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Conflict Between Bylaws and State Law


JayW
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I know that procedural rules of law take precedence over RONR and the bylaws; I'm not sure if the following is a procedural rule of law. Our bylaws state that the board can impose a penalty including a suspension "for not more than six (6) months from the date of the hearing". The board imposed a six-month suspension but stated that it began the day after the hearing, effectively imposing a suspension of six months and one day, citing "New York rules" which state "The day of the act or event from which the designated period of time begins to run shall not be included, but the last day of the period shall be included." Would this rule be considered procedural?

(Actually as I've typed this I think maybe it doesn't matter. The bylaws say the board cannot impose a suspension longer than six months from the date of the hearing. If the state law does take precedence and the suspension begins the day after the hearing, that still doesn't mean the board can impose a suspension that lasts more than six months from the date of the hearing. It would mean the board can only impose a suspension of five months and 29 days.)

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Well, I don't think that's a procedural law, but as Mr. Gerber points out, that doesn't mean you don't have to follow it.  It just means you can't raise a point of order because the rules of parliamentary procedure are about something different.  The law quoted is more of a definition, it's likely in the definition or time-limit section of some other law, not standing on its own, and the larger law may or may not be relevant to your situation.  It is impossible to tell without context.  

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It seems to me that imposition of a six-month suspension beginning the day after the hearing fully complies with the bylaw limitation of "not more than six (6) months from the date of the hearing", and is also in compliance with the rule that "The day of the act or event from which the designated period of time begins to run shall not be included, but the last day of the period shall be included." This suspension isn't for "six months and one day", it's for exactly six months.

If the bylaw limitation had been for "not more than one day from the date of the date of the hearing", the day after the hearing would then be the one day of suspension.

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Thanks, Dan. I think we're both right, and it depends on the end date of the suspension. Per the bylaws, a suspension imposed today (December 17) couldn't end past June 17, 2018, which is six months from today. The variable is whether a six-month suspension that begins tomorrow (December 18) would end on June 17 or on June 18.

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12 minutes ago, Guest JayW said:

Thanks, Dan. I think we're both right, and it depends on the end date of the suspension. Per the bylaws, a suspension imposed today (December 17) couldn't end past June 17, 2018, which is six months from today. The variable is whether a six-month suspension that begins tomorrow (December 18) would end on June 17 or on June 18.

If the first day of a six month suspension is December 18, the last day of suspension will be June 17. 

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I agree with Mr. Honemann's interpretations.  New York law and Mr. Honemann's interpretation of both the law and the bylaw provision in question are the customary way of interpreting such provisions.  It is customary, when counting days forward FROM a certain date or event, the day of the event from which the time starts does not count and the first day after said event counts as the first day. Conversely, when counting days backward prior to an event, such as the number of days advance notice to be given. the day of the event is not counted and the first day prior to the event counts as the first day. 

This also in compliance and harmony with the provision on page 92 of RONR regarding notice of meetings which reads as follows:

"Special meetings can properly be called only (a) as authorized in the bylaws (see p. 576); or (b) when authorized by the assembly itself, as part of formal disciplinary procedures, for purposes of conducting a trial and determining a punishment (see footnote, p. 661). A section of the bylaws that authorizes the calling of special meetings should prescribe:
    1)    by whom such a meeting is to be called—which provision is usually in the form of a statement that the president (or, in large organizations, the president with the approval of the board) can call a special meeting, and that he shall call a special meeting at the written request of a specific number of members; and
    2)    the number of days' notice required. Unless otherwise provided in the bylaws, the number of days is computed by counting all calendar days (including holidays and weekends), excluding the day of the meeting but including the day the notice is sent."

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1 hour ago, Guest JayW said:

Thanks, Dan. I think we're both right, and it depends on the end date of the suspension. Per the bylaws, a suspension imposed today (December 17) couldn't end past June 17, 2018, which is six months from today. The variable is whether a six-month suspension that begins tomorrow (December 18) would end on June 17 or on June 18.

 

 

1 hour ago, Daniel H. Honemann said:

If the first day of a six month suspension is December 18, the last day of suspension will be June 17. 

The above exchange points out the importance of using precise terminology.  Guest JayW is referring to the date on which a suspension "ends".  That is a bit confusing, or ambiguous, because it leads to the question of whether the suspension ends on the final day of suspension or on the day after the final day of suspension.  Mr. Honemann uses much more precise terminology by speaking in terms of "the last day of suspension".  That language removes any ambiguity.

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