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Overspending a voted amount for an item


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The offender can be subjected to disciplinary action ranging from a simple motion  of censure to removal from office and/or expulsion from membership.   If RONR is the governing authority for your disciplinary procedures, all of the options are a bit complex except for a motion of censure, which can be imposed with a simple  motion and majority vote.  Disciplinary procedures are covered in chapter XX of RONR and can be rather complex.  Although RONR does not expressly say so, I believe the organization can also  adopt a motion requiring the offender to repay the excess funds and then take disciplinary action if he or she fails to do so.  He can certainly be asked to repay the excess and told that he might face disciplinary action if he fails to do so.

If your organization has its own disciplinary process, it will likely supersede the procedures in RONR.

I suggest you take a look at FAQ # 20 on the main website regarding removing officers from office before their terms are up.  Scroll down to # 20.  You might also take a look at FAQ # 7.  A Motion of Censure is about the same thing as the motion of no confidence discussed there.  https://robertsrules.com/frequently-asked-questions/#faqs

 

Edited by Richard Brown
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I don't disagree with Mr. Brown's response, but wonder if the item could be returned for refund? If so (and to bring this response back to RONR and remain in good standing on this forum) you could adopt a motion directing the individual to return the item.

If the person buying the item used their own funds and is seeking reimbursement, I believe that the treasurer is only authorized to reimburse up to the authorized amount.

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This is not a question about parliamentary procedure. The question eventually will center on the nature of the item purchased, the value that was overpaid, who made the purchase or authorized the transfer of funds and the opinion of the assembly once they discover these facts.

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32 minutes ago, Guest Zev said:

This is not a question about parliamentary procedure.

I disagree.  It is absolutely a question about what can be done from a parliamentary procedure standpoint.  We get questions like this quite regularly.  And RONR contains solutions.  Our regular response is to refer the questioner to the disciplinary procedures in RONR and to the removal from office option.

Edited to add: The suggestions by Weldon Merritt and Dr. Kapur are also parliamentary in nature.

Edited by Richard Brown
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46 minutes ago, Weldon Merritt said:

I agree with Mr. Brown, except to add that the organization may ratify the purchase at the excess cost, if the members feel that there was good justification for spending the extra amount. 

I agree, Weldon.  Thank you for the additional option.  The membership may well believe the extra expense was justified.

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On 4/7/2021 at 5:27 PM, Weldon Merritt said:

I agree with Mr. Brown, except to add that the organization may ratify the purchase at the excess cost, if the members feel that there was good justification for spending the extra amount. 

Just noting that I've been involved in exactly such a decision in a smaller organization. Person X was directed to purchase time-sensitive item Z before the next meeting, and was authorized to spend up to Y dollars to do so. It was generally thought that Y dollars would cover the cost, but it wasn't enough. Given that Z was necessary, Person X made a judgement call and individually contacted enough members (half a dozen or so) preemptively to gauge support for the extra expenditure, given the time-sensitive nature of the purchase. Upon confirming general support, X made the purchase.

At the next meeting X's additional spending was ratified, and there was no problem.

This of course is not a *parliamentary* opinion. It absolutely puts X in breach of the assembly's directive, and thus leaves X open to the risk of members changing their mind before the meeting, being convinced to change their mind during the meeting, etc.

From the parliamentary side of things, one of the best lessons I learned from an experienced parliamentarian is that motions and ideas don't have to drop from the clear blue sky during a meeting.

Many (possibly most?) main motions to be introduced at a meeting can be anticipated. The questions regarding them can be anticipated. And things like the price of an item that's available for purchase can usually be known before the motion is approved, allowing the authorized amount to reflect reality. If an item isn't available for the authorized amount, it should ideally be because the price was known and budgeted properly, and "the world changed" before the purchase could be made. :)

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