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Footnotes


BlueCat57
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Our organization's rules mentions footnotes within the document, but nowhere explains what they are or how they are to be used. And no one seems to know either.

I am guessing that a Footnote could be used to explain some portion of the rules. Is that a logical assumption?

There are many parts of our rules that are open to interpretation using the following standard:

"Interpretation.  These Rules shall be interpreted and applied so as to substantially accomplish their objectives.  The spirit and not the letter of each Rule shall be controlling.  Substantial compliance with a Rule shall be sufficient."

Nowhere does it inform whose "spirit" is to be used.

I am planning to propose that in a future revision that clause be stricken, but in the meantime plan to suggest that "footnotes" be used to clarify unclear areas of the rules and the the voting members of the organization can approve footnotes with a simple to act as guidance until the rules can be permanently amended and clarified.

There are rules that allow amending the rules in the interim period but that requires a 2/3 quorum and a 2/3 vote. Just not going to happen in the near term.

Most of the items that I believe need clarification are not covered by Robert's Rules of Orders. One item is a job description of a Sargent at Arms. Another is the answer to "Whose spirit?" The rules regarding producing and approving a budget in a timely fashion are not present. Lot's of things to clarify, and I think footnotes might provide the guidance necessary.

What are your thoughts? Do any of your organizations have a method of clarify rules without super-majorities?

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11 hours ago, BlueCat57 said:

I am guessing that a Footnote could be used to explain some portion of the rules. Is that a logical assumption?

Seems logical.

11 hours ago, BlueCat57 said:

There are many parts of our rules that are open to interpretation using the following standard:

"Interpretation.  These Rules shall be interpreted and applied so as to substantially accomplish their objectives.  The spirit and not the letter of each Rule shall be controlling.  Substantial compliance with a Rule shall be sufficient."

Nowhere does it inform whose "spirit" is to be used.

I am planning to propose that in a future revision that clause be stricken, but in the meantime plan to suggest that "footnotes" be used to clarify unclear areas of the rules and the the voting members of the organization can approve footnotes with a simple to act as guidance until the rules can be permanently amended and clarified.

There are rules that allow amending the rules in the interim period but that requires a 2/3 quorum and a 2/3 vote. Just not going to happen in the near term.

Most of the items that I believe need clarification are not covered by Robert's Rules of Orders. One item is a job description of a Sargent at Arms. Another is the answer to "Whose spirit?" The rules regarding producing and approving a budget in a timely fashion are not present. Lot's of things to clarify, and I think footnotes might provide the guidance necessary.

Yeah, I'm not a fan of this rule at all. This rule seems to suggest that the "spirit" of a rule may override even the clear meaning of the rule.

RONR provides instead that the intent behind a rule (to the extent this is known) is one factor to use to interpret a rule's meaning when the rule is ambiguous, but that this cannot override the plain language of the rule. RONR has a number of Principles of Interpretation (including this one) in RONR (12th ed.) 56:68.

11 hours ago, BlueCat57 said:

What are your thoughts? Do any of your organizations have a method of clarify rules without super-majorities?

Most organizations do not adopt rules or guidelines regarding the interpretation of rules. I would advise using the principles in RONR on this subject, until the ambiguous rules can be clarified.

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Thank you for the reply.

Our organization is undergoing a sea change between old leadership who like the status quo and new people that are ready to rock and roll. The rules are several years old and need updating but the update process is on a two year cycle so I'm looking for ways to "fix" things in the interim.

Right now the Chair is taking the "old" attitude so I'm looking for a simple majority process to clarify things.

I had flagged 56:68, but just hadn't gotten around to reading it. So much to learn.

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