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Josh Martin

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Everything posted by Josh Martin

  1. Josh Martin

    Proper Notice and Motion to Amend

    If the assembly wishes to refer the motion to amend the bylaws back to the board (which is where the changes came from), with instructions on the manner in which the proposed amendments shall be presented, it is free to do so. Yes, I agree that such actions would be preferable, but the board’s failure to do so does not, in my opinion, invalidate the notice. As I understand the facts, the board has included in the notice the exact wording of the bylaw, as it will read if amended. In my view, this is sufficient to meet the requirements that the amendment be “formally worded” and that it “fairly informs” the members of the proposed changes.
  2. Josh Martin

    Conflict of Interest

    This fact in and of itself is not a conflict so far as RONR is concerned. If a motion arose concerning the bookkeeper, then her spouse should (but cannot be compelled to) abstain from voting on the motion, since he has a personal or pecuniary interest not in common with other members. There may also be provisions in your own rules or applicable law on this subject.
  3. Josh Martin


    The member should first be informed of his election. He is indeed elected, and if he wishes to take the position now, he is free to to do so. If he declines the position, another round of voting must be held for this seat only.
  4. Josh Martin

    Proper Notice and Motion to Amend

    Since the final wording of the bylaw, as it will read if amended, has been provided, it seems to me this is sufficient notice and is a proper motion to amend the bylaws. We are told that the exact wording of the bylaw, as it will read if amended, has been provided. In my view, this satisfies the “formally worded” requirement. While the example specifies which words are to be struck out and which words are to be inserted, and while RONR notes that it is a good practice to list the current wording and the wording as amended, the text does not strictly require either of these things.
  5. Josh Martin

    Voting Between 3 Options

    Yes, I would agree on both points.
  6. Josh Martin

    Polling the board

    No, of course, suspending the rules in and of itself does not make a dilatory motion any less dilatory. If a motion to suspend the rules is adopted by a 2/3 vote, however, this calls into question whether the straw poll is, in fact, “meaningless and dilatory” in this particular instance. Presumably the members who voted to suspend the rules did not feel that it was meaningless or dilatory. Another solution would be to recess. In such a case, the assembly is not currently meeting, so the prohibition against straw polls does not apply. This also has the advantage of requiring only a majority vote. Probably.
  7. Josh Martin

    Nomination Problem

    I see no reason why not, based upon the facts provided.
  8. On the contrary, my understanding is that the purpose of an agenda is to specify the order in which items of business will be considered and to ensure that the most important items of business are considered first, not to actually prevent the introduction of items not on the agenda (unless the assembly has adopted a rule to that effect). Unless the assembly has actually adopted a rule of order providing as much, however, I do not think this inference (while understandable) is correct. I agree that items included on an agenda are not properly understood as “New Business” in the sense RONR uses that term.
  9. Josh Martin

    Voting Between 3 Options

    Well, this is an interesting question. It would seem to me that this might run afoul of the prohibition against more than one main question being pending at a time. If so, the rules could not be suspended for this purpose, as that is a fundamental principle of parliamentary law. It would seem to me, however, that the assembly could adopt a rule of order for the session prescribing the procedure described by Mr. Novosielski, in much the same way that such rules could be adopted for several of the other proposals that have been suggested in this thread. So far as I can tell, no rule in RONR prevents the adoption of such a rule. Oh, I quite agree and have been suggesting as much from the beginning. I do not understand the need to reinvent the wheel when RONR already has a tried and true method.
  10. Josh Martin

    Discipline and Removal

    I think the chair may make this decision on his own. The chair is using his own best judgment on how to best carry out the assembly’s order that the member be removed. Nothing that I read in the text suggests that, when the society has ordered a member removed from the hall, the chair is required to follow up with the assembly for approval regarding the methods used to accomplish this. No, I do not think the chair’s decision in this matter may be appealed. This decision is not, in my mind, a decision regarding the exercise of the chair’s authority as presiding officer, and is therefore not the sort of decision which is subject to appeal. The decision of how a member is to be removed (rather than whether he is to be removed) seems to be an administrative decision, not a parliamentary one. I do think that it would be in order, however, for a member to make a motion ordering the chair not to call the police regarding this matter. Presumably, this motion would also specify the method the motion maker intends to use to remove the disruptive member instead (such as having the sergeant-at-arms complete the task, or having the chair appoint a committee for the purpose). Given the circumstances, I think this is in the nature of a question of privilege, and it may well need to be addressed immediately. I think that such a motion would be debatable.
  11. Josh Martin

    Minutes Content

    ”The official record of the proceedings of a deliberative assembly is usually called the minutes, or sometimes—particularly in legislative bodies—the journal. In an ordinary society, the minutes should contain mainly a record of what was done at the meeting, not what was said by the members. The minutes should never reflect the secretary's opinion, favorable or otherwise, on anything said or done.” (RONR, 11th ed., pg. 468) See RONR, 11th ed., pgs. 468-471 for more information. Yes. Minutes are still taken in executive session, but discussion is not included in the minutes, whether or not the meeting is in executive session.
  12. Why can’t the member simply make his motion during New Business, after all other items listed on the agenda are completed?
  13. Josh Martin

    Voting Between 3 Options

    I still disagree that filling blanks is the appropriate tool to use for this purpose.
  14. Josh Martin

    Nomination Problem

    We are told, however, that the organization’s rules provide that “The Membership may propose alternate candidates for the Board of Directors by submitting a slate supported by ten (10) member signatures.” (emphasis added) It may well be that this rule does require members to submit a full slate in order to nominate candidates. I do not think this is the only possible interpretation, but I do not think it is unreasonable. If this is correct, it appears the member will need to find nine friends (if there is still time to submit a new petition) or run a write-in campaign instead.
  15. Josh Martin


    I believe you mean “censured,” which is a motion expressing the formal disapproval of the board. The board may adopt such a motion if it wishes.
  16. Josh Martin

    Voting Between 3 Options

    Yes, the society could adopt such a rule if it wishes. This would also be in order.
  17. Josh Martin

    Voting Between 3 Options

    Yes, that is correct (if the substitute is adopted). “If the motion to substitute has been adopted, the resolution now pending is in the position of a paragraph that has been inserted, and it can no longer be amended except by adding nonmodifying matter.” (RONR, 11th ed., pg. 161) As a result, if a motion to adopt Budget A and a motion to amend by substituting Budget B are made, a member who wishes to consider Budget C should speak in debate and urge members to defeat the motion to substitute, and that he will offer a motion to substitute Budget C if this occurs.
  18. Josh Martin

    Voting Between 3 Options

    No, that would not be appropriate in this instance. Filling blanks is used when it is desired to consider a particular specification in a motion, such as a name, place, or amount of money. The procedure of filling blanks could be used if there is a dispute over the amount for a particular line item in the proposed budget, but voting on three different budgets by the procedure of filling blanks is not in order. I disagree that the procedure of filling blanks could be used in this instance, regardless of the matter of voting (although I suppose that a special rule could allow it). The procedure described is problematic. If the motion to substitute Budget B is adopted, further amendments are not in order except by adding nonmodifying matter. As a result, if it was desired in this instance to then consider Budget C as a substitute, it would be necessary to Reconsider the vote on the motion to substitute Budget B. Additionally, I see no reason to suggest or guess at how the process will play out. The process will begin by a member offering a motion to adopt a budget (presumably, to adopt one of the three budgets which have been proposed). Amendments to that motion are then in order. How exactly the process plays out from there is up to the assembly.
  19. Josh Martin

    Voting Between 3 Options

    A member should make a motion to adopt one of the proposed budgets. Amendments to that motion are then in order. You are not structuring a vote between choices A, B, or C. You are structuring a process for the assembly to decide on a budget. The assembly might end up choosing to adopt one of these budgets as is, to adopt one of these budgets with slight modifications, to adopt a completely different budget, or even (unless your rules require a budget) to adopt no budget at all.
  20. Josh Martin

    membership override of board vote

    As previously noted, the general membership has the authority to overturn the board’s decision in this matter unless the board has exclusive authority to accept members. Assuming the membership has the authority to accept the members, any member may make or second the motion to do so.
  21. Josh Martin

    Anonymous Voting

    Anonymous voting is absolutely permissible in elections and is recommended. Absentee voting, however, is not permissible (anonymously or otherwise), unless authorized by your bylaws.
  22. Josh Martin

    Adding to minutes after a meeting

    No, the member has no right to “addend” minutes. The addendum (which it seems to me is, in fact, a form of amendment) would only be included if the board agrees to it, and the board should not do so. The minutes are a record of what was done at the meeting. They certainly should not include a statement made some time after the meeting. Additionally, a Point of Order may only be raised during a meeting. If and when the member does so, the Point of Order, the chair’s ruling on the point and his reasoning, and any subsequent appeal, will be included in the minutes of the meeting where the Point of Order is raised. Since it is not clear why the board member believes that the committee meeting was inappropriate, or what the relationship is between this committee and the board, I cannot say whether the point should be ruled well taken, whether the point is timely, or whether the board is even the proper body to decide this question.
  23. Josh Martin

    Proper Motion

    I do not think a motion to rescind would be appropriate in this instance. As I understand the facts, there is, and has been for some time, a service availability charge. This is a policy with continuing effect. The board adopted a motion to change the service availability charge. That motion is, itself, a motion to Amend Something Previously Adopted. The proper procedure is not to rescind or amend the board’s motion to change the service availability charge, but to amend the service availability charge itself. Rescinding the service availability charge would have the effect that there is no such charge, which does not appear to be your goal. Based on all this, it is not necessary to know what the exact wording was of the motion the board adopted to change the service availability charge. Instead, you should make a motion to change the service availability charge from its current amount to whatever amount you feel is appropriate (presumably, either the previous amount or some amount in between the previous amount and the current amount). Such a motion is in the nature of a motion to Amend Something Previously Adopted. It should be noted that (unless your rules or applicable law provide otherwise), such a motion requires a 2/3 vote, a vote of a majority of the entire membership, or a majority vote with previous notice for adoption. I also concur with Dr. Stackpole that it would be prudent to check applicable law to determine whether it is in fact correct that the board has the authority to set this charge, and that the membership has the authority to countermand the board’s decision in this matter. The above response assumes this to be correct.
  24. Josh Martin

    Proper Motion

    It would be a motion to amend something previously adopted.
  25. Business may only be transacted at a regular or properly called meeting. This clearly was not a regular meeting. In order for a meeting to be properly called, they must be authorized in the bylaws and any requirements in the bylaws, such as how much notice is required and who is to call the meeting, must be followed. Most importantly, notice of such a meeting must be sent to all members of the assembly. Business which is transacted outside of a meeting is null and void. The line is conducting business - that is, making decisions. People can get together and talk all they want, but when they purport to make a decision in the name of the assembly, that is where it crosses the line. Further, even in the seemingly unlikely event that the people in question constitute an assembly (such as an Executive Board) and a meeting of that assembly was properly called, the action taken would still be invalid if it conflicts with a decision by the membership.