What do you do if your group doesn't follow its Bylaws? I brought that up at our latest meeting. I wanted to see how things were suppost to work "policy, procedure". We have nothing. We have bylaws. They are never updated. I brought up questions that haven't been asked and it has split our group. Everyone is confused. Any suggestions??
Maybe nobody follows the bylaws because they are so old and unwieldly they can't be followed. Having a good set of bylaws makes everything easier. Are you in a position where you can suggest establishing a committee to look at revamping them?
It sounds like maybe what you are looking for doesn't belong in the bylaws anyway? If, for example, you're looking for detailed job descriptions, those typically don't belong in the bylaws--would be too detailed and difficult to change as needed. Or maybe you're looking for the details on how to run the main fundraiser? Same thing there.
In some cases--job descriptions being a good example--you could pass standing rules that detail this stuff. Or maybe you just need binders or something like that for each position, where the records of what was done in the past were maintained. Policies and procedures can generally be put in place and/or maintained without changing the bylaws, so long as they don't conflict with them.
Maybe you could give us some more specific examples?
Here is some examples. Our Executive Board consists of President, Past President (which is our President), 2 V.P. Activities officers, 2 V.P. Fundraising officers, 2 Secretaries (recording, and corresponding), and a Treasurer.
The President, One V.P. Fundrasing person, and our Treasurer know everything that goes on with our PTO. They handle the money (take a bunch of money out of the cash register at events, not a certain amount, no one knows where or what happens to it.)
Another example, we get a balance sheet which lists the balance in checking and savings, and the amount spent. No detail, nothing.
Our profit/loss sheet is one month behind our balance sheet and you can't match up the totals.
Shouldn't the other board members know what happens to the money when it is taken out of the cash register? Shouldn't we know what the money was spent on?
We don't know what our insurance covers. Only the three people I mentioned earlier do. When I asked to see the ledger, profit/loss sheets, what happens to the money, our President got on the defensive and won't speak to us.
My gut feeling is that something is really wrong here. I am not sure what to do? I asked my questions five days ago and wrote them down for the President to get back to me. I got an email saying bring a calendar to our next meeting to set up a date to get answers to questions. Shouldn't I be able to see the ledger then and there? Shouldn't I be able to have the profit/loss sheets for the two months we were off of school and there is $33,000.00 between our last profit/loss sheet in May to our current one in August? Where was the money spent? No answers, just anger.
I've noticed you've mentioned this problem in a few different forums in different ways. So I hope I can get it straight. You've mentioned profit/loss and bylaws. Our bylaws also would not address your concerns. Our bylaws mention the need to have two signatures on every check but since they would easily have that covered by the three that are in the know. I don't know how that would help. Our treasurer is responsible for presenting a treasurers report each month and we decide as a group what the budget is at the beginning of the year and compare it with the actuals, if it's way over we are going to wonder and would go to the committee chair. We don't have cash registers but when we have sales or collect money it is always counted by two people usually more. The deposits are reflected in the treasurer's report. Checks written are also on the report with the name of the company or person it is written out to. A receipt and expense report is needed to write out a check. Twice a year the books are audited by at least 3 people that do not have check signing authority. We don't have a profit/loss statement as we are not-for-profit and everything is put back into the programs or school.
As for where the money goes. A well thought out budget should show you where the membership wants and needs it to go. We like to shout from the rooftops where our money is spent. Sometimes we ear mark things ahead of time for a specific thing. ie, buy donuts and the money goes toward the library. I can't believe your population would just continue to sponsor fundraisers and have no idea how it is spent.
The board in place is maybe just used to no one asking and they always just did what needed to be done. And you really threw a curve ball that they didn't know how to answer. If the board is split, then solicate the ones ready for change, Rally the troops, when it comes time for an election have a group ready. Your campaign can be we are ready to rework the procedures and make everyone part of this process. I'm not saying a mayor coup, there's no reason the ones in power can't be part of it. Talk with your principal and ask to send out a survey to find out what the membership wants from the organization. Come armed with that, when you talk about what the new leaders will offer. This forum has a ton of budget ideas, treasurer procedures and ways to get other parents involved. I bet the staff would love a group that they can predict the services and funds they can expect.
You are stepping on the egos of the board in power. They may be reacting badly now, but they may come around to your wisdom, if you approach it right. "you take on all the work, I appreciate all your time, I'd like to help with a few ways we can organize this". Not "do you follow any rules?, why are these reports so out of sync? how come you don't tell anybody anything?" I'm not really sure what approach you are taking and I know your heart is in the right place. Sometimes people can only go with what they know and they need a little help.
This will take work, so be ready for it. You may find alot of "oh let someone else do it and someone else is the three on the board", and they might just have more than they can handle. Good luck
Regarding "consecutive" terms and the "accounting" for the money.....
I am not yet a member of PTO, but am currently an officer and previously was secretary and committee chair for several committees. Your By-laws are the very base of any organization. The simplest defination for "consecutive" is: following one another without interruption". If your by-laws state that no office (or any specific office) is to be held more than 2 years, it would apply as follows: NO MORE THAN 2 years in a row as 2nd vice president, NO MORE THAN 2 years in a row as 1st vice president, etc. You can exclude the treasurer and any other type of offices that take too much time to learn the ropes, just to pass it on to a new person. As far as "checks & balances" are concern, your by-laws should state that a (for example) quarterly audit be performed by the "Audit" Committee. This committee should consist of A) The treasurer - solely for answering questions that the other committee members might have regarding a check or a recording entry, B)2 non-officer members and C)if needed, or the organization feels the need to be, one past president of the organization. If your by-laws require the above, then no one (like the treasurer) has to feel like their being accused of fraud because they will know this has to be done going into the position of treasurer and it also satisfies most of the members concerns about where the $$ is going. Also at the monthly meetings, it makes a good practice to allow any member to view the book(s) after the meeting with a time limit so as to not keep the treasurer there all night. At our monthly meetings the previous balance is given along with any deposits - broken down in groups i.e. membership dues paid by X amount of members, minus disbursements for the Fall Fashion show that will be held next month (total amounts should surfice - they questioning member can view the individual disbursements after the meeting) and the remaining balance in the account. This give a quick discription about where the money came from and where it went to. I wish you all good luck!!