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Guest Brigetta Martell

Null & Void Vote

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Guest Brigetta Martell

At a previous meeting, a member made a motion to recall an officer.  Everyone was shocked, and the Chairman didn't know what to do and allowed the motion to remain on the table, seconded, and voted on.  It passed with a majority, as the one member bringing the motion had enough votes by themself, after some abstentions.  Afterwards when checking Robert's Rules, it was realized by the recalled officer that this type of vote should have had prior notice and a 2/3rds vote, neither of which happened, thus making the vote null and void.  If a Point of Order is brought up at the next meeting, and upheld by the Chairman, should the original Motion be deleted from the minutes, or crossed out with a note?  There is no opportunity now to remake the motion, as the officer's term of office was finished at the last meeting.  Or is there another way to clean up this matter?

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The minutes record what happened, proper or improper.  That's what Robert's Rules says, and well said.  Some anarchists suggest that marginal notes to explain the errors and the follow-ups can be helpful and won't bring the apocalypse any sooner.

Just to nail this down, Ms Martell, you question is only about what the minutes say, yes?  You are considering the motion to recall as an irretrievable mess, yes?  You don't want any follow-up anyone is looking for, is there?

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2 hours ago, Guest Brigetta Martell said:

Afterwards when checking Robert's Rules, it was realized by the recalled officer that this type of vote should have had prior notice and a 2/3rds vote, neither of which happened, thus making the vote null and void.

Well, let’s back up a bit. :)

There is no such thing as a motion to “recall” an officer. A motion to remove an officer, depending on the language in the bylaws pertaining to the term of office, requires one of the following:

  • Previous notice and a majority vote, a 2/3 vote without notice, or a vote of a majority of the entire membership with notice.
  • A lengthy formal disciplinary process which takes place over several meetings and ultimately culminates in a trial and votes on the questions of guilt and the penalty, and a majority vote is sufficient for removal.

There is no circumstance in which RONR says that it requires previous notice and a 2/3 vote to remove an officer. Further, failing on some of the above points may or may not constitute a continuing breach, depending on the details.

So, in order to determine whether it is in fact correct that the motion to remove the officer is null and void, please answer the following questions:

  • Do your bylaws have their own rules for removing an officer?
  • If not, what is the exact wording for the term of office in your bylaws?
2 hours ago, Guest Brigetta Martell said:

If a Point of Order is brought up at the next meeting, and upheld by the Chairman, should the original Motion be deleted from the minutes, or crossed out with a note? 

It is not entirely clear to me that the motion is null and void. Even assuming it is, however, the minutes of the previous meeting should not be changed. The minutes are a record of what happened at the meeting, whether or not what happened was proper. The Point of Order, the chairman’s ruling on the point, and his reasoning will be recorded in the minutes of the meeting where the point is raised.

This whole situation is also very puzzling, since it appears that the officer’s term was about to end anyway, and there also appears to be the complication of proxy voting (as we are told one member “had enough votes by themself” to decide the issue, but I don’t think these facts change the answers to the questions raised.

Edited by Josh Martin

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Guest Paul

A more interesting question is: What can be done if it is a continuing breach and a point of order is raised, and the Chair and the Assembly refuse to deal with it, what can be done?

One could prove that there was no previous notice for a by-law amendment and the improper vote was used. They could use a point of order for an obvious continuing breach, but how can you make the assembly deal with it?      

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22 minutes ago, Guest Paul said:

A more interesting question is: What can be done if it is a continuing breach and a point of order is raised, and the Chair and the Assembly refuse to deal with it, what can be done?

Nothing, from a parliamentary perspective. The assembly is the ultimate judge of its own rules.

22 minutes ago, Guest Paul said:

One could prove that there was no previous notice for a by-law amendment and the improper vote was used. They could use a point of order for an obvious continuing breach, but how can you make the assembly deal with it?      

You can’t “make” the assembly do anything. If the assembly refuses to correct the issue, there is no parliamentary recourse. There may be legal recourse, but that is a question for a lawyer.

Since the OP’s question suggests no such reluctance on the part of the assembly to correct this issue (if there is indeed a continuing breach), your question makes me wonder if you have your own situation on your hands. If so, I suggest you post all of the relevant facts in a new topic.

Edited by Josh Martin

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Guest Paul

A more interesting question is: What can be done if it is a continuing breach and a point of order is raised, and the Chair and the Assembly refuse to deal with it, what can be done?

One could prove that there was no previous notice for a by-law amendment and the improper vote was used. They could use a point of order for an obvious continuing breach, but how can you make the assembly deal with it?      

There is a related situation but the question about what can be done about a continuing breach, if the assembly refuses to deal with it, is answered: Legal action. Thanks, Paul 

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8 hours ago, Guest Paul said:

There is a related situation but the question about what can be done about a continuing breach, if the assembly refuses to deal with it, is answered: Legal action.

Just to be sure my bases are covered, I said there may be legal recourse.

8 hours ago, Guest Paul said:

One could prove that there was no previous notice for a by-law amendment and the improper vote was used. They could use a point of order for an obvious continuing breach, but how can you make the assembly deal with it?      

While we’re at it, the fact that the improper voting threshold was used is not a continuing breach (although the lack of notice is).

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On 4/19/2018 at 1:55 PM, Josh Martin said:

There is no such thing as a motion to “recall” an officer. A motion to remove an officer, depending on the language in the bylaws pertaining to the term of office, requires one of the following:

  • Previous notice and a majority vote, a 2/3 vote without notice, or a vote of a majority of the entire membership with notice.
  • A lengthy formal disciplinary process which takes place over several meetings and ultimately culminates in a trial and votes on the questions of guilt and the penalty, and a majority vote is sufficient for removal.

Are you sure about the part I have bolded? RONR seems to say pretty clearly on page 653 that the vote of a majority of the entire membership is an alternative to A & B as it does in just about all other instances where the vote of a majority of the entire membership is an option.  Previous notice is not required with a vote of the majority of the entire membership.

I apologize for bringing this up several days after the last post. I have just returned from a 3-day trip and am catching up and feel that this is too important a point to let pass.

Edited by Richard Brown
Added the underlined sentence in the first paragraph

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4 hours ago, Richard Brown said:

Are you sure about the part I have bolded? RONR seems to say pretty clearly on page 653 that the vote of a majority of the entire membership is an alternative to A & B as it does in just about all other instances where the vote of a majority of the entire membership is an option.  Previous notice is not required with a vote of the majority of the entire membership.

I am in complete agreement. It appears that I included the words “with notice” in error. I agree that, in the circumstances where an officer may be removed without formal disciplinary procedures procedures, a vote of a majority of the entire membership without notice is sufficient.

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