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Presiding Officer serving also as Secretary


Guest Sara

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May a president also serve as secretary pro-tem in the absence of any other member stepping up to volunteer. Nomination/election of secretary pro-tem did not work.

If not able, then would president adjourn the meeting since RONR says these two officers are essential to conducting business?

Part of the meeting includes a "lesson". Should the president allow this to take place while foregoing any business.

Thank you.

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I don't believe RONR outright forbids the president from carrying out the secretary's duties; however, it is potentially quite difficult for one person to do a good job at both tasks simultaneously. If it is a peaceful, fairly slow-paced meeting, it's probably managable. I can't help wondering why no one else was willing to do the secretary pro tem job -- shame on the other members is the sentiment that comes to mind.

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May a president also serve as secretary pro-tem in the absence of any other member stepping up to volunteer. Nomination/election of secretary pro-tem did not work.

If not able, then would president adjourn the meeting since RONR says these two officers are essential to conducting business?

Part of the meeting includes a "lesson". Should the president allow this to take place while foregoing any business.

Thank you.

It's better than having no secretary pro tem at all, and if the members present aren't willing to do it, they deserve any lulls it may create in the meeting.

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Trina makes a solid rationale for and against. In a large meeting it may not be practical, however in a small group it should be easy - I don't have my copy of RONR handy right this second but I do recall reading something that in small committees the Chairman usually operates as Secretary as well.

Your memory serves well. P. 500, ll. 4-5.

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Thanks to those who replied. This is not a committee. It is a regularly held meeting with bylaws, etc. The bylaws are silent re: this case, hence, I turned to RONR. The recently elected secretary has resigned and we have had pro tems for two meetings now. We, long-time members, have been unable to convince newer members that serving as an officer is a great learning experience as well as showing "good membership".

I was hoping I could find some RONR backup to make the point that our meeting cannot conduct business without a president AND a secretary.

Sara

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I was hoping I could find some RONR backup to make the point that our meeting cannot conduct business without a president AND a secretary.

Yes, RONR does say that to conduct business, the minimum requirement of officers is a presiding officer and a recording officer.

So RONR backs you up on that point.

Unfortunately (in my view), RONR does not come out and explicitly say that these two offices must be held by two different people. But maybe your bylaws do?

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We, long-time members, have been unable to convince newer members that serving as an officer is a great learning experience as well as showing "good membership".

Make sure you're not asking too much of the secretary (per Mr. Hunt's post, above). You might consider dividing the responsibilities between a recording secretary (who takes the minutes) and a corresponding secretary.

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I was hoping I could find some RONR backup to make the point that our meeting cannot conduct business without a president AND a secretary.

Sara

As Mr. Novosielski has said, RONR does state this, and you'll find it on page 22 of RONR 11. However, this does not mean that you can't conduct business by electing officers pro tem, just as you have been.

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I don't believe RONR outright forbids the president from carrying out the secretary's duties; however, it is potentially quite difficult for one person to do a good job at both tasks simultaneously. If it is a peaceful, fairly slow-paced meeting, it's probably managable.

Even if it was larger or more quickly paced meeting I think that President could do a pretty good job of taking notes by tape recording the meeting and compiling the minutes afterwards. Depending on the size of the room the President/Secretary might have to utilize more than one tape recorder to make sure that at least one of them would catch everything that is said (and the President/Secretary would need to make sure to have people speak up when speaking) and would refer to the other recording(s) if something he needed to put in the minutes was garbled. Of course, this would be a very tedious process so the President should put as much impartial pressure as possible to get someone to step up to take the job.

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Even if it was larger or more quickly paced meeting I think that President could do a pretty good job of taking notes by tape recording the meeting and compiling the minutes afterwards. Depending on the size of the room the President/Secretary might have to utilize more than one tape recorder to make sure that at least one of them would catch everything that is said (and the President/Secretary would need to make sure to have people speak up when speaking) and would refer to the other recording(s) if something he needed to put in the minutes was garbled. Of course, this would be a very tedious process so the President should put as much impartial pressure as possible to get someone to step up to take the job.

Why ensuring that everything can be heard? Most content of the minutes ought to be discernible from the presiding officer's speech alone.

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