We have a president-elect

What do the bylaws need to provide for the president-elects tasks?

Some organizations have added to their list of officers a president-elect. This individual serves for a term concurrent with the president. In order to exist, this office must be expressly provided for in the organization’s bylaws. As a result, the membership never votes on any candidate for the office of president, but elect a president-elect and the other officers of the organization. Accordingly, when a member has served his full term as president-elect, he automatically becomes president for a full term. Once a person has been elected president-elect, the assembly cannot alter its decision regarding the succession of that person to the presidency, unless he vacates office during his term as president-elect or unless ground arises for deposing him from that office (Roberts Rules of Order (11th ed.) p.653–54).

When the bylaws of an organization provide for a president-elect, they should include provisions for the following:

  • What officer will preside in the absence of the president?
  • How will a midterm vacancy in the office of president be filled?
  • How will a vacancy in the office of president-elect be filled?
  • What specific responsibilities are to be fulfilled by the president-elect during his term of office?

When there is no provision in the bylaws, the vice-president or first vice-president has the responsibility of presiding in the absence of the president and of completing the president’s term in case of a vacancy.

The next time you find yourself perplexed about a parliamentary procedure question, consider ordering and reviewing a great resource from the National Association of Parliamentarians, called Pointers on Parliamentary Procedure Sixth Edition.

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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