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Nathan Zook

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  • Location:
    Everett, WA
  • Interests
    Programming, Politics, and Playing Fair.

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  1. No. I might add that this is an example of why it is useful to go over the bylaws in detail to surface corner cases and "what can go wrong" situations. I'm a big fan of having provisions that permit the recalling of a convention, for instance.
  2. To be clear, I agree that many or even most offices should have requirements. I just don't believe that putting requirements in writing serves the long-term interests of the body. It's like US congress trying to decide what constitutes an impeachable offense. There are words in the US constitution about it, but they don't matter (because there is no one to enforce them on the body.)
  3. Or maybe even a quart of order, if the member strongly objects. 😁 I always make my best points at the pub...
  4. No offense intended (at all!) I honestly thought that "first responder" mapped differently.
  5. It is also probably worth pointing out that RONR prohibits electronic meetings unless you bylaws expressly permit them. Absent such a provision, if the board insists on such a "meeting", the entire thing is illegal (in the parliamentary sense) and without effect.
  6. WAT? So you elect your firefighters and ambulance drivers? I... Yeah, that would be different. But a really, really bad idea to me. Surely, you want to elect an executive officer or board to hire people.
  7. You sure you're not talking about politics? I agree that there are exceptionally strong reasons for members to prefer many different qualifications for various offices. I do not agree that formalizing them has a uniformly beneficial effect. Certainly, if the treasurer is elected, one would prefer a CPA. But requiring that the treasurer be a CPA can put the organization in an extremely bad situation if one is not available. As for beliefs, how on earth do you ensure that these beliefs are in fact as stated? Going back to politics, we have the issue of "faithless" electors. In the end, situations such as OP presents are a serious concern that can sometimes not be remedied. OTOH, it is the duty of each member to consider carefully each candidate for election and act appropriately.
  8. My wife would suggest that last names are fluid. Beyond that, while I would agree that alphabetic by last name is more common for people, lexicographic ordering is more common in general. As such, this does feel ambiguous. As to the rule itself, I think that reverse-alphabetic by last name is a FAR more appropriate way to list candidates.
  9. This appears to be to be substantal change. Currently, those provisions in the "bylaws" can be amended by a majority vote. Changing the rules to require a two-thirds vote makes these provisions more difficult to amend. Indeed, the fact that the "bylaws" can be amended by a majority vote makes me curious as to their nature. It may be that these are rules in the nature of standing rules, and that perhaps, relabeling the documents "Constitution" and "bylaws" as "Bylaws" and "Standing Rules" might be more desirable. I can see that a merger of the documents without changing provisions is not a general revision. But with this change to rules being scatter throughout the new document...
  10. Taking the example of Mr Brown further, it is possible to empower the committee to act as well. I'm in politics, and at this time in the cycle, we are getting donations which need to be allocated. As the months have passed, we have had increasingly short periods with which to allocate funds. We have appointed committees to determine how various funds should best be allocated, and directed the chairman to spend funds based on these determinations. Some organizations create arraignments committees which set the date and direct the chairman to sign contracts for the facilities and services. Of course, such empowerment requires a significant amount of trust. Often there are substantial limitations on the authority of such a committee.
  11. To be clear, this situation is an excellent example of why requirements to hold an office are a bad idea. The body needs to be able to fill these positions based on their own best judgement. If this were not enough, just look at the questions of eligibility for the office of US president raised against Barack Obama, John McCain, and Ted Cruz.
  12. If the board really is split 4-1, then the odd man out is going to lose a lot. That's actually an important principle in RONR. Not that the rest of the board is acting morally, just that proper procedure requires that majorities be able to work there will. From the other side, one might complain that the odd member is being dilatory. And when an employee sends out an email alleging "hostile work environment", I would lawyer up. Sadly.
  13. It seems to me this might be one of the times to pull up my sig: "You asked me if you could do it. You didn't say a thing about if you should." Humans are intensely social creatures. To that end, meetings of a society inevitably have both business and social aspects. From what you describe, it appears that the social aspect has come to interfere with the business aspect more than you find acceptable. I'm intentionally localizing what you have said, "Because of the difficulty in getting members back on track by having members only attend meetings..." which looks to me that other members of the organization may view things differently. This is important because generally it requires a two-thirds vote with notice to change bylaws, and even if a bare majority wanted to make the proposed change, that would not suffice. It is easy for small committees to become echo chambers, and bylaws committees in particular are susceptible being dominated by people who belittle the social aspect. In my case, it took more than fifteen years for me to finally understand that sitting around at a political convention while some politician did their thing really is as important as electing delegates or adopting a platform and rules. Given that a body may always vote to close its meetings, I would suggest that a standing rule is a more appropriate place for a rule to close all meetings. It is also more clearly suspendable. Also, please consider carefully (and talk the the regent) if you really want to put the responsibility for allowing individual guests in the sole hands of the regent. Such an arraignment appears to me to be ripe for cries of favoritism and the like. Finally, it may be that the structure of your meetings might be the best solution. If (and I'm surmising) you have a meal before the business meeting, perhaps doing the business meeting first would get the members to focus on the business? If there really is a desire to close the meetings while allowing guests at a meal, perhaps, depending on the usual length of the meetings, there might be a separate room for guests while the body deliberates. Many, many options here. Without knowing more about your society, these are just wild suggestions.
  14. My example is a quote from the form which I have observed the Speaker of the House use. It's entirely unrelated to bodies using RONR, particularly since "laying upon the table" means something very, very different.
  15. If find the form that is used in the US House to be...interesting. "It-appears-the-ayes-have-it-The-ayes-have-it.-Without-objection-the-motion-to-reconsider-is-laid-upon-the-table." It's the sort of thing that makes one wish to run for congress solely for the joy of playing merry havoc with the thing...
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