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Richard Tatara

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  1. I thank Mr. Katz for confirming this...it was important to me to have a RP opinion to backup my read.
  2. Mr. Brown is correct in his observation that the two issues I recently presented are linked. Like many organizations, the language in our constitution and bylaws (C&BL) can always be improved to provide more clarity, but our assembly tires of repeated amendments to make such changes and people stop coming to meetings. However, our C&BL provide that "Robert's Rules of Order will be in effect for any business meeting within the organization". Therefore, it is expected that Robert's Rules will be used to provide clarification on procedure in cases where the language in the C&BL are not clear, such as the interpretation of the bylaw "New Business not on the agenda will be at the will of the Assembly". Therefore, I assert that the agenda we use at our Assembly meetings is considered to be an adopted agenda (so long as the process in the C&BL is followed in preparing and posting that agenda). Therefore, changes to that agenda to bring new business forward that is not on the agenda will be subject to the Changing an Agenda rules found in RONR page 373. Linking these two threads together leads to one final question: It appears that a motion made under the Changing an Agenda rule is an incidental motion. As such, the motion would be made, require a second, and is debatable. Can a member raise an Objection to Consideration to the Motion to Change the Agenda? Assuming the objection is raised properly before debate occurs, this would have the effect of forcing the assembly to vote without hearing arguments for changing the agenda.If this is allowed, in the context of our entire procedures, it could be viewed as a tactic designed to prevent members from stating their case in front of the assembly. i.e. denying the member a right to be heard in the assembly meeting.
  3. Thanks to all for the many lessons learned in your responses. You taught me as much about the role of the Chairman as you did about the use of the Motion Out of Order rules. I have since learned that the privacy laws are not as private as we thought. Also, as often is the case, there is more to this scenario than I first understood. We will have to take our chances that the assembly does not want to entertain the new agenda item. If they do, we will be ready with the Objection to Consideration of the Question tactic.
  4. Several years ago my religious organization ended an employment relationship with a professional church worker. The personnel committee, organized as a sub-committee of the general assembly, was responsible for overseeing the matter. This sub-committee sent correspondence to the synodical church leadership concerning the employee relationship that may have had an impact on that persons employment opportunities in sister churches. We believe all of this correspondence falls under the protection of state and federal privacy laws relating to employers/employees, so there was no report regarding this correspondence given to the general assembly. Recently, a member of our assembly became aware of the existence of some of the correspondence. This member firmly believes the nature and content of some of the correspondence should have been shared with the general assembly. Therefore, the member created a motion seeking this correspondence be released to the assembly. This motion was first presented to a sub-committee of the assembly, but failed to progress due to lack of a second. Now the member seeks to present his motion to the entire assembly. To do this, the member will first have to get approval from the assembly to add a new business item not on the adopted agenda for the assembly meeting; our agenda is fixed by our constitution and bylaws, so this business would be considered a changed agenda. If the assembly approves (two-thirds majority required), then the member would present their motion. But we now believe the motion this member seeks is in conflict with state or federal privacy laws, and therefore is out of order. We feel that raising this topic in any form in the general assembly puts the organization at risk for lawsuit from the aggrieved employee due to breach of privacy. My question now is: when does the Chairman have the responsibility to declare the motion is out of order? For example, when the member comes forward to move to change the agenda, it is reasonable to expect that he/she will need to say something about the business they would like to add to the agenda. We cannot say for certain in advance exactly how the member may characterize the new business he wants to bring forth. Therefore, must we wait until he/she has said something about requesting information that would be considered violating the privacy law? And is it reasonable for the Chairman to interrupt the member mid-sentence to declare the motion out of order and prevent the member from making statements that could potentially put the organization at risk of privacy violation? Can we stop the business from moving forward even at the "change the agenda" stage, versus potentially waiting until the entire motion is read (assuming the change-the-agenda motion is successful)?
  5. Thanks to Greg Goodwiller and Josh Martin for good advice: the motion to amend the agenda is debatable, and persuasive arguments should be made by the make in the debate.
  6. Richard Brown has offered good advice: take the matter up as a motion to amend the agenda. My question still remains: to what degree can a maker of such a motion use either the preface or the main body of said motion to persuade the assembly to consider amending the agenda?
  7. The constitution and bylaws (C&BL) of our religious assembly state that the agenda for the general assembly meeting must be set one week in advance by a council made up of leaders of each of the main boards that manage the church business. The C&BL further states : Any new business not on the agenda will be at the will of the Voters Assembly. If an assembly member wants to bring business forward that is not on the agenda, we believe the right way to do this is for the member to make a motion requesting that the assembly consider hearing new business that is not on the agenda. My question is: when making such a motion, to what degree is it appropriate for the maker, as a persuasive tactic, to state some or all of the aspects of their intended new business motion, either in the preface statement or in the body of the motion requesting the assembly consider new business? If the motion to consider new business is seconded and approved, the assembly would then hear the new business motion in its entirety following standard rules for consideration.
  8. Thanks to all who have shared valuable insight. Use of the term "issues at hand" has been interpreted by some general members that they should be allowed by the constitution to be present and given the opportunity to speak when formal debate by board members is being conducted, even if the meeting is a session closed to voting board members only. Elimination of the term "issues at hand" from the clause of constitution would perhaps strengthen the authority granted, in the second section of the clause, to board chairmen to restrict the opportunity for non-board members to speak at a specific time, including addressing the board before a closed session. Modifying the organization constitution is a more complex process, bur perhaps should be undertaken for the sake of clarity.
  9. I'm now registered as a Forum member.
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