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march/april 2008

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A Superior Body


Q: Can a chapter’s or a State Council’s bylaws prescribe requirements for national office in addition to those in the VVA Constitution?

A: No. The VVA Constitution is a higher-ranking document than the State Council or chapter bylaws. A lower-ranking document cannot abrogate a rule prescribed by a higher-ranking document. Robert’s, page 550, line 28, points out: “The bylaws of a subordinate unit need to conform to those of a superior body.”

Q: If the bylaws prohibit a member from holding two offices at the same time, can a member run for more that one office?

A: Yes. A member can run for more than one office. Robert’s, page 426, line 2, states: “if a person has been nominated for a number of offices, it may happen that the same person is elected to more than one office. Although, strictly speaking, there is no prohibition against a person’s holding more than one office, it is understood in most societies that a member can serve in only one such capacity at a time, and sometimes the bylaws so provide. In such a case, if the person elected to two or more offices is present, he can choose which of the offices he will accept. If he is absent, the assembly should decide by vote the office to be assigned to him, and then should elect persons to fill the other offices.”

Q: What defines if a president is counted in a quorum?

A: There are two conditions for determining a quorum when a president is involved. Robert’s, page 440, line 31, states: “As an ex-officio member of a committee, the president has the same rights as the other committee members, but is not obligated to attend meetings of the committee and is not counted in determining the number required for a quorum or whether a quorum is present.” As an ex-officio committee member, the president is not counted in the quorum. On page 334, line 2, Robert’s states: “A quorum in an assembly is the number of voting members who must be present in order that business can be legally transacted.” In the board or chapter meeting, the president, as a voting member, is counted in determining the quorum.

As VVA’s National Parliamentarian, I have been asked to present a seminar on parliamentary procedure at the 2008 National Leadership Conference in Greenville, South Carolina. Please submit requests for material you would like me to cover in my presentation. Send your suggestions to or and type “NLC” in the subject line.



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