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  1. “No rule protecting a minority of a particular size can be suspended in the face of a negative vote as large as the minority protected by the rule” ([11th ed.], p. 261, ll. 15–17). But the “vote required for adoption” of Suspend the Rules is two-thirds, “except where the rule protects a minority of less than one third” (tinted p. 27). (1) Can a rule that protects 10 members be suspended by a vote of 20-10? Page 261 says no, but tinted p. 27 indicates yes. Should tinted p. 27 say “less than or equal to one third”? (2) As I understand the general principle, suspending a rule that protects a minority of less than or equal to one-third requires a vote greater than two-thirds. In other words, if m = number of members present and voting n = number of members protected by a rule (n ≤ m/3) v = vote necessary for adoption then v > (m – n). Is it okay to have a mathematical difference like this, rather than a fraction, for “the proportion that must concur” (p. 402, l. 26)? How should the chair announce the voting result? What should a tellers’ report say is “necessary for adoption”?
  2. "In order that there may be no interference with the assembly's having the benefit of its committees' matured judgment, motions to close or limit debate are not allowed in committees" (RONR 11th ed., p. 500, ll. 18-21). Q1: Can this rule be suspended? Q2a: If not, by what cited rule / principle, on pp. 263-264, or elsewhere? Q2b: If it can be suspended, does the p. 261, l. 15 rule ("no rule protecting a minority of a particular size can be suspended in the face of a negative vote as large as the minority protected by the rule") cause Suspend to require at least one more vote than two-thirds? I lean toward the notion that it cannot be suspended, because the group "protected" is the assembly, rather than some subset of the committee (whether present or absent). And even if there was no objection to "suspend the rules and close debate" (for instance), I'd think that it would not be in order, but that the chair could appropriately say something like, "Although the rules may not be suspended to close debate, the fact that there is no objection to doing so indicates that no one else is seeking to debate, thus we will proceed to putting the motion to a vote." Or am I missing something?
  3. RONR (11th Ed.), page 501, lines 11-13 states, "During actual deliberations of the committee, only committee members have the right to be present." Also, starting on page 500, line 22, RONR states, "Committees of organized societies operate under the bylaws, the parliamentary authority, and any special rules of order or standing rules of the society which may be applicable to them. A committee may not adopt its own rules except as authorized in the rules of the society or in instructions given [page 501] to the committee by its parent assembly in a particular case." My question is this. In an organization that has no special rules of order or standing rules established in its bylaws, no provision in the definition of this committee for non-committee members to be in attendance during committee deliberations or allowing a committee to set its own rules, it is allowable to suspend the rules to allow persons who are not members of a committee to be in attendance during committee deliberations and voting? Thank you for your opinions.
  4. Bylaws and Suspend the Rules

    In my review of RONR, it is my understanding that it is never in order to suspend the rules in bylaws unless provisions for suspension are included for a particular rule or are clearly in the nature of a rule of order. I take this to mean that even a Board who has the authority for governing the maintenance and operations of the club in regard to functions and activities, cannot suspend the rules and make changes to our bylaws without due process of membership ratification. During a bylaws committee meeting, one of the members made a statement to an officer of the club that the Board had a right to suspend the rules and make summary changes to the bylaws and/or special rules if they felt the need to do so in order to fulfill their obligations in operations of the club. I disagreed with this statement however no real consensus was gained on the subject. My question then is, would the Board have this right even though our bylaws clearly state revisions to bylaws must be ratified by 2/3 vote of the membership at a general meeting? Thank you
  5. Suppose a society adopts RONR as its PA in its bylaws, and has a quorum of 5. Over time the membership drops to 4 with no change to the quorum requirement. At a meeting with all 4 members attending, can they suspend the rules for quorum and transact business? It appears to me that the new language in RONR 11th edition, p. 263, l. 20 through p. 264, l. 5 along with its footnote would allow this, so long as the body meeting has authority to amend its quorum requirement when it has a quorum (and meets whatever other procedural rules are prescribed for amending the quorum). Also, is this a change in rule from the 10th edition, or was it arguably allowed under the 10th edition but simply not stated?
  6. The Nominations Committee (NC) consists of 2 board members (president and past president with the past president chairing the NC) and 3 non-board members. I am 1 of the 3 non-board members. As required in the bylaws, the NC was appointed by the board. The NC met and prepared a list of 9 candidates for election to the board of which there were 6 open slots. One candidate withdrew their nomination so that left us with 8 candidates to fill 6 slots. The NC agreed to have an elections in which our members would be able to vote in person at the future scheduled meeting in May or by absentee voting if they were not at the meeting and this seems consistent with our bylaws which state that "the board members shall be elected by a majority vote of members in present or absentee at the meeting at which such election is held". In previous years the NC would prepare a list of candidates to fill the exact spots needed. For example, if there were 6 slots, the NC would prepare a lit of 6 candidates. The vote would be held and the members present at the meeting would vote. So if you were not at the meeting, you did not have a chance to vote absentee. This year the NC decided to put forth 8 qualified candidates and a full vote of the membership in person or absentee. A few days after the NC prepared the slate but prior to the NC notifying the members of the slate, the board met just before our monthly meeting and voted on a new slate of candidates. The new slate consisted of only 6 candidates. The 6 candidates are all existing board members and whose term is up for renewal. Five of the 6 candidates were present at the board meeting and voted on the new slate. These 6 candidates were also part of the 8 candidates that the NC proposed. I pointed out that this is not in accordance with the bylaws, that the board was not objective, and the work of the NC was disregarded. The response I received is that the board suspended the rule of procedure related to the nominating/elections committee and so the board voted on a slate to be presented to the members that day (which the slate was presented to our members in attendance at the meeting without notifying the NC until the day after). Also, I was informed that the board voiced concern about the ballot approach, the potential confusion it may have for our members and the precedence it would set, and concerns about the process for conducting the election so that all members could vote (we have over 2200 members). Additionally, I was told the board took this approach because the NC would not have time to convene again since per the bylaws our slate had to be announced that day, so the next month nominations from the floor could be made and the following month we would have the vote. Our year end is May 31 so that vote has to happen before this date. Our bylaws state the rules of procedure at meetings of the Chapter, of the Board of Governors, and of committees, shall be according to Robert's Rule of Order, so far as is applicable and when not inconsistent with the bylaws. Our bylaws also state that the rules of procedure may be suspended by two-thirds vote of those present and voting at any meeting. May questions are: 1) can the board suspend the rule of procedures related to the nominating/elections committee and vote on a new slate and 2) if not, what do you recommend we do to get this set right? Time is of the essence. Thank you for your guidance.
  7. Our bylaws stipulate that the president shall appoint all committees (of the board or the membership) special or standing. Is this provision in the nature of a rule that can be suspended by the membership at its annual general meeting?
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