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2013 COA Local Branch Orientation. USPHS Scientific and Training Symposium Glendale, AZ May 21, 2013. COA Local Branch Orientation Outline. Running a Local COA Branch Branch Officers Committee Structure Meetings Common Problems Faced by Local Branches Other Issues

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2013 COA Local Branch Orientation

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2013 COA Local Branch Orientation

USPHS Scientific and Training Symposium

Glendale, AZ

May 21, 2013

COA Local Branch OrientationOutline

  • Running a Local COA Branch

    • Branch Officers

    • Committee Structure

    • Meetings

    • Common Problems Faced by Local Branches

    • Other Issues

  • Local Branch/National COA Interaction

    • Communication/Liaison

    • Membership

    • Resources Available

    • Other Information

    • Get Involved

Running a Local COA Branch

Running a Local COA Branch: Roles of Branch Officers

  • President

    • Serves as chief elected officer

    • Runs branch meetings

    • Appoints standing and special committees

    • Primary point of contact with National COA

    • Only branch officer with access to view COA Membership Directory

    • Other duties as necessary

Running a Local COA Branch: Roles of Branch Officers

  • Vice-President or President-Elect

    • Assumes all roles of President in his/her absence

    • Typically leads at least one standing committee

    • Completes Branch Officer Update Form

    • Other duties as necessary

    • President-Elect automatically assumes role of President in following year -- Not automatically so for Vice-President

Running a Local COA Branch: Roles of Branch Officers

  • Secretary

    • Notify membership of all meeting and activities

    • Record and distribute minutes of meetings (provide to National COA for file)

    • Maintains accurate list of all branch members (cross-check with Membership Directory, with help of President)

    • Maintains files, records, and equipment belonging to the branch

    • May want to delegate some of these roles in large branches

Running a Local COA Branch: Roles of Branch Officers

  • Treasurer

    • Maintains records of all funds received and disbursed by the branch

    • Request branch dues disbursed by National COA

    • Makes disbursements of money as authorized

    • Maintains accounts with a local financial institution

    • Prepares branch budgets

    • Recommends new or revised financial policies

    • If local branch is incorporated as a non-profit, may need to prepare information for IRS on an annual basis

Running a Local COA Branch: Roles of Branch Officers

  • Past-President (optional)

    • Good idea to keep previous President on Executive Committee

  • Succession Planning

    • Use of President-Elect rather than Vice-President allows for smooth transition in leadership

    • Use of Past-President further enhances continuity of operations and institutional memory

Running a Local COA Branch: Committee Structure

  • Branches should form committees as desired to meet their goals; below are examples to consider:

  • Membership

  • Education

  • Community Service

  • Mentoring

  • Officer Readiness

  • Merchandise

  • Communications

  • Awards

  • Finance

Running a Local COA Branch: Committee Structure

  • Like the branch as a whole, committees should:

    • Have a mission statement

    • Be led by a designated chairperson

    • Establish clear goals each year

    • Schedule regular meetings

  • Don’t forget to recognize committee chairs and active participants at the end of each year

    • Letter for OPF

    • Certificate of Achievement

    • Branch-wide awards for excellent service

Business Meetings

Regularly scheduled branch meetings

Minutes kept, agenda followed

Committee reports

May include special presentations or speakers

Social Meetings

Dinner meeting for members, spouses and guests

Special speaker with luncheon

Tend to be less structured than business meetings

Running a Local COA Branch: Branch Meetings



Running a Local COA Branch: Branch Meetings

  • Community Outreach

    • Events sponsored by the branch with activity in the community

    • Examples include:

      • Adopt-a-Highway cleanup

      • Rummage sale with proceeds going to local charity

      • Judging local science fair

      • Renovating a local playground

      • (Use your imagination)

    • Refer to Branch Handbook for details

Running a Local COA Branch: Common Problems Facing Local Branches

  • Lack of motivation of local Corps officers to participate in branch functions

  • Difficulty raising funds for branch activities or for community outreach

  • Finding new ways to participate in community activities / Being relevant in the community

  • Many of these issues are addressed in the “Strategies for Local Branches” document on the Local Branch Resources page

Running a Local COA Branch: Other Issues: Financial

  • Financial Independence

  • Treasurer and President have authority to make financial transactions

  • Bank accounts (savings, checking) in name of local branch is encouraged

  • Setting and collection of dues

  • Operating costs

Running a Local COA Branch: Other Issues: Fundraising

  • Primary source of funds for most branches is local dues, collected by National COA

    • Make sure your local members have branch affiliation info accurate with National COA

  • Fundraising may be to fund local branch activities or to support charitable organizations

  • Examples include:

    • Raffles

    • Selling PHS memorabilia

    • Requests for donations for charitable projects

Running a Local COA Branch: Other Issues: Legal/Liability/Etc

  • Incorporation

  • Income Tax Exemption

  • Restrictions on Political Activity

  • Liability Insurance

  • Public Relations

  • Refer to Branch Handbook for details on the above topics

This Concludes the

“Running a Local COA Branch”

Segment of the Orientation Program

Next Up:

“Local Branch/National COA Interaction”

Local Branch/National COA Interaction

Local Branch/National COA Interaction:Communication/Liaison

  • Extremely Important! Submit Branch Officer Update Form to COA every year after local branch elections.

  • Form available at www.coausphs.org, Quicklink/Local Branches

  • After completing the form, click the “Submit by e-mail” button at the bottom of the form

  • COA Branch Handbook recommends that Vice-President or President-Elect does this – President may do it as well…

  • Just get it done ASAP after elections are held and results are announced

  • Include branch name in “subject line” in all email communication to COA

Local Branch/National COA Interaction:Communication/Liaison

  • Every local COA branch is assigned a liaison

  • The liaison is an elected member of the COA Board of Directors

  • The liaison should be the primary route of communication between the local branch and National COA

  • Who is your liaison?

    • See handout

    • Get to know him or her today or later by e-mail

Local Branch/National COA Interaction:Communication/Liaison

  • Most types of communication should go through the branch liaison

    • Updates on branch activities

    • Requests for information or assistance

    • Ideas for improving COA administration, processes, etc.

  • Some may go directly to COA Branch staff

    • Branch Officer Update form, questions about branch by-laws – Malissa Spalding, Membership Coordinator, [email protected]

    • If your branch liaison is unresponsive after several attempts to establish communication, contact Malissa Spalding or Jerry Farrell

  • Are you satisfied with the liaison role? How can we improve the system? (Possible topic for later brainstorming?)

Local Branch/National COA Interaction:Communication/Liaison

  • COA Local Branch Committee

    • Formed in November 2011

    • Approved as permanent standing national COA committee starting July 2012

  • The committee seeks to improve communication between local branches and national COA

    • Annual Branch Leadership Workshop

    • Quarterly Teleconferences

    • Improving the Liaison Role (Quarterly template e-mails)

    • Changes to the Branch Awards System (discussed later today)

    • Other forms of assistance (e.g. Branch Marketplace)

  • We could always use more volunteers!

Local Branch/National COA Interaction:Membership

  • Local branches have a mission to encourage local Corps officers to join COA both at the local and National level

    • Effective outreach should include education about COA and its mission, explain incentives for membership

  • Benefits of local COA branch membership:

    • Camaraderie, esprit-de-Corps

    • Leadership opportunities

    • Active participation good for CV, promotions

    • Community outreach good for community and good for the Corps

Local Branch/National COA Interaction:Membership

  • Membership with National COA has many benefits as well:

    • Legislative Advocacy

    • PHS Symposium (membership discount)

    • COA Frontline (option to opt out of paper copy)

    • Free subscription to Public Health Reports

    • Numerous insurance programs

    • Scholarship/fellowship programs

    • Other financial benefits (Avis/Budget, PenFed)

  • National COA supports only current COA members

  • Anyone who is not a current National COA member cannot participate in local COA Branch activities

  • There is a handout in your information packet with several good talking points to encourage COA membership

Local Branch/National COA Interaction:Membership/Resources Available

  • What resources are available to local branches to track and encourage National COA membership?

    • Branch presidents can access COA membership directory (demonstration to follow later today)

    • COA members may update their personal information (e.g., rank, address, manage branch affiliation) via the COA Members Only website

    • COA has a tri-fold brochure reflecting National COA membership benefits and dues rates.  A link to the brochure is located at www.coausphs.org, Quicklink/Become a Member.

Local Branch/National COA Interaction:Resources Available

  • What resources are available to local branches for dealing with branch issues or concerns?

    • COA Local Branch Resources website (www.coausphs.org/LocalBranchResources.cfm)

    • National COA Branch Handbook

    • Respective Branch by-laws

    • Branch Liaison (see handout)

    • COA Staff

Local Branch/National COA Interaction:Other Information

  • Visit from (or phone meeting with) COA Executive Director or COA Board Member

  • Use of COA Logo

  • COA Branch of the Year Award

  • COA Membership Drive

    • Anita Pollard will talk about this later today

Annual Meeting and Education


Finance, Property, and Insurance

Legislation and Benefits

Local Branch


Public Relations and Communications


Resolutions and Constitution

Local Branch/National COA Interaction:Get Involved

  • Join a National Level COA Committee

Any Questions???

Commissioned Officers Association of the U.S. Public Health Service

8201 Corporate Drive, Suite 200

Landover, MD 20785

Phone: 301-731-9080

Toll-Free: 866-366-9593

Fax: 301-731-9084

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