The Council

The Council consists of fifteen members (the word for the Council in Cainite is Useruj, which means fifteen), and is subdivided into the Low Council (Userujtu) and the High Council (Userujtah). The Low Council consists of ten members who represent each of the ten lower houses/tribes of the Canichmehah; the High Council consists of four members, representing each of the four higher houses/tribes, plus one person who may be from any tribe and who acts as the supreme leader (the Erujtah).

Formation

The division between the houses/tribes is ancient, and is said to be rooted in the aftermath of the Flood (i.e. Noah’s Flood).  After the Flood, only fourteen vampires survived in the world. Four of them were rather old, and they knew who had fathered them, and who their father’s father had been--all the way back to Cain. The other ten, though, were younger and some didn’t even know who had made them, much less their lineage back to the beginning. Special status was attached to the four who remembered their lines, and the Council was eventually born from the idea of having one representative from each house/tribe decide on the laws which affected everyone. 

(Since that time, there has been a law that, before any Canichmeh can be formally recognized as an adult, he or she must appear before the Council and recite their lineage back to one of the fourteen founders; this prevents the genealogy of the people from being lost again. This law is no longer enforced--as the Archives now record the geneology of not only all Canichmehah, but all Yaechahre as well--although it is still tradition to do so among some vampire lines.)

Function

The High Council most closely resembles the function of a corporation’s board of directors. The Low Council functions more like voting shareholders.

Function of the entire Council:

  • Meets to debate, pass, or change law.
  • If the High Council condemns someone to capital punishment (i.e. permanent banishment or execution), a simple majority of the Low Council must ratify the decision.
  • A simple majority of the Council is required to set Yaechahre free.
  • A two-thirds majority of the Council is required to pass a vote of no-confidence against any member of the Council (including the Erujtah).

Function of the High Council:

  • Tries Canichmehah for breaking the law (they act as a five-judge panel). They may also elect to convene when custom is breached to such an extent that it would not be just to let the offender go unpunished. They also set the punishment (although, in the cases of capital punishment, a majority of the Low Council must consent).
  • Settles disputes among different groups, or settles disputed elections of new group leaders. Calls for elections of new leaders for groups when necessary.
  • Handles allegations of impropriety or mismanagement by group leaders (e.g. issues reprimands or punishment to group leaders who have bad accounting practices).
  • Handles any other personnel problem—Canichmehah or Yaechahre—which is referred to it by the Head of Placement and Internal Affairs.
  • The High Council may decide to involve the Low Council in any of these tasks at its discretion.

In addition to their duties in regards to the law, each of the members of the High Council also oversees a function of the government.

Treasurer (mostly closely resembles a CFO) – Provides oversight to all financial matters for individual groups. Contacts leaders when their accounting records have been flagged for improper activity, and reports same to the High Council when activity is not excusable. Issues opinion to the High Council on appropriate response and returns the High Council’s decision directly to the offender.

Is the point of contact for the bank where the Canichmehah’s money and investments are kept. The Treasurer signs all financial documents (with the Erujtah’s counter-signature). Presents financial information to the entire Council yearly, and when decisions are made regarding investments, he implements their decision. For more minor decisions--especially those requiring a quick decision--he will present the information to just the High Council for their decision. 

Head of Archives and Record Management (Secretary) – Provides oversight on records management and sets policy--such as what to keep as a record, when to destroy written records, and how to store records (including electronically).  Handles all of the Council's requests for documents. 

Oversees the recording of Council meetings, inquests, etc. and determines what will and won’t be made public. Also in charge of ensuring that any other records which the Council deems confidential are maintained in secret.

Diplomat/Ambassador (CEO)– This position is held by the Erujtah.  He is in charge of making contacts among government officials for the benefit of his people.  He also works with government officials when there is a problem which concerns both humans and Orunamehah.

The Erujtah also provides a single point of contact for the Council, and has some latitude in making executive decisions. He decides when a matter requires the attention of just the High Council or the entire Council and calls a session as necessary. He can also call a virtual session of the entire Council by either setting up a teleconference of all the members, or, in some cases, polling them individually. 

He may perform other such duties or make other such decisions independently as the current High Council gives him a right to do. 

Head of Vital Records (CPO) – This person oversees the acquiring of vital records (e.g. birth certificates, passports, visas, work permits, etc.) for all vampires (and Yaechahre, when necessary). Works with those government officials that the Erujtah has made contact with and works with the Erujtah to get cooperation on matters when necessary. Authorizes the creation of forged documents when necessary.

Head of Placement and Internal Affairs (CHRO) – Oversees the relocation of vampires and Yaechahre into new groups. Grants permission for either to live outside a group for special reasons. In charge of providing a minimum number of Yaechahre for a group.

Handles complaints from Yaechahre or Canichmehah about an Eruj. Can override an Eruj’s decision to punish or banish a Yaechahre. Steps in, when asked by an Eruj, to handle personnel problems in a group, and can restructure the group, if necessary. Is also the liaison between the Council and the Yaechahre council, and presents any concerns from the Yaechahre to the Council.

Function of the Low Council

Members of the Low Council have no authority outside meetings with the High Council—i.e. the Low Council does not meet independently. The High Council, however, does meet independently and handles most matters pertaining to the administration of the Orunameh (“all people”—meaning both humans and vampires).

Residency

Members of the Low Council are free from group residency requirements, and may live independent of a group (although most do not). They are also entitled to have a Yaechahre assigned to them for their specific use (even if they are not in a group), and it is custom that no one else make any demands of their Yaechahre.

Members of the High Council permanently reside in Jerusalem (or in a “city of exile” if Jerusalem is determined to be too dangerous or unstable), and can be called to convene on short notice.

Election

Council members are elected to their positions for life, unless they choose to step down or are forcibly removed by a vote of “no confidence” by a 2/3rds majority of the Council (10 out of 15 members). When a Council seat becomes open (with the exception of the Erujtah position), a notice is sent out to every adult Canichmeh who is recorded in the Archives as being a member of that house/tribe and people are given 90 days to submit names for nomination (you may submit your own name). These names are compiled, and everyone who was nominated is asked to submit something like a resume detailing their qualifications for the position, background, and other information. This information is made public to the members of the house/tribe and the first vote is taken 30 days later. The three candidates who receive the highest number of votes are “short-listed” and a second vote takes place a week later to select a new member from the three.

In the case of electing a new Erujtah, Council members may submit up to two names each (they may not nominate themselves, but others may nominate them), so there may, in theory, be only one candidate, or as many as 30 (if the outgoing Erujtah is stepping down, he or she may participate in the process of finding a replacement). Any adult may be nominated, regardless of whether that person is already on the Council or not. (Joshua was not a member of the Council before taking the position of Erujtah, although he was the Eruj of his group, and had been for a very long time. His predecessor, on the other hand, had belonged to the Council before he was elevated to Erujtah.)

Each member of the Council who nominates one or two people, then makes a presentation on that person’s (or persons') qualifications. The Council debates the merits of that individual and then votes whether or not that person has the necessary skills to be Erujtah. One day is allotted for this process for each candidate. A candidate must receive at least 8 votes (a simple majority) in order to be “short-listed.”

At the end of the first round of voting, there may be no candidates left (at which point the process starts all over again), or there may still be as many as 30.  During the second round of discussion, however, candidates are compared to one another to determine who among them would do the best job, and after a day’s discussion, candidates are voted upon again. If there are more than three candidates at this point, two votes will be held: the first vote will eliminate all but the three highest-scoring candidates, and a second vote will determine the final choice from among the three.

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Background for the website and the header is from Lilium medicinae by Bernardus de Gordonio, translated into Hebrew by Moses ben Shmaya de Castro in Escalona, Spain, January 11, 1466. The original manuscript is housed at the Bridwell Library at Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. The female figure in the header is from the Manesse Codex, which is housed at the Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg in Heidelberg, Germany.