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committee restarted-who can vote?

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Guest Patti

We restarted a committee. We are using the bylaws that were previously used when the committee was active; the committee was deactivated years ago.

bylaws say in order to vote on a motion, a member must attend 3 consecutive meetings and vote at the 3rd meeting. this is our second meeting. can anyone vote on a motion?

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33 minutes ago, Guest Patti said:

We restarted a committee. We are using the bylaws that were previously used when the committee was active; the committee was deactivated years ago.

bylaws say in order to vote on a motion, a member must attend 3 consecutive meetings and vote at the 3rd meeting. this is our second meeting. can anyone vote on a motion?

Apparently not.  Did this seem like a good idea at the time?

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2 hours ago, Guest Patti said:

We restarted a committee. We are using the bylaws that were previously used when the committee was active; the committee was deactivated years ago.

I’m not sure it will change the answer to this question, but this statement is rather confusing, and I think I would like some more facts regarding what is meant by “deactivating” and “restarting” a committee, who “we” is, what the nature of this committee is, and why a committee has its own bylaws. Is this committee a part of a larger organization?

2 hours ago, Guest Patti said:

bylaws say in order to vote on a motion, a member must attend 3 consecutive meetings and vote at the 3rd meeting. this is our second meeting. can anyone vote on a motion?

If a member must attend three consecutive meetings in order to vote, and the committee has not had three meetings, then it would seem that no one may vote. It would likely have been prudent for the organization (if there is one?) to modify this rule when restarting the committee.

In any event, however, the problem will seem to resolve itself in time, as there will be persons eligible to vote at the third meeting. In the interim, I suppose the second meeting will be very brief.

(The other possibility is that, if there are persons who were members of the committee prior to the “deactivation,” those persons may have attended three consecutive meetings and therefore be able to vote.)

Edited by Josh Martin

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Is that bylaw provision even (parliamentarily) legal?  Isn't it a violation of basic Parliamentary Law to restrict a member's right to vote unless under discipline?  Are bylaws provisions allowed to violate Parliamentary Law?

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13 minutes ago, Drake Savory said:

Is that bylaw provision even (parliamentarily) legal?

In a parliamentary sense, yes. 
 

14 minutes ago, Drake Savory said:

Isn't it a violation of basic Parliamentary Law to restrict a member's right to vote unless under discipline? 

Not if the provision is in the bylaws. 
 

14 minutes ago, Drake Savory said:

Are bylaws provisions allowed to violate Parliamentary Law?

Yes. The bylaws are superior to the fundamental principles of parliamentary law. 

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23 minutes ago, Drake Savory said:

Is that bylaw provision even (parliamentarily) legal?  Isn't it a violation of basic Parliamentary Law to restrict a member's right to vote unless under discipline?  Are bylaws provisions allowed to violate Parliamentary Law?

Yes.

“Within this framework under the general parliamentary law, an assembly or society is free to adopt any rules it may wish (even rules deviating from parliamentary law) provided that, in the procedure of adopting them, it conforms to parliamentary law or its own existing rules. The only limitations upon the rules that such a body can thus adopt might arise from the rules of a parent body (as those of a national society restricting its state or local branches), or from national, state, or local law affecting the particular type of organization.” (RONR, 11th ed., pg. 10)

”Except for the corporate charter in an incorporated society, the bylaws (as the single, combination-type instrument is called in this book) comprise the highest body of rules in societies as normally established today. Such an instrument supersedes all other rules of the society, except the corporate charter, if there is one.” (RONR, 11th ed., pg. 14)

Edited by Josh Martin

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Guest Patti

thanks for replies. more info: this is a condo association. the committees are an established part of our condo association bylaws, however, years ago the board deemed these committees to be poorly attended and just did away with them. Now, the "we" are interested residents who want the committees back, and we've petitioned the board to allow them and we are now allowed to resume the meetings under the direction of the board of directors. there are only a handful of former committee members who used to attend so we wouldn't have a quorum if only those very few were allowed to vote.

the bylaws were created years ago and given to us as a guide. we will amend as we go along 

i can't answer whether or not it was a good idea to require 3 meetings to vote at that time, I was not involved  but i'd think they must have thought it was a good rule to have in place. 

as a group we've decided to allow current new members to vote at the second meeting, this is for expediency and to get important motions passed timely.

hope this answers some of the questions.

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17 minutes ago, Guest Patti said:

thanks for replies. more info: this is a condo association. the committees are an established part of our condo association bylaws, however, years ago the board deemed these committees to be poorly attended and just did away with them. Now, the "we" are interested residents who want the committees back, and we've petitioned the board to allow them and we are now allowed to resume the meetings under the direction of the board of directors. there are only a handful of former committee members who used to attend so we wouldn't have a quorum if only those very few were allowed to vote.

the bylaws were created years ago and given to us as a guide. we will amend as we go along 

i can't answer whether or not it was a good idea to require 3 meetings to vote at that time, I was not involved  but i'd think they must have thought it was a good rule to have in place. 

as a group we've decided to allow current new members to vote at the second meeting, this is for expediency and to get important motions passed timely.

hope this answers some of the questions.

It appears to me that this condo association is playing fast and loose with its rules and is treating them more like guidelines rather than as the binding rules which they actually are.  Ignoring them can get you into serious trouble.   The  board, for example, cannot simply "do  away with" committees which are established in the bylaws, just as only CURRENT members of the board may vote as board members.  People who might be board members next week or who were members last week but aren't  members at this very moment are not entitled to vote as board members unless they are, at that very moment, actual board members.

I understand the urge to do things "expeditiously", but as I said earlier, that can get you in serious trouble.

BTW, exactly how are the committees being resumed "under the direction of the board of directors"?  Do the bylaws grant the board any power over committees established in the bylaws?  You need to read the bylaws carefully to determine whether (and to what extent) the board has any control over committees.  Perhaps it does, perhaps it does not.

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2 hours ago, Richard Brown said:

It appears to me that this condo association is playing fast and loose with its rules and is treating them more like guidelines rather than as the binding rules which they actually are.  Ignoring them can get you into serious trouble.   The  board, for example, cannot simply "do  away with" committees which are established in the bylaws, just as only CURRENT members of the board may vote as board members.  People who might be board members next week or who were members last week but aren't  members at this very moment are not entitled to vote as board members unless they are, at that very moment, actual board members.

I understand the urge to do things "expeditiously", but as I said earlier, that can get you in serious trouble.

BTW, exactly how are the committees being resumed "under the direction of the board of directors"?  Do the bylaws grant the board any power over committees established in the bylaws?  You need to read the bylaws carefully to determine whether (and to what extent) the board has any control over committees.  Perhaps it does, perhaps it does not.

couldn't agree more about fast and loose, hence why we brought them back. clarification: i wanted to know about who can vote as a member of the committee, not as a board member. 2 separate entities. 

yes the board has oversight of the committees, and it does state in the bylaws that the committees serve at the direction and discretion of the board. the board has the power to review motions passed at the committee and decide to vote on them. 

 

thank you sir! 

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5 hours ago, Guest Patti said:

thanks for replies. more info: this is a condo association. the committees are an established part of our condo association bylaws, however, years ago the board deemed these committees to be poorly attended and just did away with them. Now, the "we" are interested residents who want the committees back, and we've petitioned the board to allow them and we are now allowed to resume the meetings under the direction of the board of directors. there are only a handful of former committee members who used to attend so we wouldn't have a quorum if only those very few were allowed to vote.

Based on these additional facts, it seems to me that the committee was never actually “deactivated” to begin with, as if the committee is in the bylaws, it can be disbanded only by amending the bylaws. The board had no authority to do away with them. Additionally, since these are established in the bylaws, the committees can (and indeed must) meet again, whether or not the board allows it. understand that your bylaws provide that the committees serve at the discretion and direction of the board, but those directions may not contradict the bylaws.

Lastly, I would note that so far as RONR is concerned, a quorum is based on the number of voting members present and the total number of voting members in the committee (since the only persons who are members in the sense RONR uses the term are those who have all the rights of membership, especially including the right to vote).

5 hours ago, Guest Patti said:

i can't answer whether or not it was a good idea to require 3 meetings to vote at that time, I was not involved  but i'd think they must have thought it was a good rule to have in place. 

Yes, it may or may not have been a good idea at the time, but the rule obviously is not a good idea right now, when the vast majority of the committee’s members have not been to three consecutive meetings (as the committee has not met in years).

5 hours ago, Guest Patti said:

as a group we've decided to allow current new members to vote at the second meeting, this is for expediency and to get important motions passed timely.

No, that is not an option. The bylaws may not be ignored for the sake of “expediency.” Unless and until this rule is amended, it must be followed.

Edited by Josh Martin

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