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Gary Novosielski

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Everything posted by Gary Novosielski

  1. I would agree if this ladder-pulling were actually possible. However it is not possible without the concurrence of the members assembled by at least a two-to-one margin. Those who feel there are still things that need saying can simply vote against ordering the Previous Question. Even so, should two-thirds of the members agree that this is a rude practice, they have only to adopt a Special Rule of Order, as I have seen in practice, that the Previous Question may only be moved immediately on gaining recognition, and is out of order once any reference is made to the merits of the motion. I would not necessarily support the adoption of such a rule, but it's an available course of action.
  2. My sources tell me that it was considered, but ultimately rejected on the grounds that we can't handle the truth.
  3. Language, especially English with its mongrel origins, does change through usage, and different changes occur at different rates. There are plenty of people who bristle and balk at even the slightest change. But there are others who are umbrageous that change happens not nearly fast enough to suit them. (I respectfully suggest that examples of both sorts can be found no farther away than this very forum.) I, for one, will make an effort to remain calm when I encounter the use of either "Madam Chairman" or the ungendered singular "they", in the fervent hope that it will all work out in the end.
  4. If the rules in RONR apply, No, it is far too late to change one's vote once the result is announced, and certainly not after the meeting is adjourned. Members have the personal responsibility to understand things they vote on, just as they do to read things they sign. Additionally, if the rules in RONR apply, the member does not get 2 votes!
  5. That's fine. RONR neither mandates nor prohibits numbering things, so whatever works for you is copacetic.
  6. That's incorrect. See: RONR (12th Ed.) 10:56
  7. Agreeing with @J. J., a motion that conflicts with the charter can and should be ruled out of order, but it would not be proper to rule a motion out of order on the basis that it conflicts with past organizational practice, which RONR calls custom. The primary way that custom is changed is to adopt a motion that conflicts with it. Adopted rules take precedence over custom.
  8. RONR has no requirements that proposed amendments be numbered, nor that they be signed. RONR recommends that any detailed motion be presented in written form so that it can be properly stated and, if passed, correctly recorded in the minutes. The minutes provide the permanent record of what was done. With respect to numbering, if several amendments are proposed, it is possible that they will interact in such a way that logic will dictate the order in which they should be considered, rather than simply the order in which they are received. See RONR (12th ed.) 57:2 ff.
  9. I mourn the demise of the diaeresis in English. There is a fairly large difference between living in a coöp, and living in a coop. 🙂
  10. If the bylaws are silent, then the quorum for a meeting is a majority of the members (not vacant seats). So if you have only two members left, both of them must attend a meeting to achieve a quorum. But you should not allow these seats to remain vacant. Do your bylaws provide that the board can fill these vacancies, or at least giving the board general authority over the business of the club between membership meetings? If so, the two remaining members can appoint people to fill these for the remaining year of the term, so long as both agree. But be careful to see that you don't appoint two people at once unless they are both waiting in the hall. If you appoint one new member you still have a quorum, but if you appoint two, you lost your quorum, until one more shows up.
  11. Presuming this is a ballot to decide an issue, and not an election, then the answer is Yes. Not only is it okay to not show abstentions, it would be incorrect to collect or count them. As others have pointed out, there are multiple ways to abstain, the simplest one being simply not to vote. Or, to conceal the fact that you abstained, to turn in a blank ballot. If this is a ballot to elect candidates to office, then Yes and No choices are improper. The choices should be names of nominated candidates, along with sufficient lines to write in the names of other eligible persons. Or simply blank paper on which the voters can write the names.
  12. Is that actually your rule? One lot owner one vote? A lot owner who owns two lots is not two lot owners. He is still one owner. If the rule was: One lot, one vote, the answer might be different.
  13. That's how it appears to me, but I am not a member of your organization, and have not read your bylaws in their entirety, so my free advice is worth every penny.
  14. That would depend on the exact language of the rule on ratification. That's a custom rule of yours, not one in RONR. But even if it were true for ordinary main motions, I do not believe it would apply to bylaws amendments, unless of course your bylaws say it does. The passive-voiced "it was stated" makes me suspicious that this may not be true at all. The strangest things are often stated which, when compared with the actual black-and-white rules, turn out not to be the case. People state all sorts of things. As far as continuing in office, your bylaws are again the place to look. If the terms of office contain a phrase "until their successors are elected" or similar, than they can stay in office. However, if it just says "a term of x years" without any conditionals, then they're out, and no motion to extend their term would be in order. Of course if they're all out, no motion of any kind would be in order. If you have vacancy-filling provisions in your bylaws, you can use them to appoint people to serve until the election can be held, but if the whole board is out of office, the general membership will have to meet to hold the actual election.
  15. I don't see how you can amend an action already taken, a decision already made, or a document already completed. You can refuse to ratify them, but as they have already occurred, that's your only alternative.
  16. The attorney should have known what to do. You object to the discussion on the grounds that it violates the Sunshine Laws. The chair dismisses your objection. You demand that your objection be noted in the minutes. You can then remain in the meeting. The chair doesn't comply You raise a point of order that your objection must be noted as protection against legal liability. The chair rules your point not well taken. You appeal (if you can get someone to second). You probably lose the appeal. When the minutes of executive session are being approved, you check to ensure that your objectition or your point of order is recorded, identifying you as the person who objected. If it is not, you insist on a correction to include the point of order and ruling, mentioning you by name. This should protect you in the event that punishment for ethics violations are forthcoming in the future. RONR requires all points of order to be recorded in the minutes. If this still doesn't work, you may have to look up your equivalent of an Ethics Commission to see what further remedies you have. I am not a lawyer, and the above is not legal advice, but it is what that lawyer should have told you.
  17. In this case the school committee appears to have been working with an adopted public hearing policy, which it recently revised to restrict the time members may speak. This would presumably be within their authority, unless it conflicted with applicable sunshine laws. In the course of enforcing such an adopted policy, the chair can and should say no. A member could move suspend that policy and extend the time of the public hearing, presumably with a 2/3 vote, unless otherwise provided.
  18. Well, you might have meant germaneness. Germanity refers to German spirit or qualities. 🤤
  19. It is quite improper, and should have been the subject of an immediate Point of Order. So I think your first sentence above is not quite factual.
  20. I do not think I could readily come up with a better reason to use this forum. And if I did, it would not be significantly better. ☺️
  21. That's not really the problem. The board had no right to see the report if the committee reports to the membership. The problem is that the president allegedly did see the report, or at least claims to have seen it. The committee does not report to the president, so I don't understand the relationship between the president and the committee.
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