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suspending in-person Assembly


Guest Jack O'Dwyer

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Guest Jack O'Dwyer

A national group, seeking a $30 dues increase, has said that it may suspend the in-person, 270-member Assembly next year if it doesn't get the increase. Its law firm says this is permissible under New York State law which "trumps" anything in the New York-based group's bylaws. Members are complaining that this could greatly damage the group. Does Robert's allow this?

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A national group, seeking a $30 dues increase, has said that it may suspend the in-person, 270-member Assembly next year if it doesn't get the increase. Its law firm says this is permissible under New York State law which "trumps" anything in the New York-based group's bylaws. Members are complaining that this could greatly damage the group. Does Robert's allow this?

Not everything in New York State Law trumps RONR, but procedural rules (i.e., rules of order imposed on organizations) would.

The most relevant question at this point is, what does YOUR law firm say? Believing what the other guy's lawyer says is not a generally acknowledged milepost on the road to happiness.

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Guest Jack O'Dwyer

Gary: Thanks for your reply. The Assembly delegates have no lawyer of their own. They rely on the board's lawyer who invariably supports what the board wants. The parliamentarian in recent years has been on retainer rather than hired for the day as in year's past. The parliamentarian works months in advance for the board and usually issues advice that pleases the board.

RONR says that Assemblies, if there is one in an organization, should "sit over" the board and that is the case with the American Bar Assn. and American Medical Assn. to name two major professional groups. But in this group, the board "sits over" the Assembly which is often told never to tell the board what to do. Ultimate policy is in the hands of the board. New York State law is cited for this.

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Gary: Thanks for your reply. The Assembly delegates have no lawyer of their own. They rely on the board's lawyer who invariably supports what the board wants. The parliamentarian in recent years has been on retainer rather than hired for the day as in year's past. The parliamentarian works months in advance for the board and usually issues advice that pleases the board.

Maybe it is time for some of your members to hire an attorney of their own.

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Ultimate policy is in the hands of the board. New York State law is cited for this.

Well, when someone cites a law they ought be giving you an actual citation that you can look up. Otherwise it's just so much hand waving.

Just saying the New York State law demands that the boards have ultimate power is most probably rubbish. There are countless organizations that do it the right way, and many of them are in New York. Is there something in particular about your type of organization that would make you believe this might be true?

Or are there some unfortunate provisions in your bylaws that strip the assembly of its powers? Have you read the bylaws?

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