Richard Brown

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About Richard Brown

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    New Orleans, LA
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  1. Is it appropriate or permissible for the Secretary to be a member of the minutes approval Committee? If prohibited, please provide a citation.
  2. Duplicate post
  3. Since this body is a city council, it is almost certainly a "public body" and is subject to its own rules and to state law regarding open meetings, meeting procedures, etc. It is quite common, almost universal, that city councils and other public bodies do not normally read the entire contents of a proposed ordinance, law or resolution out loud in its entirety. The clerk usually reads the title and maybe a brief summary out loud and nothing else. The members have the full text of the resolution in front of them. I suspect that what happened in this case is nothing out of the ordinary. Resolutions usually get read in full only when someone is being honored or when it is expressing the city council's strong feeling on a public issue that will ultimately be acted on by another public body such as the Mayor, Governor, county governing board or state legislature. Then they do it for effect, not because it's required (except, perhaps, for honoring someone with a proclamation).
  4. Guest All, what do you mean by the last part of your post that I have highlighted in bold? Are you saying that your organization has other rules regarding a quorum? Or are you saying that other parliamentary manuals have different rules or definitions of a quorum? I think that a quorum is universally defined as a majority of the membership unless the bylaws or some superior law specify otherwise and I am not aware of any commonly used parliamentary manuals that define a quorum in any other way. The only exception is in the case of organizations with an indefinite or unknown number of members, such as some churches. But, where the membership number is known, every parliamentary authority I am aware of defines a quorum as a majority of the membership. It may be that your organization has adopted a custom of treating the members who show up as constituting a quorum, but once a member raises a point of order that a quorum is not present, the custom must fall to the ground. If your organization wants its quorum to be something other than a majority of the members, it should specify the quorum requirement in the bylaws. It is ultimately up to your organization to interpret its own bylaws. We cannot do that for you.
  5. Mr.

    I don't really understand your question. If the bylaws call for a secret ballot or if a secret ballot is ordered by a majority vote of the assembly, then a secret ballot must be used.
  6. two thirds

    It is ultimately up to the society to interpret this rule for itself, but I personally believe that it means simply a two-thirds vote of those present and voting. Any rule that purports to change that standard RONR definition of a two thirds vote should be clear and unambiguous.
  7. Yes, however one person cannot "call the question". There is no such thing as "calling the question". That is a common misconception. There is, however, a motion to Move the Previous Question". It requires a second and a two thirds vote. A member who is speaking on a motion may conclude his remarks by "moving the previous question". It is a motion to end debate. The motion requires a second, is undebatable, and requires a two thirds vote for adoption. One person cannot single handedly cut off debate. Edited to add: Note: If a member shouts "I call the question", the chair may (and probably will) treat it as a "motion for the previous question". Also, a member must first be recognized in order to move the previous question. The chair may ignore people who just shout it out without having been recognized.
  8. D. Llama, you do have a copy of RONR, don't you? If you don't have a copy, you really need one. You can find an excellent (and lengthy) discussion about "the common parliamentary law" (or "general parliamentary law") in the introduction to the 11th edition of RONR as well as in Chapter 1. The introduction starts on page xxix and gets right into the subject. I suggest you read the entire introduction as well as Chapter 1. You should then have a clear understanding of what we mean by "common parliamentary law" (and "general parliamentary law") and how it came to be codified in Robert's Rules of Order through the various editions as well as in other parliamentary manuals. Then, of course, in other chapters RONR goes into great detail about the powers of Executive Boards and the different language that can and should be used for varying grants of authority to them. RONR also makes it clear that a board has only those powers granted to it in the bylaws. There should be no doubt, absent some contrary provision in your bylaws or controlling law, that the boards of directors of most deliberative assemblies as discussed in RONR are subservient to the membership and must abide by the dictates of the membership. It is, of course, ultimately up to your organization to interpret its bylaws, but I have seen nothing that leads me to believe that the bylaws grant the board the EXCLUSIVE authority to promulgate policies and procedures for the organization. It is ultimately up to your organization to determine if it believes that the quoted language amounts to an exclusive grant of that power. I do not believe it does, but the decision isn't mine to make.
  9. D.Llama, why don't you tell us exactly what the bylaws say about the powers of the board? Give us the entire statement, not a snippet or a paraphrase. Just because the bylaws grant a board authority in a certain area does not mean that the board has been granted exclusive Authority in that area. The rule in RONR about the general membership being superior to the board is not just a rule of order dreamed up by General Robert. It is a codification of long-standing common parliamentary law on the issue.
  10. The ultimate answer depends on the wording of the bylaws regarding the powers of the board. Unless the bylaws provide otherwise, the board is subservient to the membership and must comply with motions adopted by the membership.
  11. Kim, my initial reaction, without researching it, is no, that would not be proper. The actual text of the proposed new bylaws is not yet available. I think the required notice requires that the text, or at least a summary of the new text, to be included with the notice.
  12. If the regular minutes from a meeting are not available, any member (or group of members) can re-construct the minutes from memory as best they can and those minutes can be approved (or approved after corrections). The secretary isn't the only one who can submit draft minutes. Any member can do so. Approving those particular minutes obviously might have to wait until a future meeting. You approve what you have. You can't approve what you don't have. Edited to add: Can you elect a "new" secretary pro tem? Sure. And you should. RONR says on page 557 that the temporary officers elected at the first organizational meeting serve until the election of permanent officers. However, if the temporary secretary has abandoned his duties, it seems you can elect a new secretary pro tem either for the current meeting or perhaps to serve until permanent officers are elected. At a minimum, you can certainly elect a secretary pro tem to serve at the meeting where the first secretary or any subsequently elected secretary is absent. You can elect a secretary pro tem to serve at ANY meeting at which the regular secretary is absent.
  13. Guest Karen, are "new" members traditionally allowed to vote in the April election? If so, that seems to me pretty clear evidence that they are considered members at that time. If they are not allowed to vote in the April election, that is pretty strong evidence that they are not yet considered members. Edited to add: It is still ultimately up to your organization to interpret its own bylaws. Custom may point the way, but custom must fall to the ground if it is found to be in conflict with the bylaws.
  14. Guest Karen, I believe your question has already been properly answered by Messsrs Goldsworthy and Huynh: The way we interpret your bylaws, a member becomes a member upon being approved by the required two thirds vote and paying the required dues by March 1. It is ultimately up to your organization to interpret its own bylaws, but RONR is quite clear that at least when it comes to the "installation" of officers, a formal installation ceremony is purely ceremonial and has nothing to do when the officers actually take office unless your bylaws specify that officers do not take office until after the installation ceremony. I see this as no different. Per RONR, unless there is a rule to the contrary in your bylaws, elections take effect immediately, instantly. In my opinion, and in the opinion of our regular posters who have responded, your members become full fledged, bona fide members upon being voted in by the required two thirds vote and paying the required dues by March 1. I don't see any other way to interpret it. But, as I said earlier, it is ultimately up to your organization to interpret its own bylaws. If someone raises a point of order that a nominee is not eligible, the chair should rule on the point of order. That ruling can be appealed to the assembly.
  15. You might look at FAQ # 4 and FAQ # 6 for more information on what constitutes a "majority vote" and the effect of an abstention.