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  1. "If thus accused, he has the right to due process—that is, to be informed of the charge and given time to prepare his defense, to appear and defend himself, and to be fairly treated." (RONR, 11th ed., pg. 656) Allowing the hearing panel to consider the letters when they have not previously been shown to the charged party is hardly "fair" treatment. If the letters contain evidence that the charged party may be able to rebut, she is being denied the opportunity to defend herself. If they do not consist of evidence and simply argue that some disciplinary action be taken, showing them to the hearing panel would be an improper intrusion into their deliberative role. They are supposed to determine whether the evidence presented supports the charges, not judge how popular or unpopular the charged party may be.
  2. Just to clarify....you do not record what was said; but it should be noted in the minutes that public comments were received and perhaps how many spoke.
  3. I generally concur with the previous answer, but disagree it should be specified in the rules. That may be too generous or too restrictive for the motion under consideration. What is reasonable for a simple yes/no vote is different than a question with more than two options which is different than an election using ranked voting etc. I think it best left to the presiding officer's reasonable judgment for the circumstances -- if that proves not to be working, you can then adopt an appropriate rule or rules but they will be one based upon actual experience.
  4. This is a good example of why it is important to understand the difference between abstention and recusal and to use the correct term. Many people mistakenly use the terms synonymously. Recusal is a foreign concept to RONR; it is a legal principle -- thus, beyond the scope of this forum. For purposes of RONR there are two issues. 1) What is the vote required? 2) How many members are present? Depending upon the state, the type of board, and the circumstances sometimes a recusal is equivalent to an abstention. If that is the case, the result is pretty much as the responses above indicate. But sometimes, a recusal means you are considered to be "not present". If the vote required is a majority of those present or a majority of those present and voting, and the two recusals are considered not present, under RONR a 1-0 vote succeeds unless there is some other rule that prevents that kind of result. One should only "recuse" herself if the bylaws (or special rules of order) authorize it or an applicable law or regulation provides for it. You must also satisfy any necessary requirements for recusal. Frequently, people who think they have a conflict of interest will say they are recusing themselves. But unless that conflict is of a type that is recognized for purposes of recusal, you are considered to be present and your "recusal" is actually just an abstention. Admittedly this can be confusing. We don't give legal advice here -- but for purposes of determining the correct application of RONR, you must first know whether your abstention or recusal, whichever term you use, is considered to be "not voting" or "not present." If the vote required is a majority of the board, 'not voting' is the equivalent of a 'no' if it prevents the board from attaining the required majority
  5. Echoing the responses above, it makes no practical difference whether your Board president recuses herself or simply abstains. It requires a majority vote to adopt so in either case if it is a tie vote the motion fails. That ends the matter for Robert's Rules. However, since you sign yourself "frustrated public servant", it appears you may be part of a public body. There are often different rules for public bodies -- those are legal principles beyond the scope of this forum -- but generally speaking to abstain simply means you refrain from voting; you may have already debated, voted on amendments, moved to postpone, etc. Not an issue. You are still permitted to abstain on the final vote. Recusing yourself means you do not participate in any way and for some bodies you may even be required to leave the room before the discussion even starts. The rules for recusal, and its effects, depends upon the law of the jurisdiction and the nature and size of the body.
  6. I can't provide authority, but I was once given an anecdotal explanation by a British colleague...he was much more precise and used something akin to Chaucer's prose; I am paraphrasing. At the north end of the floor of the House of Commons, just in front of the Speaker's chair, sits the Clerk's table. There were/are several functions that Clerk performs, but one of them is calling up each item of business in its turn and helping the Speaker keep track of the pending business. In the early days of Parliament, if you -- the King, Clergy, or MP -- wanted to introduce a bill [or other proposal] it first had to be "Tabled"* -- the resolution was given to one of the Table Officers [Assistant Clerks] and at the appropriate time you would rise and ask that it be "moved" to the Clerk's position at the head of the table for reading. *Some of you parliamentary historians may recall the famous "war room" incident during World War II when the Brits wanted to "table" a decision and the Yanks mistakenly thought they wanted to postpone the matter.
  7. "Can a member pose a question to a colleague and then, when the question has been answered, continue with a speech? Or does a member lose the floor after posing a question?" While I generally agree with the responses to your other questions, I disagree on this point. No...the member may not make a speech. The prior answers would be correct if the member with a question was assigned the floor. But a member recognized for a Request for Information is not assigned the floor. The original speaker still has the floor -- that is why the time for the question and answer is deducted from their time. The index entry in RONR for the word "speech" is simply the reference "see debate". To "debate" one must first "obtain the floor" [p. 29 ll. 13-14]. However, a person rising for a request for information does so "without obtaining the floor" [p 294 ll. 3-4 (Note: a Request for Information "is treated like a Parliamentary Inquiry" [p. 294 ll 24).] There is a bit of a loophole in that once the answer has been given, there may be a "resulting colloquy made in the third person through the chair." Thus, if not satisfied with the answer, or if there are followup questions, a dialogue through the chair may result. But that is different than giving a speech, for which one must first be recognized and be assigned the floor.
  8. Many associations are now cancelling or postponing their annual meetings -- while others are trying online meeting software like gotomeeting or zoom. Those can work for small boards and committees -- but are they practical for a meeting with several hundred members or more? gotomeeting and zoom can handle basic agenda, giving reports, even making main motions. They break down with debate, amendments, and anything having to do with order of precedence. Assuming governing documents or state laws permit electronic meetings, is anyone familiar with any software that can accommodate those intricacies? Not looking for perfection, just a fighting chance.
  9. Somewhat related to another thread, but figured it should be a separate discussion. A Board consists of 7 directors "elected" by the members and 2 additional directors "appointed by the Board." Elsewhere in the bylaws [and policies] there are several sections where it makes a difference whether a director was "elected" or "appointed". The bylaws also provide that in case of a vacancy, a successor is "appointed by the President, subject to confirmation by the Board." One of the "elected" directors resigned. The president appointed a successor and the board confirmed. The question is whether this new director is an "appointed" director or an "elected" director. Logically, I would think that references to "appointed" vs "elected" directors refers to the normal way one becomes a director and the vacancy provision simply adds an element of confusion. Thus one "appointed" to fill a vacancy in an "elected" position is still sitting in an "elected" position. But, to put this into RONR-ese, since the process for filling a board vacancy is similar to the process in RONR for "appointing" a committee via "nominations by the Chair [p. 494] I have to wonder whether others would differ from my 'logical' approach and consider this new director "appointed" instead of "elected." I recognize this is a question of bylaws interpretation, and I have already advised the board they have the responsibility to do so, but I'm curious to know if others have encountered this situation.
  10. I appreciate the added comments, but I would prefer to keep the discussion to the specific questions asked; otherwise, we lose focus. A member has a motion to introduce at the next meeting. She wants to give prior notice so that only a majority vote is required. The officers are opposed to her motion and are preventing her from giving notice because they are certain she will not be able to muster the necessary 2/3 vote or a majority of the entire membership. While she could give notice and wait until the next meeting (which is another 3 months away), that would mean capitulating to the officers who are acting improperly to begin with. Notifying the members herself via email seems to be the practical solution under the circumstances. Just wanted to know if anyone has any other solutions that would enable her to have her motion adopted by a simple majority vote at THIS upcoming meeting. Also, if it comes to a point of order and appeal on whether notice was properly given, is that issue is resolved by a majority vote or one of the larger thresholds. We know that appeals usually require a majority in the negative -- but I'm unsure of whether that is still the case when the ruling involves a question of notice since notice is something that is designed to protect the rights of absentees as well as those who are present. Thanks again
  11. For several types of motions, the vote required depends upon whether prior notice was given at the previous meeting or sent to members with the call to meeting. A member wants to give prior notice of a motion but the organization does not issue calls to meetings because they are all regularly scheduled and the President just passes out the agendas at the meetings. The member has asked the Secretary to send an email out to all members providing the notice. The President, who believes the proposed motion would not be in order, told the Secretary not to do so. The member plans on sending the email himself. Will this suffice for notice? if a point of order/appeal should arise on whether proper notice was given, is it decided by the usual vote or does it require a higher threshold because the issue concerns a matter of notice?
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