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Brian McMillan

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  1. Thank you all for your insights. I apologize for not explicitly stating my question, and I'm glad you were able to extrapolate it from my description of the situation! I took such a long time to draft my message that I didn't have sufficient time to review it before needing to move on to another task. I will pass your feedback on to the Board.
  2. This is my first post here and I am a novice Parliamentarian for my organization who is just learning Robert's Rules. At our recent Annual General Meeting (before I assumed this role), a member put forward a contentious motion when New Business was called. The motion was seconded, discussed by the members present, and - albeit with some deviance from Robert's Rules - a vote was called and the motion passed. Normally Members refrain from raising new business in our AGMs, so the presiding officers were not prepared for handling the situation and many Members left feeling upset by the entire debate and vote. There were feelings that the debate did not allow all voices to be heard, some members felt unprepared for the question and debate, and - this is an extra complication - some members were watching remotely (due to the COVID-19 restrictions) and were unable to participate. (We did however have quorum in person.) The Board is now seeking a way to avoid a similar occurrence at future AGMs. Some of the proposals include: Stating that all new business must be added prior to the adoption of the AGM agenda, Granting the power to the Board to "reconsider" all motions passed at the AGM that were not raised at least 14 days prior to the AGM, Limiting all motions not raised at least 14 days prior to the AGM to "non-binding recommendations to the Board," Allowing all motions not raised at least 14 days prior to the AGM to be conducted "out of order", meaning that Members will be able to continue debate online on the organization's listserv for 14 days after the AGM, at which point an electronic vote will be held on the question. The Board is seeking a way to move expeditiously and efficiently with business, yet still provide a forum for debate among the Membership on emergent issues in a way that is equitable to all. Given the current pandemic, we will likely see more, if not entirely, online participation and need a way to ensure that contentious topics are handled with the respect and time they deserve.
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