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  1. There are two issues upon which your considered opinion would be welcome. I do not currently have access to the full text of RONR (12th ed.). Quotation of any relevant text would be much appreciated. Issue I. A Post of an American Legion state organization, called a Department, is trying to get the Department's Executive Committee (DEC) to consider a resolution at the "second Department Executive Committee meeting" early next month. There is a dispute over the interpretation of the bylaws. Two relevant sections of the bylaws say: There is no dispute that the resolution was not submitted 90 or more "days prior to ... the second Department Executive Committee meeting." It was not. Likewise, there is no dispute that the resolution was not submitted 90 or more "days prior to the opening date of the Convention." It was. The resolution at issue does not propose to amend the bylaws. The dispute is whether the 90 and 60 day deadlines are applicable to resolutions submitted to the DEC's upcoming second meeting. I contend that the comma placement, common sense, and context are dispositive in determining that the time restrictions are inapplicable to resolutions submitted to the second DEC meeting. Here's my argument: A. The comma after the phrase "opening date of the Convention" indicates "that not less than 90 days prior" applies only to resolutions submitted to Convention. Admittedly, the sentence in question is not a picture of clarity on this point. B. The Convention is a longer annual event with much larger attendance and more resolutions to be considered. It makes sense that an extended time period for receiving, processing, and distributing resolutions is required. The long periods make no so such sense for the second DEC meeting. C. The context supports arguments A and B above as Sect. 2, Para. C of the Bylaws makes no mention whatsoever of the resolutions submitted to the DEC's second meeting. It only requires distribution of resolutions "at least 60 days prior to Convention." Is my reasoning here cogent and persuasive? Issue II. The Bylaws specify that: "The current edition of Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised shall be the parliamentary guide of the Department and all bodies therein and apply in cases to which they are not inconsistent with the Bylaws adopted by the Department." Assuming for the sake of argument that the resolution is out of order because it was submitted "less than 90 days prior to the opening date of ... the second Department Executive Committee meeting" I contend the DEC has the authority under RONR to suspend, by a two-thirds vote, the time requirements specified in Sections 1 & 2 above as they are "rules of order" within the meaning of RONR (12th ed.) 2:8(4), 2:14, 25:7. Is my interpretation correct?
  2. A notice for a special meeting of a local chapter (to be held September 25) goes out and the only agenda item is "Election of Officers." The bylaws state that members in good standing may vote. Conversely, you are not in good standing for a litany of reasons including "...not paying the membership dues for the new fiscal year by the designated date." The new year begins October 1. The designated date was September 20 and again the election meeting is September 25. A few members feel the meaning of the bylaws is ambiguous and thought that good standing would be taken away in the new fiscal year, not the current year which ends September 30 and for which they have been financially and actively in good standing. They want to invoke the principals of interpretation of the bylaws during the special meeting because they are current in their membership dues for the current year and the new year as of September 21. 1) If one of the members brought forth a Point of Order that the election is wrongfully prohibiting members from voting who should be able to vote because they are in fact in good standing for all of the other reasons and the election is being held in the current year for which they are a paid member AND they have paid for the new year by September 21, is that a point well taken? 2) Would it be germane to move to interpret that bylaw section because the meaning of when "not in good standing" status is invoked is unclear AND that ambiguity is adversely affecting members' voting rights for the election?
  3. Our condo association has advised an owner that they cannot park their RV/Van in the parking lot as the bylaws restrict Motor Homes. The bylaw has been consistently applied this way for 20 years. The new owner wishes to challenge the boards interpretation of the bylaw at the AGM stating that just because it is equipped as an RV it is not used as one so should be allowed inside. This is an oversize van that impedes on neighbouring parking stalls. We have no doubt that the owner would not be successful in her challenge, but in the interest of fairness wish to allow her an opportunity to present her case. I have found a reference of " if the assembly disagrees with a decision made by the board it can be countermanded or rescinded at a meeting of the association." Based on this I am considering allowing a motion to countermand the boards interpretation of the bylaw but can not allow a change to the bylaw. Do you think this would be appropriate and if so what level of support would the motion need? A majority or two thirds? Many thanks.
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