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Question: Is it appropriate for a Board of Trustees to waive the membership dues for a specific member?

Background:

For at least 20 years, the member holding the committee position of "rental manager" has had their dues waived during their tenure as rental manager.

The historical rationale for the dues being waived is due to the nature of this position being "on call" to show the building to prospective renters, meet with renters on the day of rental and inspect the facility following the rental. The rental manager position is unlike any other position in the organization (all volunteer) in that work performed by all other members (committees, officers etc.) can be performed at times of their calling and are not under an “on call” description.

Our organization's bylaws state:

(1) The government of the organization is vested in the Board of Trustees.

(2) The Board of Trustees shall be responsible for the maintenance and operation of all facilities and conduct of all activities.

(3) Dues shall be in an amount to be set from time to time by the Board of Trustees, however no increase in dues shall be effective until action by the Board of Trustees has been ratified by an affirmative vote of 2/3 of the members present at the next general meeting of the membership after 10 day notification of such action has been sent.

(4) Member’s dues cover the organization's fiscal year (1 July to 30 June) and members of record will be billed full annual dues on 1 June each fiscal year.

Again, my question: Would it be in line with the bylaw duties and responsibilities (noted in #1 and #2 above) for our organizations Board of Trustees to waive the membership dues for our “rental manager” given the outlined duties and responsibilities and the “historical background” noted above?

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I agree with Godelfan that this is a matter of interpreting your bylaws, something that only your organization can do. My personal opinion is that waiving dues probably exceeds the board's authority, but it has been my experience that this is the type thing that boards sometimes do anyway, even if without real authority to do so. This is a matter for your organization itself to decide.

Edited to add: if your organization wants to continue the practice, the bylaws should be amended to allow it or even to specify that that the member serving in that position shall be exempt from paying dues.

Edited by Richard Brown
Added last paragraph
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1 hour ago, Jim Anderson said:

Question: Is it appropriate for a Board of Trustees to waive the membership dues for a specific member?

[...]

bylaws state:

(1) The government of the organization is vested in the Board of Trustees.

(2) The Board of Trustees shall be responsible for the maintenance and operation of all facilities and conduct of all activities.

(3) Dues shall be in an amount to be set from time to time by the Board of Trustees,

however no increase in dues shall be effective until action by the Board of Trustees has been ratified by an affirmative vote of 2/3 of the members present at the next general meeting of the membership after 10 day notification of such action has been sent.

***

Again, my question:

Would it be in line with the bylaw duties and responsibilities (noted in #1 and #2 above) for our organizations Board of Trustees to waive the membership dues for our “rental manager” --

given the outlined duties and responsibilities and the “historical background” noted above?

Yes.

Per your #3 item, the board may set dues.

Although an act of any INCREASE has an additional burden on the board, #3 does not impose that same burden on LESSENING dues for any individual, or class of individuals.

 

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2 minutes ago, Kim Goldsworthy said:

Although an act of any INCREASE has an additional burden on the board, #3 does not impose that same burden on LESSENING dues for any individual, or class of individuals.

 

So your view is that exempting a member (say, board members and their friends) from paying dues is implied by the power to lower dues across the board?  Does Congress' power to repeal laws allow it to give pardons?  Since the states can select the electors in any manner their legislatures choose, can the state legislature overturn the result of the vote, if they chose to select them by a vote of the people?

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I initially agreed with Godelfan that the board probably does not have the authority to"waive" dues for a specific member. However, Kim Goldsworthy made a good point that this might well be within the board's power to set dues per section 3 of the quoted bylaws provisions.

All things considered, including the long standing custom, I am  convinced that this is a matter of bylaws interpretation that is up to the organization to decide.

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6 minutes ago, Godelfan said:

1.) So your view is that exempting a member (say, board members and their friends) from paying dues is implied by the power to lower dues across the board?  

2.) Does Congress' power to repeal laws allow it to give pardons?  

3.) Since the states can select the electors in any manner their legislatures choose, can the state legislature overturn the result of the vote, if they chose to select them by a vote of the people?

"Across the board" is not part of the bylaws

The board may set dues, with a single limit, namely the act of increasing.

The dues may float. The due may vary. The rules may ratchet. -- Whatever the board sets, is set. But no increases. But all the decreases it wishes.

***

Judges give pardons. Governors give pardons. Presidents give pardons.

Congress is not empowered to pardon. They are the legislative branch. Only the executive branch and judicial branch dole out pardons or its equivalent.

***

The "ex post facto" limit may be a wall preventing a state house from overturning a completed election.

You cannot unelect someone by passing a law after the winner wins.

However, if the winner has net yet taken office, the state house could change the law -- fast -- to change the election method to a method of governor appointment.

***

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4 minutes ago, Kim Goldsworthy said:

The dues may float. The due may vary. The rules may ratchet. -- Whatever the board sets, is set. But no increases. But all the decreases it wishes.

 

What does it mean to 'set'?

4 minutes ago, Kim Goldsworthy said:

Judges give pardons. Governors give pardons. Presidents give pardons.

 

Judges give pardons?

4 minutes ago, Kim Goldsworthy said:

Congress is not empowered to pardon. They are the legislative branch. Only the executive branch and judicial branch dole out pardons or its equivalent.

 

Right.  But Congress can repeal laws.  Why not, just as you want to let boards lower dues to 0 for one member only, let the Congress repeal a law for one person only?

5 minutes ago, Kim Goldsworthy said:

However, if the winner has net yet taken office, the state house could change the law -- fast -- to change the election method to a method of governor appointment.

 

So, on election night, seeing that the state will go to Trump, the Democratic state legislature can quickly meet and pass a bill allowing the Democratic Governor to appoint the electors?

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14 hours ago, Godelfan said:

So your view is that exempting a member (say, board members and their friends) from paying dues is implied by the power to lower dues across the board?  Does Congress' power to repeal laws allow it to give pardons?  Since the states can select the electors in any manner their legislatures choose, can the state legislature overturn the result of the vote, if they chose to select them by a vote of the people?

What do these examples have to do with anything? These matters are governed by constitutional law, not parliamentary procedure.

I think a reasonable argument could be made that the board's power to set dues permits it to set different levels of dues for different groups of members, or even individuals. I'm not saying I necessarily agree with this argument, but I don't find it absurd.

14 hours ago, Godelfan said:

Right.  But Congress can repeal laws.  Why not, just as you want to let boards lower dues to 0 for one member only, let the Congress repeal a law for one person only?

So, on election night, seeing that the state will go to Trump, the Democratic state legislature can quickly meet and pass a bill allowing the Democratic Governor to appoint the electors?

I really don't think that these examples are at all helpful in interpreting this question. 

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20 hours ago, Godelfan said:

Right.  But Congress can repeal laws.  Why not, just as you want to let boards lower dues to 0 for one member only, let the Congress repeal a law for one person only?

> ". . . one person only . . .".

Tool late. Congress, and countless state houses, do this, all the time.

See the speech by Davy Crockett when he served in the House of Representatives. The speech is called "It Isn't Yours To Give". -- Congress wanted to give money to a specific woman (a widow). Davy Crockett said that to give public money to a private individual is unconstitutional, and is an immoral use of public funds.

Davy lost. -- And the spigot never gets turned off.

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