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I'm back.  I am chairing a platform committee for a convention.  The committee is mandated by the Bylaws and its role is to propose amendments to a platform but that is inferred by the instructions in the Bylaws for what is required to pass proposals.

So a member asked if the committee could pass a resolution asking one of its members to do resign one of two seats held.

My initial thought was no - that internal committee resolutions wasn't part of its scope and requesting a resignation bordered on a form of discipline...

And after going through the appropriate RONR sections, I am still not certain.  My instinct feels right but I would like some input.

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Usual disclaimer: "Not having read..."

Seems to me that the "request for resignation" might better be addressed to the body (or individual) that put the person on the committee knowing (I'm guessing here) that the person in question was already on the committee holding a seat.  RONR sez (p. 177 & 497) that the body that puts someone a committee can also remove him/her.

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I  agree with Dr. Stackpole that pursuant to RONR a person or body that appoints a member to a committee has the power to remove or replace that member.  So, it does seem that a resolution directed to one of the appointing bodies requesting the replacement of a member might be in order, but I am less certain of this second sentence than of my first sentence for the reasons set out below.  If an official request would not be in order, perhaps private conversations between the members of the committee and the members of the appointing body might work. RONR certainly does not prohibit private conversations and requests outside of a meeting context.

As to whether a committee may pass a resolution requesting that one of its members resign from one of the two seats held by that member, I am far from certain, but I am going to go out on a limb and say that I think such a resolution would be in order since it is a mere request. I know others might disagree.   I also believe that the committee members are free to privately request that the member resign from one of the two seats.  And, of course, the member is free to ignore such requests.

RONR imposes limits on the discipline which can be imposed by a committee on one of its members, requiring that many such matters be referred to the committee's parent body.  In this case, I'm not sure who (or what) the "parent body" is.  Is it the convention itself which will not be meeting for several months?  Is it the national body that made one of the two appointments and that carries on the work of the society between conventions?  Is it the state assembly that made the other appointment? 

Here is a key provision from page 501 of RONR:  "A standing or special committee may protect itself against breaches of order by its members during committee meetings, and against annoyance by nonmembers, by employing the procedures outlined on pages 645–49, but the committee, instead of itself imposing any penalty on a disorderly member, can only report such behavior to the committee's parent body, which may then take such action as it deems advisable. However, if there will be no opportunity for this to occur within the time needed to effectively resolve the problem and enable the committee to complete its assigned tasks, the committee may protect itself against such disruptive behavior by requiring the disorderly member to leave the meeting room during the remainder of the meeting."

The above statement seems pretty clearly intended to apply to breaches of order by its members during meetings.  I don't think we have a true breach of order here in the sense contemplated by the quoted passage.  However, the issue may well be hindering the committee in completing its assigned task  of making platform recommendations.

I do not think a non-binding resolution requesting that a member resign from one of two seats constitutes discipline or a penalty.  it seems to me that a motion of censure directed to the member might also be in order.  RONR is clear that a motion of censure is not necessarily discipline, but merely an expression of disapproval. (See footnote on page 643.  Also page 137).  It seems that there is little, if any, difference between a resolution asking a member to resign from one of two seats and a motion of censure directed at the member due to her (I assume we are still talking about Ms Smith) refusal to resign from one of the two seats she holds.

I look forward to the discussion on this.

Caryn Ann, don't you just love having to deal with all this??!!  :wacko:

Edited by Richard Brown
Added RONR citation to censure
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As to Ms. Harlos' concern that a resolution asking a committee member to resign from one of the two seats held by that member exceeds the scope of the committee's charge, I would point out that the bottom of page 343 of RONR permits an assembly to adopt a motion that is outside the object of the assembly by a two thirds vote.  Here is the pertinent language:  "No motion can be introduced that is outside the object of the society or assembly as defined in the bylaws (see p. 571), unless by a two-thirds vote the body agrees to its [page 344] consideration. Except as may be necessary in the case of a motion of censure or a motion related to disciplinary procedures (61, 63), a motion must not use language that reflects on a member's conduct or character, or is discourteous, unnecessarily harsh, or not allowed in debate (see 43). "

See also the top of page 571 re the adoption of motions outside the object of the assembly.

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2 hours ago, Richard Brown said:

As to Ms. Harlos' concern that a resolution asking a committee member to resign from one of the two seats held by that member exceeds the scope of the committee's charge, I would point out that the bottom of page 343 of RONR permits an assembly to adopt a motion that is outside the object of the assembly by a two thirds vote.  Here is the pertinent language:  "No motion can be introduced that is outside the object of the society or assembly as defined in the bylaws (see p. 571), unless by a two-thirds vote the body agrees to its [page 344] consideration. Except as may be necessary in the case of a motion of censure or a motion related to disciplinary procedures (61, 63), a motion must not use language that reflects on a member's conduct or character, or is discourteous, unnecessarily harsh, or not allowed in debate (see 43). "

See also the top of page 571 re the adoption of motions outside the object of the assembly.

I don’t think this rule applies to committees. In my view, a motion which is outside the scope of a committee’s charge is not in order under any circumstances. In the case of the society, the society is permitting an exception to a rule that the society has imposed upon itself. In the case of a committee, the committee’s charge is imposed upon it by a superior body. I think the “or assembly” language is included in this rule to encompass other assemblies which constitute the highest authority within a society, such as a convention of delegates, or a board in a society with no membership. Arguably, it might also include subordinate boards, depending on the degree of authority granted to the board, but I do not think it includes committees.

Back to the original question, however, I concur that the committee may adopt a resolution requesting that one of its members resign.

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