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Disciplinary action to a board member at a meeting


Guest JSCHALK7
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I sit on a board, at a meeting and a heated discussion took place over a policy that didn’t exist.  3 days later from another board member I find out a special meeting was called.  I received no notice of this meeting.  This special meeting was held for me to be reprimanded.

 

My question is should this allegation of reprimand have been handled at the meeting itself?  If it can be held outside the meeting should the process be held like a trial?

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On 8/25/2021 at 4:30 PM, Guest JSCHALK7 said:

I sit on a board, at a meeting and a heated discussion took place over a policy that didn’t exist.  3 days later from another board member I find out a special meeting was called.  I received no notice of this meeting.  This special meeting was held for me to be reprimanded.

My question is should this allegation of reprimand have been handled at the meeting itself?

As I understand the facts, the alleged conduct at issue occurred at a meeting.

If this is correct, the motion could have taken place at the meeting itself, but it could have also taken place at a later meeting.

The bigger issue is that you did not receive notice of the meeting. If you are a board member, you have a right to notice of all meetings of the board.

On 8/25/2021 at 4:30 PM, Guest JSCHALK7 said:

If it can be held outside the meeting should the process be held like a trial?

No, a formal trial is not required if the only action taken is a reprimand, which seems comparable to a "censure." This is simply a formal expression of the assembly's disapproval and does not remove a person from office or membership or deprive the person of any of the rights of membership. As a result, this motion may be adopted the same as any other main motion.

In the event that some actual penalty beyond this were to be imposed, then a formal trial may or may not be required if the penalty is removal from office. That depends upon what the bylaws say in regard to the term of office. It should also be noted that a trial is the last step in formal disciplinary proceedings, not the first step.

If the penalty were discipline in regard to status as a member of the society, a formal trial would be required if the action were taken at a later meeting. It should also be noted that a trial is the last step in formal disciplinary proceedings, not the first step. A trial (and other steps in the formal disciplinary process) would not be required if action were taken during the same meeting during which the conduct occurred. Additionally, if the conduct at issue was words spoken in debate, disciplinary action may be taken only during the same meeting where the conduct occurred. A reprimand, however, is not truly "discipline" in the sense the term is used in RONR.

It should also be noted that if the board in question is a subordinate unit of a larger society, the board is limited with respect to what disciplinary actions may be taken to a member, and many cases may need to be referred to the society's membership. As noted above, however, a reprimand is not discipline and may be adopted the same as any other main motion.

Finally, it should be noted that in the event the organization's bylaws contain their own rules on these subjects, those rules take precedence over RONR.

Edited by Josh Martin
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I was given a 2 week suspension.  I was not at the meeting to mount a defense, I wasn't given notice of the meeting.  I have appealed my 2 week suspension to a higher board and will make a motion to null based on not receiving notice.  

 

Can you direct me to where in the book I can find "words spoken need to be delt with during the same meeting?"

Edited by JSCHALK7
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On 8/25/2021 at 5:51 PM, Josh Martin said:

a formal trial is not required if the only action taken is a reprimand, which seems comparable to a "censure." This is simply a formal expression of the assembly's disapproval and does not remove a person from office or membership or deprive the person of any of the rights of membership. As a result, this motion may be adopted the same as any other main motion.

A minor quibble. I agree that if the motion which is being made is a motion for censure or a reprimand, it may be handled as any other motion and a formal trial is not necessary. However, if the initial motion or punishment sought is more severe, such as removal from office, suspension of membership, or expulsion from membership, then a formal trial is necessary pursuant to the rules in RONR even though the ultimate penalty imposed may wind up being censure or a reprimand.  

it is my understanding that the formal disciplinary rules apply unless the original motion is merely for the non-disciplinary motion of censure or reprimand. 
 

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On 8/25/2021 at 6:05 PM, JSCHALK7 said:

I was given a 2 week suspension.

Thank you for these additional facts. That does change things.

As previously noted, in this event, if the board has the authority to discipline its own members, then this action could be taken at the meeting where the actions occurred. Alternately, the action could be taken at a subsequent meeting, although this means that formal disciplinary procedures would be required. Under the procedures in RONR, however, disciplinary action for words spoken in debate may only be taken at the same meeting.

It also must be noted again that if the organization has its own rules for discipline, those rules take precedence over RONR and must be followed.

On 8/25/2021 at 6:05 PM, JSCHALK7 said:

I was not at the meeting to mount a defense, I wasn't given notice of the meeting.  I have appealed my 2 week suspension to a higher board and will make a motion to null based on not receiving notice.  

RONR does not have a procedure to "appeal" a suspension to a higher board. In any event, however, it is correct that failure to provide notice to all members would mean the action is null and void. If the disciplinary procedures in RONR are controlling, it also appears to be null and void for other reasons.

On 8/25/2021 at 6:05 PM, JSCHALK7 said:

Can you direct me to where in the book I can find "words spoken need to be delt with during the same meeting?"

"If improper conduct by a member of a society occurs elsewhere than at a meeting, the members generally have no first-hand knowledge of the case. Therefore, if disciplinary action is to be taken, charges must be preferred and a formal trial held before the assembly of the society, or before a committee - standing or special - which is then required to report its findings and recommendation to the assembly for action. In addition, even when improper conduct occurs at a meeting, in order for disciplinary action to be taken other than promptly after the breach occurs, charges must be preferred and a formal trial held. However, the only way in which a member may be discipline for words spoken in debate is through the procedures described in 61:10-18, which may be employed only promptly after the breach occurs." RONR (12th ed.) 61:22

On 8/25/2021 at 6:27 PM, Richard Brown said:

A minor quibble. I agree that if the motion which is being made is a motion for censure or a reprimand, it may be handled as any other motion and a formal trial is not necessary. However, if the initial motion or punishment sought is more severe, such as removal from office, suspension of membership, or expulsion from membership, then a formal trial is necessary pursuant to the rules in RONR even though the ultimate penalty imposed may wind up being censure or a reprimand.  

it is my understanding that the formal disciplinary rules apply unless the original motion is merely for the non-disciplinary motion of censure or reprimand. 

Yes, I agree with this clarification.

Edited by Josh Martin
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