Ask AASB: What does it mean to censure a board member?

When would a board take such action?

Here is some general information regarding what boards can do when it comes time to reprimand or “censure” a board member. First, before you take any such action, which is usually considered a drastic measure, we highly recommend that you discuss this with your legal council and that you thoroughly review your board bylaws and policies. It is also recommended that you try to deal with the issue directly and see if “censure” can be avoided.

The board, even through censure, cannot limit the individual board member’s ability to carry out their duties as a publicly elected official. Therefore, “censure” is a very public reprimand which should specifically address the offenses concerning any violations of federal, state or local laws and regulations as well as board policies and bylaws including board conduct and ethics and/or the violation of board standards if your board has adopted those.

Censure can only take place through the action of the board voting to endorse a resolution concerning the matter. Again, we strongly recommend checking with you legal council to make sure of your authority and protocol if you have one.

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