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Thread: Parliamentarian declares AKCA board actions invalid !!!

  1. #1
    Jumbo HenryC's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Orlando, FL

    Parliamentarian declares AKCA board actions invalid !!!

    I think many of us wondered what route the OC7 would take to remain in office even though over 2/3rds of the member clubs were quite clear that they DO NOT WANT THEM as board members. Well, it was done just be declaring it. If you read the Parliamentarian report, the AKCA bylaws do not provide for an officer to stay in office if not re-elected. The elected office is for one year and when that year is up, they are out of office if not re-elected. The bylaws to do allow for a simple declaration of maintaining an officer position, so Kristine’s declaration the day before her term officially ended does not constitute a legal board. The Parliamentarian specifically stated that it was not within Kristine’s power to keep the non-elected officers in place. As of now, the AKCA does not have any officers. The clubs that remained in the AKCA should demand another election and not accept a board that was specifically thrown out of office by the member clubs.

    The Parliamentarian answered the board question about what should be done and the board ignored it:

    “The standard parliamentary practice for a round of balloting which fails to elect enough people to all the open offices (technically called "an incomplete election" within RONR) is to immediately hold another round of balloting. And if that round likewise fails, then to hold yet another round. And so on.”
    The Parliamentarian recommended including other candidates that would be acceptable to the membership. This means putting the nominations requested by the member clubs on the ballot (Burt Ballou, Mike Frady and Dale Gingerich).

    As to Kristine’s interpretation that “attend at their own expense” means they must attend in person and not via teleconference, the Parliamentarian disagreed:
    ”Answer 7: No, not necessarily.
    It is possible that one sitting member of the board may choose to spend his/her personal money for whatever hardware and software is required for a video conference or teleconference.
    If simultaneous communication is possible, then Robert's Rules of Order's minimum requirement will have been met.
    It is possible that the state corporations code, too, might well be satisfied. (This latter issue should be clarified with AKCA's legal counsel.)
    In either case,
    (a.) the phrase "at their own expense"
    does not imply that
    (b.) attendance must be physical presence.”

    So not allowing Mike to attend via teleconference was out of order.

    The Parliamentarian’s response to Burt and Mike’s question clearly state that Kristine not allowing nominations from the floor and not allowing write-in votes was clearly not permissible. Based on the Parlianmentarian's answers, it appears Kristine did just about everything wrong in the recent election, the board cannot block qualified nominees, the board cannot block write-in votes and the board cannot disregard a ballot just because it has writing other than a check in the ballot boxes.

    1) Does the AKCA Board have the authority within the By Laws or Robert’s Rules of Order to limit the ballot to a single nominee, thus eliminating possible competition for the position for which they are seeking?
    REPLY 1: No.
    The reasons are many:
    (a.) Just because a ballot displays a single name per office, that by itself does not imply that the voter cannot override that sole choice with a better choice, via a write-in choice. Under Robert's Rules of Order, write-in votes must be allowed, if for no other reason than to properly vote "against" a sole candidate on a ballot.
    (b.) A vote cast for a qualified person (here, a write-in candidate) cannot be discarded or ignored. There is nothing in the bylaws and nothing in Robert's Rules of Order which grants a board the power to set aside a vote just because the vote was for a person other than the sole nominee.
    (c.) Qualifications to hold office are already in the bylaws. A board cannot add to, or subtract from, the qualifications for office (like here, for example, “Must have been nominated by the nominating committee”), without amending the bylaws.

    2) Does Robert’s Rules of Order permit the Board of Directors to restrict the ballot so that “write-in candidates” are determined to be illegal?
    REPLY 2: No. Nothing in Robert's Rules of Order grants any such power to any party, to discard a vote cast for a qualified person.
    See also REPLY 1, where all those reasons apply likewise here.

    3) Does Robert’s Rules of Order permit nominees from the floor to be included on the ballot without a second and without concurrence from the Board of Directors as long as all qualifying requirements are met?
    REPLY 3: Yes.
    (a.) Nominations from the floor are a normal and expected step under Robert's Rules of Order.
    (b.) Seconds are not a requirement for nominations from the floor, as nominations from the floor are NOT classified as “motions," and so technically never need a second.
    (Technically, nominations are part and parcel of an election, and are not themselves independent motions, so they do not require seconds.)
    (c.) There is no rule within Robert’s Rules of Order which grants to any board or any chair the power to withhold nominations.
    (d.) A pre-printed ballot which does not display all the names nominated from the floor does not imply that the names which are not pre-printed on the ballot are somehow "invalid" or "ineligible."

    4) Were the actions taken by the AKCA Board regarding the 2012 election of officers permissible under the current By Laws or Robert’s Rules of Order?
    REPLY 4: No, assuming that the "actions" referred to were (a.) to block write-in votes, or (b.) to prevent nominations from the floor.
    Reasons are same as those REPLIES above.

    5) The AKCA Board created a ballot with a single candidate for each vacant position. The Board then permitted the voting clubs to indicate a “Yes” or “No” vote for the candidates, but stated that any Write-Ins would void the entire ballot. Is this an appropriate or legal form of ballot for use in an election of officers, when the By Laws are silent on the format of the ballot?
    REPLY 5: No. According to Robert's Rules of Order, it is inappropriate to use "yes/no" boxes for elections. Use of "yes/no" boxes are appropriate for ordinary motions, but not for elections.
    According to Robert's Rules of Order, the appropriate method of voting "against" a sole nominee is to vote for someone else, i.e., to write in the name of the preferred candidate.
    See also all the similar reasons already given in the REPLIES above, namely, disenfranchisement; qualifications for office.

    6) The AKCA By Laws state:
    Robert’s Rules of Order (revised) shall govern all proceedings of this Corporation where applicable providing that such rules shall not be in conflict with the By-Laws of this Corporation.

    The Board made the statement that since they are a corporation and not just a social club, they do not have to follow the same rules. They can determine the how and why of elections and ballots. Based on the statement from the AKCA By Laws, is the AKCA Corporation granted wider or different powers than all other organizations who are guided by their By Laws or by Robert’s Rules of Order?
    REPLY 6: [two part question]
    (a.) Regarding the preparation of preprinted ballots. Ballots, where they are pre-printed or otherwise prepared, must be prepared by someone. The board can arrange to have ballots printed with nominees' names upon the ballots. But the board cannot disenfranchise a voter's choice.
    Pre-printed ballots are a convenience, but not necessary. Under Robert's Rules of Order, a blank sheet of paper, where the voter writes in 100% of the data, like the name of the preferred candidate and the office, is perfectly legitimate.
    (b.) Regarding AKCA, as a corporation, having wider or different powers. -- No difference: Corporations must follow the corporations code, and must follow their Articles of Incorporation, and must follow the common parliamentary law where they choose to not follow one specific parliamentary handbook like "Robert's Rules of Order." So even if the board disagreed with some rules of Robert's Rules of Order, they are still bound to obey common parliamentary law, and respect the rights of members to vote their choice, short of a bylaw or superior rule saying otherwise.

    7) It has been stated by a Board of Directors member that they knew what they were doing was not right, but that they did what had to be done to maintain control of the organization. More than half of the membership signed petitions asking that the improper election and ballot be rescinded. The BoD ignored the petitions and took no remedial actions. Do these actions of the Board in regards to the 2012 ballot and election constitute an illegal act or even possible fraud as stated by another professional Parliamentarian? If these acts are determined to be illegal or even an act of fraud against the membership, would this warrant expulsion or disciplinary actions against those Board members who knowingly approved the actions after being advised against such inappropriate actions by the Board Parliamentarian and others.
    REPLY 7: [three part question]
    The actual act is not mentioned by name, so it is unclear which act is the one of interest.
    (a.) But if the board disenfranchised a voter's choice, then the board violated a fundamental principle of parliamentary law.
    (b.) There is no rule which says that petitions carry any parliamentary weight or any parliamentary meaning, other than perhaps registering an opinion on some issue. So if the board's action was to ignore the petitions, then no parliamentary rule was violated.
    (c.) Regarding whether these "acts" warrant disciplinary action: Any major violation of a rule can be grounds for disciplinary action. Disallowing a validly-cast ballot is a serious breach of the rules. The organization may choose to discipline the parties involved in a serious breach of the rules. A trial may be held to determine the egregiousness of the error(s).
    But the choice to go through with a trial, or to chalk it up to errors
    of ignorance, is a judgment call, and each organization must decide for itself if the breach of the rules justifies disciplinary measures.

    8 ) Since the current election resulted in an overwhelming vote of “No” for each of the candidates (more than 2/3 of ballots cast), what does Robert’s Rules of Order prescribe as the procedures to follow for a new election? Are those candidates who lost the current election eligible to be nominated and placed on the ballot again? Are the individuals who approved an election and ballot in violation of the By Laws and Robert’s Rules of Order eligible for nomination for officer positions? Since the actions of the BoD has caused individuals who were eligible at the time of the original nominations to become ineligible, are the nominees who were eligible at the time of the nominations and were denied their rights to be placed on the ballot, automatically placed on the new ballot? If not, do all individuals require re-nomination?
    REPLY 8: [five part question]
    (a.) Where a first round of balloting fails to produce a winner, the normal step is to immediately hold a second round of balloting.
    (b.) Any candidate who "lost" in round one of an election remains on the ballot. -- No one is dropped when round two is held. It is even possible to re-open nominations and perhaps find a compromise candidate which some voters might consider, in lieu of dead-locking on the same two candidates, in subsequent rounds.
    (c.) Everyone who fulfills the qualifications for office are automatically candidates for election, even if such parties were involved with "preparing" the ballot or "approving" the ballot, or even if such parties violated Robert's Rules of Order or violated the bylaws, previously. A person does not lose his/her qualification for office merely due to that person's past error, or past judgment.
    (d.) Technically, all qualified parties are "on the ballot" in the sense that they need not have been nominated in order to win an election, under strict Robert's Rules of Order. Nominations are a convenience, not a necessity, for an election.
    A pre-printed ballot where all the candidates are named and where all ballots look uniform (technically called an "Australian ballot") is a convenience, not a necessity. In its plainest form, an election could be held by passing out blank sheets of paper, with the instructions, "Write down the name of person you are voting for, and the office."
    (e.) There is no "automatic" placement, per se, since the ballot typically often is pre-printed with the names of those people who were nominated well before the first round of balloting, and obviously the pre-printed ballot is missing all the names of the write-in candidates. However, it is in order to adopt a corrective motion, namely, to have the preprinted ballot reprinted (or altered by hand, like the secretary writing in the newly-nominated names, or the newly-voted-for names). But whether a name appears on the ballot's face or not, if the party is qualified to serve in office, then that party can be elected, even if no one nominated that party. -- The voter merely writes in the name.

    Orlando, FL

  2. #2
    Jumbo jnorth's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Thanks for the update Henry. Sounds pretty much like I figured it would sound.
    My personal koi page Updated 7/8/07
    ZNA Potomac Koi Club

  3. #3
    MCA is offline
    Honmei MCA's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Makes one wonder if it will take action by the California Attorney General to intervene as the AKCA is likely violating laws related to their incorporation and tax exempt status. I guess AKCA is likely too small a pile of potatoes for this to get any visibility in Sacramento.

  4. #4
    Jumbo jnorth's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Looks like some posts were lost so here is the basics of what they said.

    Link to what AKCA has to say

    Parliamentarian Report | AKCA.org - Associated Koi Clubs of America

    and a reminder that Koi-bito itself does not pick sides in any of these arguements but we do allow people to freely speak their mind within reason. When it gets too much we cut it off.
    My personal koi page Updated 7/8/07
    ZNA Potomac Koi Club

  5. #5
    Honmei KoiCop's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Southern California
    Thanks for re-posting that lost link, Jim.

    By way of clarification, however, it won’t lead to what the AKCA has to say; rather, it will lead to the Certified Professional Parliamentarian’s almost 50 page report. Since I’m sure most discerning readers would rather read the entire report (rather than browse a few, cherry-picked excerpts) it’s very much appreciated.

    For those who are interested in what the AKCA has to say, maybe this succinct excerpt from the July Minutes (which are posted in full at http://www.akca.org/2012-07-akca-minutes/) will suffice:

    Parliamentarian Report: Kristine distributed the 49 pages of this report to all Board members prior to the meeting. It deals with how to proceed with nominations and elections. He recommended we seek our attorney’s advice since there are some questions to be answered that even the parliamentarian said he can’t answer. Rather than trying to sort this out tonight with incomplete data, Kristine recommended the Board supports going to the corporation’s attorney for advice. Motion: To consult our attorney for advice. Motion by Don, 2ndby Louie. Approved. Don advised that one of the Parliamentarian’s observations was that Board members who vote to abstain or who vote against a motion should be identified by name; Carole said she would do so in the future. Since we have nothing to hide, the Board thought the entire Parliamentarian’s report should be posted on our website for everyone to see – and it will be.

    And so it has been.

    Best wishes, Don
    Don Chandler
    Member: AKCA, ZNA, KoiUSA

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