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  1. Also, the chairs of these committees often bring the decisions/recommendations of their committees to the Executive Committee meeting for ratification.

    Hypothetically, if the VP chairing his committee didn't like an official vote and decision that took place in his committee, since the VP is the one presenting those decisions/recommendations to the Executive Committee, is he obligated to go with what his committee voted on? Couldn't he use his voice at the Executive Committee to persuade them to override a decision made in the committee he chairs?

  2. On our Executive Committee, there is a VP. This VP has his own committee that he is the chair of. The committee he is the chair for is a bit less formal and its members are not well versed in parliamentary procedure.

    I've noticed the meetings of that committee act more like meetings would in the business world. The VP who runs that committee basically gets final say on things. I've never seen a vote take place. No complaints so far.

    Is this ok? Can they decide to do that? Is there a name or official section in RONR that describes this?

  3. 16 hours ago, Joshua Katz said:

    I don't understand the question. RONR just is a book on parliamentary procedure. What do you mean by decision making here that's separate from parliamentary procedure?

    I mean - where does it usually say we're required to follow parliamentary procedure?

    Just because the constitution or bylaws say RONR is the authority on parliamentary procedure, I feel that doesn't explicitly mean we have to follow parliamentary procedure itself.

  4. Our organization's constitution only states that RONR is the authority as to parliamentary procedure. It doesn't mention RONR or parliamentary procedure anywhere else.

    I'm just unclear where it says we're required to use parliamentary procedure for decision making. Does it usually explicitly state that in the constitution/bylaws? Or does it say it somewhere else?

    I'm just thinking legally, shouldn't it explicitly say somewhere that you must use RONR/parliamentary procedure for official decision making? Or are all organizations legally required to use parliamentary procedure already, and they just need to define who the authority on parliamentary procedure is?

  5. Our organization has a Constitution. We cannot modify that Constitution since it is provided by our parent organization and there is a clause in there that says only they can modify it.

    The Constitution does not have a clause that allows for proxy voting. We want to allow for proxy voting.

    As per RONR 11th Ed page 428, "Proxy voting is not permitted in ordinary deliberative assemblies unless the laws of the state in which the society is incorporated require it, or the charter or bylaws of the organization provide for it"

    We don't have any document called the bylaws right now. Can we create bylaws to allow for proxy voting? If yes, what is the procedure? Majority vote?


  6. 22 hours ago, Josh Martin said:

    Yes, I acknowledge that the wording of the particular citation is not ideal.

    The principal rule on this matter is that “A member of an assembly, in the parliamentary sense, as mentioned above, is a person entitled to full participation in its proceedings, that is, as explained in 3 and 4, the right to attend meetings, to make motions, to speak in debate, and to vote. No member can be individually deprived of these basic rights of membership—or of any basic rights concomitant to them, such as the right to make nominations or to give previous notice of a motion—except through disciplinary proceedings. Some organized societies define additional classes of "membership" that do not entail all of these rights. Whenever the term member is used in this book, it refers to full participating membership in the assembly unless otherwise specified. Such members are also described as "voting members" when it is necessary to make a distinction.” (RONR, 11th ed., pg. 3, emphasis added)

    Apparently this citation alone is believed to be insufficient because a committee is not, strictly speaking, an assembly. The text notes, however, that “The rules in this book are principally applicable to meeting bodies possessing all of the foregoing characteristics. Certain of these parliamentary rules or customs may sometimes also find application in other gatherings which, although resembling the deliberative assembly in varying degrees, do not have all of its attributes as listed above.” (RONR, 11th ed., pg. 2)

    The text then specifically discusses committee procedure on pgs. 500-501, describing the manner in which committee procedures differ from those procedures in an assembly. Nothing in those pages suggests that the meaning of the term “member” becomes different in the context of a committee, therefore, it stands to reason that it carries the same meaning (that it refers to a member of the committee, unless otherwise stated).

    Indeed, the text reinforces this concept when it notes that “When a committee is to make substantive recommendations or decisions on an important matter, it should give members of the society an opportunity to appear before it and present their views on the subject at a time scheduled by the committee. Such a meeting is usually called a hearing. During actual deliberations of the committee, only committee members have the right to be present.” (RONR, 11th ed., pg. 501)

    Since this last part specifically says committee members, there is no ambiguity. Additionally, since it is clear that only committee members have the right to be present, a discussion of what other rights guests might have is academic. As a practical matter, it is obvious from this sentence alone that the guests only have such rights as the committee permits, since it can always prevent guests from speaking further (for instance) by removing the guests from the meeting.

    Since committees are fully subordinate bodies, however, the parent assembly is free to provide instructions to the committee on this matter if it wishes.

    I was hoping for it to be a little more explicit, but this is good info. 👍

  7. 3 hours ago, Gary Novosielski said:

    They have no right to participate, but this can be fixed by adopting a motion near the beginning of the meeting, to Suspend the Rules and permit absent members to participate fully via conference call, with the exception of voting.  

    It's worth including the exception in the motion for clarity, even though omitting it would not confer the right to vote.  The prohibition against absentee voting may not be suspended.  Some might even argue that without the exception the motion would not be in order.

    They could be allowed to make motions, correct? Page 263 explicitly says you can't suspend the rules to allow them to vote and also says you can suspend the rules to allow them to speak in debate, but it doesn't explicitly mention allowing them to make motions. Or does it say that somewhere?

  8. 17 hours ago, Weldon Merritt said:

    In other woirds, yes, they can be allowed to participate in the discussion, but not vote. And of course, they won't count as present for purposes of the quorum.

    When you say "can be allowed to participate," just to clarify, this would require the members to vote to Suspend the Rules so that they can participate, correct? Because otherwise nonmembers can't participate.

  9. 2 hours ago, Richard Brown said:

    What about it? 


    1 hour ago, Josh Martin said:

    In the context of a committee, this rule means that any persons who are not members of the committee who are permitted to be present, as guests of the committee, have no rights with reference to the proceedings, except to the extent that the committee has been otherwise instructed in this matter by the parent assembly.

    So in the context of a committee, in the quote where it says "organization," that is referring to the committee? Maybe you can see how this would get a little confusing to outsiders?

    My problem is when trying to cite these rules to people who are not familiar with RONR. Is there something I can cite that clearly says that "member" or "nonmember" refers to the body that is meeting? In the quote I provided, it specifically uses the word "organization" and this makes it even more ambiguous to outsiders who may interpret "organization" as the parent organization rather than the committee.

  10. 4 hours ago, Atul Kapur said:

    When RONR refers to a "member" it means a member of the body that it is talking about at the time. So when it's talking about a committee, use of the word "member" means a member of the committee. Similarly with boards.

    The following quote shows how RONR specifies members of the society/assembly who are not members of the committee: "When a committee is to make substantive recommendations or decisions on an important matter, it should give members of the society an opportunity to appear before it and present their views on the subject at a time scheduled by the committee." (p. 501, lines 7-11. emphasis added)

    Can you specify the rule? If it regards who can participate in committee meetings, then Mr. HHH's quote specifies that "During actual deliberations of the committee, only committee members have the right to be present." (emphasis added again)

    How about this from page 648: "Any nonmembers allowed in the hall during a meeting, as guests of the organization, have no rights with reference to the proceedings"

  11. 9 minutes ago, Joshua Katz said:

    Getting back to the original question, it's unclear to me that any damage can be done by such behavior. If certain members of the organization are told about a board meeting, and show up to that meeting, while others are not and do not - so what? They can't vote, so nothing about any outcome would have changed. 

    He invited some pretty vocal senior members who spoke during debate about their viewpoint on an issue. I think a vote would've gone a different way if it had not been for this.

  12. 10 hours ago, Atul Kapur said:

    According to RONR, non-members (of the executive committee) may be allowed to speak if allowed by a majority vote. To allow non-members to speak during debate requires a motion to Suspend the Rules, which requires a 2/3 vote. (RONR 11th ed., p. 263, footnote)

    Just wondering, is there a part of the book that says non-members don't have the right to speak during debate?

  13. 7 hours ago, Atul Kapur said:

    - Do your bylaws say that executive committee meetings are open to any member?
    - Do they require invitations or notice to go to every member of the organization?
    - Is the schedule of executive committee meetings available to general members? Alternatively, are the meeting dates specified in the bylaws?
     - (What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow? But I digress)

    These answers will influence the answer to you question.

    According to RONR, non-members (of the executive committee) may be allowed to speak if allowed by a majority vote. To allow non-members to speak during debate requires a motion to Suspend the Rules, which requires a 2/3 vote. (RONR 11th ed., p. 263, footnote)

    Yes, the bylaws say the executive committee meetings are open to any member.

    It doesn't say anything about invitations or notice for executive committee meetings. It does have rules for notification for changes in date/time/place for regular business meetings. It also has rules for special business meetings.

    The executive committee meetings are scheduled at a regular day of the week each month, however the meeting dates aren't specified in the bylaws (it just says the executive committee is required to meet at least monthly at a time and place it may determine).

    African or European? 😂

    Nice RONR citation. Very good info regarding allowing members to speak.

  14. 13 minutes ago, Richard Brown said:

    Unless your bylaws provide otherwise, only members of the body which is meeting, in this case the executive committee, have the right to attend the meetings. The executive committee, not the president, has the authority to permit guests to attend and to speak, unless your rules provide otherwise. As a practical matter, in many organizations, the assembly defers to the president, but that is by choice or by custom. The executive committee, not the president, has the ultimate right to decide who may attend and who may speak at meetings of the executive committee.

    The president and all other members are free to invite whomever they want to to attend a meeting as a guest. It is still up to the committee as a whole to determine weather those guests will actually be permitted to attend. There is no rule in RONR which would prohibit a president or any other member of the executive committee from inviting only certain general members of the organization to attend as guests.

    However, if the other members of the executive committee feel that the president did something inappropriate or unbecoming of a member, they may adopt a motion of censure condemning the president for his actions. Depending on your bylaws, it might even be possible to remove him from office.

    For more information about attendance and participation by non-members you might look at pages 96, 263, and 644 - 645 of RONR 

    Actually our bylaws do allow for any member to attend executive committee meetings. However, the general membership usually would not know when the meeting is unless they were informed of it somehow. Does that change anything?

    Also wondering, what would happen in the situation of a regular business meeting where the president was bias in his invitations? Is that the same thing?

  15. We had an executive committee meeting where any member could attend. The president sent out invitations only to specific people from the general membership he wanted to invite. This is quite bias since many other members weren't even aware they could attend the meeting at all. The president allowed many of them to speak during debate at the meeting.

    I assume this is a violation of something? Anyone know what parts of RONR may cover impartial meeting invites?

  16. 10 hours ago, Richard Brown said:

    It means he has whatever rights, powers, and duties are specified in your Constitution and by-laws. RONR does not get into any administrative duties of the president or other officers. RONR is concerned only with those duties as they relate to conducting meetings. Any administrative rights, duties, and powers of the president must be spelled out in your own governing documents and rules.

    Ok. Got it. Well, it never uses the term "chief executive officer" anywhere else in the club constitution (it doesn't define what privileges that provides). It does list some standard privileges the president gets.

  17. 9 hours ago, Josh Martin said:

    In and of itself, I don’t think it grants them anything.

    “All of the duties of the presiding officer described above relate to the function of presiding over the assembly at its meetings. In addition, in many organized societies, the president has duties as an administrative or executive officer; but these are outside the scope of parliamentary law, and the president has such authority only insofar as the bylaws provide it.” (RONR, 11th ed., pg. 456)

    In other words, the bylaws should define what this title means in the context of your organization and what powers and duties it is intended to grant.

    The document does state certain rights the president gets (e.g. preside over executive committee meetings). However it never uses the term "chief executive officer" anywhere else in the club constitution (it doesn't define what privileges that provides). You're saying that the statement that the club president is the chief executive officer of the club actually does not grant anything? Any idea why it's written?

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