Jump to content
The Official RONR Q & A Forums

Non-members on Executive Cmte


JamesMcLean
 Share

Recommended Posts

This question relates to a proposal that is being considered in an academic Senate, which has an Executive Committee.  There is a group of people who have the status of "official observers" to the Senate.  The bylaws define the official observers to have all the privileges of membership except for the right to vote.

The proposal provides that one member selected from the official observer group would be a member of the Executive Committee (implying a right to vote in the Committee).  I should note that there are legal reasons that this person cannot be a member of the Senate, but is not excluded from being a member of the Executive Committee.

I'm fairly certain that Robert's Rules permit this (but please correct me if I'm wrong!).   My question is, how strange would this be, to give a non-member a vote in the Executive Cmte?  I mean this both in the sense of "how unusual among existing groups" and in the sense of "how weird does it seem to you personally".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It seems to me that these observers would be ex-officio members of the executive committee, and there's nothing weird about it at all.  (You should note, tangentially, being an academic and all, that the word "weird" is usually misused; better "odd," "strange," "bizarre," "macabre," "unearthly" "meshuggeh," or the like.  Rule of thumb, don't say "weird" unless a zombie is eating your leg.)

By the way. Probably the bylaws define the membership of the executive committee, so this proposal to have an Observer be a member of it would have to be a bylaws amendment.  In which case, Robert's Rules says that Robert's Rules doesn't have a say in it.  Your bylaws are your ne plus ultra, as it were.  You can redefine the law of gravity in your bylaws if you want, so that your members can lazily drift around the room and bump gently off the ceiling now and then, instead of frenetically darting around the room and explosively bouncing off the ceiling, as I am given to understand you college students do these days.

________

N.B.  I said "as it were," because I slightly misused "ne plus ultra."  As the famous and brilliant story says, "You Could Look It Up."

Edited by Gary c Tesser
tinkering
Link to comment
Share on other sites

18 hours ago, JamesMcLean said:

I'm fairly certain that Robert's Rules permit this (but please correct me if I'm wrong!).   

My question is,

how strange would this be, to give a non-member a vote in the Executive Committee?  

I mean this both in the sense of "how unusual among existing groups" and in the sense of "how weird does it seem to you personally".

In 20+ years of observation of countless nonprofit organizations, I can opine that "it is rare". But not un-heard of.

***

In a non-"Executive Committee" situation, such as a "finance committee" or "capital assets committee", i.e., working committees, it is rare to include a non-member, but, when the organization does include a non-member, the primary reason to do so is for their expertise directly related to the work of that committee.

Examples:

• A bylaws committee could very well put an impartial third-party parliamentarian on the committee, for the Robert's Rules aspect to be double-checked.

• An audit committee will likely have an independent Certified Public Accountant (CPA), for obvious reasons.

• Ad ad hoc committee for the sale of property could have a lawyer specializing in real estate, or a Realtor specializing in the kind of property being bought/sold, sit on this committee, for fast answers to legal questions or realty questions, or negotiations in general (to get the best price).

***

Where an Executive Committee holds one member without the "power to vote", you will see this often in the case of Immediate Past President.

***

So, there you go. -- For committees in general, there are certain occasions where a non-member consultant will sit on an ad hoc committee.

For executive committees, the non-voting member, nine times out of ten, will likely be a position of honor for the IPP.

Take it from there.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Gary,

The observers are explicitly not members (of the Senate), in order not to trigger any related Roberts Rules consequences (quorum, etc).  If one of them is on the Exec Cmte, then it would probably be ex-officio (Convener of the Observers is the likely office).  But as you know, the ex-officio status has no bearing whether that person would have a vote on the Exec Cmte.  That is the objection that I'm hearing: that someone without a vote on the Senate should not have a vote on the Exec Cmte.

(I take your point about "weird"; I had forgotten the etymology.  Although, there is a certain charm in the suggestion that the non-voting observers might have a ghostly quality :).)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Kim, your examples are quite helpful to consider.  In our case, the justification to give one of the "observers" a position on the Exec Cmte is indeed because they bring a specialized perspective (for reasons that I won't go into, to keep this brief).  In your experience, would the non-member parliamentarian, accountant, lawyer, and realtor in your examples typically be voting members of those committees?  Or would they more commonly be non-voting "support staff," or some such title?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, JamesMcLean said:

Q. Would the non-member parliamentarian, accountant, lawyer, and realtor in your examples typically be voting members of those committees? 

Or would they more commonly be non-voting "support staff," or some such title?

By default, 100% of the members of a committee are empowered to vote within that committee. (We are not talking about the general membership, which you must join, nor a board, which you must be elected to.)

However, when you adopt such a motion, e.g.,

"To create a committee of four people, composed of Mr. Jones, Miss Smith, Mrs. Dunphy, plus one accountant which the committee is free to hire,"

. . . that hired hand will be a member of the committee, and as such, can vote when the committee votes.

Or, the motion could specify otherwise:

"To create a committee of four people, composed of Mr. Jones, Miss Smith, Mrs. Dunphy, plus one accountant which the committee is free to hire, who shall sit without vote."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 1/22/2017 at 0:03 AM, Hieu H. Huynh said:

FAQ #2 may be of use.

I'm afraid not.  FAQ #2 is helpful for interpreting existing bylaws, or finding the correct language for desired powers.  My question is about the powers themselves, not the language describing them.  Actually, I suppose my question in not really about Robert's Rules at all, since (as Gary points out) the Bylaws supersede RONR.  But I hoped the forum could provide information about common (or uncommon) practice.  Apologies if that was inappropriate.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...