System Safety Society Chapters

Local Chapters are an essential part of the Society, and offer many benefits to individual members. Therefore, we encourage the establishment of active and enthusiastic Chapters around the globe. The Chapter Management Guide provides useful information on how to successfully operate and sustain a Chapter, and the Society officers and directors are available to offer guidance and support. For more information on creating or maintaining a Chapter, please contact Director of Chapter Services Jerry Banister at 760-377-4434.

Chapter Benefits

Local Chapters benefit the Society by:

  1. Implementing Society objectives on a local basis, and
  2. Fostering interaction among system safety professionals and practitioners.

Local Chapters benefit members by:

  1. Providing opportunities for continuing professional development,
  2. Offering members an opportunity to develop management and leadership skills,
  3. Providing a forum for networking, and

  4. Fostering an environment for technical interchange.

Chapter Activities

Chapters conduct a wide range of activities, including meetings, tours, speakers, mini-symposia, field trips and panel discussions. Many Chapters also produce newsletters, on-line bulletin boards and Web sites designed to keep members informed of the latest developments in system safety procedures and technology. Each Chapter evolves its own personality and culture, finding new and innovative ways to promote the professional development of its members.

Chapter Charters

Each Chapter is required to have a Chapter Charter. The System Safety Society's Executive Council (EC) must approve each Chapter Charter, and may revise or revoke charters when necessary.

Chapter Constitution and Bylaws

Each Chapter must have a written Constitution and set of Bylaws that define the Chapter's organization, objectives and operating procedures. The local Chapter Constitution and Bylaws must not conflict with the Society's Constitution and Bylaws.

Chapter Constituencies

Most Chapters serve a specific geographical area, and new members of the System Safety Society are automatically assigned to a Chapter if they live in an area served by an active Chapter. However, new Chapters are being formed throughout the year, and members may request to join or remain with any Chapter they wish. (For example, a member who moves in order to change jobs may choose to remain with his or her original Chapter, join the one in the new area, or join another one entirely.) There are strong advantages to membership in the nearest Chapter, in order to attend meetings and other events, but members are welcome to seek out the Chapter that best serves their needs and interests.

Forming New Chapters

New Chapters may be formed whenever a:

  1. Sufficient number of members desire to form a Chapter in an area not currently served by a Chapter,
  2. Chapter size has grown to a point where establishment of another Chapter is advisable, or
  3. A local Chapter has become inactive.

The following steps are helpful in initiating a new Chapter:

  1. Establish a steering group of five Society members or potential members, and prepare a draft Chapter Charter, Constitution and Bylaws.
  2. Submit the proposed Chapter Charter, Constitution and Bylaws to the Society's EC for approval. Include a list of the preparers and supporting members.
  3. Upon EC approval, request a listing of Society members within the Chapter's geographical boundaries, and invite them to a meeting to nominate Chapter officers. 
  4. Elect Chapter officers by an email ballot.
  5. Formulate a year's program of meetings, meeting locations, speakers and projects.
  6. Hold regularly scheduled meetings. (Monthly meetings are recommended, but only two meetings per year are required to maintain active Chapter status.)

Chapter Officers

As a minimum, each Chapter will have the following officers:

  1. President:  The Chapter President is a voting member of the Society's Executive Council and directs all Chapter activities. The Chapter President may not hold an elected officer or director position at the international level, as this would give one individual two votes on the Society EC. The immediate Past President of the Chapter serves as a member of the Chapter's Executive Committee.
  2. Vice President:  The Chapter Vice President serves as the Chapter's program director. The Vice President also assumes the President's position in the event that the President is no longer eligible or cannot carry out his/her duties.
  3. Secretary:  The Chapter Secretary serves as the recorder for all Chapter meetings. He or she prepares and distributes Chapter ballots, newsletters, member rosters and meeting notices.
  4. Treasurer:  The Chapter Treasurer maintains financial records for the Chapter, collecting all Chapter monies and keeping the Chapter Secretary advised of all paid-up members and members in arrears for either local or international dues.

Although not required, the following Chapter positions are recommended:

  1. Directors:  Up to three Chapter members may be appointed or elected to serve as a member of the Chapter's Executive Committee.
  2. Program Chair:  The Program Chair may be elected or assigned. The Chapter Vice President serves as the Program Chair in lieu of an elected or appointed chair. The Program Chair arranges for speakers and plans Chapter programs and meetings.
  3. Membership and Awards Chair:  This appointed or elected individual promotes Chapter membership, membership upgrades and nominations for Society Awards as well as awards at the Chapter level.

Chapter Programs

Chapter programs should be interesting and of a quality that will attract guests and prospective members as well as current ones. Invite quality speakers or expert panels. These do not have to be safety professionals. Experts in related areas, such as legislative affairs or environmental issues, can make for an interesting program. 

Hold monthly meetings, if possible. Meetings at least bimonthly are recommended to maintain continuity and momentum. Restrict meetings to two hours (or less for a luncheon meeting), and conduct them on a fairly strict timetable. For example, a suggested agenda for a dinner meeting might include a short social with cocktails, dinner, a short business meeting, a program with a speaker and a short question-and-answer session.

Active Chapters

Chapters that hold at least two meetings per year and submit a Chapter Annual Report (including a Chapter financial statement) are considered active. The Chapter's Annual Report will include a completed SSS Chapter Reimbursement Request Form. Additionally, an annual financial statement must be submitted. A guide for completing this form can be found in the Operations Manual, Appendix Q, Chapter Annual Financial Statement.

Inactive Chapters

Chapters that fail to have at least two meeting per fiscal year or fail to submit a complete Annual Report are considered inactive. The Director of Chapter Services shall notify the Chapter officers in the event that a Chapter becomes inactive. If no action is taken within two months of the notification, the Director may poll the respective Chapter members to determine their wishes. If the members wish to reactivate the Chapter, the Director, with EC concurrence, can establish a nominating committee for that Chapter and preside over a Chapter election and installation of new officers. While inactive, the Chapter President is not eligible to vote on EC matters. Reinstatement requires the Chapter to provide proof that two official meetings were held. Chapters that remain inactive for three consecutive years will have their Charters revoked by the EC.

Chapter Annual Report

Each Chapter produces an Annual Report for the Society that must be submitted to Society Headquarters by July 15. The report should include a summary of:

  1. The Chapter's goals,
  2. Activities/special events held to support the Chapter's goals and promote system safety and the Society,
  3. Chapter meetings (including Chapter newsletters, meeting minutes, and percentage of Chapter members attending meetings),
  4. New members of the Chapter,
  5. Participation in the Society's Awards Program,
  6. Articles by Chapter members that are published in Journal of System Safety, and
  7. The financial activities of the Chapter (an annual financial statement and a completed SSS Chapter Reimbursement Request Form).

The purpose of the Chapter's Annual Report is to provide the input for preparation of the Society's Annual Report and of the Society's taxes. In addition, it serves as documentation for ensuring that the minimum requirements for an active Chapter have been met. It also serves as the primary input for presentation of the Chapter of the Year Award.

The minimum requirements for the Chapter's Annual Report are documentation of two Chapter meetings (for example, a copy of the Chapter newsletter and meeting minutes), an annual financial statement and a completed SSS Chapter Reimbursement Request Form.

Chapter Reimbursement

Each year, the EC will determine the amount of funds to return to the Chapters. Inactive Chapters are not eligible for reimbursement. The requirements for Chapter reimbursement are:

  1. Copies of at least two newsletter/meeting announcements and minutes for each meeting held during the fiscal year.
  2. Submission of a Chapter Annual Report.

The Chapter's Annual Report must include a completed SSS Chapter Reimbursement Request Form in order to receive reimbursement for Chapter members.

Chapter Oversight and Services

The following Society positions and offices are among those available to support/assist local Chapters as needed:

  1. Society Headquarters: membership rosters, mailing labels
  2. Director of Chapter Services:  financial assistance, mentoring, guidance
  3. Director of Member Services:  brochures, newsletter articles, reclassification forms, facilitating information to members
  4. Director of Conferences:  information on sponsoring symposia, mini-conferences or the international Conference
  5. Officers, directors and others to appear as speakers

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