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Josh Martin

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About Josh Martin

  • Birthday 09/05/1986

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    Minneapolis, MN
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    reading, writing, video games, parliamentary procedure

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  1. It is all well and good to suggest that if a society was to include a specific edition in its bylaws, there would be no real harm because it could be resolved by “one single meeting to change one single sentence once every ten years,” and if this were to actually occur, I suppose this would be perfectly fine. In practice, I am extremely doubtful that the vast majority of societies would remember to do this, and some sixty-odd years later the society now has as its parliamentary authority an edition which is long out of print and no one can find the society’s copy. As I understand it, the main purpose of the language in question is to provide clarity for those societies which do not specify a specific edition in their bylaws (which in my experience is most societies), to hopefully avoid arguments about which edition to use, and especially to clarify that certain other texts with “Robert’s Rules” in the title are not, in fact, legitimate editions of that work. I don’t think the intent of this language was principally to sell more books, and if it was, I can’t imagine it was very successful. Based on the questions we still get on this subject, I don’t think many people outside of this forum have read that page.
  2. Josh Martin

    Final decision in small non-profit

    Not specifically, but there is a general provision which states that the board can only make decisions at a board meeting. ”In any case, a board can transact business only in a regular or properly called meeting of which every board member has been notified—or at an adjournment of one of these meetings (pp. 93–94)—and at which a quorum (a majority of the total membership unless otherwise specified in the bylaws or established by the constituting power) is present. (See also Electronic Meetings, pp. 97–99.) The personal approval of a proposed action obtained separately by telephone, by individual interviews, or in writing, even from every member of the board, is not the approval of the board, since the members lacked the opportunity to mutually debate and decide the matter as a deliberative body. If action is taken on such a basis, it must be ratified (pp. 124–25) at a regular or properly called board meeting in order to become an official act of the board.” (RONR, 11th ed., pgs. 486-487)
  3. One of the previous debates on this subject involves further review of the exact meaning of this statement: https://robertsrules.forumflash.com/topic/32034-incorrect-parliamentary-authority/
  4. Josh Martin

    Change of meeting time

    No, I don’t think so. The rule in question requires the chair to notify the members of the change, but it does not appear to require the consent of members, nor does the rule appear to place limits on the reason(s) why the chair may change the time. I think your only recourse would be to attempt to amend the bylaws to change the rules on this subject.
  5. I concur that the proposed change is unnecessary, although I would note that it has actually been only 49 years since the name was last changed. The name changed from “Robert’s Rules of Order Revised” to “Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised” with the release of the 7th edition in 1970. I would also add that, even in the event that the name is changed, this language (which will presumably continue to be included in future editions and updated to reflect new editions and new titles) will clarify the matter. “This Eleventh Edition supersedes all previous editions and is intended automatically to become the parliamentary authority in organizations whose bylaws prescribe "Robert's Rules of Order," "Robert's Rules of Order Revised," "Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised," or "the current edition of" any of these titles, or the like, without specifying a particular edition. If the bylaws specifically identify one of the ten previous editions of the work as parliamentary authority, the bylaws should be amended to prescribe "the current edition of ‘Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised'" (see p. 588).”
  6. Josh Martin

    Change of meeting time

    If the bylaws simply said the meeting time was at 7:30 PM, and nothing else, I would agree. We are told, however, that the bylaws provide that the meeting time is at 7:30 PM “unless otherwise determined by the appropriate Chair in consultation with the Director and with proper notification to members, the media, employee groups and the public.” It is not yet clear whether these requirements were met.
  7. Josh Martin

    Change of meeting time

    Were all of these criteria met? I would not assume that. It seems to me that the change must be made for each meeting, with the required procedures followed each time. The change could only be made permanent by amending the bylaws.
  8. Josh Martin

    Effect of accepting a committee report

    The preferred terminology in RONR when a society intentionally does this is the word “adopt,” and “an affirmative vote on such a motion has the effect of the assembly's endorsing every word of the report—including the indicated facts and the reasoning—as its own statement (see also p. 124)... Adoption of an entire report is seldom wise except when it is to be issued or published in the name of the whole organization.” (RONR, 11th ed., pg. 508) If the motion fails, the society has not endorsed the entire report as its own statement. There are no other effects of a negative vote on such a motion. Many assemblies have an unfortunate habit of voting to “accept” all reports to come before the assembly. Although likely not meaning to do so, this may be interpreted as having the same effect as a motion to adopt, and for this reason (in addition to the fact that this practice is a waste of the assembly’s time), such practices should be halted immediately.
  9. Josh Martin

    Unamendable Bylaws Provisions

    In my view, the proper interpretation in either case is that the section shall never be repealed or amended (and that there is therefore no solution if the organization later wishes to repeal or amend it), although the latter instance certainly makes this intent more clear. I also advise against adopting such provisions.
  10. Josh Martin

    Change of meeting time

    I hesitate to give a definitive answer without knowing all of the relevant facts (such as how the time was originally set, who is attempting to change it, how much notice is being given of the change, and what the organization’s rules say, if anything, on these subjects), but I would say that the answer to this question is generally “no.”
  11. I think most people would generally conclude that making a motion, even on behalf of a committee, indicicates support for the motion, and therefore making the motion would undermine the parliamentarian’s appearance of impartiality. Furthermore, even if it is correct that the parliamentarian could maintain the appearance of impartiality by simply reporting the committee’s recommendation and making the motion to implement that recommendation, but then remaining silent in debate, this seems to be a disservice to the committee. It seems preferable to select a reporting member who could not only give the report and make the motion, but also speak in favor of it.
  12. Josh Martin

    Ex officio in the Fall 2018 NP Vol. 80 No. 1

    An organization is free to adopt such rules if it wishes. Generally, I would suggest that such rules would need to be in the bylaws. I do not think that a special rule of order, let alone a standing rule, would be sufficient. In the absence of such rules, the rules in RONR are controlling.
  13. No one has suggested that the motion should not come before the assembly, or that a second is required. The only question is whether it is appropriate for the parliamentarian to make the motion, or if another member of the committee should make the motion. I am inclined to think that another member of the committee should make the motion, since the parliamentarian making the motion could interfere with his appearance of impartiality.
  14. Josh Martin

    Change of meeting time

    I would not suppose this (nor does it seem likely that there is an “emergency” which would necessitate moving a meeting up by a half hour).
  15. In any event, the board does not have the authority to discipline members unless your bylaws so provide. If your bylaws are silent, only the membership would have the authority to discipline this person, and it is a lengthy process. See Ch. XX of RONR. As to the question of whether the member’s wife may vote on any motions concerning discipline against the member, see FAQ #9.
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