Appointed Positions

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Appointed Positions

I am the Vice President of a small Organization called The NH Foster Parent Association. We have adopted limited by-laws that state that anything not specifically cover within them will follow Robert's Rules. The executive board of directors is made up of a president, vice president, treasurer, secretary, and five members at large. These are all elected positions. There is a provision in our bylaws for the president to appoint a corresponding secretary. Would this be considered a voting member of the executive board according to Robert's?

It depends on the language in the bylaws. If the bylaws state that the corresponding secretary is a member of the board or an ex officio member of the board, then the corresponding secretary would vote. Ex officio members vote unless it says "non voting ex-officio member" in the bylaws. Otherwise, the corresponding secretary would be an appointed staff member working for the board but not a member of it.

We have found that our by-laws do not specify which executive members may vote.

From what you have said, they all have the rights of full membership, including the right to vote.

We have set a precedent that the president only casts a vote to break a tie. Our new president has informed us that according to Robert's, the president may vote on any issue at any time.

Your precedent is not partliamentary law, but is an opinion of some of the members
of the group, and in the interpersonal dynamics of meetings a factor to take into
account. In Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised, there are special rules for Boards and for Committees. What your new president said is quite correct, even if people are surprised by it (honestly, I am not being cute here--most people have only a superficial knowledge of parliamentary procedure and how boards are supposed to work is not widely known). Among the rules (which are listed as a Topic on my Parliamentary Procedure homepage), the Chair of a board meeting can make motions, speak on one side or the other on every motion, and vote. People often are surprised to hear this because they know some of the rules about impartiality of a chair in a huge assembly or plenary body meeting. All I can advise is that boards are different creatures and have their own special rules. In practice, because people sometimes feel a chair is being unfair if he/she votes, sometimes a chair has an informal rule of only voting when the vote would make a difference, i.e., to break a tie vote or to create a tie (which would defeat a motion).

I hope this clarifies it for you. Good luck to you.

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