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Guest John M.

Rescinding General membership vote

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Guest John M.

I was recently injured installing the docks at our yacht club and have been out of work since May. A member asked the commodore if the club was going to do anything to help me out financially and asked him to have the club (membership) cover my medical deductibles. The commodore put this on the agenda and brought it up at the next general meeting (July), a motion was immediately made and seconded to pay my deductibles, the commodore then told me to leave the meeting ( and my girlfriend who has her own membership as well ) so they could hold discussion which we did even though the request was out of order.

  After a lengthy  discussion  we were invited back in and informed that the motion had been tabled till the next meeting , a go fund me page was going to be set up to cover my medical expenses and he would call me with more details in the next day or two. No fund set up or calls from commodore, contacted him 4 times to see where things were. Next Monthly meeting (August) Informed membership no action on go fund me page and bills coming due. Member makes a motion to call the tabled motion and is seconded, membership votes to reimburse me for my bills by greater than half the votes. Secretary reads the vote tally (by Division) and states that it has passed .

        Over the next couple of days I pay all the medical bills ($2300.00) and send the slips to treasurer for reimbursement. Just had another General membership meeting last night  (Sept)and a member made a motion to rescind the previous months vote by the membership to reimburse me. It was seconded  and I immediately called for a point of order as I feel the motion was out of order on two criteria, I stated that since the membership agreed and I was informed of approval that the "contract" could not be rescinded. and that additionally money had changed hands as a result of that decision and can not be undone so the decision must stand for the money spent and only future moneys could be considered if anything was rescinded.  The secretary told me those only apply to contractors, and the clubs money not mine as a member, who is correct? Thanks for reading this through...….. didn't say earlier but was listed  on the agenda all three months, exact same wording each time but no mention of rescinding in agenda for September. 

 

 

 

 

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As a member of a yacht club, I can feel for your situation and am sorry that you sustained this injury while helping maintain or improve your club's facilities. Unfortunately, it seems unlikely that anyone here can provide direct help with your situation. Whether the club has any liability for your injury, and whether the actions taken by the club constitute a contractual relationship between you and them are legal questions which should be directed to a lawyer. I realize it is never a good option to consider legal action with an organization which you are a voluntary member of, but that may be the only way to resolve your situation.

I will say that an organization does have the right to vote to rescind an action previously taken, at least to rescind any action that has not already been carried out. Rescinding requires a majority vote if previous notice was given, otherwise a 2/3 vote, or a vote of a majority of the entire membership. It sounds like in your case no notice was given so a 2/3 vote would have been required. Rescinding a contract, when both parties have already been notified is problematic, and may well involve legal issues. That may or may not be your situation, but you will have to seek legal help to resolve that. Good luck to you.

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Guest John M

It is honestly not worth getting lawyers involved, my question is more for piece of mind in knowing who is correct in their interpretation the secretary or me, I feel that my paying the bills and submitting to treasurer qualifies as the action already being carried out by one of the parties and makes the motion out of order for that portion paid for and submitted,  but I am a crane operator not  a lawyer lol , but thanks for taking the time to read and respond 

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On 10/2/2019 at 8:18 PM, Guest John M. said:

I stated that since the membership agreed and I was informed of approval that the "contract" could not be rescinded

This is not correct, at least as a parliamentary matter. An affirmative vote on a motion which is in the nature of a contract cannot be reconsidered if one party has been informed of the contract, but there is no parliamentary rule preventing such a motion from being rescinded, although there may be legal complications with rescinding a motion in the nature of a contract.

On 10/2/2019 at 8:18 PM, Guest John M. said:

and that additionally money had changed hands as a result of that decision and can not be undone so the decision must stand for the money spent and only future moneys could be considered if anything was rescinded

I agree with the Treasurer that what you did with your own money has no bearing on whether the motion may be rescinded and is not what RONR means by something which is impossible to undo. The motion (to reimburse you) was not yet carried out, and could be rescinded.

On 10/2/2019 at 9:46 PM, Guest John M said:

It is honestly not worth getting lawyers involved, my question is more for piece of mind in knowing who is correct in their interpretation the secretary or me, I feel that my paying the bills and submitting to treasurer qualifies as the action already being carried out by one of the parties and makes the motion out of order for that portion paid for and submitted,  but I am a crane operator not  a lawyer lol , but thanks for taking the time to read and respond 

What RONR says is that a motion cannot be rescinded if “When something has been done, as a result of the vote on the main motion, that is impossible to undo. (The unexecuted part of an order, however, can be rescinded or amended.)” (RONR, 11th ed., pg. 308)

In my view, it is clear this refers to something being done by the society, or by its officers acting on the society’s behalf, not actions taken by other parties. Even if, however, the wording is read to encompass actions taken by other parties, the wording clearly states that the unexecuted part of the order may be rescinded or amended. Since the Treasurer had not yet reimbursed you, the motion to do so could be rescinded. If you had in fact already been paid, then I think this rule would be relevant.

So in summary, it appears to me that the society’s actions did not violate any parliamentary rule. I am not an attorney, and I do not have the slightest idea whether the society’s actions are in violation of some provision of law.

Edited by Josh Martin

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