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Dear Parliamentarian Vol. 32 October '98

Dear Parliamentarian Vol. 32  October '98
Answers to your Parliamentary Questions

"Dear Parlimentarian" is written by the author of Parliamentary Procedures Made Simple: The Basics, an 80 minute video that tells how to have better meetings.

Tim Cole wrote:


Dear Parlimentarian-

Our college bylaws state that the dean of the college is an ex-officio member of the college's Executive Committee. Our bylaws also list among the deputy dean's responsibilities that she "functions in the capacity of the Dean during that persons absence." Thus, when the dean is out of town, does the deputy dean become an ex-officio member of the Executive Committee with full voting rights?

Tim Cole

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


Dear Tim,

The term ex-officio means by virtue of office. When something is giving specifically in the bylaws for the "president" to do or in this case the "dean" to do, then only he can do it. This does not transfer to the "deputy dean" when the Dean is out of town.

If you would like a page reference in ROBERT'S RULES NEWLY REVISED 1990 ED. see page 486 beginning line 2. This is talking about the president's power to appoint committees but it applies to this too.

You can also find this same reference on page 158, 4th paragraph, of ROBERT'S RULES OF ORDER SIMPLIFIED AND APPLIED. (1998) (and written by our company.)

Robert McConnell Productions




Dear Parliamentarian,

I would appreciate your help and opinion in reference to the new Article VII, Section 1-Appeals of the Constitution & By-Laws of my organization. This was just passed at our annual meeting in August, so there is not a SOP to go along with the language. I am on a State Investigatory Committee such as described in the language, and we really need guidance about our scope and duties. We are investigating charges by a member against the State Board and are getting conflicting information from them and the Parent (National) Board in reference to our authority to investigate the matter as we interpret the language. This is the text of the new Article VII, Section 1:



Section 1. State

A. Any member aggrieved by any action of a State Association, or officer thereof, shall have the right to appeal to the State Board. Such appeal must be in writing and must be filed with the State President within thirty (30) days of the action complained of. Within ten (10) days of receipt of such appeal, the State President will notify all members of the State Board, and also, request that the charging party provide a letter outlining the specific charges and relief sought. This letter of specificity must be returned within thirty (30) days, and upon its receipt the State Board must notify the charged party in writing. The State Board will then establish an Investigating Comittee which will have full authority to conduct a full, fair, and impartial investigation. One member of the Investigating Committee will be chosen by the State Board, one member will be chosen by the charging party, and the two original members will then choose the third member. All members of this Investigating Committee must be members of the State Association, excluding Associate members. Within thirty (30) days of receipt of the letter of specificity from the aggrieved party, the Investigating Committee will make a report in writing, including its findings and recommendations, to the full State Board. The State Board is authorized in consultation with the NRLCA assigned Executive Committee representative, to take the necessary action to resolve the issue. Such action shall be within thirty (30) days, unless extensions of time limits are necessary, and all partieis must be notified in writing of such action. Specifically, I would like your opinion on the following items in reference to Section 1

(State) of the same:

1. Does the appointed Investigatory Committee have the "full authority" to conduct an investigation of the State Board? (ie: in reference to deciding the course of the investigation and necessary and reasonable expenses.) Or, would expenses be mandated to be run through the State Board or National Board for prior permission of expenditures? No specifics are listed except "full authority" of the Investigatory Committee to conduct the investigation.......

2. Would the appointed Investigatory Committee have the authority to mutually agree to time limit extensions in order to conduct an investigation, or be mandated to the thirty (30) day limit. (Reference is made to extension in Article VII, Section 1.A, but does

not specifically include OR exclude the Investigatory Committee.

3. Could a State President/State Board cut off an Investigation without allowing extension of time limits?

Please understand, that I am not asking you these specifics from a legal standpoint, merely a parliamentary standpoint in your position of expertise. I hope that you can help clear up these "muddy" areas. Thank you in advance for your assistance in that regard. If you are unable to answer the above expeditiously due to time restraints, could you perhaps put me in contact with a qualified parliamentarian in my area? Thanks again.


Emma L. McCarty

Rural Carrier



Dear Emma,

After carefully reading your e-mail and the wording of the bylaws this is what I read:

1. The investigating committee has "full authority to a full, fair, and impartial investigation". The question I would ask is "how much does the committee intend to spend on this investigation?" Is it photo copying, postage, telephone calls? Or is it something else. I would say the committee has the right to spend what it needs to gather information and that would be the extent of the expenditures.

2. The bylaws are very specific about how long the committee has to gather information and report back to the State Board -- and that is within thirty (30) days. It has no authority to ask for an extension. It is the State Board’s authority to can carry out the "action" to resolve the issue that can be extended. By then the work of the investigation committee is over and the issue is in the hands of the State Board.

3. All must stay within the boundaries of the bylaws including the president.

If you need further help here are two parliamentarians with the same area code that you can call:

Dorothy Medlein, Chattanooga, 423-266-2653

Janice Stapleton, Knoxville 423-694-1103


Robert McConnell Productions wrote:


Saw your web page and thought I would ask this question. I am a member of a small non-profit dog club. At our last meeting we did not have a quorum, we still discussed the Chairman's agenda (she was not in attendance) She is now saying since no quorum, no meeting, and so no minutes. We did not make motions or vote except to call meeting to order, note no quorum, and after all the discussion make motion w/second to adjourn. Am I wrong in assuming that yes these discussions can be printed and published in our newsletter for other club members to review? I can find no reference in Sturgis or Robert's Rules about minutes such as these. We hate to see this work not be acknowledged or known to other club members.

Thanks for your help.

Pat T.


Dear Pat,

What you had was just a group of people getting together and discussing things. You did not have a meeting because there was no quorum present. The minutes should state the fact that there was no quorum present, some of the members did stay and discuss some issues but nothing was resolved and the meeting adjourned.

I do not know what your newsletter entails. Instead of publishing in your newsletter the discussion of this "non meeting", why not have different members who were at the meeting write articles about the different issues and give their recommendations for solutions to these problems. Then the entire organization would be kept up to date and perhaps at the next meeting all will come, you will have a quorum and the entire organization will have the background information to make a decision.

See if this is agreeable to the president.

Robert McConnell Productions

PS. It is important when there is no quorom for the meeting to adjourn immediately and everyone go home because it looks like things are being done secretly. Why there is to be no meeting when no quorum is present is to protect the rights of the absent members.

 Copyright 1998 Robert McConnell Productions, all rights reserved.