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Does Roberts Rules Define the term "slate of officers?"


Guest Jeff Ursillo
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Is there a definition for the term? If a nominating committee is charged with "presenting a slate of prospective officers" (quoted from our Articles of Inc.) does that mean one person per office or as many as they can find. In years past, our nominating committee acted as a sort of primary election and only presented one name per office, choosing who they thought was best to present for election, then the people that were not "chosen" were allowed to nominate from the floor on election night. The Committee of late has been chareged with finding as many people as qualify and want to run to present to the membership. I have a feeling they are reverting back to the old way in an effort to oust the current Board, so I would like to see if the term "slate of officers", which is NOT defined in our Artciles, has a definition under RONR, so I can make a valid arguement...

Jeff

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Is there a definition for the term? If a nominating committee is charged with "presenting a slate of prospective officers" (quoted from our Articles of Inc.) does that mean one person per office or as many as they can find. In years past, our nominating committee acted as a sort of primary election and only presented one name per office, choosing who they thought was best to present for election, then the people that were not "chosen" were allowed to nominate from the floor on election night. The Committee of late has been chareged with finding as many people as qualify and want to run to present to the membership. I have a feeling they are reverting back to the old way in an effort to oust the current Board, so I would like to see if the term "slate of officers", which is NOT defined in our Artciles, has a definition under RONR, so I can make a valid arguement...

Jeff

RONR does not define the term "slate of prospective officers", but it does note that commonly the nominating committee nominates only one candidate for each office. I think most people would understand that a slate consists of a list of one nominee for each office or position, in which case it would be improper for it to nominate more than one according to your bylaws.

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I guess the key word is "commonly." Since there is no firm definition in RONR that the slate is one name per office, would it then be up to the organization to define slate in it's articles? Or would verbal instructions from the President of the organization to the Chair of the Nominating Committee to "find as many bodies as possible for the slate" be sufficient? And if they define it to mean any member of the organization willing and qualified under the articles is to be listed on the slate, then that would not conflict with a "common practice"

Jeff

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. . . would verbal instructions from the President of the organization to the Chair of the Nominating Committee to "find as many bodies as possible for the slate" be sufficient?

Firstly, the president should have nothing to do with the nominating committee.

Secondly, if you're going to instruct the nominating committee to accept anyone who "volunteers", there's really no need for a nominating committee in the first place. So take the word "slate" out of your bylaws (since it can mislead people into thinking they must vote for the so-called "slate" as a whole) and rely on the tried-and-true RONR defaults.

Remember that the selections of the nominating committee (usually one per office) are just the first step in the electoral process, not that last word. Nominations from the floor are possible as well as write-in votes for those not nominated. And remember, too, that you can even nominate yourself.

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The president's instructions to the committee (it was me, when I held the office) were to clarify their job descrition in the Artciles..they were not clear on how many per office they needed to get. I feel there is a need for the Nominating Committee as far as making sure people want to run and meet the qualifications for running for office that are stated in our Articles.

In my mind, nominations from the floor on election night are dangerous. They allow for the possibility of an entire new slate of officers to be nominated from the floor, with that slate usually doubling the attendence at the meeting with their supporters and taking the election from those who have "gone through the process" of making their candidacy (sp?) known in advance. The people on the slate have no way to campaign for themselves and rally support since the opposition did not present itself until the last minute. Just my 2 cents...3 cents with inflation....

Jeff

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In my mind, nominations from the floor on election night are dangerous.

That's democracy for ya.

But you could certainly adopt rules that "close" nominations, say, a month before the elections. And you could also adopt rules prohibiting write-in votes. In fact, you could just authorize the president to appoint all officers and avoid the dangers of elections altogether.

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In my mind, nominations from the floor on election night are dangerous. They allow for the possibility of an entire new slate of officers to be nominated from the floor, with that slate usually doubling the attendence at the meeting with their supporters and taking the election from those who have "gone through the process" of making their candidacy (sp?) known in advance. The people on the slate have no way to campaign for themselves and rally support since the opposition did not present itself until the last minute. Just my 2 cents...3 cents with inflation....

In my view, this kind of thinking is dangerous...

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Edgar & George, sorry you feel that way..but I think it is unfair and at the least underhanded for someone to be able to steal an election. It is unfair to the Nominating committee, the members who support the current Board and to the serving Board members who put themselves out there and run for the office publically. I never said no write-ins allowed, since that would truely be unfair to all. But I feel that there needs to be some control to prevent the stealing of an election. If a faction is unhappy with the seated Board, they can propose a new slate to the Nominating committee and allow for campaigning by both sides. And then the members acan make a clear choice...not have one forced on them. Personally I would ahve little respect for a new Board that felt that was the only way they could be elected was by "stacking the deck"

Jeff

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Of course, Edgar, the winner is the one that gets the most votes. Traditionally the way to that is to campaign. When someone is running un-opposed they would not normally campaign. Then, wait a second, suddenly 5 minutes before the votes are to be called, there is a totally new board nominated from the floor, and they have called all their friends to attend and vote them in, and those who are already on the ballot can't do that. This has happened once before in our Society. The attendance at that election meeting was well over 100 members, when we are usually lucky to get 45 or so at a normal election meeting. To me, that is stacking the deck against people who have the integrity to publically run for office...and a bad way to start a "new Board"...

Jeff

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Of course, Edgar, the winner is the one that gets the most votes. Traditionally the way to that is to campaign. When someone is running un-opposed they would not normally campaign. Then, wait a second, suddenly 5 minutes before the votes are to be called, there is a totally new board nominated from the floor, and they have called all their friends to attend and vote them in, and those who are already on the ballot can't do that. This has happened once before in our Society. The attendance at that election meeting was well over 100 members, when we are usually lucky to get 45 or so at a normal election meeting. To me, that is stacking the deck against people who have the integrity to publically run for office...and a bad way to start a "new Board"...

Jeff

But, Jeff, this has nothing to do with your original question. Even if the nominating committee is permitted to nominate as many candidates on the "slate" as ask to be put on it, that has no bearing on whether yet more nominations may later be taken from the floor.

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Then, wait a second, suddenly 5 minutes before the votes are to be called, there is a totally new board nominated from the floor . . .

Which, by the way, is why the term "slate" should be avoided. Individual candidates are nominated for individual offices and voted for individually (even if all are on the same physical ballot). So you don't nominate a new board and you don't elect a new board. You elect individual board members, maybe some that were chosen by the nominating committee, some that were nominated from the floor, and some that were elected by write-in votes.

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It does, indirectly, Shmuel. Part of the reason for defining a "slate", expecially if the definition would have limited it to one name per office from the committee, was to see if it were possible to close nominations before election night. The vlaid arguement I mentioned in my original post would be that if the Committee COULD present more than one person for each office, there would be no need for nominations at the last minute. Sorry if the subject of the discussion drifted..if there is a way to rename it, let me know...

Jeff

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Edgar, my apologies for not being more specific....when I say nomiate a new board, I do mean as each office is called, there is a nomination from the floor for that office, ending up with a "new board" being nominated as the end result...but done one at a time...we do call for nominations individually, vote for each office individually, even if they are all on the same physical ballot.... It still ends up with an entire new board being nominated from the floor...and the rest of what I ahve been discussion...

Jeff

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I guess the key word is "commonly." Since there is no firm definition in RONR that the slate is one name per office, would it then be up to the organization to define slate in it's articles? Or would verbal instructions from the President of the organization to the Chair of the Nominating Committee to "find as many bodies as possible for the slate" be sufficient? And if they define it to mean any member of the organization willing and qualified under the articles is to be listed on the slate, then that would not conflict with a "common practice"

Jeff

No, it would be best if they would not use the word slate at all, and simply say what they wanted the committee to do, plainly and clearly.

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It does, indirectly, Shmuel. Part of the reason for defining a "slate", expecially if the definition would have limited it to one name per office from the committee, was to see if it were possible to close nominations before election night. The vlaid arguement I mentioned in my original post would be that if the Committee COULD present more than one person for each office, there would be no need for nominations at the last minute. Sorry if the subject of the discussion drifted..if there is a way to rename it, let me know...

Jeff

There would still be a need for nominations "at the last minute" (i.e, from the floor), because RONR requires it. You'd also have to outlaw that in your bylaws, which I think all of us would recommend against.

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The valid argument I mentioned in my original post would be that if the Committee COULD present more than one person for each office, there would be no need for nominations at the last minute.

Even if you want to prohibit last-minute nominations, it would still be best if the nominating committee selected one candidate for each office (the "best" candidate) and have any other candidates nominated from the floor (perhaps at the meeting just prior to the election meeting). I think you're putting too much emphasis on the selections of the nominating committee. As mentioned, that's just the starting point in the electoral process.

In any case, i think you'll find little sympathy here for restricting the rights of members to nominate and vote for whomever they choose.

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Sorry, but I have to get to work..would like to continue the discussion at some point..could someone point me to the RONR section where nominations are required at the "last minute" so I can read it..just don't have my copy here...I appreciate all the input...and want to say that I am NOT trying to remove anyone's right to vote for whomever they choose..that right is always available, via write-in..I am more concerned about how the person gets on the ballot..fairly or unfairly....How do you think it would work is city state or county elections weere run that way?

Jeff

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....I am NOT trying to remove anyone's right to vote for whomever they choose..that right is always available, via write-in..I am more concerned about how the person gets on the ballot..fairly or unfairly.....

And..... the write-in candidate gets on the ballot... how? You have no problem with write-ins, but "last minute" nominations are anathema to a fair process? Hmmm.......

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How do you think it would work if city state or county elections were run that way?

I think we might get people in office who weren't beholden to the two major parties. Right now the system is heavily weighted towards incumbents and the two parties.

And, again, your organization is free to adopt rules to prevent "last-minute" nominations. Nothing wrong with that. I just think you should make the nominating process as open as possible and not assume that the selections of the nominating committee should carry any more weight than those nominated from the floor. It's difficult enough to get rid of entrenched authority without, to use your own phrase, "stacking the deck" against those whom you might call "insurgents".

But we're straying from the purview of this forum, which is to help explain what RONR says you should do. Which is not to say there aren't other ways of doing things.

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How do you think it would work is city state or county elections weere run that way?

Any time someone seems to be getting complacent about running unoppsed, I like to tell them about a special election in a state I used to libve in, held to fill a congressional vacancy, in which the only candidate listed on the ballot came in third in the election.

It seems stange to me that you don't like last minute nominations but don't object to write-ins. Since nominations are debatable, the nominees (original and "last minute") and their supporters have a chance to try to convince the voters. But if someoen really wants to "steal the election," their best strategy might be to lie low and run a quiet write-in campaigh, hoping to catch the (sole) nominee unaware until it is too late to counter. The moral is that a nominee shuold never take election for granted.

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To me it is not being "unfair" to current Board members if new candidates are nominated at the meeting - if members nominated in advance assume that they will be running unopposed, this is their fault entirely. They know people can be nominated at the meeting so should be prepared. Also, remember the members ultimately decide who is and who is not elected. If they like the current Board, then would vote for those members to be re-elected. Having belonged to groups where I have been on the Board, and where I have wanted to get on the Board to make it better, I can tell you that election process, if kept honest as it does in your organization, is fair. In the end the people decide who they want on the Board. And if they end up voting for the "wrong" people that's their own fault.

While RONR technically deals with parliamentary procedure, it's process for election is actually very democratic - even the requirement for a candidate to receive a majority of votes casts to be elected is democratic as it means the successful candidate is essentially representing a majority of those who bothered to vote.

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