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About Silvertomster

  1. These answers are all helpful, thanks. To answer Josh, the bylaws are poorly written and indeed do not provide for termination of membership other than (implicitly) because of failure of a member to make a specified annual financial contribution.. They DO give the board authority to terminate one particular privilege of membership in certain circumstances. But that is not at issue in this case.The issue is whether the board can terminate ALL membership privileges of a person without due process. Since RONR is the parliamentary authority specified in the bylaws, I believe the answer is no. If the board will not reconsider, it appears in order to call for a special meeting for the members to nullify the board's decision to expel the member. The bylaws provide for special meetings upon the petition of ten members, which will not be difficult to round up. Thanks again for these and any further comments.
  2. A dues-current member received a letter, signed by the President of a membership organization, stating, "in accordance with the ....bylaws, your membership is terminated immediately....The decision of the Board of Trustees is final." The bylaws do not provide for termination of membership.except for nonpayment of dues. A board member who was asked about it replied, "Since the decision was made in executive session, there is no more I can say about it to you or to anyone else." It is suspected that the member was expelled because she was raising too many concerns about the direction of the organization. What is the proper way to challenge or appeal this expulsion?
  3. Would any such rule be invalid on the principle that making nominations is a fundamental right of membership?
  4. What does it mean to say that a meeting is "valid", if the actions taken at he meeting are null and void? (I realize that there's some small number of things that you can do without a quorum, but what would constitute an "invalid" meeting?)
  5. Rather than the need for every association to adopt a different standing rule, I was hoping to find a general rule in RONR that would help assure ballot fairness in all associations. Something like: Unless otherwise provided for in the bylaws, an election ballot form (physical or electronic) may not: Contain endorsements or commentary of any kind. Contain information about any candidate other than his/her name. Fail to present the candidates in an impartial manner. Fail to allow for write-in votes Fail to include instructions to the voter I recently participated in an election in which ALL of these principles were violated, except for the provision for write-in votes. Elections matter, and I'm wondering, why doesn't RONR do more to prevent mischievous ballot design from swinging members' votes? The proper place for commentary on the candidates is during debate, when any member can participate, not on the ballot, when everyone but the ballot designer is shut out.
  6. I'm surprised that RONR doesn't contain more rules about ballot design to ensure fairness to all nominees. A person designing a written ballot form can have considerable influence on how the nominees are perceived by the electorate, especially if "editorializing" by the designer is allowed right on the ballot, or if the ballot design relegates some nominees to second-class status. See initial post above. How about a rule that a proper election ballot form must contain, for each office, ONLY the list of nominees (presented impartially), a place for write-ins, a method for indicating "FOR" each nominee, and instructions for the voter. There's too much potential for mischief if the ballot form gets much more complicated than that. I'd argue that the place to editorialize about the candidates is on the floor, during debate, not on the ballot during the election.
  7. If I understand correctly, a written ballot form prepared in advance of a meeting to elect directors need only include (for each office) the names of all qualified nominees, a place for write-ins, and a way to vote "for". It is proper for the ballot also to include statements that show partiality in some way, e.g., "The above nominees have been vetted by the Board Development Committee, whereas those below have not."? Note: vetting by the committee is not a qualification for office. Or, does the ballot design need to impartial, listing nominees alphabetically, for example, or in the order in which they were nominated? What are the standards, if any, for the proper design of an election ballot form?
  8. Agreed. If the motion is again before the assembly (having been taken from the table) I see no reason to suspend the rules, unless perhaps the motion to Postpone Indefinitely had been defeated earlier in the session.
  9. Oops, apologies for the large font. I often draft posts in another program that I find easier to use (and read, with my presbyopia). This time I forgot to reduce the font size before hitting "submit".
  10. I’ll chime in. It looks like a single person wants to kill - with as little additional debate as possible - a motion that was once under consideration, but is currently on the table. First, the attempt to do this would be out of order if it were being done merely to get another "shot" at killing the motion after previous attempts to Postpone Indefinitely or Object to Consideration of the Question were unsuccessful. Presumably, the motion was laid on the table for some legitimate reason unrelated to the merits of the question, and now some new information has turned up that makes it advisable to consider killing the motion with minimal additional debate. If that’s the situation, the following scenario gets it done efficiently and without violating anyone’s rights: 1. Consider doing nothing. If no one else wants to bring the motion back, it dies a natural death at the end of the session. 2. If someone moves to Take (the motion) From the Table, you could rise quickly before such is stated by the chair, and say, “Mr. Chairman, I would like to ask if the member would be willing to withdraw his motion in light of new information that might better warrant a motion to Postpone Indefinitely.” 3. If the member declines, which is his right, vote no. The motion to Take From the Table is undebatable, that is, you don’t get to argue your reasons yet for wanting the tabled motion killed. If your side prevails, of course, the motion stays on the table. 4. If the motion is brought back from the table anyway, obtain the floor and move “To Suspend the Rules and Postpone Indefinitely the motion under consideration” That motion is debatable. You get to speak first, but you don’t get to prevent people from articulating their reasons for not wanting the motion killed. If your side prevails in a 2/3 vote, mission accomplished! The problem with the original scenario is that, when desiring to Suspend the Rules for some purpose, one doesn't get to interrupt a member who has the floor. Nor can one move to Suspend the Rules to accomplish something unrelated to business that is currently under consideration. The chair would probably rule such actions out of order.
  11. RONR provides good tools for limiting debate on an actual motion, but what about member questions, comments, even - alas - speeches that often occur during the Reports of Officers? What tools do the chair and assembly have to effectively manage this part of the agenda? Our agenda contains a specified order, but not specified times or durations for each item. Is a 2/3 vote appropriate, for example, to close or limit question and discussion time during the officers' reports? Or is a majority enough? Or can the chair simply put a lid on things unilaterally? (A stage hook has not customarily been available, but sometimes we wish it were!)
  12. Thanks, Kim, that helps. The examples, too. -
  13. "The rules contained in the current edition of Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised shall govern the Society in all cases to which they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with these bylaws and any special rules of order the Society may adopt." Can anyone offer a reason why the phrase "not inconsistent" is commonly used here instead of simply "consistent"? Obviously there's an important difference between "consistent" and "not inconsistent", but I've never seen it explained well. An illustrative example would help. Thanks.
  14. The discussion has been helpful. If the bylaws are interpreted so that nomination by the Board Development Committee is deemed a qualification for the office of Trustee, however, it seems that the Board Development Committee would then have absolute veto power over all prospective candidates. That would make the election of Trustees by the full membership a mere charade, because only the Board Development Committee's "selection" can be on the ballot, and even a write-in vote can only be cast for an "eligible" candidate (RONR p.430 line 14).
  15. Thanks much to all for your help; that seems pretty clear. One more question, currently hypothetical, but very possible in the current situation. If the written Notice of Annual Meeting warns - inappropriately, if I understand correctly - that nominations from the floor will not be accepted, does that statement need to be challenged in writing BEFORE the annual meeting in order to be considered a timely challenge? Or can a member wait until an actual nomination from the floor is actually ruled out of order at the meeting, then state his point of order and/or appeal? The chair is already aware that not everyone agrees with her position on suppressing nominations from the floor.