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Past President

By Robert McConnell Productions

How To Run A Meeeting

If you would like to know more about how Parliamentarian Procedure from Little Ben, click here for my DVD called How To Run A Meeting.

THE PAST PRESIDENT.  Soon we will have a past president of the United States of America.  This happens every four to eight years.  In a constitutional republic those serving as president, senator and congressman come from the people. When their terms are up, either through term limits, resignation or not getting re-elected, they are to return to the people and assume their place as regular citizens of the republic.  Here they can pursue their business or profession, or even continue to run for election to other offices, at the local, state or national level.  The one exception, of course, is that of president if one has served two terms.   The citizens expect these officers when they leave, to leave graciously and to continue to support in a positive manner those in governing positions.  In organizations, we expect the same.  The officers come from the membership and return to the membership.

However, there is a bylaw in some organizations that allow for the past president to have a role in governing.  THIS IS A HUGE MISTAKE!  In organizations that do this, there are often conflicts with the current president.  It is a weakness in human nature for those who have governed not to want to give up the ability to still control or direct the organization.  ROBERT’S RULES OF ORDER does not provide, recommend, or even hint that the office of past president should be considered in an organization.  One organization that Robert McConnell Productions assisted had the office of past president.  When the president called for help, Robert McConnell was told that this past president still wanted to run everything and made the current president’s job impossible.  Since this organization was revising its bylaws, Robert McConnell Productions strongly recommended that the office of past president be struck from the bylaws.  When he was told that the organization wanted continuity in the organization, Robert McConnell recommended that those serving on the board and on committees be trained in proper procedures and their duties.  He said that this was the best way to handle continuity.  By training members, they were preparing the members to rise from the ranks into positions of authority.  Having members informed in basic duties and responsibilities, there would always be a pool of well-trained members prepared to serve in offices, on the board, and committees.

So Little Ben’s message to those leaving the office of President.  “Be gracious, willing to help but step back to your role as a member.  The new President will not do what you did or the way you did it.  Allow the individual’s leadership style to appear.  What all members want their President to do is follow the bylaws, conduct meetings according to ROBERT’S RULES OF ORDER, and be wise, just, and fair.”

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