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I recently joined a new volunteer fire department. I have been a member less than a year. I used to be in abother department for 13 years. We have some well detailed but somewhat cumbersome rules. However it appears as our by laws were violated about 6 months ago but nobody raised a point of order at the time. I am wondering if it is too late to do so.

We have two types of officers, executive and operational. The executive side runs the organization and the operational side commands at emergencies. There are various requirements for operational officers that increase with rank. It is the job of the executive officers to determine that all nominees for operational office are qualified. 

In May a member was nominated for lieutenant, the executive board made no objection to the nomination. In June when the elections were about to be held the executive board was asked about qualifications for a different nominee for a different lieutenant position. Their reply was that they had not met with the Chief to get the information they needed and thus they had no way of telling who was or was not qualified. Both of those two nominees were running unopposed so the presiding officer said that there was no point in delaying their election. Both of those nominees were elected, by the secretary casting one ballot. 

An objection was raised from the floor about another candidate for lieutenant not having one qualification. He was questioned abut this by the presiding officer and it was determined that he could not be nominated for that position. 

Now it turns out that the first member I wrote about also lacked a qualification for office, although a different one. It also looks like several members and officers on both the executive and operational sides knew about this issue. I was not a voting member at the time so I could not bring it up. Is it too late to bring up this problem, next month which will be 6 months into a 1 year term? I have asked some other members but everyone seems to think that if the membership voted than the election has to stand even though the member was never qualified to run in the first place.


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"Otherwise, an election may be contested only by raising a point of order. The general rule is that such a point of order must be timely, as described on page 250, line 30 to page 251, line 2. If an election is disputed on the ground that a quorum was not present, the provisions on page 349, lines 21–28, apply. Other exceptions to the general timeliness requirement are those that come within the five categories listed on page 251, lines 9–23, in which cases a point of order can be made at any time during the continuance in office of the individual declared elected. For example: 
    •    If an individual does not meet the qualifications for the post established in the bylaws, his or her election is tantamount to adoption of a main motion that conflicts with the bylaws. " 
RONR (11th ed.), p. 445

If your members weren't eligible to hold the position(s) at the time they were elected, you can raise a point of order.  Whether it's wise to do so halfway through their term is another matter.

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If a member is in office but is, per the bylaws, unqualified (and remains unqualified as of now) then it is not too late to raise a point of order, as the breach is still ongoing (and violates the bylaws).  The vote is irrelevant - even by a unanimous vote, the members cannot waive bylaw qualifications for office (except by amending the bylaws).  However, it matters what the bylaws say about those qualifications - are they for office, or for running?

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I will have to check, but I believe the requirements are to hold office.

The wisdom of such a move is questionable at best, and might just be pointless. The requirement in question is years of service. For that position you need to have been a member for 5 years. The member only had 4 years at the time. This may have already become a moot point and certainly would be by the next election in June. 

As near as I can tell not many members cared at the time but now have found this officer to be inadequate so there has been some discussion, although most people seem to already think nothing can be done. 

The only thing I can say for certain is that these requirements may need to be revisited, although I am not familiar with their history or reasoning so I am not the one to try that task. 

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