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Guest Karen

Early Officer Elections

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Guest Karen

Bylaw amendments are scheduled for later this year.  The current bylaws state that Officer Elections are to be held in April.  For the past several years the custom has been for the elections to be held in late February, instead of April, to allow for the president elect's name to be submitted in March for registration to June conference.  This year notice of elections were given 3 weeks in advance and the elections were again held in February.  However, a few people who did not win (this time) now want the elections to be redone in April to be in compliance with the bylaws.  Is the election valid, being that it was fairly conducted but done early?  

Custom falls to the ground when a conflicting rule is pointed out.  But, in the case of this adopted election, at what point did the time expire for when the rule had to be pointed out?  Can it be pointed out after the election has taken place?  If so, then within what time-frame must the challenge occur?  Where can I find support of the right answer in RONR?

 

 

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In my opinion, the election was not valid since the bylaws require that it take place in April. It is also my opinion that this constitutes a continuing breach and that a point of order could be raised as long as the improperly elected officer remains in office. If a point of order is raised, and it must be raised in a meeting, the president would rule whether the point of order is well taken. The president's decision could then be appealed to the assembly, which has the final word.

Edited by Richard Brown
Typographical correction

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Guest Who's Coming to Dinner
48 minutes ago, Richard Brown said:

In my opinion, the election was not valid since the bylaws require that it take place in April. It is also my opinion that this constitutes a continuing breach and that a point of order could be raised as long as the improperly elected officer remains in office.

Under which of the five timeliness exceptions (RONR [11th ed.], p. 251, l. 9–23) do you believe this case qualifies?

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Guest Karen
43 minutes ago, Hieu H. Huynh said:

I would start with p. 95, ll. 4-12.

Sorry if this is a repost, but I'm trying to figure how to respond in a post. 

The organization is for teenagers, but it is a component of an adult organization.  The teens have their own bylaws, but they received the directive to conduct the election early from the adults. This probably has no bearing on your opinion, but the teens seem to be happy with their election results and have already celebrated their wins.  The few adults wanting to redo the election in April, will likely leave an affect on many of the teens as being human collateral.  The other question then is, do the contending adults have a right to interfere with the election by posing motions to affect a second election?  It would seem any motions would need to come from the teen assembly. 

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Guest Who's Coming to Dinner

If the teen organization is subordinate to the adult organization, then it is subject to the rules of the adult organization. Where those rules authorize the adults to give orders to the teens, the orders must be obeyed.

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45 minutes ago, Guest Who's Coming to Dinner said:

Under which of the five timeliness exceptions (RONR [11th ed.], p. 251, l. 9–23) do you believe this case qualifies?

The first one, (a),  on lines 9-10, which says "a main motion has been adopted that conflicts with the bylaws (or constitution) of the organization or assembly".

The bylaws apparently require the elections to take place in April.  The elections could be postponed once taken up in April, but they cannot be taken up prior to April.

It could also possibly be argued that the early election violates section (c) regarding absentees, since the bylaws specify that the elections shall be in April and members have a right to rely on the bylaws and skip the February meeting since they know the elections cannot be held until April... regardless of any notices to the contrary that may or may not have been sent to the membership.

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1 hour ago, Richard Brown said:

In my opinion, the election was not valid since the bylaws require that it take place in April. It is also my opinion that this constitutes a continuing breach and that a point of order could be raised as long as the improperly elected officer remains in office. If a point of order is raised, and it must be raised in a meeting, the president would rule whether the point of order is well taken. The president's decision could then be appealed to the assembly, which has the final word.

Reluctantly, I have to agree that this does create a breach of a continuing nature (p. 445, ll. 19-20).

That said, if the same person was elected at the April meeting, the breach would end.  It nay be possible, in theory, to determine in February the name that will be submitted and then elect the person whose was submitted as president. 

There many be some complex workarounds that night work, but it far easier to amend the bylaws to require elections in February.

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Guest Who's Coming to Dinner
26 minutes ago, Richard Brown said:

The first one, (a),  on lines 9-10, which says "a main motion has been adopted that conflicts with the bylaws (or constitution) of the organization or assembly".

I agree that the presumed motion "that X be elected to office" was entertained and passed at the wrong time according to the bylaws. But how does that motion, in and of itself, conflict? (Playing parli-devil's advocate here.)

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42 minutes ago, Guest Who's Coming to Dinner said:

I agree that the presumed motion "that X be elected to office" was entertained and passed at the wrong time according to the bylaws. But how does that motion, in and of itself, conflict? (Playing parli-devil's advocate here.)

I don't think that it does. In this instance, an action has been taken in violation of the bylaws, but no motion has been adopted that conflicts with the bylaws.

 

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Guest Who's Coming to Dinner

Is it then the case that a point of order regarding the early conduct of the election had to be timely?

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12 hours ago, Guest Who's Coming to Dinner said:

Is it then the case that a point of order regarding the early conduct of the election had to be timely?

Yes; a rule in the bylaws concerning what business is to be conducted at what meetings is a rule in the nature of a rule of order, and such rules can ordinarily  be suspended (RONR, 11th ed., p. 263, ll. 1-7).

In an excess of caution, however, I suppose I should add that a rule requiring previous notice is not a rule which can be suspended, but I gather this is not a factor in the instant case.

Edited by Daniel H. Honemann
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Guest Karen

Thank you for the references.  It sounds like RONR Page 251 ll. 9-10 applies with the "* " reference to Page 17 ll. 22-27.  It speaks to when a rule of order can be suspended.  But I'm a little confused on the interpretation.  Can you help?

If a point of order needed to be made timely (on the same day of the election?) and it was not, then does the breach continue?  If so, then the officers of the previous elections have acted in breach as well and continue to do so, until April, in accordance to the bylaws.

 

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1 hour ago, Guest Karen said:

Thank you for the references.  It sounds like RONR Page 251 ll. 9-10 applies with the "* " reference to Page 17 ll. 22-27.  It speaks to when a rule of order can be suspended.  But I'm a little confused on the interpretation.  Can you help?

Actually, what is said on page 251, lines 9-10, is not applicable. No main motion has been adopted that conflicts with the bylaws.

1 hour ago, Guest Karen said:

If a point of order needed to be made timely (on the same day of the election?) and it was not, then does the breach continue?  If so, then the officers of the previous elections have acted in breach as well and continue to do so, until April, in accordance to the bylaws.

As previously noted, a rule in the bylaws concerning what business is to be conducted at what meetings is a rule in the nature of a rule of order, and such a rule can ordinarily be suspended. As a consequence, violation of such a rule will not give rise to a continuing breach. 

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Guest Karen

Where in RONR does it state that the set time listed in the bylaws for when an election is to take place is in the nature of a rule of order?  I ask, because it sounds like 1) when the members were given 3 weeks notice that the election would be held in February, instead of April, a point of order could have been raised, but was not; and 2) when the election was completed in February, any member could have timely raised a point of order, at that meeting, but that did not happen either.  So, it sounds to me that while conducting the election in February is a violation of the bylaws, it does not give rise to a continuing breach, because the time set for an election is also in the nature of a rule of order, which can ordinarily be suspended.  It sounds as though the election became valid once the meeting ended.  Am I correct in the simplistic manner that I have articulated?

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Guest Who's Coming to Dinner
2 hours ago, Guest Karen said:

Where in RONR does it state that the set time listed in the bylaws for when an election is to take place is in the nature of a rule of order? 

It doesn't. However, see the remarks about rules of order on Page 15 , Lines 7–11. Further, none of the exceptions to the timeliness requirement for a point of order apply to your case. I think you have articulated the analysis well, except that points of order may only be raised at a meeting.

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On 3/3/2018 at 7:30 PM, Daniel H. Honemann said:
On 3/3/2018 at 5:06 PM, Guest Who's Coming to Dinner said:

Is it then the case that a point of order regarding the early conduct of the election had to be timely?

Yes; a rule in the bylaws concerning what business is to be conducted at what meetings is a rule in the nature of a rule of order, and such rules can ordinarily  be suspended (RONR, 11th ed., p. 263, ll. 1-7).

In an excess of caution, however, I suppose I should add that a rule requiring previous notice is not a rule which can be suspended, but I gather this is not a factor in the instant case.

I respectfully disagree with this analysis.

RONR states that "the members present at a regular or properly called meeting act for the entire membership, subject only to such limitations as may be established by the body's governing rules" (p. 2, ll. 13-16) and "The assembly at the meetings of an organized permanent society existing as a local club or local branch is the type of assembly with which the average person is most likely to have direct experience. As the highest authority within such a society or branch (subject only to the provisions of the bylaws or other basic document establishing the organization), this body acts for the total membership in the transaction of its business." (p. 6, ll. 12-19).

If the bylaws give to the assembly in April the authority to elect the society's officers for the following term, that doesn't mean the assembly in February has that power. (As just one hypothetical example of why an early election would be invalid, it could be that the membership roster is updated every April before the election and that only those who have paid their dues for the upcoming year are eligible to vote.)

Furthermore, even if this were strictly a question of suspending rules of order, I think it would be improper for the assembly at the February session to put the question of the election beyond the reach of the majority at the April session, in effect suspending not just the rules applicable to the February session but those applicable to the April session as well (cf. Official Interpretation 2006-8).

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Guest Who's Coming to Dinner

Assuming that the February assembly acted beyond its power, under what exception(s) to the timeliness requirement for a point of order does its action fall?

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25 minutes ago, Guest Who's Coming to Dinner said:

Assuming that the February assembly acted beyond its power, under what exception(s) to the timeliness requirement for a point of order does its action fall?

The exception that whenever an action taken by the assembly is null and void, it is never too late (during the continuance of the breach) to raise a point of order concerning it.

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Guest Zev

If the date for elections established in the bylaws is considered a rule of order that can be suspended by a two-thirds vote, then what prevents the meeting in any other month from suspending the rule by a two-thirds vote and proceed to elect a new set of officers? Whatever happened to the requirement of notice? Is not the set date in the bylaws a form of notice? How in the world can I conduct an election without notice? And whatever happened to the rights of the members that chose not to attend the February meeting?
 

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Guest Who's Coming to Dinner

I don't see that exception on Page 251. Where should I be looking?

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19 minutes ago, Guest Who's Coming to Dinner said:

I don't see that exception on Page 251. Where should I be looking?

Are you looking in the Deluxe Edition?

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Mr. Gerber is right, and I was wrong.

I agree that a rule in the bylaws stating that elections are to be held at a meeting in April is not a rule that can be suspended at a meeting in February. “Rules that have their application outside of the session which is in progress cannot be suspended.” (RONR, 11th ed., p. 264, ll. 29-30)

My thanks to Mr. Gerber for reminding me of this, and my apologies to Guest Karen (and everyone else) for my having previously indicated otherwise.

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Guest Who's Coming to Dinner
12 hours ago, Shmuel Gerber said:

Are you looking in the Deluxe Edition?

I am reading the hardcover 11th Edition dated 2011. What I am looking for is a citation that any action taken in violation of a rule which cannot be suspended creates a continuing breach. This case of early elections doesn't appear to fall under any of the timeliness exceptions listed on Page 251.

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Guest Karen

Thisis good information, but I'm getting a bit lost in my direction.  I think the simple issue is whether or not the early election is valid.  Is it true that the time set in the bylaws to conduct elections can be suspended? What options, if any, does the assembly have to correct the matter, if it needs to be corrected?  Can there be a simple 2/3 vote to suspend the rule of when to hold the election?  If the election is valid, then where in RONR is the early election process supported.  The teen assembly will be meeting again soon.  

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