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BryanSullo

Approval of New Members in Order of Business

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Hello, all. I'm new here. This is my first post to the forum, so go easy on me. :unsure:

I'm trying to develop a suitable order of business for the business meetings of the church where I am the moderator. I'm getting stuck on one particular--where to put certain specific items.

RONR seems to indicate that any action prescribed in the bylaws to take place at a specific meeting should go under Special Orders. So, for example, election of officers, which must take place at the annual meeting, should be placed there. (Right?)

How about actions that are defined in the bylaws, but are not prescribed for a particular meeting? (Voting in new members, for example.) Should this go under Special Orders, or New Business, or somewhere else entirely?

Following is the relevant portion of the bylaws:

Upon recommendation of the Board of Elders, a vote shall be taken to accept prospective members at any duly called business meeting. A two-thirds majority vote of the active members present is required for acceptance into membership.

Thanks, from a newbie.

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Your "Board of Elders" sounds like your church's equivalent of RONR's Board of Directors or "Executive Board", (from the name, anyway, but compare your bylaws with the description of a Board in RONR/11, p. 8-9 & 481 ff.).

If so, your Board's recommendations for new members would fall under "Reports of Officers, Boards..." in the standard order of business, p. 26. You would then vote on accepting them (or not) right away.

Once accepted, they could then participate fully in the rest of the meeting, assuming no other provisions in your bylaws that might delay things.

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Oh, that's a good point, JD. It probably should be part of the Elders' report. If they forget to include it (which they probably will) I suppose they could make a motion during New Business.

I'm trying to add some more formality (i.e. fairness and accountability) to our proceedings. I usually get an "agenda" just prior to the meeting, typed up by the Church office manager (who is not the Clerk), which has items that were put there by unknown hands. :wacko:

Edit: Thanks, as well, to you, Ed. Our posts crossed in the æther.

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An agenda is only a guide until it is adopted by the assembly; and is not required, by RONR, at all. During the consideration of the agenda, prior to adoption, you, anyone, can offer amendments to insert, strike, move items of business around freely.

Well, not "you" personally, if you are moderating. Get a friend to propose things that you might like to see on the agenda.

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Hello, all. I'm new here. This is my first post to the forum, so go easy on me. :unsure:

I'm trying to develop a suitable order of business for the business meetings of the church where I am the moderator. I'm getting stuck on one particular--where to put certain specific items.

RONR seems to indicate that any action prescribed in the bylaws to take place at a specific meeting should go under Special Orders. So, for example, election of officers, which must take place at the annual meeting, should be placed there. (Right?)

How about actions that are defined in the bylaws, but are not prescribed for a particular meeting? (Voting in new members, for example.) Should this go under Special Orders, or New Business, or somewhere else entirely?

Following is the relevant portion of the bylaws:

Upon recommendation of the Board of Elders, a vote shall be taken to accept prospective members at any duly called business meeting. A two-thirds majority vote of the active members present is required for acceptance into membership.

Thanks, from a newbie.

See RONR (11th ed.), p. 353, for the standard order of business, which works well for most organizations, and which is already your order of business if you've adopted RONR as your parliamentary authority.

As Dr. Stackpole has indicated, a motion arising out of a report would be taken up immediately. See RONR (11th ed.), p. 356, ll. 12-15.

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Guest Edgar

I usually get an "agenda" just prior to the meeting, typed up by the Church office manager (who is not the Clerk), which has items that were put there by unknown hands.

For more on agendas, see FAQ #14.

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Now, I'm confused again. :(

First point I'm confused about: Are we talking about the same thing with an "agenda" and an "order of business"? I don't have RONR with me, but I thought an agenda was something slightly different.

Tim, I was assuming the standard order of business in RONR. It's where particular items come in that order of business that I was questioning.

So, if we're using RONR as our parliamentary authority, and we have no other OoB in our documents, the RONR standard becomes our OoB automatically, and does not need to be adopted for each session. Correct?

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Now, I'm confused again. :(

First point I'm confused about: Are we talking about the same thing with an "agenda" and an "order of business"? I don't have RONR with me, but I thought an agenda was something slightly different.

Tim, I was assuming the standard order of business in RONR. It's where particular items come in that order of business that I was questioning.

So, if we're using RONR as our parliamentary authority, and we have no other OoB in our documents, the RONR standard becomes our OoB automatically, and does not need to be adopted for each session. Correct?

It's correct that you need not adopt an order of business and will do fine just using the Standard Order of Business.

You don't need an agenda, and most organizations do well without one, since the Standard Order of Business covers it just fine. You will want to prepare a sheet that tells you everything that is set to come up, under each Heading. For example, if you know an officer has a report, put it under Reports of Officers, Boards, and Standing Committees; if a motion has been postponed to the current meeting, put it under Unfinished Business and General Orders, as a general order.

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Or more generally, the Order of Business (p. 26 & elsewhere) is the framework or outline of what sort of thing comes up where during the meeting. This is essentially unchanging from meeting to meeting.

An agenda is a list of specific items of business, usually organized under the Order of Business framework. The agenda for one meeting can be quite different from another.

Frequently the two get printed as one, hence the (common) confusion.

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Thanks, Tim. That was very helpful.

We almost never have any unfinished business, or motions postponed, so it seems the only time Special Orders would (normally) come up would be for the election of officers. Likewise with General Orders--unless something was referred to committee.

The piece of paper I usually get has a list of reports and then any items that anyone in a position of leadership is planning to bring up, under New Business. (For example, if a Deacon is planning to make a motion to buy new pews, that would show up on the pseudo-agenda.)

JD, thank you for the clarification. That's excellent.

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Especially as you say you're new to parliamentary procedure, I'd recommend you get a copy of Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised In Brief . It's a quick read, and not as heavy going as RONR can be sometimes. In particular, you might want to look at pages 143-44, which describes the "order of business" the secretary is supposed to draw up for the assistance of the presiding officer at a meeting operating under the standard order of business -- which sounds a lot like "the paper I usually get," except for the latter's inclusion of "any items that anyone in a position of leadership is planning to bring up, under New Business."

Although it is quite true that an agenda is usually used in a group, like a convention, that does not operate under a standard order of business, it IS possible to have an agenda that restates and supplements an organization's order of business:

At a session that already has an order of business, an agenda can be adopted by a majority vote only if it does not create any special orders and does not conflict with the existing order of business; otherwise, a two-thirds vote is required . . ..
RONR (11th ed.), p. 372, ll. 18-22.

You might want to consider adopting such an agenda at the beginning of the meeting if it is desired to put those intended New Business items up in a certain order, or to give them precedence over other items of new business that might also be brought up. If you follow this course, it's also well to keep in mind:

When the adoption of a proposed agenda is pending, it is subject to amendment by majority vote. After an agenda has been adopted by the assembly, no change can be made in it except by a two-thirds vote, a vote of a majority of the entire membership, or unanimous consent.

RONR (11th ed.), p. 373, ll. 1-6.

One final note: in a case like this, when an agenda supplements a standard order of business, it's important to recall that just because something is not on the agenda, that doesn't mean it can't be raised in New Business. It will simply have to wait until the other New Business matters that are listed on the agenda have been disposed of.

Hope this is more helpful than confusing!

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Especially as you say you're new to parliamentary procedure, I'd recommend you get a copy of Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised In Brief . It's a quick read, and not as heavy going as RONR can be sometimes. In particular, you might want to look at pages 143-44, which describes the "order of business" the secretary is supposed to draw up for the assistance of the presiding officer at a meeting operating under the standard order of business -- which sounds a lot like "the paper I usually get," except for the latter's inclusion of "any items that anyone in a position of leadership is planning to bring up, under New Business."

Although it is quite true that an agenda is usually used in a group, like a convention, that does not operate under a standard order of business, it IS possible to have an agenda that restates and supplements an organization's order of business:

RONR (11th ed.), p. 372, ll. 18-22.

You might want to consider adopting such an agenda at the beginning of the meeting if it is desired to put those intended New Business items up in a certain order, or to give them precedence over other items of new business that might also be brought up. If you follow this course, it's also well to keep in mind:

RONR (11th ed.), p. 373, ll. 1-6.

One final note: in a case like this, when an agenda supplements a standard order of business, it's important to recall that just because something is not on the agenda, that doesn't mean it can't be raised in New Business. It will simply have to wait until the other New Business matters that are listed on the agenda have been disposed of.

Hope this is more helpful than confusing!

Well, I think that these "...other New Business matters..." in an adopted agenda should be categorized instead as general orders, unless they are assigned to a certain hour or event, in which case they should be categorized as special orders. When an agenda is prepared for information only, it is acceptable to list known items of business under the New Business heading, but a footnote should make it clear that these items, and any others under this heading, will be taken up in the order that members are able to obtain the floor for the purpose of introducing them by making the appropriate main motion.

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Very helpful, Mr. Balch. thank you for the detailed explanation. I will check out RONRIB. I'm hoping it has more examples than RONR. I realize all the information is in RONR, but sometimes it's much easier to understand a particular item when you see some examples of its use. I hate to go looking on the Internet for examples, since I know so much of what's out there is wrong.

I doubt we would ever have need for an agenda, but it's nice to know how to properly make one, if the need arises.

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Well, I think that these "...other New Business matters..." in an adopted agenda should be categorized instead as general orders, unless they are assigned to a certain hour or event, in which case they should be categorized as special orders. When an agenda is prepared for information only, it is acceptable to list known items of business under the New Business heading, but a footnote should make it clear that these items, and any others under this heading, will be taken up in the order that members are able to obtain the floor for the purpose of introducing them by making the appropriate main motion.

Do you have an RONR citation for this proposition? As an example of when pre-arranged motions may be given precedence in new business-- "Preference in Recognition When No Question Is Pending"-- let me refer you to RONR (11th ed.), p. 381, ll. 4-9:

When a member has been assigned to offer . . . an important prearranged main motion at any meeting, that member is entitled to prior recognition and no other members should be permitted to intervene in an effort to offer another motion in competition.

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Very helpful, Mr. Balch. thank you for the detailed explanation. I will check out RONRIB. I'm hoping it has more examples than RONR. I realize all the information is in RONR, but sometimes it's much easier to understand a particular item when you see some examples of its use. I hate to go looking on the Internet for examples, since I know so much of what's out there is wrong.

I doubt we would ever have need for an agenda, but it's nice to know how to properly make one, if the need arises.

You've found the right place to look.

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Thank you, Mr. Elsman. Can you (or someone else) give me a reference (10th ed. preferably) to where RONR says, 'Other New Business matters..." in an adopted agenda should be categorized instead as general orders'. (I'm having a tough time wrapping my head around General Orders and Special Orders.)

One of the problems I'm having, in addition to being new to parliamentary procedure, is that I'm not in any other way part of the leadership of the society. My position is "Moderator", and I'm not involved in anything that goes on prior to the meeting. Our Joint Board sets the date and time for each quarterly and annual meeting, and I am not a member of that board. I get a bunch of stuff handed to me at the beginning of the meeting and I now know that much of it is wrong (in parliamentary terms).

Edit: This is a very active forum! I keep cross-posting with other members. It's great to know that so many knowledgeable people hang out here on a regular basis.

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Do you have an RONR citation for this proposition? As an example of when pre-arranged motions may be given precedence in new business-- "Preference in Recognition When No Question Is Pending"-- let me refer you to RONR (11th ed.), p. 381, ll. 4-9:

What you are suggesting sounds to me like there is another category of orders of the day that are is inferior to the general orders and superior to unlisted items of new business. I just don't see any sign of this in the book. What little there is has to do with the order in which items of new business are taken up, RONR (11th ed.), p. 360, ll. 13-19.

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Thank you, Mr. Elsman. Can you (or someone else) give me a reference (10th ed. preferably) to where RONR says, 'Other New Business matters..." in an adopted agenda should be categorized instead as general orders'. (I'm having a tough time wrapping my head around General Orders and Special Orders.)

One of the problems I'm having, in addition to being new to parliamentary procedure, is that I'm not in any other way part of the leadership of the society. My position is "Moderator", and I'm not involved in anything that goes on prior to the meeting. Our Joint Board sets the date and time for each quarterly and annual meeting, and I am not a member of that board. I get a bunch of stuff handed to me at the beginning of the meeting and I now know that much of it is wrong (in parliamentary terms).

Edit: This is a very active forum! I keep cross-posting with other members. It's great to know that so many knowledgeable people hang out here on a regular basis.

Take a look at RONR (11th ed.), p. 371, ll. 17-24. The same language appears in the 10th ed. at RONR (10th ed.), p. 360, ll. 10-17.

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I realize that sometimes the best defense is a good offense, but I'm still waiting for the RONR citation to justify the following:

When an agenda is prepared for information only, it is acceptable to list known items of business under the New Business heading, but a footnote should make it clear that these items, and any others under this heading, will be taken up in the order that members are able to obtain the floor for the purpose of introducing them by making the appropriate main motion.

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IDid we cross responses? :unsure:

I don't think so. I saw your attack on my position, but not a defense of your own :) To be clear, I'm referring to what seems to me to be the novel proposition in the following sentence from your earlier post:

When an agenda is prepared for information only, it is acceptable to list known items of business under the New Business heading, but a footnote should make it clear that these items, and any others under this heading, will be taken up in the order that members are able to obtain the floor for the purpose of introducing them by making the appropriate main motion.

I'm familiar with the use of footnotes in an agenda listing times for particular items of business indicating that those times are for information only (without which those items of business are special orders), but unfamiliar with the use of footnotes you describe.

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I don't think so. I saw your attack on my position, but not a defense of your own :) To be clear, I'm referring to what seems to me to be the novel proposition in the following sentence from your earlier post:

I'm familiar with the use of footnotes in an agenda listing times for particular items of business indicating that those times are for information only (without which those items of business are special orders), but unfamiliar with the use of footnotes you describe.

Okay. I Intended this reply to be my response to your request for a citation. I wasn't sure you had seen it when you posted later.

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Sorry, but I don't see anything in that citation that supports the notion of an agenda "for information only" in which "known items of business" are put "under the New Business heading" but must have a footnote making it clear that "these items, and any others under this heading, will be taken up in the order that members are able to attain the floor for the purpose of introducing them by making the appropriate main motion." Have I missed something? :) (I think your argument that items to be brought up should be listed under General Orders -- i.e., Unfinished Business and General Orders -- rather than under New Business is much more persuasive.)

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Sorry, but I don't see anything in that citation that supports the notion of an agenda "for information only" in which "known items of business" are put "under the New Business heading" but must have a footnote making it clear that "these items, and any others under this heading, will be taken up in the order that members are able to attain the floor for the purpose of introducing them by making the appropriate main motion." Have I missed something? :) (I think your argument that items to be brought up should be listed under General Orders -- i.e., Unfinished Business and General Orders -- rather than under New Business is much more persuasive.)

The interpretation I am applying is this: that the specific establishment of two classes of orders of the day--special orders and general orders--implies that there are no other classes of orders of the day. Whether or not to list known items of new business in an information-only agenda is not important. Do it or not, as you wish. What is important is that the general rule applies: items of new business are taken up in the order that members are able to obtain the floor and introduce new topics by making the appropriate main motion.

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Whether or not to list known items of new business in an information-only agenda is not important. Do it or not, as you wish.

We may take it as established then, I believe, that this "unimportant" notion of an "information-only agenda" listing items under "New Business" with the highly specific footnote is found, perhaps, in Elsman's Rules of Order, but not in Robert's . . . .

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