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Definition of Past President for a Non-Profit


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I am a past president for a non-profit - having served two, 2-year terms. There is some debate with our board as to giving the "Past President" title to one who only served one of those 2-year terms, or just served a few months of the term. Is there any article that addresses this? It's become somewhat of a contentious issue as there is no definition of that title in the by-laws, and it effects one of our current board members.

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I am a past president for a non-profit - having served two, 2-year terms. There is some debate with our board as to giving the "Past President" title to one who only served one of those 2-year terms, or just served a few months of the term. Is there any article that addresses this? It's become somewhat of a contentious issue as there is no definition of that title in the by-laws, and it effects one of our current board members.

RONR doesn't define the term. Since you all apparently have such a creature it will be up to you all to work out the details.

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It's become somewhat of a contentious issue as there is no definition of that title in the by-laws, and it effects one of our current board members.

No definition?

It's seems clear that "past president" refers to someone who used to be president. The U.S. has dozens of past presidents. One of those (George W. Bush) is the immediate past president (and there can only ever be one of those). So whoever was your president before your current president is your immediate past president. It doesn't matter if he was president for only a day. It doesn't matter if he was kicked out of office for stealing the club's money. He's the immediate past president until the current president leaves office.

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I am a past president for a non-profit - having served two, 2-year terms. There is some debate with our board as to giving the "Past President" title to one who only served one of those 2-year terms, or just served a few months of the term. Is there any article that addresses this? It's become somewhat of a contentious issue as there is no definition of that title in the by-laws, and it effects one of our current board members.

A cautionary note: You may have more than "past president", but as for "immediate past president", Mr. Mountcastle has addressed that.

Whether it matters or not, RONR says that, when "filling vacancies for unexpired terms, an officer who has served more than half a term in an office is considered to have served a full term." (RONR 10th Ed., p. 432 ll. 20-22)

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It's not clear from your original post whether your bylaws give some official status to the position of past president, without defining the term, or whether they don't say anything at all about a past president. If it is the latter, then your past president(s) have no official status in your organization, so it really doesn't matter much how you define them. If it is the former, and your past president(s) do have some official status, then deciding who gets that title, and the related official status, will be up to your membership. It would probably be wise to use the common definitions as noted above. When you do decide, you should amend the bylaws to include that definition.

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It's not clear from your original post whether your bylaws give some official status to the position of past president, without defining the term, or whether they don't say anything at all about a past president. If it is the latter, then your past president(s) have no official status in your organization, so it really doesn't matter much how you define them. If it is the former, and your past president(s) do have some official status, then deciding who gets that title, and the related official status, will be up to your membership. It would probably be wise to use the common definitions as noted above. When you do decide, you should amend the bylaws to include that definition.

Or better still, amend the bylaws to remove any such official status.

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I am a past president for a non-profit - having served two, 2-year terms.

There is some debate with our board as to giving the "Past President" title to one who only served one of those 2-year terms, or just served a few months of the term.

"And de-bate goes on

And de-bate goes on

Wheels keep turnin' 'round in my brian.

La de dah de dee

La de dah de dah"

--Sonny & Cher, 1967

Is there any article that addresses this?

No.

You won't find the term

(a.) past president; or

(b.) immediate past _____ [anything];

in Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised (RONR 10th ed.)

It's become somewhat of a contentious issue as there is no definition of that title in the by-laws, and it effects one of our current board members.

Right.

No definition in your bylaws.

No definition in Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised [RONR 10th ed.]

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I am a past president for a non-profit - having served two, 2-year terms. There is some debate with our board as to giving the "Past President" title to one who only served one of those 2-year terms, or just served a few months of the term. Is there any article that addresses this? It's become somewhat of a contentious issue as there is no definition of that title in the by-laws, and it effects one of our current board members.

If there is no definition of that title in your bylaws, then there is no title for you to give to anyone.

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