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Lisa Ochoa

Trying to navigate the necessity/use of executive orders

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I am the president of a club devoted to the activities of performance dogs. Clubs in our organization ordinarily host 65-70 meets each year, but obviously this year has been different. We have been on lockdown since mid-March, and are now discussing best practices for clubs to resume hosting meets. Some ideas which have been presented will give us the desired outcome but are not necessarily performed the way our current rules are written.

For example, by rule we require three line judges to be positioned on each side of the field to determine placements, and they must be standing as close together as possible. One of our members has suggested that we could reduce that number to two, standing farther apart and that a video camera could take the place of the third judge. This variation would give us essentially the same result but would be safer for the line judges and more in line with proper social distancing. However, this kind of change would require a written proposal and that our bylaws state that such proposals may only  be made once a year, in December.

I want to know:

1. If it is appropriate for us to waive the normal rule change structure on a temporary basis (the person making the suggestion has stipulated that it should be for this year only, with a possible permanent change being made during the legal period). I have a motion on the table right now, and this question has been asked. I don't know how to answer it so I  am asking my favorite group of experts.

2. In the event that such temporary rule changes are appropriate, is there any reason I should have to issue an executive order to make such changes legal. I cannot find any information regarding executive orders in my copy of Robert's but I personally think they are not appropriate except in emergency situations, which is what we have right now.

Thanks.

 

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The motion Suspend the Rules does not apply to your situation. It's not clear to me what body is going to consider the motion that you say you have on your table.

It sounds like the procedure to amend your "meet rules" is laid out in your bylaws. I agree that there is nothing in RONR regarding executive orders because RONR doesn't contemplate one person changing a decision of an assembly. So do your bylaws mention anything about suspending the meet rules or anything about emergency action / executive order / anything similar?

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15 hours ago, Atul Kapur said:

The motion Suspend the Rules does not apply to your situation. It's not clear to me what body is going to consider the motion that you say you have on your table.

It sounds like the procedure to amend your "meet rules" is laid out in your bylaws. I agree that there is nothing in RONR regarding executive orders because RONR doesn't contemplate one person changing a decision of an assembly. So do your bylaws mention anything about suspending the meet rules or anything about emergency action / executive order / anything similar?

Thank you for your response.

We have a set of bylaws, which lay out the composition and duties of the Board and Board officers , the rules of eligibility for dogs to be registered to compete, and the standard language regarding dissolution of the organization. We also have a separate set of rules which lay out the requirements by which meets should be conducted. Neither set has any provisions made for emergency orders or suspension of existing rules. <--- yes, I will be making some proposals this fall to correct this situation but that's not helping me right now.

We would like to resume hosting meets as it becomes safe to do so, and we also want to establish a global set of rules for clubs to follow during the pandemic. Right now, several Board members have made suggestions and one of them has now made a motion which would require a temporary alteration of an existing event rule. The motion has been seconded and it is being discussed as we speak. One of my Board members has asked how we would implement such a change, and that is the question that has brought me here. I don't know what the best practice is supposed to be and I am not getting a lot of guidance from my rule book.

 

 

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8 hours ago, Lisa Ochoa said:

We have a set of bylaws, which lay out the composition and duties of the Board and Board officers , the rules of eligibility for dogs to be registered to compete, and the standard language regarding dissolution of the organization. We also have a separate set of rules which lay out the requirements by which meets should be conducted. Neither set has any provisions made for emergency orders or suspension of existing rules. <--- yes, I will be making some proposals this fall to correct this situation but that's not helping me right now.

We would like to resume hosting meets as it becomes safe to do so, and we also want to establish a global set of rules for clubs to follow during the pandemic. Right now, several Board members have made suggestions and one of them has now made a motion which would require a temporary alteration of an existing event rule. The motion has been seconded and it is being discussed as we speak. One of my Board members has asked how we would implement such a change, and that is the question that has brought me here. I don't know what the best practice is supposed to be and I am not getting a lot of guidance from my rule book.

Based upon the facts provided, it appears that there is no provision in your rules which allows for "a temporary alteration of an existing event rule." As a result, the rules would need to be amended to provide a mechanism to make such temporary alterations.

RONR has no provision permitting temporary alterations of this nature. As previously noted, the rules in RONR only permit suspending rules within the context of a meeting.

Edited by Josh Martin

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In the end, it may be that you have to break the rules in order to adapt your meet rules. If you do that, then at the first opportunity you should try to get the actions that you have taken ratified by the body that is actually authorized to to amend your meet rules.

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18 hours ago, Atul Kapur said:

In the end, it may be that you have to break the rules in order to adapt your meet rules. If you do that, then at the first opportunity you should try to get the actions that you have taken ratified by the body that is actually authorized to to amend your meet rules.

This is exactly the information I needed, very helpful. Thank you!

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You're welcome. Be aware that those who make that decision (to break the rules) run the risk that the action is not ratified and that they may be subject to censure and/or disciplinary procedures.

How realistic that risk is, is a judgement call for you to make.

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On 5/24/2020 at 2:52 PM, Atul Kapur said:

In the end, it may be that you have to break the rules in order to adapt your meet rules. If you do that, then at the first opportunity you should try to get the actions that you have taken ratified by the body that is actually authorized to to amend your meet rules.

I agree with the above suggestion by Dr. Kapur.  It is exactly what I would suggest.  I also  agree with his caveat in his comment immediately above this one.

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