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Dimitry K., Esq.
Dimitry K., Esq., Attorney
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I have a question about parliamentary procedure. My organization

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I have a question about parliamentary procedure. My organization has a bylaw that allows the vice president to become the president. During revisions this section was challenged, but it was not voted out. However, another amendment was voted in that says the president is to be elected into office. This occured in the same revision period. Robert Rules of Order says that when there is a conflict in bylaws the amendment must be dropped. (Page 594 10-27.) Since both provisions were at the same revision time and the language allowing the vice president to move up without an election is still present, which amendment gets dropped?
Thank you for your question. Please permit me to assist you with your concerns.

If I may ask, which was the latest amendment to be voted on, or did the votes for both take place as one vote?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

From the minutes,the order of amendments appear to be the vote adding that the president would be voted on every two years in the even year. The language of the vice president becoming the president was in since 2008 and contested in the 2011 amendment cycle and allowed to stand. No one realized the conflict until this revision cycle. The votes did not take place as one amendment, but as two separate amendments on the same day. We did not elect a president as the amendment would have prescribed we do last year in the even year although the vote was in the bylaws by the even year. Hope I am making some sense. Does practice come into play here?

Thank you for your follow-up, Dreena.


The reason I ask is typically the LAST amendment to be voted in is the controlling language. If an amendment is placed that ends up contradicting the existing language, the new language supersedes the past language and the new amendment is considered proper law. It would then be up to your internal parliamentarian to figure out which amendment came last and subsequently uphold that language as binding. In this case, as there appears to be legitimate issue, it may be wise to have the parliamentarian go formally on record to evaluate the votes and possibly request a special amendment to clean up the language and avoid the confusion.


Hope that helps.

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