Jump to content
The Official RONR Q & A Forums

Executive Session Question


Guest Tom
 Share

Recommended Posts

I am on an Executive Board of a National Organization.  The organization has different levels of subordinate groups (state, region, chapters, etc.) beneath the group. 

Recently, during a regular general membership meeting at a local chapter, which is open to the public, a motion was made and seconded to go to an executive session. All nonmembers were asked to leave the room.  During this session, a member that was not present had accusations made, and during the session, the members conducted a vote that was exactly the 2/3's needed to vote the non-present member out of the group.  The meeting then left executive session and the nonmembers were invited back into the room.

The Bylaws state that 2/3's of the members present must vote to terminate a membership.  It does not state this is supposed to occur during an executive session.

That member feels that there should have been notice, or a chance to defend the accusations, which they feel was false or inaccurate.  He feels that if the members present had heard his side of the story, he would have only had to convince one member to sway the way the vote went.

In addition, in my understanding, the executive session could have been done for discussion purposes, but the vote should have happened after the executive session ended.

Can someone clarify if the procedures were done correctly, and if there is any due process that member has going forward?

Lastly, if members that were not present for the vote feel that the vote was stacked against the member voted out of the group, can they simply make a motion, with a second, to get the member reinstated?  Would that only require a majority vote, as all other motions during a general meeting?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Additional Info.

Also, as a point of clarification, the only option listed in the bylaws for disciplinary action is termination, and it requires a 2/3 vote.  Most of the members felt that a suspension would have been appropriate, or even a verbal counseling by the Chapter leaders.  The members were told that they only could terminate and no other disciplinary action could be taken.  In addition, the member that made the motion, as well as the member that seconded the motion, both stated they would quit the group if action was not taken. 

Many of the members indicated after the vote that they felt that it was an ultimatum and that they only vote the member out in order to not lose the other two members.  The member that was voted out feels that this could have been a form of intimidating the voting members to vote a certain way.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Guest Additional Info. said:

Also, as a point of clarification, the only option listed in the bylaws for disciplinary action is termination, and it requires a 2/3 vote.

In my opinion the reason why this item is specifically mentioned in the bylaws is to secure the point that a two-thirds vote is required for termination, and not that any thing else is prohibited. But this is just my opinion. Your organization will have to decide for itself what meaning they think it has. Observe also that at the first posting you said

1 hour ago, Guest Tom said:

The Bylaws state that 2/3's of the members present must vote to terminate a membership.

Your first statement, at odds with the second statement, implies that if more than one-third of the members present abstain then a conviction can never be achieved. A clarification might be helpful.

Be aware that the procedure suggested by Robert's Rules Of Order Newly Revised may or may not be consistent with whatever your organization considers to be proper procedure in disciplinary cases. Please indicate to us whether Robert's Rules Of Order Newly Revised has been adopted by your society as its parliamentary authority or not. Some organizations have specialized rules that do not rely on anything Robert's has to say on this issue. Please indicate whether this organization has specialized disciplinary procedures or not and what do the bylaws say about them if this is the case.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Guest Tom said:

That member feels that there should have been notice, or a chance to defend the accusations, which they feel was false or inaccurate. 

"A member or officer has the right that allegations against his good name shall not be made except by charges brought on reasonable ground. If thus accused, he has the right to due process—that is, to be informed of the charge and given time to prepare his defense, to appear and defend himself, and to be fairly treated." (RONR 11th ed., p. 656, lines 1-6. Emphasis added)

Pages 656-668 go on to explain the "Steps in a Fair Disciplinary Process".

I suggest that the provisions regarding Due Process and the Steps in a Fair Disciplinary Process are a good reflection of Common Parliamentary Law and therefore should apply whether or not your association has adopted RONR (not necessarily every detail if you haven't adopted RONR, but the principles).

2 hours ago, Guest Tom said:

In addition, in my understanding, the executive session could have been done for discussion purposes, but the vote should have happened after the executive session ended.

The entire trial, including the voting, should happen in executive session. (page 664, line 30 - p. 665, line 1)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It is a common myth that business cannot be conducted in executive session. Unless your rules say otherwise (or an applicable statute) it can be.

On the disciplinary procedure question, I don't think we can answer based on the paraphrase of the bylaws. It is a bylaw interpretation question and there seems to be some uncertainty. However, as a starting point in deciding whether your bylaws exclude other forms of discipline and whether they eliminate the need to follow Chapter 20, see the thread on the topic of what level of bylaw detail is necessary to not use Chapter 20.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, Atul Kapur said:

"A member or officer has the right that allegations against his good name shall not be made except by charges brought on reasonable ground. If thus accused, he has the right to due process—that is, to be informed of the charge and given time to prepare his defense, to appear and defend himself, and to be fairly treated." (RONR 11th ed., p. 656, lines 1-6. Emphasis added)

Pages 656-668 go on to explain the "Steps in a Fair Disciplinary Process".

I suggest that the provisions regarding Due Process and the Steps in a Fair Disciplinary Process are a good reflection of Common Parliamentary Law and therefore should apply whether or not your association has adopted RONR (not necessarily every detail if you haven't adopted RONR, but the principles).

The entire trial, including the voting, should happen in executive session. (page 664, line 30 - p. 665, line 1)

It seems that the organization has its own rules on discipline. Those rules might not require a trial.

I agree that, in any event, the proceedings should be conducted in executive session.

10 hours ago, Guest Tom said:

Can someone clarify if the procedures were done correctly, and if there is any due process that member has going forward?

If all your bylaws say is that a 2/3 vote is required to remove a member, then that is all that is required. If the society wishes for accused members to have due process rights, it should amend the bylaws to remove this rule and follow the procedures in RONR, or adopt its own procedures if it wishes for something in between the full process in RONR and no process at all.

So far as RONR is concerned, an assembly may meet in executive session whenever it wishes, and it is recommended to meet in executive session for discipline. For certain types of assemblies, such as public bodies or HOAs, applicable law may provide otherwise.

10 hours ago, Guest Tom said:

Lastly, if members that were not present for the vote feel that the vote was stacked against the member voted out of the group, can they simply make a motion, with a second, to get the member reinstated?  Would that only require a majority vote, as all other motions during a general meeting?

The member may be admitted through the same procedures as admitting any new member, unless your rules provide otherwise.

10 hours ago, Guest Additional Info. said:

Also, as a point of clarification, the only option listed in the bylaws for disciplinary action is termination, and it requires a 2/3 vote.  Most of the members felt that a suspension would have been appropriate, or even a verbal counseling by the Chapter leaders.  The members were told that they only could terminate and no other disciplinary action could be taken.  In addition, the member that made the motion, as well as the member that seconded the motion, both stated they would quit the group if action was not taken. 

 Many of the members indicated after the vote that they felt that it was an ultimatum and that they only vote the member out in order to not lose the other two members.  The member that was voted out feels that this could have been a form of intimidating the voting members to vote a certain way.

In my opinion, the rule in question does not prohibit lesser penalties.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
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.

Loading...
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...