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Rogue Board Member


Guest Paul

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In my non-profit public safety organization a member was brought up on charges, a hearing was held & the Board of Directors made their decision. After the decision was made and before the accused was notified of the outcome if the hearing, a Department head was informed by the Acting Chair (the chairmen excused himself due to conflict of interest and a "interim" board member was appointed) and at that time the department head filed a letter requesting the Board reconvien in light of aditional evidence against the accused and on the grounds that the "punishment did not fit the crime." (in past hearings, members had been punished with a harsher sentences for a lessor infractions)

The Acting Chair notified the other members of the board & attempted to schedule another meeting to discuss the mater further in light of the evidence. Prior to scheduling the meeting, one if the board members took it upon himself to write the letter with their decision and sent it to the accused essentially making it "official"

The accused recieved a suspension in the original verdict, the membership want him expelled but now we feel we're stuck with what's done, but the "back door maneuver" in itself seems anything but legit.

What, if anything, can we do?

Our By-laws say that complaints/charges go to the B.o.D & that the defendant has the right to appeal the decision to the general membership.

Can the "Accuser" do the same even if its not mentioned one way or another?

Does "The Right of a Deliberative Assembly to Punish its Members." still apply?

Any Help is appreciated and thank you in advance for your response(s)

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What, if anything, can we do?

Our By-laws say that complaints/charges go to the B.o.D & that the defendant has the right to appeal the decision to the general membership.

Can the "Accuser" do the same even if its not mentioned one way or another?

 

It's up to your organization to interpret its own bylaws. See RONR, 11th ed., pgs. 588-591 for some Principles of Interpretation.

 

Does "The Right of a Deliberative Assembly to Punish its Members." still apply?

 

That's a phrase from the 4th edition, which was published in 1915. You may want get something a bit more up to date.

 

If your question is whether the disciplinary procedures in RONR still apply, the answer is no. The disciplinary procedures in your bylaws take precedence.

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What about a retrial? With stand in members since the board was "involved" with the "back door" letter. Can the rest of the board "retract" the doings of the "rogue" board member? It's it as simple of sending another letter telling him to disregard the first due to further information?

What can be done with the "rogue" board member? They had voted on a decision and were then all notified to reconvene prior to delivering the original verdict, but he sent it anyway. So technically he delivered the verdict they voted on, but after being told it was on hold. Can it still hold?

Or by chance is this all upto our interpretation as well? Our By laws are kinda vague on this. In laymen's terms they say "write ups go to the board, board investigates,board hearing,board ruling,accused can apeal the boards ruling to the company"

That's it, No more no less.

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Or by chance is this all up to our interpretation as well? 

 

You got it. All of this deals with interpreting the customized disciplinary procedures in your bylaws.

 

What can be done with the "rogue" board member? They had voted on a decision and were then all notified to reconvene prior to delivering the original verdict, but he sent it anyway. So technically he delivered the verdict they voted on, but after being told it was on hold. Can it still hold?

 

Unless your rules so provide, the verdict was not "on hold" just because a meeting was called to address the issue. The general rule is that the motion remains in effect unless and until it is amended or rescinded. How this applies in the context of your customized disciplinary procedures is, however, a question of interpretation.

 

In any event, if you feel it is for some reason appropriate to discipline a board member for informing the accused of the board's decision on his case, see those customized disciplinary procedures of yours for what you can do with him.

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Maybe this is where I'm getting hung up...

If i understand you correctly, since our custom disciplinary procedure is so vague, we can basically handle it how we see fit? Provided that it doesn't step out side what few guidelines are set in the by-laws?

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Maybe this is where I'm getting hung up...

If i understand you correctly, since our custom disciplinary procedure is so vague, we can basically handle it how we see fit? Provided that it doesn't step out side what few guidelines are set in the by-laws?

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I guess what I'm asking since we have our own diciplinary procedure in our by-laws, does that make RROR's diciplinary procedure null & void?

 

 

In so far as it is contradictory, yes.  The fact that some aspects of disciplinary action is mandated in the bylaws would not remove complementary provisions of RONR, IMO.

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If i understand you correctly, since our custom disciplinary procedure is so vague, we can basically handle it how we see fit? Provided that it doesn't step out side what few guidelines are set in the by-laws?

 

What I'm saying is that it is up to your organization to interpret the disciplinary procedures in your bylaws.

 

I guess what I'm asking since we have our own diciplinary procedure in our by-laws, does that make RROR's diciplinary procedure null & void?

 

Not entirely. I think RONR's rules for disciplining a member for conduct occurring during a meeting, for instance, may still be applicable. RONR's guidance for how to conduct a trial may also be of assistance, if the organization's rules require a trial but provide no guidance for how such a trial is to be conducted.

 

I don't think RONR's rules on disciplinary procedure will be of much help in your current situation, however. In particular, the rules about the potential for an appeal complicate things considerably.

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That's our problem, the by laws are vague as to what can/should be done next in the process.

Can the Board recall the letter & still continue with the aditionsl evidence? If so what about the board member who on his own accord sent the letter to save his friend (the accused) would he need to be replaced and the whole thing started over? Those are the sticking points, and there's nothing in the by laws to direct us, so is this where we interpret what should be done next?

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That's our problem, the by laws are vague as to what can/should be done next in the process.

Can the Board recall the letter & still continue with the aditionsl evidence? If so what about the board member who on his own accord sent the letter to save his friend (the accused) would he need to be replaced and the whole thing started over? Those are the sticking points, and there's nothing in the by laws to direct us, so is this where we interpret what should be done next?

 

It is up to your organization to interpret the disciplinary procedures in your bylaws.

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Not to mention all the "interim" this and "acting" that.

 

Yes, that is a bit odd. At first I thought that the assembly simply elected a Chairman Pro Tempore after the chairman relinquished the chair, but then the "Acting Chair" apparently continued in that position after the meeting adjourned, which is puzzling.

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