Amended October 4, 2007
The name of the organization
shall be the Council of Geographic Names Authorities within the United States,
hereinafter referred to as the Council. The Council shall also be known by the
The Council of Geographic Names
Authorities is organized exclusively for charitable, religious, educational,
and scientific purposes, including, for such purposes, the making of distributions
to organizations that qualify as exempt organizations under section 501 (c) (3)
of the Internal Revenue Code, or corresponding section of any future federal
Whereas geographic names are an
integral part of a nation's cultural heritage, the purpose for which the
Council is hereby established is to promote an association of state geographic
names authorities, boards, councils, committees, and coordinators (hereinafter
referred to as state authorities) of the United States to:
1. Promote standardization of
procedures in assigning or authorizing the names of geographic features within
the United States;
2. Promote cooperation among federal and state agencies
that have some degree of responsibility in maintaining data bases of names for
geographic features and/or cultural entities as mandated by the United States
Board on Geographic Names, hereinafter referred to as the USBGN;
3. Make available geographic-name information to officials
of governmental agencies and public and private enterprises (foreign and
domestic), and the general public;
4. Provide a professional and educational forum at which
members of the Council, Federal Advisory Group, International Advisory Group,
and interested citizens may present research papers and/or workshops and to
learn about the “Principles, Policies, and Procedures” concerning geographic
names and the naming processes within the United States;
5. Co-sponsor an annual conference at which members of the
Council may take appropriate actions or make recommendations to relevant
federal and state agencies regarding purposes 1, 2, 3, and 4.
1. One representative from each
state geographic names authority within the United States;
2. The Chair (or Chair designee)
of the Domestic Names Committee (hereinafter referred to as the DNC) of the
3. The Executive Secretary (or designee) of the DNC, USBGN
4. Two at large members of the Executive Committee elected from the
state geographic names authorities, and/or the Advisory Groups.
Officers and Committees
Section 1. Officers
1. An EXECUTIVE SECRETARY shall be elected by the Council
and appointed as the officer responsible for conducting all business of the
Council except for presiding over the annual conference. The Executive
Secretary shall serve as TREASURER for the Council. The Executive Secretary shall serve until a
new Executive Secretary is elected at a duly called annual business meeting or,
if necessary at an emergency meeting of the Council called by the Executive
2. A Conference CHAIR, hereinafter referred to as Chair, for
a one-year term, shall be elected at each annual business meeting of the
Council to organize under directions
and guidance of the Executive Committee the Conference of Geographic Names
Authorities for the following year. The
term of office of the Chair shall extend from the end of one annual conference
until the end of the annual conference for which he/she is responsible.
3. A Conference CHAIR-ELECT, hereinafter referred to as
Chair-Elect, for a one-year term shall be elected at each annual business
meeting of the Council to make preliminary plans under directions and guidance
of the Executive Committee for the Conference of Geographic Names Authorities
two years afterward.
4. The immediate PAST CONFERENCE CHAIR hereinafter
referred to as Past Chair shall serve as a member of the Executive Committee of
the Council. The term of office of the
Past Chair shall be one year.
5. Two EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE members shall be elected by the Council. One Board member will be elected on each even
numbered year and one on each odd numbered year, for two-year terms at the
annual business meeting.
1. The EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE of the
Council shall consist of the following members: Executive Secretary of the Council, Chair of the Council, Chair-Elect of the Council, immediate Past Chair of the Council, the Executive
Secretary of the DNC, USBGN, and two at large Executive Committee Members. At
large members may be re-elected twice. The Executive Committee shall be
responsible for overseeing the year-to-year operation and business of the
Council including providing directions and guidance in the planning of the
annual conference in conjunction with the Chair and his/her state authority
planning committee. The Executive
Committee shall provide the final approval on all of the annual conference
matters and program.
2. The Executive Committee may
appoint committees as necessary to assist in conducting the business of the
Executive Committee Meetings
1. The Executive Committee of the Council may meet at each
annual conference at some time prior to the annual business meeting.
2. The Chair or Executive
Secretary of the Council may call a special meeting of the Executive Committee as
necessary when business cannot be conducted by mail or by telephonic or
3. The Executive Committee may
conduct business by mail or telephonic or electronic means as circumstances
Section 2. Annual Business Meeting
1. Representatives and/or deputies of the Council shall
convene at a time announced in the program of the annual conference to conduct
the annual business of the Council. Council business shall be conducted by a
simple majority of the Council of representatives or deputies present. The
Executive Secretary shall declare a quorum if 20% of the states are represented
in person by state authorities or their deputies.
2. The Executive Committee may
call a special meeting of the Council or may poll the Members of the Council by
mail or telephonic or electronic communication if actions are needed during the
period between annual conferences.
Section 1. Election of Executive Committee Members
At each annual business meeting,
the Council shall elect, by simple majority, a Chair and
a Chair-Elect to serve for the
following year, and one at large Executive Committee Member to serve for the
following two years.
Section 2. Emergency Elections
With the exception of the
Executive Secretary of the DNC, USBGN; If a member of the Executive Committee is
unable to continue in office for any reason before his/her term has expired,
the Executive Committee shall conduct an emergency election for a replacement
to serve the remainder of the term.
Section 1. Time of Meeting
The Chair of the Council under directions and guidance of the
Executive Committee shall organize a conference in which members of the Council
and interested parties may convene, usually during the month of August,
September, or October of the year in which he/she serves as Chair.
Section 2. Purpose
The annual conference shall
provide the primary forum for exchange of common-interest information with
respect to the official designation of geographic names. Official designation
shall be, as prescribed by the USBGN, names of relevant geographic features and
cultural entities within geographical areas over which the Council and state
authorities have responsibility. The DNC, USBGN may use the conference as a
forum to provide information to the state authorities or to seek information
from them. State authorities, through their representatives and/or deputies,
may use the conference as a forum to seek information and/or advice from the
USBGN and associated federal agencies or to make recommendations to the USBGN
and/or associated federal and state agencies.
Section 3. Attendance
The annual conference of the Council is open to
representatives, deputies, and members of state authorities, the USBGN, other
state and federal agencies; advisory groups; and interested citizens of the
United States; and representatives from federal or state/province agencies of
other countries. Expenses for the annual conference shall be paid by means of
registration fees charged to those in attendance.
Section 4. Liaison with Federal Agencies
The Executive Secretary of the DNC, USBGN shall serve in
an advisory capacity on matters concerning state authorities and agencies of
the Federal Government. The Executive Committee of each annual conference
shall, in coordination with the Executive Secretary of the DNC, USBGN, include
in the conference a plenary session in which the DNC, USBGN conducts its
Federal Advisory Group
Section 1 Membership (non voting)
Membership shall be one (1) designated person from any
federal agency currently producing maps and/or Geographic Information Systems data
or with timely input regarding geographic-name issues within their jurisdiction.
Section 2. Function
The federal advisory group shall
advise the Council and conference participants relative to geographic name
collection, cartographic and/or Geographic Information Systems techniques, and
any associated activities as members of the group deem relevant to the responsibilities
of members of the Council.
International Advisory Group
Section 1. Membership (non voting)
Membership may include (1) person
from each Province or Territory of Canada or State of Mexico and one (1) person
representing the federal governments of Canada and Mexico.
Section 2. Function
The International Advisory Group shall advise the
conference and Council as to geographic name policy in their respective
countries/states/provinces/territories; help resolve problems that may
transcend international boundaries; and assist in broadening the conference perspectives
relating to geographic names.
Section 1. The Council of Geographic Names Authorities
shall be registered as a tax exempt, not-for-profit association with the
Internal Revenue Service. No part of the net earnings of the organization shall
inure to the benefit of, or be distributable to its members, trustees,
officers, or other private persons, except that the organization shall be authorized
and empowered to pay reasonable compensation for services rendered and to make
payments and distributions in furtherance of the purposes set forth in the
purpose clause hereof. No substantial part of the activities of the
organization shall be the carrying on of propaganda, or otherwise attempting to
influence legislation, and the organization shall not participate in, or
intervene in (including the publishing or distribution of statements) any
political campaign on behalf of any candidate for public office.
Notwithstanding any other provision of this document, the organization shall
not carry on any other activities not permitted to be carried on (a) by an
organization exempt from federal income tax under section 501 (c) (3) of the
Internal Revenue Code, or corresponding section of any future federal tax code,
or (b) by an organization, contributions to which are deductible under section
170 (c) (2) of the Internal Revenue Code, or corresponding section of any future
federal tax code.
Section 2. The Fiscal Year
of the Council shall be January 1 through December 31 of each year.
Section 3. The expenses of the Council shall be met
by income from the annual conference, contributions, gifts, royalties, grants
from interested individuals or organizations, and such other means as the
Executive Committee may prescribe or approve.
The Executive Committee shall review all expenditures of the Council and
Section 5. Upon the
dissolution of the organization, assets shall be distributed for one or more
exempt purposes within the meaning of section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal
Revenue Code, or corresponding section of any future federal tax code, or shall
be distributed to the federal government, or to a state or local government,
for a public purpose. Any such assets not disposed of shall be disposed of by
the Court of Common Pleas of the county in which the principal office of the
organization is then located, exclusively for such purposes or to such organization
or organizations, as said Court shall determine, which are organized and
operated exclusively for such purposes.
In the event the Council elects
to dissolve, all assets remaining after legal obligations are met shall be
donated to the Lurline H. Coltharp Collection of Onomastics: The Library, The
University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, Texas 79968.
Section 1. Amendments to the Constitution or Bylaws of
the Council may be initiated at least 50 days prior to an annual business
meeting by the Executive Committee or by a petition signed by three or more
members who are eligible to vote at the annual business meeting.
Section 2. Proposed amendments to the Constitution or
Bylaws shall be presented to the membership of the Council in writing at least
30 days prior to the annual business meeting at which a vote is scheduled.
Section 3. Amendments to the Constitution require a
two-thirds majority of Council members present and voting at an annual business
Section 4. Amendments to
the Bylaws require a simple majority of Council members present and voting at
an annual business meeting.
Approved and ratified
by the Council, September 10, 1998
1998 Executive Committee:
Jack Studley, Chair; Tim Gregg, Chair-Elect; Tim Norton,
Past-Chair; Roger Payne, Executive Secretary, USBGN; and T. Wayne Furr,
Executive Secretary, COGNA
Amended by unanimous vote of the Council members
October 4, 2007