How to get rid of an officer

Any officer can be removed from their office following parliamentary procedure.

Many questions about parliamentary procedure are directed to Michigan State University Extension on a regular basis. One frequent question is concerning how an officer can be removed from their position and there are different processes for different societies and government entities. The focus of this article is not on elected government officials, but rather other organized entities following Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised 11th Ed.

According to [RONR (11th ed.), pp. 653-54.], except as the bylaws may provide otherwise, any regularly elected officer of a permanent society can be removed from office by the society’s assembly.

If the bylaws provide that officers shall serve "for __ years or until their successors are elected," the officer in question can be removed from office by adoption of a motion to do so. The vote required for adoption of such a motion is (a) a two-thirds vote, (b) a majority vote when previous notice has been given, or (c) a vote of a majority of the entire membership, any one of which will suffice.

If, however, the bylaws provide that officers shall serve only a fixed term, such as "for two years" or if they provide that officers shall serve "for __ years and until their successors are elected," an officer can be removed from office only for cause, which would include neglect of duty in office or misconduct. Misconduct would include an investigating committee be appointed, charges must be preferred and a disciplinary hearing must be held.

Robert's Rules online explains that “a deliberative assembly has the inherent right to make and enforce its own laws and punish an offender, the extreme penalty, however, being expulsion from its own body. When expelled, if the assembly is a permanent society, it has the right, for its own protection, to give public notice that the person has ceased to be a member of that society.”

Should a society find itself in the position where it needs to handle a disciplinary hearing and finds itself perplexed, it is suggested to contact a professional registered parliamentarian through the National Association of Parliamentarians for advice and parliamentary leadership.

Michigan State University Extension Educators can provide your organization with assistance in learning more about parliamentary procedure. The Government and Public Policy team also offers training for elected and appointed officials for improved effectiveness in several areas, including various public policy issues and effects of government programs, regulation, incentives, strategies and more. By working together with local elected and appointed officials, and interested citizens, MSU Extension is able to provide education on critical local and state issues. To contact an expert in your area, visit MSU Extension’s expert search system or call 888-MSUE4MI (888-678-3464). 

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