11654 Plaza America Drive #313
Reston, Virginia 20190

Adopted November 2, 1991

Amended December 1994


Name and Seal: The name of this nonprofit organization shall be Sisters in Crime, Chesapeake Chapter (hereafter known as Sisters in Crime). Its seal shall be identical to Sisters in Crime inc., the “parent” corporation. Its principal office shall be located in Maryland.


Purpose: To combat discrimination against women in the mystery field, educate publishers and the general public as to inequities in the treatment of female authors, and raise the level of awareness of their contributions to the field.


Membership: Membership is open to all people who have a special interest in mystery writing and in furthering the purpose of Sisters in Crime as defined in Article II.

Section 1. Active Membership. An active member is a paid-up member of both Sisters in Crime, Chesapeake and Sisters in Crime, Inc. who lives in the Chesapeake area (District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia).

Section 2. Honorary Membership. An honorary member is a person who is elected as such by a two-thirds vote of the membership. No dues are required.

Section 3. Institutional Membership. An institutional member is an organization such as an educational institution, business firm, or other group.

Section 4. Expansion of Membership Categories. Additional or amended categories of membership may be added by majority vote of the Executive Board members present and voting at a regularly or specially scheduled meeting, with at least ten days notice of the matter under consideration having been mailed to members, followed by a majority affirmative vote of the active membership.

Section 5. Continuation of Membership. Every member of Sisters in Crime, on the date these bylaws are adopted, shall continue her active membership until resignation or until subject to discipline (see Article X).


Section 1. The general management, control, and directions of the affairs, funds, and property of Sisters in Crime shall be vested in its Executive Board, which will consist of the officers and chairwomen of the standing committees.

Section 2. No part of the net earnings of Sisters in Crime will inure to the benefit of any member of the organization or to any private individual. However, reasonable compensation may be paid for services rendered to or for Sisters in Crime.

Section 3. If there is a cash surplus at the end of the fiscal year, it will be retained in the treasury of Sisters in Crime and used to further the purposes of the organization.

Section 4. No substantial part of the activities of Sisters in Crime will attempt to influence legislation, and the organization will not participate in or intervene in any political campaign on behalf of a candidate for public office (including publishing or distribution of statements), except as authorized under the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, as amended.

Section 5. Sisters in Crime will not carry on any other activities not permitted (a) by a corporation exempt from federal income tax under 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, as amended, or the corresponding provision of any future United States Internal Revenue law or (b) by a corporation, contributions to which are deductible in 170(c)(2) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, as amended, or the corresponding provision of any future United States Internal Revenue law.



Section 1. The officers of Sisters in Crime will be a president, a vice president, a secretary, and a treasurer. They will be active members of Sisters in Crime. No officers may serve for more than two one-year elected consecutive terms in the same position.

Section 2. The president will be responsible for the overall management of Sisters in Crime, and will establish goals and responsibilities for the organization. She or he will conduct the monthly chapter meetings and chair Executive Board meetings. She will also (do herself or delegate): arrange monthly meetings; in conjunction with the program chairperson, plan speakers and special events; plan and arrange field trips; and act as liaison with other Sisters in Crime chapters, with Sisters in Crime, Inc., and with other related organizations.

Section 3. The vice president will substitute for all or part of the above if the president is unable to fulfill her obligations; attend Executive Board meetings; and may act as chairwoman for at least one special event each year (for example, the annual picnic, T-shirt production and ordering, a party for the installation of officers, etc.).

Section 4. The secretary will take minutes at all Executive Board meetings and at monthly chapter meetings when appropriate; be responsible for writing and mailing notices of monthly chapter meetings as well as all special mailings; and may act as chairwoman for at least one special event each year (see vice president above).

Section 5. The treasurer will be responsible for all financial matters of Sisters in Crime, including collection of dues and other income and payment of expenses; maintain bank account(s); keep accurate financial accounts, and prepare and submit a complete financial statement whenever the Executive Board requests it; may act as chairwoman for at least one event each year (see vice president above); and attend Executive Board meetings.

Section 6. Should there be a vacancy in the presidency, the vice president will succeed to the presidency and serve until the next annual election. Any other vacancy of an office will be filled by the Executive Board, and the successor will hold office until the next annual election.

Section 7. None of the officers of Sisters in Crime or any members of the Executive Board will receive salary or compensation for services rendered, except reimbursement for expenses incurred, as provided for in Article IV, section 2.

Section 8. Impeachment of Officers. Officers can be impeached by majority vote of the active membership present and voting at a regularly or specially scheduled meeting, with at least 10 days notice of the matter under consideration having been mailed to the members, for dereliction of duty or malfeasance. Impeachment includes (a) notifying the officer in writing of the charge(s) and by whom made, as well as filing said charge(s) with the Executive Board, and (b) investigation of the charge(s) by a committee of active members, none of whom is a member of the Executive Board, and chaired, if possible, by a former president or other officer of Sisters in Crime. The committee will be selected by a majority vote of the Executive Board. Following the investigation, if a majority of the committee votes to proceed, the committee will hold a hearing under circumstances that will give the accused officer ample opportunity to present a defense. If, by a two-thirds vote, the investigation committee recommends impeachment, notification of the call for impeachment must be mailed to all members, together with a statement summarizing the recommendations of the investigating committee. At the next membership meeting, after a full and open hearing of both sides, the membership will vote on impeachment.



Section 1. Standing committees will be established by the officers. Chairmen will be appointed by and will serve at the pleasure of the officers. They must be active members of the organization. All chairpeople of standing and ad hoc committees will attend Executive Board meetings.

Section 2. The Membership Committee chairperson will keep a computerized list of all members; send membership renewal announcements; keep a computerized mailing list of nonmembers and update the list as necessary; create all mailing labels; and send information about the organization to those who request it.

Section 3. The Program Committee chairperson will, in conjunction with the president and other Executive Board members, plan the chapter’s monthly program meetings; contact speakers, and make all necessary arrangements.

Section 4. The Publicity/Newsletter Committee chairperson will submit the chapter’s news to the Sisters in Crime national newsletter; write a chapter newsletter on an ad hoc basis; contact the press and respond to press inquiries as needed; and keep a record of members’ published work.

Section 5. Ad hoc committees will be appointed by the Executive Board as needed.



Section 1. Sisters in Crime will meet once a month at a designated location.

Section 2. Executive Board meetings will be held on an ad hoc basis (usually nine or 10 times a year) at members’ homes.

Section 3. A quorum is defined as 10 percent of active members.


Nominations and Elections:

Section 1. Election of officers will take place at the regular chapter meeting every November. The vote will be by secret ballot or a show of hands. An absentee ballot will be mailed to members who are unable to be at the November meeting, and the deadline for returning it will be a week before the election. Only fully paid-up active members may vote. Election will be by a simple majority of the votes. In the event of a tie, a run-off election will be held. Governance will change hands the following January 1.

Section 2. A Nominating Committee will be selected by the Executive Board. The deadline for submission of candidates is five days before the October meeting. The Nominating Committee will select a slate of nominees from submitted names and will announce them at the October meeting. Nominees will also be announced in the organization’s regular October mailing.



Section 1. Every member will pay dues, the original amount of which will be determined by the Executive Board. Bills for dues will be sent to members in October for the coming fiscal year, which will run from January 1 to December 31. If a new member joins on November 1 or after, the dues will cover the following year as well.

Section 2. Any increase in dues will be proposed by the Executive Board and voted on by the membership. A simple majority of members present and voting at a regularly or specially scheduled meeting, with at least 10 days’ notice of the matter under consideration having been mailed to the members, is required to vote a dues increase.

Section 3. Members of Sisters in Crime, Chesapeake Chapter are required also to be members of Sisters in Crime, Inc.



Section 1. Nonpayment of Dues. Membership may be terminated if dues have not been paid by March 31.

Section 2. Misconduct. “Misconduct” is here defined as conduct inimical or harmful to the purposes or good repute of Sisters in Crime. The Executive Board may suspend or expel a member for misconduct but only after a full investigation has been made. The investigation will include (a) written notification to the member of the charge and by whom made; (b) arrangement for a hearing, either before the Executive Board or a committee appointed by the Executive Board; and (c) holding the hearing in circumstances that will give the accused member ample opportunity to present a defense. If the hearing is before a committee, the committee may recommend, but the decision will be made by the Executive Board. If the accused member is unavailable or refuses to participate in the hearing, or makes unreasonable demands regarding the arrangements, the Executive Board may proceed without the investigation and act without a hearing.


Bylaws and Amendments:

Section 1. These bylaws will constitute the bylaws pro tem of Sisters in Crime, Chesapeake Chapter, upon approval of the Executive Board and Sisters in Crime, Inc. They will continue as bylaws pro tem until amended and/or approved by a majority of the active membership at a regular meeting or by absentee ballot.

Section 2. Proposals to amend the bylaws will be authorized by the Executive Board or will be presented to the secretary over the signature of 20 percent of the membership. Amendments must be approved by 60 percent of the active membership, either by voting at a regular meting or by absentee ballot.



Section 1. Sisters in Crime will be dissolved only after such a proposal has been accepted by two-thirds of the Executive Committee and then distributed in writing to the entire membership. Voting on the proposal will take place at the November meeting of the current fiscal year. Dissolution will require a two-thirds vote, in person or by absentee ballot, of the members who participate in the voting.

Section 2. Upon dissolution, the property and assets of Sisters in Crime will be distributed as follows:

(a) All liabilities and obligations of Sisters in Crime will be paid, satisfied, and discharged, or adequate provision made.

(b) Assets held by Sisters in Crime that require return or transfer will be returned or transferred in accordance with applicable requirements.

(c) Remaining assets will be distributed among charities and/or tax-exempt institutions whose purposes are compatible with those of Sisters in Crime, Inc., with special emphasis on organizations concerned with crimes against women. Such distribution will be approved by two-thirds of the active members present in person or by proxy at a special meeting of Sisters in Crime called for the purpose.


Rules of Procedure and Parliamentary Authority:

Section 1. Any policies or procedures not contrary to law or these bylaws may be approved or amended by a majority vote of the Executive Board. A record of such policies and procedures will be kept by the secretary or her designee. Notification of policy or procedure changes will be sent to members in the next regular mailing, announced at the next regular meeting, and published in the next edition of “Criminal Tendencies,” the chapter’s newsletter.

Section 2. All meetings of Sisters and Crime and its Executive Board will be conducted in accordance with the parliamentary procedures described by the current edition of Robert’s Rules of Order, or by another generally accepted procedure agreed upon by the Executive Board and announced to the members. The one exception is that the president of Sisters in Crime shall be a full voting member of the organization and of the Executive Board.