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Motion to dispense with the reading of the minutes


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#1 Guest_Mary Ellen Heisser_*

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 11:54 PM

Frequently, at our women's group at my church, of which I am currently the President of, a motion is made and seconded to dispense with the reading of the minutes of the last meeting. The motion is put to the members for discussion. No one ever wants to discuss it and everyone always votes in favor of the motion. Same procedure was done at tonight's meeting. However, at the very end of the meeting, as we were adjourning, a member wanted the minutes read. It was explained that the motion had been made early to dispense with the reading, etc. She got miffed and felt that the minutes should be read and approved and if not done at the meeting, then a special committee should be formed to read all the minutes and approve them. I politely explained that she should have brought this up when it was put on the floor for discussion and that next month, if she wants the minutes read, then she needs to say something. Did I follow correct parlimentary procedure?

#2 Gary c Tesser

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Posted 03 November 2010 - 12:20 AM

You cannot have followed correct parliamentary procedure, since what your group has been doing for some time is already in violation of it. (Um, note that that is not what Robert's Rules says.)

Any attempt to impose proper procedure on the structure of proceeding that you already have would result in gibberish. (Again, that's my assessment: you won't find that in RONR.)

See, it looks to me as if your group's membership wanted to decide that the minutes are OK as they are -- and that you wanted to decide that you don't need them read. What you wanted to do, to certify that your group says officially that the minutes are correct, is called "approving" the minutes. To dispense with the reading of the minutes is to say that we will read them later -- adopting a motion to dispense with the reading of the minutes is only an order that the reading will be done later.

Given your group's situation, I suggest that as soon as possible, you adopt a motion that ratifies all the previous "dispensings," saying that all those previous dispensings were really approval of those minutes as officially correct.

Then, stop calling your group's official approval of the minutes, as correct, "dispensing of their reading," and begin to call it what it is.

And most importantly, make sure that the minutes are, indeed, correct, before approving them. If they have been sent out to all the members, by e-mail, paper mail, or tedious reading over the phone, that's fine. But if your group does not do that previous distribution, you really, really, better read them at a meeting. (And note that this objecting member -- or any member -- has the right to demand that the minutes be read.)

Yes, a special committee can be formed to approve all those old minutes, desperately hanging there with all sorts of inaccuracies threatening your group, who has endorsed that version, which might have all sorts of falsehoods there, claiming to be what your group did.. A special committee might be the better way, but it's certainly not required.

And lastly, if your group used to find the minutes tedious on reading them, then they probably have about twice as much wordage in them as they are supposed to have. Minutes are what the assembled group has done, not what any particular one has said. If that's the problem, then you need to get the secretary to read about four pages in RONR (beginning about p. 451), or some fewer in RONR - In Brief.

And Ms Heisser, you didn't do too bad at all.

(Edited to reduce my own gibberish.)

Edited by Gary c Tesser, 03 November 2010 - 12:21 AM.


#3 Gary Novosielski

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Posted 03 November 2010 - 12:38 AM

You cannot have followed correct parliamentary procedure, since what your group has been doing for some time is already in violation of it. (Um, note that that is not what Robert's Rules says.)

Any attempt to impose proper procedure on the structure of proceeding that you already have would result in gibberish. (Again, that's my assessment: you won't find that in RONR.)

See, it looks to me as if your group's membership wanted to decide that the minutes are OK as they are -- and that you wanted to decide that you don't need them read. What you wanted to do, to certify that your group says officially that the minutes are correct, is called "approving" the minutes. To dispense with the reading of the minutes is to say that we will read them later -- adopting a motion to dispense with the reading of the minutes is only an order that the reading will be done later.

Given your group's situation, I suggest that as soon as possible, you adopt a motion that ratifies all the previous "dispensings," saying that all those previous dispensings were really approval of those minutes as officially correct.

Then, stop calling your group's official approval of the minutes, as correct, "dispensing of their reading," and begin to call it what it is.

And most importantly, make sure that the minutes are, indeed, correct, before approving them. If they have been sent out to all the members, by e-mail, paper mail, or tedious reading over the phone, that's fine. But if your group does not do that previous distribution, you really, really, better read them at a meeting. (And note that this objecting member -- or any member -- has the right to demand that the minutes be read.)

Yes, a special committee can be formed to approve all those old minutes, desperately hanging there with all sorts of inaccuracies threatening your group, who has endorsed that version, which might have all sorts of falsehoods there, claiming to be what your group did.. A special committee might be the better way, but it's certainly not required.

And lastly, if your group used to find the minutes tedious on reading them, then they probably have about twice as much wordage in them as they are supposed to have. Minutes are what the assembled group has done, not what any particular one has said. If that's the problem, then you need to get the secretary to read about four pages in RONR (beginning about p. 451), or some fewer in RONR - In Brief.

And Ms Heisser, you didn't do too bad at all.

(Edited to reduce my own gibberish.)


I disagree that a motion to dispense with the reading of the minutes requires that they be read later. RONR suggests that when minutes have been distributed to the members in writing, that the assembly may dispense with their reading by unanimous consent. It is permissible to dispense with their reading completely in this case.

But you are quite correct that what may not be dispensed with is the approval of the minutes. This should take place whether the minutes have been read out loud or not. If the group has not been approving the minutes, and if this approval has not been recorded in the minutes of each subsequent meeting, then they have some work to do.
Unless otherwise indicated, citations refer to the current edition of RONR as of the date of posting. The rules in your bylaws supersede those in RONR.
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#4 Kim Goldsworthy

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Posted 03 November 2010 - 04:35 AM

... a motion is made and seconded to dispense with the reading of the minutes of the last meeting.

The motion is put to the members for discussion.
No one ever wants to discuss it and everyone always votes in favor of the motion.
Same procedure was done at tonight's meeting.

However, at the very end of the meeting, as we were adjourning, a member wanted the minutes read.
It was explained that the motion had been made early to dispense with the reading, etc.

She got miffed and felt that the minutes should be read and approved and if not done at the meeting, then a special committee should be formed to read all the minutes and approve them.

I politely explained that she should have brought this up when it was put on the floor for discussion and that next month, if she wants the minutes read, then she needs to say something.

Did I follow correct parliamentary procedure?

No!
The member had the RIGHT to demand, without debate, with majority vote, that the minutes be read.

[See RONR (tenth edition, 2000) excerpt, pages 456-457:]

By a majority vote without debate, the reading of the
minutes can be “dispensed with”--that is, not carried
out at the regular time. If the reading of the minutes is
dispensed with, it can be ordered (by majority vote
without debate) at any later time during the meeting

while no business is pending; and if it is not thus taken
up before adjournment, these minutes must be read at
the following meeting before the reading of the later
minutes. If it is desired to approve the minutes without
having them read, it is necessary to suspend the rules for
this purpose.



___________________________________________________
(sung to the tune of "I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major General" by Gilbert and Sullivan)
"Authorities I usually cite are Henry M. Robertian. / Some days I'm George Demeter-ish or even Alice Stug-ian.
I've even given counsel kind of Riddick-ized-Butcher-ian. / When pressured I will read aloud D. Patnode and J. Erikson."


#5 David A Foulkes

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Posted 03 November 2010 - 09:40 AM

.....

.....

.....

(Edited to reduce my own gibberish.)

Whew! Can't tell you how glad I am about that!! Posted Image

#6 Rev Ed

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Posted 03 November 2010 - 11:06 AM

Page 457 of RONR deals with not reading the Minutes. However, the Minutes should be sent out prior to the meeting (so memebers can read them) and the Minutes must still be approved and corrections offered. RONR does not state anything that I can find stating that a motion to dispense with the reading of the Minutes is in order. However, a memeber has the right to require the Minutes being read.

#7 Kim Goldsworthy

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Posted 03 November 2010 - 11:46 AM

RONR does not state anything that I can find stating that
a motion to dispense with the reading of the Minutes is in order.

What do you mean
"RONR does not state ... that a motion to dispense with the reading of the minutes is in order"?

RONR says

By a majority vote without debate, the reading of the minutes can be “dispensed with”


Thus
If RONR says
"Minutes can be dispensed with by (a.) a majority vote; and (b.) without debate"
then RONR is saying
"It is in order to dispense with the minutes, via #a plus #b."

Right?

___________________________________________________
(sung to the tune of "I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major General" by Gilbert and Sullivan)
"Authorities I usually cite are Henry M. Robertian. / Some days I'm George Demeter-ish or even Alice Stug-ian.
I've even given counsel kind of Riddick-ized-Butcher-ian. / When pressured I will read aloud D. Patnode and J. Erikson."


#8 Tim Wynn

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Posted 03 November 2010 - 12:23 PM

I disagree that a motion to dispense with the reading of the minutes requires that they be read later.

"... if it is not thus taken up before adjournment, these minutes must be read at the following meeting..." - p. 547, l. 3-5.

It it my interpretation that when RONR says "dispense with," it refers to "Reading and Approval of the minutes." I don't believe RONR ever refers to "dispensing with" the mere reading of minutes. RONR separates Reading from Approval through either 1)Suspending the Rules, or 2) Sending draft minutes with the notice. I don't believe the term "dispense" is intended to cause a separation at all; it is intended to "delay" both reading and approval.

RONR suggests that when minutes have been distributed to the members in writing, that the assembly may dispense with their reading by unanimous consent. It is permissible to dispense with their reading completely in this case.

In keeping with my interpretation, you'll notice that p. 575, l. 9-19, in outlining this procedure never uses the word, "dispense."

But you are quite correct that what may not be dispensed with is the approval of the minutes. This should take place whether the minutes have been read out loud or not.

This, along with the reading, is precisely what is delayed, when an assembly chooses to "dispense with," as used on pages 456-457. The reading and approval of minutes may be delayed to the next meeting, where they MUST be read (and approved), thought he actual reading can be skipped, by either of the two forms posted above, and found on page 457.

If the group has not been approving the minutes, and if this approval has not been recorded in the minutes of each subsequent meeting, then they have some work to do.

Absolutely, and it seems that the group doesn't understand the importance of the minutes as the official record. I can see how groups may feel that the minutes are just a news report of what happened last meeting, but they should realize that they are much more than that. They are the official record of what was done at the meeting, and they only become that when they're approved.

#9 Rev Ed

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Posted 03 November 2010 - 12:45 PM

What do you mean
"RONR does not state ... that a motion to dispense with the reading of the minutes is in order"?

RONR says

Thus
If RONR says
"Minutes can be dispensed with by (a.) a majority vote; and (b.) without debate"
then RONR is saying
"It is in order to dispense with the minutes, via #a plus #b."

Right?


Sorry, I should have said "is not in order." My mistake. Thank you for pointing that out to me.

#10 Gary Novosielski

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Posted 03 November 2010 - 04:59 PM

Sorry, I should have said "is not in order." My mistake. Thank you for pointing that out to me.


That's called "falling through the not hole"
Unless otherwise indicated, citations refer to the current edition of RONR as of the date of posting. The rules in your bylaws supersede those in RONR.
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#11 Josh Martin

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 04:50 PM

I disagree that a motion to dispense with the reading of the minutes requires that they be read later. RONR suggests that when minutes have been distributed to the members in writing, that the assembly may dispense with their reading by unanimous consent. It is permissible to dispense with their reading completely in this case.


"Dispense with the Reading of the Minutes" is a term of art in parliamentary law, and just as Mr. Tesser said, it means that the reading of the minutes is delayed. It is comparable to the motion to Lay on the Table. See RONR, 10th ed., pg. 456, line 33 - pg. 457, line 6. While it is correct that when the minutes have been distributed in advance the minutes are not read unless requested, this is not referred to as "dispensing" with the reading of the minutes.

Don't worry, I've made the same mistake myself. :)
-Josh Martin, PRP



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