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The First Protocol

The glory of justice and the majesty of club bylaws are created not by the president - nor by the committee - nor by anybody else but by all the members of the club - who are the protectors of the bylaws as they are themselves protected by the bylaws.

The Readers Digest Dictionary says the following about the word protocol: Any rules or code of behaviour or etiquette. Bylaws also refer to Club Rules, or Club Constitution.

Almost all senior non 1%'er motorcycle clubs (MC/MCC) base their leadership rank structure on the military. Let's talk about the leadership protocol, which we will refer to as the first protocol. Even though the rank structure is based on the military, leaders do not enjoy stringent military rank privileges. On the contrary, they lead in a more democratic way. They are appointed by the members (majority vote) to serve their clubs because they are the best qualified. Although we refer specifically to the more senior types of clubs, any type of motorcyle club can benefit by taking heed of what is written below.

Let's talk specifically about the most senior rank in the club, namely the president. There is a general misconception that the president is untouchable, that their word is law and that only they run the show. Many presidents believe this to be true. Sure, presidents can make rules because of their rank BUT such rules may not contradict the club bylaws, and for the sake of harmony amongst the members, should be made by majority vote. Be aware that even majority vote (whether made by the whole club or just the committee) may not contradict club bylaws either. The president is bound by the club bylaws and must adhere to them like every other member.

The members make the bylaws, and the members can unmake them. It is the creature of their will, and lives only by their will.

The Bylaws or Club Rules or Constitution
Any president worth his salt will ensure that there are as few grey area's in the bylaws as possible. He will do this by making/accepting proposed ammendments which are then voted in or out by majority vote. When issues arise that are not covered in the bylaws they must either be defined and added to the bylaws, or voted in or out by majority vote if the issue is not likely to occur again.

The important protocol here is that the president (through good leadership) must ensure that the club bylaws are defined by the entire club on the basis of a majority vote. The only time a president can sway a vote is in the case of a tie. In this case he can use his special casting vote to make a final decision one way or the other. The president is thus a servant to the club who must ensure the club always runs according to their bylaws. The president therefore has a great responsibility, works harder, and worries more. To this end he has the rest of the committe to assist him, each officer with their own specific defined duties. The president has the most important role to fulful. If he does it wrong, he risks causing dissatisfaction amongst the members that will lead to all manner of problems for himself and the club as a whole. The club is always greater than the man. He needs to always bear in mind that the first protocol is the way it's done.

Do not confuse what has been written above as applicable to every club. There are clubs out there that are run by dictator presidents. These are few and far between and constitute a very small minority of the whole. Once again, this page is simply providing a guideline, nothing more.


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