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Guest Ed J.

Belated By-Law Change

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Guest Ed J.

Hello,

Our group has been looking for an answer to this question.

In our club, an addition to our by-laws in the form of a "Special Rule" was voted on in 1994; but, as far as anyone can tell, it was never published in the official by-laws as either a special rule, amendment, or by-law.  (After one year without change or modification, and without further vote, Special Rules that apply to articles of our club's by-laws are incorporated under the appropriate article. Special Rules that do not apply to specific articles remain Special Rules until voted out.)  The official by-laws have been revised, approved, and accepted by the membership several times over the past 20+ years, and the special rule that was voted on in 1994 was never incorporated into the official by-laws.  

Recently, our members voted to take an action which would have been contrary to the 1994 special rule that was never published.  Now, after these many years, the president directed that research be conducted; and he has found documentation where the vote was indeed taken in 1994 and the motion passed.
As previously stated, though, the special rule was never published. So now, 22 years later, the president of our club has added the 1994 addition as a "Special Rule" to our club's current by-laws, even though it has never been there before now.

This is important to us because, although our recent vote to take an action which would by contrary to this 1994 vote had a majority of the members in attendance in favor of it, it did not meet the 2/3 majority threshold needed to change a by-law or a special rule, and our motion failed.  

Is this action by the president - inserting a special rule 22 years later and after several revised, approved, and accepted by-laws - allowed according to Roberts Rules of Order?
 

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In this case, the adopted motion that Mr. Huynh is referring to is the 1994 special rule, not the recent motion that was voted on.

Edited to add:  What happened in your organization is a perfect example of why it is important to keep good minutes and records.   This was apparently an oversight that happens all too often in many organizations.. 

Edited by Richard Brown
Added last paragraph

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15 minutes ago, Guest Ed J. said:

In our club, an addition to our by-laws in the form of a "Special Rule" was voted on in 1994; but, as far as anyone can tell, it was never published in the official by-laws as either a special rule, amendment, or by-law.  

(After one year without change or modification, and without further vote, Special Rules that apply to articles of our club's by-laws are incorporated under the appropriate article. Special Rules that do not apply to specific articles remain Special Rules until voted out.)  

The official by-laws have been revised, approved, and accepted by the membership several times over the past 20+ years, and the special rule that was voted on in 1994 was never incorporated into the official by-laws.  

Recently, our members voted to take an action which would have been contrary to the 1994 special rule that was never published.  

Now, after these many years, the president directed that research be conducted; and he has found documentation where the vote was indeed taken in 1994 and the motion passed.
As previously stated, though, the special rule was never published.

So now, 22 years later, the president of our club has added the 1994 addition as a "Special Rule" to our club's current by-laws, even though it has never been there before now.

This is important to us because,

although our recent vote to take an action which would by contrary to this 1994 vote had a majority of the members in attendance in favor of it,

it did not meet the 2/3 majority threshold needed to change a by-law or a special rule, and our motion failed.  

Q. Is this action by the president - inserting a special rule 22 years later and after several revised, approved, and accepted by-laws - allowed according to Roberts Rules of Order?
 

>> Q. Is this action by the president - inserting a special rule 22 years later and after several revised, approved, and accepted by-laws - allowed according to Roberts Rules of Order?

I reply: "No."

No individual gets to alter bylaws.

***

If you have a customized rule . . .

   >>> (After one year without change or modification, and without further vote,

   >>> Special Rules that apply to articles of our club's by-laws are incorporated under the appropriate article.

   >>> Special Rules that do not apply to specific articles remain Special Rules until voted out.)  

. . . then, nonetheless, the organization itself needs to acknowledge the "automatic incorporation", not a single officer, in the dead of night, on his own initiative.

***

The fact that the rule has never been "published" (whatever that means) does not invalidate the rule.

It is the act of adoption which empowers the rule, not the publication of the rule.

***

 

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