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I wish to call to your attention to a particular section of Robert’s Rules. That section is the following from Article IX of Robert’s Rules (10th edition):
“If a bylaw is ambiguous, it must be interpreted, if possible, in harmony with other bylaws. The interpretations should be in accordance with the intention of the society at the time the bylaw was adopted, as far as this can be determined. Again, intent plays no role unless the meaning is unclear or uncertain, but where an ambiguity exists, a majority vote is all that is required to decide the question. The ambiguous or doubtful expression should be amended as soon as practicable.”
I am of the opinion that our “bylaws” (the LMSC P&P) are in fact “ambiguous or doubtful” regarding the process of obtaining membership at the start up of a working group. In particular we have from section 18.104.22.168 titled “Establishment”:
“All persons participating in the initial meeting of the Working Group become members of the Working Group.”
On the other hand we have from section 22.214.171.124 titled “Retention”:
“Membership is retained by participating in at least two of the last four Plenary session meetings. One duly constituted interim Working Group or task group meeting may be substituted for one of the two Plenary meetings.”
As was so well explained by Tony (thank you for the excellent analysis) in an earlier e-mail, these two rules clearly seem to be at odds with one another. Setting aside for a moment the question of whether or not we intended “meeting” or “session” in section 126.96.36.199 (a topic for yet another interpretation) these two rules seem to conflict with one another. Even taking the liberal view that meeting means session, after the first session the general rules would kick in and all “members” would seem to lose their membership in the WG.
All this said, we already have a P&P change ballot which should “fix” this problem by the end of the July meeting. My concern is for the beginning of the July meeting. Given what happened in March to 802.20, I would like to have a clearer interpretation of these “bylaws” so that we don’t have a repeat of the last meeting. As indicated by Robert’s Rules, an interpretation can be established by majority vote. I believe a motion could be put forward and then approved electronically prior to the July meeting. But before I do that, I wanted to open this issue for debate prior to making any motions so that I can make sure I make the right motion (or perhaps chose not to make a motion at all).
Any comments on this topic?