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AFS1970

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  1. As a layman in parliamentary terms, I have to say that this discussion has been fascinating and enlightening. I think much of the confusion about the petition / request seems to be the a mistaken impression that the request is a call for the meeting. The request is just that any call would be something completely separate. I have some questions about the make up of the board in question that may shed some light on who can remove an officer, or may not. When the board is elected are they elected as officers who then constitute the board, or do they elect a board that then selects officers? It would seem to me that that would decide just who the body is that can remove an officer is. As for the charges being explained in detail, I would hope that the petitioner can do this, but it seems to me that that is best left for the eventual special meeting and debate on the motion. If this were something less serious I would make a motion like " I move to hold the Christmas party at Ray's Restaurant" I don't make the motion " I move we hold the Christmas party at Ray's Restaurant because I really like it there and he gave us a good price and it is centrally located to all our membership." I also thought that the wording of the charges may be a bit problematic, not because of a lack of detail, but because they don't seem to match the bylaws exactly. Bullying and harassment may be violations but I am not sure they are incompetence. Is demonstrated negligence the same as gross negligence? The power grab would seem to me to be better worded as exceeding ones' authority. I suspect all of this could be explained in debate, so my thoughts may be needless quibbling in that regard.
  2. We have among our officers two captains & three lieutenants. Up until this year the by laws listed them as Captains (2), First Lieutenant, Second Lieutenant and 2nd Second Lieutenant. Both Captains had the same requirements. First Lieutenant & Second Lieutenant has the same requirements and 2nd Second Lieutenant had its own requirements. However the custom was to refer to the two captains as First Captain and Second Captain. For the 3 elections I have been present for, we have nominated and elected for the two captains separately as First Captain & Second Captain. Now I think this custom may go back to a previous bylaw where they were separate positions, as this is not uncommon, but I have no written documentation as to when such a change might have been made. Now to further complicate things, this year we amended the relevant section of the bylaws to now list the officers as Captains (2) and Lieutenants (3). There are requirements for Captain and we now have the same requirements for all three lieutenants. However our president still held nominations and thus elections for First Captain, Second Captain, First Lieutenant, Second Lieutenant and 2nd Second Lieutenant. I am now thinking that this custom if wrong for captains, has now compounded into being wrong for lieutenants. How much of this will be our department's right to interpret our own bylaws and how much of this will be some sort of breach? Is this just a custom that while quaint does not hurt anyone? I will say that if the custom was wrong, it may have effected our election for lieutenant in a strange way as we had an incumbent nominated for two lieutenant positions where I suspect he should have only been nominated once.
  3. I know the generally accepted definition n of good standing is to not be currently under discipline. I have seen in quite a few organizations a rule that defines good standing as being on compliance with the bylaws. So would an officer that is not upholding the requirements of office be thought of as in good standing? Our bylaws are silent on any definition but does accept RONR as parliamentary authority. As background, we have three lieutenants positions. One Lieutenant has basically abandoned the position but runs every year, usually unopposed because of a lack of qualified candidates. This year that lieutenant finally faced opposition and lost. However due to that same lack of candidates we ended up with a vacancy for Lieutenant and this now ex officer was nominated as well as another member. The other member was not qualified. Thus the ex lieutenant won by default as an unopposed candidate. I am trying to figure out if this lieutenant was actually eligible to run, having not met the requirements of the office previously. This is another area where our bylaws remain silent and the assembly had our hands tied.
  4. Wouldn't a conference call allow for debate? I am not sure how one could maintain order or figure out who had the virtual floor, but it seems to me that debate is at least possible.
  5. Which presents an interesting issue, I am a member of the executive board, so can I move to censure a body that I am part of?
  6. As for scheduling the executive board meetings, this is something the bylaws are inconsistent on. There are some sections that refer to the executive board taking action at their regular meeting. There is nothing at all about how frequent those regular meetings are supposed to be. There are the requirements for a meeting before nominations and one for a meeting before elections. Now in a case like this when we are filling openings created by the regular election there is no requirement to meet before nominations (how could we, as we didn't know nominations would be required) and there is nothing specifically that says to meet before the next election although I would like to think the duty to investigate candidates should carry on. I suspect that this may be the result of multiple previous amendments taking stuff away that is still referenced elsewhere in the bylaws. This is one of the things we are working on in our ingoing revision.
  7. The lack of nominees from the Executive Board seems like it may be two problems. I have to look up the language but I think it might say the Executive Board shall meet, which would seem to me to require us to do this, but either way the President doing this on his own without the rest of the board would seem like overreach. By going back to previous office what I meant was he called for nominations from the floor for captain. 2 members were nominated for 2 openings. He then went on to lieutenant, 4 members were nominated for 3 openings. 1 candidate then asked if we could go back to captain which the president allowed and that member nominated themselves. In most assemblies I have been in nominations are closed for one position before moving forward to the next. I have seen this be declared by the chair and been moved by a member. Neither happened, so nothing was closed but that seems like it muddles the nominations a bit. So as it turned out, there was no secret meeting, the executive board never met to determine eligibility. The president announced as usual that the executive board did not meet. The result of this was one (possibly two depending on interpretation) ineligible members running. Oddly enough there was another ineligible candidate, the president's son, who was announced as ineligible despite his name being on the ballots. So members were warned by the president not to vote for him. As it ended up I did not make the complaint because the end result would have likely been the same with all but two offices being unopposed. However because of a couple of new openings created by the elections we get a second bite at the apple next month. I think the best way to fix this is to sit down with the president and remind him that the executive board needs to meet prior to the next meeting. And show him where the mistakes were this month. No need to make it public. The meeting was nasty enough as it was.
  8. OK, By way of explanation, the way our nomination process is supposed to work is as follows. 1 - Prior to the May meeting the Executive Board is supposed to meet and come up with one nomination for each open office. 2 - At the May meeting the President presents these names and calls for nominations from the floor 3 - After the May meeting the Executive Board is supposed to meet and determine the eligibility of each candidate 4 - At the June Meeting we elect officers from the nominees who were determined to be eligible. So what was done wrong was 1 - No Executive Board meeting prior to May meeting, when told there needed to be recommendations / Nominations made the President on the fly just nominated all the incumbents. 2 - The President allowed someone to go back to a previous office and nominate themselves despite already accepting nominations for other offices. 3 - If an Executive Board meeting was held between the May & June meetings, not all members of the board were told about the meeting. (This is what I meant by in between meetings) I will also add that we had an interesting complication that will lead to a member being ruled ineligible for a nomination. At the May meeting we passed a Bylaws amendment that changed the requirements to hold office. This was done to solve a couple of ongoing problems but since it happened at the same meeting at the nominations I doubt the member making the nomination was thinking of the new rule at the time.
  9. Tomorrow night is the annual meeting of my volunteer fire department. This is when we elect our officers. The nominations (which were held last month) were handled improperly by our president. Part of this process continued to be handled improperly in between the meetings. When is the correct time to bring this up in the meeting and what form does it take, a point of order, a motion? All the issues are bylaws violations, nothing I can tell off the top of my head are RONR violations, although there may be some of those too. I think most of this is because the President has never bothered to read our bylaws, but he is also the type that feels he can do what he wants regardless of written rules. I also suspect he is getting bad advice from a couple of veteran members who are fairly well known for misreading the rules. In the last meeting he had to be reminded to do part of the nominations and even with prodding he managed to do that part improperly. The two most experienced members of our executive board were absent, although one of them is one of the aforementioned veterans so he was hanging in the wind at the meeting.
  10. Our May meeting is when we nominate officers. These nominations were done in a haphazard way with several irregularities. However for most of them, the results would likely be the same. No objection was raised in the May meeting. Is it too late to bring up this issue at the June meeting before the elections are held? There is also a strong chance that other errors will have occurred in between the May & June meeting.
  11. I would think that members recording dissent after a unanimous vote in favor of something could be ruled out of order (or not well taken) because it would be plainly obvious that there had been no dissent. Where I would see a bigger problem would be where two or more members wanted to record their dissent when the vote showed a lower number of votes against the motion. Then the chair might have tp figure out who actually dissented.
  12. Our current bylaws do not define what good standing is, but we do use RONR as our parliamentary authority, We have very detailed discipline and appeals in the bylaws as well as provisions for terminations of membership. However to the best of my knowledge we do not use RONR for discipline. From reading other threads here, it seems that many organizations use wording similar to a member in good standing is not currently under discipline. Our main form of punishment is suspension. We do not define what rights are suspended during this period. However the bylaws do say that if an appeal is successful the member is returned to good standing. Now our requirements for office require specific lengths of time (years) of consecutive good standing. Does this means that a suspension restarts the clock for years of consecutive good standing? Our fire chief is required to have seven years, does this mean a suspension six months ago means he can not run for another six and a half years? We are having trouble coming to a consensus on this. However the use of the word "currently" in some bylaws seems to be the biggest problem to me.
  13. I have dealt with this in two fire departments. and both had similar provisions for vacancies. If your Bylaws don't have one they probably should. In my old department for line officers, everyone moved up one rank and the vacancy was filled by special election to the lowest rank. For Executive officers the vice president moves up and the special election is for vice president. My current department is basically the same, except that due to increasing requirements for higher ranks (among the line officers) it specifically says all officers move up to the next position they are qualified for and the lowest opening is filled by special election. Most departments I have seen have some similar provision to these. However ultimately it will be up to your VFD to address this in accordance with your bylaws or your parliamentary authority (usually RONR)
  14. Thanks for all the help, as we undertake the revision we are finding a number of small areas that need updating. We of course can only fix the matter of odd interpretations by changing who we elect to interpret these bylaws. Funny that the example you mention if Connecticut Certified First Grade Firefighter II, as that certification does not exist and never has existed. Based on the requirements for other officers we think it is a typo combining Certified Connecticut Firefighter II (a professional certification) and First Grade Firefighter (which is a class of membership). We are generally lucky in that there are only 3 main areas that need extensive updating. The rest of the bylaws just need cleaning up from typos and clarifying some odd language/grammar choices. We are actually bringing an amendment to the Article that addresses officer qualifications forward tomorrow night instead of waiting for the full revision to be presented because of the urgency of the matter. We may do this with one other section but we might get done with the proposed full revision before we need to fix that.
  15. The title is just eligibility for the position. It seems based on this and other officer positions that the custom (or previous interpretation) has been that these are eligibility to be elected. In my short time here I have never seen anyone else become ineligible in mid term, so I suspect it is something we have never had to deal with. As for a longer quote, I am not sure it will help but here it is: Section 1: The Chief of the Company shall be elected at the Annual Meeting of the Company and shall hold office for a term of two (2) years or until his successor has been elected. a. Shall have served for at least one (1) complete term in each of the grades of officers or shall have previously served as Chief, Assistant Chief or Captain. b. Shall have been a member in good standing for a minimum of seven (7) consecutive years c. Shall be Connecticut Certified First Grade Firefighter II d. Shall be a minimum of 21 years old e. Shall live within two (2) linear miles of the Glenbrook Fire District f. Shall have served at least one (1) complete term as an Executive Board Member g. Shall be an expert in Fire Equipment Operations and Fireground Deployment. I agree that most of this is likely to fall on the side of us interpreting our own bylaws. My main question was about the president's interpretation of extending the term, which I think is questionable at best. However I have found on this forum that since everyone has been a part of multiple organizations even on the interpretation questions there is usually some good advise given.
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