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Motions and Organization Bylaws


Guest Constance Mullins
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Guest Constance Mullins

My organization's bylaws state that the Treasurer and Secretary are exempt from the payment of membership dues, however, that the Treasurer and Secretary are required to pay all other asessments and dues, such as District Dues.   In this regard, the Treasurer was elected several years ago.   Following an organizational audit, it was revealed that the Treasurer had not paid her District Dues since her election and installation as Treasurer, and that she was therefore in a delinquent financial status.  The Treasurer was notified of her delinquency and asked to pay the required District Dues by a specified date, or provide a legitimate explanation by a specified date as to why she should not pay the District Dues.  The Treasurer was further informed that her failure to pay the District Dues or provide a legitimate explanation why she should not paid her District Dues by the specified date would result in her name being dropped from the membership rolls of the organization.  The Treasurer did not paid her District Dues by the specified date, and during the organization's meeting on the specified date, the Treasurer simply stated that she should not have to pay District Dues because she has never paid them.  Another member then made a motion that the Treasurer be exempted from the payment of District Dues.  The motion wa seconded.  Following the question and much discussion, which was in opposition to the motion, the motion was eventually voted upon and passed.   My opposition to the motion concerned my belief that (1) the motion was out of order as it was not in consonance with the organization's bylaws, which were accepted and voted upon by all the members (54) of the organization; (2) the motion would serve to circumvent the bylaws, which were approved by the organization's membership; and, (3) that all the members were not being afforded a full and fair opportunity to consider and vote on a matter that would effectively serve to change the by-laws.   The bylaws further state that on matters not specifically addressed in the bylaws that the organization would follows Robert's Rule or Order.  

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11 minutes ago, Guest Constance Mullins said:

My opposition to the motion concerned my belief that (1) the motion was out of order as it was not in consonance with the organization's bylaws, which were accepted and voted upon by all the members (54) of the organization; (2) the motion would serve to circumvent the bylaws, which were approved by the organization's membership; and, (3) that all the members were not being afforded a full and fair opportunity to consider and vote on a matter that would effectively serve to change the by-laws.   The bylaws further state that on matters not specifically addressed in the bylaws that the organization would follows Robert's Rule or Order.  

Based upon the facts provided, the motion is null and void.

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Just now, Guest Constance Mullins said:

Would someone please point me the the appopriate section of Robert's Rule that supports the position that the aforementioned motion was out of order and, is null and void?  

"The only exceptions to the rule that a point of order must be made at the time of the breach arise in connection with breaches that are of a continuing nature, in which case a point of order can be made at any time during the continuance of the breach. Instances of this kind occur when: 
    a)    a main motion has been adopted that conflicts with the bylaws (or constitution) of the organization or assembly,* 
    b)    a main motion has been adopted that conflicts with a main motion previously adopted and still in force, unless the subsequently adopted motion was adopted by the vote required to rescind or amend the previously adopted motion, 
    c)    any action has been taken in violation of applicable procedural rules prescribed by federal, state, or local law, 
    d)    any action has been taken in violation of a fundamental principle of parliamentary law (p. 263), or 
    e)    any action has been taken in violation of a rule protecting absentees, a rule in the bylaws requiring a vote to be taken by ballot, or a rule protecting a basic right of an individual member (pp. 263–64). 
In all such cases, it is never too late to raise a point of order since any action so taken is null and void. "   RONR 
(11th ed.), p. 251

 

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Guest Constance Mullins

Yes, our ylaws actually state ..."the Treasurer and Secretary are exempt from the payment of membership dues.  However, they are required to pay all other assessments and dues, including District Dues not later than the end of the first quarter of each calendar year."

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4 minutes ago, Guest Constance Mullins said:

Yes, our ylaws actually state ..."the Treasurer and Secretary are exempt from the payment of membership dues.  However, they are required to pay all other assessments and dues, including District Dues not later than the end of the first quarter of each calendar year."

Raise a point of order at your next meeting that the adopted motion is null and void since it conflicts with the bylaws.  The chair will rule on your point and if you disagree with the ruling you can appeal from the decision of the chair and the members will decide the matter.

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21 minutes ago, Guest Constance Mullins said:

Yes, our ylaws actually state ..."the Treasurer and Secretary are exempt from the payment of membership dues.  However, they are required to pay all other assessments and dues, including District Dues not later than the end of the first quarter of each calendar year."

 

15 minutes ago, George Mervosh said:

Raise a point of order at your next meeting that the adopted motion is null and void since it conflicts with the bylaws.  The chair will rule on your point and if you disagree with the ruling you can appeal from the decision of the chair and the members will decide the matter.

Thank you, Guest Constance. In that case, I agree with the comment above by Mr. Mervosh.

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  • Dan Honemann changed the title to Motions and Organization Bylaws
7 hours ago, Guest Constance Mullins said:

My organization's bylaws state that the Treasurer and Secretary are exempt from the payment of membership dues, however, that the Treasurer and Secretary are required to pay all other asessments and dues, such as District Dues.   In this regard, the Treasurer was elected several years ago.   Following an organizational audit, it was revealed that the Treasurer had not paid her District Dues since her election and installation as Treasurer, and that she was therefore in a delinquent financial status.  The Treasurer was notified of her delinquency and asked to pay the required District Dues by a specified date, or provide a legitimate explanation by a specified date as to why she should not pay the District Dues.  The Treasurer was further informed that her failure to pay the District Dues or provide a legitimate explanation why she should not paid her District Dues by the specified date would result in her name being dropped from the membership rolls of the organization.  The Treasurer did not paid her District Dues by the specified date, and during the organization's meeting on the specified date, the Treasurer simply stated that she should not have to pay District Dues because she has never paid them.  Another member then made a motion that the Treasurer be exempted from the payment of District Dues.  The motion wa seconded.  Following the question and much discussion, which was in opposition to the motion, the motion was eventually voted upon and passed. 

Guest Constance, we know nothing about your organization's structure, but in addition to the points already made, and which I agree with, does your organization even have the authority to have any say whatsoever in dues payable to your "district", whatever that is?  What is this "district" you speak of and what is its relationship to  your organization? It seems to me that the "district dues" would be set by and controlled by some "parent" organization.  Is that the case?  If so, why are they letting your treasurer get away without paying their own dues?

For example, I am a member of NAP (The National Association of Parliamentarians), the LAP (Louisiana Association of Parliamentarians) and the Metairie, LA unit of NAP.  All three entities are part of the parent organization, the NAP.  They all have their own dues structure.  I pay national, state and local dues.   Let's assume, for the sake of this discussion, that my local unit, The Metairie Unit, might be able to adopt a motion exempting me from paying unit dues.  Fine.  But, the Metairie Unit has no authority to exempt me from payment of my state dues or national dues.  Those entities would have to exempt me from payment of their dues.   And my state association has no authority to exempt me from payment of my local unit dues. Each organization (entity) is in control of its own affairs to the extent allowed by the national association's bylaws.

Perhaps that isn't a good analogy, but your reference to paying "association dues" and "district dues" leads me to believe that there is some sort of "parent entity" and "subsidiary unit" here, each with its own dues structure.  Is your organization in charge of setting the dues for both your organization and "the district"?  If not, who sets the "district" dues?

Note:  This issue is in addition to the problem of the adopted motion waiving payment of district dues being in violation of your bylaws.  I'm questioning whether your organization could waive payment of those dues even if your bylaws made no mention of payment of district dues.

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If the membership wants the treasurer to not have to pay their dues, there are ways to do so even with the bylaws mentioned.

An altered motion that seems (to me) more likely to pass muster would be for the organization itself to pay the dues for the exempted member. This would work for both the "the bylaws say dues must be paid" issue and the "one organization can't override a parent organization's rules" matter Mr. Brown brings up.

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21 minutes ago, Benjamin Geiger said:

An altered motion that seems (to me) more likely to pass muster would be for the organization itself to pay the dues for the exempted member. This would work for both the "the bylaws say dues must be paid" issue and the "one organization can't override a parent organization's rules" matter Mr. Brown brings up.

I don't know that I agree.  If the bylaws require a person to pay, I'm not convinced someone else paying on his behalf will work.

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2 hours ago, Joshua Katz said:

I don't know that I agree.  If the bylaws require a person to pay, I'm not convinced someone else paying on his behalf will work.

Suppose instead that the society adopted a motion to write a check to the Treasurer for exactly the amount of the district dues, and the Treasurer then proceeds to pay said dues. Would that work?

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48 minutes ago, Josh Martin said:

Suppose instead that the society adopted a motion to write a check to the Treasurer for exactly the amount of the district dues, and the Treasurer then proceeds to pay said dues. Would that work?

I don't see why not. I was about to suggest the same thing.

Edited to add:  I suspect, however, that the society doesn't care enough about the dues the Treasurer might owe to another entity to actually pay those dues on her behalf!  :)

Edited by Richard Brown
Added last paragraph
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3 hours ago, Josh Martin said:

Suppose instead that the society adopted a motion to write a check to the Treasurer for exactly the amount of the district dues, and the Treasurer then proceeds to pay said dues. Would that work?

Yes.  But it is not obligated to maintain a system of bookkeeping allowing for such designations, and so on.

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On 5/31/2018 at 6:02 PM, Richard Brown said:

Guest Constance, we know nothing about your organization's structure, but in addition to the points already made, and which I agree with, does your organization even have the authority to have any say whatsoever in dues payable to your "district", whatever that is?  What is this "district" you speak of and what is its relationship to  your organization? It seems to me that the "district dues" would be set by and controlled by some "parent" organization.  Is that the case?  If so, why are they letting your treasurer get away without paying their own dues?

Mr. Brown goes on to the example of his local NAP unit and the relationship with his Louisiana Association dues. When I read Guest Constance's post, I took it to mean that this was the National Association Treasurer. That is, the parent organization exempted the treasurer from paying membership dues but still required the person to pay their district dues. To go back to Mr. Brown's analogy, this would be similar to the NAP exempting the Association Treasurer from paying membership dues, but they would still be required to pay dues of the Louisiana Association and the Metairie Unit.

In this situation, could the national association exempt the treasurer from paying the state association and local unit dues? Or does the answer depend on what is stated in the bylaws?

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1 hour ago, Atul Kapur, PRP "Student" said:

Mr. Brown goes on to the example of his local NAP unit and the relationship with his Louisiana Association dues. When I read Guest Constance's post, I took it to mean that this was the National Association Treasurer. That is, the parent organization exempted the treasurer from paying membership dues but still required the person to pay their district dues. To go back to Mr. Brown's analogy, this would be similar to the NAP exempting the Association Treasurer from paying membership dues, but they would still be required to pay dues of the Louisiana Association and the Metairie Unit.

In this situation, could the national association exempt the treasurer from paying the state association and local unit dues? Or does the answer depend on what is stated in the bylaws?

Good points, Atul.   In regard to your question, I think this depends on the applicable bylaws... which, in the example you used,  would probably be the national (or highest level) bylaws.  I don't think a national organization could exempt a local or state or district unit member from payment of those dues without authorization in the bylaws.

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Guest Constance Mullins

The structure of my organization is arranged in a 3-level steplike form with the Headquarters being echelon 1 and superior to the District; the District being echelon 2 and subordinate to the Headquarters, but superior to the Chapter; and, the Chapter being echelon 3 and subordinate to the Headquarters and District, respectively.  In regards to the District Dues, the District sets a flat rate for each chapter within it's jurisdiction and bills each chapter a flat rate, annually.  In regards to my chapter/organization, our by-laws require each member to pay a flat fee (District Dues), which is used to cover the cost imposed by the District, annually.  The District Dues established by my chapter is designed to cover the cost imposed by the District.  The fee  amount is identified in the Chapter's by-laws and is referred to as District Dues.

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Well, if the district gives the chapter one bill for the year, payable by the chapter, and the chapter then apportions that amount among its members, then I would say the chapter would ordinarily have the ability to forgive the assessment on a given member if it wanted to, as long as it still paid the full amount to the district.

But if your bylaws say that this is not allowed, then it's not.

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3 hours ago, Guest Constance Mullins said:

The structure of my organization is arranged in a 3-level steplike form with the Headquarters being echelon 1 and superior to the District; the District being echelon 2 and subordinate to the Headquarters, but superior to the Chapter; and, the Chapter being echelon 3 and subordinate to the Headquarters and District, respectively.  In regards to the District Dues, the District sets a flat rate for each chapter within it's jurisdiction and bills each chapter a flat rate, annually.  In regards to my chapter/organization, our by-laws require each member to pay a flat fee (District Dues), which is used to cover the cost imposed by the District, annually.  The District Dues established by my chapter is designed to cover the cost imposed by the District.  The fee  amount is identified in the Chapter's by-laws and is referred to as District Dues.

Okay, so these additional facts suggest that all of the amounts at issue are amounts that members are expected to pay for the chapter. That certainly simplifies matters.

I am still inclined to agree with my colleagues that, based upon the facts presented, it is not in order to simply exempt the Treasurer from the district dues (at least not without amending the bylaws), but I think there are ways around this.

Edited by Josh Martin
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