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Jim Hughes

Chairman's Authority

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Newly appointed chairman of a standing committee is attempting to silence a minority (voting) member by unilaterally reducing the committee membership by one and then telling the member that services were no longer needed. Existing committee size and composition has been approved at previous committee meetings. What authority does the committee chairman have other than calling meetings, presiding over meetings and ruling on points or order? Also, is there anything in RONR regarding punishment of a member for opposing the majority?

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Guest Gary c Tesser

Robert's Rules doesn't give a committee chairman the authority to change the number of committee members, or to remove any committee members. Does the organization's own rules give him that authority? If he does not have that authority, then the committee membership has not been reduced, and the member is not removed.

What is the job of this committee?

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Newly appointed chairman of a standing committee is attempting to silence a minority (voting) member by unilaterally reducing the committee membership by one and then telling the member that services were no longer needed. Existing committee size and composition has been approved at previous committee meetings. What authority does the committee chairman have other than calling meetings, presiding over meetings and ruling on points or order? Also, is there anything in RONR regarding punishment of a member for opposing the majority?

This should be reported to the parent body, which will decide, in accordance with the rules, what is to be done.

Punishment for opposing the majority is absurd... if you mean a person being punished for how he voted.

Why do you call the member a "minority" member? Do you actually have separate parties within your organization?

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Unless the By-laws, or the motion creating the Committee, specifically states that the Chairman can add or remove members of the Committee then the Chairman does not have this power. The parent body (the Board?) should be informed of this and asked to make a decision. Otherwise this member is still on the Committee.

And what did this member do which requires punishment? The right to vote - either for or against - or to abstain are rights of members. Decisions do not have to be made by unanimous consent or a 100% decision. It is nice, especially at the Committee level, but it does not have to occur.

And unless you have a party system within the organization, there is no thing as a "minority member". A member is a member.

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