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If roles have been defined by customs instead of parliamentary rules, can they be considered “grandfathered’?


BabbsJohnson
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We have a president that has been told for years that RONR was not something that she had to pay attention to, and was not anything official that we as a board had to use, but they, and the board were wrong in being told that (The person telling them & is this, was either misinformed, or had their own motivations for saying these things).

 Meanwhile, over the last almost 10 years, they have designed their own ‘presidential’ role, which definitely does not fit the parameters of how RONR defines the chair’s role.

Customs, as far as I understood, are not supposed to define roles and official behaviors of officers.

 Should the president welcome being given information and charged by the board with learning it, so that she can actually fulfill her real duties as the chairperson as defined by RONR,  or is her style and role that she has defined herself over the years, sort of “grandfathered in” so that she does not have to pay attention to what RONR says she should do?

RONR  are our officially adopted rules in our bylaws, and the person who has been misinforming them/us  like I said, have had their own motivations, like maybe she just personally does not agree with the use of them, or does not like the rules and imposed that personal opinion upon us which was not her right to do).

The person who has been misinforming us, is a hired manager... Not a board member, or a member of the Association. 

 

 Additional question:

Should the board even have to specifically tell her that she must do this? Should there have to be a motion, or once it’s brought to her attention, and to the attention of the board, that this is actually the way it should be, should it just be automatic, since our parliamentary rules are officially adopted?

 I can’t think of any officer role where the officer gets to define their own version of it, and pick and choose duties, instead of doing the ones outlined in RONR.

Edited by .oOllXllOo.
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No one person gets to decide that "this is actually the way it should be". Not the manager, not you, not any other individual member. The assembly makes that decision. They have delegated much of that authority to the chair, but can always take that authority back.

So the process is that, if you feel a rule is being broken, you raise a point of order. The chair can take advice from others if they wish, and then the chair makes a ruling. If the assembly disagrees with the ruling, an appeal can be made to overturn the ruling. Actually, if two people disagree an appeal can be made and then the decision is in the hands of the assembly.

But the main point is that there is no sole arbiter of what is correct.

Mild correction: if someone feels that their rights have been violated because the organization is not following its own rules (in its bylaws or adopted Rules of Order) and they are unable to convince the assembly, they may wish to take the matter to the courts where a judge -- if the judge decides it's important enough to intervene -- will be the sole arbiter.

 

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15 hours ago, J. J. said:

A custom or usage that conflicts with something adopted yields to it; the custom is said to fall to the ground upon a point of order (p. 19).  It may be part of the general parliamentary law.

 

 Looking at page 19...

>“However if a customarY practice is or becomes in conflict with the parliamentary authority or any written rule, and a point of order citing the conflict is raised at any time, the custom falls to the ground, and the conflicting provision in the parliamentary authority or written rule must be thereafter complied with.”<

 Raising a point of order needs to be ruled on by the chair... but does that mean it that if let’s say a custom is being followed that is in conflict with the rules of order and I raise a point of order and cite the exact rule that’s being broken does that mean that the presiding officer cannot disagree with the fact that this rule exists, and that it takes precedence?

 In other words can they disagree by saying “well I don’t like that rule”

And then the matter has to go to appeal and the assembly then decides if they want to follow that particular rule of order?

 When the book says it falls to the ground does that mean that it falls without the chairs ruling?

I see it follows up to say that if that practice wants to be followed, then a special rule of order must be passed...

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Just now, .oOllXllOo. said:

 Looking at page 19...

 

 Raising a point of order needs to be ruled on by the chair... but does that mean it that if let’s say a custom is being followed that is in conflict with the rules of order and I raise a point of order and cite the exact rule that’s being broken does that mean that the presiding officer cannot disagree with the fact that this rule exists, and that it takes precedence?

The chair can rule, but it might not be the correct ruling. 

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16 minutes ago, J. J. said:

The chair can rule, but it might not be the correct ruling. 

 I mean ...in an assembly that’s brand new, and using the book fresh, we would start with all of the rules, and then modify them as needed...  wouldn’t necessarily start with a bastardized hollow shell of the rules and then decide whether or not they like certain rules, would they?

In a situation like that, I feel like the group would never experience the full function and benefit of the rules, because they’d never have had them all cohesively complete at any time...

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What J.J. means is that nothing prevents a chair from giving an incorrect ruling. In such cases, the recourse of the member who disagrees with the chair is to appeal the matter to the assembly. "We've always done things this way" is not an appropriate justification for a ruling, however, that doesn't prevent people from trying to use  it anyway. You may wish to ensure you have allies before trying to make such an appeal as it will likely be an uphill fight against an assembly that isn't sympathetic to you.

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1 hour ago, .oOllXllOo. said:

But since the rule in the book would be very specific and definite, why would they even have a say?

Because the assembly is the judge and enforcer of its own matters. They delegate much of that authority to the chair.

There is no "RONR Police Force" who will go around and tell the chair what they must do; only the assembly does that. Or a court, as has been said before.

22 minutes ago, Alexis Hunt said:

"We've always done things this way" is not an appropriate justification for a ruling, however, that doesn't prevent people from trying to use  it anyway.

Not just trying to use it, many people successfully convince others with that argument.

Just because the rule is specific and definite (in your opinion), that doesn't give you the power to overrule the chair, unless the assembly backs you up. Just quoting a rule may not be enough to make that happen. They may like the chair better, they may trust the chair more, they may fear the chair, they may just not care and go along with the chair because it's easier that way; Whatever the reason, unless you can convince them to back you up you are the modern-day equivalent of Cassandra.

Quote

ensure you have allies before trying to make such an appeal as it will likely be an uphill fight against an assembly that isn't sympathetic to you.

Alexis Hunt has given you good advice, above.

Edited by Atul Kapur
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1 hour ago, .oOllXllOo. said:

But since the rule in the book would be very specific and definite, why would they even have a say?

Because we have not yet been able to find a way to magically animate the book and get it to enforce itself. :)

Rules do not enforce themselves. People enforce them. The chair is the first step in this process, and the assembly is the last step. Sometimes people are wrong, but someone has to make these decisions. The chair is the first step since this person has been entrusted with presiding over the assembly, which includes, among other things, interpreting and enforcing the assembly’s rules, and because the assembly presumably does not wish to decide every question of order itself. The assembly itself is the last step because that’s how democracy works.

RONR assumes that most members of the assembly want to follow the rules. If this is not in fact the case, then the rules won’t be followed very well. This shouldn’t be surprising.

11 minutes ago, Atul Kapur said:

There is no "RONR Police Force" who will go around and tell the chair what they must do; only the assembly does that. Or a court, as has been said before.

To be clear, however, the courts do not enforce RONR itself. Certain provisions of RONR might also be found in statute, or perhaps the court will find that the fact that RONR is include in the bylaws creates some sort of contractual obligation, but the courts do not enforce parliamentary law.

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4 minutes ago, Josh Martin said:

To be clear, however, the courts do not enforce RONR itself. Certain provisions of RONR might also be found in statute, or perhaps the court will find that the fact that RONR is include in the bylaws creates some sort of contractual obligation, but the courts do not enforce parliamentary law.

I was already going on at length so didn't say that the court may very likely decline to intervene at all in the internal affairs of an association. I was listing it for completeness as to who could enforce the rules.

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4 hours ago, Josh Martin said:

To be clear, however, the courts do not enforce RONR itself. Certain provisions of RONR might also be found in statute, or perhaps the court will find that the fact that RONR is include in the bylaws creates some sort of contractual obligation, but the courts do not enforce parliamentary law.

The courts may enforce parliamentary law.

In any event, that would be a legal question.

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