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Gary Novosielski

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Everything posted by Gary Novosielski

  1. Do you mean to say that not all bylaws are well thought out and impervious to abuse? I'm shocked; shocked. 😮
  2. Was this a failure to complete the normal election of new board members, because not enough members achieved a majority, or is this seat open due to a vacancy created by someone leaving an existing seat mid-term?
  3. Presiding officers don't call motions suitable or unsuitable, but they may rule them out of order. This would be done when the motion is first made, not after debate, as it seems was the case here. But as with most rulings, the members may Appeal from the decision of the chair. (See §24.)
  4. And in most cases in most ordinary societies, agendas are not required (or even recommended) at all, since the Standard Order of Business is usually more than sufficient.
  5. There's really no need to have board procedures on hand for membership meetings, since the board per se is not present during membership meetings, and the membership is not bound by board policies. But if there is something the membership wishes to review, then that's a reason to have the documents available. But I'm curious about these policies of, by, and for the board. Boards have limited authority to adopt rules for themselves, since any rules so adopted must not conflict with the bylaws, and if they do not conflict, why are they necessary? The board is already bound by all the rules in the bylaws. In most cases, standing rules, policies, procedures, and instructions that apply to the board or to the membership are adopted by the membership. There may be exceptions, but it's hard to tell given the level of detail than we know.
  6. I think it's a danger sign that the Executive Committee thinks it can meddle in the decisions of the Membership. Any idea what problems they have with "the process?" It seems to me that if Members had a problem, the time to raise it was when the motion was being discussed. But yes, it's possible to rescind the motion. I'm not convinced the message sent qualifies as previous notice of intent to Rescind, so that might affect the vote threshold required, but the motion is not "completed" until all future meetings are done with. So it could be rescinded or amended at any meeting.
  7. Perhaps, but the requirements would be those of your organization. RONR has no requirements for adopting an agenda, and to some degree discourages the practice as unnecessary, if the standard order of business is observed.
  8. It's not my favorite, but as it is mandated in your bylaws, it is, for your organization, the only acceptable election process.
  9. The president's interpretation is correct.
  10. I think it means that the contents of the report, if and as amended, must be approved by every member. There is no comparable case in RONR where pieces of a motion may be added by those in favor, while the will of those opposed is ignored.
  11. No matter what the vote threshold was, if the motion failed, then those opposed to it prevailed. They are therefore considered to be on the prevailing side. (The phrase 2/3 majority vote is ambiguous. I presume you meant a 2/3 vote rather than a majority vote.)
  12. The results of a voice vote on a main motion would be that the motion passed or failed. The exact language of the motion and the result (adopted or rejected) would be recorded in the minutes. If the vote was actually counted, then the counts would also be recorded. If the vote was by roll-call, then the names and vote of each voter would also be recorded.
  13. No, it won't even let me read the message, let alone reply to it.
  14. Neither use of the word charter seems to be a good match for that of mandate. Oxford defines charter as: A written grant by the sovereign or legislative power of a country, by which a body such as a city, company, or university is founded or its rights and privileges defined. I'm not sure what brown book you're referring to, but the word appears 39 times in RONR, and 11 more in the index. And unless the organization is to be incorporated, I see no reason to ask a lawyer to draft one. In the States, the term typically refers to a corporate charter, granted by a state, which creates the legal entity of a corporation. It is part of the founding documents of a corporation, and outranks the constitution (if any), and the bylaws, so that motions that conflict with the charter are not in order. That appears to be the only meaning taken in RONR. I suppose you are free to call your committees charters if you like, but I see a substantial risk of confusion, with no corresponding reward.
  15. When I open the Unread Content page, I see this: But when I try to open it, it tells me I'm not authorized. That's as may be, but then why is it shown to me?
  16. Yes, I think that that's an awful rule that can only cause trouble. "Occasionally?" On what occasions would that rule apply? "Cannot wait?" According to whom? The person who wishes to do something that the committee probably would not approve of? And what is the role of this committee? Typically a committee can only report recommendations to its parent body, so it's hard to imagine a decision to recommend something of such import that the recommendation cannot wait for the committee to actually recommend it. Even then, it would have to wait for the next meeting of the parent body to act on the recommendation. Out of session seems pretty straightforward. I'd say it means at all times except when the committee is actually meeting--i.e., it has been called to order and has not yet adjourned.
  17. Then amend the rules to remove the ambiguity.
  18. I'll say this one last time. You can do things however you want, Complaining that RONR doesn't get deeply involved in this area is pointless, because it does not prevent you from doing things your way either. If you like the way Webster's suggests, adopt rules to implement that system. Whenever you feel the urge to complain about the shortcomings of RONR in this area, stop, think about how, in your view, it should be done, and propose rules to implement that process. I'm pretty sure that will be a better use of your time. RONR is fairly clear, means what it says, and is very comprehensive with respect to the conduct of business. It purposely avoids getting involved with the administrative details of the organization, leaving it up to the founders and members to run things as wisdom dictates.
  19. No, you're quite right. I even had it highlighted in my copy, apparently because I couldn't get it through my head on a prior occasion.
  20. i dunno. Ballot vote seems like pretty much of a "how" to me.
  21. For planning purposes, if nothing else. No other document so clearly conveys the priorities, goals, and values of an organization than an approved budget. You are free to have your budget confer as much or as little authority or limitations as your organization decides is appropriate. RONR doesn't care what decisions you reach, it only requires that you reach them in an orderly and democratic manner. The adoption of an unqualified motion to approve a budget may mean that not enough thought has gone into the process.
  22. That depends entirely on the rules your organization has adopted, as I pointed out above. Is your treasurer authorized to write many checks if they are within the budget? If so, then No, if not, then Possibly.
  23. The background info in that Webster's thing is a not unreasonable starting point, but your organization needs to decide how it will develop, approve, and administer its budgets for itself, by including this info in the bylaws or at least by adopting Standing Rules covering the procedures to be followed. If you have a Finance Committee, and want them to develop a draft budget, set a rule for that. If you want them to hold hearings so committees or members can influence the priorities, put that in. Some groups find that hearings can increase the likelihood that the budget, when up for adoption by the membership, won't draw a lot of amendments, since members know what to expect. It will be up to you how detailed the budget gets at the lower line-item level. I wouldn't necessarily add rules requiring that the draft be presented to the membership x-number of days in advance, unless you're sure you can meet that date--but rule or no rule I would recommend doing it, and with enough lead time that members don't feel blindsided. Like any main motion, it will be subject to amendment when it's pending, and the drafters of the budget should be prepared to answer questions and free to debate the merits of particular items. You should adopt rules regarding who can approve items for payment, as your research suggests. You can decide that all bills that comport with the budget and duly approved by a committee chair, or whomever you authorize will be paid by the Treasurer. This should be reflected in the Treasurer's duties. If you like you can limit such payments to a certain ceiling amount, requiring an individual membership vote prior to payment, even when they fall within the budget. Those are some rough outlines. If you don't feel you have a good framework of rules, task your finance committee with drawing up a draft set of rules, or where necessary bylaws amendments, that are appropriate for your organization. You don't want to hogtie yourself with rules that will bite your nether regions later on, but neither do you want to tempt or test the honesty of those entrusted with your funds. And make sure you have provisions for putting together an audit committee (or if you're a large enough outfit, hiring a CPA) to perform an annual audit of the books, including recommendations for procedural changes that may, with hindsight, be necessary. No, RONR is not a big help in this area, but it does provide the means to get these rules in place, once you've determined what your individual organization needs.
  24. That's true for an election of officers, but not, I believe, in general.
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