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AFS1970

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  1. Belated Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah & Happy New Year to all.
  2. Thanks for all the help, sorry I am so late in returning but I was on vacation and am now dealing with a knee injury. What I meant by a hierarchy of documents was do we have to list anywhere in the bylaws what rules supersede other rules? SOPs have nothing to do with our meetings or parliamentary rules they are strictly operational rules about how the fire department operates (on emergency calls and training) our rules of operation are a mess and I am hoping we can get rid of them, but they seem to sit somewhere in between the bylaws and the SOPs as they contain sections that deal with specific duties of officers on scene but also contains further definitions and requirements for classes of membership. We already list RONR as the parliamentary authority although I only know of one time that we appealed to it since I have been a member. That was an unpopular ruling but it showed that the department had been doing something wrong as long as anyone could remember. What I meant by deriving their authority from the bylaws is we have a bylaw that says who can make rules (SOPs). So any rule made derives its authority from the officers who derive it from that section of the bylaws. As for bringing in a parliamentarian, that is a wonderful idea but I doubt our president would even consider it. He would never allow anything to get in the way of his running a meeting. even our own bylaws. I may just show him this thread as a guide.
  3. My fire department is in the middle of a by law revision. Our pace has slowed down but we are still working as a committee and are almost done with a proposal. There are large parts which don't need to be changed. Having just read another thread here about missing sections and having heard rumors of previous bylaws amendments that nobody seems to be able to find, I want to make sure we are going about this the right way. When we compile our final proposed revision, we are making a complete document and including the unchanged sections where they are. This way we do not accidentally delete anything. Is this correct? Also when reading the proposal, should we note areas that have no changes? Secondly as we have some other documents that come into play, so we need to list a hierarchy of documents? We obviously have to follow federal, state & local laws. We have our By-Laws but then we also have a document called Rules of Operation which I am lobbying hard to get rid of entirely and fold some sections into the by-laws as they seem to intrude into each other's scope. We also have a few standard operating procedures that cover firefighting operations but have nothing to do with parliamentary or corporate function, however they derive their authority from the bylaws. Should these relationship be included in the bylaws? Lastly, one veteran member who is not on our committee but is largely seen as a knowledge source (often incorrectly it turns out) has told the committee several times that the way a revision gets passed is that every member gets a copy and can make changes to them and then the committee has to include those changes in what finally gets voted on. This seems strange to me. It also seems to encourage conflict as there is no guarantee that all members will want the same changes. I believe that the revision should be read, moved and voted on as a yes or no vote. All at the same meeting. Is there a preferred method for this kind of vote?
  4. Our fire department has two boards, an executive board made up of the usual association officers and a service board made up of the Captains, Lieutenants & Chiefs. Each board has their duties. We also have various committees. Apart from one section requiring the Executive Board to meet to discharge a specific duty, there is nothing in the bylaws about these boards or committees meeting. Most of them don't meet at all, let alone regularly. So at our general meeting each month as reports are called for the committees generally say no report. The Chief & the President just say that their respective boards didn't meet. It seems odd to me we have various bodies that appear to do little and there is a lack of accountability. We have had a couple of recent problems with boards not doing their jobs although for the most part the jobs get done by individual officers. Short of an amendment requiring these boards to meet is there anything that can be done to compel these bodies to meet?
  5. This gets into interpreting bylaws and since I am not a member of the association my interpretation is worth nothing more than any other opinion, but I think the first line of the section shows the intent when it was written. Since before it gets to the requirements it says that the aim shall be to elect the most capable people to office then goes on to list qualifications, I would think the intent was that those qualifications were to meet that purpose.
  6. I am kind of interested in this simulation game. There is another factor which seems to effect the majority and that is that only Yays & Nays count. so regardless of if the number is 15 or 16, the majority will not be known until the votes are cast. as someone could vote present and change the required number. As for Jefferson's rules, I got my copy at Monticello a few years back, but I have seen it offered at various historical sites also.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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?
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
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