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Gary Novosielski

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Everything posted by Gary Novosielski

  1. No, it does not say that he must. It says that he should, in order to preserve the impartiality required of a presiding officer of an assembly. This is especially true for a large assembly. In small boards or meetings smaller than about a dozen members, the chair normally makes motions and votes like any other member. But although a wise chair knows when not to exercise his rights, he doesn't lose them. If the chair wants to participate on one side of a motion, he should relinquish the chair (to the VP) and sit with the assembly. He should not resume the chair until the motion is completely disposed of, i.e., all debate is done and the vote taken, or otherwise by referring to a committee, postponing, etc.
  2. Because, as Mark Twain said, "The more things are forbidden, the more popular they become."
  3. But just after that, the First VP apparently resigned as president, and so he is now the immediate past president.
  4. Your bylaws say that nominations are to take place in November, so you need to take nominations in November. Do your bylaws prohibit taking nominations before November? If not, then nothing wrong was done by taking some nominations in October. But you still need to obey your bylaws.
  5. If you have qualified people who refuse to serve, you already have problems. Your unfortunate bylaws are amplifying the situation. Once you get all your officers in place (or maybe sooner), one of the items of business to consider is a revision of those bylaws, so in the future it doesn't take several months to amend them.
  6. Next time, the chair should note that the motion is improperly phrased and help the maker put it into the proper form. Moving "not" to do something is typically not in order, since the same thing would be accomplished by making no motion at all. Nothing still would be done. Also, if the motion "not" to do something is defeated, that does not imply approval that the thing should be done. It just means that nothing changes.
  7. I'm also confused about whether this is a meeting of the board, or a meeting of the general assembly.
  8. Write in votes are accepted according to RONR, unless your bylaws specifically say they're not. The nomination process is one thing, but voting is another. A write-in vote is, by definition, a vote for someone who was never nominated. But there's nothing wrong with that.
  9. Yes, RONR is quite explicit. Motions can only be made in the context of a properly called meeting at which a quorum is present.
  10. A proxy only gives someone the right to cast the vote of another person who is entitled to vote. It confers absolutely no membership rights of any kind beyond casting that vote.
  11. There's no reason new board members are not allowed to vote on the minutes. But if you follow the recommendation in RONR, you don't actually "vote" on minutes. When minutes are open for approval, members can offer corrections if needed, which normally don't require a vote unless there is disagreement about what happened. Anyone not there probably will not have corrections or disagree, but they might (for example if the minutes say they were present when they were not). Once nobody has any (more) corrections, the minutes are deemed to be accepted by unanimous consent. Again, no vote required.
  12. Of course she can ask. Then the VP will say "no," or possibly "no!" or, maybe even "Hell no!" All of these are equivalent from a parliamentary point of view. In general, the president does NOT have to power to remove anyone from office unilaterally, unless the president appointed that person to office. Elected officers are responsible to the people who elected them, not to the president.
  13. I don't agree that RONR requires any rounding (up or down). For quorum or majority calculations defined as "more than half" no rounding is required to determine whether 50 is greater than 50.5 (it's not). For a 2/3 vote, one might need to determine whether 66 was at least 66_2/3 (it's not). Rounding isn't required. All that's needed is to be able to compare two numbers, and to know the meaning of the phrases "at least" and "greater than". In the case of the mystery ordinance it sounds like all one needs to understand is the meaning of "not more than" which is the equivalent of "less than or equal to ." It is when people begin rounding up, or down, that they get themselves into trouble. All one needs to do is compare. Oh, and one more assumption: that counting people will always result in an integer, and never some fraction of a person. But that's not "rounding" people to the nearest integer. It's just counting them. But I will quit the lawyer bashing. I must admit that if a lawyer could not do simple math problems, I would have no problem with that at all. (As long as he was working for the other side.) <rimshot> Okay NOW I'll quit the lawyer bashing. Honest.
  14. Actually, with that particular lawyer, you could paint him with a brush that's one-sixth broader, and he wouldn't know the difference. But point taken.
  15. I don't doubt that the rule is unsuspendable, but by having all members present, the rule is left protecting the null set, rendering it moot. By having 100% attendance, the assembly did not need to suspend the rule, because while it arguably remained a member of set Y, it was no longer applicable to the situation. I would go a step further and say that no motion to suspend was necessary (and may not have been in order) as long as it was noted that there were no absentees.
  16. On the contrary, the town attorney weighed in with an opinion, but only the body itself can truly "interpret" the rule, and I didn't see a mention of that happening. What we learn from this scenario is that, when faced with a knotty parliamathematical problem like whether six thirds qualifies as more than five thirds, a lawyer is apparently not going to be your go-to guy.
  17. If no fixed term of office is listed anywhere in your constitution or bylaws (and none of us here can tell you if that's true) then there doesn't seem to be anything preventing you from removing the current president. With no fixed term, the sole reason why this president is president, and the preceding president no longer is, is that you held an election. While you are mandated to hold at least one election after July 1, you don't mention any prohibition against elections at other times. Therefore, without a fixed term, it would appear that you are free to elect this person's successor whenever it suits you.
  18. I would point out that neither unanimous consent nor an actual unanimous vote imply that all members are present, since both require merely 100% of those present and voting. It is correct that neither would protect the rights of absent members. (I think we can agree that basic rights of individual members are not imperiled here.) But, with the understanding that the basic purpose of previous notice is is to protect absentees, when there are no absentees, who is being protected, and from whom?
  19. If you never accepted the resignation, she has the right to withdraw it.
  20. If it's serious enough to remove them from executive session, you might be better advised to remove them from office completely, assuming you can. Removing someone only from executive session would be problematic. If not being allowed in executive session would interfere with their ability to perform the duties of a board member, or with your ability to obtain a quorum in executive session, you might regret that choice. Make sure you're punishing the offender, and not yourselves. But ultimately it's up to you (and your bylaws).
  21. Yes, you just need to be straightened out. When you say "vacant" I assume you don't mean there's nobody currently in the office, but only that (so far) there have been no nominations for the successor to that office. But nominations from the floor are allowed, according to RONR, whether or not there have been any formal nominations by a nominating committee, or mail, or whatever other methods you may use in your society. Even if your bylaws provide that the nominating committee reports a month prior to the election, or that written nominations have to be in by a certain date, it's perfectly proper to call for additional last-minute nominations from the floor just prior to the election. No motion is required, nor is one in order, since it would merely confirm what already exists. Furthermore, it's not even required that someone be nominated in order to be elected. Even in the complete absence of any nominations of any kind, you can still hold an election by handing out blank pieces of paper and having people write a name on them. And even if you have ballots with the names of nominees printed on them, voters may vote for someone else by writing in the name of their choice. Voting is a basic right of membership, and you will find that trying to interfere with it by prohibiting people from voting for their preferred choices is going to be frowned upon by RONR in no uncertain terms. Unless your bylaws specifically prohibit write-in votes, they are always allowed.
  22. If you voted to postpone indefinitely, it's dead; gone; kaput; joined the Choir Invisible; pushin' up the daisies. It is an ex-motion. Now if you want to revisit this issue, it will require a new motion, and what you do with it has virtually nothing to do with what happened to the old one. Whatever happens to this new motion will depend on what normally happens to new motions of this type, by rule or custom. RONR, by default, would say that a new main motion would only go to a committee if your EC decides to send it there. Do you have standing rules that say motions of this type have to go to that subcommittee first? If not, you (the EC) are free to handle it however you think best.
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