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Dear Parliamentarian Vol. 19 July, 1997

Dear Parliamentarian Vol. 19 July, 1997

Dear Readers,

This month there is a series of letters from one person about tryanny on the nominating committee.

If you write and do not receive an answer from us, it is because we have not received the e-mail or your e-mail has been returned to us. Please include in all e-mail messages your phone number and mailing address.


I am on our clubs Nominating Committee. Our bylaws state that "at least three people will put together a 'slate' and present to the Board of  Director."
 I am looking for the Parliamentary meaning of SLATE, BALLOT and TICKET.
 Also, does 'slate' mean that only ONE PERSON per position be on the 'ballot'?
We (three of the members, myself included) are telling one other member that what we have found recently, that there can be more than one person per position on the nomination list, so people in the club have a choice. He is saying that according to all he knows, that only one person per position be presented to the board on the nominating list and that all he will allow for extras are the write-ins.
Can you help me out here? This has been bad situation every year for  over 5 years now. Who is right? And basically, does a slate mean only  one per position?
 Bee Reynolds
 Austin, TX

Dear Bee,

You did not tell me what your parliamentary authority is and if your bylaws have an further instructions.  I have a very interesting article about your very question that could help you all.  I will send it to you.  I have your address from the form you filled out on the WEB Site.

Robert’s Rules does not use the term “slate”.  Other parliamentary authorities do use the term.  Some say that it is only one candidate per office, others state that there can be more than one candidate per office.

The word “ticket” is another term for slate.  It is not used in Robert’s Rules.  It was used as “one candidate for office” and sometimes “two candidates per office.”

A “ballot”  is the term used for a piece of paper with the name of nominees written on it for the membership to use in voting.

Here are some other points that need to be considered in nominations:

The nominating committee should choose the best candidate for the office.  Having two candidates from which members can choose isn’t always the best idea.  Don’t think in terms of political elections.  Why an organization has a nominating committee is to have a small group of people who can impartially and fairly look at the needs of the organization and match the best qualified members who are will to serve in offices.  It is also a duty of the committee to call those they wish to nominate to see if they are willing to serve.  The nominating committee is to save time.  (The one time I can see two nominees for an office is when two members are qualified and willing to serve -- then let the members decide.)

Does your organization allow for nominations from the floor?

This gives the members opportunity to nominate others.  Another point is that a person does not have to be nominated to be elected when taking a ballot vote.  A write-in candidate could win.

Here is something from Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised that might help:  p. 425,  “Although it is not common for the nominating committee to nominate more than one candidate for any office, the committee can do so unless the bylaws prohibit it.”


 I am just the Vice President, Editor and SIG Leader. I am on the nominating committee because I am going out and do not wish to seek office again. I want to see a 'fair' ballot picked. Our group does not have a parliamentarian. The person upsetting things is the one who re-wrote the bylaws about 5 or 6 years ago.
 Let me quote the whole article for you:
 Article 13 Elections
 Section 1: Elections shall be held for CENTEX PCUG officer positions during the month of December.
 Section 2: Elections to office shall be by popular vote.

Section 3: A committee of at least three members will nominate a slate of members to fill the positions to be elected. The slate shall be presented to the Board of Directors by the end of October prior to the December election month. Upon approval of the Board of Directors, the nomination slate shall be printed on the election ballot along with space for potential write-in candidates. Members shall receive the ballot at least two weeks prior to the December election date.
 Section 4: Elections shall be by ballot distributed to all general members.
Section 5: Each member in good standing may cast one vote.
Section 6: Newly elected officers shall be installed at the January general meeting following the month of December in which they were elected.
That is the whole article. The general membership receives the ballot in our monthly newsletter at least 3 weeks before the election if not earlier depending on our publication time. We always put a write-in on the ballot.

For some years this group's nominations have not been what is best for  the group, but what the "good ole boys" want. Before two years ago, a  president was put in who had no running mate per say because the  nominating chairman would not have another name on the ballot. The  person was elected and then proceeding to tell everyone she had full  control of the club and they would do what she wanted they could leave.  She did not want to hear anything against her decisions. The Board let  her be approved and after months of losing almost two hundred members,  having a newsletter late every month and looking very bad, and consistently  pushing her "friends" into everyone, the Board took action against her  one night. There was a perfectly good editor doing the job before she  was elected. She "fired" that person to put her friend in the job that  did not even know how to use a computer. (we are a computer users'  group) She also did this two days after the election night and proceeded to the person's house and demanded equipment, software and such. The  person owned her own equipment and software, not the club.
After that and at the next Board meeting, the new president announced more "firings" and that she would control that and every meeting to her best ability.
Four months after she took office, and the Board took action against one  night, they restored the old editor back to office and the president  resigned the next day, two days before the newsletter had to be at the printers. The "new" president, vice president moved up, then let things go back to normal except he did not action, would not let new motions come in unless it was of no value or could not hurt him. He would side step everything. He stayed in office until the end of the year. That was the year our now president and myself were elected into office. We told  the committee at that time we wanted more than one person on ballot for each position to let people have a choice. By the time the committee was putting the nominations together, no one would volunteer to help or work. They didn't want to get treated like the editor and several others had been treated.
At this time, we are getting people to finally volunteer for positions again. Everyone that we talk to, including the person who is willing to run for president, has said that they want to see at least two people for each position this year. They want the members to have a choice.
Now, who is right and who is wrong? The person causing the upset this  week has resigned from both the Nominating committee and Bylaw committee. He will not bend to any ruling even in black and white. He  thinks that it is only one person per position and swears that it is  always that way. Nothing else will do.  Who is right? Don't the members  have choice in this situation? If two people are there, at least then the members make their choice and if the people don't work out the committee members look like the bad guys and it can't be said that  people were put in office because of pressure. The members will elect  them. We have over 550 members. Not everyone knows everyone. I am probably only one of about 5 members who comes the closest of knowing at  least half the people. Can you help us?
 Thanks...Bee Reynolds

Dear Bee,

Thank you for sharing more information.  What your organization has is a “democracy problem”  not a nominating procedure problem.   Your members lack the basic knowledge of how democracy operates in organizations -- whether it is serving as president or how to nominate members for different positions.   This is what I am recommending that you do.  Since no one is trained as a parliamentarian in your organization, I  recommend  that you suggest  to your board of directors that they hire a parliamentarian to instruct the board and officers in basic parliamentary knowledge.

There are two registered parliamentarians in Austin and a very fine one in Ft. Worth that I highly recommend.  She travels and works with many associations like yours in Texas.  Her name is Betty Green.  Her address is 1601 Ederville RD, Ft. Worth, TX 76103=1816.  Her phone number is 817-531-1433.

Again if your bylaws do not prohibit nominating two people you can nominate them.  However,  the committee members should interview the nominees to see that they have an understanding of the work involved and for president that would include being impartial, fair, and not a dictator.

If you would like the names of the people in Austin e-mail me back and I will send them to you.  I am still forwarding that article to you to share with all those concerned with this process including the man who resigned.  This will help all of  you understand the nominating process.  You did not tell me what your parliamentary authority is;  I strongly advise you to get a copy of ROBERT’S RULES OF ORDER NEWLY REVISED, 1990 ED.  published by Scott Foresman.  (We sell it here).  Read and study the chapter on Nominations and Elections.  Have your committee study it and be informed!

I am leaving today to attend the annual meeting of the American Institute of Parliamentarians and will not be answering e-mail until next Monday.  I believe Betty Green will be at this meeting too,  so you might not be able to reach her.

Might I suggest something if your are not already doing this.  In your newsletter have those running for office write something about their views on governing the organization.  That might help cut down on tyranny.

Another thing that might help is to have short articles or a column in your newsletter about how democracy works in small organizations and some basic information about meeting procedures.  I write short columns for organizations to publish in their newsletters.   You can also put our free report “How to make your meetings run more Smoothly” in your newsletter.  All we ask is for credit and a small blurb about our WEB SITE.

If  I can be of further help let me know.


Thank you for your input. Yes, I would like the email of those in Austin.
As I told you, I am not a parliamentarian. I am just the Vice President, Editor and SIG Leader. This is my first experience in over 30 years of  dealing with Robert's Rules. When I growing up in the Rainbow Girls of  the Masonic Order, it is used there and I was an officer before I got  married.
 Anyway, that is the limit to my knowledge except for what I have been  reading over the last two weeks. The page that quote 435, is the page I  read to the committee member and he told me I was wrong.
 I look forward to reading the article you are sending. Again, thanks for  your help and insight on this matter...
 Bee Reynolds, Austin, TX

Dear Bee,

        Here are the names of the parliamentarians:

        Lu Russell PRP
        10903 Cobblestone
        Austin, TX 78750

        Mrs. Marcia Todd Romberg PRPR
        2703 Mountain Laurel Dr.
        Austin, TX 78703

The Parliamentarian

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