Policies and Procedures Manual - Section 3 -Association Governance

Association Governance


Advertising

Advertising Policy

Original Adoption:  November 1993
Revision:  March 2016

Definitions

“Advertise,” “Advertising” and/or “Advertisement” shall include all paid advertising or promotional opportunities offered by NCRA, whether in print or online, including any and all display advertising, classified advertising, event and other sponsorships, advertising inserts, flyers, or promotional items, etc.

“Advertiser” shall include any individual or entity purchasing Advertising from NCRA, regardless of whether they are eligible for or hold NCRA membership.

  1. No advertisement may be false, misleading, deceptive, in poor taste, or contrary to the purposes and objectives of NCRA.  NCRA will not publish or allow Advertisements that indicate a preference in terms of race, color, sex, national origin, age, disability, pregnancy, marital status, religion, sexual orientation, political affiliation, or that may otherwise be offensive or distasteful.  All such decisions shall be made in NCRA’s sole discretion.
  2. Although the NCRA certifications and their abbreviations are personal certifications, the phrase “includes RPRs” or “includes Registered Professional Reporters” may be used by a court reporting/captioning entity in its Advertisements if a majority of the court reporters/captioners employed or independently contracted by said entity hold said certification.  This policy shall equally apply to other NCRA designations.
  3. Only designations currently conferred by NCRA, as well as designations for a court reporter/captioner that are officially recognized by the state in which the court reporter/captioner is licensed to practice, may be used to refer to the services or skills of a court reporter/captioner in an Advertisement. This Advertising Policy is not intended to prohibit or restrict the use of academic degrees or other professional designations unrelated to court reporting/captioning skills or services in Advertisements.
  4. A court reporting/captioning entity may Advertise its stenographic services if a majority of the court reporters/captioners employed or independently contracted by the entity are members in good standing of NCRA and are actively engaged in providing stenographic services.
  5. A copy of this Advertising Policy and the NCRA Code of Professional Ethics shall be given to each individual or entity that submits an Advertisement. Each Advertiser must represent and agree in writing that it supports the purposes and objectives of NCRA and will be bound by the NCRA Code of Professional Ethics, if applicable to the Advertiser’s business.  Each Advertiser agrees to provide, upon request, satisfactory proof that the above requirements are satisfied.  
  6. NCRA may reject or terminate any Advertising from any individual or entity whose activities are contrary to the purposes and objectives of NCRA or violate the NCRA Code of Professional Ethics, if applicable to the Advertiser’s business.\

Advertising Complaint Process: Alleged Code of Ethics Violations

Original Adoption: June 2011
Revision: July 2015

Definitions

“Advertise,” “Advertising” and/or “Advertisement shall include all paid advertising or promotional opportunities offered by NCRA, whether in print or online, including any and all display advertising, classified advertising, event and other sponsorships, advertising inserts, flyers, or promotional items, etc.

“Advertiser” shall include any individual or entity purchasing Advertising from NCRA, regardless of whether they are eligible for or hold NCRA membership.

Advertising Agreements and Scope

All NCRA Advertising agreements shall include an affirmative agreement by the Advertiser that it supports the purposes and objectives of NCRA and will comply with the NCRA Code of Professional Ethics, if applicable to the Advertiser’s business, as a condition for Advertising.

Actions in violation of COPE need not be apparent or referenced in the content of the Advertising itself to form a basis for complaint.  A proven violation of COPE by the Advertiser is sufficient for disciplinary action, including limitations on Advertising privileges, regardless of whether the violative behavior is referenced or discussed in the content of the Advertisement.   

Complaints of violations of COPE by the Advertiser will only be considered for activities occurring from the time of signing the Advertising agreement forward.  Complaints based on past activities without evidence that these violative practices have continued will be dismissed.

Complaint Process

The NCRA Advertising Complaint Process provides the same due process and evidentiary standards as the current COPE process:

Step 1:  A formal, written complaint that the advertiser has violated the Code as well as documentary evidence substantiating the claim must be filed with the Committee on Professional Ethics.  
Step 2:  The accused entity will have the opportunity to respond to the allegations.
Step 3:  The Committee on Professional Ethics will then consider the merits of the allegation and issue a written finding.
Step 4:  Either party has the right to appeal the Committee on Professional Ethics’ decision to the NCRA Board of Directors.
Step 5:  The decision of the NCRA Board of Directors on any appeal is final.

Sanctions

If an Advertiser is held in violation of the Code, based upon the severity of the violation, sanctions shall include:

•    A permanent or temporary loss of NCRA Advertising privileges;
•    A cautionary letter, warning or statement of advice; or
•    A reprimand.

Advertising privileges normally shall not be restricted or impinged upon unless a formal complaint has been filed and a final finding of violation has been made.  That is, Advertisers usually may continue to advertise while a complaint is pending.  Advertising privileges may be suspended pending the outcome of a complaint; however, in situations where the Executive Director and CEO of NCRA, in consultation with NCRA’s President and legal counsel, determine in their discretion that the nature of the proposed violation is so blatant and serious that immediate action is required.   

Initial Implementation

Complaints against Advertisers shall only be considered for actions in violations of COPE occurring on or after December 28, 2015.  

Vendors/Suppliers Advertising

Original Adoption:  March 1993
Revsion: N/A

Vendors/suppliers who compete with vendors/suppliers of programs that NCRA endorses may advertise in NCRA publications and exhibit at NCRA meetings and conventions.

 

Board of Directors

Endorsement Activities & Guidelines for Campaigning While on Rep Assignments

Original Adoption:  July 2005
Revision: August 2016

Board Endorsement Activities

Individual board members are encouraged to submit names of highly qualified persons to be forwarded to the nominating committee for consideration as possible candidates for the Board of Directors. Board members shall limit submissions to the name of the potential candidate only. The nominating committee should clearly understand those names are not to be given any special weight or consideration in their deliberations.  Board members are not allowed to submit recommendations for Distinguished Service Award, NCRA Fellows, or NCRF Trustees.

Excerpt from Election Procedures

It is not appropriate or permissible for individual board members to endorse or campaign on behalf of candidates for contested elections, with the sole exception that sitting directors or officers who are themselves candidates for office may campaign on their own behalf or jointly with other candidates, if they so choose.

This restriction against publicly endorsing candidates does not restrict an individual director or officer from expressing his or her private views on candidates in any private conversation.  It is the responsibility of the officer or director to ensure that any such private comments are clearly identified as expressing his or her personal opinion alone and that they do not reflect an official position of the Board or association.

In order to avoid having any expression of personal opinion misunderstood, if a director or officer is asked about candidate preferences in a public setting (for example, while making a presentation at a state association meeting), that board member or officer shall limit their response to re-stating the standing board policy, which prohibits them from endorsing candidates in contested elections.

Guidelines for Campaigning While on Rep Assignments

Revision: November 2011

Original Adoption:  March 2011

When a director or officer who is a candidate in a contested election is attending a meeting at NCRA’s expense and representing the association in an official capacity (e.g., is the NCRA rep at an affiliated association meeting), the following guidelines on engaging in campaign activities apply:

Active campaigning is NOT permissible. Active campaigning includes:

  •  Incorporating campaign messages into formal presentations to the convention.
  • Wearing buttons or hats or other campaign paraphernalia containing campaign messages.
  • Personally and directly distributing campaign materials (flyers, buttons, etc.) during state convention events (i.e., personally handing out flyers or buttons at a state convention reception or seminar).

Passive campaigning IS permissible, provided it is conducted with common sense and discretion to distance and separate from your roles as a candidate and as an official representative doing NCRA business.  You are representing the association; this is not a campaigning opportunity.

Permissible, passive campaigning includes:

  • Distributing campaign material (flyers, buttons, etc.) wherever other flyers or promotional literature are being distributed (e.g., at literature tables or as tote bag inserts, whether paid or complimentary, if such distribution options are provided by the convention organizers).
  • Allowing posters to be displayed in areas provided for this purpose by the convention organizers or paid advertising where provided by the state association.
  • If publicly asked, as a candidate, for your position on an issue, it is preferable to defer an answer to a private conversation, preferably after the convention. (e.g., “Give me your phone number and a convenient time, and I would be happy to call you next week, when I am not on the clock for NCRA.”)

These restrictions do NOT apply to candidates in contested elections (including candidates currently serving as an NCRA officer or director) who are attending the meeting in an individual capacity and at their own expense (i.e., not as the official NCRA rep to a state convention.)

Eligibility

Revision: N/A
Original Adoption:  January 2010

Article VI, Section 2, of the Constitution and Bylaws, which states in part: “No elected officer shall serve for more than one full term in the same office;…” precludes a previous  incumbent from again seeking election to an office that he or she has already held.

Listserv Policy and Procedures

Revision: March 2018
Original Adoption:  December 2015

Current members of the Board of Directors may elect to have read-only access to NCRA listservs which are not restricted by the nature of the committee (i.e. restricted listservs including, but not limited to, Nominating Committee, COPE, DSA, CAPR).

  1. All members of the NCRA Board of Directors shall be included on the NCRA Board listserv.
  2. The president, president-elect, and CEO of the NCRA Board of Directors shall have access to all allowable listservs, with the ability to comment when necessary.
  3. The Board liaison to a specific committee shall automatically be included on that committee’s listserv to assist and reply when necessary.
  4. Each member of the Board of Directors may elect to have read-only access to additional allowable listservs for informational and monitoring purposes only.
  5. Inclusion on a listserv shall be read-only, with the exception of the Board listserv and the committee listserv for which a Board member is the liaison.
  6. If a Board member wishes to comment on a listserv thread, that comment shall be sent directly to the president, with a copy to the Executive Director and staff liaison for that particular committee, for their review and determination whether the comment should be forwarded.
  7. Contacting committee members relating to a listserv discussion off listserv (privately) by Board members who have read-only access is not permitted.
  8. Discussions contained within a listserv thread shall not be disseminated by a Board member to a non-Board member for any purpose without the preapproval of the president.

Board Speaking Engagements Other Than Delegated Representative Assignments

Revision: N/A
Original Adoption:  March 2016
  1. An NCRA Board member may accept (unpaid except for direct expenses) speaking engagements other than delegated representative assignments. The Board member shall inform the sitting President of the engagement.
  2. Any subject matter in a speaking engagement by an NCRA Board member, whether in an official capacity or not, must adhere to the Board Standards of Ethical Conduct, including the NCRA Conflict of Interest policy referenced therein, and the NCRA Mission Statement.

Officer/Director Term Transition   

Revision: N/A
Original Adoption:  November 2010

INCOMING OFFICERS AND DIRECTORS (candidates not currently serving on the Board)

  1. Each Director and Officer’s term in office begins:
  • Upon adjournment of the Business Meeting at which they are elected  (if no office or position is subject to balloting during that year’s elections); or
  • At the conclusion of balloting and notification on the NCRA website of election results (if there are any contested positions for which there is more than one candidate).

2.  Incoming officers/directors should begin to wear their NCRA badge identifying themselves as an officer or director at official convention events:

  • Starting with the Opening Reception, if no office or position was subject to balloting during that year’s elections; or
  • Starting with the Premier Session, if there were any contested positions for which there was more than one candidate and balloting was conducted.

3. Participation in convention events

a)    Board events held at convention prior to the official start of an officer or director’s term:  

i)    Participation of incoming officers/directors and candidates in the following activities is at the discretion of the incoming President:

(1)    any optional,  pre-convention board social activity;
(2)    any informal Board meetings held prior to Friday installation; and
(3)    the Board Development Session held in conjunction with the Preconvention Board Meeting.  

ii)    Attendance by incoming officers/directors in uncontested elections  at the following convention meetings is mandatory:

(1)    New Board Orientation
(2)    Preconvention Board Meeting
(3)    State Leaders  Seminar
(4)    NCSA Opening Reception
(5)    Annual Business Meeting
(6)    NCSA Annual Meeting

iii)    Attendance by incoming officers/directors in contested elections  at the following convention meetings is optional:

(1)    New Board Orientation
(2)    Preconvention Board Meeting
(3)    State Leaders  Seminar
(4)    NCSA Opening Reception
(5)    Annual Business Meeting
(6)    NCSA Annual Meeting


b)    Board events held at convention after the official start of an officer or director’s term include the following and participation is mandatory:

i)    Premier Session/Installation
ii)    Awards Luncheon
iii)    Students Meet the Board (if held)
iv)    Postconvention Board Meeting
v)    VIP reception and Closing Party

4.    Incoming officers/directors will be added to Board intranet and listserv within one week following convention.


Outgoing officers and directors

1)    Each outgoing Directors’ or Officers’ term in office ends:

•    At the close of the Business Meeting (if no office or position is contested);
•    At the close of balloting (if there are positions for which there is more than one candidate)

2)    Outgoing officers/directors should stop wearing their NCRA badge identifying themselves as an officer or director at official convention events:

•    Starting with the Opening Reception, if no office or position was subject to balloting during that year’s elections: or
•    Starting with the Premier Session, if there were any contested positions for which there was more than one candidate and balloting was conducted.

3)    Attendance at the following convention meetings is mandatory:

•    New Board Orientation
•    Preconvention Board Meeting
•    State Leaders Seminar
•    NCSA  Reception
•    NCSA Annual Meeting
•    Annual Business Meeting
•    First Timers Reception (if held)
•    Opening Reception
•    Awards Luncheon

4)    Outgoing officers and directors (who receive NCRA reimbursement for their attendance at convention), although they have no official duties or assignments starting with the Premier Session morning,  are expected to remain active and visible for the duration of the convention.   

5)    Outgoing officers and directors will be removed from the Board intranet and listserv within one week following convention.

Firm Owners Executive Conference

Original Adoption:  November 2017
Revision: N/A

The president and president-elect shall attend the Firm Owners Executive Conference with meeting-related expenses being reimbursable.

Board Meetings    

Original Adoption:  November 2017
Revision: N/A

Every Board Meeting will end with an executive session.

Executive Committee Minutes

Original Adoption:  March 2018
Revision: N/A

The Board of Directors will be provided a detailed summary of all discussions conducted by and between the Executive Committee within 72 hours of the conclusion of any meeting.

Confidentiality

Original Adoption:  November 2006
Revision: June 2013

All committee members are required to sign a Confidentiality Agreement.  Further, committees are charged with documenting their discussions as it relates to confidentiality in the minutes of the first meeting and/or conference call each year.

This is not a blanket requirement that all information discussed by a committee must be treated as confidential; rather, this is an affirmative obligation on all committees, task forces, etc., to consider, identify and define such categories of information likely to come to their attention in the course of conducting their official duties which are legitimately sensitive and must be protected. Committee and task force members are also reminded that committee minutes constitute the official record of committee actions.

I hereby affirm that I will not discuss or in any manner communicate confidential information that I may encounter while transacting business on behalf of the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) to persons not on this committee unless they are specifically employed by NCRA to assist with such matters or are current members of the NCRA Board of Directors.

If applicable [testing-related committees]:  

Further, I agree not to participate in the development or presentation of any materials, outlines, tests, or courses specifically designed to prepare candidates for any NCRA national certification examination during my term of service and for at least three years after my term of service is concluded. I also agree not to take any test for a period of three years after serving on the committee.
This statement does not preclude the normal faculty activities of academic instruction.

If applicable [committees related to work products produced]:

Further, I understand that any works I may prepare, either by myself or with other members of the Committee, are irrevocably assigned to NCRA and shall remain NCRA’s property.  All copyright interests of such works are considered “works made for hire” and are the sole property of NCRA.

Election Procedures

Original Adoption:  November 1999
Revision: November 2011

Candidate Rights and Benefits

All candidates, whether nominated by the Nominating Committee process or by petition, will have the same general rights and benefits.

As required by the Constitution and Bylaws, the order of names on any ballot or other listing of candidates published by NCRA shall be determined by lot. Such listings shall not designate whether the nomination originated from the Nominating Committee or from member petition.

It is not appropriate or permissible for individual board members to endorse or campaign on behalf of candidates for contested elections, with the sole exception that sitting directors or officers who are themselves candidates for office may campaign on their own behalf or jointly with other candidates, if they so choose.

This restriction against publicly endorsing candidates does not restrict an individual director or officer from expressing his or her private views on candidates in any private conversation.  It is the responsibility of the officer or director to ensure that any such private comments are clearly identified as expressing his or her personal opinion alone and that they do not reflect an official position of the Board or association.

In order to avoid having any expression of personal opinion misunderstood, if a director or officer is asked about candidate preferences in a public setting (for example, while making a presentation at a state association meeting), that board member or officer shall limit their response to re-stating the standing board policy, which prohibits them from endorsing candidates in contested elections.

II.  Election Committee

  • In any election cycle in which there are contested elections, an Election Committee shall be appointed and responsible for oversight of the election process.
  • The President shall appoint an Election Committee Chair and up to four members, subject to approval of the Board.  
  • The committee shall be the authority on interpretation of these election procedures.  Candidates shall have the right of immediate appeal of any decision of the Election Committee to the Board of Directors

III.  Services to Candidates

NCRA will provide the following services to each candidate:

  • NCRA will include the candidate in the published slate of candidates posted on a section of the NCRA Web site devoted to election information.
    • Candidates nominated by the Nominating Committee shall have their names posted as soon as practicable after the Nominating Committee completes preparation of its slate.
    • Candidates nominated by petition shall have their names posted as soon as practicable after receipt and verification of the nominating petition.  
  • Biographical material on candidates published in the JCR and on the elections page of the Website shall be in a standard format, length and style.
    • The length shall be no more than 200 words.
    • Content shall be limited to biographical info and professional history.  No overt campaigning messages or links to campaign materials shall be included.
    • Candidates should refer to the “Elections” section of the NCRA Website [link] for the elections and nominations timeline for the year.  This listing includes:
      • The date the Nominating Committee published its slate.
      • The deadline for contribution of photo and bio materials in order to allow for publication in JCR prior to the election.
  • Candidates should be aware that, as required by the Constitution and Bylaws, nominations remain open 60 days after publication of the Nominating Committee slate. Written nominations must be received within 60 days after publication of the Nominating Committee slate.
  • Due to the deadline schedule for the JCR, candidates should be aware that it may be impossible for candidates nominated after the slate announcement, but before the expiration of the 60-day window for additional nominations, to have their biographies published in the June issue of the magazine; however, they will make the July magazine, as well as be promptly posted on the Web.
  • All individuals considered by the Nominating Committee must complete a questionnaire created by the committee. Candidates nominated by petition who were not previously considered by the Nominating Committee shall be required to complete the same application materials required of candidates who were considered by the Nominating Committee. If there is more than one candidate for an office, both responses will be published to the NCRA Website. The questionnaires will be removed immediately after the election.
  • No later than two weeks prior to the election, each candidate may provide NCRA with an “electronic brochure/flyer” they wish to make available to the membership.  Ten days prior to the date of the election, NCRA will distribute a single e-mail to all Voting Members who have registered an email address with NCRA.  That e-mail will include a full list of all candidates (by office) including:  1) the candidate’s name 2) the candidate’s photo and 3) a link to the candidate’s electronic brochure.
  • NCRA will post biographical information prepared by the candidate on NCRA’s Web site.
  • NCRA will host a virtual Town Hall meeting with all candidates in contested elections. Questions shall be moderated by the elections committee.  The list of questions from which the moderator will select the questions s/he actually asks shall be provided in writing to all candidates one hour before the event.  
  • NCRA will provide a tabletop campaigning booth at the venue of the Annual Business Meeting.  Subject to practical requirements as might be dictated by the physical limitations of the venue, candidates will typically be provided one six-foot table, two chairs, and one standard easel in a location determined in consultation between the Election Committee and NCRA Meetings and Convention staff.  Every effort will be made to locate the tables in high traffic convention areas, with each candidate’s location comparable to each other. Booth positions will be determined by lot, with the drawing performed by the Election Committee Chair (or his/her designee).  Each candidate shall be given the opportunity to have a representative present at the drawing.
  • Campaign tables may be open and manned the day of the annual meeting and through the online voting period.  Candidates will be responsible for promptly dismantling and removing materials from the campaign table following the close of the race.
  • Candidates may purchase advertising and promotional services from among any advertising opportunities (print, electronic, or other) generally available to NCRA advertisers.  
    • Any advertising or promotional services purchased by a campaign shall be subject to the same terms and conditions as would apply to any NCRA advertiser.
    • It shall be the responsibility of the candidates to familiarize themselves with the available advertising opportunities and order/ad placement deadlines.
    • NCRA shall not create any special or customized advertising or promotional opportunities for candidates outside of the list of advertising and sponsorship opportunities generally publicized to members, attendees, exhibitors, and advertisers.
    • NCRA shall not share information with any person on any candidate’s campaign, advertising or promotional plans.

IV.     Campaign Restrictions on Site at the Venue of the Annual Business Meeting

  • No posters or other campaign materials may be affixed to or placed against the venue’s walls, or left for pick-up in any public space in the convention hotel other than the designated campaign booth.  NCRA shall remove and destroy any material found in violation of this requirement.
  • Candidates or their representatives may hand out campaign materials in any public place that is at least 10 feet removed from any convention meeting room or official convention event.
    • Such campaign activities shall not interfere with members’ freedom of movement throughout the hotel or intrude upon non-campaign activities that may be underway in the area.
    • The above restriction against “handing out campaign materials” within “convention meeting rooms or official convention events” refers only to the distribution of literature or materials; it does not preclude persons wearing campaign t-shirts, pins, etc.
  • Candidates and their campaign committees shall make every effort to ensure compliance of their supporters with the spirit and letter of these campaign rules.  
  • Printing or other administrative and support services will not be made available through the NCRA Convention office or from the NCRA staff.
  • Requests for assignment of function rooms for campaign purposes will be made through the NCRA Meetings and Conventions department.
  • Candidates may conduct any independent activity that does not violate any approved guidelines.

V.      Conduct of the Election at the Annual Business Meeting

  • As required by the Constitution and Bylaws, the report of the Nominating Committee (i.e., the Nominating Committee’s slate) will be reported by the Nominating Committee Chair at the Annual Business Meeting.
  • In the event there is more than one nomination for a position:  
    • The Standing Rules for the Annual Business Meeting that are recommended to the assembly shall include an opportunity for members to ask questions of the candidates.
      • The proposed rule shall provide that questions be limited to 30 seconds; candidate answers will be limited to two minutes; and a total of 15 minutes for each candidate will be allowed for the question and answer period.
    • The President shall then recognize the Chair of the Election Committee for the committee’s report.
    • An individual designated by each candidate shall be allotted a period not to exceed three (3) minutes to make a presentation on behalf of such candidate.  If a question and answer period is conducted at the Annual Business Meeting, this person will not be allowed to speak again until all members wishing to speak for the first time have had an opportunity to do so.
    • Nominating Committee members may not serve as supporting speakers.
    • Immediately following the presentation on each candidate’s behalf, the candidate shall be allowed to make a presentation for a period of not more than five (5) minutes.
    • Immediately following, the question and answer period (if approved in the standing rules) for that candidate shall be conducted.  
    • In the event there is more than one nomination by petition for a single position, the order of speaking shall be determined by lot.  
    • In the event there are more than two candidates for a single position, requiring preliminary balloting on the floor of the Business Meeting to narrow the slate to two candidates, all nomination and candidate speeches shall be delivered prior to this initial balloting and not repeated.
  •  All speakers will be given a 30-second warning before the time limit has expired.
  • There shall be nominations from the floor of the Business Meeting when a vacancy occurs after the Nominating Committee has submitted a slate.  A member who is nominating a candidate from the floor to fill such vacancy shall be allowed two (2) minutes on behalf of a candidate.  The candidate shall be allowed three (3) minutes to make a presentation if the candidate chooses.  
  • As required by the Constitution and Bylaws, electronic voting shall commence within two hours following the adjournment of the Business Meeting and remain open for 12 hours.
  • In the case of a tie vote, the election shall be decided by a coin toss.

Reporting Election Results

  • The NCRA Executive Director and CEO shall inform, in person or by telephone, the Election Committee Chair of the results as soon as voting is closed.  This notification shall include the total number of votes cast in each contested election and the number of votes cast for each candidate.  
  • The Election Committee Chair shall immediately make all reasonable efforts to inform, in person or by telephone, each candidate (or a designated representative) with the results of the race. This notification shall include the total number of votes cast in the contest and the number of votes cast for each candidate.  
    • It shall be the responsibility of each candidate to inform the Election Committee Chair, in advance, of the individual s/he wishes to be informed of results and the telephone number to be used in making this communication.
    • The Election Committee Chair shall inform, in person or by telephone, the Executive Director and CEO as soon as s/he has successfully reached all candidates in order for the election results to be publicly released.
  • NCRA staff shall publicly release election results as soon as the Election Committee Chair has successfully reached all candidates or one hour after the close of voting, whichever is sooner.  
    • As soon as results are publicly released, full election results shall be prominently posted 1) on the NCRA Web site; and 2) in signage at the convention venue in the registration area.
    • By 7 a.m. on the morning following the election, results will also be prominently posted at the entrance to any general session.

VII.    Reimbursement of Board/Officer Candidate Board Expenses

  • Candidates who are elected to office, regardless of the form of nomination (by nominating committee nomination or petition), shall be entitled to reimbursement of convention expenses on the same basis as sitting directors.
  • Candidates who are not elected to office, regardless of the form of nomination (by nominating committee nomination or petition), shall not be entitled to reimbursement of convention expenses.

 

Fundraising Policy

Original Adoption: August 2007
Revision: March 2016
  1. Each governing board (NCRA, NCRF and NCRA PAC) shall independently establish for itself a clear and specific statement of its own expectations of its own board members’ financial support of the entity upon whose board they sit.  
    1. That statement shall be shared with all persons considering service on those boards prior to the formal nomination process.
  2. It shall be an expectation of service that all NCRA Board members shall contribute annually to NCRF in an amount of their own, private determination.  It shall also be an expectation of service that all NCRA Board members consider a contribution annually to NCRA PAC in an amount of their own, private determination, subject to existing employment limitations.
    1. This expectation shall be communicated to all persons considering service on the NCRA Board prior to the formal nomination process.
  3. Information on all fundraising activities (whether on-going campaigns or periodic, event-based solicitations), describing opportunities to contribute, shall be shared in writing with members of the three governing boards and staff liaisons.  

JCR Purpose Statement

Original Adoption:  March 1996
Revision: N/A

The JCR: the Journal of Court Reporting has two complementary purposes:  to communicate the activities, goals and mission of its publisher, the National Court Reporters Association; and, simultaneously, to seek out and publish diverse information and views on matters significantly related to the information/court reporting profession.  All opinions expressed herein are strictly those of the authors or advertisers unless they are specifically identified as NCRA policy.

Job Registry and Referral Services

Original Adoption:  November 2002
Revision: N/A

The association shall not become involved in any outside entity’s job registry and referral services, as that would interject the association into commercial and competitive activities of its individual members and may place it in a position of competing directly with members who are involved in offering similar services.  The association, however, would welcome the participation of any such enterprise in other non-exclusive sponsorship opportunities.

Mailing List Policy and Rental Agreement

Original Adoption:  July 1997
Revision: March 2016
  1. The National Court Reporters Association makes its mailing list available for single-use rental when certain criteria, as specified in its Mailing List Rental Agreement, have been met.  All requests are subject to review and approval. NCRA may reject any request for any reason.  In the case of an affiliated court reporters association, it shall be the sole discretion of the NCRA as to whether a fee will be charged.
  2. Placement of an order for the Association’s mailing list constitutes in the renter’s agreement it is for one time use only and not to (1) reuse the list, (2) photocopy the list for reuse, (3) allow anyone else to use the list or any part thereof, or (4) place the list into a database for any purpose.
  3. NCRA may employ a third-party list broker to manage the rental of NCRA’s member list to corporate entities which may have a business interest in the court reporter/captioner community.
  4. Whether NCRA rents its member list itself or avails itself of a third-party broker, NCRA will employ strict member-privacy guidelines regarding opt-out requests including, but not limited to, an internal process of removing from rental lists any member who has expressed to NCRA the wish to opt-out of any or all mailings, plus removal of members who have expressed the wish to opt-out of direct mailings via the Direct Marketing Association’s national “Do Not Mail” service.
  5. Whether NCRA rents its member list itself or avails itself of a third-party broker, NCRA retains the right to accept or refuse any rental purchase agreement or individual mailing piece at its own discretion.

Nominating Procedures

Revision:  N/A
Original Adoption:  November 2007

The Nominating Committee shall conform to the Conflict of Interest Policy for Selection Committees.  Discussion on this policy should be held at the first meeting of the committee each year and noted in the minutes.

  • The committee may eliminate a candidate, prior to interviews, based upon his/her responses to the candidate questionnaire and/or other deficiencies that may be identified by the committee.  
  • The candidate shall be informed about the duties, obligations and responsibilities of the office, as well as appropriate board policies.
  • Consideration of candidate shall include, but not be limited to: 1) why they wish to serve; 2) that they have the ability to devote the proper amount of time to board duties, (3) that they are familiar with the bylaws and goals of the association.
  • The Nominating Committee shall refrain from disclosure of the content of the interviews outside of its discussions, whether verbal or written.
Original Adoption:  March 2018

The Nominating Committee, at its sole discretion, is permitted to field candidates outside the established nominating process to fill positions as necessary, once said candidates have completed the interview process.

Policy Manual Review

Revision: N/A
Original Adoption:  July 2011

The Board of Directors shall review one-third of the NCRA Policies and Procedures Manual annually and explicitly reaffirm, revise, or rescind each item contained therein.

Product Endorsement Policy

Revision:  February 2006
Original Adoption:  March 1993

The National Court Reporters Association ("NCRA") as an entity does not certify, rate, endorse or otherwise promote any products or services except by action of the Board of Directors.

As a general matter, directors, officers, staff and other current "officials" may endorse or promote products or services of their own choice, provided that (1) they make clear that they are acting in their personal capacity and not in their official capacity or on behalf of NCRA; and (2) they take all reasonable efforts to ensure that the vendor does not suggest, in written materials or otherwise, any official connection or endorsement by NCRA.

Notwithstanding the general rule stated above, NCRA directors, officers, staff and other current "officials" may appear in vendor advertising and serve as speakers at vendor booths as long as NCRA is not paying for related expenses; including but not limited to lodging expenses, meals, airfare and transportation and no NCRA titles are used or displayed.

For their part, vendors shall comply with the foregoing endorsement rules in connection with their sales and marketing activities. Furthermore, with respect to conventions and other NCRA-sponsored events, vendors shall comply with the NCRA Exhibitor Event Guidelines*.

*The Exhibitor Event Guidelines are part of the exhibitor contract.

Resolution for Past Presidents Retiring  

Revision:  N/A
Original Adoption:  November 2016

As NCRA past presidents retire from the profession, a resolution will be adopted by the Board of Directors observing his/her service to NCRA and the profession.

Social Media Policy

Original Adoption: July 2011
Revision:  March 2018

Policy statement

NCRA uses social media to share industry and association information with the membership and anyone interested in court reporting, captioning, and legal video. This may include court reporters, captioners, legal videographers, schools and programs, instructors, firms, professionals in peripheral industries, state and related associations, vendors, students, steno enthusiasts, and prospective members and students. Social media also provides the opportunity for high-quality customer service with current and prospective members through direct interaction and engagement.

Application

This policy applies to all NCRA staff and members who use social media channels to speak on NCRA’s behalf or otherwise may be associated with NCRA on social media, including NCRA officers, directors, and committee members.

Purpose of social media

NCRA uses social media as a method for sharing industry and association information. This information can include, but is not limited to, announcements from the association, reminders of upcoming deadlines, industry news and updates, and resources and tips about business, grammar, or technology. NCRA can also use social media to share and respond to information posted by others in the court reporting, captioning, and legal video community, including schools, firms, state associations, individuals, and others. Finally, social media provides an opportunity for the association to share lighter-hearted content, such as jokes and memes, which the membership would find enjoyable but would be inappropriate in other contexts.

Social media also provide an opportunity to provide high-quality customer service for current and prospective members through direct interaction and engagement. The NCRA moderators can answer questions posed directly by members, offer explanations or clarifications when members post information that they find confusing or is incorrect, and even provide empathy and encouragement for members and students who write about their professional struggles. Sharing content from other sources gives NCRA a chance to add something to the conversation and recognize another organization or member for something they’ve provided or accomplished.

Discussion groups and pages provide a place for members to have professional discussions on a variety of topics that affect them and their day-to-day work lives. By monitoring the discussions, NCRA staff can also get insight into the types of concerns that court reporters, captioners, and legal videographers face in their personal and professional lives, and then use that knowledge to provide additional services or content that would benefit the membership.

While not the primary purpose of having a presence of social media, NCRA has an opportunity to use social media as a way to promote the profession to an outside audience. This can range from sharing information that educates the public on the true nature of court reporting, captioning, and legal video to showcasing the positive attributes of these fields, especially when using platforms that are populated by younger people who may consider these fields as a potential career.

Roles and responsibilities

NCRA staff
As of October 2015, while several staff members have admin rights to various NCRA social media outlets, the Assistant Director of Marketing and the Content Manager are primarily responsible for daily strategy and application. Other NCRA staff members are members of groups or have a presence on NCRA social media in other ways. All NCRA social media material must go through one of the official NCRA staff moderators. If the staff member posts directly to a discussion group, for example, that staff member should alert the staff moderator about the post. NCRA social media staff is required to monitor all social media platforms, cultivate discussion through content, and address negative comments as necessary and appropriate. From time to time, NCRA social media staff is required to review NCRA’s social media strategy to ensure that each platform and profile is being used advantageously.

NCRA members
Members do not have admin rights, but they serve an important role on NCRA social media. The NCRA President, for example, while not required to be active on social media, can serve as a voice for the association when members would be more comfortable hearing information from an individual rather than an organization. NCRA officers, directors, and committee members may be asked to contribute to online discussions by answering a question, clarifying information, advocating for the profession or association, or sharing information, especially if these tasks fall within committee charges.

Guidelines
Anyone who may be associated with NCRA, including staff, officers, directors, and committee members, need to be conscientious that their actions on social media can reflect back on the organization.

General guidelines

  • Make sure any information about the association is accurate. If you aren’t sure, ask.
  • NCRA is a neutral organization and is not affiliated with any political, religious, etc. organization or group. Staff and members should consider how their posts may inadvertently link the association with any of these organizations or groups.
  • Nothing on the Internet is truly private. Be thoughtful when posting and follow your own internal guidelines for what information to share with an audience that could be more public than previously anticipated.
  • Everyone is encouraged to share content from NCRA profiles on their own pages.
  • NCRA members, especially officers, directors, committee members, and other industry and association leaders, hold a unique position as ambassadors for the association. At times, it may be more valuable for a member to respond to an issue rather than a staff member because the member may hold more trust, respect, and esteem in the eyes of the membership.
  • NCRA staff members are not required to join NCRA groups, follow NCRA pages, connect with members, or even identify themselves as employees of NCRA on social media. Staff members should use discretion on social media especially if their job description does not include social media.
  • Everyone is encouraged to contact the NCRA Assistant Director of Marketing and/or the NCRA Content Manager for guidance on social media if desired.

Social media platforms
NCRA uses Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube on social media. There is also an official Instagram account.

Facebook
NCRA’s presence on Facebook includes a main NCRA Facebook page, an NCRA Students page, a CLVS page, a Court Reporting & Captioning Memes page, a Careers in Court Reporting page, and the following discussion groups:

  • CART Providers
  • Captioners
  • Official Reporters
  • Court Reporting Technology
  • Freelance Reporters
  • Scopists & Proofreaders
  • Legal Videographers
  • Realtime Systems Administrators
  • NCRA’s Realtime Program

Twitter
NCRA’s presence on Twitter includes a main NCRA profile (@NCRA), an NCRA GR Department profile (@GovRelat_NCRA), and inactive profiles for NCRA Events (@NCRAevents) and NCRAConventionBag (@NCRAVegas11Bag).

LinkedIn
NCRA’s presence on LinkedIn includes a National Court Reporters Association discussion page as well as the Court Reporting & Captioning Group, Certified Legal Video Specialist, and NCRA Students and New Professionals discussion pages.

YouTube
NCRA has one YouTube channel. Most videos on this channel are interviews with vendors at events, short presentations (especially Ignite presentations), and other interviews by board members.

Moderation
Anyone posting on NCRA social media on behalf of the association must always be polite and professional on social media, especially when representing the association. It is important to remember that there is another person on the other side of the screen, and that person deserves to be treated with courtesy and respect. Staff is still encouraged to follow the NCRA style guide while writing for social media, although style conventions may be bent slightly in order to fit the 140 character limit on Twitter; the nature of social media also allows staff members to use a more lighthearted, conversational tone in writing.

On all NCRA social media pages and forums, posts with harassment, profanity, and any anti-trust discussions (which include discussing rates or boycotts) are deleted. Commercial messages will also be deleted although members may post referrals and, in the scopists and proofreaders group, members are allowed to advertise services or needs for services. Harassment includes bullying between or among members, discriminatory posts, or posts that otherwise threaten members or the industry. NCRA pages and forums are meant to be safe places for like-minded professionals to engage in conversation with each other. All other discussions are encouraged. These rules are pinned to the top of every NCRA Facebook discussion group so members are aware and are posted on NCRA.org. See the section on antitrust issues, below, for more information.

Both positive and negative posts and comments are allowed on NCRA’s pages, provided they do not break discussion rules. Keep in mind that negative posts provide an opportunity to engage with the member and provide customer service.

Any direct questions or concerns require a response as soon as possible, with a maximum of within 24 business hours. When the staff moderator needs information from another staff member in order to answer a post on NCRA’s social media platforms, the staff member should respond as soon as possible so the staff moderator can answer the member quickly. The staff moderator should clearly indicate if the inquiry is for social media in the subject line of an email, if the inquiry is not addressed in person or over the phone. On discussion boards, NCRA staff is not expected to directly engage with posts unless the discussion revolves around an NCRA policy or program and the staff member could clarify anything causing confusion.

Discussion groups
NCRA staff must approve users before they can participate in discussion boards, although approval extends to both members and nonmembers of the association. The social media team may remove users who continually break discussion board rules (the “three strikes” rule can be applied in this case) or spammers.

Antitrust issues
Trade and professional associations, as groups of competitors, are under particular scrutiny with regard to pricing behavior, even if agreements, etc. are only inferred. In addition, legal defense is costly, even if the user and NCRA are eventually were cleared of wrongdoing. It is in the best interest of the association and the membership to avoid any behavior that could be seen as violating antitrust laws. It is important to keep in mind that nothing on the Internet – even in closed discussion groups – is truly private. This is not meant to scare members but to ensure awareness.

Antitrust discussions can include:

  • prices
  • discounts, or terms or conditions of sale
  • salaries
  • profits
  • profit margins, or cost data
  • market shares
  • boycotts
  • sales territories, or markets
  • allocation of customers or territories
  • selection, rejection, or termination of customers or suppliers

Members may not post any information regarding specific prices or fees charged or paid as well as information concerning prices, pricing practices, discounts, or other terms or conditions of sale either obtained from or offered to another entity.

Non-NCRA groups

There are many pages and groups related to court reporting, captioning, legal videography, etc. on social media that are not moderated by or otherwise associated with NCRA. Staff, directors, officers, and committee members are to use their discretion in representing NCRA in these groups. Below are a few guidelines.

  • It is the individual’s choice whether to be involved in these groups or not recognizing that there is value in seeing or participating in discussions in other locations.
  • NCRA is not responsible for responding to anti-NCRA discussions in forums that are not moderated by the Association. Members who are part of these groups may see an opportunity to correct inaccurate information about the Association in these conversations.
  • If staff or members see instances of copyright violations or other legal situations that NCRA should be aware of, please forward that information to the appropriate staff member so the Association can determine what, if any, actions need to be taken.

Maintenance

Basic responsibilities
The staff moderator should check in with all NCRA social media platforms once a day at minimum during business hours, preferably multiple times a day. During a check in, the staff moderator should respond to any posts requiring an answer from NCRA, approve new members to the discussion boards and pages, scan newsfeeds/timelines for shareable content, and monitor metrics.

Providing content
On platforms where NCRA staff is responsible for providing content, new content should appear every day. This content can include original content from NCRA or it can include shares, retweets, etc. from other profiles. Content should be scheduled to appear on NCRA social media forums when more members are likely to see it and should be spread out throughout the day. This is especially important on Facebook and Twitter; on YouTube, since content usually comes from events, this new content should be posted as soon as the new content is available. All content on YouTube must be captioned.

Each piece of content should be presented in a way that is appropriate to the platform, incorporating visuals, hashtags, etc. as appropriate and for maximum exposure. The audience should also be considered – posts about upcoming webinars, for example, should not appear on the NCRA Students Facebook page since students do not need to earn CEUs, but they may get more information on study tips, etc. The Assistant Director of Marketing may, from time to time, decide to pay for a specific post to be boosted if the content in question requires a wider audience or is part of a specific marketing campaign.

In addition to monitoring NCRA social media platforms, the staff moderator should follow related profiles. These include: state and local court reporting captioning associations; organizations from related industries such as deaf and hard-of-hearing or legal organizations; court reporting schools and programs; court reporting, captioning, and legal videography firms; industry vendors; national news outlets; government-related organizations; competing organizations, such as those representing voice writers, transcribers, and electronic reporters; and important individuals within the association, including board members and movers-and-shakers who are active on social media. Monitoring these profiles will help the staff moderator stay on top of industry news and find content that members may also find valuable, either as a share or retweet or for future content in NCRA publications. Following or reposting content from any individual or organization is not an official endorsement by NCRA.

Hashtags
Official NCRA event hashtags should also be attached to any posts related to events. The hashtags (listed below) are always followed by the last two digits of the year when the event occurs. 2015 is used as an example:

  • #NCRA15
  • #FirmOwners15
  • #CRCW15

Because of the conversational nature of social media, the staff moderator is also required to monitor and use appropriate hashtags. Hashtags change, but some common ones are:

  • #courtreporting/#courtreporter
  • #captioning
  • #steno/#stenography/#stenographer
  • #stenobriefs/#ebriefs
  • #technology
  • #NCRA
  • #legalvideo
  • #DiscoverSteno
  • #stenolife

Best practices
The staff moderator is responsible for staying on top of current social media best practices so that NCRA social media platforms are being used efficiently, intelligently, and successfully.

Implementation, monitoring, and review
At the beginning of every NCRA fiscal year, and reviewed during mid-year, the social media team should draft social media objectives for the upcoming year to develop goals, action items, and an overall social media strategy.

Either in conjunction with or in addition to, social media metrics for each platform should be kept on a week by week basis. These metrics can be used to develop future goals and improvements.

Strategic Plan

Original Adoption:
Revision: N/A

The Board of Directors shall adopt and maintain a strategic plan.
Current Strategic Plan

Web Site Privacy Policy

Original Adoption  July 1999
Revision:  N/A

NCRA will maintain a Web Site Privacy Policy.
NCRA Privacy Policy