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Guest Sherry Mcmichael

How to determine which new board member draws the short term

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Guest Sherry Mcmichael

we had a board member quit after 1 year of her two year term. We seated a group of 6 at the last annual meeting (5 rotate off each year)...so 5 new to serve two years and 1 to finish out the spot created by resignation. The problem is we didn't determine who was filling the one year spot. No one wants to serve one year, how do we now determine who is serving the short term.

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None of this is in RONR, so here is a suggestion:

 

The Board members are elected by the general membership, right?  Five every year.  So put the decision up to the general membership.

 

At the next election, first hold a "negative election" where you identify, by a ballot vote, the one of last years group of 6 elected board members who is to go off the board at the current time.

 

The hold the election for the 5 "new" board members who would normally go on the board for their two-year term.  Be sure to open the floor for nominations prior to that election so the "6th man" just removed from the board could run for one of the five available positions.

 

Another (non-RONR) suggestion:  Keep all six board members on the board fo another year, but hold this year's election for only 4 winners.  Then next year when the two-year terms of the 6 board members expire, first vote, by ballot, which of them gets a new one year term, serving along with the 5 who will be newly elected to regular two year terms then.

 

Neither of these suggestions is completely satisfactory but what can you do?  Next time you have a vacancy do it right.  "Doing it right" would be to hold two elections, the first for one person to serve out the vacancy, then the second for the 5 regularly elected members.  Or amend your bylaws to give the Board the power to fill vacancies "for the remainder of the term".

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It all depends on how the organization elected its directors. 

 

If the election is held by majority vote, then the last person to receive a majority vote would receive the 'short term'.  As multiple rounds of balloting may be required to receive a majority of votes to be elected, directors are free to choose the two-year term until the only one year term remains, if necessary.

 

However, if the election is held by a plurality of votes (first past the post, where the top voters are automatically elected regardless of whether or not the person receives a majority of votes), then the organization holds one ballot vote and the top five directors receive the two year term, and the person who finished in sixth place receives the one year term.  I have seen organizations do this.

 

If the directors are elected by acclamation, then one of them has to agree to the one year term - or do as suggested by JDStackpole and do the election for four directors.

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It all depends on how the organization elected its directors. 

 

If the election is held by majority vote, then the last person to receive a majority vote would receive the 'short term'. 

 

That is not an RONR-based rule (or any other kind of "standard" rule) ; it would have to be adopted by the organization to come into effect.   

 

There is no pat nswer to Sherry's original question.  They did it wrong, and it will be up to them to sort out the consequences.

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we had a board member quit after 1 year of her two year term. We seated a group of 6 at the last annual meeting (5 rotate off each year)...so 5 new to serve two years and 1 to finish out the spot created by resignation. The problem is we didn't determine who was filling the one year spot. No one wants to serve one year, how do we now determine who is serving the short term.

 

Exactly one year or more than one year?

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I am part of an organization that has similar terms for Board members elected by the membership.

 

A few observations/suggestions:

 

1. IMO, this should be "resolved" (one way or another) sooner, rather than later. Trying to "fix" this a year or more in the future may result in a bigger mess than resolving it now.

 

2. Look at preventing this in the future, which probably means carefully reviewing bylaws (perhaps amending them). In my organization, the bylaws provide for members at the annual meeting electing part of the board each year (terms are up) and filling vacancies for the unexpired term(s). In our case, then, if there were three Board members/positions with completed terms and one with a vacancy, we would specifically identify the posiiton/candidate(s) for the unexpired term. 

 

3. The "negative election" proposal (never heard of that) is "interesting", but it seems to me that could create a huge mess.

 

4. One possibility I would suggest is for some official (not sure which one) to "explain" the facts of life to these six Board membersand how important it is to have this resolved as soon as possible - and that such a "peaceful" resolution is vital to the functioning of the organization. He/she might (depending on the circumstances) even admit that this issue should have been resolved BEFORE the election. Perhaps ask the six for ideas of how to resolve it (not a duel with pistols at twenty paces). Perhaps a drawing of five names from a hat with six names in it and the first five get wo year terms and the last name gets one.

 

5. Another approach might be to try to think of an "incentive" for one of the six to "volunteer" to take the one year term. 

 

Good Luck!!

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I have always thought that, rather than the low voter getting the short term, it should be decided ahead of time (of course) that the person with the MOST votes gets the short term:

 

All the glory of being the BIG WINNER (looks good on a resume) but (possibly much) less work.  Win-Win if I ever saw it.  Would encourage striving hard to get lots of votes, too.

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Guest Sherry

Thank you all.... We are addressing this at our next scheduled meeting... OF THE 6 new 3 are officers.....thank you for all the suggestions I will be checking back, from time to time, as your advice is very helpful....

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Thank you all.... We are addressing this at our next scheduled meeting... OF THE 6 new 3 are officers.....thank you for all the suggestions I will be checking back, from time to time, as your advice is very helpful....

What does being an officer have to do with this issue? Are the officers elected from the board, by the board?

 

If so, chances are that the officers terms are one year (check bylaws for details)

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