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Our current bylaws state that RONR shall govern the organization in all cases in which they are applicable. Now our current executive board wants to do away with Robert's Rules.They want to remove that part of our by laws can they do this?

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Our current bylaws state that RONR shall govern the organization in all cases in which they are applicable.

Good!

Now our current executive board wants to do away with Robert's Rules.

Bad!

They want to remove that part of our by laws.

Ugly!

Can they do this?

If the amendment process of the bylaws is followed, and if the voters approve the amendment, then yes.

Else, no.

***

[ocarina solo and muted trumpet solo]

"Doo da doo da doooo!

Wah wah waaaah waaaah"

B)

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Our current bylaws state that RONR shall govern the organization in all cases in which they are applicable. Now our current executive board wants to do away with Robert's Rules.They want to remove that part of our by laws can they do this?

Perhaps there is a misunderstanding or an "education problem" here. Your organization's bylaws and your own rules are followed first, even with the provision for following Robert's Rules. So, if there are some situations where the organization does not like the provisoons of Robert's rules, then your organization could put your own provisions in the bylaws.

Let me give two examples. Robert's Rules provides that the Vice President become the president when the office of president becomes vacant. Suppose you don;t like that and wish to fill the vacancy in the office of President some other way. Then, just put such a provision in your bylaws. Robert's Rules requires a majority vote to be elected to office. Suppose you don;t like that and want a plurality to be sufficient. Then, just add such a provision to the bylaws.

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Our current bylaws state that RONR shall govern the organization in all cases in which they are applicable. Now our current executive board wants to do away with Robert's Rules.They want to remove that part of our by laws can they do this?

You mean is it possible to establish a dictatorship? Sure. But what do your current bylaws say about their amendment? Doesn't the membership have to approve bylaw changes? If so, and they vote for this turkey of an idea, then they deserve what they get.

In my opinion, anyone who would propose to just "do away with" their parliamentary authority should be brought up on charges immediately. Why wait? Maybe they're not raiding the bank accounts yet, but it's only a matter of time. Nobody but a crook has anything to fear from RONR.

But that's just me. :)

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You mean is it possible to establish a dictatorship? Sure. But what do your current bylaws say about their amendment? Doesn't the membership have to approve bylaw changes? If so, and they vote for this turkey of an idea, then they deserve what they get.

In my opinion, anyone who would propose to just "do away with" their parliamentary authority should be brought up on charges immediately. Why wait? Maybe they're not raiding the bank accounts yet, but it's only a matter of time. Nobody but a crook has anything to fear from RONR.

But that's just me. :)

Not just you.B)

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If 2/3 of the members vote yes to do away with Roberts Rules is there anything the rest of the members can do who would like to keep RONR ?

If the procedure laid out in your bylaws to amend them is properly followed, and the required vote is attained to remove the section about RONR as the parliamentary authority, then probably nothing.

"A deliberative assembly that has not adopted any rules is commonly understood to hold itself bound by the rules and customs of the general parliamentary law - or common parliamentary law (as discussed in the Introduction) - to the extent that there is agreement in the meeting body as to what these rules and practices are." (RONR 10th Ed., p.3 ll. 18-23) That is, even if the bylaws don't stipulate a parliamentary authority such as RONR, it is still understood that the common parliamentary rules apply. Whether the board or even the membership abides by them is up to members. The rules don't enforce themselves.

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Well, not "nothing". Leaving the association is always an option. (With exceptions for some associations - like home owner associations &c.)

Indeed. I had considered including that option, but I figured Liz was looking for a way to stay.

Liz - how about starting your own new organization with the like-minded people who share your position? Is that a possibility?

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Our board is telling the members that we are to small of an organization to follow Roberts Rules because we are only a PTO. Will we lose anyhting by giving up Roberts Rules from a legal point? The board has stated no one should be worried the members will always have the final say , but how would that be possible if it isn't stated in our bylaws?

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Our board is telling the members that we are to small of an organization to follow Roberts Rules because we are only a PTO. Will we lose anyhting by giving up Roberts Rules from a legal point? The board has stated no one should be worried the members will always have the final say , but how would that be possible if it isn't stated in our bylaws?

"Where there is no law, but every man does what is right in his own eyes, there is the least of real liberty." General Henry M. Robert

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Our board is telling the members that we are to small of an organization to follow Roberts Rules because we are only a PTO. Will we lose anyhting by giving up Roberts Rules from a legal point? The board has stated no one should be worried the members will always have the final say , but how would that be possible if it isn't stated in our bylaws?

  1. Pour a big tall glass of Crown Royal (Black, if you can find it)
  2. Add a lot of ice
  3. Peruse the Forum Posts
  4. Ask repeatedly, "what could go wrong?"
  5. Repeat step 1

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Our board is telling the members that we are to small of an organization to follow Roberts Rules because we are only a PTO. Will we lose anyhting by giving up Roberts Rules from a legal point? The board has stated no one should be worried the members will always have the final say , but how would that be possible if it isn't stated in our bylaws?

Well the thing of it is that unless you all adopt some other parliamentary authority you will end right back with RONR (pretty much). Robert's Rules of Order is a codification of the general parliamentary law which would apply to any organization without an adopted parliamentary authority so if you all get rid of RONR you would be then bound by the general parliamentary law which is what RONR is (RONR pp. xxv-xxvi).

So unless you all come up with a different parliamentary authority you will be stuck with the general parliamentary law and you all will end up with the same problem an organization who doesn't like that their quorum is defined as a majority of all the members and so they decide to strike the quorum requirement from the bylaws thinking that they can then define it how they want (RONR p. 335 says "In any other deliberative assembly with enrolled membership whose bylaws do not specify a quorum, the quorum is a majority of all the members."

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Our board is telling the members that we are to small of an organization to follow Roberts Rules because we are only a PTO. Will we lose anyhting by giving up Roberts Rules from a legal point? The board has stated no one should be worried the members will always have the final say , but how would that be possible if it isn't stated in our bylaws?

As mentioned already, if you remove RONR as your parliamentary authority without naming another book, you are bound to follow the common law for parliamentary procedure. The trouble with that is that it is ill defined, and your organization is likely to spend much more time haggling over what the proper procedure is. Indeed, that is the very reason that the original Robert's Rules of Order was written: at meetings in San Francisco Major Henry Robert found there were different opinions as to what the proper procedure was, and "confusion and misunderstanding had reached a point where issues of procedure consumed time that should have gone into the real work of the societies. Robert doubted that these organizations would be able to function efficiently until there could be better agreement as to what constituted parliamentary law." -- RONR (10th ed.), p. xxxvi.

RONR p. 16 advises: "Although it is unwise for an assembly or a society to attempt to function without formally adopted rules of order, a recognized parliamentary manual may be cited under such conditions as persuasive." So, if they succeed in removing RONR, bring your RONR to meetings anyway, and cite it whenever needed. Don't let them tell you can't be cited; it can always be cited as at least good advice even when it isn't a binding rule. Document every time they violate RONR and whose rights were affected, as ammunition to some day later amend the bylaws to add RONR back in.

Generally groups that want to get rid of RONR are simply intimidated by its size. They don't want to be governed by rules they haven't read, and they don't have time or inclination to read 643 pages. Buy them a copy of Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised In Brief, and ask them to point out just one thing in it that they feel is burdensome to your group. See if they can.

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Our board is telling the members that we are to small of an organization to follow Roberts Rules because we are only a PTO. Will we lose anyhting by giving up Roberts Rules from a legal point? The board has stated no one should be worried the members will always have the final say , but how would that be possible if it isn't stated in our bylaws?

Just my 2 cents, but your board is either seriously ill-informed or complete idiots (in my opinion).

For the most part, following Robert's Rules (as appropriate to the organization) makes things simpler and smoother in operation. let me give an example.

We have a voluntary neighborhood association whose bylaws specify Robert's Rules. BUT - the officers were not followng them as it related to approval of minutes. We have quarterly memberhip meetings and approve the minutes at the folowing meeting. They were doing this with motions, voting on changes, etc. After a particulary contentious meeting where this approval of minutes went on for an extended period, I informed the officers about the proper way to do minutes, suggested RONR and RONRIB books. They bought the books and at the last meeting just asked for corrections to the minutes (there were none) and declared the minutes approved as presented.

In my opinion and experience, most of the trouble folks have with Robert's Rules stems from a misinterpretation of them, using the version that is over 100 years old, or completely misquoting them.

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