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Can the ruling be overturned if new information is discovered?


Guest Jason Stadler
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In the organization that I am a part of, we have a section of our bylaws that state the qualifications to hold/be nominated for a certain position. In these qualifications it references  an outside guideline that our organization chose to adopt many years ago.  

 It recently was brought up that there were several folks in these positions that did not meet the qualifications to hold/be nominated for that position because a certain qualification was supposedly stated in this outside guidelines however it was not specifically stated in the language of our bylaws. 

 Recently it was enforced with one individual who is currently holding one of these positions and another individual who was trying to be nominated  that they were not qualified to either be nominated or hold this position. 

 Through research into this outside guideline and the history of it. It was determined that this  outside guideline  actually  never  stated anything about this certain qualification.  It seems that most folks just assumed it did and were mis lead by those who were supposedly "parliamentarians" and experts on this outside guideline.

 My question is now that new information has come to light can either the organization or the Board of Directors of the organization go back and right the wrong?

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I take it that some folks were improperly denied the opportunity to run for an office because of a misunderstanding about "outside" requirements.  Also that someone was, again improperly, removed from an office for the same reason. 

Did I summarize that correctly?  Let me know, by responding here, and I'll take it from there.

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10 minutes ago, jstackpo said:

I take it that some folks were improperly denied the opportunity to run for an office because of a misunderstanding about "outside" requirements.  Also that someone was, again improperly, removed from an office for the same reason. 

Did I summarize that correctly?  Let me know, by responding here, and I'll take it from there.

Yes that is correct.  An outside "guideline" is referenced in regards to the training requirements for this position.  The organization was recently led to believe that this guidline referenced something that it indeed did not.   So basically both one individual  was denied a nomination because he did not have this qualification as well as another individual was removed from one of these positions because he also lacked that particular qualification. 

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If...  (big IF)  the vacant position of the person who was removed has not yet been filled, then he could be appointed back into the job.  Otherwise, you are stuck.

The "denied election" isn't so easy.  Presumably someone else ran and won the election to the office.  Under the general principle (RONR, page 250) that a point of order (about something done improperly) must be raised immediately, you can't say well after the fact that the election was run improperly.  It is just too late.  (Well, you can say it, but you can't undo the election.)

Chances are there is nothing that can be done about the past (improper) actions - offer apologies all around, then go and sin no more.

I suppose you could try to convince the incumbents in the positions to resign, but they are in no way required to do so or pay the slightest attention to you.   It might also generate hard feelings.

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 I was going to bring this next part up in a separate thread because really it is a separate question. However it is somewhat related so I will bring it up here.

 Now at the last business meeting where this nomination was made and denied, it was later in the order of business that a bylaw change  was made that  added this qualification that we are speaking about to our bylaws.  

 So my next question is that even if I can prove that the denial of the nomination was made an error, what happens with the subsequent bylaw change.?   Is there something in Roberts rules that says a bylaw change applies going forward, or is it retroactive?   

Any specific citations from Roberts rules of order that applies here would be very helpful. Thank you

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A bylaw amendment goes into effect immediately upon its adoption, page 597.   So....

If, as I take it you are saying, the bylaw amendment made the qualification requirement part of your bylaws so it is properly enforceable, your "denied nomination" friend is definitely stuck.     The fact that he was improperly excluded from the nomination in the past has no bearing, because no point of order was raised at the time of the improper action.  He is now really excluded from being nominated or serving in the office in question.

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6 minutes ago, Guest Jason Stadler said:

What if the nomination had gone through then the qualifications were changed later in the same meeting? Would changing them had made the previous nomination invailed?

Yes.  RONR, page 597, lines 24ff. address just that problem.

(I am skipping over the detail of whether the changed qualifications applied to being nominated, as well as being elected and/or serving in office. I'm assuming they are all tied together, in effect.)

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27 minutes ago, jstackpo said:

I would urge you to buy the book  --  click here  --  as it is not available on-line.  Someone else may be able to make a copy of the part you are interested in, page 597, line 24, to page 598, line 2

 

 

 

It is already ordered, I was just trying to see how that applicable section is written in the mean time

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Happy reading!

You might want to start your parliamentary quest with...

RONRIB:

"Roberts Rules of Order Newly Revised In Brief", Updated Second Edition (Da Capo Press, Perseus Books Group, 2011). It is a splendid summary of all the rules you will really need in all but the most exceptional situations. And only $7.50! You can read it in an evening. Get both RONRIB and RONR (scroll down) at this link. Or in your local bookstore.

It might be just what the parliamentarian ordered. 

I suspect, however, that your situation falls in the "most exceptional situations" category.

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10 hours ago, Guest Jason Stadler said:

 Thank you  Sir for your assistance, although it is not the answer I was looking for, I understand it better now.  

 Is there any chance you or someone else could quote for me the language on page  597 that addresses this.

2

Since you say you have ordered the book, I'll quote the relevant provisions from pages 597-598.  The particular paragraph starting on line 24 that Dr. Stackpole referenced is the second paragraph in this quote:

"An amendment to the bylaws goes into effect immediately upon its adoption unless the motion to adopt specifies another time for its becoming effective, or the assembly has set such a time by a previously adopted motion. While the amendment is pending, a motion can be made to amend the enacting words of the motion to amend by adding a clause such as this: ". . . with the proviso that [or, ". . . provided, however, that"] this amendment shall not go into effect until after the close of this annual meeting." Or, while the amendment is pending, an incidental motion can be adopted that, in the event of the amendment's adoption, it shall not take effect until a specified time. Either method requires only a majority vote. It is a mistake to encumber the bylaws themselves with provisions which have effect for only a limited time. If the mechanics of transition to operation under a revised set of bylaws will be complicated in ways for which the act of adoption must provide temporarily, such provisions can be numbered and attached to the revision draft on a separate sheet headed "Provisos Relating to Transition." The motion to adopt the revision can then be made in this form: "I move the adoption of the revised bylaws with the provisos attached thereto."


Amendments to the article on officers may raise difficulties in relation to the time at which adopted changes take effect, unless special care is taken. A society can, for example, amend its bylaws so as to affect the emoluments and duties of the officers already elected, or even to abolish an office; and if it is desired that the amendment should not affect officers already elected, a motion so specifying should be adopted before voting on the amendment, or the motion to amend can have added to it the proviso that it shall not affect officers already elected. There is virtually a contract between a society and its officers, and while to some extent action can be taken by either party to modify or even terminate the [page 598] contract, such action must be taken with reasonable consideration for the other party.


It is important to note that, although the time when a bylaw amendment takes effect can be delayed by the assembly, the amendment becomes part of the bylaws immediately upon adoption. If the amended bylaws are printed, a footnote or similar device should indicate that the amended language is not yet in effect and, if language was removed by the amendment, the text of that provision should be given if it is still applicable in the organization. "

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9 hours ago, Richard Brown said:

 A society can, for example, amend its bylaws so as to affect the emoluments and duties of the officers already elected,

Up until rather recently the only place I have encountered the word "emoluments" in use is in the US Constitution and Roberts Rules.

But things have changed...

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21 hours ago, Guest Jason Stadler said:

What if the nomination had gone through then the qualifications were changed later in the same meeting? Would changing them had made the previous nomination invailed?

If, as you stated, the qualification restricts who may be nominated to, or hold, an office, then notwithstanding that the nomination was in order when it was made, the person would not be eligible to be elected.

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