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MOTION OUT OF ORDER


Frank Edison
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Our club constitution states that disciplinary matters are to be handled by the executive and that any member so disciplined has 30 day to appeal such a decision.

We recently disciplined a member and he ignored the 30 day appeal.  He is now attempting to make a motion at our upcoming general meeting where he would like to have the letter retracted and an apology made.  He has since been advised by the chair that the motion will not be tabled because it is considered out of order in that it goes against the constitution.  He has now replied that:  "There is nothing in the club Constitution or in Robert's Rules that allows the Executive to determine what can be submitted to the Annual General Meeting as long as the motion deals with club matters. You are overstepping your authority."

Are we correct in our 'Out of Order' determination?

According to RoR he can not 'Suspend the Rules' to have the motion tabled because it deals with the constitution.  What recourse does the member have?

Thanks

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Guest Who's Coming to Dinner

If your constitution grants the executive (board? committee? washroom?) the exclusive authority to mete out discipline, then it is indeed out of order to move to reverse such action. As far as RONR is concerned, however, this determination will be made at the meeting, not in advance, and the member has the right to appeal the decision with a second from another member.

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Thanks for your reply.

I agree that the motion must first be offered and seconded before it is ruled out of order.  Then the chair can explain why it is out of order in that it conflicts with the constitution but I do not understand what right he has to appeal or what he is appealing?  He missed the deadline of 30 days to appeal to the exec.  He does not have the privilege to appeal to the membership for a decision made by the exec given they have the authority to handle discipline given to them by the constitution.  The only way he can continue is to move to 'Suspend the Rules' but:

Suspend the Rules

When an assembly wishes to do something it cannot do without violating its regular rules, it can adopt to 'Suspend the Rules' that interfere with the proposed action. The proposal must not be in conflict with bylaws/constitution, local/state/national laws, or a fundamental principle of parliamentary law. This motion cannot be debated or amended.

Rules that CANNOT be suspended even with unanimous consent (unless they provide for their own suspension):

  1. Bylaws/Constitution (unless it is clearly a rule of order, see page 17, line 22-24.) **

Please understand that I am not trying to shut this individual down, I just want the meeting to proceed without too much drama and rules are the only way to avoid this.

F

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Guest Who's Coming to Dinner

The appeal is from the decision of the chair that the motion is out of order, not from the decision of the Executive. Any ruling of the chair may be appealed and the assembly will decide whether to sustain the chair's decision or to overturn it.

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I think we are discussing,and perhaps confusing two different kinds of appeals. Mr. Edison is (or started off) talking about an appeal of a decision of a disciplinary proceeding as provided in his bylaws.  Dinner guest is talking about appealing from the ruling of the chair on a parliamentary issue .

Edited by Richard Brown
Added the words "as provided in his bylaws".
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My concern is how to handle this at the meeting.  I can see the motion being read into the minutes to have the executive withdraw the letter of reprimand and apoligize for same.  The chair would then rule the motion out of order, because, according to the constitution, the executive alone handles discipline and appeals to disciplinary decisions.  Now, from what I have read, the member can appeal the Out of Order ruling from the chair, thus putting that ruling to a vote?

If this is correct then the chair can explain his decision to rule the motion out of order and others may only speak once on the topic?  Am I on the right track here?

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My read of this is that Mr Brown provides  the correct response  . If the Constituion has established the process for disciplinary matters -that process governs  above  any appeal process  in RONR, and indeed RONR  provides as much . Any motion made at the general meeting  to set aside the determination of the Executive , is beyond the authority of the general meeting to address , unless the general meeting is provided in the bylaws or constitution authority over appeals of the executive - concerning  disciplinary matters . Full STOP.  

LLT

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32 minutes ago, Frank Edison said:

My concern is how to handle this at the meeting.  I can see the motion being read into the minutes to have the executive withdraw the letter of reprimand and apoligize for same.  The chair would then rule the motion out of order, because, according to the constitution, the executive alone handles discipline and appeals to disciplinary decisions.  Now, from what I have read, the member can appeal the Out of Order ruling from the chair, thus putting that ruling to a vote?

If this is correct then the chair can explain his decision to rule the motion out of order and others may only speak once on the topic?  Am I on the right track here?

Yes, this is all correct.

22 minutes ago, Guest LLT said:

My read of this is that Mr Brown provides  the correct response  . If the Constituion has established the process for disciplinary matters -that process governs  above  any appeal process  in RONR, and indeed RONR  provides as much . Any motion made at the general meeting  to set aside the determination of the Executive , is beyond the authority of the general meeting to address , unless the general meeting is provided in the bylaws or constitution authority over appeals of the executive - concerning  disciplinary matters . Full STOP.  

What the appeal would be concerning, however, is whether it is in fact correct that the constitution gives the executive committee exclusive authority in this matter. If the membership has the power to amend the constitution, it has the power to decide that question. We’re talking about an appeal of the chair’s ruling, not an appeal of the executive committee’s disciplinary action.

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Disagree with JM on this .If the constitution has clearly stated  the authority of the executive - ( no appeal to the general membership )  that allows that  whatever   motion is made by the member to challenge that authority  at a general meeting  is  outside the scope of  authority of the  general meeting to adjudicate on . The response   of the presiding officer faced with such  a motion ,is to decline  that it be stated or put out for consideration - and any follow  up motion to appeal the decision  of the Chair  should be ruled dilatory . The power  of the members to amend   the  constitution ( if inclined )  should not be confused with the  clearly stated intention of the constitution  ( assuming it is )    respecting  the authority given to the executive respecting   disciplinary matters and that they have final say in such matters  .  Otherwise  what JM  is suggesting is that the general meeting has ultimate appeal authority even though the constitution  provides not one word of authority in that connection . That is seemingly not the will of the members when they carried the  authority  of the executive committee over discipline . If they wanted the general meeting to have final say in that it could easily have been provided for in the constitution . It was not . 

However ,if the member wishes to alter the constitution to seek change in the  authority of the executive to disciple - that the executive  have final  say in disciplinary matters  , then he /she can take steps to do as much within the process allowed to alter the constitution  . 

LLT

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To add to the above and  to be clear as to where I disagree with JM  - perhaps it relates only to the appeal process .The motion should be ruled out of order . Any  appeal should also be ruled out of order -as dilatory . When the motion is ruled out of order at the outset an explanation  can be provided as to reason for same . That would be sufficient without more . 

LLT

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Apparently, LLT is willing to assume that there cannot possibly be two reasonable opinions concerning the question as to whether or not the provisions of this club's constitution vest in its "executive" (whatever that is) exclusive control over disciplinary matters of this sort, and Mr. Martin is not.

I think the odds favor Mr. Martin, but who knows. Maybe the membership of this club, when it adopted its constitution, really did intend to divest itself of any authority in this regard, and managed to do an excellent job saying so.  :)

 

 

 

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10 hours ago, Guest LLT said:

Disagree with JM on this .If the constitution has clearly stated  the authority of the executive - ( no appeal to the general membership )  that allows that  whatever   motion is made by the member to challenge that authority  at a general meeting  is  outside the scope of  authority of the  general meeting to adjudicate on . The response   of the presiding officer faced with such  a motion ,is to decline  that it be stated or put out for consideration - and any follow  up motion to appeal the decision  of the Chair  should be ruled dilatory . The power  of the members to amend   the  constitution ( if inclined )  should not be confused with the  clearly stated intention of the constitution  ( assuming it is )    respecting  the authority given to the executive respecting   disciplinary matters and that they have final say in such matters.

It is correct that, if the constitution is so clear on this matter that there cannot possibly be two reasonable opinions on the subject, the chair can and should rule the appeal out of order as dilatory. Since we have not actually seen what the constitution says (we only have a brief paraphrase), however, I am not certain why you are so confident this is the case. This not quite the same thing as saying that the general membership is not the proper body to interpret the rules.

10 hours ago, Guest LLT said:

Otherwise  what JM  is suggesting is that the general meeting has ultimate appeal authority even though the constitution  provides not one word of authority in that connection.

Not at all. I am suggesting that the general membership has authority with respect to interpreting the society’s rules, including the constitution. This is a separate question from the appeal process on disciplinary matters in the society’s constitution. If it is in fact correct that the bylaws grant the executive committee exclusive authority regarding disciplinary appeals, then the membership should uphold the chair’s ruling on appeal. The question before the assembly is not whether it agrees with the disciplinary action, but whether the chair’s interpretation of the rules is correct. I have not seen any suggestion that the constitution gives the board the authority to decide appeals on questions of interpreting the constitution, only a suggestion that it gives the board authority to decide disciplinary appeals.

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5 minutes ago, Josh Martin said:

 

Not at all. I am suggesting that the general membership has authority with respect to interpreting the society’s rules, including the constitution. This is a separate question from the appeal process on disciplinary matters in the society’s constitution. If it is in fact correct that the bylaws grant the executive committee exclusive authority regarding disciplinary appeals, then the membership should uphold the chair’s ruling on appeal. The question before the assembly is not whether it agrees with the disciplinary action, but whether the chair’s interpretation of the rules is correct. I have not seen any suggestion that the constitution gives the board the authority to decide appeals on questions of interpreting the constitution, only a suggestion that it gives the board authority to decide disciplinary appeals.

I think this point is key.

If the member says, "I appeal the decision of the board in regard to ____," in the form of incidental motion to appeal, that motion would be out of order*.  The decision of the board cannot be appealed.  It could possibly be rescinded.

There could be two questions.   First, do the bylaws permit the assembly to rescind (or reverse) the board's disciplinary decision?  Second, if yes, what would be the proper way to do it?

*Unless the bylaws specifically permit this.

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Just to make things clear, I am trying to confirm whether or not the motion to have the decision made by the executive overturned by the membership can proceed or if it is out of order and where to go next.

From what I understand the motion would be out of order because the constitution specifically states that these matters are handled by the executive and that appeals to decisions are to be made to the executive.  The motion on the floor would have the matter put to the membership which goes against the constitution.  I think the only way to move the matter to the membership would be to amend the constitution.

My question now is if the member puts forth a motion appealing the decision from the chair can it go forward or should it be ruled dilatory?

Thanks again everyone for your input.

F

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3 minutes ago, Frank Edison said:

My question now is if the member puts forth a motion appealing the decision from the chair can it go forward or should it be ruled dilatory?

 

The deciding factor, used in the previous answers, is whether or not there is more than one possible answer.  I'm not prepared to interpret your organization's constitution and bylaws, which we don't do here anyway, so I'm not going to take a position on whether or not the motion is out of order.  It is unlikely, in my opinion, that it will not be possible that the motion is in order, though, so I think the odds are that an appeal of the ruling of the chair will be in order.

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I hasten to add that this conclusion of dilatory  rests in the assumption that the members did intent to divest themselves of authority over discipline matters ( Honemann )  . Mr Edison  and associates  can consider if this be so or not . But if it is so then dilatory applies . If on the other hand  there is doubt on that score or ambiguity then an appeal can go forward . To allow as much, however ,will then create a precedent that ultimate authorty over such matters rests with the general membership. Again was this intended or otherwise . ?

LLT

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If it was concluded ,with good cause ,that the  clear intent of the Constitution was that exclusive authority over discipline was given  solely to the Executive - then no motions of any manner regarding discipline  - appeal or otherwise ,would have any application at the members meeting . To allow as much would undermine the Constitution that the members had carried .But if doubt or ambiguity that is another matter .Disagree with JK. Did the members do an excellent job of saying so ( Honemann). 

LLT

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4 hours ago, Frank Edison said:

Just to make things clear, I am trying to confirm whether or not the motion to have the decision made by the executive overturned by the membership can proceed or if it is out of order and where to go next.

From what I understand the motion would be out of order because the constitution specifically states that these matters are handled by the executive and that appeals to decisions are to be made to the executive.  The motion on the floor would have the matter put to the membership which goes against the constitution.  I think the only way to move the matter to the membership would be to amend the constitution?

Yes, I think this is all correct, based on the facts which have been provided. It appears to be the chair’s interpretation that the motion conflicts with the constitution, so he should indeed rule the motion out of order. If the chair’s interpretation is correct, the member’s only recourse would be to seek to amend the constitution.

4 hours ago, Frank Edison said:

My question now is if the member puts forth a motion appealing the decision from the chair can it go forward or should it be ruled dilatory?

I do not have enough facts to answer this question with any confidence, but in order to rule an appeal out of order as dilatory, the rules in question must be so clear on the matter that there cannot possibly be two reasonable opinions on the subject. In my view, this is a very high bar to meet, so I would generally lean toward permitting an appeal.

3 hours ago, Guest LLT said:

I hasten to add that this conclusion of dilatory  rests in the assumption that the members did intent to divest themselves of authority over discipline matters ( Honemann )  . Mr Edison  and associates  can consider if this be so or not . But if it is so then dilatory applies . If on the other hand  there is doubt on that score or ambiguity then an appeal can go forward.

Even assuming that this assumption is correct (and I am not at all certain that it is) this is not necessarily sufficient to conclude that the motion conflicts with the constitution, let alone that the constitution is so clear on this subject that an appeal is dilatory. Intent is not the only factor used in interpreting the meaning of the constitution.

3 hours ago, Guest LLT said:

To allow as much, however ,will then create a precedent that ultimate authorty over such matters rests with the general membership. Again was this intended or otherwise . ?

Not at all. If the membership sustains the chair’s ruling, the precedent created is that ultimate authority over discipline rests with the board.

3 hours ago, Guest LLT said:

If it was concluded ,with good cause ,that the  clear intent of the Constitution was that exclusive authority over discipline was given  solely to the Executive - then no motions of any manner regarding discipline  - appeal or otherwise ,would have any application at the members meeting . To allow as much would undermine the Constitution that the members had carried .But if doubt or ambiguity that is another matter .Disagree with JK. Did the members do an excellent job of saying so ( Honemann). 

I disagree. Intent is only one component of interpretation of rules. Intent, in and of itself, is not sufficient to conclude that the motion conflicts with the constitution, let alone sufficient to conclude that an appeal is dilatory. See RONR, 11th ed., pgs. 588-591.

It may well be that the constitution is so clear on this matter that an appeal is dilatory, but I see no reason to assume that this is the case, based on the facts provided. I also do not understand this continued assertion that permitting the membership to interpret the membership’s rules “undermines” the membership’s rules. On the contrary, it would seem to me that the precedent created by such an interpretation will strengthen the membership’s rules and provide additional clarity on the subject.

Edited by Josh Martin
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21 hours ago, Frank Edison said:

Then the chair can explain why it is out of order in that it conflicts with the constitution but I do not understand what right he has to appeal or what he is appealing?  He missed the deadline of 30 days to appeal to the exec.  He does not have the privilege to appeal to the membership for a decision made by the exec given they have the authority to handle discipline given to them by the constitution.

There is no doubt that he missed the deadline (unless there is doubt) so that is not what he is appealing.  He is appealing the ruling that the "exec" (by which I assume you mean the executive board) cannot be overruled by the membership.  Just because a body has the authority to do something, does not necessarily mean that it has the exclusive authority to do something.  Depending on the language in the bylaws,  this might be a matter of interpretation upon which two reasonable people could disagree.

In general, in the typical case of a typical organization with typical bylaws, the membership (typically) has the power to instruct and to overrule decisions made by the board, as the board is the subordinate body.  

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Sorry.  I am new at this. Here is a copy of the constitution section on discipline:

SECTION VIII DISCIPLINE
1.If it comes to the notice of the executive that any member has infringed any By-Law or Regulation, or has behaved in a manner unbecoming of a member of the club, such a member may be expelled or suspended by the executive from any or all privileges of the club (including bar, yard and social privileges) for such a period as the executive determines. 


2.Such expulsion or suspension by the executive shall be at an executive meeting, of which previous notice has been given to the LRYC member(s) informing them of the complaint against the member. The vote in favour of any such expulsion or suspension must be a two-thirds majority of those present. Not less than three days notice in writing by registered mail of the meeting shall be given to the member proposed to be expelled or suspended at her/his last known address, and the notice shall state the complaint against such member.


3.Any member so expelled or suspended may, within one month of receiving notice by registered mail addressed to his last known address, appeal the decision in writing addressed to the Secretary.


4.The Commodore upon being advised by the Secretary of the receipt of any such notice of appeal shall at once call a Special Meeting of the Executive, as requested by the notice.


5.The vote at any such meeting of the Executive Committee shall be by ballot and if two-thirds of the member’s present vote to reverse the previous decision, the member shall be at once restored to his or her privileges as a member. Until such reversal, the member shall not be entitled to any such privileges.

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13 minutes ago, Frank Edison said:

Sorry.  I am new at this. Here is a copy of the constitution section on discipline:

SECTION VIII DISCIPLINE
1.If it comes to the notice of the executive that any member has infringed any By-Law or Regulation, or has behaved in a manner unbecoming of a member of the club, such a member may be expelled or suspended by the executive from any or all privileges of the club (including bar, yard and social privileges) for such a period as the executive determines. 


2.Such expulsion or suspension by the executive shall be at an executive meeting, of which previous notice has been given to the LRYC member(s) informing them of the complaint against the member. The vote in favour of any such expulsion or suspension must be a two-thirds majority of those present. Not less than three days notice in writing by registered mail of the meeting shall be given to the member proposed to be expelled or suspended at her/his last known address, and the notice shall state the complaint against such member.


3.Any member so expelled or suspended may, within one month of receiving notice by registered mail addressed to his last known address, appeal the decision in writing addressed to the Secretary.


4.The Commodore upon being advised by the Secretary of the receipt of any such notice of appeal shall at once call a Special Meeting of the Executive, as requested by the notice.


5.The vote at any such meeting of the Executive Committee shall be by ballot and if two-thirds of the member’s present vote to reverse the previous decision, the member shall be at once restored to his or her privileges as a member. Until such reversal, the member shall not be entitled to any such privileges.

I suspect there can be quite a few reasonable opinions about what these bylaw provisions mean.  :)

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