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When to abstain?


Tina Marie

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Our committee is meeting next week to talk about by-law changes that have been suggested to us. There are about 20 changes so it looks to be a long meeting. Our President has limited experience with RRO and has already refered to my knowledge before I was elected to the committee.

Would it be inappropiate as the Secretary to led this meeting? Of course I will ask the President first, but I am hoping I can lead our committee through this a tad smoother than other meetings we have had about this already.

We are also needing to discuss the performance of our Exceutive Director and I am questioning weither I should be in the room. I used to work for this person before coming onto this committee. While it's been a few years, I think my colleges are conserned I will not have a clear mind regarding his performance. Do I obstane and leave the meeting (room) OR obstane from the conversation but stay to take the minutes.

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Our committee is meeting next week to talk about by-law changes that have been suggested to us.

Would it be inappropiate as the Secretary to led this meeting? Of course I will ask the President first, but I am hoping I can lead our committee through this a tad smoother than other meetings we have had about this already.

We are also needing to discuss the performance of our Exceutive Director and I am questioning weither I should be in the room. Do I obstane and leave the meeting (room) OR obstane from the conversation but stay to take the minutes.

Assuming this a meeting of the committee (and not the board or the general membership) the chair of the committee (who may or may not happen to also be the president) should preside.

Is this committee also discussing the Executive Director or are you now talking about a different meeting?

And no one has to leave the room (though any member is free to do so). Same for speaking in debate. Same for voting.

Spell check: abstain.

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Would it be inappropiate as the Secretary to led this meeting?

No. This is perfectly appropriate, but it will require the approval of the assembly. A majority vote or unanimous consent will suffice if the President and Vice President are agreeable to this solution; otherwise, it would take a 2/3 vote. For practical reasons, however, you should probably have someone else serve as Secretary Pro Tem for the meeting, as it can be difficult to preside and take minutes at the same time.

Do I obstane and leave the meeting (room) OR obstane from the conversation but stay to take the minutes.

Nothing in RONR requires any of this. RONR does say that a member should abstain from voting when he has a personal or pecuniary interest not in common with other members (although he cannot be compelled to abstain), but it says nothing about leaving the room or refraining from speaking in debate. So it's your call.

No, it is not appropriate for the Secretary to preside.

Nonsense. See RONR, 11th ed., pg. 453, line 26 - pg. 454, line 2. While that citation does refer to an "invited nonmember," I see no reason why the assembly could not have a knowledgeable member preside instead. Certainly it is impractical for someone to preside and take minutes simultaneously, but it is hardly inappropriate, and this problem can be easily solved by electing a Secretary Pro Tem.

But I suppose you could suspend the rules that interfere with doing things inappropriately.

The motion to Suspend the Rules is only required if the President or Vice President objects to the arrangement. (RONR, 11th ed., pg. 453, line 35 - pg. 454, line 2)

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