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Timing of election of officers with new members


Guest Michael Kelling

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Guest Michael Kelling

We have 12 members on our church council. The church body has elected 4 new members to replace 4 outgoing members who are leaving the council on Dec. 31. The 4 new members are attending the December council meeting. The council elects the church officers from the council at the December meeting.

1) Do the 4 new council members vote for officers for NEXT year at the December meeting even though they are not official members yet (until Jan. 1)?

2) Do the 4 outgoing members vote on the officers for NEXT year even though they won't be on the council after Dec. 31? (Council members say they should vote because they know what is involved more than the new members do.)

3) Can the 4 new council members be elected to an office for next year even though they won't be a member until Jan. 1? (I would think so because they will be members of the council next year.)

4) If the answer to both 1 & 2 is "yes", then do we have 16 votes cast? (Well, 15 votes, because the president doesn't vote until a tie.)

I'm usually pretty good at this but I am stumped! HELP!

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1. No, only those whore are members can vote.

2. Yes, they're members when they're voting even if they won't be members next month.

3. Probably.

Note that many organizations wait until the new board is "seated" before it elects its officers so you might want to amend your bylaws so that the officer elections take place at the January meeting.

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We have 12 members on our church council. The church body has elected 4 new members to replace 4 outgoing members who are leaving the council on Dec. 31. The 4 new members are attending the December council meeting. The council elects the church officers from the council at the December meeting.

Per RONR, elections are final when the results are announced. Officers/Directors take up their positions immediately at that moment, unless your rules say otherwise. In such a case, your rules should dictate when, in the future, the officers/directors take office. There is also the possibility that how your bylaws defines term of office may affect this, as it might be possible the four leaving members are already gone.

So, do your rules explicitly state any/all of this?

Either these four persons are members, or they aren't. If they aren't, they have no right (per RONR) to attend council meetings, speak, or vote. The first two could be allowed by the council, the third not. If your bylaws define a 12-member council, you can't have four more members at the December meeting, so the four departing this term would have to leave the council (and I don't mean leave the meeting, but be off the council permanently) for these four to attend as members.

What do your bylaws say with regard to any requirements or restrictions as it pertains to being nominated and/or elected and/or serving as officers/council members? It might be possible that these four cannot be elected to office until after Jan 1. But all that should be detailed in your bylaws, as RONR offers no such restrictions or requirements.

There should never be more than 12 votes cast in a 12-member council.

I think some, if not many, of your questions would require a thorough reading of your bylaws (something not allowed here) to understand how these issues may play out. Pages 588-591 (RONR 11th Ed.) offer some insights into bylaw interpretation.

Edited by David A Foulkes
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Wow! That shakes up everything I have been taught! Gonna have to re-visit my Robert's Rules! Thanks!

A good way to start your visit is via...

RONRIB:

"Roberts Rules of Order Newly Revised In Brief", Updated Second Edition (Da Capo Press, Perseus Books Group, 2011). It is a splendid summary of all the rules you will really need in all but the most exceptional situations. And only $7.50! You can read it in an evening. Get both RONRIB and RONR (scroll down) at this link.

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The most common and, I believe, an excellent way for officer elections to be done (and the bylaws should so state, clearly), is that after the elections of new council.board members (who take office immediately) that the council/board hold an "organizational" meeting to elect officers for the coming year. For such councils/boards that have staggered, multiyear terms, having officers elected annually (1 year terms) avoids the problem of an officer leaving the council/board during the officer term.

However, you can define things in other ways as well.

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