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Shmuel Gerber

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Everything posted by Shmuel Gerber

  1. Well, the parliamentarian was correct in one sense, that any corrections to approved minutes do not permanently erase anything that had appeared in the minute book, but rather are accumulated into the minutes of the meeting at which the correction is made. But I don't see that as the issue here.
  2. Supposing we all tell you, as Mr. Mervosh already has, that when the book says "even many years later", it means even many years later, but the parliamentarian still says it means "in August 2021." Are you any better off than before? 🙂
  3. If you want to try getting to the bottom of this, I think tech support will need to know more information, such as: - type of device - operating system with version number - browser with version number - making sure that ad-blocking, script-blocking, and cookie blocking are completely off for this domain (I'm not sure whether other domains are called upon as well)
  4. No. "31:4 Motions to Close or Reopen Nominations. In the average society, a motion to close nominations is not a necessary part of the election procedure and it should not generally be moved. When nominations have been made by a committee or from the floor, the chair inquires whether there are any further nominations; and when there is no response, he declares that nominations are closed. In very large bodies, the formality of a motion to close nominations is sometimes allowed, but this motion is not in order until a reasonable opportunity to make nominations has been given; as noted above, it is out of order if a member is rising, addressing the chair, or otherwise attempting to make a nomination, and it always requires a two-thirds vote. When no one wishes to make a further nomination, the motion serves no useful purpose."
  5. The rule referred to is not about amendment; it is simply jammed into a long paragraph that also speaks about amendments. But RONR (12th edition) says something similar, but in the context of an undebatable motion or no motion being pending: 43:32 "The distinction between debate and asking questions or making brief suggestions should be kept in mind in this connection. Especially in large assemblies, the chair must be careful not to allow this type of consultation to develop into an extended colloquy between members or to take on the semblance of debate, and should generally remain standing while the consultation takes place, to show that the floor has not been assigned." It seems to me quite possible for a member to make a suggestion while a debatable motion is immediately pending that shouldn't necessarily be counted as a speech in debate. For example, if a member has already spoken twice in debate, I think he could still obtain the floor for the purpose of making a suggestion such as: "I would suggest that members refrain from offering amendments to paragraph B until there has been ample opportunity to amend paragraph A."
  6. That's an interesting conclusion, but the cited paragraphs don't exactly say as much.
  7. Here is some of what RONR says about financial reports: 48:20 Reports by the Treasurer. At each meeting of a society, the chair may ask for a “Treasurer's report,” which may consist simply of a verbal statement of the cash balance on hand—or of this balance less outstanding obligations. Such a report requires no action by the assembly. 48:21 In addition, the treasurer is required to make a full financial report annually, and in some societies more often. Such an annual report should always be audited. It is compiled and dated as of the last day of the fiscal year, if there is one, or December 31 if no different financial year is stated in the bylaws. 48:22 Form and content of the financial report. The best form for the financial report depends on particular conditions, such as the kind and size of the society, the nature of its activities, the frequency of reporting, and so on. The form used should be patterned after reports in similar organizations. In any case, since the financial report is made for the information of the members, it should not contain details of dates and separate payments, which are a hindrance to the report's being understood.
  8. If the minutes were to say "It was agreed without objection", I would infer that to mean that the assembly agreed to it. Based on the description given by the OP, that is not at all what happened.
  9. RONR gives no authority to the chair to cancel a meeting. There is nothing else in RONR on this subject. As you note, board meetings may be called "by resolution, regular schedule, or outlined in the bylaws." Your board apparently has failed to call a meeting by resolution and your bylaws (unwisely) fail to provide any rules on this matter. So it will be up to your organization to interpret its own bylaws, until the organization can adopt the new draft bylaws. RONR (12th ed.) 21:9 says, "If a board or committee meeting is adjourned without any provision having been made for future meetings, the next meeting is held at the call of the chairman (see also 50:21–22)." Unfortunately, RONR doesn't seem to give much guidance regarding a situation where the chair of a board purposely doesn't call a meeting, or even how a board that elects its own officers calls its first meeting when the term of office of the board has expired and a new board has been elected. If there is a vice-chair, I would assume that he or she has the power to call a meeting when the chair fails to act.
  10. I think the original poster is referring to what RONR says about filling blanks, which includes: 12:108 … "Sometimes the particular nature of the blank determines the order in which proposals for filling it should be put to vote. Typical instances of this kind are blanks to be filled with amounts of money. In such cases it is advisable, whenever a logical order is apparent, to arrange the proposed entries so that the one least likely to be acceptable will be voted on first, and so on. New supporters may then be gained with each succeeding vote until a majority in favor of one entry is reached." and 12:111 … "When a blank is to be filled with a place, date, or number, a choice of methods for arranging and voting on the proposals can be made as follows: a) Voting on the suggestions in the order in which they are offered, as when filling a blank with names. b) Voting on the proposals in the order of their probable acceptability, beginning with the least popular choice, as when filling a blank with an amount. c) (If there is no clear-cut reason why either increasing or decreasing order would be preferable), voting first on the largest number, longest time, or most distant date, and so on. The particular circumstances must determine the order to be used." If a procedure like this is going to be used, where the first question to receive a majority in favor is chosen, I think it would make sense to put the question first on the question of holding the meeting face-to-face (if it seems that is likely to be less popular than holding it virtually). If that is adopted by majority, you're done; if rejected, put the question on holding the meeting virtually. If that question is adopted, it's adopted; and if it's rejected, then you're also done. In this scenario, I'm assuming that if no particular meeting proposal is approved, then no meeting will be held at all, so there is no reason to hold a vote on the question of "no meeting".
  11. You may have noticed that in the Sample Rules for Electronic Meetings in RONR, the sample bylaw provisions don't just say "Electronic meetings are authorized" but provide language with enough latitude for the adoption of further rules with additional requirements for participating, and those further rules do not need to be in the bylaws. Looking at the sample rules for "Scenario A" in RONR (12th ed.) pp. 638-639, it seems to me that the bylaws do not authorize "hybrid meetings". But if they are interpreted as allowing hybrid meetings, I think they also clearly authorize the adoption of sample rule 3 on page 639, which requires members to maintain internet access to an electronic meeting.
  12. A minor update has been released, which I applied this morning. Maybe that will help.
  13. The chair should remind the members what the rules are, and then they have the responsibility to follow them. The chair only needs to make such a determination in questionable cases or when the rules have been breached. If a member misuses the opportunity to obtain priority in recognition in order to ask a question that does not require an immediate response, the chair could say, "In the opinion of the chair, this question does not require an immediate response. The chair reminds the members that requests for information entitle the member to preference in recognition only in cases where an immediate response is required. The member will please seek the floor in the normal manner the next time the floor is yielded. The chair recognizes Mr. X (the person who would have otherwise been granted recognition if not for the interruption)."
  14. I think this is arguable. In some societies, it is a regular feature of debate that members of the opposing side will interrupt the speaker in debate to make a Request for Information. Although the request is stated in the form of a question, its real purpose is to make a point or refute what the speaker has just said. The speaker's response to the "request" is in the nature of a rebuttal or cross rebuttal. The speaker's ability to persuasively parry these "requests" can actually strengthen the effectiveness of his speech. On the other hand, his inability can embarrassingly show him up as unprepared, unpersuasive, or befuddled. I take it that what you find arguable is whether "most" requests for information are in the nature of requests that may interrupt a speaker or that entitle the maker of the request to preference in recognition. I have no statistical data on the overall frequency of the different types of requests made in different organizations. I am simply saying that I see nothing in RONR that gives preference in recognition to a member who has a question that needs no immediate answer over a member who wishes to speak in debate. Obviously, asking a question of the member speaking for him to answer during his allotted time in debate can only be done during that time, and therefore does require an immediate response — although the member has the choice of whether or not to allow the interruption or to respond.
  15. Well, they could start by following the rules in RONR. The rule is that requests for information "are in order when another has the floor if they require immediate attention" (12th ed. 33:2(3), my emphasis) Further, "there are a number of purposes for which a member who has been assigned the floor may be interrupted (see 42:18–19). A member who sought the floor for such a purpose before the floor has been assigned is likewise entitled to preference in recognition." (42:7) These include "a request or inquiry (32, 33) that requires an immediate response" (42:18(e), my emphasis) The upshot is that there is no reason to consider most requests for information as "interrupting motions". Members with requests that do not require an immediate response should be required to obtain the floor in the normal manner and should not be given priority over members seeking the floor for other purposes.
  16. Not necessarily. The commission is not the council. If the commission is considered a board or committee, then the rules for committees or small boards would be in effect, in which case the chair can make motions or informal proposals like the other commission members, and no seconds are required.
  17. Update: The issue was resolved on August 26, and the search index is also finished being rebuilt. Searches should be fully functional now.
  18. The forum has an achievement / badge system. Every 100th response posted by a forum member (other than a moderator or member of the RONR authorship team) earns the member an automatic "superstar" badge. (Unless a member posts a bunch of spam responses, in which case the member is likely to be flagged as a spammer, never to be heard from again.) I applied the system retroactively so that any forum member who has given 100 responses in the past 3 years has already earned this badge. These badges have no monetary value, are for entertainment purposes only, and may be revoked or modified at any time and for any reason or no reason. If they did have any value, such value might also be diluted by the arbitrary and capricious awarding of it by a moderator to other members. If you want to, you can manufacture a badge facsimile and wear it on a service ribbon or epaulets in your parliamentary brigade uniform, but I wouldn't recommend it (or even having such a uniform). 🙂
  19. Update: The search feature is not generating errors at the moment, but the search index is still being rebuilt and the provider is still reporting that there may be issues with the server.
  20. Please see the message linked below. Replies and updates will be available in the linked topic.
  21. The forum provider reports that there is a problem with Amazon Web Services that is preventing searches on the forum. Also, the forum software was upgraded today and is busy reindexing all the posts. Please be patient and try again later.
  22. Searching is generating error messages instead of results. I've reported the problem to tech support. (Don't you just love software "upgrades"?)
  23. The forum site has been upgraded again. Please post any problems or interesting changes that you find. Enjoy (I hope).
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