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Who Can Call A Meeting?


Guest CallMeGeorge

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Guest CallMeGeorge

The Executive Board of a local committee has a rather reluctant chairman who cancels any (Exec Board) meetings when anyone, other than himself, requests one. I cannot find any reference as to who may call a meeting anywhere in the committee's bylaws, its plan of organization or RROR.

I'm hoping to cite a specific section in Robert's (if one exists) since I'm anticipating further pushback from the chairman.

Thanks in advance.

George

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I'm hesitant to attempt an answer because I'm not sure what an executive board of a committee is.

If it's actually a committee we're talking about (and not the executive board of the organization itself), the chair can call a meeting, and once called, anyone who shows up can validly meet, even if the chair then decides not to show.

If the chair is unwilling to schedule meetings, any two committee members can do so. Once the committee meets, they they (by majority vote) can decide when to schedule future meetings.

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Guest CallMeGeorge

My thanks and apologies for the confusion. In this circumstance, the main body of group members of this organization is formally referred to as "the committee." The Executive Board is just that - the exec. board of the organization with the usual officers and committee chairs.

I've flipped through RROR several times now looking for a reference about scheduling meetings, but am unable to find one. Is there a specific page or passage that refers to this?

Thanks again.

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George, how are meetings generally scheduled? Is there a set schedule in the bylaws (such as monthly, quarterly, etc)? Is your chair cancelling scheduled board meetings when someone requests one, or if someone else tries to call one, is he stating that he's the only one who can call a meeting?

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Guest CallMeGeorge

George, how are meetings generally scheduled? Is there a set schedule in the bylaws (such as monthly, quarterly, etc)? Is your chair cancelling scheduled board meetings when someone requests one, or if someone else tries to call one, is he stating that he's the only one who can call a meeting?

Our bylaws require the organization to meet at least once quarterly, although it's usually only one or two months of the year that the entire organization does not hold a meeting (and they are scheduled for a regular date and time at a regular location). The breakdown lies in the Executive Board meetings which the current chairman treats as ad hoc, rather than regularly scheduled. If other officers request an EB meeting (via email), the response from most of the Executive Board is in the affirmative. Then the chairman finally emails and cancels the exec. board meeting citing that it is only he who is authorized to schedule such a meeting. This has become rather routine, and I can cite nothing in Robert's that states anything to the contrary.

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Guest CallMeGeorge

You haven't told us if the bylaws say anything about when executive board meetings are to be held or how such meetings are called. That information (or just whether that information exists or not) is important to providing an answer.

As described in my original question, I am unable to locate any such reference in the organization's bylaws, plan of organization or in Robert's Rules. Our bylaws do state that the most updated version of Robert's is used as the default reference for anything not included in the organization's own bylaws. However, I'm finding no such reference in Robert's, either.

Thanks,

George

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Our bylaws require the organization to meet at least once quarterly, although it's usually only one or two months of the year that the entire organization does not hold a meeting (and they are scheduled for a regular date and time at a regular location).

So your bylaws only refer to scheduled General meetings? There is nothing in the bylaws about the Executive meetings?

The breakdown lies in the Executive Board meetings which the current chairman treats as ad hoc, rather than regularly scheduled.

There seems to be the assumption here that the Executive meetings are regularly scheduled. If they're not actually regularly scheduled, then they are presumably ad hoc.

If other officers request an EB meeting (via email), the response from most of the Executive Board is in the affirmative. Then the chairman finally emails and cancels the exec. board meeting citing that it is only he who is authorized to schedule such a meeting.

Is there anything under the duties of officers that refers to calling meetings?

The chair isn't actually cancelling a meeting here - he's pointing out that the other executive members don't have the authority to call an executive meeting, and from the evidence so far, he is correct.

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Here's an idea - given that you have regularly scheduled general meetings, why not bring forward a motion at your next general meeting to schedule regular executive meetings?

Motion: to have executive meetings 14 days before a regular meeting, at such and such a time and location.

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Guest CallMeGeorge

Thanks, sMargaret. I've actually requested (but not moved) to have regularly scheduled meetings a couple of days ago.

I'm confused, however, as to the comment about who has the authority to call an executive meeting. I'm finding no evidence in one direction or another. Would you mind clarifying, please?

Thank you.

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I'm confused, however, as to the comment about who has the authority to call an executive meeting. I'm finding no evidence in one direction or another. Would you mind clarifying, please?

George, from what you've written about what's in your bylaws (which apparently don't refer to executive board meetings), apparently no individual members have the authority to call an executive board meeting, which would include the Chair. However, at a properly called meeting, you should be able to make a motion as to how to schedule these meetings. I would also suggest revising the bylaws to allow for special executive board meetings to be called by executive board members.

Edited by sMargaret
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George, from what you've written about what's in your bylaws (which apparently don't refer to executive meetings), apparently no individual members have the authority to call an executive meeting, which would include the Chair. However, at a properly called meeting, you should be able to make a motion as to how to schedule these meetings. I would also suggest revising the bylaws to allow for special executive meetings to be called by executive members.

Please stop referring to "executive meetings".

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Thanks, sMargaret. I've actually requested (but not moved) to have regularly scheduled meetings a couple of days ago.

I'm confused, however, as to the comment about who has the authority to call an executive [board] meeting. I'm finding no evidence in one direction or another. Would you mind clarifying, please?

Thank you.

Do your bylaws actually contain language that states that you do, in fact, have an executive board in the first place? Or did someone just make it up, and start having meetings?

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Guest Nancy N.

This might have been covered, and I lost track of it, but here. The easiest, and less important basically but maybe more important for Guest... Charles, answer is: Robert's Rules do not allow for cancelling meetings -- so unless your own rules, including bylaws, specifically allow a procedure for caneclling meeings, then nobody can cancel meetings.

The other issue is board meetings's scheduling. The president objects to anyone's, other than himself, calling a board meeting -- but from what Guest ... Charles has posted, the bylaws don't give him any more authority to call a meeting than anyone else, including me, and sMargaret, and the geranium against the wall. "I'm the president, that's why"? Just plain darn well no, and lots of presidents need a dash of cold water in the face about what their job, by title, authorize them to do, without the bylaws's saying so.

Robert's Rules says that the bylaws should say when the board's meetings are scheduled, or, if they aren't scheduled, who calls them. Robert's Rules itself does not say when, if the bylaws don't do what they are supposed to. So you're hanging. Best to go with what sMargaret says -- usually a good idea -- have the meeting of the regular membership fix the time of an upcoming meeting of the board.

and then either go on to have the regular membership meeting tell the board when to meet, or to instruct the board to properly schedule its own meetings.

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You might also want to use one of the general meetings to amend the By-laws to clear up the issue. I'd almost suggest under the situation to only have a Board of Directors comprised of the Officers and a number of Directors instead of a Committee and an Executive Board. Then require the Board to meet once a month and allow the Board to have special meetings that are called by the Chairman or on request of any two members.

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Guest Louise

Robert's Rules do not allow for cancelling meetings -- so unless your own rules, including bylaws, specifically allow a procedure for caneclling meeings, then nobody can cancel meetings.

I did not know this. So you mean to say that if our bylaws do not contain anything regarding the cancelling of meetings, then the President is out of order if he reschedules a meeting when he becomes aware that a quorum won't be achievable?

Louise

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So you mean to say that if our bylaws do not contain anything regarding the cancelling of meetings, then the President is out of order if he reschedules a meeting when he becomes aware that a quorum won't be achievable?

Yes.

And who knows. Some of the members who said they couldn't possibly make it might actually show up. You don't really know whether you have a quorum or not until just before the meeting is called to order.

Many presidents would benefit from repeating to themselves, "I'm just the president; I'm just the president; I'm just the president".

It's not as if they're THE PRESIDENT.

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Guest Louise

And who knows. Some of the members who said they couldn't possibly make it might actually show up. You don't really know whether you have a quorum or not until just before the meeting is called to order.

Interesting.

Is that perhaps why RONR doesn't allow for cancelling meetings? (Since I suppose there's the possibility of meetings being cancelled all over the place if doing so could be used as a tool to further someone's particular agenda...as in, "I'll just wait until Person A and Person B won't be able to attend a meeting, and then I'll be able to push X through with Persons E and F on side! Moahaha!")

I'm thinking it might be better for the bylaws to not allow for the cancellation of meetings...but then I'm not sure it wouldn't (doesn't) happen anyway...

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Guest Louise

It's neither and both, but how it shakes out in your case is going to be up to your society to try to anticipate.

As for me, I am loath to tinker with the rules in RONR without a very good reason.

Gotcha.

But (as an aside) is a non-rule the same as a rule? If there is no rule about cancelling meetings in RONR, can it be considered to be "tinkering with the rules" per se?

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The other issue is board meetings's scheduling. The president objects to anyone's, other than himself, calling a board meeting -- but from what Guest ... Charles has posted, the bylaws don't give him any more authority to call a meeting than anyone else, including me, and sMargaret, and the geranium against the wall. "I'm the president, that's why"? Just plain darn well no, and lots of presidents need a dash of cold water in the face about what their job, by title, authorize them to do, without the bylaws's saying so.

Robert's Rules says that the bylaws should say when the board's meetings are scheduled, or, if they aren't scheduled, who calls them. Robert's Rules itself does not say when, if the bylaws don't do what they are supposed to. So you're hanging.

"If a board or committee meeting is adjourned without any provision having been made for future meetings, the next meeting is held at the call of the chairman (see also pp. 499, 501)."

(RONR, 11th ed., p. 238, ll. 4-7)

(Please look out for alligators when coming down off the high horse.)

Edited by Shmuel Gerber
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Guest Nancy N.

"If a board or committee meeting is adjourned without any provision having been made for future meetings, the next meeting is held at the call of the chairman (see also pp. 499, 501)."

(RONR, 11th ed., p. 238, ll. 4-7)

Thank you.

Guest...George, and everyone, please note that the material of mine, from post 14, that Shmuel Gerber quoted, is wrong, and he corrects it with the quotation from RONR, p. 238. which I think means that, yes, for the most part what the president says and does, as described in post 4, are right, as long as things are left to stand as they are.

(I'm kinda surprised and annoyed, and rather supremely embarrassed, that I overlooked/didn't remember the material Mr. Gerber cites. In somewhat different form, it's been there since 1970.)

(Please look out for alligators when coming down off the high horse.)

(... but ... high horse?? Really?)

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