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  1. Guest

    Issues at hand

    Our private organization's constitution contains the following clause entitled "Conducting Business Meetings": Any member may attend any meeting of the boards, committees and societies and speak to issues at hand if not restricted by this Constitution; though, for good order, the chairman has the right to place restrictions and policies on meeting guests. The chairmen of some boards have put guest policies in place where guests are entitled to speak to the business items on the pre-published agenda at the start of the meeting, then proceed with the board meeting in a closed session consisting only of the elected board members who are entitled to vote. These chairmen have therefore defined "issues at-hand" to mean the business motions that were on the pre-published agenda, which is always adopted as the agenda for the meeting. They believe the spirit of the constitution clause is satisfied by giving general members time to speak ahead of the formal board member debate. However, a dispute has arisen with a member who has interpreted the term "issues at hand" to mean the items under discussion at the time they are opened for debate among the board members, therefore allowing them the right to attend the closed session and be given the chance to participate in the debate. They define "at hand" to mean the real-time debate by the board voting members. Under this interpretation, there would be no closed sessions. It appears that resolution of this concern requires agreement on the term "issues at hand". This does not appear to be a formal term in RONR, and I am interested in opinions from the forum on this debate.
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