The European Childhood Obesity Group Bylaws
ARTICLE 1: NAME AND ADDRESS
1.1. The name of the Scientific Society, further: Society, shall be: THE EUROPEAN CHILDHOOD OBESITY GROUP (ECOG).
1.2. The official address shall be that of the Executive Secretariat or, in the lack of that, that of the Secretary.
ARTICLE 2: OBJECTIVES AND GOALS
2.1. ECOG aims to:
2.1.1. bring together health professionals who are involved in any field regarding childhood obesity, such as: prevention, treatment, rehabilitation, psychology, and research both on all these topics and on all other topics related, presently or in the future, to childhood obesity;
2.1.2. develop clinical and scientific knowledge of obesity in childhood;
2.1.3. increase understanding of childhood obesity through promotion of studies, research and professional publications;
2.1.4. develop centres of pedagogical competence and clinical assistance in the fields of training, teaching and any activity concerning cooperation.
2.2. ECOG intends to achieve these objectives through:
2.2.1. developing non-commercial programmes for the prevention and treatment of childhood obesity.
2.2.2. providing facilities for the interchange of views and experience so as to improve and transfer knowledge, skills and clinical practice in all aspects of childhood obesity;
2.2.3. encouraging training for health professionals and others in all aspects of the management and prevention of childhood obesity, such as Meetings, Training Courses, etc.;
2.2.4. encouraging activities which promote these objectives.
2.3. The Society may perform all acts directly or indirectly related to its purpose. In particular, ECOG can lend its assistance and be interested, and participate, in any activity similar or complementary to its purpose.
ARTICLE 3: STRUCTURE
3.1. ECOG is made of:
3.1.1. Ordinary, Honorary, Supporting, and Junior Members
3.1.3. President Elect
ARTICLE 4: MEMBERSHIP
4.1. Members supporting the aims of the Society shall be professionals working with obesity from pregnancy to infancy, childhood, adolescence and up to young adulthood.
4.1.1. The minimum number of members may not be less than three.
4.1.2. Any candidate for Membership shall submit to the Board a written application via online form or, in the lack of it, via email, in both cases accompanied by an updated CV.
4.2. Individuals can be accepted by the Board for Ordinary Membership from any Nation, based on their CV and expertise.
4.3. Honorary Members shall be suggested by at least two active members, submitted to the Board and approved by it. Honorary Members shall have the power of voting.
4.4. The Board will accept people interested in the Objectives and Goals (Art. 2) of the Society, but not bearing the qualities listed in the sub 4.1., as Supporting Members. Lawyers, journalists, school teachers are example of such Members, but other categories may be added by simple decision by the Board. Supporting Members shall be suggested by at least two active members, submitted to the Board and approved by it. They are subjected to full annual fee, however they cannot be elected as Board Members.
4.5. The Board will accept Junior Members younger than thirty years old, within post-graduation students, PhD students, post-doc or researchers, based on their CV and motivations. Junior Membership shall be granted a reduced annual due, and shall have the right to vote. When reaching the age of thirty years, Junior Members shall automatically become Ordinary Members.
4.6. In order to be admitted and to stay in any type of Membership, the Board will also evaluate possible conflicts of interest. All members are compelled to immediately communicate to the Secretary potential conflicts of interest, which will be autonomously evaluated by the Board.
4.7. Acceptance of any type of new members by the Board may happen either during a formal Board meeting or through a simple exchange of emails among Board Members. After acceptance, the Secretary will inform the new member via email.
4.7.1. Should a new member be accepted during the period January 1st – September 30th, his/her annual dues are owed for the current year. If the acceptation process is completed in the period October 1st – December 31st, then the first annual dues shall be owed from the following year.
4.8. The list of new members of each year, already accepted by the Board, will be presented at the next annual General Assembly. The Secretary will complete the names’ list with members’ basic information (gender, country, work title and affiliation, main interest[s]). Applicants who have presented an incomplete application, or the application of which has raised perplexity in the Board, shall also be presented at the next General Assembly, which will decide, by simple majority of participants, about their acceptance; its decision does not have to be justified. The decisions are brought by email to the knowledge of the candidate. The candidate not admitted can only stand again after one year from the date of the decision of the General Assembly.
4.9. ECOG active members are those who are up-to-date with the annual dues. Active members shall be privileged with reduced congress fees at ECOG Annual Meetings as well as with any other facilitation allowed by other Scientific Societies to the ECOG, and shall receive all periodical publications and e-publications produced by ECOG.
4.10. Any member can withdraw at any time from the Society by simple written communication to the Board’s Secretary.
4.11. The Board can cancel, by simple written communication to the member, any type of membership for reproachable behaviour, or for activities sharply contrasting the aims and objectives of ECOG.
ARTICLE 5: DUES
5.1. The amount of annual dues shall be determined by December 31 by the Board for every category of membership and shall be payable to the Treasurer by January 15 of the following year. No annual fee is due by Honorary Members.
5.2. The reduced annual fee due by Junior Members shall be applied also to members coming from disadvantaged countries, unless differently determined by the Board.
5.3. The Board is entitled to fix an individually tailored reduced annual fee, as well as a total alleviation of the dues, for some Members of any category upon receiving reasonable and proven written motivations to claim it.
5.4. Lack of payment of dues for three years determines suspension of the membership, which the Board, or the Executive Secretariat, on behalf of the Board, will communicate immediately to the member. Suspended members lose their right to vote until they settle with the payment of their arrears.
5.5. Failure to comply with payment of arrears in full within a reasonable period of time will result in membership being cancelled. The decision will be taken by the Board and officially communicated via email by the Board’s Secretary or, if existing, the Executive Secretariat. It is forbidden for cancelled members to use the title of “ECOG member” in any context. Renewal of membership by cancelled members shall be solely submitted to the payment of three annual fees in arrears, plus the one due for the current year.
ARTICLE 6: BOARD, ELECTIONS
6.1. The Board is the executive structure of ECOG.
6.2. The Board shall consist of President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer, three counsellors, and the Past-President, i.e. the President in charge in the previous term.
6.3. In order to reach specific goals, the Board is entitled to co-opt, by simple majority, other ECOG members chosen for their specific skills and expertise.
6.4. The Board, with the exception of the Past-President, who is automatically transferred to this office, is elected for four years by the simple majority of the members bearing the power of vote.
6.4.1. The electoral process can also take place electronically (meaning: online). The electoral system, be it electronic or, on the contrary, in presence, shall be chosen autonomously by the Board, on the basis of the circumstances. Only one of the two systems can be used at a time.
6.4.2. In case of online voting, either the Board or the Executive Secretariat may propose a company specialized in this kind of elections, that must assure: the secrecy of the vote, the impossibility to vote more than once, the correct counting of votes including blank or spoilt ballot ones.
6.4.3. A full report of the voting will be published online by the Executive Secretariat, after validation by the Board.
6.5. All active Ordinary or Junior Members can both vote and be elected. Honorary Members can vote, but cannot be elected.
6.6. Members who want to apply for the Board shall send to the Board’s Secretary or, if existing, the Executive Secretariat their candidacy at least 15 days before the election day.
6.7. excluding the Past-President (see sub 6.4.), all the other Board members may be immediately re-elected, but for a maximum of three consecutive terms. The Past-President of the outgoing Board will be ineligible for one term.
6.8. In each Board’s meeting, a simple majority shall constitute a valid quorum, on condition that President, or Vice-President, or other Board member nominated on purpose by the President, is present. Whenever a decision gets an even number of votes in favour and against, the President’s vote will prevail.
6.9. In order to attribute the new internal charges, a first meeting of the newly elected Board shall be held before the end of the Annual General Meeting hosting the election. At least one meeting of the Board shall be held immediately preceding each Annual General Meeting at the place where it is held. Moreover, the President shall call two meetings per year, which can be also held using new communication tools. According to specific needs, the President, at his/her own initiative or upon suggestion of one or more Board members, can call more meetings.
6.10. The Board can decide to resign by simple majority. The resigning Board will be responsible for settling the current affairs. The decision to resign shall be immediately communicated to all the ECOG members by the Board’s Secretary or, if existing, the Executive Secretariat. The election of a new Board will take place during the next Annual General Meeting.
6.11. In case of non-unanimity about the proposal of resigning, minority members of the Board can resign. If they resign, their functions shall be attributed, after decision by simple majority, to the remaining members.
6.12. Single members of the Board can resign for important and motivated impediment, to be communicated to the President. Their functions shall be attributed in accordance with the previous Sub. The loss of charge by single Board members shall be immediately communicated to all ECOG members by the Secretary or, if existing, by the Executive Secretariat.
6.13. If, because of resign, impediment, or other events, the number of Board members is reduced by more than three persons during the term, a new Board will be elected at the next Annual General Meeting .
ARTICLE 7: DUTIES OF THE BOARD
7.1. The Board shall:
7.1.1. transact the general business of the Society, including administration, representation within other bodies and societies, international cooperation, expert support to international and national institutions, ethical lobbying, and all other measures needed to ensure the development and the achievement of the aims of ECOG;
7.1.2. delegate to President and Treasurer the management of ECOG’s funds, also through the external support of associations sharing the same aims and objectives as ECOG, in order to ensure appropriate and lasting actions over time;
7.1.3. in cooperation with the President Elect, decide specific scientific topics, dates, venue for Annual Meetings, as well as composition of the Scientific Committee and time schedule;
7.1.4. realize any other management’s activity in behalf of ECOG, and any other activity expressly attributed by the present bylaws.
7.2. The President shall chair the Board. The President shall also be the official representative of the Society. The President is also the link between the Board and the Executive Secretariat, if existing. The Vice-President, or failing this, other Board member nominated on purpose by the President, shall assume the duties of the President if he/she is unable to preside.
7.3. The Past-President will ensure the continuity between the previous Board and the present one, especially about policies, actions done, decisions taken, suspended or incomplete initiatives.
7.4. The Secretary will deal with administration internal to the Board. The Secretary shall transmit the Board’s guidelines to the President Elect on the general organization of the Annual Meeting. He/she will prepare a written report of the activities performed by ECOG throughout the year, to be circulated to all members present at the Annual General Assembly. The Secretary is responsible for preparation and filing of the Board Meetings’ and General Assembly’s reports, as well as of filing all ECOG’s documents, unless delegated to the Executive Secretariat.
7.5. The Treasurer shall report to the Board on the financial standing of the Society whenever requested to do so. He/she shall present a full written report and the economic balance to the Annual General Assembly. The Treasurer will receive all communications related to funds’ management, including those made by external supporting associations, and shall share them with the Board. The treasurer shall immediately alert the board, should he/she be aware of any abnormal or exceptional financial situation.
7.6. The outgoing Board members will transfer all documents and papers in their custody to the new Secretary and Treasurer within three months of the close of the Annual Meeting.
7.7. In order to carry out administrative functions, the Board may avail of a supportive structure, named Executive Secretariat, either internal or external to ECOG, according to the rules of article 9.
ARTICLE 8: PRESIDENT ELECT
8.1. The President Elect is the Member responsible for the organization of the Annual Meeting. In order to organize the Annual Meeting, the President Elect shall be co-opted to the Board for one year in advance. He/she takes part to the Board’s meetings upon invitation, and for the solely purpose of the organization of the Meeting he/she is in charge of.
8.2. The President Elect will be in charge of local organization of the Annual Meeting, including the scientific programme of the meeting, in tight cooperation and agreement with the Board.
ARTICLE 9: EXECUTIVE SECRETARIAT
9.1. The ECOG may delegate to the Executive Secretariat some technical, administrative or management tasks, such as:
9.1.1. membership management;
9.1.2. development and diffusion of periodical ECOG newsletters;
9.1.3. assistance and support to prepare applications for EU platforms related to ECOG interests, aims and objectives;
9.1.4. assistance and support to prepare the Annual Meetings;
9.1.5. link to international institutions;
9.1.6. support in fund raising
9.1.7. ordinary administrative activities and any other activity expressly attributed in virtue of the present bylaws.
9.2. In case of outsourcing of the Executive Secretariat, ECOG can appeal to external associations or hire expert companies.
ARTICLE 10: ANNUAL MEETINGS AND GENERAL ASSEMBLY
10.1. A Scientific Meeting of ECOG will be held every year. The General Assembly, which represents the policy-making body of ECOG, will gather during the Annual Meeting. All Members are entitled to join the General Assembly. A Member may be represented by another Ordinary or Honorary Member, by means of a written or electronic proxy. Each Member joining the General Assembly may hold only one proxy. Should the General Assembly be held by videoconference, no proxy shall be allowed.
10.2. The powers of the General Assembly shall include the rights:
10.2.1. to amend the articles of the Society and to declare the dissolution of the association in accordance with the relevant legal provisions;
10.2.2. to approve the budgets and accounts annually;
10.2.3. to exercise any other right deriving from the present Bylaws or the international laws.
10.3. Any member can propose the period of time, location, and scientific general topic of each Annual Meeting at the preceding Annual General Assembly or, prior to that, to the Board. The final choice will be made by simple majority of the members participating to the General Assembly and bearing the right to vote. In the absence, for whatever reason, of a decision being made at the preceding General Assembly, the decision will be taken by the Board.
10.4. The agenda of the General Assembly shall be determined by the President and the Secretary, upon hearing the other members of the Board. Proposals regarding extinction of ECOG and, secondarily, of amendments of the Bylaws shall be entered as the first point of the agenda.
10.5. The ECOG President shall chair both the Annual Meeting, together with the President Elect, and the Annual General Assembly.
10.6. The power of voting points raised during a General Assembly shall be exercised openly.
10.7. Every four years, or earlier, in case of Board’s resign, during the Annual Meeting, the elections of the new Board Members shall take place. ECOG’s lapsing President and Secretary shall serve as polls’ officers.
10.8. Elections of the Board shall be by secret ballot.
10.9. Counting of votes shall be concluded before the start of the General Assembly, at the end of which the lapsing President will proclaim the new Board.
ARTICLE 11: PARTICIPATION TO MEETINGS AND CONGRESSES
11.1. ECOG may present publication and publish scientific recommendations, studies’ results, expert opinions at other meetings and congresses. Any member can be accredited by the Board in order to do so on behalf of ECOG.
ARTICLE 12: EXTINCTION OF ECOG
12.1. The proposal of extinction of ECOG must be approved openly by two thirds of the active Members bearing the right to vote, on the condition they are actually participating, in presence or by proxy, to the Annual General Assembly.
12.2. The Board shall take charge of all the consequential and official acts.
ARTICLE 13: AMENDMENTS
13.1. The Board can recommend amendments of these bylaws to any General Assembly. The same can do any group of at least ten members through a preliminary proposal to the Board, which, once evaluated the adequacy and the opportunity of the new rules, will prepare a new, amended, text, even integrated with other possible changes. In case both the Board and a qualified group of active members produced contemporary and non-compatible modifications of the same rule, the Board shall present both versions to the General Assembly, for a final vote.
13.2. If the Board finds reasons for inadequacy or inopportunity of the new rules as proposed by the group of proposing members, a motivation should be issued to them.
13.3. If suitable, the new text shall be presented at the next Annual General Assembly, for approval.
13.4. The amendments proposed and the related amended draft text shall be transmitted by the Secretary or, if existing, by the Executive Secretariat to all members, at least sixty days before the date of the General Assembly. Changes to the amendments, as proposed by Board members, shall be submitted in the following thirty days, and the last version of the draft shall be prepared at least thirty days before the date of the General Assembly.
13.5. During the thirty days following the transmission of the last version of the amended draft text (i.e., in the thirty days before the General Assembly) all member can propose other amendments, corrections, or modifications of the text proposed. The Board shall evaluate opportunity and non-contradictoriness of the different propositions, and will define a definitive version. Refusal of a proposition, because of inopportunity or contradictoriness, will be motivated and issued to the proposing member.
13.6. The definitive draft version of the proposed amendments, together with a technical report about the impact of the new rules on the pre-existing bylaws, shall then be transmitted by the Secretary or, if existing, by the Executive Secretariat to all members at least fifteen days prior to the Annual General Assembly.
13.7. The amended text shall be voted during the General Assembly and approved by two thirds of the present members with power of vote.
13.8. The approved text is promptly issued by the Secretary or, if existing, by the Executive Secretariat to all members, and shall become effective the day after transmissio