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Guest Lynda

President answering questions of board member

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Our president was answering questions of a board member and the VP interrupted saying I am taking over this meeting while you discuss.  The By laws chair agreed.

This was insulting to our president since she was only answering the questions.  I reviewed this today and saw in Roberts Rules that the president can discuss under Point of Information.  What say you?

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I see no reason why the president could not respond to a point of information - assuming he is the best person to have the information requested. But there is a fine line between answering points of information and delving into debate on a pending motion, which the presiding officer - of a large assembly particularly - should not be doing. In that case, he should relinquish the chair to the VP until the question is disposed of. But the VP does not have the authority on his own to 'take over this meeting' in such circumstances.

However, all of this may be moot if this took place in a board meeting, where no more than about a dozen members were present. Under the small board rules in RONR, the president (or chair, if not the president) is free to participate fully in all business, including debate and voting on all questions.

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The President is certainly free to answer factual questions of members, especially those related to parliamentary procedure (indeed, answering parliamentary questions is part of his duties as chairman). The President should decline to answer a question, however, if doing so would undermine his appearance of impartiality (unless this is a small board).

Furthermore, the Vice President  (let alone the chair of the bylaws committee) has no authority to remove the President from the chair. Unless the President voluntarily relinquishes the chair, removing him from the chair requires a 2/3 vote.

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31 minutes ago, Guest Lynda said:

This was insulting to our president since she was only answering the questions.  I reviewed this today and saw in Roberts Rules that the president can discuss under Point of Information.  What say you?

It is also insulting to the assembly, and a gross violation of the rules.  Even if the chair were doing things that are clearly wrong (answering questions is not clearly wrong, and getting into a prolonged back and forth under the guise of points of information is a tougher area, but not clearly wrong), the VP can't just jump up and take over, nor does the chair of the bylaws committee have anything to do with the conduct of business at meetings, unless he happens to be presenting a motion, in which case he's presenting a motion, not providing feedback on ways to illegitimately take over the chair.

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And also, we have to remember that one person couldhold more than one position. I know in one small organization where for a year the President also acted as Treasurer because the person was the only one who had any training in accounting.  So, in a situtaion like that, the President may have to answer financial questions such as "Do we have enough money to pay for the purchase of new furniture if the motion passes?"

But there are also other times when the President/Chairman may need to answer 'questions' - for example, if a question is about what affects are caused by the passage or failing of a motion.  Such as, "If we vote against the motion to censure a member that the member may continue to make comments on this issue?"

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