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Volunteer Chairperson resigns - what happens if no one else volunteers?


Guest Angela
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I am the Chairperson for a volunteer Committee and have submitted my resignation.  My Co-Chair and Secretary have submitted their resignation as well, leaving only the Treasurer who is 1 year into a 2 year term.  What happens if we have no volunteers for filling any of the vacant positions?  Does the Committee have to fold?  Do we have to stay in our current positions until a replacement is found? 

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To whom did you submit your resignation?  Was it formally accepted?  If not, you are still in the job.

Next meeting, make it clear to the assembled masses that unless someone steps forward, the association will initiate formal steps to dissolve.  Which will probably involve amending the bylaws by rescinding them.  So you do have to follow the bylaw amendment process described (one hopes) in the current bylaws.

That kind of threat may well shake someone loose from the woodwork.  If not, the message seems clear to me.

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Guest Angela, more information will  be helpful.  For example, how is this committee established?  In the bylaws?  By means of a motion or rule adopted by the assembly?  How are the members on it selected?  Is there a rule in your bylaws or some other rule as to how committee vacancies are filled?  I'm assuming this is a standing or special committee that is part of a larger organization and that it isn't the actual organization.  Please provide us with a bit more information.

Also, have your resignations been accepted?  If not, you might all still be on the committee.  However, once you are officially no longer a member of the committee, you have no more say in the committee than any other member of your organization.

Edited by Richard Brown
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Guest Who's Coming to Dinner

It hardly seems likely that an ordinary committee would have co-chairs (the horror!), a secretary, and a treasurer with a multi-year term. Perhaps this is something more akin to a board. If you find no replacements, then you go on with no replacements. If the resignations have become effective, it's likely that you will not be able to muster a quorum or conduct business. If you are subordinate to some other entity, perhaps that organization will figure out what to do with you next.

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@ jstakpo - Yes, my resignation was accepted by the Administrative Agent and Advisor.  (@ Mr. Brown - yes, this committee is part of a larger agency but separate in that we have a separate tax ID, separate accts, separate by-laws, etc.) and the current by-laws do not state anything specific about what will happen if the vacancies are not filled - that is something being discussed to amend in them as we speak.

Since the resignation was accepted by 'the other powers that be', my guess is upon it's effective date, there will just be vacancies and only one officer in term.

Thanks everyone!

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With nothing about filling vacancies in your bylaws, it is up to the general membership to elect replacements (essentially like the positions would be filled on a routine basis).

The most (I suppose) common method of filling vacancies, which is found in bylaws, is to give the task to the Board, or some other group that can get together more easily than the general membership.

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@ Joshua Katz and @ jstackpo

Our office administration formed a committee and asked for volunteers to chair it.  Those chairs help set it up (drafted By-Laws, set up tax ID, set up bank accounts, etc).  Those chairs now want to move on and have submitted their resignations.  Since it's a volunteer committee (meaning the officers and members are all on a volunteer basis), can an election of officers take place?

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I hesitate to ask, but was there some assembly which passed a motion forming the committee? If so, you look to the language of the motion to form it to see how it gets filled(regardless of what you might have done in the past). If it came from some sort of staff instead, then I'm not even sure (without looking at your rules carefully) that you have a committee at all. You might have a group of people doing certain tasks.

But there's a further complication here. Apparently this "committee" has bylaws. Committees do not have bylaws; they are not assemblies, nor are they organizations. Certain things called committees do, such as some political organizations. I'm not sure you have a volunteer committee, as opposed to a full-blown organization. I think this is something where I'm unlikely to get clarity by continuing to ask questions here, though. 

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1 hour ago, Guest Angela said:

@ Joshua Katz and @ jstackpo

Our office administration formed a committee and asked for volunteers to chair it.  Those chairs help set it up (drafted By-Laws, set up tax ID, set up bank accounts, etc).  Those chairs now want to move on and have submitted their resignations.  Since it's a volunteer committee (meaning the officers and members are all on a volunteer basis), can an election of officers take place?

You say that the committee “drafted By-Laws.” Have those bylaws since been adopted? They should provide, among other things, how officers are selected. Vacancies would be filled in the same manner, unless the bylaws provide otherwise. Generally, officers are indeed chosen by election.

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@ Josh Martin

Yes, the by-laws were adopted and have been abided by since.  However, the by-laws do not state specifically what happens when a vacancy occurs.  We are in the process of amending them and will add that but to-date, nothing is in there now about it.

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1 hour ago, Guest Angela said:

@ Josh Martin

Yes, the by-laws were adopted and have been abided by since.  However, the by-laws do not state specifically what happens when a vacancy occurs.  We are in the process of amending them and will add that but to-date, nothing is in there now about it.

It normally isn't absolutely required that your bylaws specify how to fill vacancies.  If RONR is your parliamentary authority, it provides for how vacancies should be filled.  As others have already pointed out, unless your bylaws provide otherwise, the  body which elects or appoints people to positions has the power to fill any resulting vacancies in those positions. RONR also provides that, unless your bylaws provide otherwise, notice is always required prior to filling a vacancy in an elected office. RONR does not require previous notice in the case of filling vacancies in committee appointments.

In your case, I suspect most of us contributing to this thread really don't know exactly what type organization this is.  It is certainly far different from the usual committee and seems more like a self-governing board of some type. We don't really know what you have and you seem to be unable or unwilling to explain it to us.  Our advice is only as good as the information it is based on.   In the parliamentary world, a committee is usually a small group of people who are part of a larger parent organization and are appointed to make recommendations to the parent assembly or to execute a particular function, such as putting on the annual Christmas party. 

Committees are created by the parent body and report to the parent body.  However, some organizations, such as political organizations, are governed by something called a "State Central  Committee" (or Republican or Democrat or Libertarian National Committee), but those so-called committees don't really function as committees but are more like boards of directors or other type of governing body.  To refer to such a body as a committee is really a misnomer and misleading, but that is still what they are called.

We don't know what your "committee" is or how it functions and therefore it is hard for us to give you advice.

Edited by Richard Brown
Added underlined portion of last sentence
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5 hours ago, Guest Angela said:

@ Joshua Katz and @ jstackpo

Our office administration formed a committee and asked for volunteers to chair it.  Those chairs help set it up (drafted By-Laws, set up tax ID, set up bank accounts, etc).  Those chairs now want to move on and have submitted their resignations.  Since it's a volunteer committee (meaning the officers and members are all on a volunteer basis), can an election of officers take place?

Following up on the post immediately above that I made a few minutes ago, it is this post by Guest Angela that has me scratching my head.  The "office administration formed a committee and asked for volunteers to chair it".  What on earth does that mean?  What (and who) is this "office administration"?   It sounds more like  a business than an assembly.  To go on and say that it drafted bylaws and set up a tax ID number and bank accounts has me wondering what on earth type of entity this "committee" is.

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Guest Angela, in my comments two posts up,  I made the statement that unless your bylaws provide otherwise, the power to fill vacancies rests with the body that made the appointments or elected the officers to begin with.  But, I didn't say how that body would go about it.

The body (or person) which is filling  a  vacancy fills it in the same manner in which the person was elected or appointed in the first place.  If it was by election, then a special  election is held to elect the replacement to fill the vacancy.  As I stated in my previous answer, notice is required in the case of an election to fill a vacant officer position but not for a vacant committee appointment.  It's not clear to me whether these people who  resigned were officers or committee members.... or some strange combination of being both.

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