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Suspending of bylaws


Guest Charlie
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Fire dept. recently suspended bylaws at recent elections, for requirements to be a line office cause there was not enough qualified people for the positions. They felt all positions should be filled even if it meant electing unqualified people. Is this allowed

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1 hour ago, Guest Charlie said:

Fire dept. recently suspended bylaws at recent elections, for requirements to be a line office cause there was not enough qualified people for the positions. They felt all positions should be filled even if it meant electing unqualified people. Is this allowed

Absolutely not. RONR (11th ed.), p. 263 and p. 445.  A point of order can be raised at any regular or properly called meeting since the election for those particular unqualified individuals would be null and void.

Edited by George Mervosh
Fixed a page number - I guess I was using the Deluxe Edition
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2 minutes ago, Atul Kapur said:

I think it's clear that the election of any individual who is unqualified according to the by-laws is null and void.

However, I would think that the election of people who were qualified would be valid. I'm a bit unclear, reading Mr. Mervosh's reply, whether he agrees with me.

Absolutely. I apologize for being unclear.  :)  I edited my post above

Edited by George Mervosh
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2 hours ago, Guest Charlie said:

Fire dept. recently suspended bylaws at recent elections, for requirements to be a line office cause there was not enough qualified people for the positions. They felt all positions should be filled even if it meant electing unqualified people. Is this allowed

I concur with my colleagues that the elections of the unqualified persons are null and void, and would add that if the qualifications for office are making it difficult to fill the positions, perhaps the assembly should consider amending the bylaws to remove some of the qualifications.

Edited by Josh Martin
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12 minutes ago, Drake Savory said:

bylaws can only be suspended for an election at a meeting, correct? 

Bylaws can only be suspended if they allow for their own suspension or they are in the nature of Rules of Order. Neither of which appear to apply in this situation. Qualifications for an office are not in the nature of Rules of Order.

Your other point is correct. Suspension of the Rules (and this is an example of Suspending the Rules) can only be done at a meeting.

 

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So just to clarify, if the election is held during a time NOT at a meeting it would  be out of order to,  at a meeting,  Suspend the Rules to ignore the bylaws for an alternate way to run the election.

 

Sorry I think that question is poorly worded.  I guess the real question is: is it out of order to Suspend the bylaws to change the rules for actions outside of the meeting since by definition those rules are not rules of order? 

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1 hour ago, Drake Savory said:

Perhaps a hijack or perhaps not.  The bylaws can only be suspended for an election at a meeting, correct?  If the election were via email or polling place or carrier pigeon then the motion to Suspend would be out of order since it is not business during a meeting.  Is that wrong?

Bylaws, in general, cannot be suspended ever.  That's where you put things that you do not want to be suspended.

Exceptions are: rules that provide for their own suspension or those that are clearly in the nature of rules of order.

It is also worth noting that a bylaws requirement that elections of officers be held by ballot cannot be suspended even by a unanimous vote, though it is a rule of order and may apply during a meeting.  So there are some specific rules that supersede the general rules. 

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There shouldn't be any need for anyone else to weigh in, but just to be clear, qualifications for office that are contained in the bylaws cannot be suspended.... ever... period.... unless the provision itself provides for its own suspension.  It doesn't matter whether it's in a meeting or not.  Qualifications for office in the bylaws cannot be suspended.

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1 hour ago, Richard Brown said:

qualifications for office that are contained in the bylaws cannot be suspended.... ever... period.... unless the provision itself provides for its own suspension

Actually, I've never quite understood this. What difference does it make whether a provision in the bylaws allowing for a suspension of the rules is contained within the provision being suspended or within some other provision? In other words, if provision A says that provision B can be suspended, would anyone argue that provision B cannot be suspended because provision B does not allow for its own suspension?

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29 minutes ago, Shmuel Gerber said:

Actually, I've never quite understood this. What difference does it make whether a provision in the bylaws allowing for a suspension of the rules is contained within the provision being suspended or within some other provision? In other words, if provision A says that provision B can be suspended, would anyone argue that provision B cannot be suspended because provision B does not allow for its own suspension?

Actually, I agree with you. I don't think it matters whether provision B says that it may be suspended or if it's provision A which says that provision B may be suspended.

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I suspect the term "its own suspension" arises from an assumption that the best place to put a rule allowing for the suspension of provision B would logically be within provision B.  Placing it in, say, provision T would violate no rule in RONR, but would arguably increase the probability that it might be overlooked.

Given that a majority of bylaws are not above average, every small increase of clarity helps. Perhaps the General assumed that more people would see the wisdom of the proximity of placement suggested by that language, but if history has taught us anything it is that we never learn anything from history.

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In the future, please post new questions as a new topic.  Thanks! 🙂 

1 hour ago, Guest Gwendolyn McFall said:

If bylaws require ballot vote and only one nominee...can you suspend bylaws and vote unanimously.  Should you amend bylaws and state in event of one nominee vote can be unanimous?

No, that provision cannot be suspended.  A ballot must be held, and someone else could conceivably be elected by write-in votes.

If you like, you can amend your bylaws to add ...In the event that there is but one nominee for an office, the chair may declare that nominee elected to that office by acclamation.

Edited by Gary Novosielski
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