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  1. We just received notice from the Chair that the regularly scheduled monthly meeting of our Council is canceled this month due to COVID being on the increase and no suitable meeting room being found that will allow sufficient social distancing. Keep in mind this is a 9 member volunteer Council that advocates for the members of the complex where we live and is not any type of business entity. Within minutes of receiving the email notice of cancelation another member of the Council called me and she expressed the same reaction that I had. We expect the Chair made little or no effort to find a safe place to meet. We believe there is a large room that would be available. We believe the Chair was looking for an excuse to not meet as a stall tactic as he (and the Vice Chair) do not want to discuss a certain topic and are afraid the full Council will not decide in the way the two of them want things decided. We think they hope by stalling they will discourage us or make it too late for us to take effective action. Today is Friday and the meeting is Tuesday. We expect the timing of the notice (late Friday afternoon) was on purpose to allow little time to react and because the staff that might schedule a meeting room are not in on the weekend. I bought the 12th edition of Robert's Rules but can't seem to figure out how to find the topic of cancelation of a monthly meeting. Our constitution and by-laws were done by volunteers in 2017 and are not very comprehensive. I could not find any reference to cancelation or postponement of a meeting. The quote below is the thing I found regarding this monthly meeting. Who has the right to cancel this recurring meeting? Can the Chair do that on his own initiative without consulting other members of the Council? What if a majority of the Council would still like to meet and would have a quorum? Do they have the right to meet regardless of the notice from the Chair? How far in advance would we need to determine that a majority want to meet and who can make that decision or initiate that? Thanks for your help!
  2. The majority of the Council met informally today and plan at the next meeting to raise a point of order that the Special Meeting of Oct 6 was illegal. This is due to it being called by the Chair (when it had to be called by the Executive Committee) and that no public notice was given (as required). I verified today that at least three out of 5 members of the Executive Committee were not contacted about approving the call of a special meeting. The Chair just sent the Council members a notice and brief agenda. I also verified with the person who posts notice items that nothing was publicly posted. Assuming we raise that point of order and the vote is favorable, I believe that will nullify the ratification of the by-law amendments that was done at that special meeting. So am correct in assuming the original unamended by-laws will now be in effect again? I would think so as nothing was approved to change them. Also, if we have the votes, would we be wise to vote again on the by-law amendments at that same meeting (the one where we address the point of order) and vote them down? That way I think we would be assured the amendment process would have to begin again. If we don't do that, could the ratification of the amendments be brought up again at a future meeting, perhaps when we don't have everyone present and the ratification motion could potentially pass? Thanks again for your help. It is very much appreciated!
  3. Thank you all so much! I find this forum extremely valuable and appreciate all who are willing to share their knowledge, opinions, and experience.
  4. As to the question posed about an exact quote of what I was referring to, the quote is in the Constitution (not the by-laws) and it exactly as follows: SECTION 3. The five (5) first named officers in Section 1 above shall comprise the Executive Committee of the Council. This Committee will set operational priorities and policies for the Council.
  5. Our non-profit (resident run) Council constitution and by-laws provide for an Executive Committee made up of 5 officers (Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary, Treasurer and Assistant Treasurer). The current Chair and Vice Chair have been equating meeting as an Executive Committee with an executive session. From what I can tell, you can't have an executive session without the majority of the Council moving to adjourn to an executive session or perhaps without at least the Executive Committee establishing in its meeting that this is an executive session. Am I correct that Executive Committee meetings are not automatically executive sessions? If so, who can decide it is an executive session? The distinction seems important regarding the degree of confidentiality required about the meeting and the ability to inform the entire Council or all the residents. Below is a quote from the Council constitution. Regarding the Executive Committee, the Chair and Vice Chair have been using the phrase "This Committee will set operational priorities and policies for the Council" to attempt to make significant decisions in the Executive Committee meetings and then considering those to be executive sessions so that decisions are not publicized. Regarding the other members of the Council the decisions are "announced", if discussed at all, and there is no ratification by the rest of the Council. They argue this is the Executive Committee's job per this phrase of the Constitution and they are obligated to work this way They used an Executive Committee meeting (with not all Executive Committee members present) to disband a standing committee, based on their interpretation of the by-laws that it could be disbanded, and sent letters (that the full Council had not seen) to inform the committee members. It appears to me their interpretation of this phrase is much too broad and also that they are attempting to use the concept of executive session in ways not intended. In addition to my questions about executive session, how is the "set operational priorities and policies" phrase to be interpreted? Thanks for your consideration of my questions. Constitution: SECTION 3. The five (5) first named officers in Section 1 above shall comprise the Executive Committee of the Council. This Committee will set operational priorities and policies for the Council.
  6. Thanks so much for the additional information and advice. To all who support this forum, it is very much appreciated!
  7. Very helpful! Our next Council monthly meeting is Nov 10. Sounds like at that meeting I need to raise a point of order regarding the Oct 6 special meeting for the two reasons that a majority of the Executive Committee did not call the meeting and that there was no public notice and this constitutes a continuing a breach? Would we then vote on invalidating that meeting and any action taken at that meeting and see if the majority of the Council agrees that is what happened? It that is how to do it, does that topic need to be an agenda item? If so, do I need to give adequate notice to the Chair to add it to the agenda and can he refuse to do so? Can I simply ask at the meeting to be recognized and take the floor? I feel sure the Chair is going to avoid recognizing me and try to state that at whatever point in the meeting I try to do that, I am not doing it at an allowable time (that has been his practice). These meetings used to be fairly informal, friendly, and relaxed, but the new Chair and Vice Chair are using every parliamentary angle they can find to control the meeting and the decision making process. The majority of the Council is scrambling to try to learn the rules so as to make them accountable to do things correctly and legitimately. Appreciate your help so much!
  8. You are very right and I appreciate so much your guidance and assistance. I do have one other important question related to this. I found something online that indicates you cannot have a special meeting unless your by-laws provide for that. I can't see anything (in the original or revised) by-laws about special meetings of the Council however there is the language below in the Council Constitution that provides for special meetings. The Chair and Vice Chair were the ones promoting the revisions and the Chair called for the special Council meeting on October 6 to do the ratification (immediately after the 2 week posting period ended). They did send out a notice and agenda ahead of time to the Council members about the meeting and its purpose but I am quite sure there was no public notice. Also the language says such a meeting should be called by the Executive Committee that is made up of 5 officers (I am one of them). Per the wording below, can the Chair and Vice Chair call a special Council meeting on their own without the consent of the majority of the Executive Committee? It seems like there was no reason to call a special Council meeting as the next regularly scheduled full Council meeting was October 13 (only a week later) so it could have easily waited until then. I am wondering if we can dispute the ratification on the basis that it was done at an illegally called meeting as there was no public notice as required and that it wasn't called by a majority of the Executive Committee. Would we have a case? ARTICLE VI COUNCIL MEETING SECTION 1. The Council will meet once per calendar month on a regular basis, from July 1 through June 30, on the second Tuesday of the month, at a time and place to be announced at each meeting for the subsequent meeting. SECTION 2. Special meetings of the Council may be called by the Executive Committee, to be held at any time, upon reasonable public notice
  9. Thanks, those answers are extremely helpful. So there is nothing we can do until we go through another amendment process? Can we make a motion to put implementation of the revised by-laws on hold and halt any further publication during the revision process? Still looking for a way out as the revision process will take a couple months at least. We really made a big mistake letting the revised by-laws get through and now a majority of the Council is very concerned and there is a backlash from the residents we serve. We are searching for a way to at least mitigate the situation some while we work on amendments. The majority of the Council is meeting next week to start work on amendments.
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