NCD Bylaws

NCD Bylaws (DOC)



The National Council on Disability (the “Council”) is an independent federal agency composed of 15 Council Members appointed by the President and confirmed by the United States Senate. The Council is charged with promoting policies, programs, practices, and procedures that guarantee equal opportunity to all individuals with disabilities, and to empower individuals with disabilities to achieve economic self-sufficiency, independent living, and inclusion and integration into all aspects of society.

These bylaws are adopted in order to further the Council’s mission, goals and strategic plan by establishing orderly procedures by which the Council may meet its obligations and exercise its powers under applicable United States statutes, laws and regulations.  Nothing in these bylaws should be construed to expand these obligations, nor in any way to limit the powers granted to the Council by law or regulation, or to extend or delegate the powers of the Council in any way inconsistent with governing law or regulation. Further, though the bylaws contain certain delegation of Council power, authority, or responsibility to the Executive Director of the Council who may then further delegate such powers, nothing in these bylaws shall be construed or interpreted to define the functions and activities of any staff that the Executive Director might from time to time hire and empower.


Section 1.1   “Council” means the National Council on Disability.

Section 1.2   “Council Member(s)” means any member(s) of the Council who have been appointed by the President and continue to serve in accordance with the Authorizing Statute.

Section 1.3   "The Chairperson" means the Chairperson of the Council.

Section 1.4   "The Vice-Chairperson" means the Vice-Chairperson of the Council.

Section 1.5   "The Executive Director" means the Executive Director of the Council.

Section 1.6   The “Authorizing Statute” means 29 U.S.C. 780 et seq., as may be amended from time to time, attached hereto as Exhibit A.          


Section 2.1   This body shall be known as the National Council on Disability.

Section 2.2   Powers of the Council. All powers of the Council shall vest and be exercised collectively by the Council Members. These powers may be delegated as set forth in these Bylaws or by a vote of the Council pursuant to the procedures set forth herein.                    

2.2.1  The Council Shall:  Carry out all duties and responsibilities of, exercise all powers in, and act in accordance with the Authorizing Statute; On an ongoing basis, review all federal disability policies and programs and make recommendations to the President, Congress and other federal, state and/or other entities about how these policies and programs can more effectively promote equality of opportunity, independent living, economic self-sufficiency and independent living for all Americans with disabilities;   Take such other actions as are required by law; and To the extent not prohibited by law, take such actions as are deemed consistent with the Authorizing Statute and these bylaws and necessary for meeting agency obligations.

2.2.2  The Council may: Prescribe such bylaws and rules as may be necessary to carry out its duties;  Hold such meetings, hearings, forums, briefings, and act at such times and places, take such testimony, and receive such evidence as it deems advisable;  Appoint Advisory Committees or collaborate with other organizations, agencies and entities to assist the Council in carrying out its duties. The members of these Advisory Committees, who are not Council Members, shall serve without compensation and in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations; Enter into contracts and cooperative agreements with federal state and tribal agencies, private firms, institutions, and individuals for the conduct of research and surveys, preparation of reports and other advice or activities necessary to the discharge of the Council's duties and responsibilities; and  Exercise  other administrative powers consistent with the statutory authorization, federal regulations and applicable law.



 Section 3.1   Council Members:

3.1.1       Council Members shall fully engage in the business of the Council.

3.1.2  Full Council Member engagement shall include but not be limited to:

(a)  To the maximum extent possible, attendance at all regular and special meetings of the Council;

(b)  Participation in an orientation session about the Council’s business, practices and procedures as soon as practicable following appointment as a Council Member;

(c)  Assisting the Chairperson in developing a unified vision for the Council’s priorities and fulfilling statutory obligations to develop and maintain a strategic plan;

(d)  Endeavoring to learn and follow significant and timely developments regarding disability policies and programs to inform participation in Council business, including reading internal updates developed by Council staff;

(e)  Collaborating with other Council Members to identify priorities that reflect the interests of all Council Members and the stakeholders identified in the Authorizing Statute;

(f)   Assisting the Chairperson in carrying out any Council duties and obligations as reasonably requested by the Chairperson, including service on Committees designed to further the work of the Council.

(g)  Abiding by guidance from the Chairperson about respecting lines of communication with staff, including decision-making processes about allocation of staff resources at the direction of the Executive Director; and

(h) Assisting the Chairperson and Executive Director in preparation of, and adherence to, financial, budgetary, and compliance guidelines.

3.2  The Chairperson

3.2.1 Pursuant to NCD’s authorizing statute, the Chairperson of the Council is designated by the President of the United States from among the Members of the Council.

3.2.2  The Chairperson shall serve as the agency chief of the Council, and in that capacity shall:

(a)  Represent the Council to the Congress, President, Federal agencies, stakeholders, and others interested in the business of the Council;

(b)  Ensure that the Council satisfactorily meets all statutory obligations, including timely submission of an annual Progress Report and Performance Accountability Report;

(c)  Ensure that  relevant stakeholder interests are taken into account in Council deliberations in order to ensure that the broadest possible spectrum of diverse interests in the disability community are considered and addressed; and

(d)  Be accountable to the President and to Congress for the Council’s stewardship of the Council’s budget.

 3.2.3  The Chairperson shall preside over the Council, and in that capacity shall:

(a)  Call all regular and special meetings of the Council, in consultation with Council Members;

(b)  Preside over all Council meetings or ensure that appropriate provision is made for the Vice Chair to do so; and

(c)  Ensure that an adequate record of Council proceedings be made and maintained, and see that such record is distributed to Members and such other persons as the Council may direct, consistent with the law and other rules of the Council and any and all applicable laws and regulations thereto.

 3.2.4  The Chairperson shall lead the Council and in that capacity shall:

(a)  Faithfully carry out all actions taken by the Council at regular or special meetings

(b)  Work with all Council members to establish a vision and set priorities to guide the Council’s work, and be accountable to the Council for ensuring that the Council’s Strategic Plan is developed, updated, and followed;

(c)  Consult with individual Council Members regularly about the Council’s business and ensure that all Council Members have opportunities to engage in the work of the Council; and

(d)  Solicit input from Council Members in establishing and making appointments to all Committees;

3.2.5  The Chairperson shall be responsible for the appointment, supervision, and, at his/her discretion, removal of the Executive Director, including:

(a)  Regular meetings with the Executive Director to ensure full and regular communication and that Members and staff are working together effectively;

(b)  Provision of assistance in implementation of decisions regarding the allocation of staff resources, especially with regard to Members;

(c)  The preparation in consultation with Council Members of an annual performance evaluation of the Executive Director and the review of such evaluation with the Executive Committee and Executive Director; and

(d)  Collaboration and consultation with the Executive Director, Executive Committee and others to identify any emerging issues that may adversely affect the ability of the Council to satisfy its duties and obligations and take actions as appropriate to remedy such issues.

3.2.6  The Chairperson shall carry out all other functions required of him/her by the Authorizing Statute and these bylaws.

Section 3.3 The Vice Chairperson

3.3.1   A Vice Chairperson shall be appointed by the Chairperson.

 3.3.2   The Vice Chairperson shall:

(1) Perform such duties as are assigned by these bylaws or as delegated by the Chairperson;

(2) Serve one year, renewable terms;

(3) Preside, in the absence of the Chairperson, at meetings of the Council and perform such other duties as from time to time may be requested of him/her by the Chairperson.

Section 3.4   The Chairperson may, in a manner consistent with the law, delegate his/her responsibilities to other Council Members and to the Executive Director.

Section 3.5   The Chairperson may designate advisors to assist the Council with approval by simple majority vote of the Council. Advisors may be invited to attend and to participate in Council activities, including those to which other non-members have not been invited in accordance with the Council's regulations and any applicable laws. 


Section 4.1.  Authority and Responsibilities

4.1.1   The Executive Director shall be the chief executive officer of the Council, responsible to, and under the general direction of, the Chairperson. 

4.1.2   The Executive Director shall exercise general supervision, direction, and control of the day-to-day business and management of the Council in accordance with guidance by the Council and all applicable laws, regulations and policies.

4.1.3 The Executive Director shall be responsible for the advancement and implementation of the policies established by the Council, and for the faithful execution of the decisions  and directions of the Council, and is hereby broadly empowered with such executive authority as necessary to faithfully discharge this responsibility. This executive authority shall expressly include, but not be limited to, management of the Council’s approved budget.

4.1.4  The Executive Director shall assist the Chairperson and Council Members in representing the Council, including in its relations with the Congress of the United States, with the Office of Management and Budget, with agencies and departments of the Government, and with all others having business with the Council.

4.1.5   The Executive Director shall be responsible for:

(1)  Coordinating with the Chairperson and any other Council Member designated by the Chairperson in developing an agenda for the regular Council meetings;

(2)  Maintaining policies, practices and procedures for the day-to-day operations of the Council’s office. This management function includes:

(a) develop and maintain an Administrative Procedures Manual and a Financial Procedures Manual to govern Council operations.  The content of the Administrative Procedures Manual shall be at the discretion of the Executive Director, while the Financial Procedures Manual and any substantive amendments thereto must be approved by a vote of the Council.

(b) supervision of the staff including assignment of staff duties, training and provision for the human resources and needs of the staff including reasonable accommodation;

(c) establishing staff performance standards and performing regular  (annual) evaluation to ensure that they are met;

(d) the maintenance of staff and the member office policy manuals to govern the performance of all employees, supervise their compliance with all applicable laws and regulations, and ensure compliance with all applicable legislative and regulatory requirements; and

(e) ensuring the availability of such staff support services and other services including but not limited to reasonable accommodation as are necessary for the Members to perform their duties;

(3)  Hiring technical and professional employees to assist the Council to carry out its duties. Such appointments shall be made in accordance with the provisions of Title 5 of the United States Code, including chapters 51 and 53; all applicable laws and regulations; and Council guidance; and

(4)  the facilitation of Council obligations including the Council's Annual Progress Report and the Performance and Accountability Report.


Section 5.0.  Actions of the Council to Be Undertaken at Meetings

5.0.1 The Council shall develop and maintain a list of Council actions which must be undertaken by formal vote by the Council as described in this Article to be effective and bind the Council. A current and updated copy of this list shall be appended to these bylaws as Appendix B.

5.0.2  Upon formal vote, consistent with Section 6.2.4 below and to the extent allowed by law and these bylaws, including Section 5.0.3, the Council may provide advance delegated authority to the Chairperson or the Executive Committee to act on the Council’s behalf and in the name of the Council without a subsequent vote of the Council, even on matters appearing in the list pursuant to Section 5.0.1, provided such delegation is deemed necessary and appropriate to carry out the interests of the Council.

5.0.3  Under all circumstances, the Council’s vote shall be required to approve the Council’s annual budgets and spending plan and all published research, papers, and formal opinions published in the name of Council Members.

Section 5.1.  Regular Meetings

5.1.1 The Council shall meet at the call of the Chairperson at least four times during each fiscal year. The Chair shall establish, in consultation with the Council, an annual schedule of the dates of these regular meetings prior to the October 1st commencement of each fiscal year, to be changed only for good cause.

5.1.2   Except as otherwise provided herein, any business of the Council may be transacted at any regular or special meeting of the Council.  Meetings of the Council shall be presided over by the Chairperson, or, in the Chairperson’s absence, by the Vice Chairperson.  The Chairperson may designate a member of the Council who, in the absence of the Chairperson and the Vice Chairperson, shall act as Chairperson of the Council for calling and presiding over the meetings or other functions of the Council.

5.1.3 Regular meetings may occur in person, or where permitted by law and approved by vote of the Council, by telephone, or multi-media communications. 

5.1.4 At least two meetings per fiscal year shall be conducted in person.

5.1.5 No Council Member shall be in any way excluded from attendance and full participation in a meeting of the Council regardless of the means or format of the Council meeting, and each Council Member shall be provided with whatever accommodation that Member deems necessary to fully participate in the meeting.

5.1.6 Whenever possible meeting materials and agenda shall be made available, via electronic, multi-media or regular mail version to all Council members no less than ten days in advance of the scheduled regular meetings, in a fully accessible format, and in no event shall meeting materials and agendas be made available in less than seven days.

5.1.7 Minutes of all regular meetings shall be duly recorded in a format and timeframe to be determined by the chair, and where appropriate, published, and distributed in accordance with applicable laws and regulations. Publication by means of posting minutes electronically on the Council website shall be deemed sufficient publication.

5.2.      Special Meetings

5.2.1 Special meetings of the Council may be held at any time in any appropriate manner (with the required notice period) upon call of the Chairperson or at the written request of one third of the Council Members.

5.3.      Conduct of Meetings

5.3.1 All regular and special Council meetings shall be conducted under the direction of the Chairperson in compliance with these bylaws.

5.3.2  In accordance with the "Government in the Sunshine Act" (5 U.S.C. §552b) (the “Sunshine Act”), the deliberations of at least a quorum of Council Members, which determine or result in the joint conduct or disposition of official agency business shall constitute a meeting of the Council, with limited exceptions outlined in the Sunshine Act.

5.3.3 The Council shall develop Procedural Conduct Rules, by which Council meetings shall be governed.  Such Rules shall be adopted and may be amended by a simple majority vote of the Council and a current and updated copy of such rules shall be appended to these bylaws as Appendix C.

5.3.4 Meetings shall be conducted in an orderly, courteous and professional manner, with call to order, free and open discussion, action and adjournment, and all other conduct in general accordance with the Procedural Conduct Rules.

5.3.5 Wherever possible, motions to be presented to the Council at regular meetings shall be included in the published meeting materials; whenever possible, amendments to motions shall be presented in written form to the Chairperson at the meeting, and reflected verbatim in the minutes of the meeting.

5.4.      Notification of Meetings

5.4.1 Members of the Council shall receive at least 10 days advance notice (by regular mail or electronic transmission) of the time and place of regular meetings, and as much notice as practicable of special meetings.

5.4.2   Public Notice of Council meetings will be provided through announcements in the Federal Register in accordance with General Services Administration regulation Part 105-54, Subpart 105-54.3, and through the Council’s website.

5.4.3   Council meetings shall be open to public observation, except where the Council determines that a meeting or a portion thereof should be closed in accordance with the Sunshine Act. A simple majority of the Council members representing a quorum shall determine when a meeting or a portion thereof shall be closed to the public, in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations.

5.4.4   At meetings open to the public, the Council may determine when non-members may participate in its discussion. Observers are not expected to participate in Council meetings unless requested to do so by a Member of the Council, and recognized by the Chairperson. The Council may set aside and prescribe time during its public meetings for submissions and statements from non-members.

Section 5.5.  Quorum

5.5.1 Eight Council Members shall constitute a quorum and any vacancies in the Council shall not affect its power to function.

5.5.2   A Council Member may participate in a meeting through the use of telephone; or other multi-media communication that permits such Council Member to actively participate along with all other Members participating in the meeting. A Council Member participating in a meeting by such means is deemed to be present in person at the meeting for all purposes, including establishment of a quorum and voting, unless and until such Council Member ceases to attend the meeting by these means.

Section 5.6   Proxy Voting

5.6.1   Proxy votes shall be permitted only to the extent permitted by law and when, in the judgment and at the discretion of the Chairperson, it is necessary to execute the business of the Council by such means.

5.6.2   Such proxy votes shall pertain to a written motion presented for action at a Council Meeting, and in the event such motion is amended, the proxy vote shall be null and void and may not be counted for, against, or as abstention to the amended motion.

5.6.3 Separate proxy votes must be presented for each intended written motion.

5.6.4  A proxy must be signed by the voter, and presented by the Chairperson in advance of the meeting, who shall not be construed to allow any Council Member the authority to make judgments on behalf of the absent Council Member.    

Section 5.7 Record of Votes

5.7.1  Votes of the Council shall be officially recorded in a manner determined by the Chairperson or by the Council. Votes shall be taken in the presence of a quorum with the affirmative vote of a simple majority of the members present unless otherwise prescribed by these bylaws or applicable law or regulation.

5.7.2 The action of the Council shall be recorded in the Minutes of the Council meetings, duly noted as to any votes recorded against or any abstentions with regard to each motion presented.            

5.7.3     To the extent not otherwise prohibited by the "Government in the

Sunshine Act" (5 U.S.C. 552b) or other applicable law, voting may take place outside of Council meetings in person, or via telephone, or multimedia and fully accessible method of communication.  When a vote takes place by telephone or multi-media communication each Council member must be capable of active participation with full accessibility. Each Council Member shall state or communicate their vote, and the Chairperson shall announce the vote result, including the number of votes in favor, against and abstaining, and whether a motion has carried.

5.7.4     To the extent not otherwise prohibited by the "Government in the Sunshine Act" (5 U.S.C. 552b) or other applicable law, the Chairperson may call for a vote by electronic means.  In the event that the Chairperson calls for a vote by electronic means, the following procedures shall govern:

(1)  The Chairperson shall circulate by e-mail a written motion;

(2)  Any Council member may propose amendment to the motion, which amendment must be voted upon by e-mail transmission within 24 hours  and after a request by the Chairperson for discussion, which discussion shall be transmitted by e-mail to all Council members;

(3)  The Chairperson shall call for the vote, and publish a deadline by which all votes must be received by the Chairperson, such votes to be sent only to the Chairperson and to NCD staff responsible for the Minutes;

(4)  Upon expiration of the deadline for voting by e-mail, and only upon verification of sufficient votes to meet quorum, the Chairperson shall tally the votes, and publish to the Council the results of the motion, including each vote in favor, against and abstaining from the motion; and

(5)  The Chairperson shall cause the action to be recorded in the Minutes of the next meeting following the action.

Section  5.9  Conflict of Interest

5.9.1   Any Council Member who deems it necessary and prudent to disqualify himself/herself from participation in Council action on any matter in which he/she may have or appear to have a conflict of interest shall advise the Chairperson of his/her disqualification. A Council Member who is so disqualified shall be counted as present at the Council meeting for quorum purposes. A majority of the Council Members present and voting shall be sufficient to constitute Council action on any questions on which one or more Council Members shall have disqualified himself/herself by reason of conflict of interest.

5.9.2   Pursuant to reporting procedures established from time to time by Council resolution, all Members shall, on an annual basis after assuming office, file with the Designated Agency Ethics Official, (“DAEO”) a list of those activities and relationships which might reasonably raise an issue of conflict of interest or the appearance of a conflict of interest with respect to the mandate and activities of the Council. This provision does not replace required financial disclosure reports each Council Member is required to submit to the DAEO.


Section 6.1   Establishment and Appointment of Committees

6.1.1 The Chairperson shall preside over an Executive Committee and appoint Chairpersons and Members to three Standing Committees: an Audit & Finance Committee, Policy Development & Program Evaluation Committee, and Governance & Planning Committee. The Chairperson may also establish ad hoc committees as deemed necessary based upon the priorities set forth by the Council or as otherwise deemed in the interests of the Council by the Chairperson. Each Standing Committee shall develop and maintain a Charter that must be approved by the Council by majority vote and be reviewed by the Council for modifications and approved at least once every three years. Each committee may recommend amendments to their respective Charters for approval by the Council at any time. Ad hoc committees shall operate at the direction of the Chairperson and are not required to develop a formal Charter.

6.1.2   The Chairperson shall appoint the Chairpersons and members of each Standing Committee and each ad hoc committee from within the Council's membership. The terms of Committee appointments on the Executive Committee and each Standing Committee shall coincide with the fiscal year, except that the Chairperson may appoint new leadership and membership at any time. The Standing Committee Members may be reappointed by the Chairperson. The terms of Committee appointments for ad hoc committees shall be established on a case-by-case basis and shall expire at the close of each fiscal year unless extended by the Chairperson.

6.1.3   The Chairperson may consult with the Council Members and/or the Executive Director about the appointment and reappointment of Chairpersons and Members of the Standing Committees and ad hoc committees. The Chairperson shall ensure that committee Chairpersons and Members are appointed to help achieve the Council’s statutory mandate in the most effective and efficient manner and to afford meaningful opportunities for all Council Members to contribute to the Council’s affairs. In general, Members shall serve as Chairpersons of Standing Committees on a rotating basis as the Chairperson determines best serves the Council’s mission. The Chairperson shall coordinate with the Executive Director regarding staff participation in Council committees.

Section 6.2 Executive Committee

6.2.0 The Executive Committee shall:

1) help coordinate all functions of the Council and Council Committees along with the Executive Director as provided in Section 6.2.3;

2) exercise any expressly delegated authority or implied implementation authority as specified in Section 6.2.4; and

3) exercise limited authority to bind the Council where the contemplated action is consistent with the Council’s general direction as provided in 6.2.5.

The Executive Committee shall meet at the call of the Chairperson or a majority of the members of the Executive Committee.

6.2.1 Members of the Executive Committee shall consist of the Chairperson of the Council; the Vice Chairperson of the Council; the Chairperson of the Audit & Finance Committee; the Chairperson of the Policy Development & Program Evaluation Committee; and the Chairperson of the Governance & Planning Committee. The Chairperson of the Council shall serve as the Chairperson of the Executive Committee, except that the Vice Chairperson of the Council shall serve as Chairperson of the Executive Committee in the absence of the Chairperson of the Council.

6.2.2  While the Executive Committee should aspire to consensus, the business of the Executive Committee may be conducted by majority vote except as otherwise indicated herein. Such vote may be taken in person, telephonically, or by electronic or multi-media communication, and shall be recorded in the Executive Committee Minutes.

6.2.3 Coordination. The primary purpose of Executive Committee meetings is to provide an effective vehicle for its members to coordinate their respective activities and responsibilities among each other and to ensure the full communication and dissemination of information about these activities to Council Members, the Executive Director and staff. The Executive Committee shall work with the Executive Director to plan for each Council meeting, including making decisions about what priority matters require the Council’s attention or action and the manner in which such matters should be deliberated.

6.2.4.  Exercise of Expressly Delegated Authority and General Implementation Authority.  The Executive Committee shall faithfully execute any advance, delegated authority granted to it by the Council at a Council meeting.  Without limitation on any authority delegated by the Council by any mechanism including these Bylaws to a) the Chairperson b) the Executive Director, or c) any other parties appropriately empowered by the Council, the Executive Committee shall take or initiate such actions as may be necessary to effectively implement actions taken by the Council at regularly scheduled or special meetings of the Council. This delegated authority shall encompass such actions as may be required to implement the programs or policies adopted at a Council meeting, as well as any powers required to facilitate the administration of the Council.  This section shall not be construed to grant any authority to the Executive Committee to bind the Council beyond the direction of the Council as may be reasonably inferred from Council meetings.  This section should not be construed as granting Executive Committee oversight of, or in any way governing the exercise by, the Executive Director of such powers and responsibilities expressly or implicitly delegated to that position.

6.2.5.  Binding Actions in the name of the Council Absent Specific Direction or Delegation from the Council. In general, the Executive Committee shall not take action beyond Sections 6.2.3 and 6.2.4 and should not function as a routine decision-making body in lieu of the full Council. There will nonetheless arise, on occasion, time-sensitive situations in which it may be in the best interests of the Council to take swift action but where it is impractical or impossible to convene a quorum of the Council before such action must be taken to be effective. This section expressly authorizes the Executive Committee to take actions that bind the Council in time-sensitive situations, but only to the extent the Executive Committee makes an informed judgment that taking such action is consistent with the Council’s priorities and general direction, and conforms with section below.  When such situations arise, the Executive Committee shall first make a preliminary determination as to whether or not the proposed action commends full deliberation at a meeting of the Council irrespective of the preference to act swiftly. In general, the Executive Committee shall not take actions under this section, 6.2.5, unless a) time-sensitive action is required; and b) such action could not reasonably be interpreted by Council Members to bind the Council to a policy position or other action not previously encompassed in or readily extrapolated from the Council’s prior deliberations or publications, or otherwise exceed the scope of actions reasonably contemplated by the Council as falling within this authority.  A determination by the Executive Committee pursuant to and that action under this section is warranted requires concurrence of at least 4 members of the Executive Committee.  When the Executive Committee has determined taking an action to bind the Council under this section is warranted, the Executive Committee shall give notice of the action contemplated to the full Council and consult with such individual Council Members or established Committees as are determined to have significant interest or expertise for guidance about the substantive action to be taken.  Upon the decision of 4 or more members of the Executive Committee to invoke the authority given to the committee under this Section, a simple majority of the Executive Committee shall be sufficient to take a specific action. Actions taken pursuant to this Section bear the authority of the full Council because any such actions must, by definition, be consistent with Council action taken at a Council Meeting. The Council may establish and amend from time to time specific guidelines for exercise of this authority, including specific examples of types of actions that may or may not be permitted under this Section. The Council may also adopt and maintain a list of principled positions on disability policy, with which any actions taken under this Section must be consistent. A current and updated copy of such guidelines shall be appended to these bylaws as Appendix D

6.2.6 Notice. Minutes shall be disseminated to the full Council in a sufficiently timely manner to reflect the goals of transparency and quick dissemination to the Council. Notwithstanding the Executive Committee’s obligation to provide timely minutes of Executive Committee meetings, in order to balance the need for prompt action with the need for notice to and potential deliberation by the full Council, the Chairperson of the Council or the Chairperson's designee shall circulate via electronic mail a brief record of any actions taken by the Executive Committee pursuant Sections 6.2.4 or 6.2.5 (hereinafter an “Action Record”) and, if no such actions were taken, to so specify.  The Chairperson shall establish specific guidelines about the time frame within which Executive Committee Minutes and an Action Record must be disseminated and what types of actions must be included in Action Record if such actions are taken by the Executive Committee.

6.2.7  Ultra Vires Exercise of Power. Any and all Council powers not expressly delegated by the Council to the Executive Committee remain vested with the full Council, or any other individual to whom the Council has delegated such power.  If five (5) or more members of the Council object to any action of the Executive Committee on the ground that it has exceeded the lawful delegation of power to the Executive Committee in these bylaws or by operation of any applicable law or regulation, such action shall be stayed to the maximum extent feasible until a quorum of the Council is convened. However, any action taken by the Executive Committee pursuant to these Bylaws shall be effective whenever so specified and is not dependent on documented absence of objection. The Executive Committee shall not seek to avoid scrutiny by hastening implementation before any reasonable objection can be registered.

Section 6.3.  Audit and Finance Committee

6.3.1 There shall be an Audit and Finance Committee consisting of at least three Council Members. The Chairperson of the Council shall select the Committee Chairperson and Council Members to serve on the Audit and Finance Committee.

6.3.2 The Audit and Finance Committee role and powers shall be defined in the Audit and Finance Committee charter, to be adopted by the Audit and Finance Committee and approved by the Council. The Audit and Finance Committee shall be responsible for:

(1) reporting to the Council at the regular meetings any updates or actions taken during the period between regular meetings; and

(2) providing assistance to the Council in fulfilling its accounting and reporting oversight responsibilities, which include:

(a) reviewing and making recommendations on the financial policies, procedures, reports and records of the Council, including review of the annual budget submissions to the Office of Management and Budget and Congress;

(b) reviewing the Performance and Accountability Report; and

(c) providing oversight regarding the Council’s independent accountants.

Section 6.4.  Policy Development and Program Evaluation Committee

6.4.1 There shall be a Policy Development and Program Evaluation Committee (“PDPE”) consisting of at least five Council members. The Chairperson of the Council shall select the Committee Chairperson and Council Members to serve on the PDPE.                             

6.4.2 The PDPE Committee role and powers shall be defined in the PDPE charter, to be adopted by the PDPE Committee and approved by the Council. The PDPE Committee shall be responsible for:

(1) reporting to the Council at the regular meetings any updates or actions taken;

(2) providing updates to the Executive Committee at its regular meetings;

(3) reviewing and guiding development of the Council’s Annual Progress Report;

(4) identifying potential policy related matters for the Council to develop and report upon; and

(5) development of and monitoring progress of the agency’s programmatic/policy goals and operations to ensure alignment with the Council’s statute and strategic plan.

(6) working with Council members and staff to craft recommendations on policy development and implementation for Congress and Federal partners. 

Section 6.5. Governance and Planning Committee

6.5.1 There shall be a Governance and Planning Committee (GPC), consisting of at least three Council members. The Chairperson of the Council shall select the Committee Chairperson and Council Members to serve on the GPC.

6.5.2 The Governance and Planning Committee role and powers shall be defined in the GPC charter adopted by the GPC and approved by the Council.  The GPC shall be responsible for: 

(1) ensuring effectiveness of Council governing documents and exercising primary stewardship over these Bylaws, including, but not limited to:

(a) performing annual and as needed, more frequent evaluation of these Bylaws;

(b) recommending any indicated desirable changes in the Bylaws to the Council for a vote;

(c) maintaining the official copy of the Bylaws, and

(d) maintaining a record of any amendments or versions since their initial adoption and a record of any votes on said versions or amendments.

(2) drafting of the policies and procedures governing the operation of the Council and the activities of the Members to maximize efficiency, effectiveness, transparency and participation;

(3) implementing of any Governance policy or procedure adopted by the Council, including to the Strategic Plan, and conducting periodic review to ensure that all policies and procedures are up-to-date;

(4) overseeing compliance and resolving ambiguities in implementation of policies at the request of Members or staff, and

(5) working with Staff as liaison to Council on record keeping and meeting planning activities        


Section 7.1.  Prohibition Against Political Activity

Section 7.1.1  No Member, director, employee, or any other person shall, on behalf of the Council, take a position for or against any political party or candidate for political office. Nothing in this section shall preclude the right of an individual to express his opinion in his private capacity or in a public capacity separate and distinct from his or her position with the Council.

Section 7.1.2 No political test or political qualification may be used in selecting, appointing, promoting, or making any other personnel action with respect to any Council Member, director, employee, or agent.


Section 8.1 The Council shall have a corporate seal in a form adopted by the Council.


Section 9.1 Any Council Member may propose amendments to these bylaws, by written submission to the Council not less than 10 days prior to a meeting of the Council.

Section 9.2 Any such proposed amendment must be offered in a motion to amend at a Council Meeting. A motion to amend these bylaws shall carry only if supported by a recorded vote of the greater of: 1) nine Members, or 2) two thirds of those Council Members providing a quorum and casting a vote upon the motion.


Section 10.1 To the maximum extent possible, the language of these bylaws shall be interpreted as consistent with the statutory authorization, and any and all other laws and regulations governing the Council. To the extent that anything within these bylaws is found to be inconsistent with said laws and regulations as they may from time to time be amended, any court of competent jurisdiction, agency or other body interpreting or applying these bylaws shall modify the conflicting language to the minimum extent necessary to ensure compliance with the law, and any language of these bylaws not expressly conflicting with the amended statute or regulation will remain in full force and effect.

Section 10.2 Any modification by administrative or court order of these bylaws shall be considered by the Council within a reasonable period of time to amend these bylaws to be consistent with any amended statute, regulation or court order.


Adopted:       November 14, 1980
Adopted:       September 21, 1981
Adopted:       December 14, 1982
Adopted:       August 6, 1984
Adopted:       November 30, 1988
Adopted:      November 5, 1991
Adopted:      March 11, 1993
Adopted:      July 26, 1995
Adopted:       October 10, 1996
Adopted:       November 5, 2001
Adopted:       July 14, 2008
Adopted:       June 20, 2011
Revised and Restated: July 26, 2012
Adopted:       April 30, 2013

Bylaws Appendix A: NCD Authorizing Statute

Bylaws Appendix B: Matters on Which a Quorum and Vote of the Council Is Required

The National Council on Disability recognizes that not every routine activity undertaken by individual Staff or Members rises to the level of agency action which must be subject to a majority vote of a quorum of the Council.  The following are a list of actions which shall require a vote of the Council.  Nothing on this list precludes undertaking of other permitted actions by vote of the Council if so desired by the Members or the Chair.

  1. The approval and dissemination of any new Report, White Paper, Policy Memo, Toolkit or any other formal document intended to be made publicly available setting out a new position of the National Council on Disability.
  2. Any new projects or project proposals which require the expenditure of at least $15,000 of Council funds or significant staff time.
  3. Any new policy proposed by the Governance and Planning Committee to govern the operations of the Council.
  4. The annual budget of the Council, and any substantial changes thereto, except that the requirement of a vote for changes to the budget may be suspended consistent with the powers of the Executive Committee in section 6.2.5 of these Bylaws.
  5. Consistent with these bylaws, changes to appendices B, C, and D of these bylaws.


Bylaws Appendix C: Procedural Conduct Rules

General Comments

The rules for conducting meetings of the National Council on Disability (Council) shall be reviewed and revised by the end of each calendar year beginning  with calendar year 2012. Unless there are no changes, Council Members shall be provided a current copy of  the Meeting  Rules no later than January 30th of each year.

These rules shall apply for the formal meetings of the Council with no consideration to the type, location or number of such meetings.

Meeting notifications should follow all provisions of the “Government in Sunshine Act” (Sunshine Act). All Council Members shall be provided a copy of the Sunshine Act as well as the current copy of the NCD Meeting Rules as part of Council Member orientation.


All meeting agendas shall include the following:

  • meeting location, schedule and name of a contact person for additional information.
  • Introductions
  • Acceptance of Minutes
  • Chairpersons Report
  • Executive Directors Report
  • Committee Reports (Permanent and AdHoc) as necessary
  • Any Additional Business
  • Public Comment


The Chairperson of the Council or his designee shall preside over the meeting. If the Chair is absent and has not designated someone then the Vice-Chair shall preside.


The presence of a quorum shall be determined as provided in NCD’s statutory authorization and bylaws.

Conducting Business

As a small federal agency, the Council may conduct business and make decisions based upon consensus as well as a formal voting process. Actions proposed to be taken by the Council should be made as early as possible and appropriate background material shall be provided to each Council member. 

Decision by Consensus

The Chair or any Member may bring an action issue up for discussion of the full Council. If each Member present at the meeting has an opportunity to speak to the issue and it appears that there is agreement, the Chair may state the action to be taken and indicate that there appears to be consensus on the part of the Council. If there is no objection raised, then the action may be initiated by a consensus of the Council. The minutes shall reflect that the action taken was done so with the Consensus of the Council.


Wherever possible, motions to be presented to the Council at regular meetings shall be included in the published meeting materials.  When possible, amendments to motions shall be presented in written form to the Chairperson at the meeting, and reflected verbatim in the minutes of the meeting.

Decision by Motion –

  • If Consensus is unlikely, a motion may be made to the Council by any Member of the Council.    The following types of motions will be allowed.

a. Main Motion – proposal or resolution by a member that the Council take a certain action or express a certain view. A motion is considered out of order if it conflicts with the Statute or bylaws of the Council.

b. Friendly Amendment – If a member seeks a small (non-substantive) change to the motion, a friendly amendment may be proposed. The change must be agreed to by the maker of the Motion.

c. Only one motion may be considered at a time and must be disposed of before another main motion may be considered

d.   Motion to Lay on the Table – a motion to lay aside a pending question for an indefinite amount of time

e.   Motion to Take from the Table – a motion enabling the Council to resume consideration of a previously tabled item

f.   Point of Order – to object to a proceeding as being in conflict with the rules of procedure. The chair must recognize the point

  • Action on the Motion

a. The Chairperson will state the motion and ask for a section.

b. The Chairperson will then ask for discussion.

c.  The Chairperson must allow time for discussion of the motion. Each Council Member must be given the opportunity to comment on the motion.

d. The Chairperson may determine when adequate time has been allowed for discussion and may then ask for a vote on the motion.

e. The motion will be re-stated with any friendly amendments included and a vote will be taken.

f.  All votes will be taken by roll call vote conducted by the Chairperson.

g. A yes vote by a simple majority of those attending the meeting shall be needed to pass a motion.

h. The Minutes shall reflect the final Motion wording and action taken on the motion by the Council. 

Proxy Voting

Proxy votes shall be permitted only to the extent permitted by law and when, in the judgment of the Chairperson, it is necessary to execute the business of the Council by such means.

Such proxy votes shall pertain to a written motion presented for action at a Council meeting, and in the event such motion is amended, the proxy vote shall be null and void and may not be counted for, against, or as abstention to the amended motion.

Separate proxy votes must be presented for each intended written motion.

A proxy must be signed by the voter, and presented by the Chairperson in advance of the meeting, who shall not be construed to allow any Council Member the authority to make judgments on behalf of the absent Member.    

Public Comment

The Chairperson (or designee) will conduct a public comment session at each scheduled meeting of the Council. Individuals will be asked to sign-up  to make public comment. Written comments will be made part of the minutes. The Chairperson may limit the time for comment based upon number or requests or the length of the planned agenda.


One Member will be designated by the Chairperson as the Parliamentarian. TheParliamentarian will come to each meeting with a copy of these rules and will be prepared to determine whether business is being handled in accordance with, or in violation of, these rules. If the Parliamentarian cannot attend a meeting, he or she may appoint a replacement for that meeting.


Bylaws Appendix D: Guiding Principles of the National Council on Disability

On Matters of Disability Policy.

In view of the robust strategic plan and comprehensive policy roadmap currently in place for the Council, the Council has chosen not to currently exercise the permissive authority to establish this appendix under the bylaws.


National Council on Disability • 1331 F Street, NW, Suite 850 • Washington, DC 20004