A roundup of action taken by the Council on 26 April.
I n his opening address Monday, Council on Legislation Chair Mark Daniel Maloney quoted the book This Rotarian Age by Paul Harris, noting that it is too much to expect Rotarians to agree on everything.
"'That men do not think alike is no more remarkable than that they do not look alike.' That is why we engage in this democratic process," said Maloney, a past RI director.
As the Council began its deliberations on more than 200 proposals, district representatives rejected a measure to amend the Standard Rotary Club Constitution to state that the club is a nonprofit organization.
Representatives from Bangladesh and Brazil, among other countries, argued that the language was necessary to ensure that Rotary clubs, which are required by law in those nations to be nonprofit organizations, are allowed to open bank accounts and perform other functions as a club.
“In Brazil, my country, it’s very important that we have this language,” said Júlio J. D’Albuquerque Lóssio, of District 4490.
Several representatives noted that nonprofit means different things in different countries.
The RI Board of Directors opposed the measure. “Variation of the laws in countries with Rotary clubs is significant,” said RI Director Thomas M. Thorfinnson. “If adopted, this legislation would cause tremendous problems for clubs. In addition, clubs already have the ability to incorporate. It’s not necessary to have this [amendment] in order for clubs to become nonprofit corporations.”
In other actions, the Council:
- Requested that the RI Board endorse the concept put forth in the New Models for Rotary Clubs pilot project. “We need to give clubs more freedom,” said representative Tord Kristoferson, of District 2360 (Sweden), noting that the revised RI Strategic Plan calls for fostering club innovation.
- Rejected an enactment that would have prohibited the discussion of business matters or private disagreements during club meetings. “We don’t need a secret service in Rotary to monitor conversations,” said Kurt Tritten, of District 1990 (Switzerland).
- Rejected a resolution calling upon the RI Board to develop legislation for the next Council that would create interim charters for new clubs. “This is like creating second-class Rotarians,” said Farouk Ben-El-Kadi, of District 9010 (Algeria; Mauritania; Morocco; Tunisia).
- Adopted a resolution asking the RI Board to consider encouraging clubs to create a training and leadership committee. Opponents argued that the measure duplicated existing district training efforts. Supporters felt that club training was needed, and that such training would bolster district efforts.
For more information: