Coronavirus – Frequently Asked Questions for AMD Councils
1. As Secretary of a Council, do I have to send a summons for every meeting that the By-Laws require to be held during the time that all Councils meetings are suspended?
Please be guided by GCI AMD Circular No 2 & 3 / 2020. The Summons for the stated meeting has to be to emailed to your members as well as to the Obligatory Recipients of GCI AMD and to the respective District Grand Council Secretariat mentioning that the Meeting has been ‘Abandoned’ due to COVID-19 pandemic. Such Summons are also to be pasted in the Minutes Book of the Council for all such ‘Abandoned’ meetings.
2. My Council has elected a Master for the ensuing year, but was not able to install him with the suspension of all meetings due to COVID-19 pandemic; Can he be installed once the suspension is lifted?
Yes, he can be installed once the suspension of all meetings are lifted. As per Regulation No. 66 of the Constitution of the Order, the Council can hold an emergent meeting within 5 weeks from the stated regular meeting date to hold an Installation Meeting. Furthermore, Rule No. 68 of the Constitution empowers the Grand Master / District Grand Prefect to provide the Council with a direction as to how it can proceed with an Installation Meeting due to COVID-19 pandemic. If need be, the Grand Master is empowered as per the Constitution to extend the five week period to hold an Installation Meeting, subject to a Dispensation being applied by the Council stating the reasons clearly for seeking such an extension. Till such time the duly Elected Master is regularly Installed in the chair, the current / ruling Master is to continue in office even after the expiry of his term of office as stated in the By-Laws of the Council.
3. As it has not been possible to hold the Installation meeting, do I need to submit an Installation Report / Return?
Installation Report / Return is to be E-Filed through GCINET only after the completion of the Installation Meeting.
4. It has not been, or will not be possible to elect my Council’s next Master in accordance with the Council’s By-Laws, and the Installation is due to take place before the suspension ends. Can a Master be elected and installed after the suspension is over?
As per Regulation No. 68 of the Constitution of the Order, the Council can seek a direction from the Grand Master or the District Grand Prefect on how to conduct the Election Meeting or whether the Regular Election and Installation Meeting could he held together post the lifting of the lockdown / suspension of Meetings. In case the Council wishes to hold its Election and Installation Meeting together post the lifting of suspension of Meetings, it is a requisite that the Council applies for a Dispensation to the Grand Master through the District Grand Prefect, clearly stating the reasons for a such request being made. Though the Constitution does not provide any specific ruling on the above mentioned scenario, the Grand Master is empowered to grant such Dispensations due to the prevailing situation.
5. Our current Master is completing his second consecutive year in the chair, does the Council require a dispensation for him to serve for a third year?
As per Regulation No. 70 of the Constitutions of the Order, a Dispensation is to be sought for a Master to continue in office for more than two consecutive years. This Regulation shall not apply for a Master continuing in officer as per Regulation No. 64, 65 or 66.
6. The Master Elect had invited me to be a Warden (for the first time), but if he is not installed, will I be eligible for election as Master if I am invested as a Warden later in the year?
It is probably unlikely that the current Master Elect will wish to stand aside in your favour, but if you should be invested as a Warden during the year, a Grand Master can grant a dispensation under Regulation 61 (iii) to render you eligible for election. (Note: Such a dispensation can only be issued to qualify a Brother with short service as a Warden, not one with no service as a Warden.)
7. My Council’s By-Laws permit the exclusion under Rule 105 of a Brother who is in arrears of two years subscription, but it will not be possible to send him a due notice as required by Registered Post and declare it in Open Council due to the suspension of meetings. Can we declare this in Open Council when meetings resume and backdate the exclusion to the end of the subscription year, so that the Council does not become liable for a further year’s Grand / District Grand dues in respect of him?
Regulation No. 105 of the Constitutions of the Order clearly deals with such situation and the consequences to the Brother of being excluded. The requirement is that that Secretary of the Council is to serve a notice to the Brother either by Registered Post or any mode of recorded delivery of the notice. In such a scenarios it is best for the Treasurer of the Council to persuade the Brother to meet his obligations and resign in good standing.
8. A candidate for admission was proposed and seconded at the last regular meeting before the suspension of meetings took effect. Do we need to start the process all over again when meetings are resumed?
As per Regulation No. 95 of the Constitution, a candidate is to be balloted /elected for before his reception into the Degree of St. Lawrence the Martyr, not necessarily at the next regular meeting as being followed in Craft Lodges.
9. Can a Council make a donation to a charity, when it is unable to meet and vote on the matter in open Council?
It is probably best that it does not do so, but if the matter is a case of emergency and the Council has a By-Law that the Master has power to authorise a payment and report it to the Council at its next regular meeting, then it can proceed to make the donation. (Even so a Master would be wise to consult fairly widely with the members before exercising his power.)
10. Will the suspension of meetings affect my Council’s entitlement to a Centenary or Bi-Centenary in due course?
No. There are many precedents for an enforced break in continuity of working being disregarded by the Grand Master when deciding whether to grant a Warrant or Charter.
R W Bro. R. V. Umashankar