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2/3rd Vote Requirement, must choose one of two options, neither are a Yay or Nay


WallaceHall
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I am the commander of a VFW post going through the process of consolidation (merger) with another post.  We use RONR as a reference when our bylaws and other governing documents do not cover certain topics.  I've included the excerpt from our bylaws covering consolidation below.  One of the interesting items we have to decide on is our Post number (ref. item 6), i.e. Post 1001 or Post 2002; it requires 2/3rd of the members present to vote for one of the post numbers.  There is no supporting bylaw that we've been able to locate should no post number reach the 2/3rd requirement.

For the questions below, assume that all voting is done by ballot.

If there is not a 2/3rd majority for either post number, is it within the right of the chair to hold another vote for post number during the same meeting?

Should a second vote fail to garner the 2/3rd requirement; does the department representative determine the outcome of the post number? Or, what is next based on the information provided?

Any references we can use in RONR would be greatly appreciated.  I thought this may fall under plurality voting 44.11 but that seems to be fore three or more options for a candidate.

 

VFW Bylaws as amended July 19, 2022

Bylaws

Article II Posts

Sec. 209 - Consolidation of Posts.

Two or more Posts may consolidate by authority of the Commander-in-Chief as prescribed

in Section 209 of the Manual of Procedure.

Manual of Procedure

Article II Posts

Sec. 209 - Consolidation of Posts.

Two or more Posts may consolidate upon a vote of their respective members conducted

in accordance with the procedures herein set forth as follows:

1.      A motion to consider consolidation shall be made and approved at a regular or special meeting of the Posts.

2.      A committee shall be appointed by the Post Commander to investigate consolidation.

3.      All Posts involved in the consolidation shall exchange a report of all assets and liabilities.

4.      A Post may then, after at least twenty (20) days written notice to the Department Commander, District Commander and members of the respective Posts, consolidate upon a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the members present and voting at each regular or special meeting of the respective Posts.

5.      The Department Commander shall be notified, in writing, immediately after the meeting of the outcome of the action taken.

6.      A Department representative shall conduct a joint meeting of all Posts within thirty (30) days for the purpose of determining the name, number (must be one of the consolidating Post numbers), location of the consolidated Post and the election and installation of officers. A written notice must be sent to the members of all Posts involved at least fourteen (14) days in advance. All actions, with the exception of the election of officers, must be approved by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the members present and voting.

7.      Such facts shall be certified by the Department representative, submitted to the Department Commander for forwarding to the Commander-in-Chief who shall issue a Certificate of Charter reciting the facts of such consolidation. The Certificate of Charter shall rank from the date of the senior Post’s charter. The property of each of the Posts shall be conveyed to and become the property of the consolidated Post. All past officers in each Post shall be entitled to rank as of date of service in their respective Posts.

 

Notwithstanding the provisions above, the Department Commander may recommend consolidation to the Commander-in-Chief as circumstances dictate

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Because this question involves customized rules of the VFW, I am inclined to think this matter will ultimately need to be resolved by the VFW. I would advise consulting representatives from higher levels of the organization regarding this matter - perhaps this "Department Representative" could assist with this question.

On 10/16/2022 at 6:12 PM, WallaceHall said:

If there is not a 2/3rd majority for either post number, is it within the right of the chair to hold another vote for post number during the same meeting?

As I understand the facts, the newly consolidated organization must select a post number. Therefore, I am inclined to think that the chair not only has the right to hold another vote, but is required to do so. In my view, the situation is similar to an incomplete election.

On 10/16/2022 at 6:12 PM, WallaceHall said:

Should a second vote fail to garner the 2/3rd requirement; does the department representative determine the outcome of the post number? Or, what is next based on the information provided?

A third vote, or a fourth vote, and so forth could be taken on this matter. As I have noted previously, I think the situation is comparable to an incomplete election. If the bylaws provide that the society shall have particular officers, then voting in an election for those officers is repeated as many times as is necessary until the positions are filled. Similarly, because the bylaws require the organization to select a post number, it seems to me that voting would be repeated as many times as is necessary until a post number is selected.

Nonetheless, if the organization continues to fail to determine a post number, I have no idea what happens next. The rule as written does not appear to contemplate the possibility that the newly merged organization will be unable to reach a decision on this matter. I think this is a question for the VFW.

On 10/16/2022 at 6:12 PM, WallaceHall said:

I thought this may fall under plurality voting 44.11 but that seems to be fore three or more options for a candidate.

What is said regarding plurality voting will not be of assistance for your organization for several reasons.

  • As you note, the phrase plurality vote has no meaningful application unless there are three or more choices. If there are only two choices, there is no difference between a plurality vote and a majority vote.
  • As 44:11 makes clear, plurality voting is only used if the organization has a rule providing for it - which your organization does not.
  • On the contrary, your organization's rules specifically require a 2/3 vote. Your organization's rule on this matter takes precedence over RONR.
Edited by Josh Martin
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Thank you for the quick reply.  We have not gotten clear guidance from higher up in the VFW yet on these specific questions.  I think this is a scenario that has not been encountered to date or if it has, little to no documentation on the process was recorded for reference.  Though, conversations are ongoing and I'm confident that we'll be able to resolve all issues.  I'm hopeful we can find the reference material or be informed by National what the process needs to be.

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guess the easy way out would just be to cancel the consolidation of the two posts altogether,  if there is no agreement on the number, there is no agreement on the consolidation

(sadly the bylaws don't seem to allow this)

it is a bit of a mistake that the bylaws don't make the number part of the consolidation agreement,  but do it separately.

 

is there nowhere a rule that the division commander may advice against consolidation?

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On 10/16/2022 at 7:12 PM, WallaceHall said:

Notwithstanding the provisions above, the Department Commander may recommend consolidation to the Commander-in-Chief as circumstances dictate

@puzzling I think this statement is intended to give our Department commander the right to make a determination if the group as a whole cannot agree.  There is a form that must be filled out certifying the facts of consolidation; voted on name, number and officers.  Though it does not include any instructions beyond the bylaw reference I posted here.

@Weldon Merritt The challenge is to finalize the Consolidation, a number must be agreed upon.

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On 10/17/2022 at 12:19 PM, Weldon Merritt said:

It doesn't necessarily follow that "if there is no agreement on the number, there is no agreement on the consolidation." It is quite possible that the two posts agree that they should consolidate, but neither wants to relinquish their number.

Yes, but if the consolidation is a six-step process, and not all six steps are completed, the consolidation is not complete, and presumably would not be certified unless and until all the required steps are completed.

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On 10/17/2022 at 7:45 PM, Gary Novosielski said:

Yes, but if the consolidation is a six-step process, and not all six steps are completed, the consolidation is not complete, and presumably would not be certified unless and until all the required steps are completed.

that is just what I wanted to say (or something similar in other words) 

Maybe after the heated debates on a number both posts want to rescind their motion to consolidate. (we want to share al our belongings and the members of that other post are not even willing to give up their number)

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On 10/17/2022 at 3:21 PM, puzzling said:

that is just what I wanted to say (or something similar in other words) 

Maybe after the heated debates on a number both posts want to rescind their motion to consolidate. (we want to share al our belongings and the members of that other post are not even willing to give up their number)

None of this is the least

 bit helpful.

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The consolidating posts may be more likely to agree on a post number if the committee referred to in subsection 2

On 10/16/2022 at 7:12 PM, WallaceHall said:

2.      A committee shall be appointed by the Post Commander to investigate consolidation.

agrees upon a recommendation to make to the general memberships. The clause "to investigate consolidation" appears to be broad enough to allow the committee to make such a recommendation.

Do you not anticipate the same problem with the name and location of the consolidated post (as per subsection 6)? If you have a way to reach a decision on those two items, perhaps use the same logic or process to decide upon the post number.

Edited by Atul Kapur
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