who fails to attend three consecutive scheduled meetings of the Board of Directors automatically shall be considered to have resigned. This provision may be waived at the discretion of the President

5. The Board of Directors shall conduct, in conformity with the Certificate of Incorporation and these By-Laws, the affairs of the Association as indicated below:

  1. The Board shall have the responsibility to set policy for the association.
  2. The Board shall have the responsibility to set the budget to thus authorize the expenditure of money.
  3. The Board shall have the power to authorize the President to establish committees to carry out the purposes of the Association.
  4. The Board shall have the power to fill vacancies in its own body for the remainder of the term.
  5. The Board shall have the power to make and amend rules for its own procedures. It shall keep a record of such rules.
  6. The Board shall have the power to fix the time and place of Annual Meetings and other business meetings of the Association.
  7. The Board shall take such steps as may be necessary to carry out any program or function determined by vote of the members and not otherwise provided for.

6. A simple majority of the B/D shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of its business.

ARTICLE IV – OFFICERS

1. The officers of this Association shall be a President, a President-Elect or the Past President [in alternate years], a Secretary, a Treasurer, and one or more Representatives to the American Psychological Association Council of Representatives as this Association is entitled to elect.

2. The President shall be elected by ballot of the members and shall hold office for one year as President-Elect before assuming office of President for two years. Following his/her Presidential term in office, the President shall remain in office for one year as Past-President. The Secretary and the Treasurer shall be elected by ballot of the members and shall hold office for three years. All officers, other than the APA Council Representative[s] shall assume office on July 1 in the year of their election.

3. The APA Council Representative[s] shall be elected in a special election conducted by t he APA according to its rules.

4. The Officers shall have the powers and perform the duties customarily belonging to their respective office and especially;

  1. The President shall preside at all meetings, appoint committee chairs, and exercise supervision over the affairs of the Association.
  2. The President-Elect or Past-President shall perform the duties of the President in the absence or incapacity of the President. He or she shall perform such other functions as are delegated to him or her by the President.
  3. The Secretary shall keep records of all meetings of the Association and shall serve as chair of the membership committee.
  4. The Treasurer shall have oversight over the collection of dues of the Association, the custody of the funds of the Association, expenditures as may be authorized by the Board of Directors, and the record of all money received and expended.
  5. The Massachusetts Representative[s] to the Council of Representatives of the American Psychological Association shall attend the meetings of the APA Council, participate in its proceedings, represent the interests of the Massachusetts Psychological Association, and report the proceedings and activities of the Council to the Association.

ARTICLE V – COMMITTEES, BOARDS, AND DIVISIONS

1. There shall be a Membership Committee chaired by the Secretary. The Secretary with the approval of the Board shall appoint the members of the Committee annually. This Committee shall receive applications for membership, promotion, reinstatement, and resignation, as well as examine the credentials of applicants and make recommendations to the Board of Directors at the Board Meeting at which the election vote will take place. This Committee will also recommend policies to the Board of Directors with regard to membership concerns and identify to he Board those members to be dropped for non-payment of dues.

2. There shall be a Nominating Committee appointed by the President with the approval of the Board. This Committee shall make known to the members by ballot, a slate of no more than two eligible and willing nominees for each office falling vacant through expiration of its term. Nominees for President and APA Council Representative[s] shall have served a prior term as an Officer or Director. The slate shall be drawn from a solicitation of nominees from the membership, self-nominations are accepted. The nominating committee may solicit nominees if none come from the membership.

3. There shall be an Ethics Committee of no fewer than five members appointed by the board with input from the Ethics Committee. The term of office for each committee member shall be five years; the terms shall be staggered, and the committee shall elect the Chair annually. The composition of the committee shall represent the range of interests characteristic of psychology in all aspects with due regard for the makeup of the Association’s membership and the types of complaints most frequently encountered. The Ethics Committee shall notify the MPA membership and hold an open solicitation for nominees to fill its vacancies. It shall be the duty of this committee to receive and investigate complaints of unethical conduct of members, to endeavor to resolve cases privately, to educate and rehabilitate violators of the code of ethics, and to give advice to members when requested. The Committee shall adopt Rules and Procedures, which will be reviewed periodically by the Board in consultation with the membership. The code of ethics of the Association shall consist of the Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct, as adopted and amended by the Council of Representatives of the American Psychological Association and any additional provisions adopted by the Massachusetts Psychological Association.

The work of the Ethics Committee, including information and recommendation on all cases before it shall be kept confidential except that it may disclose such information when compelled by a court order enforcing a validly issued subpoena or when otherwise required by law. Additionally, in cases which have resulted in a member’s probation, suspension, or stipulated resignation, the Committee may communicate these actions to members, committees, and divisions of the Association, legal counsel of the Association, and those organizations and parties specified in Article II, Section 9, paragraph 4 the Committee shall deem necessary in order to protect the public or maintain the standards of the Association.

In addition, the Committee shall disclose information to those organizations specified in Article II, Section 9, paragraph 4, that an individual is under ethical investigation is deemed to be threats to the public welfare, as determined by two-thirds of the Committee, and only when to do so before final adjudication appears necessary to protect the public.

The Committee shall also inform the complainant and the complainee of its action when the matter is resolved within the Committee, including the Principle[s] violated, should there be any, and the rationale for its actions. Such parties as have been informed of the complaint shall receive notification of final disposition of the case.

Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent the Ethics Committee from communicating with the complainant, witnesses, or other sources of information necessary to enable the committee to carry out its investigatory functions.

4. Other Committees, interest groups, task forces and ad hoc committees may be created by the Board of Directors and if appropriate subsequently discontinued by the Board of Directors to facilitate the goals and objectives of the Association. .

5. Divisions may be created within the Association in order to provide for specific advancement of activities and programs not applicable to the membership as a whole. The purposes of Divisions shall be to advance psychology as a science, profession, or means of promoting human welfare.

Divisions may be established within the Association upon recommendation of the Board of Directors and a majority vote of the members present and voting at any Business or Annual Meeting of the Association. A Division may likewise be dissolved upon recommendation of the Board of Directors and a majority vote of the members present and voting at any Business or Annual Meeting of the Association.

ARTICLE VI – MEETINGS

1. An Annual Meeting of the members for the purpose of transacting the business of the Association, shall be held during the spring at such time and place in the Commonwealth as may be determined by the Board.

2. Additional meetings of the members to transact the business of the Association may be called at any time on request of the President or the Board of Directors or on request of any 5 percent of the membership of the Association.

3. Notices of the Annual Meeting and other business meetings shall be conveyed to the membership by the Secretary to the members at least three weeks before the date of the meeting and shall specify the principal business to be transacted.

4. The conduct of the Annual meeting and all other meetings of the Association shall be in accordance with Keasey’s Rules of Parliamentary Procedure. Voting may be either by mail, by written ballot, e-mail vote or by voice vote of the members present at any meeting.

ARTICLE VII – QUORUM

1. At any business meeting of the Association, other than Board of Directors meetings, the members in good standing who are present shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business appearing on the previously sent written agenda and which shall be sent to the membership at least three weeks before the date of the meeting.

2. For the transaction of all other business not appearing on the previously distributed agenda 5 percent of the members in good standing at the time of the meeting must be present to constitute a quorum.

ARTICLE VIII – DUES

1. Annual dues of members of the Association shall be set by a majority vote of the members present and voting at any Annual Meeting and shall be due and payable when rendered. However, adjustments for inflation as determined by and not to exceed the increase in the CPI (consumer price index) may be implemented through a vote of the Board of Directors. Members who neither live nor work in Massachusetts may pay reduced dues as determined by the Board of Directors.

2. Non-payment of dues delinquent for one year is considered equivalent to withdrawal from the Association. A loss of member benefits may accrue any time after the third billing at the discretion of the Board. Reinstatement of members dropped for non-payment of dues or those who resigned owing dues shall be by a vote of the Board of Directors on payment of any and all outstanding dues or moneys owed to the Association. The Board of Directors may at its discretion authorize staff to waive dues or set limits on dues recoupment for individual special cases.

3. When a new Division is established the Board of Directors will set the dues for its operation.

ARTICLE IX – AFFILIATE RELATIONSHIPS

1. Other organizations whose general purposes fall within the scope of Article I section 2 of these By-Laws may become affiliated with the Association in accordance with the provisions of this Article.

2. Affiliated organizations shall be psychological in nature and may represent groups of people such as students of psychology, a substantial portion of whom are not eligible for membership in the Association. Such organizations shall not limit their membership on other than academic, scientific, professional or geographic grounds. It shall be made clear that membership in an affiliated organization does not imply membership in the Association and that the Association assumes no legal responsibility for the affiliated organization and assumes no responsibilities for the administrative, financial or professional affairs of the affiliated organizations.

3. The Board shall determine what privileges of the Association may be granted to organizations which affiliate with the Association under provisions of this Article.

4. The Board will establish a committee to review all applications for affiliate status. An organization shall be granted affiliate status by a two-thirds vote of the Board.

5. In the event that the Board believes that the affiliation of an organization under this Article is no longer in the best interest of the Association, the principal officers of that organization shall be so notified, and thereafter the affiliation may be terminated by a two-thirds vote of the Board.

ARTICLE X – AMENDMENTS

1. Amendments to these Constitution and By-Laws may be proposed by the Board of Directors or by petition of five percent of the members of the Association. Such petitions shall be submitted in writing to the Secretary.

2. Proposed amendments shall be voted upon by ballot. Proposed amendments shall be submitted in writing or electronically by the Secretary to the members of the Association. A four-week interval shall be allowed for the return of ballots. An affirmative vote of at least two-thirds of the members voting shall be required for passage of an amendment.