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Pastor Tim

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  1. One of the tasks of the annual meeting of our association of churches is to approve the annual budget. Included in the budget are the salary and benefits of our Executive Minister. This year, someone wanted to amend the budget to raise the Executive's salary, as there is general agreement that his salary should be higher. But there are legitimate constraints on how much we can pay him; there is a finite amount of money to work with, and other ministry areas are also important. So our Executive Board brought a budget that takes all these priorities into consideration (as they do each year), with the explanation that they continue to look for ways to increase the salary and benefits package. In the discussion on the floor, some objected to the motion to raise the Executive's salary on the grounds that because the benefit package was negotiated with the Executive Board, it should be considered an unamendable portion of the budget. This line of thinking is consistent with our custom in local congregations of when we hire pastors: the salary package is negotiated with the pastoral candidate and then voted either up or down by the congregation. We recognize that hammering out the fine details of a salary and benefits package (or a large, complicated budget) is a tough task for open session of a meeting, where many people may be uninformed over the fine details, or may have some kind of ax to grind with staff and may seek to punish a staff member by voting to cut their salary out of the budget. All this begs both a specific and a general question: First (specifically): is there any way to make the salary and benefits portion of the budget unamendable? Could we pass a conference rule, or add something to our bylaws, to do this? Second (generally): because budgets have to consider some very real bottom line considerations, what would we do with a motion that, for example, said "I move to raise the Executive's salary by $500 by taking $500 from the Utilities portion of the budget." Or, "I vote to raise the Executive's salary by $5,000" with no consideration of where the money would come from?
  2. It's been a few weeks since I posted this. But... With the proposed amendments to the Constitution, including some we will leave to the Secretary to make (in accordance with RONR), would it be correct to say that an amendment (for example) to change the size of the Board of Directors would fall outside the permission given to the Secretary to make "technical and conforming changes" and have to come to the full body for approval?
  3. The Constitution for our District of churches includes a provision on how they may be amended: 2/3 vote of delegates present at a regularly called meeting, with 30 days notice of the proposed changes. There is a proposal to amend this to include giving our board authorization to make "grammatical and other changes in compliance with District Conference actions without having the conference vote on such matters." These changes would then be reported at the next conference. Is an amendment like this in order, even if the motion were to be approved?
  4. I am often asked to serve as parliamentarian at church meetings. Occasionally, I see the meeting leader make a mistake or commit a violation of Robert's Rules. These are almost always minor--like finishing the business early before an Order of the Day, and then proceeding to that Order early a few minutes early. My question is this, "What is my role as parliamentarian when I see something like this happen?" Call it to the leader's attention? Or should I just keep silent until called upon for advice?
  5. When discussing a motion, is it permissible for the chair to say "We would like to have a period of time where we only answer questions of clarification, or hear speeches either in support of or in opposition to, the main motion. We will entertain amendments and other motions after "x" number of minutes have passed." Sometimes, it is not helpful if people begin amending a motion before there has been ample discussion on the merits of the motion itself.
  6. At an upcoming meeting, there is a controversial item of business on the agenda--something I referenced in an earlier thread. For those persons who are opposed to the item, what is the difference between simply voting "no" on the item itself and making a motion to Postpone Indefinitely? In reading the RRNR description of the motion to postpone indefinitely, the opening paragraph on p. 126 mentions using this motion because of potential "undesirable consequences" of adopting the motion in question. Must those who move to postpone indefinitely have to cite a concern about undesirable consequences--or potentially a lack of relevant information that will not be available until after the meeting--or can they simply use this particular motion as another way to defeat the motion (hoping to buy some more time to keep it from returning at another meeting).
  7. Thanks. Amending the agenda would be the way to go, for us. But I need to double check the bylaws--this should fail the prior notice clause. One more thought, though: Roberts Rules requires "reasonable notice" for things such as this. Assuming that our bylaws are fuzzy here (as I suspect they may be) as parliamentarian, would it be fair to suggest to our Moderator that bringing up another attempt fails the "reasonable notice" test? The delegate body could certainly overrule the Moderator, should they so choose.
  8. Assuming (for the moment) that the item is defeated; our Moderator would simply go on to the next item on the approved agenda. What would be the mechanism for someone to make a motion to take another shot at the bylaw change?
  9. At an upcoming conference, our Board of Directors will be bringing four items of business: budget, ballot, and 2 items of new business. Three of these (the budget, ballot and one of the new items) are routine and will be approved without difficulty. The fourth is a controversial bylaw change, and will require a 2/3rd majority to approve. Prior notice has been given, so all is well there. There will also be an agenda, which will be approved at the start of the meeting. There is some thought that the controversial item may not achieve the necessary 2/3rd majority for approval. No real harm would come if this happens (other than some people being upset); our organization has polity in place (that this new item would replace) so we can continue to function under the current system. The Board could choose to bring another item on this subject at our next (yearly) meeting. But there is some thought that if the item the Board presents is not approved, someone might make a motion from the floor and move another proposal for this bylaw change. Is this permissible? And if so, how? It seems to me that the answer here (at least for our organization) is "no." Every item of business that we get under normal circumstances either originates from our Board of Directors (always the ballot and budget, and most bylaw changes) or originates from one of our member congregations and passes through the Board of Directors and Conference Officers (these are generally questions of clarification on relevant issues of the day); the Conference Officers finalize the meeting agenda a number of weeks prior to the conference and send out the booklets with the items of business included. But it will be good to hear from those more fluent in RROO than I.
  10. Our church conference allows non-delegates to speak on any item. Someone has asked if a non-delegate may make a motion. My assumption is that the only privileges non-delegates have are the ones expressly given to them. But it's always good to be sure. Thanks.
  11. At our Annual church meeting, the full text of business items are printed in the conference booklet and distributed to delegates several weeks in advance of the meeting. Once the item of business has been presented to a delegate body and is open for debate, what is the correct procedure for correcting obvious typographical errors? 1. If the persons presenting the item of business have identified them between the printing of the book and the debate of the issue, can these simply be pointed out? 2. If a delegate finds one and calls it to the attention of the delegate body, can the typo be changed without treating the item like an "amendment"?
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