By-Laws of Chesapeake PETS

(June 20, 2017)


The  leaderships  of  Rotary  Districts  7600,  7610,  7620,  and  7630  have  agreed  to organize a multi-district effort to train their incoming club presidents by utilizing the combined talents of Rotary leaders from each of these districts and from Rotary International.  This training organization, to be known as the Chesapeake Presidents- Elect Training Seminar (PETS), is a collaborative endeavor that is organized, administered and funded equally by the participating districts.

  1. II. ADMINISTRATION A. Governance and Review Structure

1.0       Board of Directors

The Board of Directors (Board) is composed of the District Governor-Elect  (DGE), District Governor-Nominee (DGN), and District Trainer of each participating district; a Chair; a Treasurer; a Registrar; and a Training Coordinator.  It is the decision-making authority for all “first tier” major decisions.  It:

  • Approves its Chair, Treasurer, Registrar, and Training Coordinator (its only members not inherently members because of their district positions),
  • Approves the PETS venue,
  • Approves addition of new districts,
  • Approves district participation fees,
  • Approves the annual budget,
  • Approves the overall PETS curriculum and program,
  • Approves any return to districts of excess equity, if deemed appropriate, and
  • Approves revisions to these bylaws.

These sixteen leadership positions are confirmed at the annual meeting to serve for the subsequent year.  Each Director shall be entitled to one vote on matters requiring balloting.  Unless otherwise noted, a simple majority shall prevail.

2.0         Executive Committee

The Executive Committee is a sub-set of the Board of Directors composed of the Board Chair and the District Governor-Elect of each participating district.  It is empowered by the Board to act for it by serving as decision-making authority for all “second tier” major decisions.  It:

  • Nominates (from among the participating Districts) the Board Chair, Treasurer (preferably with an accounting background), Registrar, and Training Coordinator for two-year terms,
  • As per tradition, on an off-set basis, the Board Chair and Training Coordinator serve for two year terms with the position rotating in order among the four districts. For example, current chair serving 2016 & 2017 from D7600; current training coordinator serving 2017 and 2018 from D7620.
  • Recommends the PETS venue,
  • Approves all    standing   committee    chairs   including   the   two    Co-Chief Sergeants-at-Arms,Determines the dates for PETS, and approves committee recommendations not impacting “first tier” decision Voting shall be limited to DGEs only. Unless otherwise noted, a simple majority shall prevail on all balloting.

3.0       Board Chair

The Chair:

  • Nominates standing committee chairs,
  • Selects standing committee vice-chairs,
  • Recommends ad hoc committees and positions for operational effectiveness; select committee chairs,
  • Provides proper notice of Board meetings,
  • Chairs Board meetings,
  • Develops (in conjunction with the Treasurer) and presents the annual budget to the Board of Directors for approval,
  • Authorizes expenditures (can also be performed by the Treasurer),
  • Attends the Multi District PETS Alliance meeting in Evanston and proposes other Board members to attend, and
  • Acts generally in the capacity of a chief operating officer to ensure proper execution.


4.0      Timing of Approval of a New Chair

Normally, approval of a new Chair should occur one year prior to taking office.  From approval, the newly approved Chair shall be designated as Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect and shall attend and participate in all meetings that the Chair would normally attend.  The Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect has no voting privileges, except in the absence of the Chair. 

  1. B. Schedules and Associated Actions


1.0      Board Meetings

The Board shall hold an Annual Meeting not later than June of each year for the purpose  of  reviewing  prior  year  results,  suggesting  changes  to  the  curriculum, confirming plans for the coming year, approving nominations for its membership, reviewing the bylaws to make changes as appropriate, and conducting any other business that may come before it.  This meeting shall be open to all interested parties, but only Board members have voting privileges.

The Chair of the annual meeting will be the immediate incoming Chair for the sake of annual meeting effectiveness and continuity.  The Board members at the meeting will automatically consist of the immediate incoming Chair, DGE’s, DGN’s, and District trainers.  If any of the positions of Executive Trainer, Registrar, and Treasurer still have another year of their two year term, they will also automatically be on the board.  If not, this board will approve, as required, the candidates forwarded from the Executive Committee for the open positions.

At the annual board meeting, reports for the Chesapeake PETS year end will be given by the most recent registrar and treasurer and the minutes of the past meeting will be submitted for approval.

The Chair shall give at least fifteen (15) calendar days’ notice (e-mail is acceptable) to each Board member of the time and place of the meeting.

The Secretary of the Board (a volunteering DGN) shall provide a written report listing the participants, all business considered, and all decisions made at the meeting within fifteen (15) calendar days.

The Board may hold additional meetings if it so desires.


2.0      Executive Committee Meetings

The Executive Committee will hold at least four meetings annually in person, and others by teleconference, if required.  These meetings may be held in concert with board meetings, if desired. The Chair will determine the schedule of the meetings in consultation with the Executive Committee.

An early first quarter Rotary year meeting of the Executive Committee should consider the overall training focus for PETS, selection of multi-district breakout subjects from recommended RI training curriculum, possible elective subjects, and a breakout of those club president tasks to be taught at Pre-PETS and those taught at PETS.


3.0    Standing Committee/Major Functional Committees Meetings.

The chair of each committee will hold meetings as appropriate.  The chair will inform the Board Chair of all meetings and provide recommendations requiring approval to the Board Chair for Board or Executive Committee approval as appropriate.


4.0       Annual Multi District PETS Alliance Meeting

The Chair, and others proposed by the Chair, shall attend the annual Multi District PETS Alliance meeting held in Evanston during the summer months.  It is understood that the expense of this trip will be borne by the attendees unless specifically included in the annual budget.

  1. C. Schedule of Chesapeake PETS

Chesapeake PETS shall be held each March unless there is a conflict with the International Assembly of Rotary.  The date shall be set ideally at least one year in advance but no later than at the Annual Meeting in June.  Any subsequent decision to change the date shall be sent to all participating districts as soon as practical, but never later than six months prior to the re-scheduled date.

It shall be the responsibility of the Chair to notify the scheduled Chesapeake PETS date, as soon as it is determined, to the Multi District PETS Alliance and other RI Officers as deemed necessary, such as RI Directors, the office of the RI President, and the office of the RI President-Elect.


  1. A. Training/Training Coordinator

1.0       Responsibilities

The Training Coordinator shall coordinate the efforts of each District Trainer to assure program cohesion and continuity and the proper coordination of any Pre-PETS activities within the training curriculum.  The Training Coordinator shall work with appropriate committee chairs (speakers committee, materials/notebook committee etc), to ensure that the following are appropriately handled in a timely manner: development of the curriculum and the seminar workbook/thumb drive; solicitation, training and scheduling of PETS facilitators; and an evaluation mechanism.

The Training Coordinator selects all PETS facilitators from among those provided by District Trainers or, exceptionally, from other resources such as Rotary Leadership Institute.  The names of potential PETS facilitators should be submitted by District Trainers to the Training Coordinator not later than December 1, to allow sufficient time to contact them with the date and time of PETS facilitator advanced training.

The role of PETS facilitators is critical to the successful training of the club president- elect. PETS facilitator advanced training is the responsibility of the Training Coordinator, shall be thorough and comprehensive, and should be held prior to PETS each year.  Those selected must possess thorough topic knowledge, and be able to present a very clear and articulate understanding of Rotary International in general. Facilitators should be able to motivate and encourage independent thought and conversation.

2.0      District Trainers / Training Coordinator Interface

District Trainers should work closely with the PETS Training Coordinator (to include nomination of PETS facilitators) in order to provide program continuity and cohesion across the participating districts.

3.0      Chesapeake PETS Training Content and Format

The content of Chesapeake PETS training shall be developed by the Training Coordinator in conjunction with the District Trainers and shall meet the minimum requirements of RI.    The Training Coordinator has the flexibility to adopt suitable formats, to include collaborative group discussion and instruction.   In addition, the format shall include sufficient time to allow DGEs to have private training opportunities (“District-specific time”) with their respective club presidents-elect, utilizing their own district personnel as appropriate.  The District-specific time will integrate with any Pre- PETS activities that may have been conducted by districts.

4.0       Curriculum

The overall PETS curriculum shall include a balanced program that provides:

  • General Rotary knowledge courses,
  • In-depth specialized training, and
  • Instruction time  for  the  basic  understanding  of  the  operation  of  Rotary

International and The Rotary Foundation.

The curriculum shall be consistent with Rotary International Board of Directors- recommended president-elect training curricula, using appropriate formats to ensure its effectiveness.   Time shall be provided early in the proceedings to introduce Rotary’s annual theme in order to better focus efforts in the group discussions that follow.

There should also be optional electives offered the day before the actual PETS begins. Subject matter, training techniques, and trainer/facilitators will be developed by the Trainer Coordinator in conjunction with the District Trainers.

At the earliest opportunity, the overall PETS training curriculum will be presented by the Training Coordinator to the Board of Directors for approval.           

  1. B. Finance/Treasurer

1.0.      Budget

The  Chair,  in  consultation  and  cooperation  with  the  Treasurer,  shall  develop  and present an annual budget to the Board of Directors for review and approval.  The budget shall include sufficient revenue to cover the expected expenses. In the event  that  the  budget  figures  indicate  a  deficit,  the  Chair  will  ask  the  Board  for permission to raise the registration fees.

In the event of a budget overrun, the overrun amount will be taken from the equity account.  In the event the overrun exceeds both the budget and the reserve, the Treasurer shall bill the districts the overage based on a pro rata share of the costs determined by the number of accredited participating clubs in each district.


2.0       Fees

The Board shall have the authority to establish and collect an annual fee from each participating district to cover annual operating expenses exclusive of the seminar.  The Treasurer is authorized, in consultation with the Board, to invoice each participating district and to effect a reasonable date of collection.  In addition to the district payments, any fees not collected from individual participants by the date of the event are the immediate responsibility for collection by the respective district.

3.0      Expenses

The Chair and the Treasurer each have the authority to authorize expenditures.

With the exception of the Chesapeake PETS guest speakers, everyone who attends PETS is expected to pay.  Spouses of committee members are welcome to attend and assist.   Fees for lodging and meals for attendees and spouses must be prepaid. Expenses of any other guests invited by individual districts are paid for by the respective district (or the invited persons) by the date of the event.  The costs for Chesapeake PETS guest speakers are an operating expense unless they are reimbursed by Rotary International, The Rotary Foundation, or other outside sources.   In some cases, travel expenses for a guest speaker might be split with other PETS.

In accordance with current policy, Sergeants-at-arms will have their meal costs paid for by Chesapeake PETS but will pay for their lodging costs.  This policy may be revised based on budget review and final approval.

4.0      Reserve Accumulation

The final accounting for each year’s event allows for the building of the equity account (reserve) to $50,000.  This reserve will be used for contingency purposes (bad weather cancellation) and budget overruns.  The equity buildup $50,000 may, at the discretion of the Board, be returned to the districts based upon an allocation determined as follows:  registration fees generated by each district divided by the total registration fees generated by all districts.  Any excess receipts deemed to be returned under this policy shall, if possible, be remitted to each district before June 30 or as soon as possible thereafter.


5.0      Equity Accounts

The Chesapeake PETS initial district equity accounts were established based on the financials through the end of the 2010 PETS fiscal year.  The net income or loss each year was divided by the number of districts participating in that year.  Beginning with 2011 PETS, the net income or loss at the end of the fiscal year  is prorated among the districts based on the number of accredited presidents-elect from each district attending that year’s PETS.  These amounts are added to or subtracted from each district’s equity account at the end of the preceding year.  If a district chooses to leave PETS, its  equity account as of the end of the last fiscal year in which it was a participant will be refunded.   If its equity account is a negative amount at the time of its leaving, the district will be required to pay that amount to the Chesapeake PETS on its departure.  The Treasurer will maintain an accounting of each district’s equity account.

6.0      Admission of New District

If the Board votes to admit a new district to Chesapeake PETS, that district will be assessed an admission fee of $1,500 and commit to participating in Chesapeake PETS for at least three years.

  7.0     Departure of an Existing Partner District

If an existing Chesapeake PETS Partner District chooses to leave Chesapeake PETS, they must notify the board at or prior to the annual meeting a full two years before they plan to stop participating. They can withdraw this notice upon approval of the board and a renewed three year commitment, like a new district; no additional funds will be due, unless they have already received their Equity Account payout, which they would have to return to the Chesapeake PETS  Reserve fund. 

8.0      Treasurer’s Accounting Practices 

In March of each year following PETS, the Chairman of the Board shall select a committee of three (3) Past District Governors  to conduct a year-end accounting data inspection relating to the Treasurer’s accounting methods and practices; such as record keeping, monthly reconciliations and other such accounting matters associated with the duties and responsibilities of a Treasurer.  The Treasurer will provide the appropriate information to support the inspection.  Following the committee’s evaluation, the spokesperson for the committee shall provide the Chairman of PETS with a written report of the committee’s inspection.

Towards the end of the current Treasurer’s term of office, and before the new Treasurer begins his/her term as Treasurer, the Chairman will request a Financial Review be conducted by a CPA.  The review provides limited assurance that the organization’s financial statements are in conformity with generally accepted accounting practices.                        

  1. C. Registration / Registrar

The Board shall approve a Registration Chair or Registrar, after nomination by the Executive Committee.  If an appropriate candidate is identified, the Chair may select a Registration Vice-Chair

The Registrar shall:

Establish and manage an automated data system (currently DaCdb) that will support online registrations of all PETS attendees, DGE and PETS staff. The system must:

  • Facilitate the registration process.
  • Provide confirmation of registration to the registrant.
  • Accept payment of fees by electronic means or direct manual payment to the treasurer.
  • Provide current registration status to the board on a timely basis.

With the assistance of Public Relations Chair provide registration instructions and promotional materials to the districts for their use in instructing and encouraging their attendees.  As a goal, all communications to PEs should originate from the district to the club and individual, and not directly from the PETS staff.

The DGE is responsible for the follow-up and encouragement of his/her PEs to attend.  The DGE should continually follow-up with those not yet registered prior to the registration deadline.  (Note:  Email by itself has NOT proven to be a good tool to encourage participation.)  The most effective tool for those PEs not yet registered has been a personal phone call from the DGE or his/her representative.

Coordinate with the Venue Chair recommendations for overnight accommodations for participants indicating a need for a hotel room.

Provide recommendations to the executive committee for early cut off dates, late fee charges and refunds.

On the day of check-in, operate a registration desk to certify the registration of attendees, presenting them with their name badges and tent cards.


  2. General

The chairs of the standing committees will be nominated by the board chair and approved by the executive committee.  Unlike the major functional positions, standing committee chairs are not subject to specified term limits.  Committee chairs are encouraged to ensure that there is depth on the committee for continuity and to establish a succession plan.

  1. B. Speakers Committee

The chair of the Speakers Committee, working with the Board Chair, shall make every effort to obtain the best available speakers and to encourage diverse approaches in speaker presentations.  The chair is encouraged to use the suggested speakers on the Multi District PETS Alliance web site.

The President-Nominee of Rotary International should be invited as one of the keynote speakers as soon as his/her selection is made by Rotary International.

The chair is responsible for reading the “Care and Feeding of VIPs” published by the Multi District PETS Alliance and requiring all Rotarians serving as aides to do so.  In addition, some of the other responsibilities are:

  • Recruit VIP/Aides,  arrange  transportation  for  speakers,  attend  to  VIP  and spouse needs, assure VIPs maintain expected schedule,
  • Provide VIP/Aides with appropriate “how-to” guidance,
  • Procure appropriate gifts and amenities for designated VIPs


  1. C. Venue Committee
  2. The Venue Committee consists of one Rotarian from each participating district appointed by his/her respective DGE.  The Board Chair nominates the committee chair for approval by the Executive Committee.  The Venue Committee’s responsibilities are divided into two major areas: venue selection and on-site venue management.


     1.0        Venue Selection

The Venue Committee shall research and evaluate the current and potential PETS venues for ability to meet PETS requirements, cost effectiveness and equitability to participating districts.  The committee will report its findings to the Executive Committee for review.  The Executive Committee will submit its recommendation to the full Board for decision.

The committee will work with the Board Chair and the Treasurer to negotiate a favorable contract (preferably a three-year contract, signed by the chair before the last year of the current contract) with the venue management for the estimated number of hotel guest rooms, meeting space and banquet space, food service, audio-visual support, and other services required.

2.0       On-Site Management.

The Venue Committee will:

  • Provide a single point of contact (C-PETS Liaison) to interface with hotel management for all matters related to PETS activities and support.
  • Work with the Treasurer and Sergeant-at-Arms to supervise use of the facility, equipment and any paid service of the hotel, including reservation and assignment of guest rooms and meeting/functions room
  • In cooperation with the Training Coordinator and the Registrar, assign spaces for all sessions to include plenary seating, district breakout rooms, small group instructional breakouts, rooms for special breakouts.
  • Be responsible for support of program activities and technical support services, including, but not limited to,  A/V  requirements,  information technology, room setup, signage, banners, flags, and other equipment necessary to conduct Chesapeake PETS.
  • Ensure that meeting or function rooms are set up and necessary equipment is in place before each scheduled session.
  • Working closely with the Sergeant-at-Arms, determine directional and meeting identification signs necessary for the orderly movement of participants and identification of meeting rooms, and ensure their production and placement.
  • Procure for permanent retention and maintain appropriate banners, flags, signage and other equipment to support Chesapeake PETS; arrange for a year round storage location and ensure current inventory of contents is kept.


  1. D. Sergeant-at-Arms (SAA) Team

The Sergeant-at-Arms Team will consist of two CoChair Sergeants-at Arms who are nominated by the Board Chair and approved by the Executive Committee, four Assistant Sergeants-at-Arms appointed by their respective district and additional team members as required by the venue.  The Co-Chairs will manage the activities of the team.  In addition to the overall effort, the assistants will serve as Lead SAA for the purpose of supporting his/her district during PETS and coordinating requirements for district breakout sessions.

The Sergeant-at-Arms Team:

  • Working closely with the Venue Committee, insures that required services and equipment are present and in working condition prior to each training session and takes necessary action to correct discrepancies. Provides assistance to facilitators as needed.
  • Positions team members throughout the venue to provide traffic management and assistance to attendees moving to and from training activities.
  1. E. Materials Committee

The Materials committee is responsible for assembling and producing training and reference material to be provided to each PE and other key district personnel.  This will consist of a comprehensive library of RI, Rotary Foundation and district publications to support the PETS program of instruction and to serve as a useful aid for the PE’s throughout their year as president.   The preferred method for distribution is in an electronic format (e.g. memory stick or cd) supplemented as needed by printed material.

The committee will:

  • Prepare a budget estimate of the costs of the materials.
  • Procure the necessary material
  • Develop the recommended content appropriate for the current year in coordination with the districts and Training Coordinator. Solicit district-specific content from districts.  Coordinate final product with the districts.
  • Upload content to media.
  • Distribute devices to districts not later than the week prior to PETS. Districts to receive sufficient copies for each PE, AG and other key leaders as requested by DGE.
  • Ensure same content is uploaded on the PETS web site three weeks prior to start of PETS.
  1. Publicity/Public Relations Committee

A Public Relations Committee, comprised of one representative from each participating district, shall be appointed by the DGEs of the participating districts.    A chair will be nominated by the Board Chair and approved by the Executive Committee.   Each district’s DGE is encouraged to appoint a sub-committee (using Assistant Governors if agreeable to the Governor) capable of working with each club president-elect to introduce and promote the Chesapeake PETS.  The committee will:

  • Update/revise Chesapeake PETS website to ensure relevancy,
  • Prepare announcements and notices for DGEs to send to all PEs about C-PETS, the C-PETS web site, and the need to register.
  • Develop announcements and news releases for Chesapeake PETS participants and attending dignitaries,
  • Use the DaCdb system for mailings to the district,
  • Sell advertisements, gather materials, prepare and publish the program booklet to be provided all attendees at PETS. Booklet to include agenda, attendees, speaker bios, floor plan, room assignments for training sessions, etc.  Cost of publication is to be offset by the sale of advertising, and
  • Prepare other media as directed by the Chair.
  1. G. Vendor and Exhibitor Committee

The chair of the Vendor and Exhibitor Committee is nominated by the Board Chair and approved by the Executive Committee.  The committee will:

  • Recruit vendors and exhibitors for Chesapeake PETS,
  • Coordinate with  the  Treasurer  for  collection  of  vendor  fees  if  such  are authorized,
  • Coordinate with the Venue Committee for location of vendors and exhibitors,
  • Coordinate with vendors and exhibitors to ensure timely set up and take down so as to avoid interference with Chesapeake PETS and hotel operations, and
  • Work with the Treasurer regarding the purchase of any items by PETS. AMENDMENTS


These bylaws may be amended by a two-thirds vote of Board members present at an Annual Meeting.  Proposed amendments may be submitted by any member of the Board.  They shall be forwarded for review no later than twenty days prior to the Annual Meeting.  Amendments shall take effect on the following July 1.


These revised bylaws were adopted at the Annual Meeting in Chantilly, Virginia on 20 June 2017, by a voice vote of the Board of Directors, duly assembled.

Supporting Documents:

Registration Guidelines

Venue Committee Guidelines

Sergeant-at-Arms Guidelines

Evaluation Chair Guidelines