Policy Manual

Policy No. 1 – MEMBERSHIP

A. Screening. The names of all applicants shall be published to the membership. If no objection is received within thirty (30) days after publication, the applicant is deemed accepted.

B. Objections. If an objection is received within thirty (30) days, the application will be held in abeyance until the applicant submits a written reply to the objection or appears in person at a board meeting to answer personally.

If no written reply or waiver of right to reply is received, the application shall be considered rejected and applicant’s dues refunded.

C. Retired/Inactive Members. Any member, who has been a member in good standing for an uninterrupted period of a least five (5) years and has retired or become inactive in the field of process serving, shall be eligible to apply to the board of directors for a Retired/Inactive class of membership. It will be the determination of the board to approve or disapprove the member’s request.

Annual dues will be set for this class of membership at the annual conference.

This class of membership will entitle the member to receive a subscription to the GAPPS newsletter, have their name, address and telephone number printed in the membership directory (if requested), and receive a copy of the membership directory.

The retired/inactive class of membership will have no voting rights. In the event a member in this class returns to an active role in the profession, they will be required to become a full member.

D. Honorary Member. The Board of Directors at their discretion may designate any person an Honorary Member. Honorary members will be exempt from annual dues and will have no voting rights.

This class of membership will entitle the member to receive a subscription to the GAPPS newsletter and to have only their name printed in the membership directory.

The Board of Directors at their discretion will have the authority to delete any Honorary Member designation previously conferred.

Policy No. 2 – DUES

A. Any applicant or member who because of hardship is unable to pay dues in full, may, in writing request the Board to grant a reduction or delay in payment. The Board may take that action it deems appropriate in each case.

Policy No. 3 – OFFICERS and DIRECTORS

A. Upon completion of their term in office, any officer, director or committee chair who refuses to release any and all Association records, files and lists on demand shall be subject to the Association’s disciplinary procedure.

Policy No. 4 – GRIEVANCE & ARBITRATION

A. The President shall appoint a Chairperson to handle all matters involving grievance and arbitration.

B. Any member who has cause to complain that a member of GAPPS has violated a providion of the By-laws or Code of Ethics may submit their complaint to the Chairperson in the manner prescribed in this policy manual.

C. Complaints regarding nonpayment of bills shall also be handled pursuant to the procedures in this policy manual.

D. Should the Chairperson be involved in the complaint, the grievance shall be submitted to the President who will serve as, or appoint, a temporary Chairperson for this matter only.

E. Procedure For Filing Non-payment Grievances

E-1. The complaining member (hereafter referred to as “Complainant”), after taking reasonable steps to collect a debt which is now sixty (60) days delinquent, shall send an original Notice of Pending complaint to the nonpaying member (hereafter referred to as “Respondent’), by regular mail with a copy to the Chairperson.

E-2. If the payment is not made within fourteen (14) days of the date of mailing of the Notice of Pending Complaint, the Complainant may file a complaint by submitting the following documents to the Chairperson: 1) the original Nonpayment Complaint signed by the Complainant, 2) a copy of the Notice of Pending Complaint, and 3) all supporting documentation.

E-3. All forms pertaining to Grievance & Arbitration shall be on a form prescribed by the Board and shall be available in the membership directory or by contacting the Chairperson.

F. Procedure For filing Unethical or Unprofessional Conduct Grievances:

F-1. Any member who has cause to complain that a member of GAPPS has violated a provision of the By-laws or Code of Ethics may submit to the Chairperson a written complaint containing sufficient particulars of the grievance along with all supporting documentation.

F-2. The Chairperson may appoint a neutral third party who will attempt to resolve the dispute of the parties. This third party shall maintain a written record and attach the record to the complaint file along with any resolution of the dispute. If the matter cannot be resolved, and the issues raised are unique in nature, the matter shall be submitted directly to the Board. Otherwise, the grievance procedure shall continue as outlined in Section G of this Policy Manual.

G. Procedure For All Grievances After Submission to Chairperson

G-1. The Chairperson will send a copy of the grievance to the Respondent by reliable means. The Respondent must reply in writing, together with all supporting documentation to the Chairperson. The reply must be received within fourteen (14) days from the date of the Chairperson’s letter containing the complaint, or within such additional time as the Chairperson, in his/her discretion may grant for good cause shown. If no reply is received, Respondent is then in violation of Policy 4, Section L.

G-2. The Chairperson shall send a copy of the reply to the Complainant.

G-3. The complainant may offer a rebuttal to the Chairperson. The rebuttal must be received by the Chairperson within fourteen (14) days from the date of the Chairperson’s letter to the Complainant containing the Respondent’s reply.

G-4. Should the Respondent fail to respond as required under Policy 4, Section G-1, the Chairperson shall submit the matter to the Board of Directors.

H. Arbitration

H-1. After all procedures have been followed as prescribed in Policy 4, Section G, the Chairperson shall submit the matter to binding arbitration before a panel of three (3) members selected by the Chairperson.

H-2. If the dispute is monetary, the Chairperson may determine the amount of any funds to be deposited by the parties with the Administrator.

H-3(a) The Chairperson shall provide each member of the panel with a copy of all pleadings.

H-3(b) The panel shall make a ruling on this written record but shall have the right, in its sole discretion, to request from the parties additional materials, clarification or supplemental information.

H-3(c) The panel shall render a majority written decision on the merits of the dispute and a separate majority written decision on proposed sanction, if any, and send the written decision(s) together with any dissents to the parties.

H-4(a) Either party may appeal the decision(s) of the grievance panel by filing within fourteen (14) days of the postmark date of the decision(s) of the panel, a written appeal with the Chairperson together with a statement of the reasons supporting the appeal. If the dispute is monetary, the Chairperson shall determine the amount of any funds to be deposited by the Appealing Party with the Administrator.

H-4(b) The Chairperson shall notify the President of any appeal filed.

H-4(c) If an appeal is filed, the decision(s) of the grievance panel is stayed pending resolution of the appeal.

H-4(d) If such appeal is not filed timely, the decision(s) of the panel shall be final; however, the Board at its option may accept a late appeal.

H-4(e) The Chairperson shall submit the appeal and all documentation to the Board at the next regularly scheduled board meeting for a ruling, which ruling shall be deemed final and not subject to further appeal.

H-5 Upon notification of the outcome by the Chairperson, The Treasurer shall make the necessary disbursement of any funds held in escrow.

I. Retention of Complaints

I-1 All matters submitted to the Arbitration & Grievance Committee shall remain confidential.

I-2 Once a matter has been resolved or disposed of, the Chairperson shall forward the file to the Administrator for retention.

I-3 The Chairperson shall retain, for a period of three (3) years, a listing and disposition of each matter submitted to the Arbitration & Grievance Committee.

J. Consistent Pattern of Complaints:

J-1 Where a number of complaints filed against a member indicates a persistent pattern of nonpaymennt or unethical/unprofessional conduct, the Chairperson shall notify such member, in writing, that a continuance of similar complaints received by the Committee may result in reprimand, suspension, or expulsion. The member shall have fourteen (14) days from the date of the Chairperson’s letter to respond to the charge.

J-2 Where a number of complaints submitted by a member indicates a persistent pattern of filing nonpayment or unethical/unprofessional conduct complaints which are frivolous or without substance, the Chairperson shall notify such member in writing, of such finding and that such continued action by the member may result in disciplinary action by the Board. The member shall have fourteen (14) days from the date of the Chairperson’s letter to respond to the charge.

J-3 If, after notification by the Chairperson, the persistent pattern of nonpayment or unprofessional or unethical conduct by a member continues, or the member persists in filing complaints which are frivolous or without real substance, the Chairperson shall refer the matter to the Board for disposition. The Board, at its discretion, will determine what constitutes a persistent pattern and may take whatever disciplinary action it deems appropriate. The Board will notify the Chairperson and the Chairperson will in turn notify the member, in writing, of the action taken.

K. If membership is revoked, the ex-member shall not be eligible to re-apply for membership for a period of one (1) year from the date of the Chairperson’s letter notifying the member that his/her membership has been revoked.

L. Failure to comply with the by-laws of this Association, or the procedures as outlined in this policy manual, or the rulings and decisions of the Arbitration Panel or Board, shall constitute sufficient grounds for suspension, expulsion, or any sanction the Board deems appropriate.

M. The purpose of this Policy is to insure that every member is treated fairly and justly. To this end, the Board shall have the authority, by majority vote, to take that action necessary to carry out the purpose of the Policy, including but not limited to, the granting of extensions of time and reconsideration of actions taken.