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Removing members elected to serve as delegates to a higher committee


Guest Pedro

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An unusual situation I encountered as chair of a local political committee: Our municipal committee (of which I am chair) elects a slate of delegates to our county committee biennially in February of even-numbered years at our biennial caucus. At our most recent regular meeting of our municipal committee, a voting member of our municipal committee put forward a motion to remove several of those delegates without the any of the delegates having been informed that they were going to be removed or any members outside of a the executive committee of the municipal committee being made aware that a vote would be taken on such a matter. Our municipal committee bylaws are silent on the matter. The county committee bylaws say that after missing one of the previous 3 meetings of the county committee, the delegate and the municipal committee should be informed of the absence and action may be taken on the part of the municipal committee to replace such members. If the municipal committee is to be informed I would assume the chair of the municipal committee is the ordinary conduit for such information, but I'm not sure. Is it appropriate for just any member of the municipal committee to request such information and act without permission of the chair of the municipal committee? Thanks for your consideration of this issue.

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The answers to your questions may be more a matter of bylaw interpretation, especially since there seem to be two separate organizations - and two separate sets of bylaws - involved. If RONR governs your organization (and you don't say whether it does or not), the rule is that unless there are specific terms of service for committee members spelled out in the bylaws or other governing documents, whoever has the power to appoint committee members also has the power to remove them. If this is the assembly itself, the motion to amend something previously adopted is used (RONR, 11th ed. p.497, ll.1-13.)

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Thanks for your comment, Bruce. Both the county and municipal organizations are governed by bylaws that default to RONR when silent on a matter. The delegates I mentioned do have a defined fixed term of two years. These delegates were elected by the full body of the municipal committee at a biennial meeting to serve that two-year term. Our municipal bylaws don't mention a process for removing or recalling these delegates, which is why I wanted to throw the question out to RONR experts.

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Thanks for your comment, Bruce. Both the county and municipal organizations are governed by bylaws that default to RONR when silent on a matter. The delegates I mentioned do have a defined fixed term of two years. These delegates were elected by the full body of the municipal committee at a biennial meeting to serve that two-year term. Our municipal bylaws don't mention a process for removing or recalling these delegates, which is why I wanted to throw the question out to RONR experts.

My suggestion would be that you start by looking at what is said in RONR (11th ed.) on page 497, lines 1-13, paying particular attention to what is said on lines 1-6.

It is unclear whether or not the provisions in your county committee's bylaws concerning removal of delegates, which you refer to in your original post, have any bearing, but this is something which we can't deal with very well from here.

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At $4.51 an hour I'm set, but thanks.

Great Steaming Cobnuts.

c.t. 6

Looks like there's some cutthroat competition going on here, trying to undermine the neophytes' rate of $4.50 an hour by charging $4.51. Looks like I'm going to have to start charging at least $4.52 if I want to get in the game, big time.

(What's the opposite of dog-eat-dog? I guess it would be dog-eat-dog, or maybe eat-dog-eat.)

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  • 1 month later...

Hi again, Dan--I finally received my copy of RONR (11th ed.) and reviewed page 497, lines 1-13, paying particular attention to what is said on lines 1-6. If I'm reading this correctly, it sounds like there needs to be some sort of trial or review process executed prior to any vote to remove someone from an elected office, which makes perfect sense to me. Our committee ended up replacing some of the members in question, but only after their resignation and the subsequent vacancy was declared, so we never ended up needing to go down the road suggested by that section of RONR, but I appreciate the guidance should we ever need to go down that route. Many thanks for your advice.

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