As many of you know, there have been and continue to be pending by-law amendments. The first set of amendments were proposed for the September 20th meeting. On September 25th, several members called for and scheduled a special meeting to be held on October 11th. The agenda for that special meeting included, among other things, a motion to amend several sections of by-laws.
As Chair of the meeting(s) and President of the Local, I ruled that the motion to amend by-laws during the October 11th meeting was out of order, as Robert’s Rules of Order prohibit duplicate motions. As there was already a motion on the table for amending by-laws on September 20th, it was my understanding that the October 11th motion was a duplicate motion, and therefore out of order. Pursuant to the International’s Constitution and By-Laws, the Local President has the authority to interpret and rule on motions of business such as these. However, it is my opinion that our Union is best served by getting an outside opinion on some of the finer technicalities of parliamentary law, and for that reason, I obtained the assistance of a Professional and Registered Parliamentarian, Mr. Al Gage.
Mr. Gage has over 27 years of experience in parliamentary law and procedure and has worked with many organizations big and small. He was provided with copies of the International’s By-Laws, our By-Laws, meeting notices, agenda packets, proposal documents, minutes, and membership records for payroll deductions. He is one of this most credentialed and qualified parliamentarians in the Phoenix metro area and has no pre-existing relationship with the Local I-60 or its officers.
During his review, he concluded that my ruling on the duplicative motion issue — having two different by-law modification proposals on the table in conflict at the same time — was incorrect due to a technicality within Robert’s Rules of Order which allows one exception to duplicative motions: amendments to by-laws. Based on his expert opinion, I am hereby reversing my ruling on the October 11th motion to amend by-laws, and instead ruling the motion in order.
Mr. Gage also reviewed the proposals and amendments for compliance with Robert’s Rules of Order and our Constitution & By-Laws. During his review, he noted that a motion and several amendments during October 11th were out of order for exceeding the scope and notice for the special meeting. Based on his expert opinion, I am hereby ruling that while the majority of changes to the by-laws on October 11th, the following are out of order:
Article IX (Initiation Fees, Dues, and Assessments)
The amended changes in this article exceed the scope of notice, and therefore are null. This is because that while many members already pay $30 per pay period, there is a significant amount that pays less than $30. The proposed changes in the special meeting notice indicated that dues would be lowered to $20, but the action by the assembly increased dues for those that are paying less than $30 at this time. Our By-Laws require clear notice of increase to union dues, and the special meeting notice did not indicate any increase in union dues.
Article VII (Candidates for Office and Voting Procedures)
The amended changes in this article exceed the scope of notice, and therefore are null. The posted proposed changes called for election timelines to be reduced from sixty days to thirty days but were amended by the assembly to be fifteen days. Pursuant to Robert’s Rules of Order, the amendment was valid when it was proposed, but became invalid when it was amended as the amendment exceed the scope of notice (e.g. less than thirty days or greater than sixty days).
Article XII (Audit of Records)
The proposed amendment was to form a Financial Review Committee with certain duties and specifications. This was amended from the floor to hiring an External CPA to perform the review which is outside the scope of notice and therefore is declared out of order and void. This same issue applies to the specific agenda item of the special meeting which was held as a motion to form the committee referenced in the by-law modification proposals.
September 20th Motion to Postpone
The members present at the special meeting moved to take up the motion of September 20th and kill the motion, thereby eliminating the duplicative motion issue. As the special meeting notice did not clearly state it’s intent to pick up the September 20th motion, it is unable to do so, and therefore the motion remains as unfinished business to be resolved during the November 16th special meeting (which will immediately precede the regularly scheduled meeting).
The consolidated and amended by-laws, including the above ruling impacts, are available for download by clicking here (PDF).
In addition, the special meeting scheduled for October 27th, 2017 has been rescheduled to immediately precede the regularly scheduled meeting on November 16th. Notice of the special meeting is available on the Union’s website at locali60.org/meetings
The amendments to the above articles which were out of order and void and have been added to the November 16th agenda for final resolution by the membership.
IAFF Local I-60