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Matt B

Nominations and Election - Officer Eligability

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Hi,

I am the President of our local volunteer EMS organization.  We are starting our nomination process this Wednesday and have elections for 2018 Officers in December.  We have two classifications of officers - the Executive Officers (Pres, VP, Sec, Tres) and Line Officers (Chief, Captain, Lieutenant's, etc).   Our by-laws have certain eligibility requirements for all of the officer positions, and we are having an issue with the Line Officer positions.  We have plenty of people who want to run for said offices, but they are not eligible per our by-laws.   Our current Chief is eligible for all of the line officer positions however she does not wish to have any of the positions any more.  The current Captain, and One Lieutenant are not eligible due to not meeting some eligibility requirements.  Our by-laws have nomination by committee, however our nomination committee won't be able to nominate anyone for these required positions due to lack of eligibility of the membership.   I can't find anything in Roberts Rules that address what happens when no one is eligibility for office.   Our by-laws provide that a by-law (the eligibility requirements) can be waived with a unanimous vote.  Other than dwindling down the eligibility requirements by keep waiving them by a unanimous vote (which i doubt we will get anyway), what exactly should we do?   Thanks in advance

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Electing someone to office who does not meet the qualifications for that office as expressed in the bylaws would constitute a continuing breach that will continue as long as that person holds the office. That means that a point of order could be raised at any time that the person is, in fact, not in office. You seem to want to avoid such a situation, which is a good idea. If your bylaws actually do allow the eligibility requirements to be waived by a unanimous vote, that would seem to provide you with a short-term solution and allow you to at least elect officers in your upcoming election - assuming every member in attendance is in agreement. For the longer term, it appears that you need to get busy amending your bylaws to provide for more workable eligibility requirements, if everyone agrees that these requirements are the problem.

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Agreeing with Mr. Lages, it might be possible to amend your bylaws prior to or at your election meeting, prior to the actual elections. Per RONR, bylaw amendments take effect immediately. So, if that can be done, the new qualifications would apply to the positions you are about to fill.at the election. Study what your bylaws say about amending them. 

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I completely agree about amending the bylaws as a long term solution.   Unfortunately our by-law committee did squat this year.   Our bylaws require that a proposal to a change of bylaws has to be submitted in writing and signed by 3 members in good standing and submitted to the by-law committee, who will in turn review and make a recommendation to the President.  The change has to be read at two successive meetings and the change is voted on at the third meeting and needs 2/3 majority of all members present to approve it.   So we are too late to fix it for this year.  

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Although I would hasten to point out that this is a parliamentary answer, not a reality-based answer.  Your organization will need to decide if it wants line officers running around with fewer qualifications.

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