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Seconded Motion by Non-voting Member


brie88

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We are currently going through an audit of our financial books at our church. When I was collecting the old minutes for the auditor, I started to read through them and I found that there were 2 motions at a board of trustees meeting (the same meeting), both of which affected the finances of the church, that have a second to the motion of our Sr. Minister. The Church By-laws state that the Sr. Minister is a non-voting member of the Board of Trustees. Does this make the motions invalid? If so, how do we correct the situation or do we just say "oops" and never do that again. The Audit is an internal one so we do not have too many legal worries other than getting a bad mark by the Auditor for those motions.

Second, but related, should we do an internal audit of all our motion for the last few years to see if this has happened before or again?

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The purpose of a second to a motion is to let the Chair know at least two members believe the motion is worthy of the assembly's time to consider, and thus to "state the question" and put it in the possession of the assembly for their decision. Once debate has commenced, the lack of a (valid) second is immaterial -- it's clear at that point the assembly wishes to debate the question. For future reference, the names of seconders is not recorded in the minutes unless ordered by the assembly.

It's a fair assumption the Sr Minister, as a member of the Board, while not having the right to vote, retains other rights of membership, including making (and seconding) motions, and debating. However, the argument could be made that since he is a non-voting member, that status may in fact also restrict him from other membership rights typically reserved for "voting members." Your group will need to figure this out. It might be best to clarify that in the bylaws so this question does not come up again.

At this point, I'd venture to say it's not worth worrying about previous motions based solely on the fact that the Sr Minister was the seconder. That's not an issue that will haunt you.

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... 2 motions at a board of trustees meeting (the same meeting), both of which affected the finances of the church, that have a second to the motion of our Sr. Minister. The Church By-laws state that the Sr. Minister is a non-voting member of the Board of Trustees. Does this make the motions invalid?

No, seconds (or lack thereof) are only important in that small window after the motion is made and before it dies or is considered by the assembly. After the fact, a second is of so little importance that the minutes shouldn't even record its existence or the name of its maker.

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At this point, I'd venture to say it's not worth worrying about previous motions based solely on the fact that the Sr Minister was the seconder. That's not an issue that will haunt you.

I would even venture to say that it's not worth worring about a motion that was made be the senior minister (should it ever be discovered that there was one). The only thing that really would be cause for concern would be if it could be shown that the senior minister actually voted for a motion, and that his one vote affacted the result (i.e., the motion passed by a one-vote margin). In that instance only, the motion would be null and void.

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I would even venture to say that it's not worth worring about a motion that was made be the senior minister (should it ever be discovered that there was one). The only thing that really would be cause for concern would be if it could be shown that the senior minister actually voted for a motion, and that his one vote affacted the result (i.e., the motion passed by a one-vote margin). In that instance only, the motion would be null and void.

This could have easily happened. If he is moving and seconding motions, who is to say that he did not vote for a motion or 2.

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Unless there is clear proof of this, just move on and get it right from now on.

I concur. I did not mean to suggest that anyone go looking for instances where that happened. I was just pointing out that this would be the only instance in which the senior minister's improper participation potentially could create a continuing breach.

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