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CPD: By-Laws



The name of this organization shall be the Wisconsin Council on Physical Disabilities, hereinafter referred to as the Council.



The Council and its responsibilities are specified in Wis. Stat. § 46.29, Council on physical disabilities. The Council is administratively attached to the Department of Health Services. The primary purpose of the Council is to promote and advocate for programs and policies that enable people with physical disabilities residing in the State of Wisconsin to:

  • Be included and integrated in their communities.
  • Make their own life choices.
  • Enter, re-enter, or remain in the workforce to their maximum capacity.
  • Participate in improving and evaluating services.
  • Utilize beneficial assistive technology.
  • Access transportation and parking.
  • Access affordable housing that is visitable.

The Council on Physical Disabilities shall do all of the following:

  1. Develop, approve and, continue modification of a state plan for services to persons with disabilities.
  2. Monitor and evaluate implementation of the state plan.
  3. Request reports or other information concerning programs, funding, clients, or services as they relate to persons with physical disabilities.
  4. Encourage public understanding of the needs of and issues concerning persons with physical disabilities.
  5. Advise the secretary of the department and make recommendations, including recommendations for legislation, to the state superintendent of public instruction; the secretary of transportation; the secretary of the department of workforce development; the secretary of employment relations; the secretary of commerce; the commissioner of insurance; the president of the University of Wisconsin; the president of the state board of vocational, technical, and adult education; and the executive director of the board on aging and long-term care concerning funding, programs, policies, and operations of those entities and other matters with respect to persons with physical disabilities.
  6. Consider all questions and matters concerning persons with physical disabilities arising within the Council or brought to the Council for review.
  7. Submit annually to the chief clerk of each house of the legislature, for distribution to the legislature under Wis. Stat. § 13.172 (2), a report concerning the Council’s recommendations.

The Council on Physical Disabilities may do all of the following:

  1. Report to the public concerning needs of persons with physical disabilities and issues that affect those persons.
  2. Promote programs related to the prevention of physical disability.
  3. Form committees for consideration of policies or programs for persons with physical disabilities.
Work Plan

At the beginning of each Council year, the Council shall approve a work plan for the upcoming year. The work plan shall include the major objectives to be accomplished, tasks to be completed, a timetable for their completion, identification of responsible parties, and a process for monitoring and evaluating results.


At the end of each year, the Council shall evaluate its performance and effectiveness in fostering and enhancing services for persons with physical disabilities. Evaluation shall be made in terms of established criteria set by Council members.




The Council shall be comprised of 14 members, appointed for three-year terms, and include individuals who represent all physical disabilities and who have demonstrated an interest in the concerns of all disability and age groups. Members will be appointed by the Governor under the following criteria:

  • The members shall be appointed from residents of this state who have demonstrated professional or personal interest in the problems of physical disability and shall be selected so as to include a reasonably equitable representation of those communities located in the state’s urban and rural areas and with regard to sex and race.
  • At least six members shall be persons with physical disabilities as defined in Wis. Stat. § 15.197(4).
    • Two members may be parents, guardians or relatives of persons with physical disabilities.
  • At least one member shall be a provider of services to persons with physical disabilities.

Ex-officio members may be appointed by majority vote of the Council and may serve on the Council, special task forces, and ad-hoc committees. Ex-officio members may not vote but may participate in all discussions.

Roles and Responsibilities

Council Member Conduct

All members shall follow the expectations for Council members as outlined in the Roles and Responsibilities of Council Members document provided on appointment to the Council.

If a member requires an accommodation(s) to fully participate in Council meetings including, but not limited to, accessible meeting materials, interpreter, personal care assistant, food allergies, or other reasonable accommodation requests, they must submit a timely request to the Council Chairperson or designated staff.

Members and guests may, at their personal discretion at tend meetings either in-person, by telephone, electronically, or other means.

All members of the Council are expected to regularly attend committee meetings and to prepare for and actively participate in committee discussions.

Code of Ethics

Voting and ex-officio members of the Council shall be bound by the Code of Ethics for State Officials, Wis. Stat. ch. 19, except that they are not required to file a statement of economic interest. Ex-officio members are not required to file an Oath of Office.

Conflict of Interest

Whenever a Council member has cause to believe that a matter to be voted upon would involve him or her in conflict of interests, he or she shall announce the conflict of interests and shall abstain from voting on such a matter.

Members shall abstain from voting on any issue in which they have a conflict of interest (i.e., a vote resulting in a member’s personal or financial gain).

  • Any Council member may raise the question of conflict of interests or possible conflict of interests with respect to any Council member present (self-included) and the question so
    raised shall be decided by a majority vote of all Council members present.
  • No Council member shall vote on any matter which would result in the member’s personal financial gain.
  • If a member is unsure if there is a conflict of interest, they should bring the issue before the Council. Whether a conflict exists shall be decided by a majority vote of all
    committee members present.


All Council members are expected to attend all meetings of the Council.

Members will notify the Council Chairperson or designated staff prior to Council meetings to obtain a formal excuse from the meeting.

Council members may be excused from Council meetings by serving written or verbal notice to the Council Chairperson or designated staff in advance of a scheduled meeting, or by a majority vote of the Council. Council members that do not obtain a formal excused absence will be considered absent.

A Council member absent from two consecutive meetings, including ad-hoc committee meetings, may receive a formal communication from the Council Chairperson concerning the member’s desire/ability to remain on the Council.

In order for the Council to accomplish its vision, mission, and achieve its goals as outlined in the State Plan for People with Physical Disabilities, it needs all members to fully participate in Council meetings and to serve on Council Committees. To ensure full capacity of the Council all members must be active. Therefore:

  • A member absent from three consecutive Council meetings, including ad-hoc committee meetings, shall be expected to voluntarily submit her/his resignation from the Council.
  • A member excused from three consecutive Council meetings may be expected to voluntarily submit her/his resignation from the Council.

Conference Attendance

Council members are encouraged to attend conferences to acquire additional knowledge regarding physical disabilities. The State will reimburse training expenses for up to five Council members for attendance at a given conference, upon prior approval by the Council Chairperson and DHS support staff.

Voting Authority

Voting members shall remain in office until the effective date of their resignation, or removal by the Governor, or until their successors are named and appointed by the Governor.

Voting members may resign from the Council at any time by submitting a letter of resignation to the Governor and/or Council Chairperson.

Voting members may be removed from the Council for cause by the Governor.

Each member of the Council shall have one vote on matters brought before the Council.

Voting by proxy shall not be allowed.

The Immediate Past Chairperson shall serve as a member of the Council and of the Executive Committee.

Term of Service

Members of the Council are appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the Governor.

The Council, acting through its Executive Committee, shall submit to the Governor, a list of candidates for all vacancies along with recommendations regarding appointment.

In accordance with Wis. Stat. § 15.197(4)(b)(3), Council members shall be appointed for staggered three-year terms.

Resignation and Removal

If a member of the Council is unable to serve for any reason, the member needs to submit a letter of resignation to the Governor’s Office. The letter does not need to give a reason, but the letter does need to include an effective date of resignation from the Council. If the letter does not include effective date of resignation it, will be assumed that the resignation will be effective as of the date the letter is received by the Council. The Council requests that a copy of the letter also be sent to the Council Chairperson.

Any member missing consecutive meetings without due cause or a leave of absence approved in advance by the Chairperson, as outlined in the Attendance section of these By-laws, shall be contacted by the Chairperson to determine their interest in continuing to serve on the Council.

The Council may recommend to the Governor that a member be removed. Such a recommendation requires a two-thirds (66%) majority vote of those members present at a regularly scheduled meeting of the Council.



Regular and Special Meetings

Regular and special meetings: The Council shall meet quarterly and may meet at other times on call of the Chairperson. Special meetings shall also be called by the Chairperson upon the written request of three members of the Council.

Notice of meetings: The Council Chairperson shall give a minimum of 14 days written notice for all Council meetings. An agenda shall accompany all meeting notices. Public notice shall be given in advance of all meetings as required by Wisconsin’s Open Meet ings Law. If a meeting date is changed, sufficient notice shall be given to the public.

Special meetings may be called by the Chairperson in consultation with the Executive Committee when there are compelling reasons to do so.

All meetings of the Council, it’s Executive Committee, standing committees, and ad-hoc committees shall be governed by the appropriate provisions of Wis. Stat. ch. 19 and Wisconsin’s Open Meetings Law, Wis. Stat. § 19.81(1), as described in the Wisconsin Open Meetings Law Compliance Guide, published by Attorney General Brad D. Schimel (November 2015) and as updated in Executive Order No. 235 (3/12/2017).

Notice of meetings of the Council, its Executive Committee, standing committees, and ad-hoc committees shall, at a minimum 10 business days in advance, be given in accordance with the provisions of Wisconsin Open Meetings Law Compliance Guide, published by Attorney General Brad D. Schimel (November 2015) and as updated in Executive Order No. 235 (3/12/2017). The open meeting notice will include the meeting agenda. The agenda must provide sufficient detail to identify subject of discussion. If a subject or topic was not identified on the agenda, it may not be discussed.

Notification of meetings will be sent via email to the email address provided by the member and will be posted to the Council’s website. This shall be deemed adequate notice. If a member requires notification of meetings in another format, a member would request this accommodation from the Council Chairperson or designated staff.

Minutes of all meetings shall be provided to the members as soon as reasonably possible following the conclusion of each meeting. Currently minutes are required to be posted to the Department of Administration’s website within 30 days of the meeting.

Conduct of Meetings

Meetings shall be conducted in accordance with Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised, unless otherwise provided herein.

The Council year shall begin at the same time as the state fiscal year, which is July 1.

Regular meetings shall be held on the fourth Thursday and Friday of the first month of the quarter unless determined otherwise by a majority vote of the Council.

Meetings are open to the public.

Time shall be reserved at each meeting for public comment on issues affecting people with disabilities. The Council may choose to respond to public comment it has received in writing as it deems needed and appropriate.

The Council, its Executive Committee, standing committees, and ad-hoc committees reserve the right to meet in closed session for personnel and other confidential matters as outlined in Wisconsin State Statutes (Wis. Stat. §§ 19.81 through 19.85).


Prior to every regularly scheduled Council meeting, an agenda shall be distributed to each Council member and other interested persons.

Public comment and presentations shall take place after all Council business has been completed unless, in accordance with Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised, another arrangement is made.

Requests for items to be included on the agenda shall be submit ted to the Chairperson no later than three weeks prior to the regularly scheduled meeting. All agenda items not meeting the required three-week notification requirement will be considered for inclusion on the next regularly scheduled agenda.

Request for items to be included on the agenda of specially called meetings shall be submitted to the Chairperson no later than three days prior to the meeting. All agenda items not meeting the required three-day notification requirement will be considered for inclusion on the next regularly scheduled meeting agenda.


The presence of a simple majority (51%) of the voting members of the Council, excluding vacancies, constitutes a quorum for the transaction of business. When a quorum is not present the meeting will not occur.

A simple majority of the voting membership, excluding the number vacant due to resignation or removal, shall constitute a quorum to transact business. A majority of a quorum may act in any manner within the Council’s jurisdiction except for adoption or amendment of Council bylaws, which shall require a 2/3 vote of a quorum.

Reimbursement of Travel Expenses

Reasonable travel expenses incurred by members shall be reimbursed for attending Council meetings, Executive Committee meetings, standing committee meetings, ad-hoc committee meetings, or other meetings or conferences attended on behalf of the Council as authorized by the Council, based on the in-state travel rates for lodging, meals, and mileage as outlined in the state’s travel guidelines.

Only travel expenses incurred while conducting official state business can be reimbursed. All travel reimbursements are subject to the state’s travel guidelines rules, policies, and reimbursement rates.




The officers of the Governor's Committee shall include a Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson and Secretary.


Officers shall serve a term of two (2) calendar years and shall take office immediately following adjournment of the meeting in which they were elected. The tenure of Officers may extend beyond two calendar years should the Council agree by majority vote to postpone elections. Officers may be re-elected to serve successive terms.

Duties of Chairperson

The Chairperson is the presiding Officer and is responsible for carrying out the Council’s business in an orderly and expeditious manner and assuring that the rights of the members are recognized. The Chairperson is also responsible for organizing the work of the Council through its committee structure, scheduling Council meetings, and setting the agenda in concert with the Executive Committee. The Chairperson shall represent and speak for the Council before the Legislature, Governor, and other public and private organizations unless such responsibilities are specifically delegated to others by the Council or Chairperson. The Chairperson shall designate a Council member to serve as the Council representative on the Governor’s Committee for People with Disabilities (GCPD).

The Chairperson shall conduct meetings in accordance with Article IV, Meetings.

The Chairperson shall preside at all meetings of the Council and of the Executive Committee and can be a member of the Council’s standing and ad-hoc committees.

The Chairperson shall be the official representative of the Council but may delegate this responsibility when appropriate and necessary.

The Chairperson shall submit an annual report on the activities of the Council to committee members and to the Governor. Additionally, the Chairperson will ensure meeting minutes and Council records are maintained and are available to the public.

The Chairperson shall perform all duties incident to the office of the Chairperson including following up on all actions taken at meetings.

If the Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson, and Secretary are absent from a committee meeting, the Chairperson shall assign another committee member to preside over the meeting.

Member resignations made in the absence of the Chairperson shall be made to the Executive Committee following the procedure as outlined in Article III, Membership, Resignation and Removal.

Duties of Vice- Chairperson

The Vice-Chairperson shall preside in the absence of the Chairperson, and shall automatically succeed to the chair should it become vacant through resignation or removal of the Chairperson until a new chairperson is elected.

In the absence of the Chairperson, the Vice-Chairperson shall perform the duties of the Chairperson, and when acting in this capacity shall have all the powers and responsibilities of the Chairperson.

The Vice-Chairperson shall perform such other powers and duties as may be assigned by the Chairperson or by the Council.

Duties of Secretary

The Secretary shall preside at Council meetings in the absence of the Chairperson and the Vice-Chairperson.

The Secretary is responsible for outside communications as directed by the Executive Committee and the full Council. The Secretary has the leadership role of welcoming new members and leading membership recruitment and Public Relations.

Resignation, Vacancies, and Removal of Officers

Any Officer (elected, appointed, or succeeding) wishing to resign from the position they hold shall submit a letter of resignation to the Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson, or Executive Committee with an effective date of their resignation.

If the position of Chairperson becomes vacant for any reason, the Vice-Chairperson shall assume the position of Chairperson until the next election of Officers.

If the position of Vice-Chairperson becomes vacant for any reason, the vacancy shall be filled by the Secretary. If the Secretary is unable to fill this role, an appointment will then be made from the membership of the Executive Committee.

The Chairperson and/or Vice-Chairperson who fails to fully and faithfully discharge the duties may be removed from office by a two-thirds (66%) majority vote of those members present at a regularly scheduled meeting of the Council.

Official Positions of the Governor’s Committee and Member Actions

Official positions of the Council related to legislation, programs, policies, and recommendations on issues affecting people with physical disabilities will only be adopted upon a majority vote. Council member shall only represent a Council position if directed to do so by majority vote of the Council or as directed by the Chairperson.


Executive Committee


There shall be an Executive Committee, consisting of the Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson, Secretary, the Immediate Past Chairperson of the Council and three voting members from the full Council. Membership of the Executive Committee shall include at least three people with disabilities and an odd number of members. If the number of Officers changes, the composition of the Executive Committee will change to ensure an odd number of members so that the Executive Committee can take action as needed.


The Executive Committee shall provide overall direction to Council activities, make recommendations on administrative and organizational matters as appropriate, may act on behalf of the Council, and shall perform additional duties as charged by the Council Chairperson. The Executive Committee shall perform the following duties:

  • Provide policy direction to, and periodically evaluate the performance of, the Director, Office for Physical Disabilities and Independent Living.
  • Meet at least quarterly.
  • Report administrative decisions made by Council staff to the Executive Committee.
  • Annually review and recommend changes in the bylaws.
  • Annually review and recommend the Council operating budget and use of any reallocated funds to the Council.
  • Annually evaluate the performance of the Council.
  • Make recommendations to the Council on all aspects of the Wisconsin State Plan for Physical Disabilities including the process for its development; the priorities, goals, objectives and funding allocations for the plan; the State Plan document(s) itself; and the ongoing monitoring and evaluation of the State Plan.
  • Participate in the development of, review, comment on, and monitor all other state plans relating to programs serving persons with physical disabilities.
  • Establish standing committees appropriate to accomplish the Council’s goals at the beginning of each fiscal year. Members may include representatives of voluntary organizations.
    • Unless otherwise assigned and only for their designated area, standing committees shall perform the following functions:
      • Recommend new and needed legislation.
      • Review and provide information on the impact of new laws, regulations, rules, administrative orders, and guidelines.
      • Review court decisions as they relate to physical disabilities on local, state, and federal levels.
      • Review and recommend budget and policy initiatives that affect persons with physical disabilities.
      • Monitor budget and policy initiatives and all legislation and administrative rules, federal and state, which affect persons with physical disabilities.
    • Committee Chairpersons shall be appointed by the Council Chairperson.
    • Committee members shall be appointed by the Council Chairperson, with the advice of the Committee Chairperson.
    • Unless authorized to act on behalf of the Council by resolution of the Council, all committees of the Council are advisory to the Council only. The Council shall specify the duties and responsibilities of each committee as it may deem appropriate.
Executive Committee Meetings

The Executive Committee will schedule regular meetings of the Council at least four times each calendar year.

The Executive Committee will meet at least four times per year in the month preceding the full Council quarterly meetings. Additional meetings can be scheduled with majority vote of the Executive Committee members.

The quorum required for conducting meetings by the Executive Committee shall be three members of the Executive Committee, one of whom must be the Chairperson, or in their absence, the Vice-Chairperson.

Meetings of the Executive Committee may be called by the Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson, or upon petition to the Chairperson by two (2) members of the Executive Committee.

All members of the Executive Committee shall be sent notice prior to Executive Committee meetings.

The Executive Committee reserves the right to meet in closed session for personnel and other confidential matters as outlined in Wisconsin State Statues (Wis. Stat. §§ 19.81 through 19.85).



Election of Officers and Executive Committee Members


At the first meeting of each fiscal year, the Council shall hold elections for either the Officers or the three members of the Executive Committee. In odd numbered calendar years, the Council will elect Executive Committee Members and in even numbered calendar years the Council will elect a Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson and Secretary.

A Nominations Committee shall be appointed by the Chairperson of the Council to nominate candidates for each office. Members interested in running for office shall not accept appointment to the Nominations Committee. Additional nominations may be made from the floor by voting members. No absentee ballots or proxy votes shall be allowed. In circumstances where elections cannot be held in-person the Council will determine an alternative process that will be agreed upon prior to elections by the full council.

The Nominations Committee shall solicit nominations for each position at the meeting prior to the meeting at which elections are held. Each member shall be permitted to nominate any member(s), including themselves, for any position. The names of all members nominated shall be presented to the Executive or full Committee at least two weeks prior to the last meeting of the calendar year. Additional nominations from the floor shall be permitted for each position.

The slate of candidates for each position shall consist of all nominees, with the exception of those nominees who request that their names be withdrawn from consideration.

If Executive Committee composition requirement cannot be satisfied by the slate of candidates as nominated, then the Nominations Committee shall solicit further nominations in an effort to form a slate which potentially satisfies the composition requirement. If the composition requirement cannot be satisfied, the election shall be held notwithstanding the failure to satisfy the requirement.

Separate elections by secret ballot shall be conducted for each position, beginning with Chairperson, then Vice-Chairperson, Secretary, or Executive Committee members. Candidates shall be elected by a simple majority of the votes cast. When no candidate receives a majority of the votes cast, a run-off election shall be held from among the candidates receiving the two largest vote totals. The Nominations Committee may rule, without objection, that any unopposed nominee is elected by consensus.

In the event of a tie, the election of that Officer shall be decided by lottery also known as a single randomly selected vote.

Upon a majority vote of members present at any meeting, the elections to any or all of the positions and the process by which nominations are made and elections are held may be postponed.

Resignation of Officer

Upon any resignation, removal, or replacement of an Officer, the Council shall hold an election at its next full meeting to fill that vacancy.



Standing Committees

The Nominations Committee shall be a standing committee of the Council. Appointment of the Nominations Committee Chairperson and committee members shall be made by the Chairperson of the Council in consultation with the Executive Committee.

Ad-Hoc Committees

The Council, through its Chairperson, may establish ad-hoc committees as deemed essential to fulfilling the Council mandate. Appointment of a Chairperson to head each ad-hoc committee and committee members shall be made by the Chairperson of the Council in consultation with the Executive Committee.

Committee Membership

Ad-hoc committees may be composed of both Council members and non-members as the Council Chairperson, in consultation with the Executive Committee, deems appropriate.

Council committees shall consist of no fewer than three Council members.

Council standing committees shall determine their own schedule of meetings according to need.


All ad-hoc committees shall regularly report to the Council Chairperson on all activities of the committee and to the full Council for approval and further discussion.

Committee Reports

Standing committees shall report to the Council at each meeting. The Committee Chairperson and her/his designee shall make the report.

When committee reports require Council action, the issue requiring action shall have been voted on by a quorum of the committee.



Staff services shall be provided to the Council by the Office for Physical Disabilities and Independent Living within the Bureau of Aging and Disability Resources.

The Council will be assigned at least one staff member. Staff services shall be provided to all Council committees and task forces.

The staff member will assume the following responsibilities:

  • Consult with the Committee Chairperson and make meeting arrangements.
  • Prepare announcements of meetings and agendas and notify members of meetings.
  • Arrange for auxiliary staff, consultants, or resource persons to attend meetings.
  • Attend all Council meetings.
  • Arrange for the taking of minutes and preparation of committee reports, and assure that members are fully informed on issues under discussion.
  • Provide analyses of pending legislation and current policy and program issues; preparation of special reports and other materials pertinent to Council business as instructed by the Council Chairperson.


Parliamentary Authority

All meetings of the Council shall be conducted, and decisions reached by consensus whenever possible. When consensus is not achieved, business shall be conducted in accordance with the most recent edition of Robert's Rules of Order, in the absence of specific provisions delineated in these by-laws.



The by-laws may be amended, repealed, or restated during any regular or special Council meeting by a two-thirds vote (66%) of the Council members present.

Any proposed amendment should be sent to the Executive Committee for review, and then move onto a meeting of the full Council at which a quorum is present. An amendment may also be submitted in writing to the chair. The amendment will be presented to the council a minimum of 10 days before the full Council meeting via email.

The amendment subsequently shall be distributed to all Council members ten days in advance of the next full meeting of the Council.

The amendment shall then be voted on and adopted by a quorum and written notice of proposed amendment will be distributed to all members ten days prior to the meeting.


Effective Date

Adopted January 25, 1991

Revised October 24, 1991

Revised October 25, 1996

Revised April 25, 2003

Revised October 22, 2020

Includes: Updated restatement of purpose; clarifies meeting procedures; clarifies the number of committee members; clarifies roles and responsibility of Council members; clarifies resignation or removal policy for Council members; removes the immediate past Chairperson from membership on the Executive Committee; clarifies the duties of Council Officers; and seeks to conform all Council activities to the requirements of State Law including Wisconsin Open Meeting and Open Records laws.

Disclaimer about advisory council content

This content reflects the views and opinions of the advisory council. It may not reflect the official policy or position of DHS.

Last revised May 18, 2023