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Shmuel Gerber

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  1. Well, I've seen tables of contents in bylaws. However, I think those would probably be considered secretarial notations and not part of the actual bylaws. You may be interested to know that the New York City Traffic Rules contain the diagrams below to accompany the rule «Where parking is prohibited by signs, but not where stopping or standing is prohibited, a duly licensed physician or dentist may park his/her motor vehicle, identified by "MD," "OP" or "DDS" New York registration plates, on a roadway adjacent to hospitals or clinics for a period not to exceed three hours. For the purposes of this paragraph, only those portions of a roadway corresponding to the shaded areas on the diagrams below shall be considered adjacent to a hospital or clinic. At other locations where parking is prohibited by signs, but not where stopping or standing is prohibited, a duly licensed physician may park his/her motor vehicle, identified by "MD" or "OP" New York registration plates, for a period not to exceed one hour while actually attending to a patient in the immediate vicinity.» If you're an out-of-town doctor, or if you need more than an hour to treat a patient and are parked in a no-parking zone (or, heaven forfend, in a no-standing or no-stopping zone) around the corner from a hospital that doesn't extend all the way to the corner of the block, or if you haven't memorized the 135-page book of traffic rules (which, to be fair, includes a 12-page table of contents and an 8-page index and, to be fair, is in any event no more than one-sixth the size of RONR and, to be fair, also includes this nifty map of the Central Park transverse roads and "hack stand" areas as well as some other diagrams), I suppose you might be out of luck and find a citation on your windshield when you get back. (And your windshield might be in the tow pound, although it will probably still be attached to the car, so you're not totally out of luck.)
  2. I disagree. RONR says that "it may be desirable" to add certain text. The reason it's desirable to add that text is to make as clear and definite as possible what the intended effect of the "Parliamentary Authority" provision is. Those words are desirable because otherwise people will tend to argue about the meaning of the provision, not because the provision definitely means the opposite without those words.
  3. J. J., I think you've picked probably one of the most difficult examples, because the rule that "members cannot be assessed additional payment aside from their dues unless it is provided for in the bylaws" is not a procedural rule at all. The footnote on page 580 refers to procedural rules.
  4. But Dr. Kapur said: "I think the answer to the reworded question is No, whether or not the p. 580 footnote wording is in the bylaws." It seems that you are not agreeing with him.
  5. Statues have very tenuous abilities these days.
  6. If the rules are ambiguous, your group will need to decide for itself what they mean, based on exactly what they say. As far as RONR is concerned, anyone is eligible for office, whether or not a member in good standing.
  7. We all seem to be assuming that "out of 34" refers to 34 votes cast. If, in on the other hand, 34 is simply the number of members eligible to vote, then we don't know how many are required for a two-thirds vote, because that depends solely on the number of votes cast.
  8. This is not a question of parliamentary procedure and is beyond the scope of the forum. While I'm sure the members here would have great fun trying to interpret it, that's not what this forum is for.
  9. Actually I was mistaken. July 3rd is a paid holiday for certain federal employees, but July 4th is still the official observance of Independence Day.
  10. Yes. July Fourth is scheduled for July 3rd this year. (Although who knows when it will take place in Arizona.)
  11. Note: The rest of this topic has been split off here.
  12. I agree it could be worded in a less ambiguous way, but I say it does mean the same thing as "as much of the meeting as necessary, including possibly all of it". I think that using the entire meeting will apply primarily in the case of an adjourned meeting devoted to the subject, or to one meeting within a larger session at a convention, but it will not apply in the case of a meeting that constitutes a complete regular session with an established order of business. “To postpone a subject—such as a revision of the bylaws—to an adjourned meeting at which the entire time can be devoted to it if necessary, a motion to Fix the Time to Which to Adjourn should first be made and adopted, and then the motion to Postpone should be made in this form: "I move that the question be postponed and made the special order for the adjourned meeting set for next Tuesday evening." (Two-thirds vote required for adoption.)” [RONR (12th ed.), p. 189, l. 32 to p. 190, l. 4] “A main motion to make a particular subject a special order can be introduced whenever business of its class or new business is in order and nothing is pending. … In the case of a committee report, a resolution such as this may be adopted: "Resolved, That the report of the committee on the revision of the bylaws be made the special order for Wednesday morning and thereafter until it has been disposed of.” [ibid., p. 366, ll. 6–18] “Sometimes a subject is made the special order for a meeting, as for Tuesday morning in a convention, in which case it is announced by the chair as the pending business immediately after the disposal of the minutes. This particular form is used when it is desired to devote an entire meeting, or so much of it as is necessary, to considering a special subject, as the revision of the by-laws.” [ROR, p. 77]
  13. I agree that a recess or adjournment can be set as part of an agenda without a particular time assigned to it. (However, I'm not convinced it would count as one that is scheduled for a future time; in my opinion it would not preclude a privileged motion to adjourn being made before that item is reached.)
  14. How does one reserve an entire meeting for the special order, as opposed to reserving only as much of the meeting as necessary?
  15. I'm not sure exactly what is meant by "to reserve an entire meeting, or as much of it as necessary, for the consideration of a single subject" (notice the words you conveniently omitted by ellipsis), but the book implies that the remainder of the order of business is taken up after the special order has been disposed of: “When it is desired to devote an entire meeting to a subject, or as much of the meeting as may be necessary, the matter can be made the special order for the meeting (as distinguished from a special order for the meeting; see pp. 356–57). The special order for the meeting will then be taken up as soon as the minutes have been approved, and the remainder of the order of business will not be taken up until this special order has been disposed of." (11th ed., p. 371, ll. 1–9) I don't think it can.
  16. "With the exception of the special order for a meeting, when special orders that have been made at different times come into conflict, the one that was made first takes precedence over all special orders made afterward, which rank in the order in which they were made. This rule holds even when special orders made later have been set for consideration at earlier hours. No special order can interfere with one that was made earlier than itself." (RONR, 11th ed., p. 369, ll. 22–29) "It should be noted that a special order does not interfere with a recess or adjournment that is scheduled for a particular hour. When such an hour arrives, the chair announces it and declares the assembly in recess or adjourned, even if a special order is pending that was made before the hour of recess or adjournment was fixed." (p. 370, ll. 26–31) So it seems quite evident to me that a scheduled recess or adjournment is treated like an order of the day that has higher priority than a special order, or at the very least that it is a special type of special order that has a higher priority than other types of special orders. There is no indication that a scheduled recess or adjournment can be set as a general order.
  17. RONR does not address the question of such quasi-membership directly, but there are tangential discussions in two places that I can think of: The footnote on page 6 (11th ed.) states, “Members in good standing are those whose rights as members of the assembly are not under suspension as a consequence of disciplinary proceedings or by operation of some specific provision in the bylaws. A member may thus be in good standing even if in arrears in payment of dues (see pp. 406, 571–72). If only some of an individual's rights as a member of the assembly are under suspension (for example, the rights to make motions and speak in debate), other rights of assembly membership may still be exercised (for example, the rights to attend meetings and vote).” On page 463 and in the accompanying footnote, with respect to honorary officers and members RONR states, “Like an honorary degree conferred by a college or university, an honorary office or membership is perpetual—unless rescinded or unless its duration is limited by the bylaws. Rights carried with the honor include the right to attend meetings and to speak, but not to make motions or vote unless the person is also a regular member, or unless the bylaws provide full membership rights.* *Some societies provide in the bylaws for electing to "honorary life membership"—or even its automatic conferment upon—a person who has been an active member for a specified long period of years, sometimes with the added requirement that he shall have attained a certain age. The bylaws may prescribe that such an honorary member shall pay no dues but shall retain full voting privileges.” I would think that in general, the purpose of providing for a "non-voting ex-officio member" of a committee would be to ensure both that the member is informed of the goings-on in the committee and that the committee takes into account the member's suggestions and opinions on the subjects of the committee's work. And since conferring "membership" must mean something, and since the only limitation is that it is "non-voting", I don't quite understand what valid method of interpretation would lead to the conclusion that the member could only, let's say, attend meetings and speak in debate, but not make or second motions (if there is a rule that motions in this committee need to be seconded), or to the conclusion that no membership rights are conferred on the member at all. It seems to me the most logical conclusion is that this person has all the usual rights of committee membership other than voting, although not actually a "member" or "voting member" in the parliamentary sense of those terms, but he or she would not be counted for purposes of a quorum.
  18. It's interesting that for two days in a row now, a topic has arisen (resurrected?) involving the late John Stackpole.
  19. How many classes of business would have to be removed from the established order of business before the assembly runs afoul of this rule? It seems to me that by your interpretation, an assembly could adopt the following agenda by a two-thirds vote: 1. Reading and Approval of the Minutes 2. Report of the President 3. Report of the Special Committee on the Annual Fundraiser 4. Adjournment But would you agree that, even by a unanimous vote, it could not adopt a motion "to dispense with the regular order of business and consider only the report of the special committee on the annual fundraiser"? And then what about an agenda like the one above, but omitting item #2? I just don't think it's feasible to draw a line between dispensing with the order of business and omitting parts of it, especially when RONR says that regardless of what subject the assembly votes to proceed to, it must return to its order of business when that subject is disposed of.
  20. Yes, obviously an organization can adopt a special order of business that supersedes the standard order of business prescribed by the parliamentary authority, in which case the standard order of business no longer applies in general (although there are various rules in §41 of RONR that prescribe when certain classes of business are taken up in organizations whose order of business does not provide for them). Just to be clear, I will note that it cannot do so if the order of business is prescribed in the bylaws. I think it's a very different token. I don't know what the purpose or meaning of the rule that states, "At a regular meeting of an organization that has an established order of business, the assembly cannot, even unanimously, vote to dispense with that order of business (in the sense of voting, in advance of the time when it adjourns, that the order of business shall not be gone through at all at that meeting)" is other than to preclude an assembly from omitting any items in the established regular order of business, whether by adoption of an agenda or otherwise. The rule on page 264 then goes on to state: “If the assembly, by a two-thirds vote, adopts a motion "to dispense with the regular order of business and proceed to" a certain subject, it has in effect voted to pass all classes in the order of business which normally would precede that subject (see pp. 363–64). In such a case, when the matter taken up out of its proper order has been disposed of, even if it has consumed as much time as the usual meeting, the chair must return to the regular order of business and call for the items in sequence, unless the assembly then votes to adjourn." (emphasis added) This seems as explicit as it gets, and I don't see why the same wouldn't apply to the adoption of an agenda which prescribes rearrangement of additional matters to be taken up before they otherwise would be in the regular order of business. I think we agree that adoption of an agenda for one session that conflicts with the regular order of business prescribed for that session is in the nature of a suspension of the rules. I'm simply saying that the same restrictions against suspending the order of business as given on page 264 apply. The assembly can by a two-thirds vote adopt an agenda which conflicts with the order of business — i.e., it varies the order of the classes of business — which it then goes through before getting to the regular order of business. But, because the regular order of business cannot be suspended even by a unanimous vote, such an agenda does not comprise the entire order of business for the session. Instead, after the agenda is completed, the assembly must complete any remaining items in its regular order of business unless it then votes to adjourn.
  21. Well, judging by Mr. Elsman's responses, apparently I do. I disagree with his novel opinion about this for several reasons. First, it's debatable whether a scheduled adjournment or recess technically constitutes a special order at all. In my opinion it's clear from numerous passages that it doesn't, but rather is treated to even greater priority than a special order. Second, numerous rules are given relating to scheduled recesses and adjournments, and nowhere does RONR make any reference at all to treating them differently depending on whether they were adopted as a "general order" or a "special order". Third, the ability to schedule an adjournment that would not interrupt pending at the scheduled time would leave the assembly in a somewhat absurd situation: The privileged motion to adjourn, made while business is pending, at or before that time would not be in order, because "When a time for adjourning is already established, either because the assembly has adopted a motion or a program setting such a time, or because the order of business, the bylaws, or other governing rules prescribe it. … a motion to adjourn is not privileged and is treated just as any other main motion." (RONR 11th ed., ll. 14–25). Yet, according to Mr. Elsman's rule, the scheduled adjournment would also not take place before the pending business is disposed of. Thus, according to this theory, a majority could prevent an assembly from adjourning at a particular time — even when no member has the floor, and until the pending business is disposed of — by adopting a motion to adjourn at that time.
  22. I see no evidence of the existence of any such motion in RONR. Whenever a motion is adopted to adjourn at a certain time, the adjournment is treated like an order of the day for that time, but having higher priority even than a special order.
  23. By the way, you don't have to wait another 9 or 10 years to ask this question again with regard to the 12th edition. Come back in September and I'm sure someone will be happy to give you updated page or paragraph references. https://robertsrules.forumflash.com/topic/12434-motion-by-chair/
  24. The chair of a standing or special committee of any size can make a motion, unless the organization instructs the committee to follow the more-formal rules of an assembly. The subsection "Conduct of Business in Committees" begins on page 482 in the 10th edition of RONR. In the current edition (11th), that subsection begins on page 499. The relevant part you want is on page 500, which says: "The informalities and modifications of the regular rules of parliamentary procedure listed on pages 487–88 for use in small boards are applicable during the meetings of all standing and special committees, unless the committee is otherwise instructed by the society … In committees, the chairman is usually the most active participant in the discussions and work of the committee." (emphasis added) And on pages 487–88 it states: In a board meeting where there are not more than about a dozen members present, some of the formality that is necessary in a large assembly would hinder business. The rules governing such meetings are different from the rules that hold in other assemblies, in the following respects: … • Informal discussion of a subject is permitted while no motion is pending. … • If the chairman is a member, he may, without leaving the chair, speak in informal discussions and in debate, and vote on all questions.** ** Informal discussion may be initiated by the chairman himself, which, in effect, enables the chairman to submit his own proposals without formally making a motion as described on pages 33–35 (although he has the right to make a motion if he wishes).
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