Robert's Rules and Request to Be Excused from a Duty - dummies

Robert’s Rules and Request to Be Excused from a Duty

By C. Alan Jennings, PRP, PRP

When it becomes difficult for you to fulfill an obligation imposed on you as a member, you can Request to Be Excused from the Duty; if the other members agree (and if the bylaws don’t provide otherwise), they can grant your request.

Sometimes membership requirements involve more than just paying dues. You may be required to complete a service project, serve on a committee, or attend a minimum number of meetings to maintain your membership. If you’re an officer or committee chairman, your bylaws probably define some specific responsibilities and duties for you.

A Request to Be Excused from a Duty

  • Can interrupt a speaker who has the floor if the request requires immediate attention

  • Must be seconded (but only if moved formally)

  • Is debatable

  • Can be amended

  • Requires a majority vote

  • Can’t be reconsidered if it’s an affirmative vote and the member who wants to be excused from the duty has been informed of the result of the vote

Request to Be Excused from Duty

If you want to be excused from a duty, you may ask for unanimous consent, or the request may be handled by motion and vote. It’s generally in order to make this request anytime a motion is being considered that’s connected with the duty you’re expected to perform.

If you’ve accepted an office or other position of responsibility, such as that of a committee chair, and you find yourself unable to properly perform the duties of your office, you can use this motion in the context of a resignation.

Resign from office

A resignation is a form of request to be excused from duty. The rules for resignation from office require you to not abandon your duties until your resignation has been accepted or until the members have had a reasonable opportunity to accept it.

Resign from membership

Resignation from membership is also a form of this motion, but it can’t be used to avoid obligations already incurred. If you’ve paid your dues, you can’t be required to continue membership if you choose not to.

But if you owe back dues, resignation doesn’t relieve you of the obligation to pay amounts that you owe, and the members aren’t under any obligation to accept your resignation until you’re current in meeting your obligation.

If you aren’t in good standing and your resignation isn’t accepted, it’s possible for additional charges to accrue against you.

Tender your resignation

Resigning is properly accomplished by delivering a written resignation to the secretary (or whoever may have appointed you to your position).

Resignations can also be made orally (or in writing) at a meeting. If you resign during a meeting, and the assembly put you in the position from which you are resigning, the presiding officer can assume the motion to accept the resignation, and the assembly can excuse you from your duty by voting to accept the resignation.