Bylaws of the Kentucky Speleological Survey



A. The Board of Directors (herein after called the "Board") shall:

•  Act as the governing and administrative body in conducting the business of the Kentucky Speleological Survey (herein after called the "KSS").

• The Board w ill be elected bi-annually by the general membership of the KSS and the board of directors will consist of:

- President

- Vice President

- Treasurer

- Secretary

- 3 directors at large

•  Conduct business according to Robert's Rules of Order, revised as amended by these Bylaws.

•  Conduct business only when at least two-thirds of all Directors are present in person, or by electronic means (web meetings), or by proxy. A proxy shall have written authorization with him/her (at the meeting) from the director they are representing , stating that he/her is their  proxy. Only one proxy can be held by an single individual at a time.

•  Conduct business by mail or e-mail when necessary. At least 2 weeks notice shall be provided for all such votes. All Directors shall be considered as present for the purposes of determining majority, any Director not responding shall be considered an abstention.

B. Items of business shall be passed by a simple majority, except as provided elsewhere in the Articles of Incorporation or the Bylaws.


The KSS general membership shall elect all board members.  and shall serve two-year terms beginning on March 1 of each year . Any officer may be removed by a two-thirds vote of the Board. Any vacancies during the year shall be filled by appointments from the President with Board approval.

A. The President of the Board shall:

  • Be responsible for assembling an agenda for each meeting.

  • Preside at all meetings.

  • Be the official spokesperson and envoy of the KSS.

  • Call special meetings.

  • Vote during the conduct of KSS business only in the event of a tie.

B. The Vice-President of the Board shall:

  • Assist the President.

  • Preside at all meetings in the absence of the President.

  • Oversee internal projects

  • Shall assume the presidency upon the death or resignation or incapacitation of the president.

  • Coordinate the Annual Survey Meeting

C. The Treasurer of the KSS shall:

  • Be responsible for all the funds of the KSS.

  • Be responsible for submitting a financial statement to the board at the election meeting.

  • Keep the KSS non-profit status, and Kentucky tax free status current

  • Be responsible for membership records of the KSS

D. The Secretary of the KSS shall:

  • Be responsible for the taking of minutes and the distribution of copies of these minutes to the Board of Directors after the meeting.

  • Be responsible for management of social media accounts.

  • Be responsible for all correspondence.

E. . Directors at Large:

  • There shall be at three Directors at Large elected from the individual membership.

  • Each director at large will have one vote during the conduct of business

  • Directors at large are expected to take on roles to aid in the conduct of KSS business. Example roles include chairing or serving on committees, acting as liaison to state and regional grottos, acting as editor of the newsletter, etc. It is not required that these roles are filled by directors, however it is expected that directors own a role.


A. Organizational Membership:

  • Organizations wishing to join the KSS shall apply to the Board.

  • Requirements of Applicants: All organizations applying for membership must agree to the principals of the organization. The applicant shall submit the following documentation describing the following, to the Board prior to the next business meeting:

      • Complete an application form accompanied by dues.

      • If desired, the organization can Specify a Representative that will act as the voice of that organization at general meetings of the KSS. That representative will also serve to report back to the organization the status of the KSS

      • Agree with the goals of the KSS, agree not to divulge data of the KSS, and agree that membership does not grant specific rights to information.

      • Organizations whose primary purpose is not speleology must also state the purpose of their membership request. Membership is not limited to Kentucky organizations.

  • The Board shall vote on the application for membership.

  • Member organizations will receive the following benefits:

      • Request cave data for areas of interest that are regionally of interest or affiliated with new or ongoing survey projects.

      • Paper and digital copies of all KSS newsletters

      • Sponsorship on KSS Website and in KSS Newsletter

B. Individual Membership:

  • Individuals wishing to join KSS shall do so by filing an application with the Treasurer. A part of this application shall include agreement with goals of KSS, agreement not to divulge data held by the corporation, and an understanding that membership does not grant specific rights to information. Individual membership is not limited to residents of Kentucky

  • Individual Members shall receive the following benefits:

      • Individuals Members receive priority  response to their data requests for areas of interest or affiliated with new or ongoing survey projects. (over commercial and non-members)

      • Paper or digital copy of KSS newsletters

      • Invitations to KSS Sponsored Survey Projects


No individual or organizational member shall use their membership in KSS, their office, or any promise of data access for any personal or professional gain.


  1. Each organizational member of the KSS shall be assessed an affiliation fee to provide monies to the General Fund. The amount of the fee shall be as determined by the Board and shall be due on the submittal of the application. Individuals members shall be assessed a membership fee adequate to cover the cost of publications and other administrative expenses.

  1. The affiliation fee is $75 per year. A discount of $10 per year will apply if paid in advance for multiple years.

  1. The individual membership fee is $12 per year. A discount of $2.00 per year will apply if paid in advance for multiple years. Lifetime membership is $100.


A. An organization may lose its right to membership in the KSS if it:

  • Acts in a manner detrimental to the KSS as determined by the Board.

  • Fails to pay affiliation fee within two months from date due.

  • Organization Disbands

B. An individual may lose their membership if they fail to pay dues or if they act in a manner detrimental to the KSS as determined by the Board.


  1. There shall be a minimum of two meetings a year. One of these shall be called  Spring  business meeting  and should be held in March. Officers  will take their positions at this meeting  in election years.  One meeting should be an Annual Symposium (organized by Vice Chair) to share updates of KSS to the general caving community

  1. All Meetings can be conducted via internet web Services except annual symposium.

  1. A yearly schedule of meeting should be provided by the President upon taking office.



  1. The KSS shall publish a minimum of one newsletter a year to be sent out to individual and member organizations.

  1. Additional  publications as deemed necessary for the accomplishment of the KSS’ purposes must receive a majority vote from the board.

  1. The editor(s) of such publications shall be appointed by the President subject to the approval of the Board. The Board shall set fees for publication


The Board shall approve any projects to be undertaken by the KSS, in the name of, or on behalf of the KSS. These projects shall use the data access process outlined in Chapter XII.


The KSS shall have the following standing committee. All committee members will serve until they resign or are removed by the Board.

  1. Data Committee
        • The President shall appoint, with the Board's approval, a Data Chair to lead committee efforts dealing with the KSS archives, database, and data requests.
        • The Data Committee will maintain a database with all accessible information on caves in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
        • The Data Committee will maintain a database program to allow searching and lookup capabilities. These data are to be updated on a regular, quarterly basis.
        • The Data Committee will handle all requests for data, and vote to approve/disapprove within the committee.
        • The Data Committee will be made up of at least 5 members of the KSS, including at least 3 board members.
        • Data maintenance, corrections, and updates will be conducted using a combination of the Data Committee, Regional Coordinators, County Coordinators, and local cavers, each with distinct responsibilities. The responsibilities include:

Data Committee:

          • Seek out and appoint Regional Coordinators to serve as data owners for the counties of which they are appointed.
          • Maintain an updated, publicly available list of Regional Coordinators.

Regional Coordinators:

          • There will be no term for Regional Coordinators, however they serve at the discretion of the Executive Board and can be removed by the Data Committee, or by a vote of the Board.
          • Maintain an updated, publicly available list of County Coordinators.
          • Communicate any changes to County Coordinators to the Data Committee.
          • Provide updates annually on regional activities.
          • Maintaining the correctness of the data from their counties.
          • Searching out and correcting locations of known and new caves.
          • Liaison with County Coordinators to improve data quality.
          • Liaison with local cavers and landowners.
          • Answering questions on data within their region.

County Coordinators:

          • There will be no term for the County Coordinators, however they serve at the discretion of the Executive Board and can be removed by the Data Committee, or by a vote of the Board. Provide updates annually on county activities.
          • Work with Regional Coordinators to correct data in their county.
          • Liaison with local cavers and landowners to improve data quality and quantity in their county.
      • All Regional Coordinators will have full access to the data from their counties. Full access will be given to all members of the Data Committee, and the Executive Board of the KSS. All other access will be on an as-requested basis.


The physical data of the organization will be held in repository by the Kentucky Geological Survey (KGS) as agreed in a Memorandum of Understanding maintained between the KGS and the Board. This Memorandum shall be included as an addendum to the Bylaws.

  1. The data of the organization will be categorized as:
  • Non-Sensitive Data: Information for which there are no access restrictions in that it poses negligible risk of harm to cave or karst features and their contents, or to the owners of such features. This applies only to data specifically released by the Data Committee and may include number of caves per county, cave lengths, and similar statistical data unless classified as proprietary by the land or data owner.


  • Sensitive Data: Information restricted from distribution in that it poses possible risk of harm to cave or karst features and their contents, to the owners of such features, or to individuals that may enter such features. Such information includes, but is not limited to, the precise locations of the features, the names and addresses of the owners, cave maps or other specific data.
  • Proprietary Data: Information of any kind protected by law and/or given to this organization by the owner of a cave or karst feature, the owner's representative, or the person who has developed the data, with the condition that it shall not be released.
  1. There is no charge for non-commercial requests. It is understood that the KSS will make all efforts to quickly and completely answer information requests.

Process for granting requests:

  1. Acknowledgment of request can be expected within one week.
  2. The Data Committee will review the request to determine if it is a commercial or non-commercial request. Commercial requests are defined as those being made by a for-profit organization in the execution of their business. These requests will be dealt with in the same manner as individual requests; however, there will be a charge assessed for the search, and for the data returned.
  • This charge is $50 for the search, and $10 for each location returned.
  • These searches are conducted on an as-staffed basis and are not guaranteed to be returned quickly, nor is the data in any way warranted as correct.
  1. To be approved, a data request must include:
  • The cave(s) (or region) requested.
  • The purpose of the request.
  • How the request supports the purpose and mission of the organization.
  1. In determining to approve or deny a request, the Data Committee will assess:
  • What category of data is requested?
  • What impact will releasing the data have on the cave?
  • Are there legal ramifications from sharing the data?
  • Does the purpose of the request meet the purpose and mission statement of the KSS?
  1. If the request is denied, appeal can be made to the entire Board at the next business meeting. Board decisions regarding appeals shall require a 2/3 majority to overturn the Data Committee’s decision.
  2. Ownership, distribution, and replication rights are not granted to any requesters. Requesters shall agree to a confidentiality statement that they shall not disseminate this information without written permission of the Data Committee. Wherever applicable the requester may be asked to make a report stating the scope of their use of the data and any findings to the KSS in a timely manner.
  3. The Data Committee, in conjunction with the treasurer, will create a file detailing all requests, and the disposition thereof. This file should be easily available to all members of the Executive Board.
  4. The committee shall report all data requests and their disposition to the Board at the next Board meeting.


The Bylaws of the KSS, with the exception of Chapter I, may be amended by a majority vote of the Board. Amendments to Chapter I shall require a 2/3 majority vote of the Board. All amendments shall be presented in writing to the Board at least forty-five (45) days prior to the meeting.



A. Election Committee.

    • KSS Election committee will be headed by a Chair appointed to the position by the current sitting President. The Committee Chair will fill out the committee with volunteers made up of current KSS members.

    • The Election committee will be responsible for the elections. The committee will appoint a board of 3 non-interested (not in the running for any position or directorship) to process the election

    • The election committee shall pick the method of election and the Board shall approve that method - it is envisioned the KSS will move to internet based elections

B. Nominations

    • It is the responsibility of the Election committee to solicit nominations. Nominations can be accepted from any current KSS member in good standing

    • Nominations will be opened at the September General meeting of KSS.

    • Nominations can be accepted through the December General Meeting of the KSS

    • Nominations can be made by mail application. Nominations can be made by the candidate, or others. In not made by candidate, the nomination must be agreed to in writing by the candidate nominated before the December meeting

    • Seconds will not be required for nominations

    • Candidates will be required to provide biographical information as well as a statement as to why they would like to be elected to a board position, only for sharing with the general members to help the selection process

KSS Bylaws version 14

Final revision 4/26/2020


Voted in 5/7/2020