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  1. Can discussion/debate transpire on an item being introduced for a public hearing? Our elected body considered an item captioned, “Consider the introduction of an ordinance to change the organizational structure of various departments and calling a public hearing on ‘date’.” The body was informed that it could not discuss or debate the particulars of the agenda item because the caption did not include the words “and discuss”. Does the item require that the public hearing is called before discussing the matter? If so, does this preclude the body from making changes to the proposed ordinance before the public hearing? Lastly, can either minor or substantial changes be made to an ordinance at the public hearing to adopt the ordinance?
  2. This was posted before, but with too many details, and the results, no surprise, were tangled. Apologies. Here it is again, stripped down and simplified. To guide us in the future. Assume: A grantee organization asked for another ,annual grant, $80,000 as they got last year. A trustee submitted a motion , on time and in writing, saying: "I move to again fund the grant request, as presented, $ 80,000, and also the customary 10% contingency of $ 8,000. .. An $88,000 grant for 2020." A discussion ensued: There was a suggestion to cut down to $50,000 another to reject it entirely, or to give just the requested amount, $80,000 and no more,theoutcome and so on. No one moved to amend the motion on the table ($80,000 as last year plus 10%).. The vote was in favor of granting. The yes carried. The Executive Secretary entered the outcome in the minutes thus: "...This was followed by a discussion among the Trustees. There were 5 No votes and 6 Yes Votes. Thus, (the applicant organizaion) will receive the full grant amount requested." The Treasurer interpreted this as an approval of the Grantee's request, $80,000. But the Trustee's motion on the table was different, to give an $88,0000 grant. While there was " a discussion among the trustees" as the Ex Sec reported, no one moved formally to amend the Trustee's proposal of giving $88,000. The question: Do opinions expressed during a discussion affect or amend the motion on the table? Or can you change the motion only by a proper procedure to amend it? Thank you, Yoram
  3. Our organization gives grants. A foundation that was granted $85,000 in 2019, asked for another $85,000 grant for 2020. A Trustee filed a motion with the executive secretary, ahead of the Trustees meeting , writing: "I move to again fund the grant request, as presented, $ 85,000, and also the customary 10% contingency of $ 8,500. .. A $93,500 grant for 2020." The grants officer proposed to give only a $50,000 grant. The Trustees thus had two motions on the table: The Grants officer: $50,000 A Trustee: $ 93,500 At the meeting, the two motions were presented. As the Executive Secretary reported later in the minutes: "...This was followed by a discussion among the Trustees. A vote, either yes or no, was held on the motion to approve a $50K grant, instead of the full amount, There were 6 No votes and 5 Yes Votes. Thus, (the Grantee- applicant) will receive the full grant amount requested." The Treasurer interpreted this as an approval of the Grantee's request, $85,000. But the Trustee's motion was different, to give a $93,500 grant. While there was " a discussion among the trustees" as the Ex Sec reported, there was no motion to amend the Trustee's proposal of giving a $93,500 grant (the Grantee's $85,000 request and an added 10% contingency). The question: Do opinions expressed during a discussion affect or amend the motion on the table? Or can the motion be changed only by a proper procedure to amend it? In other words: Did the 6-5 vote authorize the $93,500 that was specified in the Trustee's motion, or just the Grantee's request for $85,000 grant, (a sum that was brought up during the discussion, but never properly incorporated into or used to amend the $93,500 motion?) Thank you, Yoram
  4. If discussion ensued before there was a call for a motion by the chair and no motion was made, can discussion continue at a subsequent meeting if placed in the agenda or is it a dead issue?
  5. I was at a recent school board meeting in my town. A citizen got up and asked the board a question. The board nembers told the citizen that, per Robert's Rules of Order,, dialogue would not be occurring. She was told she could speak but that the board would not be responding. Is disallowing a dialogue with citizens at a public meeting like this one of Robert's rules of order? thank you.
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