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Dear Parliamentarian Vol. 23 November, 1997

Dear Parliamentarian Vol. 23 November, 1997  

Dear Readers,

This year we have experimented with a subscription to the "Dear Parlimentarian" column.  We have decided that beginning in January 1998 the entire column will again be one page.


We are members of a Pony Baseball and Softball affiliated youth baseball organization -- namely Carlsbad Youth Baseball.

We have been on the Board of Directors as committee Chairpersons namely   Publicity Chairperson, Opening/Closing Day Chairperson, Team Parent Chairperson and Finance Committee Chairperson since the new elected officials took control on August 1, 1997.

We are also new to the organization and have attended every scheduled board meeting as of August 1, 1997.  Since we were new to the organization, we of coarse have experienced some bumps and bruises along the way.  Because the operation and administrative end of the league is a main focus of our positions, we recently asked for a copy of the Carlsbad Youth Baseball By-laws which we assumed would give us the guidance in figuring out our duties and how the decision making process occurred.

In reading the By-laws it became clear that the current elected officials, i.e. President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasure and Player Agent,  were not running the league in accordance with the current copy of the Carlsbad Youth Baseball By-laws.  When we approached the elected officials and other members of the board of directors we were given the reasoning that the By-laws were only guidelines and that why was it necessary that the league be run in accordance with the By-laws because it doesn't affect the 650 children and general membership on the playing field.  Also we were told that the current copy of the local rules and regulations supersedes the current copy of the Carlsbad Youth Baseball By-laws

In the layout of a non-profit youth organization such as Carlsbad Youth Baseball which document and in what order to the documents supersede one and another.  The documents I am referring to are as follows:

Pony Blue Book
Constitution - if one excites
Carlsbad Youth Baseball By-laws
Carlsbad Youth Baseball Local Rules and Regulations
Local Playing Rules
Robert Rules of Order

Also if these succession of documents is not being followed and if the current elected officials are not following the By-laws and are not planning on following the current By-laws, what recourse do we have as Committee Chairpersons and members of the current general membership.  Can you give me 3 reasons why is it important that the By-laws be followed.

Thank you for your assistance.  Please also mail me the copy of your newsletter which talks about succession of documents. My address is 3606 Milford Place, Carlsbad, CA 92008.  If you need a copy of our current By-laws or the Current Local Rules and Regulations I will send them to you at your request.

Best Regards,

Michelle R. Heil

Dear Michelle,

I have mailed you the document requested that will help you determine the ranking of your documents.  Since I do not know what the “Pony Book” is,  I do not know where it fits in, but by reading the article I sent you,  you will be able to tell.  If the Pony Book is from the parent organization then the rules that apply to your local club,  take precedence over the bylaws.

Now to give you three reasons why bylaws should be obeyed:

1.  to prevent anarchy and tyranny by one person or a small group of people.

2.  to ensure harmony, orderliness and cohesiveness of the organization and the rule of impartial law.

3.  to ensure the continuity of the organization itself.

The bylaws are one of the most important documents of the organization, here are some quotes from ROBERT’S RULES OF ORDER NEWLY REVISED, 1990 ED:  (page 14)  “The bylaws, by their nature, necessarily contain whatever limitations are placed in the powers of the assembly of a society (that is, the members attending a particular one of its meetings) with respect to the society as a whole.  Similarly, the provisions of the bylaws have direct bearing on the rights of members within the organization --whether present or absent from the assembly.  It is a good policy for every member on joining the society to be given a copy of the bylaws, printed together with the corporate charter, if there is one, and any special rules of order or standing rules that the society may have adopted as explained below.  A member should become familiar with the contents of these rules if he looks toward full participation in the society’s affairs.”

And on page 560, “The content of a  society’s bylaws has important bearing on the rights and duties of members within the organization --whether present or absent from the assembly --and on the degree to which the general membership is to retain control of, or be relieved of detailed concern with, the society’s business.  Except as  the rules of a society may provide otherwise, its assembly (that is, the members attending one of its regular or properly called meetings) has full and sole power to act for the entire organization and does so by majority vote.”

The purpose of bylaws is to ensure rule by “law” and not the whims of men. Obedience to bylaws constitute righteous government and a form of action, without such, the rights of members and the organization as a whole are unprotected, and allows for a small group to gain control and tyrannize the rest.  If members are not happy with the provisions in the bylaws, they should amend them to fit the current need.  Because of the strict process of amending bylaws,  it becomes the wishes of the membership and not just a few people, so democracy is still in operation.

The officers need to remember that without bylaws or obedience to them you have no organization.  The “bylaws” is that document that usually brings an organization into being (unless they have a Corporate Charter or Constitution).  It gives it structure; defines its purpose for existence; and establishes the relationship between members and officers, boards and the assembly, and the members relation to the organization as a whole.  It defines both the rights and duties of members and limits  or extends the power of officers and the boards.

Ignore them and you have tyranny and chaos.  Disobedience to them is the same as amending them without going through the proper procedures.  Bylaws are the rules of the game and we know how teams feel when one team doesn’t follow the rules and the other does.  Especially when the other wins!!!!  We cry “fowl”,  “unfair”, and “cheat”.  And so your officers are being “unfair”,  and “cheating” the members of their rights by not playing by the rules.

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