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Directive from President


Jamies
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I would like to receive opinions on this scenario:

The current president makes the statement to the membership that any member wishing to petition the Board to be included on the ballot for upcoming nominations MUST send their petition to the president. The bylaws state differently. All petitions are to be sent to the corresponding secretary unless the corresponding secretary is a petitioner, in which case THAT petition is to be sent to the president. Many members were not happy with this statement as if the petitioners followed this directive their petitions would not be valid. Members expressed concern by writing to the Board. The president has now asked the admins of the Facebook group, where the original post was made, to delete the entire thread. Is this overreach by a president? Is this a clear violation of the bylaws by the president? 

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7 minutes ago, Jamies said:

Is this overreach by a president? Is this a clear violation of the bylaws by the president? 

Well, depends what you mean by "this," I suppose, I don't think deleting the Facebook post or thread (or whatever the right term is, I don't use Facebook) is a violation, unless you have rules about it. However, when it comes to petitions - the President has those powers assigned by the bylaws, and no others (unlike, Justice Jackson tells us, the President of the United States, who has three layers of powers, only one of them explicitly in the Constitution, or as believers in the unitary executive - like me - tell us, vast implicit powers). Your bylaws not only seem not to give the President the power to decide how these petitions should be handled, but to provide for their handling directly. Thus, your organization should follow its bylaws and honor those petitions (and, probably, only those petitions, but that could be a little unfair under the circumstances) which are turned in using the process in the bylaws. Furthermore, I would note that this seems to be an activity undertaken outside of a meeting, and therefore not a rule of order and not able to be suspended (although it can be amended by whatever process your organization uses to amend its bylaws).

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I concur with Mr. Katz.  What happens on Facebook or outside of a meeting is not a matter of parliamentary procedure and not addressed by RONR.  As to the president's "directive" that nominating petitions be submitted only to him, based on what you have quoted, he does not have the authority to demand this. If the bylaws direct that those petitions be delivered to the secretary, then that is what should be done.  I also concur that based on these circumstances, it might be reasonable to also honor those petitions which were submitted to the president based on his directive.

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And it would not be out of place to move to censure the president for this improper overreach--just to let him know that the membership has its eye on him, and will not tolerate improper power grabs.

RONR is quite explicit in its recommendation that the current president should not have a role in the process of choosing nominees.

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