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Joshua Katz

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Everything posted by Joshua Katz

  1. Church Council election

    I think something got lost here. Ordinarily I would just ignore it, but I can't figure out what got lost in this case.
  2. Quorum for Public Comment & Work Session

    This would strike me as being the problem. In any event, I think the answer to such a question would have to be statutory, not parliamentary, and would almost certainly be "no."
  3. Roberts Rules versus Org Bylaws

    Well, I don't think that follows, but regardless, many of the organizations (perhaps most) that we deal with here are unincorporated and have no particular tax code status. Also, keeping receipts is relevant to taxation, but following parliamentary procedure is not, in general. The case law is rather definitive that courts are reluctant to deal with parliamentary issues (other than in public bodies) because of first amendment concerns. Not exactly - only if the statute is an applicable procedural statute. Substantive statutes do not, per RONR, take precedence. A motion to do something illegal under a substantive law is not out of order, and bylaws requiring, e.g., 5 murders to qualify for membership, are enforceable under RONR. (Of course, you'll go to prison for it, but that's not a parliamentary concern.) A motion to hire a hitman is not out of order. (See above.) Only where a statute bears on procedure does RONR say it governs procedurally. Tax laws, even if they had some bearing on this question, are, in general, not procedural statutes. I don't think that follows. The rule or motion could be "incoming officers will attend a RONR seminar" without suggesting anything about adoption. Many people are not aware of any distinction between parliamentary procedure and RONR. They might very well organize a "Robert's Rules" seminar without having adopted any parliamentary manual. Or a simple scenario like this could happen: An organization, noticing its meetings are inefficient, asks a PRP to come in and teach a seminar. The PRP, unsurprisingly, gives a seminar on RONR. (Or, having looked at the bylaws, may be careful to call it a parliamentary procedure seminar, but members refer to it as "that Roberts seminar we had last month.") They decide to do it again the next year, and start calling it their "RONR seminar." Sure, go look, but I wouldn't be surprised if you don't find anything.
  4. Well, it's certainly true that an ex-officio member, barring any special provision, may vote, since membership is the right to participate in all proceedings. I agree that the odd-even claim doesn't make much sense.
  5. Hmm. The aggrieved party here, though, cannot raise a point of order, since they have been denied membership (for the time being). Even once they join, a person who was upset about it is unlikely to make waves as a brand-new member.
  6. Enough to remove from office?

    Well, I typically prefer not to have a large assembly deciding what a contract should say (or more than one negotiator) so what you wrote didn't seem unusual to me. If it isn't what was passed, the minutes should be amended. If that amendment means that the president took action in reliance on what they previously said, and it now turns out that action wasn't authorized, you have a problem, but it's primarily legal, as Guest Zev said above.
  7. Amending Minutes

    That is not right. Each assembly (board and general membership) should be approving their own minutes. I have no idea how you got this practice, but given that it has no support, it should stop. A point of order should be raised at both meetings. (There are times it would be appropriate for the board to approve the minutes of membership meetings, but this isn't one of them, and even then, it would require authorization.) Well, the board isn't present, as a board, at a membership meeting, but in most organizations, the individual members of the board also tend to be members of the organization, and thus each still has a vote at a membership meeting. But that is beside the point.
  8. Amending Minutes

    I'm afraid I don't see the difference. Presumably, the minutes are read and approved at the next meeting of the same assembly whose meeting they are minutes of.
  9. Enough to remove from office?

    We're not going to (attempt to) interpret your state statutes. If there is an applicable procedural statute, then yes, RONR says that no motion in conflict with that applicable procedural statute is in order, although that's not the same thing as not valid - a point of order would need to be raised at a meeting, the rule is not self-enforcing. In any case, though, I simply fail to see how a motion to "accept the offer to take ownership . . ." can be fairly characterized as one to "essentially 'disallow' the members the vote on the sale." It looks to me exactly like the members voting on the sale, and like they voted to approve the sale, then left the details to the board and president. As to how a motion that delegates the task of negotiating a contract to both a body and an individual is supposed to be carried out, well, I don't know, I wouldn't make a motion to do that. It is up to your organization to figure out what it meant by that motion, and whether the president was required to seek board approval or not.
  10. Amending Minutes

    The assembly includes all members of the assembly, meaning the assembly whose meeting the minutes are a record of. In most organizations, the VP will be a member of the board (when there is a board), and so yes, the VP is included. According to RONR, the minutes should include, inter alia, "all main motions . . . that were made or taken up . . . ." p. 469. So I would say that a motion which does not receive a second would be included, in the form "Mr. X moved that . . . . The motion failed for lack of a second." It's possible I'll be corrected, though. In any case, if something is missing from the minutes and should be there, the assembly can amend the minutes while they are pending for their adoption by a majority vote, or after adoption by the motion to amend something previously adopted, which requires a 2/3 vote, a majority vote with notice, or a majority vote of the entire membership, any one of which will suffice.
  11. Enough to remove from office?

    Well, I don't really follow most of this, but let's start here: It seems to me that the decision was made by the membership, not the board, and the membership then delegated the task of working out the details to the board and President. So, I don't understand the multiple references to this decision being incorrect because it was made by the board. What am I missing?
  12. A motion which is not adopted may be made again at a subsequent session. It doesn't matter by what vote it fails. A motion fails on a tied vote, just as surely as on a lop-sided negative vote; in either case, it may not be made again at the same session, but may be made at later sessions.
  13. If you were using small board rules (recommended for boards of fewer than a dozen) the presiding officer could vote freely. Assuming otherwise, the presiding officer is supposed to vote only if they can influence the outcome. This includes breaking a tie, but it also includes creating a tie (and causing the motion to fail thereby). In this case, the presiding officer voted in favor of the motion, but did not influence the outcome, since it would have failed either way. So, assuming you're not using small board rules, he shouldn't have voted (although he has the right to do so). But, regardless, the presiding officer (assuming a member) has the right to vote anyway, and further regardless, it didn't change the outcome, so it's not clear to me why the organization is still talking about it. Incidentally, when the President resigns, the VP becomes the President, not the acting President.
  14. Minutes NOT taken in meeting

    No, minutes are a record of what was done, but they aren't the cause of its being done. The meeting still occurred, and if a recording has been lost, an effort should be made to create minutes. Most secretaries (I'm not sure if this was done here) take notes during the meeting, and use a recording only as an adjunct for things that are unclear, etc. No, even if this motion hadn't already been passed (which, it seems, it was) a motion with no second is still valid. I don't know what "no vote" means, but if the chair erroneously declares a motion adopted, and no point of order is raised, the motion is adopted. It is important to note that parliamentary procedure is not a bunch of thoughtless formalisms, but a set of rules for the conduct of business. There is no reason to require a body to go through the charade of doing what it has already done simply because a recorder was lost. No.
  15. Established membership catagory

    In my experience, this is how volunteer emergency services organizations tend to treat their "auxiliary" or similar - that is, strangely.
  16. voting on a motion and elections

    Well, the definition of member in RONR is the full right to participate in the proceedings, but I suspect there are relevant facts that might make a difference here.
  17. Officers holding multiple offices

    So I take it he moved to lay it on the table, and the motion carried, although it was out of order? It can be taken up from the table by a majority vote at the next meeting, if within a quarterly time period. If the next meeting is not within a quarterly time period, or it is not taken up at the next meeting, it dies and may be made anew. Back to your earlier question: I do not think it would be a conflict of interest for this individual to move to lay a pending matter on the table. In the circumstances you describe, it was most likely out of order - but I also don't think it would be a conflict of interest to use the proper motion (postpone). However, it's possible I'm misunderstanding what happened.
  18. I think the point, which I expressed badly, is that what matters is the intent of the society when adopting the bylaw, not the drafters. What matters is how the people voting on it understood it, which is in line with the quote from RONR. Of course, if it's 100 years old, the best clue to what they thought it meant might well be a knowledge of what words meant at that time to the public. But the point is, I don't think secret intentions of the people writing it matter.
  19. It's more important to consider what the language would have meant to the public at the time of the bylaw's adoption than the intent of its framers, anyway.
  20. Officers holding multiple offices

    The rules in RONR do not prohibit that, but your rules might, you'll need to check those. How, exactly, did the Finance Officer who is also the head of the Trustrees "table[] the motion" in a General membership meeting, though?
  21. Assuming you aren't using small board rules, simply remind the group (ahead of the problem) that debate is out of order without a motion pending, and that, when reports are made, you'll be entertaining requests for information and motions, not out of order discussion. Alternatively, you can adopt an agenda limiting the time for such reports.
  22. Debate on Appeal Decision of Chair

    Do you have an example that isn't simply the chair implicitly making their own point of order and then answering it? Are you referring to, let's say, assigning the floor in debate? In that case, sure, that's true - but before appealing it, you'd raise a point of order that the floor was assigned incorrectly.
  23. Debate on Appeal Decision of Chair

    I don't know what you're getting at with this distinction, but an appeal is only taken from a ruling of the chair, and the chair only makes rulings upon a point of order - whether their own or someone else's. If, for example, a motion is made and the chair says "that is out of order," the chair is making a ruling on their own point of order.
  24. Debate on Appeal Decision of Chair

    As I said, every appeal is always taken on a point of order. By this interpretation, there simply would be no such thing as a debatable appeal, rendering all the rules about them pointless. Additionally, while appeals follow points of order, the point of order is not pending when the appeal is taken, since it has already been answered. A point of order is only pending until the chair answers it. So this claim is false both for technical and conceptual reasons. That's an interesting point. I don't think it's on the rules of speaking, since the language there suggests that rule is about decorum and priority, not whether or not a motion is timely. I don't see how it's on priority of business, since debatability is not a part of the priority of business. I think the best analysis here, although I see where your claim is coming from, is that it "involves" the amendment - although it does not adhere to it. Or, looking at it another way, I don't think the chair's explanation of his ruling should control the debatability of the appeal. The point of order concerned the permissibility of amendment, and that, not the ruling that the point of order was not timely, should govern the debatability of the appeal.
  25. Debate on Appeal Decision of Chair

    Appeals are debatable unless related to indecorum, the priority of business, or made when an undebatable question is immediately pending or involved in the appeal. It seems you're asking about the final one, since a point of order was pending. But appeals always follow points of order. Furthermore, when an appeal is made, the point of order is not immediately pending; it's already been answered by the chair. It sounds as though nothing was immediately pending at the time of the appeal, so we next see what question is involved in the appeal. That was an amendment, which was debatable. Therefore, none of the conditions making it undebatable were satisfied, so it was debatable.