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Guest Concerned

Membership - suspension of individuals and groups

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Guest Concerned

In our organization, we have a "mother" organization with several associated regions who affiliate by annual dues. Within each region, there are several clubs. The regions are expected to be in conformity with the mother organization. Each club is expected to be in conformity with the regions.

This particular region has violated our bylaws by refusing to pay certain fees (the clubs voted by a 2/3 majority not to pay) which then resulted in late fees added. The mother organization simply went ahead and placed them in "not good standing".

During our 2012 meeting, we heard from the President of that particular region during our Executive Council meeting and were told of the "issues/reasons/excuses" to which the Executive Council (made up of all the regions and the mother board) denied the reason for non-payment. We also barred the President from being involved in that meeting and the next subsequent meeting of the day by taking away both voicing and voting rights for that day's meetings.

8 months later, the region wants to appeal the fees and late fines. They have demanded that we use our appeal process for the upcoming 2013 meeting.

The problem is (other than 8 months later) - our appeal process is geared towards individuals/clubs who may have violated the bylaws, code of conduct, ethics, etc. We have a full appeals/grievance process for that.

But our bylaws do NOT have an appeals process for the region itself. If a region is suspended or placed on probation, that includes the entire regional membership.

Is there any specific citation of the suspension/appeals process for items not in our own bylaws for handling this?

If at our 2012 meeting, the decision was to deny their excuse for non-payment and it was further reported in the larger delegate meeting and no one objected, wouldn't that become the "official" act after the meeting ends? Even though there was not a motion made to suspend or place the region on probation, it was still reported that they could not voice nor vote at the 2012 meeting due to the decision of the Executive Committee.

The response/answer to this will bring about at least 2 more questions.

Thanks.

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There is no process under RONR to appeal disciplinary actions (though the action could be challenged if it falls within one of the timeliness exceptions located on RONR p. 251). So any appeals procedures would have to be located in your bylaws and it is beyond this forum's scope to interpret bylaws.

Edited by Chris Harrison

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If at our 2012 meeting, the decision was to deny their excuse for non-payment and it was further reported in the larger delegate meeting and no one objected, wouldn't that become the "official" act after the meeting ends? Even though there was not a motion made to suspend or place the region on probation, it was still reported that they could not voice nor vote at the 2012 meeting due to the decision of the Executive Committee.

The fact that the delegate meeting received a report does not mean that the delegate meeting took the action contained in the report.

The response/answer to this will bring about at least 2 more questions.

Fire away.

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Guest Concerned

Thank you both for the responses.

Now - one of the regions made a motion within their formal delegate meeting to not pay their fees as according to the mother organization's bylaws. Each region affiliates every year and from/by that affiliation - it is expected that the regions will abide by the mother organization's bylaws.

The motion made in the region's meeting was to NOT pay the team fees is really, in concept, out of order since motions are to be made there and brought to the mother organization's annual meeting to seek changes in the bylaws which would, in turn, trickle down to the regional members.

Am I correct in assessing the member region's motion was out of order?

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Not necessarily. You said "it is expected that the regions will abide by the mother organization's bylaws" but do the bylaws actually impose a duty on the Regions to abide by the mother organization's bylaws? Expecting something will happen is not the same as requiring that it happen.

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Guest Edgar

Am I correct in assessing the member region's motion was out of order?

Beats me. It might have been in order at the regional level but out of order at the superior level (which I would suggest you refer to as the "parent" organization and not the "mother" organization unless there's a good reason for doing otherwise).

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Guest Concerned

To both Chris and Guest Edgar -

I should use "required" as opposed to "expected" - you are correct in the terminology usage. Thank you for that.

All regions are to follow the "parent" (thank you Guest Edgar for suggesting that word) organization as they are the ones who created the bylaws for the parent organization. Just that now - one of the regions want to avoid payment for personal reasons.

Membership dues for all regions are due by 12/31/year and is good for the full calendar year. All team fees are due to the parent organization by 2/15/year. The region in question had their annual meeting March 1st, 2012 - a good and full 3 months after paying the regional affiliation dues. It was at the March meeting that the region decided to refuse to follow the bylaws of sending payment by 2/15/2012 and have not since.

Now - would not the region's motion for non-payment be out of order due to the deadline and timeline indicated?

I liken it to the fact that I want cable but do not want to pay every month - only the select months where I felt I would benefit. That is not the way it works. If you agree to a contract, you abide by the terms (in our case - the bylaws) or else lose your privilege of receiving cable programs, pay the debts owed, pay for a reconnection fee and make the monthly payments hereinafter.

If the region does not want to pay all fees as per bylaws, then they should not have become affiliated members in the first place. Correct?

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Beats me. It might have been in order at the regional level but out of order at the superior level (which I would suggest you refer to as the "parent" organization and not the "mother" organization unless there's a good reason for doing otherwise).

I'm afraid I don't follow this. The motion is either in order or it isn't.

I should use "required" as opposed to "expected" - you are correct in the terminology usage. Thank you for that.

All regions are to follow the "parent" (thank you Guest Edgar for suggesting that word) organization as they are the ones who created the bylaws for the parent organization. Just that now - one of the regions want to avoid payment for personal reasons.

Membership dues for all regions are due by 12/31/year and is good for the full calendar year. All team fees are due to the parent organization by 2/15/year. The region in question had their annual meeting March 1st, 2012 - a good and full 3 months after paying the regional affiliation dues. It was at the March meeting that the region decided to refuse to follow the bylaws of sending payment by 2/15/2012 and have not since.

Now - would not the region's motion for non-payment be out of order due to the deadline and timeline indicated?

An organization is required to follow the "clearly requisite points" in the Bylaws of the parent organization. It's ultimately up to your organization to interpret its own Bylaws (see RONR, 11th ed., pgs. 588-591 for some Principles of Interpretation), but I think a requirement to pay dues is highly likely to be a requisite point. If the motion for non-payment does conflict with a "clearly requisite point" of the Bylaws of the parent organization, the motion is out of order and is null and void if adopted, since a violation of this sort constitutes a continuing breach.

I liken it to the fact that I want cable but do not want to pay every month - only the select months where I felt I would benefit. That is not the way it works. If you agree to a contract, you abide by the terms (in our case - the bylaws) or else lose your privilege of receiving cable programs, pay the debts owed, pay for a reconnection fee and make the monthly payments hereinafter.

If the region does not want to pay all fees as per bylaws, then they should not have become affiliated members in the first place. Correct?

I think you have the right idea, and I suspect the only reason for hesitance in the responses is that interpretation of Bylaws is beyond the scope of this forum.

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All regions are to follow the "parent" (thank you Guest Edgar for suggesting that word) organization as they are the ones who created the bylaws for the parent organization. Just that now - one of the regions want to avoid payment for personal reasons.

So now regions are people too? :-)

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