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Breaching Bylaws in an Executive Session

Guest Gaye

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During an executive session, the president, vice president and one of the directors set in motion a way to break a tie vote in a general election from the membership of a new director.

Our bylaws do not specifically address how a tie vote is to be handled.

So a ballot was completed and mailed after the closing date of the election.

These three board members determined the "winner" of the election.

Another board member has now outed to the membership the breach in the bylaws. So the board has determined that they will punish the director who outed the breach but are not addressing the actual breach to the bylaws.

How is this fixable?

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A couple of points here:

1) Unless the bylaws specifically provide for absentee voting (mailing out ballots) it can't be done and if those improper votes could have affected the results of the election it would be null and void (RONR p. 251[d] and p. 423).

2) Unless the bylaws grant the Board the authority to discipline their own they don't have that authority (RONR p. 482 ll. 25-29).

3) While it is true that a member can be subject to discipline for violating the secrecy of Executive Session (RONR p. 96) the body which is authorized to impose a punishment should take into account what I pointed out in #1 (if that is indeed the case) although the Board member should have brought up the issue to the Board first before going to the Membership.

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