The following is a press release from the Diamondhead Country Club and Property Owners Association board of directors:
LAIRD CONFIRMED AS PRESIDENT OF DIAMONDHEAD POA
Inconclusive Recount Declared Invalid
DIAMONDHEAD, MISSISSIPPI – JUNE 28, 2016
Legal counsel for the Diamondhead Country Club and Property Owners Association has determined that the election of Donald “Pat” Laird as President became final at the annual membership meeting held June 18 and that Laird took office immediately after the election results were announced. The result of the Presidential election had been in limbo since Laird’s opponent, Carl Necaise, petitioned for a recount two days after the election. The election result announced at the meeting was 638 votes for Laird and 636 votes for Necaise. A recount held June 22 yielded no conclusive result.
The Hailey McNamara law firm prepared a legal opinion after review of the circumstances surrounding the election and recount. The opinion explains that the provisions of Robert’s Rules of Order, which are incorporated into the DPOA Bylaws, govern the question of when DPOA election results are final. Under Robert’s Rules, an election to office is final at the time the result is announced at the meeting, and an officer-elect “takes possession of his office immediately upon his election’s becoming final.”
Upon receipt of Necaise’s recount request, Election Co-Chair and outgoing President John Fletcher authorized the recount, which was held on June 22. The result of the recount was inconclusive due to a disagreement over how to count a single ballot. Counsel’s legal opinion concluded the the recount was invalid because it was not properly authorized under Roberts Rules. According to Robert’s Rules, only the members of DPOA have the authority to order a recount of an election result. An order for a recount must be approved by a majority of the members in attendance at a properly called and noticed meeting held for that purpose. In addition, only the membership has the authority to decide how a disputed ballot should be counted.
No motion for a recount was made after the election results were announced at the annual meeting on June 18. Necaise did not submit his request for a recount until two days later. Under the binding provisions of Robert’s Rules, John Fletcher had no authority to order the recount held June 22.