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"Occasionally the bylaws of a society may impose specific duties on members beyond the mere payment of dues. Members may be obligated to attend a certain number of meetings . . . In these cases . . . the assembly . . . can grant the member's request to be so excused." - RONR (11th ed.), p. 289, ll. 17-25.

Is "the mere payment of dues" a duty from which the assembly can grant a member's request to be excused?

The language of the referenced text seems, at the same time, to characterize the payment of dues as a duty and to place that duty outside the reach of the assembly's ability to grant a request to be excused.

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The language of the referenced text seems, at the same time, to characterize the payment of dues as a duty and to place that duty outside the reach of the assembly's ability to grant a request to be excused.

Add to that the notion that failure to pay dues is not enough, in and of itself, to deprive a member of his rights as a member. I've long wondered why dues (and the whole "arrears" business) enjoys such a unique status.

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I would interrupt the section to mean that only duties above and beyond the paying of dues would fall under an excuse. Also, unless the By-laws state that a member loses his/her membership (and/or any rights of membership) by not paying the required dues, that the member would still be a member until the member has either officially withdrew as a member or has been disciplined.

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I would interrupt the section to mean that only duties above and beyond the paying of dues would fall under an excuse. Also, unless the By-laws state that a member loses his/her membership (and/or any rights of membership) by not paying the required dues, that the member would still be a member until the member has either officially withdrew as a member or has been disciplined.

Surely you would so interpret it as well.

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"Occasionally the bylaws of a society may impose specific duties on members beyond the mere payment of dues. Members may be obligated to attend a certain number of meetings . . . In these cases . . . the assembly . . . can grant the member's request to be so excused." - RONR (11th ed.), p. 289, ll. 17-25.

Is "the mere payment of dues" a duty from which the assembly can grant a member's request to be excused?

The language of the referenced text seems, at the same time, to characterize the payment of dues as a duty and to place that duty outside the reach of the assembly's ability to grant a request to be excused.

Tim, if we insert some of what you omitted from the last sentence that you quoted from page 289, it reads as follows "In these cases ... the assembly—except as the bylaws may provide otherwise—can grant the member's request to be so excused." I think that this bit about "except as the bylaws may provide otherwise" is of significance.

For example, in view of the provisions of Article III, Section 3, of the sample bylaws (RONR, 11th ed., p. 584, ll. 19-25), I would think that this Society's assembly could not effectively prevent a member from being dropped from membership by simply granting his request to be excused from paying his dues. On the other hand, if this Section consisted of nothing but the first two sentences, then I think that it could.

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I too have interpreted the RONR rule to mean an organization can't relieve a member of the obligation for paying dues. I have seen a group adopt a motion to have the organization pay the dues for the person, though, which effectively does the same thing. And in one organization, which needed no dues one year, they voted to have the organization pay the dues for all members. It was easier than amending the bylaws to make the dues zero for that year.

There are resonable arguments against this approach, and there may be legal issues if they are a nonprofit or 501©(3) or similar organization, but in the cases memtioned, they didn't fall into those types of organizations.

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I too have interpreted the RONR rule to mean an organization can't relieve a member of the obligation for paying dues. I have seen a group adopt a motion to have the organization pay the dues for the person, though, which effectively does the same thing. And in one organization, which needed no dues one year, they voted to have the organization pay the dues for all members. It was easier than amending the bylaws to make the dues zero for that year.

There are resonable arguments against this approach, and there may be legal issues if they are a nonprofit or 501©(3) or similar organization, but in the cases memtioned, they didn't fall into those types of organizations.

As far as I can tell, there is no rule in RONR that says that an organization cannot excuse a member from payment of dues. The bylaws can prevent such a thing, however, and often do (see, for example, the sample bylaws in RONR).

And as far as I can tell, RONR does not recognize the use of subterfuge as an effective means of getting around the bylaws. :)

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  • 3 weeks later...

As far as I can tell, there is no rule in RONR that says that an organization cannot excuse a member from payment of dues. The bylaws can prevent such a thing, however, and often do (see, for example, the sample bylaws in RONR).

And as far as I can tell, RONR does not recognize the use of subterfuge as an effective means of getting around the bylaws. :)

I would, however, see no procedural problem with the assembly offering to pay, or paying, some obligation of an individual member or some other individual. If an assembly should wish to pay for some obligation, dues, Discover Card balance, of someone, they may. That is not to say that they should do so.

But if some assembly wishes to pay my Discover Card balance, feel free. :)

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