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  1. Recently a member brought a motion to censure our chapter's chair for a post on their personal Facebook page that was tagged for friends only. This post was directed at one of his close personal friends and was a rhetorical question that was quoted from someone recently in the news. The discussion had become heated on his particular post, but it was not our groups FB page . Our group has a code of conduct as part of our bylaws, pertaining to the organizations events and meetings and online spaces. However, there are no disciplinary actions given in the bylaws. This motion to censure was brought at a meeting in new business and no prior notice to members, who had none of the details nor context yet a majority voted based on what was presented. This censure caused a very big rift in our organization- the chair resigned and several officers resigned as well. Members requested to put on the agenda for the next meeting a rescinsion of the censure (and many indicated that they felt blindsided and would not vote to censure if a proper process had been followed), but that meeting was then cancelled by the newly appointed chair and we were told that the censure could not be rescinded as it is a "disapproval" and that was an action that cannot be undone. My first question is whether it was in fact proper to use RRO to censure the member for a comment that was considered inappropriate by many members, however was done outside of our meetings and spaces and not available to the public; when in fact we have a code of conduct pertinent to only organizational spaces, events, and meetings. My second question is because censure is specifically defined in RRO as a reprimand and the first step in a disciplinary action, and there is nothing in RRO stating that censure cannot be rescinded, is it in fact an action that cannot be undone?
  2. Who can an organization censure? Can we censure someone who isn't technically a member of our organization? Can we censure someone who is required to be a member of our organization by law or bylaws? Specifically, can we censure someone who holds state-level elected office? What is the effect of a motion to censure? Is it simply "we disapprove of what this person has done" or is there more? Does a motion to censure in an ordinary society differ from one in a legislative body? As a subordinate entity (a county-level chapter of a state-level political organization), do we need our parent organization's permission to censure someone? I apologize for bringing the subject back up, but when I attempted to bring up a motion to censure (the one I asked about here), another member continually claimed that it was improper for several reasons, and I'd like to have an answer to their objections available before attempting it again.
  3. I'm concerned that RONR 11 has a potentially dangerous loophole with respect to ratifying action taken at a special meeting. From p. 93: "If, at a special meeting, action is taken relating to business not mentioned in the call, that action, to become valid, must be ratified (see pp. 124-25) by the organization at a regular meeting (or at another special meeting properly called for that purpose)." By stipulating "a" regular meeting rather than "the next regular meeting at the latest" (or at least specifying that ratification should take place at subsequent special meeting called specifically for that purpose if not as a special order of business at the next regular meeting at the latest, allowing for it to be postponed definitely but disallowing it to be laid on the table such that ratification could ever fall to the ground), what is to keep a majority at a special meeting from abusing the rights of absentees? That actions "must" be ratified seems insufficient, creating an indefinite timeline. Is there no statute of limitations on the motion to ratify (as opposed to the motion to censure)? Or can an organization go on acting as though business conducted outside the scope of a special meeting is valid so long as it is 'eventually' ratified? I'm concerned that organizations which fail to ratify such actions in a timely manner may have several invalidated (i.e., not-yet-validated) actions indefinitely. Avoidance seems permissible by the current language of RONR. And such prolonged neglect seems to violate the rights of absentees.
  4. For consistency and explanatory purposes, it seems like at it would be better for the motions to ratify or censure to be explained under the chapter on incendental motions rather than so cursorily at the end of the chapter on the main motion. In the very least, it seems as though the motions to ratify or censure are different enough from the motion to adopt (e.g., recommendations about action to be taken v. not-yet-validated actions perhaps already taken) that the motions should fall under separate subheadings. I raised more specific questions about the motion to ratify in an earlier post. But it also seems like the motions to ratify or censure deserve a more thorough treatment, if not with form and examples then at least with standard descritpive characteristics. I believe the motion to ratify (as opposed to the motion to censure) should not be allowed to be laid on the table such that it could ever fall to the ground. Actions requiring ratification should not go unratified. They should either be ratified or censured. I also believe the synonym to "approve" for the motion to ratify should be omitted. Otherwise the motion to "approve" (i.e., ratify) could become a conflicting term with the practice of approving minutes, which is not done by a motion. Worse, an organization could become mistaken that approving minutes which might include action in need of ratification, say from a previously held special meeting since the last regular meeting, is somehow tantamount to ratifying such actions. Which is bad.
  5. Hi, All. I was very grateful with help I received from those on this Forum back in the Fall and write again in search of further assistance! The issue this time: the procedures for a motion of censure. The situation I'm attempting to address, in rough, is this. At the last meeting of our Council, a member brought a motion to censure the President for a communication to members that contradicted the expressed will of the Council. At the beginning of the meeting, Council was asked to approve a parliamentarian to assist the President with the conduct of the meeting. This in and of itself is not unusual. In fact, Councillors had argued for the need for a parliamentarian in the hope that this would mean our meetings were run in good order. The parliamentarian in question for this meeting was not our usual parliamentarian. We finally reached the motion of censure very late in the meeting. At this juncture, the President asked for someone to move that the parliamentarian chair the discussion of the censure motion. I objected, as did the Vice-President. The President ignored all objections, kept calling for someone to move the motion in question, declaring that if we would not move that the Parliamentarian chair the discussion of the motion of censure against her *she* would chair the discussion. By a narrow margin, Councillors approved having the Parliamentarian in the chair. In my view this meant that we had in the "chair" a Parliamentarian who had willingly approved of a breach of the rules to put him in the chair. I would greatly appreciate hearing more informed views than mine on whether my view is correct. The Parliamentarian then read out the motion of censure, let the mover speak to the motion, and then promptly ruled the motion out of order. He ruled it out of order on more than one basis including that our Council has no authority to take any disciplinary action against a Presiding Officer and a motion of censure is a disciplinary action. He also ruled it out of order on the basis that the mover was proposing a penalty (that the Vice-President rather than the President send out communications to the membership). At this juncture, the mover read from Robert's Rules claiming that it was a breach of the rules for the Parliamentarian to be in the chair. Shockingly to me, he asserted that the as a majority had agreed to the breach the breach was fine. On the basis of advice that I had received from this Forum in the Fall I then moved an appeal of the decision of the "chair." The Parliamentarian-as-chair's ruling that the motion was out of order was DEFEATED, and we proceeded to debate on the motion of censure. My position, as I say, that the parliamentarian should never have been permitted to chair the discussion, and I seek guidance on this matter. When, in the course of my appeal of the decision of the chair, I aired my view that the Parliament should never have been in the chair he claimed to be the "presiding officer." I informed him that he was not the presiding officer — he had not been elected to office in the Association. After about 45 minutes of debate on the motion of censure, someone moved a postponement. The matter is to be addressed again at our next Council meeting this Thursday. I assume that we will once again be asked to put this Parliamentarian back into the "chair" for the continuing discussion. This should not, in my view, be allowed. I would therefore be very grateful to hear: 1. Whether a Parliamentarian can chair a motion of censure. Shouldn't such a discussion be chaired by the next highest presiding officer, in this case, the Vice-President? 2. If the Parliamentarian cannot or should not chair the motion, how does our Council ensure that this Parliamentarian cannot be put into the chair for the continuing discussion? I very much look forward to receiving advice from participants in this invaluable Forum! Thank you, Carolyn
  6. Guest

    Motion to Censure

    Basic questions about making a motion to censure: The chair wishes to make a motion to censure the actions of 3 out of 7 members who acted together as a minority, without the knowledge or approval of the body as a whole. (The assembly I refer to has bylaws that state its members only act as a body) The bylaws have no prescribed means for discipline except that of removal of office, which in this case, is not the intended outcome. Can the chair make ONE motion which censures the actions of all 3? (they acted as a group outside of the whole and would be censured for the same action) When is the appropriate time for the chair to make such a motion? The situation has just come to light and the assembly meets this afternoon, any information in a prompt response will be greatly appreciated!
  7. Can a motion to censure have object (object to the consideration of the question) applied to it? Looking at page 268 lines 1-4, one would think that the answer is no. However, wouldn't it make sense to object to the consideration of such question?
  8. I've looked for this topic to be discussed but have not found it, so if I have started this in error, please redirect me. I've found it curious that RONR offers that the motion to substitute "censure" for "ratify" is in order. A motion to censure does not seem germane to the motion to ratify. The motion to ratify has to do with the actions taken by an individual or a group that does not have the power to take such an action as discussed in RONR pp. 124-125. It is the action that requires ratification, or defeat ratification. If the act has already been carried out, I don't see how amending the motion to ratify deals with the action already taken. We already know that we cannot reconsider, rescind, or amend something previously adopted that cannot be undone. Again, we are dealing with the action taken by impoperly adopting a motion or acting without approval of the body that has the power to approve. Censure, on the other hand, has to do with dealing with the person or persons, and in the RONR example censure would apply to those who have taken such action(s) - it has no effect on the action taken whatsoever. If the motion to censure is substituted and adopted, the assembly/board has not yet dealt with the unauthorized action, it has only censured the person or body that took the action. What happens if no vote to authorize the action is ever taken? Is consent implied because no one ever proposed the motion to ratify so it could be voted down? I seems, then, that a motion to censure, while maybe desired, is in order if the motion to ratify were defeated, but should not be a substitute for the motion to ratify. Also, after reading the other discussions on "ratify", I am of the opinion that the motion to ratify an action should be an up or down vote; it's hard to see how an assembly can amend something that has already taken place. I look forward the discussion on this. As a presiding officer, I have had not had to deal with the motion to ratify except by consent. Glen
  9. If a member makes a motion to censure the Chair, and the Vice Chair has immediately prior to the motion resigned, who would the member address? Would the appointment of a VP pro tem until the next election be in order first, and then the member with the motion to censure address the VP pro tem?
  10. Our organization is run by 6 officers and has about 40 members (it is a student-run organization in high school but the members do not receive any votes, only officers can vote). We are considering the possibility of removing one of the current members. The bylaws specify that any vote normally requiring a 2/3 vote requires a 5/6 vote (5 of the 6 officers). Would the vote to remove a member require a 2/3 vote, therefore requiring 5 votes in our instance, or would it require a majority vote, 4 votes in this instance?
  11. Our Board of Directors wants to censure a member for smearing other members. He did this in writing, so the evidence is clear. However, the Board wonders if it has the authority to do so, or if this can only be done at a meeting of all members (or, more specifically, at a trial approved by a motion made at a meeting of all members). The constitution empowers the Board to expulse a member, but says nothing about censure. The constitution does specify that we use Robert's Rules of Orders ("insofar as they may apply"). The article of the constitution about the Board of Directors starts with "The business of the Society shall be conducted by a Board of Directors (...)". There is a paragraph that says "During the intervals between meetings of the Board of Directors, the Executive Committee shall possess, and may exercise, all the powers of the Board of Directors in the management and direction of the affairs of the Society." This is not terribly relevant (but I thought I'd still mention it) since this action is being undertaken by the Board of Directors, not the Executive Committee. I'm guessing the answer lies in whether "business of the Society" includes censuring a member (or deciding to hold a trial). Thanks in advance for your help.
  12. Guest

    Censure of a member

    If your organization has its own disciplinary procedure that makes no mention of "censuring" a member and/or officer, can it still be done? Or is considered separate from what is general considered "disciplinary action"?
  13. Guest


    We have a situation where we have a board member that has an obvious problem with anger managment. We plan to talk to him in executive session at our next meeting, however... if he doesn't make an adjustment to his behavior-we are prepared to go down the road of censure. Any suggestions would be appreciated. This one is not easy... it's not about a presidng officer not being able to control the meeting... it's about a person who cannot control their anger....Thank you.
  14. I appreciate that RONR contends such an amendment to be in order because it meets criteria of germaneness (p. 137 ll 20-29), however, if a motion to censure is intended to be raised not for violations of decorum, but as a main motion for actions of the individual, wouldn't there be a requirement for prior notice, in order that the member can know to be present to defend their actions, and so that any who have an interest in the consideration of the censure can choose whether or not to attend and where prior notice is a requirement for a motion to be able to be passed, would it not exceed the scope of notice for the assembly to move amendment to 'commend' in place of to 'censure' ??
  15. Dear Forum, I am interested in the proper procedure for pursuing a motion of censure at the board meeting which *follows* the one in which statements (to the point of allegations) had been made. Under fire was business (actions) taken outside of board meetings. Some statements in the last board meeting fell short of outright allegations, as these were issued under a veil of multitudinous confusion (roughly "I cannothelp but think there must be some conflict of interest in the manner in which these directors have conducted themselves") yet despite other statements going so far as to contend improper communication through the media,and "undermining" and even"sabotaging the board's 2013 annual strategic plan", there was neither a board decision to appoint a committee to investigate the allegations, nor any call for retraction of the allegations. A majority of the board, including its chair, may have been unfamiliar and uncomfortable with how such allegations needed to be handled. Had it been a situation where a few directors had simply shown a lack of decorum, and had allowed themselves unduly emotional language attacking the ideas or proposals but not their makers, and had it been aboutbusiness that would be moot to again come before the board, I could understand how there would be little value to seek after-the-fact accountability for what had been uttered. However, these statements went beyond being ill tempered or indecorate, to construe conduct outside meetings as having been (and remaining) contrary to the best interests of the society, and – if followed to their conclusion – contend unfitness to continue to serve in office as a director, and the statements were made in front of guests, and not in executive session, thus with attendant risk of injury to reputation outside the society The allegations appear to have been fed by those directors who object to the subset of us who desire – among other changes – to reduce the number of directors (paid $1100 per day to attend board meetings) from 38to 10 + chair + 4 non-voting, which provision for amendments our bylaws permit any two members in good standing to make. The allegations also referenced our having pre-announced our bylaws amendment proposals in our professional journal. We did this because, last year, when we had proposed term limits, the board affixed, to each mailed ballot, a memodeclaring the board's unanimous opposition to term limits (some of us were not then directors) while refusing us, the proposers, to include with the ballot our reasons as to why we believed term limits were a good idea. Would it be in order, at the next meeting, for any directortoraise a point of order with respect to the remarks that are at issue, expressing the view that the allegations were of a kind that would be out of order to have been made without being acted upon, and that it be incumbent on the board to either appoint a committee to investigate the allegations, or (if there will be no investigation, on account of reluctance of those who made the allegations, and others on the board, to proceed) to concede as in order, despite that a majority of the board might oppose it, a motion of censure against those who had made such allegations together with those who permit these to stand while refusing to grant the accused the right of investigation My purpose would be to have captured, in the minutes, motions that (1) an investigative committee be appointed, and likely (2) a motion of censure, and that (3) the votes by taken by roll call (or signed ballot), so that even if these fail, they will be on record for later consideration by the larger membership.
  16. Guest


    After the chair removes himself for debate purposes, may the chair vote on a motion to censure the chair?
  17. The body meets both in person and by conference call. Bylaws call for operation per latest RONR, and have a section for removal of a member by formal process, but otherwise do not otherwise mention disciplinary procedures. Near the end of a conference call under any other business, motion is made and seconded to censure one member for his repeated abusive remarks directed to the chair, fellow members, and staff. The chair asks for parliamentary advice regarding the motion, and is informed its in order if pertaining to recent behavior viewed by the entire body and amounts to a formal reprimand. Further advised that the target member should be allowed to speak first in their defense. At this point, it appears the target of the motion left or was disconnected from the teleconference (indeterminate). As the target was no longer present and couldn't speak in their defense, the motion was tabled for their next monthly meeting and the meeting adjourned. Questions: 1) When picked from the table at the next meeting, is the censure motion remain valid or is it no longer sufficiently timely? 2) If no longer valid, and in light of the note that the target be allowed to speak, is it not possible for a target of censure to always make such a motion stale by exiting a meeting or teleconference? -WG
  18. Guest

    Is Censure Appropriate

    A member of an executive committee of a union at a USA college was asked to recuse himself from a case involving his department in which he had voiced strong opinions. He did recuse himself from the union executive committee of the union after being asked to do so, but not from the Department business taken up by the department on which he served. This seemed to be appropriate. Do you agree? However, this Executive Committee member then began to contradict (on the matter taken up by the department) the legal advice of the attorney who is the executive committee's counsel-- as transmitted by the president of the union. He disagreed with counsel's legal interpretation that the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) was to be interpreted in a particular way. He insisted on contradicting this legal advice in public though he had been informed of the attorney's advice. Should this executive committee member be censured by the executive committee for publicly undermining confidence in the executive committee's legal interpretation of the CBA? The conduct caused harm to the organization (union) in undermining the authority of the president and legal counsel in the minds of its members. Basically, he went rogue
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