Communique #4 – Laws
National Past President and Chairperson of Laws Margaret Ann Jacobs, November 21, 2019
Greetings my friends,
As I attended various conventions across the country, one of the most challenging items was the election of officers. Elections, with the preparations leading up to them and the actual ritual at convention, have morphed in unique ways. Whether by necessity, lack of knowledge or interpretation, various procedures have come into practice which do not follow the procedures outlined in the National Manual of Policy and Procedure (P&P) (pages 101-109) or the Constitution & Bylaws (C&B) (pages 37-42). I strongly urge the president and the nominations and elections committee to review frequently the guidelines provided in these documents. The following communique is a brief overview of the procedures to be followed. Always check the original source for guidance.
The president of the council in an election year appoints a committee consisting of three experienced members (parish level in November, diocesan, provincial and national level by December 15th). The chairperson is often the past president; however, this is not a requirement. She cannot be a candidate for office.
An updated Elections Register is crucial as it forms the basis for eligibility. It is the role of the recording secretary to update this register yearly and this can only happen with the cooperation of councils. It is essential completed executive lists be forwarded annually to the recording secretary at the next level.
This updated register is a necessity as it contains the names of current and past executive members in accordance with the C&B Part XVI, Section 1b–d. At all levels, a member remains eligible for three elections following the last term served, and a member shall hold only one office at a time at the level concerned. Excellent samples of elections registers are available in the P&P (pages 103-104).
From the Elections Register, an Eligibility List is prepared listing members eligible for nomination to office. The president-elect must confirm her willingness to assume the office of president prior to completion of the Eligibility List. An elected or appointed officer shall serve only one full term in the same office except for chairpersons (whom shall be given a different standing committee in their second consecutive term) and the treasurer (who may be elected to a second consecutive term). It is understood that having fulfilled two successive terms, elected officers and treasurers move up or out.
A letter is sent to each member on the Eligibility List, asking if she is willing to accept nomination and for which office(s). Written letters of acceptance plus a resume of League service and experience are requested. Members shall not accept nomination to a previously held position. Chairpersons of nominations and elections committees should be careful to verify these eligible positions (C&B Part XVI Section 2b) prior to formation of the Acceptance List.
An Acceptance List is prepared by the chairperson showing each member who consented to let her name stand and the office(s) for which she is willing to accept nomination. The order of listing on the acceptance list and the order of election is in accordance with the C&B, i.e. president-elect, first vice-president, second vice-president, secretaries (one or two), treasurer and chairpersons.
The chairperson sends a letter and acceptance list to voting delegates, along with each candidate’s resume, and a Nomination Form indicating the deadline date for return of the nomination form. Courtesy letters are sent to those noted as per the P&P (page 105, lines 37-38).
Procedures for completing the Nomination Form are outlined in the P&P (page 106). Note that the names of those being nominated shall be announced to the executive but kept confidential until after the election (#8).
From the completed nomination forms, the chairperson prepares a Candidates List with the names of candidates and the offices for which they are nominated. Councils that have not submitted a Nomination Form are to be contacted prior to the deadline, requesting their submission. If no submission is received, the council forfeits the privilege to nominate candidates for election. All members on the Acceptance List are notified of whether they were or were not nominated.
Now you and your council are ready for the actual election. More to come in my next communique!
I urge all nominations and elections committees to take time to read and reread the P&P along with the C&B to familiarize yourselves with the process. Once established and careful records are kept; it becomes a powerful tool to ensure the will of the members is respected. Pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit and trust that Our Lady will intercede for the benefit of League members.
Margaret Ann Jacobs
National Past President and Chairperson of Laws