Agony Uncle: Help! We don't have time to fill this vacancy

Borthwick Chris Jul2019lg

In this help sheet series, Our Community’s resident agony uncle, Chris Borthwick, offers answers to frequently asked questions about issues not-for-profits are facing.



Dear Agony Uncle,

I am the treasurer of an incorporated not-for-profit. Our secretary recently resigned and our constitution states that a secretary must be appointed within one month of the resignation. Can I be both secretary and treasurer until a suitable replacement secretary is found? We envisage that could take some months to fill and unfortunately I cannot find any rules in our constitution regarding this situation.

Agony Uncle's answer

The general rule is that anything not forbidden in your constitution or the state Associations Act is permitted. Your constitution has nothing, and I was about to look up the state Act on Austlii.edu.au when I remembered an even more general rule, an overriding principle, in fact: unless there’s money involved, nobody cares.

I think you’re probably legally fine, but I know you’re for all practical purposes fine. You’re acting in good faith to deal with a technical difficulty, and absolutely nobody is going to second-guess you. Do what’s most convenient. Months is fine (though years would raise other questions).

Best wishes,
Agony Uncle.

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