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What is the difference between bylaws and ground rules?


Guest -Paul
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RONR doesn't have a definition for "ground rules" but I would say that depending on the nature of the rule it could be standing rule (requires majority vote for adoption) a Special Rule of Order (2/3 vote with previous notice or a majority of the membership without notice) or maybe even in the bylaws.

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I was given a packet when joining a sportsmans club for camping and trap shooting that states constitution, bylaws, and ground rules.  Certain board members claim they have a right to change "ground rules" without membership vote. Nowhere in our constitution or bylaws does it state that they were given that authority from the membership. I am newer to Roberts Rules and appreciate the feedback. 

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The only thing I can find is to handle club business and emergency repairs up to $1,000 on their own. Other than that wouldn't it be to do the best for interest of the club for the membership to vote on as final decision makers?  Hope it helps, but I don't find any other specifics.

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6 hours ago, Guest -PK said:

I was given a packet when joining a sportsmans club for camping and trap shooting that states constitution, bylaws, and ground rules.  

Certain board members claim they have a right to change "ground rules" without [a] membership vote.

Nowhere in our constitution or bylaws does it state that they were given that authority from the membership.

"Board"?

Tell me what authority your board does have.

E.g., does your board have the power to control or manage the organization?

If so, then it is likely that your board may edit your so-called "ground rules" (whatever they are).

Thus the need to know -- exactly -- what your bylaws say regarding the defined, granted powers of your board.

Q. What can your board do, in compliance with your bylaws?

 

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From what I can read, very basic to conduct a meeting. Past that, they have ability to spend up to $1,000 for emergency maintenance. I really cannot find anything in writing past that. We are a trap shooting and camping club. Should our fee system, dues, be bylaws or standing motions or else?  Trying to formalize and clarify to properly move forward.  I think past decisions are poorly documented, if at all, and trying to get things cleaned up and done properly going forward. 

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17 hours ago, Guest -PK said:

I was given a packet when joining a sportsmans club for camping and trap shooting that states constitution, bylaws, and ground rules.  Certain board members claim they have a right to change "ground rules" without membership vote. Nowhere in our constitution or bylaws does it state that they were given that authority from the membership. I am newer to Roberts Rules and appreciate the feedback. 

It would seem to me that the board may change "ground rules" that it adopted in the first place, but may not change "ground rules" adopted by the membership, unless the organization's rules grant it that authority (and it seems they do not).

17 hours ago, Guest -PK said:

The only thing I can find is to handle club business and emergency repairs up to $1,000 on their own. Other than that wouldn't it be to do the best for interest of the club for the membership to vote on as final decision makers?  Hope it helps, but I don't find any other specifics.

Handle club business is pretty broad. I'd say that gives them pretty expansive authority to adopt standing rules. I concur that the membership has the final say, unless something in the bylaws provides otherwise. So far as RONR is concerned, the membership may rescind any action taken by the board, but actions taken by the membership may not be rescinded or amended by the board.

16 hours ago, jstackpo said:

Sounds to me that your "Ground Rules" are what RONR calls "Standing Rules"  See page 18 in RONR for details.

And you are right:  in the absence of any bylaws authorizing someone else to do it, only the general membership can create, amend, or rescind those rules.

If the board is granted authority to manage the affairs of the society between meetings of the membership, wouldn't that include the ability to adopt such standing rules as are necessary for this purpose? And the authority to amend rules that the board had adopted?

4 hours ago, Guest -PK said:

From what I can read, very basic to conduct a meeting. Past that, they have ability to spend up to $1,000 for emergency maintenance. I really cannot find anything in writing past that. We are a trap shooting and camping club. Should our fee system, dues, be bylaws or standing motions or else?  Trying to formalize and clarify to properly move forward.  I think past decisions are poorly documented, if at all, and trying to get things cleaned up and done properly going forward. 

Well, earlier you said that the board to handle club business, and now you say the board can only spend limited funds on emergency maintenance. If it's the former, I stand by my previous responses. If it's the latter, then I'd say they cannot adopt or amend these "ground rules."

The bylaws should at least make some reference to dues and how they are set, but whether you wish to specify the amount in the bylaws or leave that to standing rules is up to the club.

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On 1/8/2017 at 9:19 PM, Guest -PK said:

I was given a packet when joining a sportsmans club for camping and trap shooting that states constitution, bylaws, and ground rules.  Certain board members claim they have a right to change "ground rules" without membership vote. Nowhere in our constitution or bylaws does it state that they were given that authority from the membership. I am newer to Roberts Rules and appreciate the feedback. 

If it's not in the bylaws, they don't have that authority, and any attempt to do so should be met by a point of order, or a motion from the superior body (the general membership) instructing the board to rectify its errors.

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On 1/8/2017 at 8:44 PM, Guest -PK said:

The only thing I can find is to handle club business and emergency repairs up to $1,000 on their own. Other than that wouldn't it be to do the best for interest of the club for the membership to vote on as final decision makers?  Hope it helps, but I don't find any other specifics.

Please quote for us EXACTLY what your bylaws say about the authority of the board to conduct the business of the club or to act between membership meetings. Don't paraphrase. Please give us the exact bylaw language.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Once again, I do thank those for taking the time to weigh in on this subject.  I have attached the paperwork to help be more clear about the wording.

TROY SPORTSMEN Constitution & Bylaws-October 2012.docx

TROY SPORTSMENS-Ground Rules-final.docx

TROY SPORTSMEN Constitution & Bylaws-October 2012.docx

TROY SPORTSMENS-Ground Rules-final.docx

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  • 4 weeks later...
59 minutes ago, Guest -PK said:

We had a meeting and the Board is saying Article 5 Section 1 of our constitution allows them to do whatever they want without member approval of their decisions. Looking for guidance to see if others agree. Thank you.

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I think "do whatever they want" goes a bit far, but back to your original question, but it seems fairly clear to me that the board's authority to manage the club is sufficiently broad for it to adopt these "ground rules" and to amend ground rules that it adopted, provided that they do not conflict with rules adopted by the society.

(It is, of course, ultimately up to the society to interpret its own bylaws.)

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