Bylaw 5: Returning Officers - Manner of Departure as Affecting Return
- The UFOP recognizes that non-UFOP priorities require, from time to time, leaving active duty on a short or long term basis.
- The UFOP recognizes that in such eventualities, every effort should be made to: (1) encourage attention to such non-UFOP priorities by allowing leave without actual or apparent penalization and (2) provide for the smooth and orderly reintegration and re-activation of said officers who properly take leave.
- The UFOP also recognizes, however, that officers of all ranks must be encouraged to take leave in the Constitutionally mandated manner (as supplemented by by-laws or administrative regulations), and not otherwise.
- For purposes of re-integration to active duty of characters who leave active duty, the following terms and definitions apply to ARTICLE V of the UFOP CONSTITUTION. This by-law does not affect the powers of the former command officer of a character returning from leave or the powers of the EC concerning voting on the character’s return as discussed in ARTICLE V EXCEPT as discussed hereafter.
- To take leave in GOOD STANDING a character must send an E-Mail message (not an IQC or IM) to his current command officer, to Admiral Wolf, and to EITHER the EC, the CC OR any individual member of either of those groups (redundancy being desirable over misdelivered messages). The candidate for leave must ALSO complete any on-line forms or follow any other on-line procedure the CC and/or EC may designate. The message MAY also, at the sender’s option, be copied to any other UFOP member he feels should see it. The message, to be a valid leave-taking, MUST state AT LEAST the following elements:
- The reason for leave (for informational purposes only, the reason’s ‘weight’ will not be used against the character in any way or at any time);
- The expected duration (for informational purposes only, the character will not be held to the time);
- The effective starting date of leave;
- The awareness of the character that the leave must be updated within one calendar year of the effective leave date for it to remain valid (at the initiation of the leaving character) or the leave will automatically be deemed a resignation (note that this shall not obviate the right of the former command officer to initiate contact himself prior to the one year date).
- GOOD STANDING means that the character SHALL return to active duty when the character wishes at their former rank, subject to no objection to the contrary by any party (although any command officer retains the option of not allowing placement on his or her ship, which power is discretionary and absolute, subject only to charges of abuse or dishonorable exercising of said discretion).
- GOOD STANDING shall attach to said leave for one year from the effective date of the leave and SHALL continue to attach for the duration of the leave in perpetuity as long as EACH of the following conditions occur or continue:
- The character does not do anything which would subject him to discipline during the leave (or in the manner of taking leave, such as a command officer leaving his ship in extremis without making arrangements to deal with the situation) which would, if discipline were meted out, prevent the character from retaining his rank under active duty conditions (in other words GOOD STANDING and the resultant right to retain rank is not a defense to conduct which would otherwise strip rank) AND;
- The character provides a written update via email within/on the one year anniversary of their effective date of leave, said update providing at least the desire that the leave remain effective (or that the character wishes to resign) and providing that the character will continue to provide such updates during/on each year the character is on leave (as well as new email contact information if that information changes during leave).
- Recognizing that, while on leave, the character shall have no further affirmative obligation to UFOP other than those above discussed, it SHALL NOT reflect badly or in any official way on said character if, during the course of the year of leave, the character cannot be reached. In other words, non-contact (other than providing the yearly updates to leave status) shall not be used against the character on leave.
- Taking — or continuing — absence from active duty in any other way other than that prescribed above shall be deemed leave NOT IN GOOD STANDING (AWOL or RETIREMENT). Once it is determined that AWOL or RETIREMENT status attaches to a character departure, that status SHALL so remain UNLESS the character involved can demonstrate to the EC’s satisfaction (determined by majority vote) that the AWOL or RETIREMENT status was the result of mistake (electronic or human error); ie, the character did send messages to activate leave in good standing, but those messages did not arrive, they were not read, etc.
- The EC magistrate or other designated record keeper shall maintain at all times a list of characters who enjoy leave in GOOD STANDING. Since maintaining a list of AWOL or RETIRED characters is deemed prohibitive, ANY character NOT in GOOD STANDING (and thus on the list) is considered AWOL or RETIRED.
- Determination of AWOL status is left to the discretion of the command officer under whom the involved officer serves, but the MINIMUM requirements for AWOL status are as follows (in other words, AWOL cannot attach until the following conditions are met):
- The character has been out of email contact for no less than 30 days without reason or warning OR;
- The character email address is non-responsive for the same period.
- It is recognized that, consistent with the pertinent specific and general sections of the CONSTITUTION, ship commanders are granted significant powers, among them this power to determine AWOL status. Since AWOL status fundamentally affects the rights of characters and since said status cannot be reversed (except for the conditions of section 9, above) once applied, the determination of AWOL status by a ship commander is bounded only by the following:
- The ship commander must exercise in determining AWOL status that same degree of honor, professionalism, fairness, compassion and integrity which is required of all ship commanders and which is implied in the covenant of that responsibility AND
- While this by-law establishes the MINIMUM requirements for determination of AWOL status, nothing shall herein proscribe the rights of ship commanders to allow MORE than the time set forth in section 11, if they so choose AND
- A ship commander must do everything within her power to advise characters of their rights regarding leave-taking so that the character is able to properly invoke those rights, up to and including a ship commander’s right to unilaterally alter the manner of leave-taking herself if she feels that a character mistakenly or negligently failed to properly place themselves on leave (such as when the player is emotionally distressed by real world concerns) in order to preserve GOOD STANDING.
- For purposes of the EC’s power (and that of the former command officer) to allow the return to active duty and GOOD STANDING a character who has not been on leave in GOOD STANDING as discussed in ARTICLE V of the CONSTITUTION, ‘AWOL’ and ‘RETIRED’ shall have the same administrative effects. HOWEVER, the manner of departure (i.e.- AWOL or properly and honorably retired) SHALL be taken into DISCRETIONARY consideration for purposes of any vote which determines EITHER the character’s right to return OR the rank upon return (in that AWOL shall mitigate unfavorably and proper retirement shall mitigate favorably).
- There shall be no limit to either the length of leave (as long as proper updates take place) nor the number of leaves in a character’s career. There shall be no official or unofficial effect on the character’s standing or rights as enjoyed in UFOP and under the CONSTITUTION, such as promotion rights, rights to awards and honors, rights to appointments to administrative positions, etc.