United Council on Welfare Fraud

Strengthening Integrity in our Public Assistance Programs

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UNITED COUNCIL ON WELFARE FRAUD, INCORPORATED

BY-LAWS

PREAMBLE

The primary goal of this organization shall be to promote maximum effort toward the prevention, detection, elimination, and prosecution of welfare fraud, and toward the recovery of taxpayer monies lost through fraud or error.  Welfare fraud is defined as those unlawful actions on the parts of applicants/recipients, agency staff, or providers of goods or services, that result in improper claims or payments.

The Charter Jurisdictions of the United Council on Welfare Fraud, Incorporated, are as follows:

Connecticut, Maryland, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, District of Columbia, Maine, New Hampshire, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, and West Virginia.

ARTICLE I - TITLE

The title of this organization shall be United Council on Welfare Fraud (UCOWF), Incorporated, which shall be referenced in these Bylaws as "Council".


ARTICLE II - PURPOSES

Section 1.  Through the active participation of a broad group of persons and agencies concerned with the prevention, detection, elimination and prosecution of welfare fraud and the recovery of taxpayer monies lost through fraud or error, the Council is dedicated to:

A.  providing education, training, and staff development relating to welfare fraud by the discussion and dissemination of laws, rules, regulations, policies and procedures used for the prevention, detection, elimination, and prosecution of fraudulent welfare activities and the recovery of taxpayer monies lost through fraud or error;

B.  promoting efficient and effective means to prevent, detect, eliminate and prosecute welfare fraud;

C.  disseminating information reflecting accurately the nature and extent of welfare fraud and the recovery of taxpayer monies lost through fraud or error;

D.  promoting the effective and efficient administration of public welfare programs; and

E.  holding an annual international training conference and/or regional conferences, for the purposes of education, networking, and technical assistance to members.

F.   maintaining and administering the Certified Welfare Fraud Investigator (CWFI) Program to assist members in professional advancement and to recognize a high level of expertise in public assistance fraud investigations.


 

Section 2.  The Council is organized to receive and maintain funds and/or real personal property, and is subject to the restrictions and limitations hereinafter set forth, to use and apply the whole or any part of the income there from and the principal thereof exclusively, either directly or by contributions, to organizations that qualify as exempt under Section 501c(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and its Regulations as they now exist or as they may hereafter be amended.

Section 3.  No part of the net earnings of the Council shall inure to the benefit of any Director of the Council, officer of the Council, or any private individual (except that reasonable compensation may be paid for services rendered to or for the Council affecting one or more of its purposes), and no Director or officer of the Council, or any private individual shall be entitled to share in the distribution of any of the corporate assets upon dissolution of the Council.  No substantial part of the activities of the Council shall be the carrying on of propaganda, or otherwise attempting to influence legislation, and the Council shall not participate in, or intervene (including the publication or distribution of statements) in any political campaign on behalf of any candidate for public office.

Section 4.  The Council shall distribute its income for each taxable year at such time and in such manner as not to become subject to tax on undistributed income imposed by Section 4942 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, or corresponding provisions of any subsequent federal tax laws.

Section 5.  The Council shall not engage in any act of self-dealing as defined in Section 4941(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, or corresponding provisions of any subsequent federal tax laws.

Section 6.  The Council shall not retain any excess business holdings as defined in Section 4943 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, or corresponding provisions of any subsequent federal tax laws.

Section 7.  The Council shall not make any investments in such manner as to subject it to tax under Section 4944 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, or corresponding provisions of any subsequent federal tax laws.

Section 8.  The Council shall not make any taxable expenditures as defined in Section 4945(d) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, or corresponding provisions of any subsequent federal tax laws.

Section 9.  Notwithstanding any other provision of the Articles of Incorporation, the Council shall not conduct or carry on any activities not permitted to be conducted or carried on by an organization exempt from taxation under Section 501c(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and its Regulations as they now exist or as they may hereafter be amended, or by any organization, contributions to which are deductible under Section 170(c)(2) of the Internal Revenue Code and its Regulations as they now exist or as they may hereafter be amended.

Section 10.  Upon dissolution of the Council or the termination of its affairs, the assets of the Council shall be distributed exclusively to the Dorothy M. Forney Memorial Scholarship Fund, which would then qualify under the provisions of Section 501c(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and its Regulations as they now exist or as they may hereafter be amended.


 

ARTICLE III - MEMBERSHIP

Section 1 - Membership.  Membership shall consist of four classes: regular membership, lifetime membership, affiliate membership, and student membership.

Section 2 - Regular Membership.  Regular membership shall be available to any person directly or indirectly involved in the prevention, detection, and prosecution of welfare fraud.

Section 3 - Lifetime Membership.  Lifetime membership shall be by recognition of past purchase of lifetime membership in the Council and/or The National Welfare Fraud Association (NWFA), successful completion of an elected term as President of the Council and/or NWFA, by honorarium, or by special recognition of the Board of Directors.

Section 4 - Affiliate Membership.  Affiliate membership shall be available to groups of members of government welfare fraud control organizations, as approved by the Board of Directors.

Section 5 – Student Membership. Student membership shall include any student active in the formal study of social work or criminal justice, or other related programs as verified by the Membership Committee of UCOWF. Student membership shall not have voting rights at membership meetings or caucuses, and shall not be eligible for election to the Board of Directors. Requests for student membership must be approved by the Membership Committee of UCOWF, following written support by an active regular member of the United Council on Welfare Fraud. The annual period of membership for Student Members shall be one (1) year from the date of payment of membership dues, and will not be renewable for more than one (1) year beyond graduation or separation date from course of study.

Section 6 - Period of Membership.  The annual period of membership for regular members shall be one (1) year from the date of payment of the membership dues.

Section 7 - Annual Dues.  The Board of Directors shall determine the amounts of annual dues, if any, payable to the Council by the members of each membership class.

Section 8 - Suspension or Expulsion from Membership.

A.  No person who is in default in the payment of dues for thirty (30) days from the date on which such dues become payable shall be considered in good standing or be qualified to vote or otherwise be entitled to receive or exercise any privileges of membership or hold office.

B.  Any member who knowingly acts in a manner detrimental to the best interest of the Council, or violates the Bylaws, rules or regulations, may be suspended or expelled by action of the Board of Directors, after the member has been afforded the opportunity for a hearing before the Board of Directors under procedures set forth in Article III, Section 8.C. of these Bylaws.

C.  Any member who is subject to suspension or expulsion is entitled to a hearing before a hearing panel.  The hearing panel will consist of the President Elect and six Board members randomly selected by the President. The President Elect will preside at the hearing.  The decision of the panel will be determined by a simple majority vote and is binding.


 

Section 9 - Regions.  To establish an organized system of representation in the Council, membership is divided into eleven (11) regions, as follows:

REGION I - Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont.

REGION II - New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands.

REGION III - Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia.

REGION IV - Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee.

REGION V - Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin.

REGION VI - Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas.

REGION VII - Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska.

REGION VIII - Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Wyoming.

REGION IX - Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands.

REGION X - Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, Washington.

REGION XI - The Provinces and Territories of Canada.

 

ARTICLE IV - MEETINGS

Section 1 - Annual Meeting.  There shall be an annual meeting of the membership of the Council at a time and place designated by the Board of Directors.  The Board shall publish notice of the annual meeting, in a newsletter or by other means, to members of the Council, not less than ten (10) days prior to the proposed meeting.

Section 2 - Meetings of the Board of Directors.  The Board of Directors of the Council shall meet not less than once each year, at the time of the annual meeting of the Council, concurrent with the training conference.  Other meetings may be called by the President and shall take place subsequent to the receipt of formal notice.  The format of any other meeting(s) may include telephone conference; video conference; and/or web-based delivery.  Issues brought to a vote must be approved by a simple majority of those Directors present (50% +.)

Section 2A - Quorum.  The Quorum is defined as a simple majority of the voting members of the Board of Directors of the Council (50% +.)  The voting members of the board of Directors of the Council consists of three (3) members from each of the eleven (11) Regions; plus three (3) Directors-at-Large; plus five (5) elected Officers, President; President Elect; Vice President; Secretary; Treasurer and Past Presidents.  Based on the voting members of the Board of Directors of the Council, the quorum is met with twenty one (21) members in attendance.  Those members serving in an apportioned seat as described in Article V, Section 2 (G); who are in attendance at a meeting of the Board, shall be counted to meet the quorum.


 

Section 3 - Special Meetings.  Special meetings of the membership of the Council may be called by the President of the Board of Directors at any time and place, or may be called upon written request to the Board of Directors by a quorum of the regular members of the Council.  Notice of such special meeting shall have been given to all members of the Council not less than ten (10) days prior to the time of the meeting.  Ten (10) percent of the membership or fifty (50) members, whichever is less, shall constitute a quorum for the calling of special meetings.

Section 4 - Rules of Procedure. The order of business for annual and special meetings shall be as designated by the Board of Directors.  Where no order is so designated and when not otherwise expressly provided for in these Bylaws, the order of business and conduct of meetings shall be governed by Robert's Rules of Order, Revised.

Section 5 - Action Without a Meeting.  Any action required or permitted to be taken at a meeting of the Council members, Directors, or any committee of the Directors, may be taken without a meeting if a consent in writing, setting forth the action so taken, is signed by all of the members or Directors entitled to vote with respect to the subject matter thereof.  Where all the actions that would otherwise have been taken at the annual meeting of members or Directors are taken by written consent as provided herein, no such annual meeting need be held for such a year.

Section 6 - Waiver of Notice.  Whenever any notice is required by these Bylaws, or by law, to be given to any member or Director of the Council, a waiver thereof in writing signed by all persons entitled to such notice, whether before or after the time stated therein, shall be equivalent to the giving of such notice. Presence without objection also waives notice.


ARTICLE V - OFFICERS AND DIRECTORS

Section 1 - Election and Terms of Officers.

A.  The officers shall be a President, President Elect, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer.  Each shall be elected by the Board of Directors for a one (1)-year term or for the remainder of an unexpired term.

B.  The Nominating Committee, as set forth in Article VI, Section 3, shall submit in writing to the membership present at each annual international training conference a proposed slate of officers for the following year.  The proposed slate of officers shall be posted following mid-year board meeting on the UCOWF website and shall be posted at the conference registration.

C.  Any member may nominate other persons for the offices of President Elect, Vice President, Secretary, or Treasurer.  These nominations are to be submitted by anyone from the general membership to any member of the Nominating Committee after the posting of the proposed slate of candidates.  The Nominating Committee shall interview each nominee to assure that the person nominated is willing to serve if elected and will obtain biographical information about each nominee.  The Nominating Committee shall present the nominations and biographical information to the Board of Directors prior to the election.


Section 2 - Election and Terms of Directors.

A.  The Board of Directors shall consist of the current officers, the elected and appointed Directors, and Past Presidents.  Each region shall elect three Directors from among the members of that region, for terms of three (3) years each.  Terms shall be staggered so that only one of the three sitting Directors' terms shall expire in a given year.

B.  The elections shall be held at the time of the annual meeting of the Council by those members from each region registered at the annual international training conference or at the respective regional conferences sanctioned by the Board of Directors.  Any person who is a current member, and who has been a member for the past year, shall be eligible for election to the Board of Directors.

C.  Each Director shall be elected by a majority of the regional members registered at the annual international training conference and present at the election meeting.  Elections held at regional conferences shall be confirmed to the Board of Directors within ten (10) days from the elections, by means of confirmation petitions signed by a minimum of ten (10) percent of the registered members from the applicable regions.

D.  If a new region is established, the initial election of the terms for the three (3) Directors shall be staggered so that there will be Directors elected for terms of one (1) year, two (2) years, and three (3) years, respectively.

E.  The Board of Directors may appoint up to three (3) Directors-at-Large to serve for terms of one (1) year each.

F.  When a region fails to elect three Directors, and the Board is unable to elect individuals from within that region to fill the vacancies, the unfilled seat(s) shall be deemed open to the general membership for election by the Board of Directors consistent with these Bylaws.

G.  The Board of Directors shall accept nominations to appoint Directors at Large to fill vacant seats. The Board may then elect Directors whose terms shall be for periods of one year each.

Section 3 - Installation of Officers and Directors.  All newly elected officers and newly elected or appointed Directors shall assume the duties of their offices at the same time.  Installation shall occur at the banquet or at a meeting on the last full day of training at the annual international training conference.

Section 4 - Duties of the President.  The President shall be the chief elected officer of the Council. He/she shall preside at all membership meetings and serve as chairman of the Board of Directors.  The President shall preside over activities of the Council, present a report at the annual meeting, appoint or discharge the chairpersons and members of committees as those committees are authorized by the Board of Directors and such other committees the President shall deem appropriate to meet the objectives of the Council, and perform such other duties as are inherent in the office of President or as authorized by the Board of Directors.

Section 5 - Duties of the President Elect.  The President Elect shall, in the absence of the President, perform all duties and assume all responsibilities of the President.  Following the expiration of the term of the President, the President Elect shall assume the office of the President. Installation shall take place as indicated by Article V, Section 3.


Section 6 - Duties of the Vice President.  The Vice President shall chair such committees as appointed by the President.  He/she shall, in the absence of the President Elect, perform all duties and assume all responsibilities of the President Elect.

Section 7 - Duties of the Secretary.  The Secretary shall be the historian of the Council, shall keep the minutes of meetings of the Council and the Board of Directors, and perform all other duties incident to the office of Secretary.

Section 8 - Duties of the Treasurer.

A. The Treasurer shall supervise the financial affairs of the Council. He/she shall cause a complete record to be kept of all receipts and disbursements and shall make regular reports to the Board of Directors and an annual report to the Council.  Within ninety (90) days of the close of each fiscal year, he/she shall cause an audit or a financial review of the books and records of the Council to be conducted by a certified public accountant or such other person as designated by the Board of Directors.  Audit statements or review reports shall be provided to each member of the Board of Directors and shall be made available to any voting member.

B.  The Treasurer shall annually prepare a draft federal tax return for the Council.  After review and approval by the Finance Committee, the Treasurer shall submit a finalized return to the Internal Revenue Service by the October 15 due date.

Section 9 - Duties of the Board of Directors.  In addition to the duties specified in these Bylaws, the Board of Directors shall generally govern the affairs of the Council, including but not limited to, making policy decisions for the Council; establishing rules and procedures for the Board of Directors and the Council; revising and adopting the Bylaws; and approving, modifying or disapproving reports, resolutions, or actions of officers or committees of the Council.

Section 10 - Removal of Directors and Officers.  By majority vote of a quorum of the Board of Directors, any officer elected by the Board, or any Director elected by the Board or by a region, may be removed from office for the remainder of his/her elected term, for failure to discharge the duties of the office or because his/her conduct is considered by the Board to be detrimental to the best interests of the Council, or if said officer or Director violates the Bylaws, rules or regulations of the Council.  If, during a one (1)-year period, an officer or Director shall fail to attend all scheduled meetings of the Board of Directors, such conduct may be considered a failure by said officer or Director to discharge the duties of the office.

Section 11 - Vacancies.  A vacancy in any office or on the Board of Directors shall be filled by the affirmative vote of a majority of the then members of the Board, though less than a quorum.

Section 12 - Business Manager.  The Board of Directors may employ a Business Manager who shall conduct the daily affairs of the Council under the direction of the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors may authorize reasonable compensation for the Business Manager.


Section 13 - Past Presidents.  Past Presidents, who successfully completed their elected term, are ex-officio members of the Board of Directors with authority to participate in meetings of the Board which they attend, and to vote on any questions or resolutions, and in any elections, and are considered in the quorum.

 

ARTICLE VI - COMMITTEES

Section 1 - Executive Committee. The officers of the Council and such other Directors as selected by the Board of Directors shall serve as the Executive Committee, and the President shall be its chairperson.  The scope of the Executive Committee's authority and responsibility shall be as delegated by the Board of Directors.

Section 2 - Membership Committee.  A Membership Committee shall be appointed each year.  The Committee shall include at least one Director from each region.  This committee's duties shall be to solicit new members within designated areas.  Further, with the approval of the President, regional Directors may appoint regional members to serve as members of subcommittees in their regions to follow-up with delinquent members who are late in paying their dues, and to solicit new members.

Section 3 - Nominating Committee.  A Nominating Committee shall be appointed each year to nominate one or more candidates for the offices of President Elect, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer. The Committee shall consist of the President, Immediate Past President, and three Directors.

Section 4 - Conference and Program Committee.  A Conference and Program Committee shall be appointed each year.  This committee is responsible for planning of the subsequent year's national training conference program. The committee shall bring recommendations to the Board.

Section 5 - Bylaws Committee.  A Bylaws Committee shall be appointed each year to review proposed Bylaws changes.  This Committee will bring recommendations to the Board of Directors for its action at any such Board meeting as deemed appropriate, and shall be further charged with resolving any question regarding application of these Bylaws.  All such questions shall be submitted by resolution of the Board of Directors.

Section 6 - Finance Committee.  A Finance Committee shall be appointed each year.  The Treasurer shall sit as a member of this committee.  The Business Manager shall be an ex-officio member.  The committee shall prepare an annual operating budget and shall pursue long range financing.

Section 7 - Information Services Committee.  An Information Services Committee shall be appointed each year.  This Committee shall be responsible for the publication of the Council newsletter and such other publications as deemed appropriate by the Board of Directors.


Section 8 - Intergovernmental Committee.  An Intergovernmental Committee shall be appointed each year.  This committee shall be the liaison between the Council and all governmental bodies for the purpose of furthering the specific directives of the Board.  The President, the President-Elect and the Vice President will be sitting members of the committee.

Section 9 - Training Committee. Deleted. September 2013.

Section 10 - Ethics Committee.  An Ethics Committee shall be appointed each year.  Such committee shall have no less than three members appointed by the President and shall include at least one Past President.  This Committee shall review such issues of conduct as directly referred by the President, and shall make recommendations to the Board of Directors for action consistent with the provisions of ethical conduct as otherwise stated in these Bylaws.

Section 11 - Long Range Planning Committee.  A Long Range Planning Committee shall be appointed each year for the purpose of coordinating long range planning and guidance for the Council.  This committee shall be charged with assisting in providing focus on the activities and methods by which the mission of the Council will continue to be accomplished.  Activities of this committee shall include recommending long range goals and objectives, tracking progress made, and recording accomplishments.

Section 12 - Certified Welfare Fraud Investigator Board.  A Certified Welfare Fraud Investigator (CWFI) Board shall be appointed for the purpose of coordinating the certification program and providing guidance to the Council.  This board shall consist of seven members, one of which shall be appointed as CWFI Board Chair.  The appointments will be for three year terms with two members' terms expiring each year.  Board members may be reappointed for additional three year terms.  The CWFI Board will make board member recommendations to the Nominating Committee for recommendations to the full Council.  This Board will coordinate with the Business Manager all activities of the CWFI program, including eligibility determination, testing, monitoring continuing education requirements, and other duties as directed by the Council and will make program and testing changes as applicable or as directed by the Council.

Section 13 - Special Committees.  Special committees shall be appointed and discharged by the President as authorized by the Board of Directors.


 

ARTICLE VII - AMENDMENTS

These Bylaws may be amended by a majority vote of the Board of Directors.  These Bylaws shall not be altered or amended in such manner as to permit any member, officer, agent or employee of the Council to receive any compensation or any pecuniary profit for the operations of the Council (except reasonable compensation for expenses incurred for services actually rendered to the Council in effecting one or more of its purposes, and reasonable compensation for the Executive Director as authorized in these Bylaws), or to receive any part of the property or assets of the Council upon its dissolution or termination, or otherwise, or to permit any substantial part of the activities of the Council to consist of carrying on of propaganda, or engaging in any political campaign for or against a candidate for public office.

 

ARTICLE VIII - INDEMNIFICATION

The Council may indemnify any Director, officer or former Director or officer against expenses actually and necessarily incurred by him/her in connection with the defense of any action, suit or proceeding in which he/she is made a party by reason of being or having been such Director or officer, except in relation to matters as to which he shall be adjudged in such action, suit, or proceeding to be liable for negligence or misconduct in the performance of a duty.

 

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