Federal Statutes: Many laws which may appear foreign to the organization have the highest level on this hierarchy.
State Statutes: At the state level we find many rules that apply. The state of New York has the relevant Open Meetings Law. Comparably in the state of California there is the Ralph Brown Act that applies to public agencies or the Davis-Stirling Act that applies to Home Owners Associations.
Corporation Codes: These govern organizations incorporated in each U.S. state.
City and Local Laws: Many, many rules come into play at this level.
Constitution: For the organization's rules that should be most stable and require the most demanding conditions to amend.
Bylaws: For the organization's rules that should be more flexible and require less demanding conditions to amend. The bylaws define the reason for the organization's exitence.
Rules of Order: Parliamentary Authority such as Robert's Rules of Order
Standing Rules: For the organization's rules that should be the most flexible and require the least demanding conditions to amend or suspend.
Customs: Any practice by the organization that is supported by unwritten agreement and may even violate a bylaw or a rule of order. However, when a member protests pointing out the violation, the bylaw or rule of order must be complied with.
Robert's Rules of Order supersedes only the Standing Rules and the organization's customs.
It may not seem like much, but in reality an organization cannot include in its other documents of governance all the rules it will need to conduct the organization's daily tasks. As long as an action is not covered in a document of governance higher than Robert's Rules, Robert's Rules should be the final word!
Westside Toastmasters is located in Los Angeles and Santa Monica, California