Monday, April 30, 2012

DI Rules and Regs - What You Need to Know - Part I

Last week I was chatting with my long time friend "Dad" Zack Panitzke. We were discussing how to improve things with the Chapter he is working with in Virginia. At the beginning of this year he was elected Chairman of the Advisory Council. Now, he is trying to learn his place in the Chapter and get a better handle on his role. As part of that discussion, I asked him if he had looked over the DeMolay International Rules and Regulations as it pertains to local Chapters. O_o best describes the look I got in return.

Every Chapter must have a copy of the Rules and Regs of DeMolay International, however, in many cases they are out of date, misplaced, or just forgotten. Frankly, much of what is contained in the document has little to no bearing on what you do in a local Chapter, but there are some very specific sections that are important for you to know about. In the PA DeMolay version of DAD Training we discuss these, but sometimes we don't look at them as closely as we should. So, I'm starting a series of blog posts that will talk about each section, one at a time. I hope this will help new and veteran advisors alike.

As a warning, some of these posts are going to be a bit longer, as we show the section of the Rules and Regs and then talk about it.

Today, we tackle Part I: Article 14 - The Advisory Council

314.1      Advisory Council Required.
                (a)   A Chapter must have an Advisory Council, at least three of which members must be Masons in good standing.
                (b)   All Advisors must be at least 21 years of age and recommended by the sponsoring body.
                (c)   No person may serve as an Advisor until they have successfully completed the DeMolay adult worker training program and the Executive Officer has approved the adult worker application. (2011)
                (d)   Any Mason in good standing, Senior DeMolay, or the father, mother, stepfather, stepmother or legal guardian of a DeMolay and any other individual permitted by the Executive Officer may serve as an Advisor.
                (e)   To be eligible to serve as Chairman, an Advisor must be a Mason in good standing.
                (f)    Every Advisor must annually by December 31st of each year sign and file with the Executive Officer a completed adult worker application, a certificate of change or a certificate of no change. (2001) (2005) (2010) (2011)

Discussion: This is the basic article that defines what an Advisory Council is and who can serve on one. Key points are the age of Advisors (21), who is eligible to serve, and how an Advisor qualifies and renews. Pretty simple stuff, actually.

314.2      Appointment. All Advisors and adult workers are appointed by the Executive Officer.  He may only appoint a person to serve as an Advisor or as an adult DeMolay worker after confirming that the person has successfully completed the DeMolay adult worker training program and has completed and filed an adult worker application. (2001) (2011)

Discussion: Again, a simple article. It just describes who has the final say on our Adult Volunteers - specifically, the Executive Officer.

314.3      Vows.  Each member of an Advisory Council shall take a vow of allegiance to DeMolay International and the Executive Officer, and be duly installed.

314.4       Term.  The term of Advisory Council members is one year.

314.5      Vacancies.  Vacancies are filled by the Executive Officer.

314.6       Removal.  The Executive Officer may remove any Advisory Council member who does not or will not perform his duties in accordance with the bylaws, these rules and regulations, or as directed by the Executive Officer.

Discussion: For ease, I parts 314.3 to 314.6 together, as they are all short. Basically, each Advisor takes a vow to support the order. Advisors serve for one year and any vacancies are under the authority of the EO. The key here is 314.6 - any Advisor can be removed at any time. Period. No reason must be given and no appeal can be made. The EO has total control. This makes it easy for the EO handle sticky situations.

314.7      Duties.
                (a)   The Advisory Council has duties assigned to it by the bylaws, these rules and regulations, DeMolay International, the Grand Master and the Executive Officer.
                (b)   The Advisory Council governs the activities of a Chapter consistent with these rules and regulations and as directed by the Executive Officer.
                (c)   An Advisory Council must organize and select a Chairman and a Chapter Advisor.
                (d)   The Advisory Council shall meet at least monthly and a full record of each meeting shall be made.  Each member of the Council has a vote.
                (e)   At least one member of the Advisory Council must be present at all meetings of the Chapter. (2003) (2005)

Discussion: This article defines exactly what an Advisor has agreed to do by serving. In a nutshell, they agree to work on the Advisory Council and obey the authority of the other leaders. They also agree to elect a Chairman and Chapter Advisor, to meet monthly, and keep minutes.

314.8      Chairman.  The Chairman of the Advisory Council presides at its meetings, and performs the other duties required of him by his office or the Advisory Council.

314.9       Chapter Advisor.  The Chapter Advisor:
      (a)   Is the liaison between the Advisory Council and Chapter members.
      (b)   Sees that the Chapter is conducted in accordance with the bylaws of DeMolay International, these rules and regulations, the directives of the Grand Master and Executive Officer, and the Chapter bylaws.
      (c)   Sees that the directions of the Advisory Council are observed.
                (d)   Performs other duties the Advisory Council assigns to him.

Discussion: In the previous article, the Advisors agreed to elect a Chairman and Chapter Advisor, but what do those jobs entail? Well, 314.8 and 314.9 tell you! The Chairman presides at meetings of the Advisory Council (amongst other duties) while the Chapter Advisor is the conduit between the young men and the rest of the Advisors. Of note is the fact that the Chapter Advisor is actually the one responsible for making sure that rules and regulations are followed with the young men. 

314.10  Financial Responsibility.  The Advisory Council is responsible for the Chapter budget, and shall review the monthly financial reports of the Chapter, and revise the Chapter budget if necessary.

314.11  Election or Rejection by Declaration.  The Advisory Council with the approval of the Executive Officer may declare an applicant elected or rejected if, in their opinion, the best interest of the Order will be served.

Discussion: A couple more short sections here, combined for ease. It basically says that the Advisors have fudiciary responsibility when it comes to Chapter funds. The second part outlines further the EO's interactions with Councils.

Now, on to the big one! 

314.12  Disciplinary Authority.
      (a)   With the approval of the Executive Officer, the Advisory Council may drop from membership in the Order a member over which it has disciplinary authority who is guilty of violating DeMolay law, who is not of good morals, or whose conduct is unworthy of a member of the Order of DeMolay.
                (b)   An Advisory Council has disciplinary authority over the members of its Chapter wherever residing, and all members of the Order of DeMolay, belonging to any Chapter, but who reside nearer to its place of meeting than to that of the Chapter in which the member holds membership.  In places where more than one Chapter exists, the Chapters have concurrent penal authority over DeMolays residing in the area who are not members of any of them.  When a member has been suspended for cause, his Chapter has exclusive penal authority over him.  A change of residence after charges have been filed does not divest the Chapter of the power to act.
                (c)   If a DeMolay pleads guilty or Nolo Contendere, or is found guilty of a felony, he may be expelled from the Order.  The Advisory Council shall obtain a certified copy of the court's order and forward it to the Executive Officer.  The Executive Officer shall notify the DeMolay by certified mail that he has thirty days from the receipt or forty-five days from mailing, whichever is later, to show cause to the Executive Officer why he should not be expelled from the Order.  If good cause is not shown, the Executive Officer shall forward to the Grand Secretary copies of all documents pertaining to the expulsion.  The Grand Secretary shall then strike the DeMolay's name from the rolls and notify the Advisory Council, Executive Officer and the former DeMolay.
                (d)   Except as provided for felonies, the power to drop from membership may be exercised only under this subsection, after notice to the Executive Officer.  Written charges and notice of hearing must be served on the member at least thirty days before the hearing.  The hearing must be held by the Advisory Council in closed session.  The member may at his choice be present, represented or accompanied by any male relative or Mason.  At the hearing, the member may answer the charges either orally or in writing.  The decision of the Advisory Council must be reduced to writing, signed by a majority of the Advisory Council present and voting, and a copy of all proceedings certified and forwarded to the Executive Officer for his rejection or approval.  The Executive Officer, shall in writing, notify the young man, the Advisory Council and Grand Secretary of his decision.  The action of the Advisory Council and the Executive Officer are subject to appeal to DeMolay International, whose decision is final.  If the Executive Officer approves a decision to drop from membership, the Grand Secretary shall strike the DeMolay's name from the rolls if no appeal has been filed within thirty days of the Executive Officer's written decision or when the appeal is dismissed or the decision is affirmed.
                (e)   The Advisory Council may suspend a DeMolay for un-DeMolay conduct for a definite or indefinite term.  A report of the circumstances of the suspension must be promptly made in writing to the Executive Officer for his approval or disapproval.  A suspension under this subsection may not exceed sixty days unless the procedures that apply to dropping from membership are followed.
                (f)    With the approval of the Executive Officer, an Advisory Council may take such other disciplinary action as is necessary for the best interest of the Order.  Such actions may include temporarily prohibiting a member from participating in or being present at activities of the Order or requiring a member to perform specific service acts.  A record of any such disciplinary actions must be entered in the minutes of the Advisory Council meeting where approved and shall be reported in writing to the Executive Officer.
                (g)   The Executive Officer may substitute himself for an Advisory Council in any proceeding under this Section.  He shall report all his actions under this Section in writing to the Grand Master. (1998)

Discussion: Whew! That was a long and complicated section! 314.12 details how a Chapter should handle a formal disciplinary process for a active member of the organization. It gives the Council the authority to expel a member for misconduct - but not before a trial has occurred. It is a very complicated and legalistic section which (thankfully) rarely gets used. If you or your Advisory Council is ever in a situation where you feel you might need to use this section, please have your Chairman contact the Executive Officer immediately so that he can assist you with this section.

That does it for our first section. Next time I do this I'll be discussion Section 15 - Membership.

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

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