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bob 82

Officers holding multiple offices

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This question pertains to the American Legion. Consisting of an Executive Committee of elected officers, and a Board of Trustees (7), 6 are elected, Plus the Commander by reason of his position.  Trustees oversea the Real  Property, and equipment owned by the Legion and are responsible for maintenance and repair of same.  The Leader of the Trustees is also the Finance Officer. Recently the Post commander appointed another officer of the Executive Committee to the Board of Trustees temporarily to fill a vacancy until an election can be held.

QUESTION:  Can an Officer hold 2 positions simultaneously?  Recently a vote came up in the General membership meeting for the purchase of a new sign, The Finance Officer tabled the motion. It seems that this would be a conflict of interest for the Finance Officer who is also the head of the Trustees, since the Trustees hold the purse strings for this purchase?

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The rules in RONR do not prohibit that, but your rules might, you'll need to check those.  How, exactly, did the Finance Officer who is also the head of the Trustrees "table[] the motion" in a General membership meeting, though?

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yes, in the general meeting but he did not express urgency for another more important issue at hand. his only reason was to stall the issue. Can this table be brought up again and if so does it require 2/3 vote?

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Bob, what do you mean when you say the finance officer "tabled" a motion? Exactly how did he do that? You've lost us with that statement. Please elaborate.

Edited by Richard Brown
Added last sentence

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So I take it he moved to lay it on the table, and the motion carried, although it was out of order?  It can be taken up from the table by a majority vote at the next meeting, if within a quarterly time period.  If the next meeting is not within a quarterly time period, or it is not taken up at the next meeting, it dies and may be made anew.  

Back to your earlier question: I do not think it would be a conflict of interest for this individual to move to lay a pending matter on the table.  In the circumstances you describe, it was most likely out of order - but I also don't think it would be a conflict of interest to use the proper motion (postpone).

However, it's possible I'm misunderstanding what happened.

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Guest Who's Coming to Dinner

That's an optimistic guess. My guess is that the motion was postponed or killed on some mistakenly presumed authority of this Finance Officer.

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1 hour ago, bob 82 said:

yes, in the general meeting but he did not express urgency for another more important issue at hand. his only reason was to stall the issue. Can this table be brought up again and if so does it require 2/3 vote?

See FAQ #12.

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If the Financial Officer is the one recording transactions and the Trustee is the one actually paying... that is absolutely a conflict of interest. The generally accepting accounting principle is that the recorder of transactions and payer of transactions is not the same person.  This prevents embezzlement.  Yes board members can hold multiple positions traditionally.  WI state statutes allow that.  If your bylaws don’t state it, state statutes preside.  Check your state for that.  But the two positions that any accountant will tell you should never be held by the same person in any business or organization are that of the person with the money and the person recording the money.  I can’t not speak on the Financial Officer tabelibg the motion, but the positions conflict of interest I can speak of.  That was in my intro to accounting textbook.  

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9 hours ago, ShellyS said:

If the Financial Officer is the one recording transactions and the Trustee is the one actually paying... that is absolutely a conflict of interest. The generally accepting accounting principle is that the recorder of transactions and payer of transactions is not the same person.  This prevents embezzlement.  Yes board members can hold multiple positions traditionally.  WI state statutes allow that.  If your bylaws don’t state it, state statutes preside.  Check your state for that.  But the two positions that any accountant will tell you should never be held by the same person in any business or organization are that of the person with the money and the person recording the money.  I can’t not speak on the Financial Officer tabelibg the motion, but the positions conflict of interest I can speak of.  That was in my intro to accounting textbook.  

ShellyS, your answer is so far off base that I hardly know where to begin.  For openers, I think you misunderstand what the original poster said. Second, your answer is not based on RONR, as our answers should be. Third, there is no inherent conflict in the same person being the "bookkeeper" and the person who writes the checks.  Those two functions are traditional functions of the treasurer in most organizations.  See the sample bylaws in RONR and also the customary duties of the treasurer as stated on page 461.

 

As to what constitutes a conflict of interest per RONR (which is what our answers are supposed to be based on),  the situation as described by the original poster does not create a conflict or "conflict of interest" as defined by RONR on page 407.  Without trying to give legal advice, I think I can safely say that I doubt that there is a state statute anywhere in the USA which prohibits an organization's treasurer from serving as both the "bookkeeper" and the person who writes the checks.    Those are the traditional duties of the treasurer.

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