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Jenny
Jenny, Solicitor
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Can we remove a committee member from the committee of a voluntary

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Can we remove a committee member from the committee of a voluntary association
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jenny replied 1 year ago.
Hello my name is***** am a solicitor and I am happy to help you today, please can you explain the situation in more detail?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I am the Secretary of a Horticultural Society that puts on an annual Agricultural & Horticultural Show. Technically we're probably an unincorporated association, we're non-profit, the money from entry fees, trade stands etc just goes to putting the show on the following year. We have a constitution which states "Officers may remove a member of the committee with good and sound reason, providing that the committee member has the opportunity to put their case (supported by a friend) to the committee before a final decision is made". The five officers have written to a committee member saying that they are acting according to the constitution by removing her from the committee. She has been sent three letters, each time she complains that we can't do this. Now her husband is saying that we aren't allowed to remove her, and it's unconstitutional etc, and some of the officers are getting worried. In this situation can she appeal to anyone?
Expert:  Jenny replied 1 year ago.
What is the reason you have asked to remove her?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
She has only attended two meetings out of a possible nine in the past year. She has not answered calls or returned messages. She has not given the committee the information needed for this year's schedule for her section despite promising to do so, the schedule has had to go to print without the details for her section. When she didn't come to the last meeting (despite having assured the Chair that she would do so) and hadn't contacted anyone, the committee asked the chair to phone her the next day. He did, and left a message asking for an urgent call back by lunch time the following day. She did not call back. At the point the five Officers agreed that she was not fulfilling her responsibilities and a letter was sent saying that as she hadn't replied we assumed she had stepped down. Phoned calls came immediately she got the letter (by e-mail) saying no, she wasn't standing down. More to follow . .
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
So the next day she was sent another letter saying we were actioning Point 5g of the Constitution, letter signed by Chair and President. She phoned all five officers complaining. Following day the officers had an official, minuted meeting, and sent another letter repeating that they had decided, unanimously, to action Point 5g of the Constitution, letter signed by all five Officers. She has been invited to the next Committee meeting to put her case to the Committee before a final decision is taken (but there's nothing she can say to defend herself really). Her husband is adamant that we can't do it, but as a voluntary committee, nobody paid, all volunteers, and it says we can in our adopted Constitution, surely we can remove her?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Are you still there?
Expert:  Jenny replied 1 year ago.
Yes I am back now there has been a technical issue. Please give me a few minutes to read your responses.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Okay, thought I'd been abandoned! :)
Expert:  Jenny replied 1 year ago.
Does you constitution have an appeals process?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No, Section 5 is Management, and Item 5g states:
"The Officers of the Committee shall have the power to remove any member of the Committee for good and proper reason, provided that the member concerned shall have the right to be heard by the Committee, accompanied by a friend, before a final decision is made."Our Constitution is based on a model Constitution recommended by various support sites for Voluntary Associations. Her apeal, as such, is to the Committee before a final decision is made.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The decision is made by the Officers (President, Chair, Vice-Chair, Treasurer, Secretary), the Appeal is to the rest of the Committee, and I'm sure the Officers would not go against what the rest of the Committee wanted (15-20 people depending on the meeting).
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The fact is that the whole Committee is becoming increasingly annoyed and frustrated that business can't be progressed because this individual is not providing the information, so things are then forwarded to the next Agenda, and she doesn't come to that meeting either, so nothing can be decided.
Expert:  Jenny replied 1 year ago.
So has she been given the right to be heard by the committee accompanied by a friend?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Yes, in all three letters:The third letter said "You have the right to attend the next Committee meeting on 28th April 2016 to put your case to the Committee before a final decision is taken, should you choose to do so. Please advise the Secretary by e-mail at least three days prior to the meeting if you intend to be there."The meeting is on Thursday, it's now Monday, I still haven't had an e-mail from her saying that she intends to come to the meeting. We expect her not to inform me, but to simply turn up at the meeting.
Expert:  Jenny replied 1 year ago.
Hi in that case you have given her opportunity in accordance with the constitution and there is no recourse other than the appeals process within the your constitution. It is a bit strange that her husband is getting so upset in the circumstances. Is there anything further I can clarify for you?
Expert:  Jenny replied 1 year ago.
Hello is there anything further I can help you with? If I have answered your question I would be grateful if you would take the time to rate my answer as I am not otherwise credited for the time I have spent working on your question. Thank you and all the best.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Basically her husband is a Committee member too, and of course we expect him to resign. Unfortunately this individual has an appalling temper and can be quite scary when riled. Her husband is a lovely, mild-mannered man, whose life is probably quite difficult right now. Any Committee member leaving under whatever circumstances causes us a problem (people who are prepared to give their time and effort to things like this are thin on the ground) but it has to be done. We have put another Committee Member's name on the Schedule as looking after that section this year, but have been careful to call her 'Interim' Section Secretary so we can't be accused of replacing her before due process has been completed. Thanks for your help, much appreciated.
Expert:  Jenny replied 1 year ago.
No problem, I appreciate it is difficult when dealing with volunteers. You need to be firm on it. Please remember to rate my answer before leaving the site and do come back to me in the future if you need to.
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