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I think our custom is in error


AFS1970
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We have among our officers two captains & three lieutenants. Up until this year the by laws listed them as Captains (2), First Lieutenant, Second Lieutenant and 2nd Second Lieutenant. Both Captains had the same requirements. First Lieutenant & Second Lieutenant has the same requirements and 2nd Second Lieutenant had its own requirements. However the custom was to refer to the two captains as First Captain and Second Captain. For the 3 elections I have been present for, we have nominated and elected for the two captains separately as First Captain & Second Captain. Now I think this custom may go back to a previous bylaw where they were separate positions, as this is not uncommon, but I have no written documentation as to when such a change might have been made. 

Now to further complicate things, this year we amended the relevant section of the bylaws to now list the officers as Captains (2) and Lieutenants (3). There are requirements for Captain and we now have the same requirements for all three lieutenants. However our president still held nominations and thus elections for First Captain, Second Captain, First Lieutenant, Second Lieutenant and 2nd Second Lieutenant. I am now thinking that this custom if wrong for captains, has now compounded into being wrong for lieutenants. 

How much of this will be our department's right to interpret our own bylaws and how much of this will be some sort of breach? Is this just a custom that while quaint does not hurt anyone? I will say that if the custom was wrong, it may have effected our election for lieutenant in a strange way as we had an incumbent nominated for two lieutenant positions where I suspect he should have only been nominated once. 

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1 hour ago, AFS1970 said:

How much of this will be our department's right to interpret our own bylaws and how much of this will be some sort of breach?

Your Department's right to interpret its own bylaws means that it's your department that determines whether there is a breach. So there is really no difference.

To put it another way, in the hopes of being clear, if you think there's a breach but the department votes against your point of order, where would -- or even could -- you take your appeal?

Edited by Atul Kapur
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1 hour ago, AFS1970 said:

We have among our officers two captains & three lieutenants. Up until this year the by laws listed them as Captains (2), First Lieutenant, Second Lieutenant and 2nd Second Lieutenant. Both Captains had the same requirements. First Lieutenant & Second Lieutenant has the same requirements and 2nd Second Lieutenant had its own requirements. However the custom was to refer to the two captains as First Captain and Second Captain. For the 3 elections I have been present for, we have nominated and elected for the two captains separately as First Captain & Second Captain. Now I think this custom may go back to a previous bylaw where they were separate positions, as this is not uncommon, but I have no written documentation as to when such a change might have been made. 

Now to further complicate things, this year we amended the relevant section of the bylaws to now list the officers as Captains (2) and Lieutenants (3). There are requirements for Captain and we now have the same requirements for all three lieutenants. However our president still held nominations and thus elections for First Captain, Second Captain, First Lieutenant, Second Lieutenant and 2nd Second Lieutenant. I am now thinking that this custom if wrong for captains, has now compounded into being wrong for lieutenants. 

How much of this will be our department's right to interpret our own bylaws and how much of this will be some sort of breach? Is this just a custom that while quaint does not hurt anyone? I will say that if the custom was wrong, it may have effected our election for lieutenant in a strange way as we had an incumbent nominated for two lieutenant positions where I suspect he should have only been nominated once. 

I think it is correct that these should be treated as identical positions and voted in in that manner, based on the facts provided, but I do not think this would cause a continuing breach. Just do it right next time.

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