Joshua Katz

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Everything posted by Joshua Katz

  1. No one is testifying here. Casting a vote isn't testimony, it's a decision. We often make decisions on the basis of evidence presented to us. Forbidding members from voting on matters related to the minutes due to absence strikes me as more similar, if anything, to saying "bah, why should the jury get to decide? The witnesses were there, and they weren't." Not a perfect analogy, of course, but I think more reasonable than attempting to treat such a vote as being similar to giving testimony. When the question comes up, each side will present arguments and evidence as to what happened. Those voting will have to decide which evidence is more trustworthy, or else abstain. For an extreme example, suppose 50 years have gone by, and none of the membership overlaps. (In many organizations, the same is true in 5 years.) Yet clear extrinsic evidence shows a mistake in the minutes. Should it be impossible to correct them?
  2. Is the moderator a member of the body that was meeting?
  3. I don't know what the first statement here is supposed to mean, but I think it creates a question of bylaw interpretation as to whether or not abstentions mean anything.
  4. A few things: 1. If the bylaws require notice and a 2/3 vote for their amendment, and a motion is made to amend them without (that's an if statement, I don't know exactly what your bylaws provide, and wouldn't without reading them in their entirety, and even then we don't interpret bylaws) then, in my opinion, there cannot be two reasonable opinions as to whether or not that motion is in order. I believe an appeal would be dilatory. However, if it somehow isn't clear that the bylaws do require this (including because of provisions in RONR), then an appeal would not be dilatory. 2. I don't accept your argument, though, that an appeal is dilatory because "such an order is always out of order." The question on appeal is precisely whether the order in question is "such an order." 3. The interpretation of bylaws is part of parliamentary law, and questions of bylaw interpretation are questions of parliamentary law. An appeal is perfectly in order if something is ruled out of order because it contradicts the bylaws, if there is any ambiguity as to a) the order, or b ) the bylaw provision. 4. The new board is free to likewise politic and get supporters to come to the membership meeting. Presumably, they have supporters or else they wouldn't have gotten onto the board.
  5. I once was part of a board which held a special meeting in a bank lobby so that we could make sure the language we used for the motion would be sufficient. Then I (as the secretary) handed the bank a photocopy of the just-handwritten minutes. It's not clear to me what that proved, but there it is.
  6. Only a legislative assembly can use Call of the House to compel attendance. Your rules could be amended to provide for penalties for non-attendance. For example, some organizations provide that board members lose their board position if they miss 3 consecutive meetings. You can't force people to attend, though, at least not without committing a crime. Edited to add: Laws such as kidnapping are not procedural laws, and so the fact that a motion involves kidnapping someone doesn't mean it's out of order, just that it's a bad idea.
  7. Maybe I'm paranoid, but I'd feel more comfortable stating an opinion on this if I knew what the organization's rules say about nominations and elections.
  8. Yes, they're different - analogies aren't interesting unless there are differences. The point I'm making, perhaps badly, is that there should be a consistent answer to "what is adopted?" The answer shouldn't be "whichever one seems more correct in the circumstance." At least, that's my opinion. If there is to be a consistent answer, I think the written one is the better answer, even if there cases where it doesn't work out as well. If the answer is "what is said is adopted, and what is written can be modified to match it" I think you get worse outcomes, like "After debate, cough, the motion was adopted." But that's just my opinion. I don't know of a black-letter answer, although I'm sure someone will correct me if there is one.
  9. In my opinion, the difference between these is that, in the former, the assembly is in a position to decide (by not making the motion). In the latter, we'd be asking the secretary to decide, and the rest of the assembly may not notice. With that in mind: I think you make a good case here. After all, if the minutes say "hear" but mean "here," anyone listening to them being read would think they say "here." However, that is, again, asking the secretary to make a judgment of which the rest of the assembly is unaware. In my opinion, better to say that the draft minutes as they are written get adopted than to require the secretary to think "well, I'm pretty sure this wouldn't impact the reading." Or think of it another way: if the secretary makes a mistake in reading the minutes, perhaps saying "monster" for "mobster," or stumbles over a word and needs to repeat it, would you say that the adopted minutes contain the error, or that they are simply the same as the paper the secretary read from?
  10. No, although you could amend your bylaws to separate the two secretarial roles. Why are the two meetings covering the same business?
  11. I think the suggestion is to leave it since it does not change anything.
  12. Isn't this the organization Emily Gilmore belongs to?
  13. Agreeing with the others, I'm not comfortable with "fixing" the mistake by simply not counting the absentee ballots. Sending them out may well cause people not to show up at the election. I'd want to hold an adjourned session for the election.
  14. Regardless, the answer isn't the parliamentarian.
  15. Disclaimer: I have not read the charter and bylaws. Did the previous President say this for any particular reason? Is there a rule of some sort requiring it? If yes: then no, you can't just decide to skip a required election and leave the current officers in place. You might notice that one way to paraphrase your question (the way your potential opponent might describe it): Can we skip an election because someone might run against me, and might say things during the campaign that would cause me to lose? I think if you ask it that way, you can see why the answer is no.
  16. Why doesn't that prove the point?
  17. Neither do I. I do think the Borda count does, though.
  18. Agreed, but the point of order and appeal might be more popular if OP is clear on what the objection is.
  19. Again, I think this language is unclear. Do they simple "not provide for" or do they actually supersede the provisions in RONR by saying that membership cannot be terminated other than non-payment?
  20. I have trouble believing that the only way a person can be expelled is for nonpayment of dues. Do the bylaws expressly say that, or simply fail to provide for other expulsions? If the latter, the question is governed by RONR (if that is your parliamentary authority). Under RONR, that decision would indeed be made in executive session...with notice and the ability to defend, and certainly the accused is not barred from attending and/or learning what happened. Also, it is not a board decision under RONR. That said, a point of order should be raised, and an appeal made. That was in passive voice to call attention to the next question - by whom? If the member really wants to illustrate their position, they should raise it themselves, I guess, but it might be more effective to line up someone else to raise it (since they'll need to gather support to make the appeal go through anyway). If a friendly board member can be found, it can be raised at a board meeting that the board took actions beyond its bylaw competence. Otherwise, it can be raised at a membership meeting.
  21. At least we've determined the point of disagreement, then.
  22. If no rules prescribe your voting, and RONR applies, then two things. First, methods of voting which violate "one person, one vote" must be authorized in the bylaws. I believe Borda Count (and this odd variation) would fall under that provision. Second, within the range of compliant methods, a motion can be made to use one or another, but they can't be forced on you. However, failure to object when the method is prescribed looks a lot like unanimous consent, or, at least, makes it too late to raise a point of order to the method of voting. Could a point of order now be raised, though, to the use of a variation of Borda Count which was (as far as I can tell, but I wasn't there) never described when voting began, and seemingly modified after the results of the first vote were obtained? I think so, but that's a decision for your organization to make.
  23. There are no rules in RONR about applications, complete or otherwise. The requirement that a person must complete an application to be eligible must be found in your rules, and therefore only your rules can tell you when it is due and so forth. If they say something like "prior to the election," only your organization will be able to decide if that means they can complete the form prior to the second election. In my personal opinion, such a requirement would probably mean the first election. However, we might be able to help more if you post the language from your bylaws establishing this requirement.
  24. Does your opinion on the first differ from the second? I think the second is vague, and the first is clearly not anything "official." So can we agree, then, that where amendments can only be proposed via the bylaws committee, the committee is not obligated to report out an idea which is merely mentioned to them, or even one presented by an individual at a committee meeting during an opportunity for public comment, and that the committee is obligated to report out that which is referred to it by the parent assembly?
  25. Which seems to relate to my question as to what is meant here. In the OP, two individual members made suggestions to the bylaws committee. I said that the bylaws committee is not obligated to act on them. But now you're discussing matters referred to the committee. Being suggested by individual members is not a referral - if we only mean that the committee has to act when the parent assembly sends it proposals, I agree, but that wasn't what was being asked.