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Rescind Discipline


Hal9000
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Greetings,

 I am not quite sure how to approach this question.... 

 

A particular organisation has bylaws, which grant the Board of Directors the power to suspend a member for "conduct unbecoming".  OK, that's easy enough.

This decision is not ratified by the membership - It is decided and executed at the board level (as per bylaws).

The same bylaws make NO reference whatsoever to rescinding a disciplinary decision.  The bylaws DO, however, refer to RONR as the parliamentary authority in all matters not specifically addressed by the bylaws.

 

Scenario:  The Board of Directors  suspends a member for six (6) months.  After three (3) months, the Board of Directors decides they were "too harsh", and wish to "adjust" the discipline (to three (3) months).  

 

Which brings us to my question:!

 

Is such an action (Rescind a Board discipline decision)  addressed in RONR as such, or is this strictly a bylaw interpretation?  I am unsure,  due to the fact that it is not specifically addressed in the bylaws.

 

Any insight would be greatly appreciated in this matter!

 

Thank you in advance!

Hal

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Others may disagree, but I believe that as long as the suspension is still in force, it can be amended to shorten the period of suspension.  Whether it can be rescinded is another question and I'm not sure of the answer because part of the suspension has already been carried out.   An action already completed is normally something that cannot be undone.    RONR says that an order of expulsion is final  and that for an expelled member to become a member again he must go through the regular process of applying for membership.  But, RONR doesn't specifically address whether a suspension can be shortened or rescinded.

Question:  Do your bylaws state that the Board has the sole or exclusive authority over suspensions?  If not, I imagine the general membership could rescind the board's motion of suspension.

We really need more information here.

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3 minutes ago, Hal9000 said:

The actual discipline (suspension / duration or expulsion) is set / decided exclusively by the board.  It is not addressed in any way in the bylaws.

Then where does the board get the authority to order a suspension?  What powers do the bylaws grant to the board between meetings of the membership?

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Greetings,

The bylaws are sadly lacking in any guidance...Except for, perhaps, enough to confuse things!

I agree that an action that has been completed cannot be "undone", but speculate that the body (Board of Directors) that made the decision, can probably modify it.(as in, change the six (6) moths to three (3) months.  Or "time served", so to speak...)

The bylaws state that the board has the right to suspend / expel, but does not use the phrase "sole" or "exclusive" right.

 

I fear this isn't much help....

 

Hal

 

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6 minutes ago, Richard Brown said:

Then where does the board get the authority to order a suspension?  What powers do the bylaws grant to the board between meetings of the membership?

The Bylaws grant the board the authority to suspend / remove.  However such action is not ratified by the membership.  It is decided and enacted at the board level.

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6 minutes ago, Hal9000 said:

The Bylaws grant the board the authority to suspend / remove.  However such action is not ratified by the membership.  It is decided and enacted at the board level.

Can you quote the exact language from your bylaws that give the board the authority to suspend and remove members?  Please quote the provision verbatim, don't paraphrase.

 

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5 minutes ago, Richard Brown said:

Can you quote the exact language from your bylaws that give the board the authority to suspend and remove members?  Please quote the provision verbatim, don't paraphrase.

 

Exact wording is:

 

GOVERNING BOARD

   The Governing Board also reserves the right to suspend members for conduct unbecoming a member and a gentleman.

It is interesting to note that there is no mention of expulsion...But that is a matter for another day (albeit one that desperately needs to be addressed...)

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28 minutes ago, Hal9000 said:

It is interesting to note that there is no mention of expulsion...But that is a matter for another day (albeit one that desperately needs to be addressed...)

It's also interesting, although maybe too nit-picky, that boards have only the powers delegated to them - they don't write the bylaws, and they can't reserve a power they don't already have. But it is likely everyone knows what this means.

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7 hours ago, George Mervosh said:

amending the unexecuted part (the length) seems proper.

I'm not a lawyer, but it seems to me that the concept of due process would say that amending the unexecuted part downwards (ie: shortening the suspension) would be proper but lengthening it would not.

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On 6/11/2018 at 4:45 PM, Hal9000 said:

Exact wording is:

 

 

GOVERNING BOARD

   The Governing Board also reserves the right to suspend members for conduct unbecoming a member and a gentleman.

It is interesting to note that there is no mention of expulsion...But that is a matter for another day (albeit one that desperately needs to be addressed...)

If expulsion is not mentioned, then the board does not have that power, but the membership would have it, according to RONR.

Presuming that the board properly imposed discipline, it cannot rescind what has already been carried out, but they can use the motion to Amend Something Previously Adopted to reduce the suspension length, essentially to "time served" as of this point. See RONR 11th Ed. §35.

Edited by Gary Novosielski
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I agree with the others that suggest that a suspension would be subject to Amend Something Previously Adopted, at least to the extent of reducing the length of the suspension.  There may be due process rights for the suspended member that preclude an extension of penalties. In other words, if a member is suspended for 12 months in March, it would be possible for the body that imposed the penalty to end the penalty in June.  I would question if it would be possible to extend the penalty in June for a total 18 months, at least without going through additional disciplinary action.

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Yes, the same body that made the motion decides on Amending Something Previously Adopted; any member of the board can make the motion.

Note that the vote required to ASPA is (a) 2/3 vote, or (b) a majority vote if notice of motion has been given, or (c) a vote of the majority of the entire membership (of the board).

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