Every Chapter Representative should read and maintain a current understanding of:
- The Council Guidance document, part of the FNPS Handbook, to learn about the Council charter, structure and goals, membership, officers, elections, and operations;
- The FNPS Bylaws, since the Council operates according its provisions;
- The full FNPS Handbook to access general information about FNPS, how the Society runs, how Chapters operate, and supplemental documents; and
- The History of the Council of Chapters (see below).
History of the Council of Chapters
The Council of Chapters was created in April 2014 by a vote of the general membership of the Florida Native Plant Society that reorganized the Society and adopted new Bylaws. Prior to the 2014 reorganization, one Chapter Representative from each Chapter statewide sat as a Director on the FNPS Board (about 37 Representatives in theory, but about half that were typically present and voting). Reducing the size of the Board to a total of 16 to 20 Officers and Directors was a significant goal of the reorganization, so the Council of Chapters was created and made to be represented on the FNPS Board by three Directors, one serving on the Executive Committee of the Board. The Board retained all governing powers "except those reserved in these bylaws for ... the Council of Chapters". By virtue of its three Director votes (other standing committees have one Director vote), the Council was given more power than any one standing committee of the Board.
In May 2014 a vote of the Chapter Representatives established Standard Operating Procedures for the Council and its first leadership: a Chair, Vice-chair, and Secretary. These three served the dual role of Council Officers and Board Directors for two-year terms. The Council Chair also serves on the Executive Committee of the Board. Council Standard Operating Procedures were updated in May 2015.
The FNPS Board of Directors established the Purpose, Goals and Powers of the Council of Chapters on August 11, 2018 in accordance with the FNPS Bylaws (revised May 2018) Article 12.02 and 12.04. This charter specified that the purpose of the Council of Chapters is to serve as a communications bridge between FNPS Chapters and the FNPS Board of Directors and vice versa.
In the FNPS Bylaws revision adopted in May 2019, Council representation was reduced from three to one Director serving on the FNPS Board.
In 2020 the Council’s Standard Operating Procedures were reviewed and it was decided that the Council did not need a separate procedural document because the Council is one of eight FNPS Board Committees, not a separate business entity. All committees, including the Council, operate according to provisions of the FNPS Bylaws, and the FNPS Handbook is used to further amplify those bylaws. It was therefore decided to update and replace the Council section of the FNPS Handbook (naming it Council of Chapters Guidance) in lieu of a separate procedural document for the Council. The Council of Chapters Guidance section of the FNPS Handbook outlines the “unique” characteristics of the Council of Chapters operations including the selection of members and election of officers. This decision also simplifies future administration since there is now only a single document to reference and update.