CONSTITUTION & BY-LAWS

1997 Edition

PREAMBLE

On May 18, 1945, a Committee was formed in Chicago, Illinois, consisting of the Sterea Hellas organizations "Athanasios Diakos" of Chicago and "Athanasios Diakos of Detroit, with the objective of founding a Federation of all existing organizations in the USA and Canada.

The above mentioned Committee proceeded with the organizing of a Convention in Detroit on October 31st, 1945 at the Hotel "Barlum".

The participating organizations to the aforementioned Convention, were as follows:

  • "Athanasios Diakos" of Detroit, Michigan
  • "Athanasios Diakos" of Chicago, Illinois
  • "Athanasios Diakos" of New York, New York
  • "Aitoloakarnanon Association" of New York, New York
  • "Distomo Association" of Chicago, Illinois
  • "Panagia Prousiotisa" of New York, New York
  • "Parnassis Society" of Newark, New Jersey
  • "Velouhi Evritanon Society" of Charlotte, North Carolina
  • "Thermopylai Society" (Lake County) of Hammond, Indiana
  • "Lambros Katsonis Association" of Toledo, Ohio

The Delegates of the above organizations proceeded with the forming of the Federation and voted upon its Constitution on October 31st, 1945, which was established with all decisions made prior to this date included, and is as follows:

ARTICLE 1

This Organization shall be named "Federation of Sterea Hellas" and in Greek «Ομοσπονδία Στερεάς Ελλάδος».

ARTICLE 2

Federation’s Objectives

  1. To promote and maintain better relations between Greeks, Americans and Canadians, and provide assistance to our adopted countries, USA and Canada.
  2. To establish acquaintance between those of Sterea Hellas’ roots in the USA and Canada and promote cooperation and mutual financial assistance.
  3. To coordinate the activities of its members and Chapters relating to National, Educational and Philanthropic goals in towns and villages of Sterea Hellas.
  4. To provide with every possible moral and material assistance and support to all members of the Federation.
  5. To cultivate the idea and persistence towards the preservation of Greek Language and Christian Orthodox religion.
  6. To offer every possible moral and material support to all causes relating to public welfare institutions of Sterea Hellas, America and Canada.

ARTICLE 3

The Federation shall not take part in political and religious conflicts.

ARTICLE 4

  1. The Federation structure shall be comprised of organized groups, as follows:
  2. The General Assembly of the Delegates of the Chapters, which will be the Supreme Legislative body.
  3. The Supreme Lodge, which will be the Supreme Executive body.
  4. The subordinate Chapters.

ARTICLE 5

Chapters – Members, and their obligations

  1. The Federation shall be consisted of all the legally operating Organizations of Sterea Hellas in America and Canada, as well as those to be founded in the future as such.
  2. The subordinate founded Male and Female Chapters shall be equal, as it pertains to their rights and obligations towards the Federation.
  3. Youth Chapters, consisting of members not older than 30 years of age, shall become equal members of the federation and receive moral and financial assistance, depended on the annual Convention. Delegates from the youth chapters can be elected to the highest offices of the Federation, as soon as they reach their 21st year of age.
  4. The annual financial contribution of the members and Chapters of the Federation is determined by the annual Convention.
  5. Individuals over 17 years old, independent of their sex and nationality, can be accepted in the Federation as Corresponding Members. The corresponding Members can enjoy all rights and benefits of the Federation, except the right to vote and be elected, as well as the right to participate in the Conventions.
  6. The Chapters of a state or neighboring states can form a District. The District is governed in the same manner as the Federation, by the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary and Treasurer. The governing body of the District gets elected with the same procedure as the Supreme Lodge of the Federation, with participation of the Delegates of the Chapters of the state or states that compose the District. The Supreme Lodge dictates the location of the headquarters of the new Districts, after the Chapters that compose the District petition for it; it can change in future years, after the District member Chapters decide upon it. The District Government shall be elected at the District Convention, one month prior to the Federation Convention. The District Government shall be elected at the District Convention by the member Chapters that must have their financial obligation towards the Federation fulfilled. The term of the District Government shall be the same as that of the Supreme Lodge. The elected Governors are members of the Supreme lodge, with all the rights of the members who get elected by the annual Conventions.

ARTICLE 6

The city of the elected Supreme President’s residence is appointed as the Headquarters of the federation, until the establishment of a permanent Federation office, which will be the Headquarters of the Federation.

ARTICLE 7

  1. The Annual Conventions shall be able to declare persons from Sterea Hellas and others as Honorary Members of the Federation for their exceptional services to it.
  2. Conventions shall also be able to declare Sponsors, Benefactors and Grand Benefactors as follows:
    1. Sponsors - Those offering at least $1,000.00
    2. Benefactors - Those offering at least $2,000.00
    3. Grand Benefactors – Those offering at least $3,000.00

ARTICLE 8

The 31st of October of each year or the first Sunday that follows it (if itself is not a Sunday) is declared as the Celebration Day of the Federation (commemorating the founding of the Federation).

ARTICLE 9

Federation Dissolution

The Federation of Sterea Hellas will be dissolved only if there are not two Chapters in America. In this case, the Federation’s assets shall be transferred to one philanthropic institution of Sterea Hellas, which will be chosen by the Federation’s last Supreme Lodge.

ARTICLE 10

Federation Seal

The Seal of the Federation shall be consisted of a Dorian Column and the words: "Federation of Sterea Hellas" and in Greek "Ομοσπονδία Στερεάς Ελλάδος".

The Seal and insignia of its members shall also be the same. No Federation document is official unless it bears the seal.

ARTICLE 11

Convention

  1. The supreme legislative authority of the Federation of Sterea Hellas is exercised at the Annual Convention of the delegates of the Chapters and the Supreme Officials.
  2. The Convention occurs once every full year, at a time and place which has been determined in the previous Convention. When the Chapter responsible for organizing of the Convention is unable of doing so, or for various reasons the predetermined Convention in Greece cannot be carried out, then the Supreme Lodge shall communicate with all the Chapters and ask one of them to proceed with the organizing Convention. If the result is still negative, then the Supreme Lodge shall organize the Convention – using Federation’s funds – in a city where a federation chapter exists.
  3. Every Chapter with its financial obligations towards the federation fulfilled can participate in the annual Conventions through its delegates or alternates, as follows:
    1. Chapters with up to 100 members have the right of four (4) votes and the same number of delegates.
    2. Chapters with membership of 100-300, have the right of five (5) votes and the same number of delegates.
    3. Chapters with more than 300 members have the right to one (1) additional vote for every 100 additional members and proportional number of delegates.
  4. The delegates of the various Chapters are elected in a regular or special meeting of their Chapters and they are accepted in the Convention if they carry credentials from the President or the Secretary that are properly sealed.
  5. The Officers of the Supreme Lodge are represented by one vote each. Every former Supreme President has also the right to one vote, even if he is not a Chapter delegate.
  6. The meetings of the Convention and Chapters follow the Robert’s Rules of Order.
  7. The Convention, after its Opening Ceremony, elects its President, Vice President and Secretary, who have to be Chapter delegates.
  8. Under no circumstances can a Supreme Lodge Officer be elected as the Convention President.
  9. After the election, the Convention President appoints the following regular committees and any special ones, as he deems necessary:
    1. Publicity Committee
    2. Auditing Committee
    3. Constitution Committee
    4. Steering Committee
    5. Grievance Committee
    6. Budget Committee
    7. Resolution Committee
  10. The Written reports of the Officers are presented next.
  11. The Convention reaches all its resolutions by the simple majority rule of the delegates present, except from the resolutions pertaining to Constitutional Amendments, which requires a majority of ¾ of the delegates.
  12. The Convention shall be able to vote on allocating funds towards the meeting of the Federation’s goals through a budget and define the rights of member’s enrollment as annual allowances.
  13. The Convention shall have the right to deicide on the expansion of the Federation.
  14. The Convention elects the Supreme Officers, except from the District Governors.
  15. The Corresponding Members of the Federation cannot be elected as Supreme Officers.
  16. Candidates for Supreme President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer can only be Chapter delegates, if their Chapter has met its financial obligations towards the Federation for the previous two years.
  17. Candidates for Supreme President and Vice President can only be former members of the Supreme Lodge for at least one year.
  18. The Supreme Counselor shall be an Attorney-At-law, lawfully licensed in the USA or Canada and preferably one whose roots go back to Sterea Hellas.
  19. The President of the Convention shall administer the binding oath of all the newly-elected Supreme Officers, which take on their duties immediately.
  20. The members of the Supreme Lodge are bound by the following oath:

"I solemnly swear to enforce and uphold the Constitution of the Federation of Sterea Hellas and to consciously carry out the resolutions of the Convention".

ARTICLE 12

Administration

The Federation of Sterea Hellas shall be governed by the Council to be known as the Supreme Lodge of the Federation of Sterea Hellas in America and Canada.

The Supreme Lodge consists of the Supreme President, two Vice Presidents, one Supreme Treasurer, one Supreme Secretary, one Supreme Legal Counselor, one Supreme Youth Governor, and Governors, whose number and power is dictated by the annual Convention.

All of them shall be elected by secret vote of the present delegates at the annual Conventions, except from the Governors of formed Districts, who are elected by the District Conventions and not by the Federation (### ARTICLE 5, paragraph 6).

The term of Office is one year, as such is the period between the Conventions or until the election and swearing of an alternate in case of death, resignation or overthrowing of Officers, except from the President, the alternate of who is elected by the Supreme Lodge. The President is substituted by the A’ Vice President until the next Convention.

The members of the Supreme Lodge receive no salary.

The Supreme Lodge reports only to the annual Convention of the delegates of the Chapters and is responsible only towards them.

It is the duty of the Supreme Officers to attend the Conventions, whose expenses are to be covered by the Supreme Lodge appropriations.

The Supreme Executive Council consists of the Supreme Lodge.

The Supreme Lodge shall have the right to and the duty to conduct all regular and normal Federation functions and to direct and operate the Central Office.

The Supreme Lodge shall have the right to hire an administrating secretary with a salary to be decided by the Convention.

The Supreme Lodge shall also have the right to maintain an office, the expenses of which shall be determined and covered by the Convention.

The Supreme Lodge shall not have the right to more expenditures than it is appropriated and justified by the Convention.

The fiscal year ends on the 30th of June and during the last 4 months of the Year the Treasurer should send letters to the Chapters prompting for the fulfillment of their financial obligations.

ARTICLE 13

Rights and Obligations of the Supreme Officers

  1. The Supreme Lodge shall have 4 annual meetings. There can be special meetings of the Supreme Lodge as it is determined by the Supreme President or by three of the Supreme Lodge members.
  2. The resolutions of the Supreme Lodge are reached by the simple majority rule. The opinions of the Members that are not present are send in a sealed envelope to the Office of the Federation by certified or registered mail and are opened during the scheduled meeting. Therefore, it is the duty of the Supreme Secretary to notify by registered or certified mail all Supreme Lodge Members in a timely fashion regarding the issue of discussion. In the event of a tie-vote, the President’s vote breaks the tie.
  3. The Supreme President presides over the regular and special meetings of the Supreme Lodge, attends to the growth
  4. He countersigns, along with the Supreme Treasurer, all checks against the capital of the Federation.
  5. In case of impediment, illness or death of the Supreme President, all his duties are performed by the A’ Supreme Vice President, until the next convention of the Federation.
  6. The Supreme Treasurer deposits all monies in a Bank designated by the Supreme Lodge and countersigns along with the Supreme President all checks and money orders; both signatures are imperative.
  7. The Supreme Treasurer should be bonded in the amount determined by the annual Convention, the premium which shall be paid by the Federation funds.
  8. The Supreme Secretary holds detailed registry of all the members; he writhes and keeps the minutes of all the meetings of the supreme Lodge; he conducts all correspondence, with the cooperation of the Supreme President and places the Federation Seal; he is responsible for holding and safekeeping of all Federation books and all mobile assets; he collects the offerings and personal contributions of the Supreme Lodge and delivers them to the Supreme Treasurer; he countersigns all receipts; he ratifies the applications of the new members, seals them and delivers them to the Supreme President and Supreme Treasurer for signing and payment.
  9. It is the duty of the Supreme Secretary to send a quarterly financial report to all the Chapters of the Federation, along with the number of the paid members. He shall also send an annual list of payments to every Chapter.
  10. The Supreme Legal Counselor shall instruct the Federation on issues of legal nature and represent it only after he has been authorized to do so by the Supreme Lodge.
  11. The Supreme Governor has as its duty to meet with the Chapters at least quarterly; to collect the membership list of the Chapters (including exact addresses and telephones) and send them to Federation Office by the first two months of his election; to send reports to the President and copies to the Federation Office of all meetings and conferences.

ARTICLE 14

The annual Convention of the Federation shall elect a three member Auditing Committee, consisting primarily of individuals specializing in accounting, whose duties shall be the inspection and examination of the financial books of the Federation.

The elected Supreme Lodges are authorized to hire an accountant as an additional assistance to the duties of the Treasurer, if this is deemed necessary.

ARTICLE 15

Any Chapter that, for any reasons, wishes to terminate its membership towards the Federation for one (1) year, can be re-admitted as a member as long as it submits all outstanding membership fees of the past and current year.

ARTICLE 16

The Supreme President shall not have the right to hold the Presidency of any Chapter of the Federation, unless he resigns from the Supreme Lodge. However, if the newly-elected Supreme President of the federation already is the President of a Chapter, then he shall complete his term in the Chapter.

ARTICLE 17

Any Officer of the Supreme Lodge can be indicted on charges of embezzlement, exploration of his position towards speculation, lack of discipline or indecent behavior offending or effecting in any way the authority of the Federation. At this case, the written indictment must be submitted to the Supreme Lodge by the Supreme Secretary within 15 days of its receipt. The Supreme Lodge, shall summon a five member committee, consisting of the previous Supreme Presidents, based on seniority, shall examine the indictment and issue its judgment which shall be final. In case of a non-substantiated accusation, the instigators shall be responsible of all costs relating to the legal inquiries.