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Josh Martin

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Everything posted by Josh Martin

  1. Then yes, I suppose Suspend the Rules was the appropriate tool. Well, it should be obvious because the motion should say so. If it is unclear, I suppose it can be determined by the chair, subject to appeal, or by a motion. Certainly one person’s objection is not sufficient to prevent the assembly from applying its rules. I am inclined to think a majority vote is sufficient, and hopefully the assembly has learned its lesson that such open-ended suspensions are a bad idea. I don’t think the Previous Question is the appropriate tool in the situation described, since the purpose of this motion is to bring one or more pending questions to an immediate vote, and it therefore has no meaningful application if there is no pending question. We are told, however, that the assembly suspended the rules specifically to allow this discussion. It doesn’t seem, however, that it is being used to extend debate. The OP seems to be discussing using the motion to permit discussion of a subject with no motion pending (and unwisely placing no time limits on the discussion).
  2. For starters, the election for President must be held, even if there are no nominees. Write-in votes are in order. In the event the assembly fails to complete the election for President (in which event it should postpone the election to an adjourned meeting, or to the next regular meeting if it is within a quarterly interval), what happens in the interim depends on whether the bylaws include a clause which provides that officers shall serve “until their successors are elected.” If so, the current President would continue to serve until the election can be completed. If not, there will be a vacancy in the office of President when the term ends, and the Vice President would become President. In these circumstances, however, I am inclined to think this would only last until the assembly can complete the election.
  3. There is no motion to “end suspension of the rules,” as it is not in order to simply move to suspend the rules. Rather, the incidental motion to Suspend the Rules specifies the specific purpose. After that purpose is completed, the suspension automatically ends. Suspend the Rules is discussed in Section 23 of RONR, 11th ed. I concur with Mr. Coronite that it is also not entirely clear whether suspending the rules was necessary in the first place, but as Mr Harrison suggests, perhaps the word “tabled” is being used incorrectly.
  4. Yes, if Group A no longer supports the document it adopted in December 2018, then it should use a motion to Rescind or to Amend Something Previously Adopted.
  5. Yes, I think that, at least as a parliamentary matter, Group A’s document is still valid and can be ratified by Group B if it wishes to do so. Yes, there does not seem to be any dispute on this point. The OP’s question was whether Group B may now ratify the document Group A adopted in December 2018 without amending it (assuming it wishes to do so), without requiring a further vote from Group A. Based on the facts provided, I see no reason why not, since it appears that the version of the document adopted in December 2018 is still valid so far as Group A is concerned. If Group B is not willing to adopt the document adopted by Group A without amendments, then further negotiations will be required.
  6. Yes. “A person presiding at a meeting who has no regular title or whose position is only temporary is addressed as "Mr. [or Madam] Chairman" by long-established usage. Several variations of this form—such as "chairperson" or "chair"—are now frequently encountered, however, and may be in use as the general practice in particular assemblies.” (RONR, 11th ed., pg. 23)
  7. Yes, that certainly is a problem. If it is expected that the board will wish to take ballot votes in the future, the board may wish to research methods (online voting, for instance) which would permit all members to cast a ballot vote. I don’t see an issue. Taking a ballot vote ensures members have a right to secrecy, but it does not force members to keep their own votes secret. There is no rule in RONR preventing a member from revealing how he voted on a ballot vote. Yes, I agree that is the appropriate course of action. There is no procedure in RONR for some members to vote by ballot and other members to vote by a different method. If the organization wishes to permit such votes, it should adopt its own rules on this matter. Alternatively, the board could find a method which would permit all members to vote by ballot, and adopt rules regarding that method if necessary.
  8. If you are presiding, you should not be the one to make the motion to approve the amendment. If you are not presiding, it’s not up to you to recognize or not recognize people. Additionally, yes, the presiding officer must recognize a motion made by a resident to amend the proposed bylaw amendment. Such amendments must be within the “scope of notice” to be in order. Since the OP suggests he would be recognizing people, he may be the presiding officer. If so, he should not speak in debate.
  9. Make a motion “That the votes on the bylaw amendment relating to X be recounted, with the recount witnessed by the assembly.” A majority vote is required. As Dr. Stackpole notes, if you can muster a 2/3 vote, you could also suspend the rules in order to change how the tellers are appointed. Note that there are time limits related to ordering a recount. “A recount may be ordered by the voting body, by a majority vote, at the same session at which the voting result was announced, or at the next regular session if that session is held within a quarterly time interval (see pp. 89–90). A recount may also be ordered at a special session properly called for that purpose, if held within a quarterly time interval of the session at which the voting result was announced and before the next regular session.” (RONR, 11th ed., pg. 419) No. The purpose and effect of a call for a Division of the Assembly is to require a rising vote after an inconclusive voice vote has been taken. It has no application when a ballot vote has been taken.
  10. A new ballot is required, unless the bylaws provide another method. The board is not in “limbo.” Provided that the board can obtain a quorum, the board can continue to meet and conduct business. The range is not an issue at the present time, as the society has currently failed to elect any directors. As a result, the board is below the minimum for the range, and it would therefore seem that repeated balloting is required in any event. The range may become an issue in subsequent ballots.
  11. I think it might be reasonably argued that a motion which suggests that all of the current board members are not functioning effectively or managing the affairs of the society in a transparent or fair manner and requests that they take steps to change this or else to resign, is similar enough to a motion of censure that the President should not preside (assuming that the President is a board member). ”Whenever a motion is made that refers only to the presiding officer in a capacity not shared in common with other members, or that commends or censures him with others, he should turn the chair over to the vice-president or appropriate temporary occupant (see below) during the assembly's consideration of that motion, just as he would in a case where he wishes to take part in debate (see also pp. 394–95).” (RONR, 11th ed., pg. 451) In the event that the President refuses to relinquish the chair, however, I concur with Mr. Mervosh that the next step would be a motion to suspend the rules to remove the President from the chair and elect a Chairman Pro Tempore. Presumably the intent of the motion is to serve as a threat to get the board members to voluntarily “commit” or to resign. If the motion is not successful in accomplishing either objective, then disciplinary procedures may well be the next step.
  12. I believe the chairman is correct that this rule may be suspended, although since the rule already permits the assembly to let staff members speak, and it would require a 2/3 vote by the assembly to suspend the rule, I don’t know what the point of this would be. Am I missing something? This view is incorrect. A rule in the bylaws may be suspended if the rule in question is in the nature of a rule of order or if the rule specifically provides for its own suspension. I concur with Mr. Katz that this rule appears to be both. This is a reasonable argument, but it is not at all clear to me that the rule in question is intended to prevent the assembly from suspending it, especially since the rule specifically permits the assembly to invite staff members to speak. No, that is not how the motion to Suspend the Rules works (except when suspending convention standing rules by a majority vote, but that’s not what we’re dealing with). A motion to Suspend the Rules does not specify the rule(s) to be suspended, but instead specifies what it is the member wishes to accomplish. Well, the effect of suspending the rule will be determined by the exact wording of the motion to Suspend the Rules. “In making the incidental motion to Suspend the Rules, the particular rule or rules to be suspended are not mentioned; but the motion must state its specific purpose, and its adoption permits nothing else to be done under the suspension. Such a motion, for instance, may be "to suspend the rules and take up the report of the Building Committee," or "to suspend the rules and agree to [that is, to adopt without debate or amendment] the resolution ..."” (RONR, 11th ed., pg. 262) I suspect that the rule as it has traditionally been applied is that it is necessary to make a motion to permit a staff member to speak every time it is desired to let a staff member speak, and the desire of some members is to adopt a motion which (for example) permits all staff members (or certain staff members) to speak whenever they are properly recognized by the chairman, for the duration of the meeting. Yes. Yes.
  13. No. The President must relinquish the chair if he wishes to speak in debate. If he refuses to do so, the rules may be suspended to remove him from the chair. There is a slight flaw in this plan. When the office of President is vacant, the Vice President automatically becomes President, unless the bylaws specifically provide otherwise. So he might have to run for Vice President, and perhaps the members should elect someone else if they are fed up with this behavior.
  14. Yes. If a discussion is all that is wanted, the people who called the special meeting should apologize for wasting everyone’s time and save the discussion for the next regular meeting. It may well be that there is an urgent need to purchase a lawnmower, but it is highly doubtful that there is an urgent need to merely talk about doing so.
  15. I assume what is meant is that the committee would continue in this manner until a candidate has a majority, which is more than half. A “plurality” simply means that a candidate has more votes than any other candidate, which could very easily occur on the first round. I don’t know what an “absolute plurality” is. Terminology issues aside, I see no reason why the committee cannot use the process described, if it wishes to do so.
  16. It seems to me that the rule in question is in the nature of a special rule of order, and more importantly, the rule is not valid since it conflicts with the bylaws. Therefore, there is no need to suspend it. If the rule in question had been properly adopted (such as by including it in the bylaws), it could not be suspended, since it is a rule which protects absentees.
  17. I agree, assuming the bylaws do not require a ballot vote.
  18. I personally continue to believe that the assembly’s interpretation is in error. Article 18, Section 2.e) clearly states that, at the organizational meeting, voting rights are granted to persons who were members of the committee at the time the call was sent. (It also, interestingly, states that voting rights within regular committee meetings are defined by the committee’s rules, which seems likely to cause its own problems in the future.) Frankly, I think this is the strongest part of the case against those who say that all members of the committee have a right to vote. I have heard this should be interpreted as “inclusive” rather than “exclusive,” but this doesn’t make any sense. If all members have the right to vote, then obviously this includes those persons who were members at the time the call was sent. The only reason to include this rule is to limit voting rights to those persons. I do not dispute that Article 18, Section 2.a) empowers the board or the CCRC (which I take it is the society) to instruct the committees, but in my opinion, this is not sufficient to authorize these bodies to ignore the bylaws. The bylaws are binding on everyone. I grant that Article 18, Section 2.g) introduces some ambiguity, as it provides that “The Outreach Committee membership may include CCRCC members and any [volunteers] who wish to participate at the organizational meeting.” This rule is extremely vague and I am not entirely certain what it means. It is not clear whether the intent of this rule is to describe who is eligible for membership or to actually describe how someone becomes a member. The assembly apparently feels it is the latter, which does not seem to be an unreasonable interpretation of the rule as written. RONR suggests, however, that conflicts should be resolved in a way which permits both rules to still be applied, if at all possible. An interpretation that all members who wish to participate at the organizational meeting may vote does not meet this criteria, as it requires ignoring the other rule. Since “participate” is so vague, however, both rules can be satisfied by an interpretation that all persons who wish to participate may do so, except that only those persons who were members at the time the call was sent may vote. Notwithstanding all of the above, however, the membership is the highest authority in the society, and it holds the ultimate power to interpret its own bylaws. As a consequence, the committee chairman was mistaken when he said that the assembly lacked the authority to do this. If the assembly continues to believe its interpretation is correct, it has the authority to discipline the chairman and other members of the committee for disobeying its directives, if it wishes to do so, and to again order that the committee follow the instructions it has given. Well, if you did this, there would no longer be an Outreach Committee. So yes, I suppose that is one way of resolving the situation, if the assembly feels it no longer needs an Outreach Committee. You’re still left with a lot of problems in the article on committees, however, so unless you take further action, I expect these problems will arise again with some other committee. So regardless of what you do with the outreach committee, I would recommend the following: -Remove Article 18, Section 2.E, since the assembly doesn’t seem to care for what it says. (I don’t blame them.) -Clarify Article 18, Section 2.G (and all other relevant sections) to more clearly state how people become members of the committees. -When it is determined how people become members of committees, instruct the relevant persons to file regular reports with the society’s Secretary regarding the membership of the committees.
  19. The committee is of course obliged to follow the orders of the parent assembly, and the membership has the final say in interpreting the bylaws. I just personally believe that the assembly’s interpretation is wrong. The rules clearly state that only persons who are members at the time the call was sent are eligible to vote. I suppose if persons have become members since the original call was sent, but before the second call was sent, those persons should have been eligible to vote at the second meeting, but anyone who did not become a member until after the second call was sent is clearly not eligible. Further complicating this issue is that it is not clear how members of the committee are appointed. It seems to me that at least some members of the assembly believe that all members of the committee should be eligible to vote, regardless of when they became members. I agree, but that is not what the bylaws say at this time. The only way to accomplish this is to amend the bylaws. Yes, it is not entirely clear when the OP became a member of the committee. All I am saying is that what the rule actually says is that voting rights are granted to persons who are members at the time the call was sent. By implication, this means that persons who are not members at the time the call was sent do not have voting rights. I don’t really see a reasonable argument that all members have voting rights. This is the default arrangement, so if this is what is desired, the sentence in question doesn’t need to exist at all. It is presumed, however, that rules in the bylaws exist for a reason.
  20. Indistinguishable from a set of bylaws? I hope not. We are told that “Following every General Election year, our Council is required, by their Rules, to adopt Rules of Procedure.“ If the council is required to adopt bylaws (as opposed to amending them) each year, that is highly problematic. I was under the impression they were in the nature of special rules of order, standing rules, or a combination of the two. Unlike bylaws, I’m not sure such rules are viewed as a cohesive whole in parliamentary law, even though they may be printed in a single document. I don’t think I know enough about this document to say for certain one way or the other, but this is very possible. If so, those rules which are separated for a separate motion, discussion, and vote shall be considered in that manner, and those rules which remain may be considered seriatim or as a whole, as the assembly wishes. Members who wish to make such demands should be sure to do so immediately, as a motion cannot be divided after the assembly has voted to consider it seriatim.
  21. “If conditions make it impractical for a member offering a written resolution to read it himself, he should sign it and pass or send it to the chair ahead of time (in a large meeting, often by page or messenger), or he can deliver it to the secretary before the meeting. In such a case the member offers his resolution by saying, "I move the adoption of the resolution relating to ... , which I have sent to the chair [or "have delivered to the Secretary"]," identifying it by its subject matter; or, when moving its adoption, the member may identify the resolution by its designated title, number, letter, or the like. The chair then says, "The resolution offered by Mrs. A is as follows: ..." or, "The Secretary will read the resolution offered by Mrs. A," and the chair (or the secretary) reads the resolution in full. If the text of the resolution or motion has been distributed to the members in advance, however, it need not be read when moved.” (RONR, 11th ed., pg. 33) As Mr. Katz notes, however, the resolution must be read if a member requests it. ”When any paper is laid before the assembly for action, it is a right of every member that it be read once; and, if there is any debate or amendment, that it be read again before members are asked to vote on it.” (RONR, 11th ed., pg. 299) Even in cases such as this, “So moved” is not the proper language to use.
  22. Well, that may be helpful to deal with the problematic chairman, but that does nothing to address the central issue here, which is the voting rights of new committee members.
  23. After an amendment is voted on, the main motion is once again the pending question, at which time more amendments may be offered. Only a single vote is taken on the main question, however, after all debate and amendments are completed. If the assembly considers the document by section, there is still a single vote on the main question after debate and amendments are completed. Votes are not taken on individual sections.
  24. In the long run, the bylaws should be amended to clarify this issue, but in the interim, the bylaws may be interpreted by the membership (or by the board, in between meetings of the membership). Until the bylaws are amended, however, I personally think the committee chairman is unfortunately correct. Your rules provide that voting rights are granted to persons who were committee members prior to the time that the call was sent. I do not think the rule which provides that the Board or CCRC may give directives to committees is sufficient to authorize these groups to suspend the bylaws. I certainly do not think that the language in question is sufficient to “suspend or dissolve” the committee.
  25. Based on these additional facts, I stand by my previous response. I do not think the words “discuss the possibility,” in and of themselves, suggest in any way that the assembly is precluded from considering and voting on a main motion on the subject “of purchasing a new riding lawn mower for the campground.” I think most reasonable persons will understand that this is in order, and therefore, the notice fairly informs members of the business to be considered. The language in the bylaws is substantially similar to that in RONR, and provides only that “no business shall be transacted expect as shall have been included in the notice of call,” and therefore does not change my previous response. The business of “purchasing a new riding lawn mower for the campground” is included in the call.
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