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October 2008

Questions and Answers

By popular demand the format of Questions and Answers is back in this month’s edition of the Magazine Importantly, all of the questions that feature within the Club Law & Management pages of the Magazine have genuinely been raised by Clubs. By the law of averages a question raised by one Club must, at some point, be raised by another. I hope therefore that the following selection will be of interest and assistance to some Clubs if not all.

In the next few weeks we are going to have the Club premises redecorated and we have been removing from the internal walls all paintings and notices etc. There is a notice which lists all the club officials.

 

My query is do we have to display a list such as this inside the premises or can we remove it completely.

I confirm that there is no legal requirement for a list of Offices or Committee Members to be displayed in the Club. However, such a list can be very helpful to members who may not be as actively involved as others since it will help them identify those members who have the responsibility for managing the Club.

 

Our Committee wish to stop new members introducing guests during their first year of membership. Are the Committee empowered to introduce such a rule or would such a change require authority from a Special General Meeting?

I confirm there would be nothing to prevent the Club from adopting a rule amendment whereby new members would not be entitled to introduce guests for a period of one year from their election. However, such an amendment would constitute a rule change that would require the approval of the members at a Special General Meeting.

If the Committee have a concern about any particular guest or guests that are being introduced then the Committee already have the authority to refuse the admission of such guests without the need to give any reason for doing so. Also, the same guest is only entitled to be admitted to the club on four occasions each month. May l suggest the Committee use their authority under the Club’s current rules to deal with any problems which may have been identified without pursuing a rule amendment that would affect all new members.

 

At the moment the receipts from our gaming machines are barely covering the license fees. We currently own a 5p play, £75 jackpot machine. I have been asked to enquire if there are any kinds of machines that do not carry any licence fees, or very little as this situation cannot be allowed to continue.

I am sorry to learn that the gaming machine is no longer a financially viable option. I confirm that the Club could operate a Category D Gaming Machine with a maximum stake of 10p and maximum prize of £5.00. If you would like to install such a machine l would suggest you contact our recommended gaming machine supplier Dransfields on 0845 094 3063.

 

Previously a Committee Member was so insulting to other members of the Committee that some members refused to attend another meeting if he was to be in attendance. The member put himself forward for election to the Committee at this year’s AGM but was not elected. Since the AGM a member of the Committee has passed away and the former Committee Member in question has stated that as he was "next in line" that he intended to take his place on the Committee. Please could you advise me on the correct procedure.

The member has assumed that he will automatically become a member of the Committee following the death of a member of the Committee on the grounds that he was an unsuccessful candidate in the previous election.

There is no provision within the rules for an automatic appointment in these circumstances. By reference to the Club’s Rules a casual vacancy has occurred which may only be filled by a person appointed by the Committee. There is no requirement for a Committee to appoint an unsuccessful candidate as the casual vacancy. The only occasion when an unsuccessful candidate may automatically obtain office is when a member is elected for two offices the member is required to choose which office he wishes to fill, the vacancy arising from this choice would be automatically filled by unsuccessful candidate with the highest number of votes.

Therefore, the Committee are not required to appoint the member to fill this vacancy and neither does the member have an automatic right to take up this vacant position.

 

I have a query regarding the summoning of Committee Members to meetings. Our meetings are on pre-set days through the year, which are notified to all Committee Members after each AGM. On the few occasions that I cannot attend, (usually once during the year), the meeting goes ahead, and another member takes the minutes for me. We recently had reason to hold an extra Committee Meeting, which occured while I was on holiday, and again another member took the minutes. It has been suggested that we may be breaking the Club Rules. Could we add a bye-law in our rule book to cover this eventuality in line with the provision about appointing a substitute Chairman which is already contained within our Rules?

The matter which you have raised is not one which l think requires an amendment to the Rules. The fact is that Committee Meetings do have to take place in the Secretary’s absence on occasion. When this occurs, a member of the Committee takes the Minutes.

Common sense dictates that a Club Secretary cannot always be present. The Rules do not expect this to be the case. Whilst I appreciate that specific reference is made to what should happen in the event of an absent Chairman, this is due to the fact that a Chairman has more than one vote in the event of a tie and therefore some agreement must be reached as to who a stand in Chairman should be. l do not think anything is being broken and would therefore suggest that nothing needs to be fixed.

 

Would it be possible to receive a letter from yourself stating that if at least two of the present Committee do not want to accept an application for membership it can be refused?

I confirm that the Committee`s under no legal obligation to elect every candidate for membership and that your Rules clearly state that two votes against admission shall exclude a candidate.

In the event of a candidate being unsuccessful, I confirm that there is no requirement for the Committee to give any reason for rejection. I would advise the Club not to ever give a reason or indeed to record one in the minutes. Simply record the word "elected" or "rejected".

 

How long does somebody have to be a member of the Club before they can propose or second another member for the position of Committee Member?

Club Rules do not usually place a restriction on the qualification of proposers and seconders. However, they do impose qualifications on the candidates themselves.
Therefore any recently elected member may propose or second. A candidate but most rules l would prevent such a member standing as a candidate.

 

Our rulebook states, as I would imagine most Clubs’ Rules do, that a member can only hold one position within the Club. At the last AGM our former Treasurer was nominated for the positions of both Treasurer and Vice Chairman. Due to no opposition he won both nominations. He kept his position as Treasurer, and carried out his duties for the following few months, after which, due to disagreement with the Committee he resigned.

A couple of meetings later he turned up and said that he was taking up his position of Vice Chairman. The member has given many years service to the Club. I do feel that the Rules have been breached and that he should have been nominated and co-opted on as Vice Chairman by the Committee.

When the member in question was elected to both offices, he should have decided which office he wished to hold with the consequent vacancy being filled as a casual vacancy by the Committee in view of the fact that there were no unsuccessful candidates who would have automatically filled this position.

I note that this did not take place and as a result the member, having resigned as Treasurer, has taken up the office of Vice Chairman. In my opinion, this action is inconsistent with the Rules of the Club and therefore in order to ratify this member’s Vice Chairmanship, the Committee should vote on whether the appointment of the former Treasurer to the office of Vice Chairman should be agreed as a casual vacancy.

I do agree that the Rules must be observed and proper procedure followed in order to maintain a professional standard of management.