A question has been asked by Judith from Pomona in Queensland:
Can a motion passed at a general meeting of members of an incorporated club be overridden by the Board of Management of the same club?
There are only two circumstances I can think of where a Board of Management could override a motion passed at a general meeting – and they are a) when the motion either cannot be implemented or, b) it is illegal.
Otherwise, the Board of Management has no power to override a motion passed at a general meeting provided that when you say a general meeting, you mean either an Annual General Meeting or a Special General Meeting, sometimes called an Extraordinary General Meeting. If however, the motion was passed at an ordinary meeting, like a normal monthly meeting, then that may be a little different.
Let’s look at the general meeting – an AGM, EGM or SGM. For these meetings, notice needs to be given and the decisions made at these meetings provide the basis on which the Board of Management works – they are bound by those decisions unless, as I said above, it is not possible to implement or it is illegal. An example of being not possible to implement may be that the meeting moves that a donation of a certain amount be given to a certain cause, but if that were done, the organisation would be left unable to function. In this case, the Board should go back to the membership to have the motion rescinded or amended.
An example of a motion being illegal would be that a risk assessment for an event be carried out by a person who is not qualified. Illegal issues are usually relatively easy to identify.
If the motion Judith is referring to was passed at an “ordinary meeting”, not a “general meeting”, then it becomes more tricky. You may need to go back to your constitution to examine the powers of the Board of Management. If they are given powers to operate the organisation for the overall good of the members, then it can be argued that, as a board, they may be in possession of facts or information which would make it inappropriate to implement a decision made by an ordinary meeting. Of course, if this is the case, it should have been argued by the board members at the ordinary meeting. It is possible though, that the board becomes aware after the ordinary meeting.
Generally however, if the members, by way of a vote at any meeting, give direction to the board about anything, then unless the board has a very good reason, they should follow the direction of the membership.