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Guest West

Termination/ Adjournment of Meeting

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Guest West

A President given authority in the bylaws to preside at the meeting calls  the meeting to order .  A member is then recognized  and that member offers a dilatory motion . The Chair rules the motion out of order for  being dilatory . Subsequent to that other members are recognized  and they too offer similar  dilatory motions ,and appeals from the Chairs decision which are also ruled by the chair to be   dilatory . This continues on  for approx 20 minutes and will  seemingly continue  indefinitely . The  chair considers the meeting  un- saveable and too dysfunctional to continue and declares the meeting adjourned and terminated - in consequence . Has the  chair  acted appropriately  assuming the motions offered  were indeed dilatory ? If the action of the Chair is correct where is that to be found in RONR ?

Thanks  for any response .

 

West 

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2 minutes ago, Guest West said:

A President given authority in the bylaws to preside at the meeting calls  the meeting to order .  A member is then recognized  and that member offers a dilatory motion . The Chair rules the motion out of order for  being dilatory . Subsequent to that other members are recognized  and they too offer similar  dilatory motions ,and appeals from the Chairs decision which are also ruled by the chair to be   dilatory . This continues on  for approx 20 minutes and will  seemingly continue  indefinitely . The  chair considers the meeting  un- saveable and too dysfunctional to continue and declares the meeting adjourned and terminated - in consequence . Has the  chair  acted appropriately  assuming the motions offered  were indeed dilatory ? If the action of the Chair is correct where is that to be found in RONR ?

Thanks  for any response .

 

West 

No.

"In the event of fire, riot, or other extreme emergency, if the chair believes taking time for a vote on adjourning would be dangerous to those present, he should declare the meeting adjourned—to a suitable time and place for an adjourned meeting (if he is able), or to meet at the call of the chair."  RONR (11th ed.), p. 86

"CASES WHERE THE ASSEMBLY CAN ADJOURN WITHOUT A MOTION. If an hour for adjourning a meeting within a convention or other session of more than one meeting has been scheduled—either in an agenda or program or by the adoption of a motion setting a time—no motion to adjourn is necessary when that hour arrives. The chair simply announces the fact and declares the meeting adjourned, as described for a recess on page 232. If the assembly does not then wish to adjourn, the matter is handled as a case of setting aside the orders of the day, as explained on pages 222–23 (see also p. 370). If such a meeting wishes to adjourn earlier, it is done by a main motion, which, however, can be adopted by a majority vote (see p. 234). The rules stated above regarding parliamentary steps that are in order after it has been voted to adjourn are applicable in this case also. "  RONR (11th ed.), pp. 240-241

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1 hour ago, Guest West said:

A President given authority in the bylaws to preside at the meeting calls  the meeting to order .  A member is then recognized  and that member offers a dilatory motion . The Chair rules the motion out of order for  being dilatory . Subsequent to that other members are recognized  and they too offer similar  dilatory motions ,and appeals from the Chairs decision which are also ruled by the chair to be   dilatory . This continues on  for approx 20 minutes and will  seemingly continue  indefinitely . The  chair considers the meeting  un- saveable and too dysfunctional to continue and declares the meeting adjourned and terminated - in consequence . Has the  chair  acted appropriately  assuming the motions offered  were indeed dilatory ? If the action of the Chair is correct where is that to be found in RONR ?

No, the chair did not act appropriately. The situations in which the chair may declare a meeting adjourned on his own initiative are quite limited, and this situation is not one of them.

Assuming that the repeated motions were truly dilatory, what the chair should have done was to refuse to recognize the members who continued to make the dilatory motions and appeals. If the members continued to be disruptive, the assembly may take disciplinary action, such as removing them from the meeting. The assembly could have decided to adjourn the meeting if it wished to, but I see no reason to do this simply because of a few troublemakers.

“It is the duty of the presiding officer to prevent members from misusing the legitimate forms of motions, or abusing the privilege of renewing certain motions, merely to obstruct business. Whenever the chair becomes convinced that one or more members are repeatedly using parliamentary forms for dilatory purposes, he should either not recognize these members or he should rule that such motions are out of order—but he should never adopt such a course merely to speed up business, and he should never permit his personal feelings to affect his judgment in such cases. If the chair only suspects that a motion is not made in good faith, he should give the maker of the motion the benefit of the doubt. The chair should always be courteous and fair, but at the same time he should be firm in protecting the assembly from imposition.” (RONR, 11th ed., pgs. 342-343)

For information regarding discipline for offenses during a meeting, see RONR, 11th ed., pgs. 645-648.

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Guest WEST

Thank-you for  the responses , however , the situation was aggravated to the point that the meeting became untenable  .It was not merely a few discontented members - the majority were in the "dilatory  motions " camp .  The refusal to recognize members was attempted but members  then talked over the Chair and  created  filibuster . Any attempt to secure an adjournment was also made impossible given that the majority were not amenable to a motion for  adjournment .

It seems that there must be some manner of  residual authority to declare adjournment in the case of  continuous dilatory motions , filibuster ,and refusal of members to comply with rules related to recognition . But maybe not in RONR .

 

Thanks

 

WEST

 

 

 

 

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Guest West

Yes indeed - they do not want to follow the rules and wish to sabotage the process.However to say " not much can be done " is no remedy, of course - at all .

When  faced with such a situation  it seems  that a Chair must  be able to do something save run from the room in despair . The authority of the bylaws allows for the  presiding  officer  general authority over the meeting- "to preside "  .

If  that authority will not be recognized and is disputed through continuous  flaunting of the rules related to recognition , dilatory motions , and general disorder he / she might resign . But that is  what  is wanted through these measures . In such circumstances it seems that the use of a residual authority to direct that the meeting is adjourned is not out of place . Maybe not RONR - but not  by any means unreasonable .

 

Thanks :

West

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12 minutes ago, Guest West said:

Yes indeed - they do not want to follow the rules and wish to sabotage the process.However to say " not much can be done " is no remedy, of course - at all .

When  faced with such a situation  it seems  that a Chair must  be able to do something save run from the room in despair . The authority of the bylaws allows for the  presiding  officer  general authority over the meeting- "to preside "  .

If  that authority will not be recognized and is disputed through continuous  flaunting of the rules related to recognition , dilatory motions , and general disorder he / she might resign . But that is  what  is wanted through these measures . In such circumstances it seems that the use of a residual authority to direct that the meeting is adjourned is not out of place . Maybe not RONR - but not  by any means unreasonable .

 

Thanks :

West

So what do you want to do, call the cops?

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Guest West

 Hail and " Haha"  -  Obe Wan Kenobi of the RONR .  - cops  cannot  cure this one !  What is wanted is a reasonable way forward - but  the members seem  have buried themselves in this muddle ! Power struggle  and discontent   with the result of their own election choices . Whats to be done- is truly the question ?

 

West

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2 hours ago, Guest WEST said:

Thank-you for  the responses , however , the situation was aggravated to the point that the meeting became untenable  .It was not merely a few discontented members - the majority were in the "dilatory  motions " camp .  The refusal to recognize members was attempted but members  then talked over the Chair and  created  filibuster . Any attempt to secure an adjournment was also made impossible given that the majority were not amenable to a motion for  adjournment .

Well, now I’m a bit puzzled. What exactly was the nature of these “dilatory” motions? A dilatory motion is one which is intended to obstruct or delay the assembly from completing its business. Such tactics are usually used by members in the minority. It doesn’t really make any sense for members in the majority to make dilatory motions, because the majority is in charge and has no reason to delay. So I’m wondering if these motions were truly “dilatory.”

2 hours ago, Guest WEST said:

It seems that there must be some manner of  residual authority to declare adjournment in the case of  continuous dilatory motions , filibuster ,and refusal of members to comply with rules related to recognition . But maybe not in RONR.

There is not - especially if a majority of the assembly does not want to adjourn.

1 hour ago, Guest West said:

Yes indeed - they do not want to follow the rules and wish to sabotage the process.

Why would a majority want to sabotage the process? The majority controls the process. What am I missing here?

1 hour ago, Guest West said:

When  faced with such a situation  it seems  that a Chair must  be able to do something save run from the room in despair . The authority of the bylaws allows for the  presiding  officer  general authority over the meeting- "to preside "  .

If  that authority will not be recognized and is disputed through continuous  flaunting of the rules related to recognition , dilatory motions , and general disorder he / she might resign . But that is  what  is wanted through these measures . In such circumstances it seems that the use of a residual authority to direct that the meeting is adjourned is not out of place . Maybe not RONR - but not  by any means unreasonable.

It is absolutely unreasonable to suggest that the chair can adjourn a meeting in blatant disregard of the wishes of the majority. The presiding officer’s authority is not absolute. The authority ultimately rests with the assembly.

3 minutes ago, Guest West said:

What is wanted is a reasonable way forward - but  the members seem  have buried themselves in this muddle ! Power struggle  and discontent   with the result of their own election choices . Whats to be done- is truly the question?

Well, first, I think we need to understand exactly what the situation is, because it clearly isn’t what I thought it was.

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21 minutes ago, Josh Martin said:

It is absolutely unreasonable to suggest that the chair can adjourn a meeting in blatant disregard of the wishes of the majority. The presiding officer’s authority is not absolute. The authority ultimately rests with the assembly.

The President may want to be careful in declaring the meeting adjourned and walking out since absent the building being on fire or something similar the assembly would be within their rights to have the Vice President take over and continue the meeting.  There being a majority in favor of those "dilatory" motions it very well could be viewed by them as the President being the one in the wrong for attempting to thwart the will of the assembly and depending on how much of a majority there is he could find at the next meeting he has more problems than dealing with motions he believes to be dilatory.  By a 2/3 vote they could decide to remove him from the Chair for that meeting or depending on how the bylaws deal with discipline they could be on their way to removing him from office altogether.

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Guest WEST

Mr Martin :

 

The dilatory motions - and they are dilatory are  - attempts to wrestle authority from the Chair  which authority is   provided in the bylaws .The end game  as can be perceived is to make the meting so horrible that the president  will resign before the set period of election .  . So dilatory  motion after dilatory motion . Speaking  over the Chair and  refusing to accept that the chair has authority to recognize or refuse recognition . Full scale revolt absent a melee . Sabotaging the process to create dysfunction and inability for the Chair to carry out the  elected role .

 

West

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One alternative is for enough members to cause the loss of a quorum to simply walk out.

I'm confused, too, though because it seems as if maybe the assembly is doing what a majority of the members in attendance want. Otherwise, someone would move to adjourn and the majority would vote for it. I think we are missing something. 

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The President may or may not be correct in believing that just because a specific authority is granted by the bylaws means that authority can't be suspended by the members.  For example, the duty to preside at meetings (which is a pretty significant one) can be suspended by a 2/3 vote (RONR pp. 651-653).  Can you give us more detail in what the members were trying to do?

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Guest Zev

My preference is for Mr. West to exactly quote these so-called dilatory motions.

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33 minutes ago, Chris Harrison said:

The President may want to be careful in declaring the meeting adjourned and walking out since absent the building being on fire or something similar the assembly would be within their rights to have the Vice President take over and continue the meeting.  There being a majority in favor of those "dilatory" motions it very well could be viewed by them as the President being the one in the wrong for attempting to thwart the will of the assembly and depending on how much of a majority there is he could find at the next meeting he has more problems than dealing with motions he believes to be dilatory.  By a 2/3 vote they could decide to remove him from the Chair for that meeting or depending on how the bylaws deal with discipline they could be on their way to removing him from office altogether.

I once advised a chair to declare a meeting adjourned without a motion due to a fire.  The opinion on this forum was that, even then, I was wrong, which may well be, although I think it was the only reasonable thing to do under the circumstances.

In any case, it seems that the dilatory tactics being used by a majority here, while odd, is not entirely without logic, if the goal truly is to make the chair resign.  On the other hand, if the chair believes himself more powerful than he is, there may be a reason they want to force him out.  In any case, I think this sounds like a political issue, not one resolvable by parliamentary means.

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Guest WEST

Yes - I expect this is a correct assessment - from  the former Godelfan.

 

West 

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12 hours ago, Guest WEST said:

The dilatory motions - and they are dilatory are  - attempts to wrestle authority from the Chair  which authority is   provided in the bylaws.

This is still very vague. Could you provide an example of one of the motions?

12 hours ago, Guest WEST said:

The end game  as can be perceived is to make the meting so horrible that the president  will resign before the set period of election.

But this still makes no sense. If there are as many members against the chair as you say, why do they not simply begin formal proceedings to remove the chair? See FAQ #20. I don’t understand why the majority is acting like a minority.

11 hours ago, Joshua Katz said:

I once advised a chair to declare a meeting adjourned without a motion due to a fire.  The opinion on this forum was that, even then, I was wrong, which may well be, although I think it was the only reasonable thing to do under the circumstances.

I do not recall the facts, but in any event, the situation here is not comparable to a fire.

11 hours ago, Joshua Katz said:

In any case, it seems that the dilatory tactics being used by a majority here, while odd, is not entirely without logic, if the goal truly is to make the chair resign.  On the other hand, if the chair believes himself more powerful than he is, there may be a reason they want to force him out.  In any case, I think this sounds like a political issue, not one resolvable by parliamentary means.

It’s not logical at all. There are parliamentary means for forcing officers out.

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19 minutes ago, Josh Martin said:

I do not recall the facts, but in any event, the situation here is not comparable to a fire.

12 hours ago, Joshua Katz said:

I agree.

20 minutes ago, Josh Martin said:

It’s not logical at all. There are parliamentary means for forcing officers out.

Maybe they don't know those means, or their bylaws make it difficult.  Being jerks until he resigns, though, is relatively easy.

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13 hours ago, Guest WEST said:

Mr Martin :

 

The dilatory motions - and they are dilatory are  - attempts to wrestle authority from the Chair  which authority is   provided in the bylaws .The end game  as can be perceived is to make the meting so horrible that the president  will resign before the set period of election .  . So dilatory  motion after dilatory motion . Speaking  over the Chair and  refusing to accept that the chair has authority to recognize or refuse recognition . Full scale revolt absent a melee . Sabotaging the process to create dysfunction and inability for the Chair to carry out the  elected role .

 

West

"No motion is dilatory that the assembly chooses to entertain (no matter how dilatory it really is)."  Basically, it is ultimately up to the majority to determine if a motion is dilatory.  If a member should appeal the decision of the chair, including putting the motion from the floor, and the majority agree to entertain the motion, the motion is properly before the assembly.  By definition, that motion is not dilatory.

The chair should, if he feels the motion is dilatory, rule it out of order as such, and prepare to have that decision appealed.  He should not attempt to adjourn the meeting.

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