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Abuse of Power


BabbsJohnson
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Is it a breach of decorum to speak about a possible abuse of power, in order to illustrate the issue, and show any evidence?

If it is a breach of decorum, then how is the issue to be dealt with,  if someone believes that abuse of power is happening?

 If a trial is the answer, what if the society in question wants to have nothing to do with the process of a trial?

Is it improper to state the belief that an abuse of power is happening, without making an accusation?

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3 hours ago, .oOllXllOo. said:

Is it a breach of decorum to speak about a possible abuse of power, in order to illustrate the issue, and show any evidence?

That depends on what is being discussed.  I doubt it would be a breach if a motion to censure or otherwise discipline said officer is pending.  It would be more likely to be a breach if the motion pending is whether to order lunch from Pizza Hut or Papa Johns.

 

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If it is a breach of decorum, then how is the issue to be dealt with,  if someone believes that abuse of power is happening?

See FAQ #20.

 

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If a trial is the answer, what if the society in question wants to have nothing to do with the process of a trial?

There is very little a single member (or small number of members) can do in the face of the assembly's apathy or fear.

 

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Is it improper to state the belief that an abuse of power is happening, without making an accusation?

It seems to me that even stating the belief that there is an abuse of power going on means that someone is being accused.

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36 minutes ago, reelsman said:

Only those arguments in debate that have a direct bearing on the motion before the assembly are permissible.

I would assume stating such a thing in an open forum would be outside the limits of debate, but let’s say someone has abused power, or has bullied another board member, and a board member says: I think this person is a bully, or, there is a bully in this group (ironically, everyone would know who that was, because there is definitely a bully)

Is that considered a personal attack if there is no motion being made, and it’s not in debate?

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A member is not permitted to engage in name-calling, so example #1 is not in order.

Statement #2, which is made without reference to any member in particular, might be in order if, and only if, it has a direct bearing on a pending motion, such as a motion to adopt a resolution creating an investigative committee as the initial step in a disciplinary procedure.

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5 hours ago, .oOllXllOo. said:

Is it a breach of decorum to speak about a possible abuse of power, in order to illustrate the issue, and show any evidence?

Possibly, depending on the specific nature of the allegations.

5 hours ago, .oOllXllOo. said:

If it is a breach of decorum, then how is the issue to be dealt with,  if someone believes that abuse of power is happening?

It depends on, among other things, what action is desired, what the bylaws say regarding discipline, and how the term of office is defined.

5 hours ago, .oOllXllOo. said:

 If a trial is the answer, what if the society in question wants to have nothing to do with the process of a trial?

Then there will be no trial, as the society has determined that the report presented by the investigative committee does not warrant preferring charges and holding a trial. (If formal disciplinary procedure are required, the first step is to make a motion to appoint an investigative committee.)

5 hours ago, .oOllXllOo. said:

Is it improper to state the belief that an abuse of power is happening, without making an accusation?

I think randomly suggesting that some an “abuse of power” is happening is improper, whether or not it is described as an “accusation.” I think these words, in and of themselves, would not be improper if included in a resolution to appoint an investigative committee, or a motion to censure, but the “evidence” described above may or may not be proper in such motions or in the discussion of such motions.

1 hour ago, Chris Harrison said:

That depends on what is being discussed.  I doubt it would be a breach if a motion to censure or otherwise discipline said officer is pending.  It would be more likely to be a breach if the motion pending is whether to order lunch from Pizza Hut or Papa Johns.

Well, I think it also depends on the specific nature of the charges and evidence.

49 minutes ago, .oOllXllOo. said:

I would assume stating such a thing in an open forum would be outside the limits of debate, but let’s say someone has abused power, or has bullied another board member, and a board member says: I think this person is a bully, or, there is a bully in this group (ironically, everyone would know who that was, because there is definitely a bully)

Is that considered a personal attack if there is no motion being made, and it’s not in debate?

Yes.

29 minutes ago, .oOllXllOo. said:

“I have experienced bullying from this person”

“I have seen what I believe are abuses of power”

Are these gratuitously inflammatory?

I don’t know that they are “gratuitously inflammatory,” but they are not in order unless a relevant motion is pending.

20 minutes ago, reelsman said:

A member is not permitted to engage in name-calling, so example #1 is not in order.

To be clear, you believe this would be out of order even if a relevant motion was pending?

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3 minutes ago, Josh Martin said:

Possibly, depending on the specific nature of the allegations.

It depends on, among other things, what action is desired, what the bylaws say regarding discipline, and how the term of office is defined.

Then there will be no trial, as the society has determined that the report presented by the investigative committee does not warrant preferring charges and holding a trial. (If formal disciplinary procedure are required, the first step is to make a motion to appoint an investigative committee.)

I think randomly suggesting that some an “abuse of power” is happening is improper, whether or not it is described as an “accusation.” I think these words, in and of themselves, would not be improper if included in a resolution to appoint an investigative committee, or a motion to censure, but the “evidence” described above may or may not be proper in such motions or in the discussion of such motions.

Well, I think it also depends on the specific nature of the charges and evidence.

Yes.

I don’t know that they are “gratuitously inflammatory,” but they are not in order unless a relevant motion is pending.

To be clear, you believe this would be out of order even if a relevant motion was pending?

I’ll mention again, that this would be during open session...so no motion pending, so not in debate.

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2 hours ago, .oOllXllOo. said:

What if the thing that is said is true, and hinders others from carrying out their duties?

Unless a majority of the body is willing to act to protect themselves (ie: set up the proper investigative committee and follow-through with a trial) then it doesn't matter if it is true and this condition will persist.

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13 hours ago, .oOllXllOo. said:

I’ll mention again, that this would be during open session...so no motion pending, so not in debate.

The comments mentioned above are certainly not in order when no motion is pending.

13 hours ago, reelsman said:

In effect, statement #1 amounts to calling the member a bully. This is not a factual statement; rather, it is a characterization about another member. It is no more in order than calling the member a liar.

Thank you. I appreciate this clarification, and I agree. So the appropriate course of action would be for the member to describe the specific action(s) the member views as instances of bullying (which may or may not be in order, depending on the parliamentary situation and the specifics of the allegations). 

13 hours ago, .oOllXllOo. said:

What if the thing that is said is true, and hinders others from carrying out their duties?

Whether it is true, or whether it hinders others from carrying out their duties, is immaterial. It is not appropriate to make remarks regarding a person’s character (unless a motion where such comments would be germane is pending, such as a motion to censure, and even then, there are limits to what may be said outside of formal disciplinary procedures).

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