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Board chain of command

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Guest Matt

In our Board there is a question on where the chain of command lies. Our Board is made up of President, Vice President, Treasuer, Secertary, three department heads.

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In our Board there is a question on where the chain of command lies. Our Board is made up of President, Vice President, Treasuer, Secertary, three department heads.

Other than the vice-president filling in for the president, there is no chain of command.

See also this recent discussion.

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Other than the vice-president filling in for the president, there is no chain of command.

See also this recent discussion.

I would also say (though I may be pushing it a bit) that for the purposes of presiding over the election of a Chair pro tem that the Secretary would fall in that chain behind the VP.

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In our Board there is a question on where the chain of command lies. Our Board is made up of President, Vice President, Treasuer, Secertary, three department heads.

My take on your use of "chain of command" suggests you're asking about levels of authority and who can over-rule whom, or something similar. Care to elaborate on what is at the heart of your question?

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All are equal.

Though I would say that the Membership collectively is the high man on the totem pole because absent something in the bylaws (or an adopted motion) granting the officer(s) the exclusive authority to do something the Membership can (almost always) undo what was done in the name of the organization.

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Though I would say that the Membership collectively is the high man on the totem pole . . .

Yes, but I took Matt's question to be referring to a "chain of command" within the board.

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In our Board there is a question on where the chain of command lies. Our Board is made up of President, Vice President, Treasuer, Secertary, three department heads.

The chain of command is General Membership -> Board of Directors -> President/Vice President/Treasurer/Secretary/Department Heads/etc. RONR does not give any individual any administrative authority over anyone or anything. All authority rests with the assembly unless the Bylaws state otherwise.

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The chain of command is General Membership -> Board of Directors -> President/Vice President/Treasurer/Secretary/Department Heads/etc.

What is the basis for placing the (optional) treasurer before the (essential) secretary in this supposed "chain of command"?

Or, for that matter, placing the (optional) board before the (essential) president.

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What is the basis for placing the (optional) treasurer before the (essential) secretary in this supposed "chain of command"?

Or, for that matter, placing the (optional) board before the (essential) president.

The intent of using the slashes rather than arrows was to indicate equality for all the individual officers. The only reason the treasurer is listed before the secretary is because the original poster did so. While it is true that not all societies have a board, this society clearly does, and the President certainly does not outrank the board. I suppose I can imagine a society in which the board has so little power it can't even give directions to the officers but that seems unusual.

But yes, if you want to be technical, the pure chain of command is General Membership -> Everyone, and anything else needs to be stated in the Bylaws.

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Guest matt

My take on your use of "chain of command" suggests you're asking about levels of authority and who can over-rule whom, or something similar. Care to elaborate on what is at the heart of your question?

My question was in the day to day activity of the running of the organization (youth sports league). Our By-laws state that all board members have an equal vote for Board decissions. But we have writen By-Laws and losely written policy. The policy is made by mutal undertsanding but direction comes from the President. The Chain of command came up in an excutive session because the President in his day job tracels a lot so is not avialable to give direction in many day to day cases.

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My question was in the day to day activity of the running of the organization (youth sports league). Our By-laws state that all board members have an equal vote for Board decissions. But we have writen By-Laws and losely written policy. The policy is made by mutal undertsanding but direction comes from the President. The Chain of command came up in an excutive session because the President in his day job tracels a lot so is not avialable to give direction in many day to day cases.

RONR deals with parliamentary concerns in the context of a meeting, so I doubt you'll find answers there. Your bylaws and policies should clarify your question, although they apparently do not. Bylaws often include some language such as "The Board shall have general supervision of the affairs of the society between meetings." What this can fail to clarify is how? If a decision needs to be made on a day-to-day basis, who can initiate it? Only the President? Or the VP as well? Any board member? How is it decided? Does the Board need to be polled, via phone call or email perhaps? Is any particular officer authorized to act, within certain limits (such as a cap on how much he can spend unilaterally)?

If your policies through some (perhaps) vague language give the "direction" authority only to the President, that might be interpreted that he has, in some fashion, final say over any such decisions. All of this creeps deeply into the area of bylaw/policy interpretation, which will be up to the organization to decide. Amending the bylaws/policies to clarify this seems warranted.

See RONR (10th Ed.) pp. 570-573 for some help with interpretation.

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My question was in the day to day activity of the running of the organization (youth sports league).

In THAT context, THERE IS NO CHAIN OF COMMAND.

That is, there is no such rule in Robert's Rules of Order which implies, for example,

"When Colonel Potter is absent, Major Burns is in charge; when Major Burns is absent, Captain Pierce is in charge; when Captain Pierce is absent, Lt. Dish is in charge," etc.

In the parliamentary "chain", when the president is absent, no power of the president is transfered. The vice presdient does not absorb the powers of the president. The exception would be PRESIDNG. When the president is absent, the duty of PRESIDING falls to the vice president.

But "day to day operations"?

No. No power transfers from the president, to anyone.

Not per Robert's Rules of Order.

Our By-laws state that all board members have an equal vote for Board decissions.

But we have writen By-Laws and losely written policy.

The policy is made by mutal undertsanding but direction comes from the President.

The Chain of command came up in an excutive session because the President in his day job travels a lot so is not available to give direction in many day to day cases.

That "direction" stuff is your own doing.

There is no "direction" rule in Robert's Rules of Order. -- Presidents do not give direction.

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The policy is made by mutal undertsanding but direction comes from the President. The Chain of command came up in an excutive session because the President in his day job tracels a lot so is not avialable to give direction in many day to day cases.

It's not even true that the President has the authority to give directions unless this authority is granted by your Bylaws, and no administrative authority of the President transfers to another officer in his absence unless that is specified in your Bylaws. You're going to need to amend your Bylaws and other rules if you want a "chain of command" of that nature.

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Guest Art

Not sure if "chain of command" was the wording that was meant to be used. Organizations that I have been involved with have always listed officers as Chairman or President, Vice Chairman or Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer. I think what Matt may have been looking for was who comes first, Treasurer or Secretary as a matter of protocol.

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Guest Edgar

I think what Matt may have been looking for was who comes first, Treasurer or Secretary as a matter of protocol.

You do realize that Matt posted his question nearly ten months ago, right?

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Not sure if "chain of command" was the wording that was meant to be used. Organizations that I have been involved with have always listed officers as Chairman or President, Vice Chairman or Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer. I think what Matt may have been looking for was who comes first, Treasurer or Secretary as a matter of protocol.

First for what?

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Not sure if "chain of command" was the wording that was meant to be used. Organizations that I have been involved with have always listed officers as Chairman or President, Vice Chairman or Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer. I think what Matt may have been looking for was who comes first, Treasurer or Secretary as a matter of protocol.

Well, I don't know exactly what you mean, but I don't think Matt's question was about protocol at all. See his follow-up post on the subject (#13 in this thread).

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Guest Sarcazm

Im curious. How many VP's can there be. And what would be the negatives and positives of having more than 1 VP?

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Many organizations have multiple VPs, each of which has authority over some area of the organisation (e.g. Vice-President, Food, or Vice-President, Parties). But the traditional way, that Robert's Rules is written for, has the Vice-President's only role be to be a backup President. In this case, having more Vice-Presidents (e.g. a Second Vice-President or a Third Vice-President) is done to provide additional backups: if the President and First Vice-President are absent, the Second Vice-President presides, and so on.

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Guest Sarcazm - for future reference you'll likely get more responses to your question if you post it as a new topic, rather than tacking it onto a 6 year old thread.

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3 hours ago, Guest Sarcazm said:

Im curious. How many VP's can there be. And what would be the negatives and positives of having more than 1 VP?

There can be as many Vice President's as the organization wants - just like there can be as many directors as the organization wants.

Each organization is going to be different.  For example, for a For-Profit organization (i.e. a company who is out to make money like a bank or large retail organization), the organization may have more than one Vice President heading up each department/section of the organization (i.e. Vice President of Finance, Vice President of Human Resources, Vice President of Marketing, Vice President of Sales, etc.)  For a Not-For Profit I'd keep it to a small number of Vice Presidents.  Perhaps one - but no more than three, depending on the size of the organization.  You may have a for each major area of the organization, such as a Vice President of Fundraising, but the By-laws should state how each Vice President will rank in succession for the Presidency.  For example, in such a case I have advised ranking the Vice Presidents according to seniority.  The longer the person has been a Vice President, then the closer they are to take over the Presidency in the case of the Presidency becoming vacant due to death, resignation, or removal from office.

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