Jump to content
The Official RONR Q & A Forums

Conflict of interest


Recommended Posts

 In the organization that I am a part of I am the chairman of our bylaws committee and we just completed a badly needed rewrite and re-organization of our disciplinary procedures. There is some question being raised that we do not have specific language that states what happens when there is a conflict of interest with the presiding person of the disciplinary hearing, which is the Vice President, and either the defendant or accuser.   

 My question is, does this need to be specifically stated? And if so do we need to define what constitutes a conflict of interest?  In my particular organization you can have a reasonable argument that a conflict of interest may exist in almost any situation as we are in a small town where  most of the folks that have been around a while have grown up with each other and known each other for many years. 

Im looking for any guidance and wisdom you all may have on this.  Specifically I need to know if Roberts rules addresses this situation...   thank you

Link to comment
Share on other sites

21 minutes ago, Dewey4682 said:

My question is, does this need to be specifically stated? And if so do we need to define what constitutes a conflict of interest?

Well, RONR already provides the following:

“Whenever a motion is made that refers only to the presiding officer in a capacity not shared in common with other members, or that commends or censures him with others, he should turn the chair over to the vice-president or appropriate temporary occupant (see below) during the assembly's consideration of that motion, just as he would in a case where he wishes to take part in debate (see also pp. 394–95).” (RONR, 11th ed., pg. 451)

This would seem to cover the most egregious conflicts, such as if the Vice President himself is the subject of the hearing.

Additionally, the assembly has the power to suspend the rules (by a 2/3 vote) to remove the presiding officer for up to the duration of the current meeting, so if it is believed that the Vice President has a “conflict of interest” which will infringe upon his ability to maintain the appearance of impartiality required to effectively preside, and the VP does not willingly step aside, the assembly may exercise this power.

So no, I do not think it needs to be explicitly stated. If the society wishes to add “conflict of interest” rules for such matters, however, it is free to do so. If this is done, it may be beneficial to either define a “conflict of interest” and/or to define who ultimately determines whether such a conflict exists.

Edited by Josh Martin
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It should be noted that if you define what a conflict of interest is, then by way of implication no other act or acts would constitute a conflict of interest. As Mr. Martin states, your organization is free to do so, but I think it is a very bad idea. As an alternative, perhaps your bylaws should state that the disciplinary committee will have no permanent chairman and that the committee itself will select its own chairman pro tempore. In this fashion for each hearing the committee members will factor in and take into consideration the relationship, whether financial, familial, or whatever, between the potential chairman and the various participants.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...