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Disciplinary action taken


Jamies
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A new member (as of December) of a club recently sent an email to the BOD notifying them that a mistake had been made on their part. They applied to hold an event in the name of the club without approval from the BOD. They indicated that they were unaware of the official policy of the club for members to hold events. This member sent a letter to the BOD notifying them of their error. Prior to the letter, the BOD was not aware of the pending event. The BOD discussed the issue at its recent meeting and the outcome was to suspend the member's privileges (member NOT in good standing) for 6 months. This action could potentially negatively impact this member's business and business reputation. The member was not asked for further details nor were they invited to speak at the meeting and defend their actions. No charges were preferred against this member and no hearing was held as the BOD's actions were based primarily on the member's acknowledgment of their wrongdoing. After having time to reflect on what transpired at the meeting, even though I voted to suspend privileges, I personally do not believe that this member was "tending to injure the good name of the organization," but rather trying to help the organization. 

The club's bylaws do state: The Board shall first consider whether the actions alleged in the charges, if proven, might constitute conduct prejudicial to the best interests of the breed or Club. If the Board determines that the charges do not allege conduct which would be prejudicial to the best interests of the Club or the Breed it must refuse to entertain jurisdiction.

Again, no charges were preferred against this member for their actions. Was the 6 months suspension warranted when the member acknowledged the mistake? Does the BOD have the authority to unilaterally vote and temporarily suspend a member when no charges were preferred by another member? Does the email acknowledging wrongdoing replace the need for the BOD to allow the member to speak on their behalf?

The actions of the BOD will be published in the minutes and forever searchable on the internet. If I feel strongly that the issue should be revisited, at the next meeting would the appropriate course of action be to make a motion to rescind the previous motion adopted (member has already been informed of the BOD's decision) and expunge from minutes, or simply make another motion to place this member on probation for xxx period of time? I am the Recording Secretary and minutes have not yet been submitted to the BOD for review and approval, which is done prior to the next month's meeting.

 

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4 hours ago, Jamies said:

Was the 6 months suspension warranted when the member acknowledged the mistake?

That is not my place to say. RONR does not delineate which situations do or do not warrant discipline. It is only concerned with the process.

4 hours ago, Jamies said:

Does the BOD have the authority to unilaterally vote and temporarily suspend a member when no charges were preferred by another member?

What do your bylaws say about preferring charges? So far as RONR is concerned, only the society may prefer charges, but it sounds like you have your own rules on the subject.

4 hours ago, Jamies said:

Does the email acknowledging wrongdoing replace the need for the BOD to allow the member to speak on their behalf?

Not so far as RONR is concerned, but you seem to have your own rules. What do they say about the member speaking on their behalf?

4 hours ago, Jamies said:

The actions of the BOD will be published in the minutes and forever searchable on the internet. If I feel strongly that the issue should be revisited, at the next meeting would the appropriate course of action be to make a motion to rescind the previous motion adopted (member has already been informed of the BOD's decision) and expunge from minutes, or simply make another motion to place this member on probation for xxx period of time?

I am not sure you can do either. What do your bylaws say about the membership’s involvement in discipline? So far, only the board has been mentioned. The board might have exclusive authority in this area.

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The club's bylaws state the following:

ARTICLE VI: Discipline

Section 2: Charges. Any member may prefer charges against a member for alleged misconduct prejudicial to the best interests of the Club or the Breed. Written charges with specifications must be filed in duplicate with the Corresponding Secretary and President. A deposit of $50.00 shall be enclosed in the package sent to the Corresponding Secretary, which shall be forfeited if such charges are not sustained by the Board. The Corresponding Secretary or the President shall, within seven days, send a copy of the charges to each member of the Board or present them at a Board meeting. The Board shall first consider whether the actions alleged in the charges, if proven, might constitute conduct prejudicial to the best interests of the breed or Club. If the Board determines that the charges do not allege conduct which would be prejudicial to the best interests of the Club or the Breed it must refuse to entertain jurisdiction.

If the Board entertains jurisdiction of the charges it shall fix a date of a hearing by the Board not less than 3 weeks nor more than 6 weeks thereafter. The Corresponding Secretary or President shall, within three days, send one copy of the charges to the accused member by verifiable delivery together with If the Board entertains jurisdiction of the charges it shall fix a date of a hearing by the Board not less than 3 weeks nor more than 6 weeks thereafter. The Corresponding Secretary or President shall, within three days, send one copy of the charges to the accused member via a verifiable delivery service together with a notice of the hearing and an assurance that the defendant may personally appear in his or her own defense and bring witnesses if he or she wishes. The complainant shall also be notified of the hearing date within three days, and of the fact that he/she is also allowed to bring witnesses.

Section 3: Board Hearing. The Board shall have complete authority to decide whether any type of counsel may attend the hearing, but both complainant and defendant shall be treated uniformly in that regard.

If the charges are sustained, after hearing all the evidence and testimony presented by the complainant and the defendant, and after being allowed to ask questions of either or both parties, the Board may, by majority vote of those present, reprimand or suspend the defendant from all privileges of the Club for a period of time not to exceed one year from the date of the hearing.

If it deems that punishment insufficient, it may also recommend to the membership that the penalty be expulsion. In this case, the defendant has the right to appear before his fellow members at an ensuing Club meeting which considers the Board’s recommendation.

Immediately after the Board’s decision, its findings shall be put into written form and filed with the Recording Secretary and noted in the next publication of Board meeting minutes. The Corresponding Secretary will notify each party of the Board’s decision and penalty, if any, via a verifiable delivery method, within seven days of when the decision was rendered.

 

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58 minutes ago, Jamies said:

The club's bylaws state the following:

Based on these additional facts...

8 hours ago, Jamies said:

Was the 6 months suspension warranted when the member acknowledged the mistake?

Still not my call.

8 hours ago, Jamies said:

Does the BOD have the authority to unilaterally vote and temporarily suspend a member when no charges were preferred by another member?

No.

8 hours ago, Jamies said:

Does the email acknowledging wrongdoing replace the need for the BOD to allow the member to speak on their behalf?

No.

8 hours ago, Jamies said:

The actions of the BOD will be published in the minutes and forever searchable on the internet. If I feel strongly that the issue should be revisited, at the next meeting would the appropriate course of action be to make a motion to rescind the previous motion adopted (member has already been informed of the BOD's decision) and expunge from minutes, or simply make another motion to place this member on probation for xxx period of time? I am the Recording Secretary and minutes have not yet been submitted to the BOD for review and approval, which is done prior to the next month's meeting.

Neither. You should raise a Point of Order that the board’s action is null and void on the following grounds.

  • The bylaws only grant the board the authority to discipline members when charges have been filed by a member, following the process specified in the bylaws.
  • The accused’s due process rights were violated by failing to provide notice of the charges, the date of the trial, and the accused’s rights with respect to the trial, all of which is required by your bylaws.

If the chair rules the point not well taken, you should appeal from the ruling of the chair, which places the decision in the hands of the board. If the board agrees with the chair, you should try again at a meeting of the membership.

Edited by Josh Martin
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Thank you so much for the detailed explanation. It is very much appreciated. 

In regards to the minutes, which are out for review but have not been voted on and approved yet, should they stay as they are with details of the original motion to revoke membership rights for 6 months with the members name being mentioned, and then at the next meeting (minutes are reviewed and approved prior to the next meetings - board meetings are once a month with no membership meetings until the annual membership meeting at the annual event as this is a national club) I make a point of order which will be reflected in those minutes?

Edited by Jamies
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4 hours ago, Jamies said:

Thank you so much for the detailed explanation. It is very much appreciated. 

In regards to the minutes, which are out for review but have not been voted on and approved yet, should they stay as they are with details of the original motion to revoke membership rights for 6 months with the members name being mentioned, and then at the next meeting (minutes are reviewed and approved prior to the next meetings - board meetings are once a month with no membership meetings until the annual membership meeting at the annual event as this is a national club) I make a point of order which will be reflected in those minutes?

The minutes would record what actually happened at that meeting. Any points of order or other potential business affecting this matter going forward would be recorded in the minutes of the meeting at which they occurred.

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6 hours ago, Jamies said:

In regards to the minutes, which are out for review but have not been voted on and approved yet, should they stay as they are with details of the original motion to revoke membership rights for 6 months with the members name being mentioned, and then at the next meeting (minutes are reviewed and approved prior to the next meetings - board meetings are once a month with no membership meetings until the annual membership meeting at the annual event as this is a national club) I make a point of order which will be reflected in those minutes?

Yes. The minutes are a record of what was done, whether or not what was done was proper. If the minutes are an accurate and complete record of what happened at the previous meeting, they should be approved.

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