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Glen Hall

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  1. There is some ambiguity in my understanding of this quote from RONR. There appears to be an exception to "retaken by the same form of voting" by the word "although." The "although" references a "counted rising vote" and says that a "recount of the votes or of the tellers' tabulations can be ordered..." Does a "recount" of the votes allow the presiding officer to retake the vote by the same method to be sure the count was correct if the assembly doubts the count was correct? This would be especially true if the there were no tellers' tabulations to review, or if the tellers' counts were doubted. An example might be that in a large assembly hall with a center aisle dividing the delegates approximately in half, with multiple rows on each side, one row near the center on one side may be accidentally skipped. If the error is discovered prior to the announcement of the result, no problem. But if the presiding officer announces a result and a point of order is raised and the point well taken that a row was overlooked, could not the vote be repeated in the same way? The presiding officer might also appoint new tellers ...
  2. Also, if the required notice includes the requirement that it be in writing, such as a bylaws amendment, then the motion should be moved, seconded, stated by the chair, and then amended by substitution. The substitute would have to fall within the proposed change(s) noticed.
  3. Thank, Gary. I was of the understanding that it was due to an office presently held, and that unless there were an office of Past-president, that ex officio would not apply. Your explanation makes perfect sense, and makes it a "forehead slapper" for me.
  4. Ex officio describes a method of becoming a member of a group by a method other than appointment or election; the person becomes a member by virtue of an office held. But what if there is no office, for example the office of Past President? Do we still describe the person as holding the office ex officio? Interestingly, in the Q and A of the Fall 2018 NP p. 23 talks about past presidents being ex officio members of a board, that as long as they pay their dues to the organization they remain members of the board. The article references RONR p. 484, but that page says that the ex officio position is relinquished when the person no longer holds the office. There is no office of "Past President" either Immediate or otherwise, mentioned. The article doesn't mention an office of Past President, so I wonder if the term "ex officio" is being used in error. If there is no office of "Past President" then are they "ex officio" members? Of course persons can be made members of a board or committee by virtue of a holding a past position of an organization and by a stretch of the definition be called "ex officio members" but the definition would have to be altered a bit so that it would include persons who hold the title of "previous [office]" or "past [office]" if there is no office of the Second Past President, Third Past President ... Tenth Past President, etc. So is it technically correct to call them ex officio members if there is no such office? Ex officio is a confusing term to many who are not more intimately familiar with parliamentary procedure and parliamentary authorities, so I have discouraged its use in our governing documents unless it is necessary for understanding a rule or bylaw - which it usually is not. For example, "The President shall be a member of the Budget Committee." There is no question about whether the President can vote or make motions, etc. My experience has been that when the wording is "The President shall be an ex offico member of the Budget Committee" that many people want to know if he/she can vote or participate in discussion/debate, etc. Leaving out the words "ex officio" removes the confusion. Thus my question about its use in this article. If we say "Any person who is a former President of the organization shall be a member of the Board if his/her dues are current," I guess we have to say that they are "ex officio members" because of an office they used to hold? Thanks for any replies. Glen
  5. Thank you for your most thorough reply. And I apologize for not being able to make my comment / question on amending the motion to ratify more clear. It may be that my own puzzlement prevents my asking the question more clearly. I greatly appreciate your attempts to help. Your answers have helped a great deal.
  6. Yes, you are correct on all counts. The board is authorized to conduct all business of the organization throughout the year.
  7. The committee meets separately from the board and took the action at a properly-called committee meeting where there was a quorum of the committee present. It is a standing committee made up of non-board members, but members of the organization. It had a project it wanted to do and found a vendor to do it. It then entered into an agreement/contract to have the services performed. It mistakenly thought it had the authority to do so. Contracts are signed by the president or the CEO; this one was signed by the committee chair after the committee voted to proceed with the work using the vendor approved by vote; the action was carried out by the chair of the committee..
  8. I'm sorry. The board's rules state that only the board can enter into contracts, not a subordinate body. The committee, being a subordinate body, enters into a contract with a commercial entity to have that commercial entity perform services for the organization. By entering into the contract it has acted in excess of its authority. This is one of the actions that require ratification in order to be valid (RONR p. 124). (Of course it's always clearer to the writer than to those reading what the intended scenario is supposed to be. Thank you for your patience. I hope I have made this more clear.)
  9. A committee enters into a contract but does so without board approval which is required; the committee has taken action beyond its authority. Work has commenced as a result of the contract. The board not happy with the committee exceeding its authority. What are its choices of action? What other motions are required, if any? What are the consequences to the committee members with each action? What will the board's minutes reflect? Will committee minutes need to be corrected, or will a report of the board's action need to be made in some way in the committee's minutes? a. Move to Ratify the action of the committee and vote yes to adopt ratify. b. Move to Ratify the action of the committee and vote no to defeat ratify. c. Move to Ratify the action of the committee and substitute the motion to censure the members of the committee and vote yest to adopt censure. d. Move to Ratify the action of the committee and amend the motion by adding a second clause to censure the members of the committee and vote yes to the amended motion. Please verify or correct my remarks of my understanding of each action. a. No further action needed unless the board wishes to express its negative opinion of the committee's action. If no further action taken by board, then board minutes will reflect the adopted motion to ratify. What changes, if any, will need to be made to the committee's minutes? Will any of the committee's documents need to reflect the board's action? b. The board's defeating the motion to ratify means that the action taken by the committee is null and void with regards to the organization, and the committee members are personally responsible for satisfying the contract; the organization has no obligation to perform unless the contract binds the organization (this becomes a legal matter beyond the scope of this forum). The board's minutes will reflect the motion to ratify was made and defeated. Are any further motions needed to complete the board's disposition of matter? What changes, if any, will need to be made to the committee's minutes? Will any of the committee's documents need to reflect the board's action? c. The affirmative vote to censure results in the same actions and questions as "b." above. d. In my mind, this is the most complete action if the organization wishes to avoid reputational and financial risk, and does not wish to enter into any legal action(s) to void the contract or recover money from the committee members. The board's minutes will reflect both the ratification and the censure. What changes, if any, will need to be made to the committee's minutes? Will any of the committee's documents need to reflect the board's action? One more thing. It has occurred to me the motion to ratify is amendable only to the extent that amendments can be made to affect future actions, that any amendments that are made that would be in conflict with actions already taken (such as entering into a contract as indicated in the example) would be out of order, correct? Thanks, again, for your help in my growth in understanding the implications of this motion. Glen
  10. Except that I don't think that this applies in this case; maybe you can help. This section you reference is talking about framing a motion, and the use of negative motions, or their misuse, and I agree with your conclusion with the pages cited. But is what you are saying is with reference to censure, or to ratify? With regard to the action taken in the examples earlier given, the actions were taken improperly and therefore, according to RONR, they are invalid. Is what you are telling me here is that a motion adopted that is invalid because of the circumstances under which it was adopted (no quorum, beyond authority of committee, etc.) has some status other than invalid if a motion to ratify is not offered or amended? I'm sorry, but you answer may be too brief for me to understand your point. Thank you for your response, Glen
  11. After reading both your responses and the text in RONR, my understanding is that the actions are null and void UNLESS RATIFIED. My argument would be, therefore, that the motion to ratify is required ONLY if the assembly or board desires to make the actions valid. No action lets them remain invalid. I will accept, reluctantly, that censure is a germane substitute, however. The ratification is less a sense of approval as it is actually making the actions valid. Censure is the sense of disapproval. And while I accept what you and RONR say - that censure is a valid substitute- previous understanding of the rules of amending would lead me as a presiding officer to rule that the motion to ratify would need to be defeated, and that the motion to censure would be a separate motion. Thank you for your time in discussing this with me. Glen
  12. I thank you for your example. It may be my inexperience with the motion that drives the following question: what happens to item #3? RONR p. 347 says that any business transacted ... in the absence of a quorum is null and void, and the principle is also iterated on p. 124. Is the indirect action of not ratifying #3 reflected in the minutes of the February meeting, sufficient to nullify the action? What would the February minutes look like with regard to #3, or would there be any wording pointing out that #3 was not ratified? Continuing... RONR p. 124 states that the motion to ratify ...is used to confirm or make valid an action already taken that cannot become valid until approved by the assembly. (emphasis addied) Cases where this procedure of ratification is applicable include: ...action taken by officers, committees, delegates, or subordinate bodies in excess of their instructions or authority. With your indulgence I seek clarification on a more complex example. What would be done if a committee or officer acted beyond its or his/her scope of powers or duties? a) The board would have a motion to ratify which, on vote, is defeated. What is the status of the actions of the committee or officer have already taken place? RONR says the actions are not valid until ratified. What points this out, the February minutes, or (correction of, if necessry) the January minutes that reflect that the actions were taken without a quorum and are not valid? If it involves money or a contract, are additional motions required to recover costs to the organization from the committee or officer? 'b) The board moves to substitute the motion to censure for the motion to ratify and adopts the motion to censure. Do the minutes of the February meeting that make note of this prove sufficient to make known that the actions of the committee or officer are null and void? Again, is any further action needed to recover any costs from the committee members or officer? c) In order to avoid reputational damage to the organization, it ratifies the actions taken. In order to express its dissatisfaction, however with the committee or officer, the board proposes a motion to censure. Is this a legitimate way of proceeding? Thank you for time in helping me to understand this motion more clearly. Glen Please excuse the punctuation on "b)". Every time I type "b)" without the quotes, i get ...
  13. I've looked for this topic to be discussed but have not found it, so if I have started this in error, please redirect me. I've found it curious that RONR offers that the motion to substitute "censure" for "ratify" is in order. A motion to censure does not seem germane to the motion to ratify. The motion to ratify has to do with the actions taken by an individual or a group that does not have the power to take such an action as discussed in RONR pp. 124-125. It is the action that requires ratification, or defeat ratification. If the act has already been carried out, I don't see how amending the motion to ratify deals with the action already taken. We already know that we cannot reconsider, rescind, or amend something previously adopted that cannot be undone. Again, we are dealing with the action taken by impoperly adopting a motion or acting without approval of the body that has the power to approve. Censure, on the other hand, has to do with dealing with the person or persons, and in the RONR example censure would apply to those who have taken such action(s) - it has no effect on the action taken whatsoever. If the motion to censure is substituted and adopted, the assembly/board has not yet dealt with the unauthorized action, it has only censured the person or body that took the action. What happens if no vote to authorize the action is ever taken? Is consent implied because no one ever proposed the motion to ratify so it could be voted down? I seems, then, that a motion to censure, while maybe desired, is in order if the motion to ratify were defeated, but should not be a substitute for the motion to ratify. Also, after reading the other discussions on "ratify", I am of the opinion that the motion to ratify an action should be an up or down vote; it's hard to see how an assembly can amend something that has already taken place. I look forward the discussion on this. As a presiding officer, I have had not had to deal with the motion to ratify except by consent. Glen
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