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Committee Reports and Recommendations


Guest AJ Cooper

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Guest AJ Cooper

I am a new member of a medium sized organization (55+) that meets monthly. Each committee chair submits and presents a report during each meeting. Most of the reports include recommendations that require a vote by the membership. As the report is being given, the president stops the committee chair at each recommendation and calls for a member to "make a recommendation" in favor of the recommendation (I know .. I was dizzy too). She then asks for a second "to that recommendation" and then a vote is taken "to recommend". When another new member said "I move that .... ", the president corrected the member to say "we don't use the language "move" or "make a motion in this organization ... we make recommendations". There's nothing in the by-laws that state this. I can't see how binding a recommendation would be particularly when we are talking about finances and program rules. Are the terms "I recommend" and "I move/I make a motion" interchangeable? BTW, there was not one motion made in the entire 3 hour meeting; only recommendations.

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I am a new member of a medium sized organization (55+) that meets monthly. Each committee chair submits and presents a report during each meeting. Most of the reports include recommendations that require a vote by the membership. As the report is being given, the president stops the committee chair at each recommendation and calls for a member to "make a recommendation" in favor of the recommendation (I know .. I was dizzy too). She then asks for a second "to that recommendation" and then a vote is taken "to recommend". When another new member said "I move that .... ", the president corrected the member to say "we don't use the language "move" or "make a motion in this organization ... we make recommendations". There's nothing in the by-laws that state this. I can't see how binding a recommendation would be particularly when we are talking about finances and program rules. Are the terms "I recommend" and "I move/I make a motion" interchangeable? BTW, there was not one motion made in the entire 3 hour meeting; only recommendations.

No, the terms are not interchangeable. A motion is a proposal by a member that the assembly take certain action. Whatever language is being used to introduce the proposal, if the assembly is considering and voting on such proposals, the effect is the same.

If the members want to follow this custom, there will be little you can do about changing it. You might want to start by rallying support from other members to use the language found in RONR and general parliamentary law.

In this orgnaization, if a member recommends a fifteen minute recess, is a vote taken on the question of taking a recess? In other words, is it merely the language that deviates from RONR, or are no decisions made at all?

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Thanks for your quick response. I don't think most members know the difference. They think they are following RONR. Decisions are made by the body, however my concern is the language is not strong enough. It seems to me that to "recommend" is to advise or suggest and could put too much power back in the hands of the executive committee who could choose to ignore the recommendation as it is only a suggestion. A motion made seconded and voted on seems more definitive and is the will of the body.

I haven't seen any decisions made other than those generated during committee reports. Those who know a bit of RONR know that this is the wrong language but are afraid to speak up. The president is a bit dictatorial and claims to be a member of the NAP. I so hate to see RONR misused!

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Thanks for your quick response. I don't think most members know the difference. They think they are following RONR. Decisions are made by the body, however my concern is the language is not strong enough. It seems to me that to "recommend" is to advise or suggest and could put too much power back in the hands of the executive committee who could choose to ignore the recommendation as it is only a suggestion. A motion made seconded and voted on seems more definitive and is the will of the body.

I haven't seen any decisions made other than those generated during committee reports. Those who know a bit of RONR know that this is the wrong language but are afraid to speak up. The president is a bit dictatorial and claims to be a member of the NAP. I so hate to see RONR misused!

You seem to have the right concept.

You can make a parliamentary inquiry of the chair, asking him the effect of the recommendation.

I would also like to see you make a motion, and if he rules it out of order, appeal and state that a member has a right to make a motion according to RONR (11th ed.), page 3, lines 1-5, and that no member can be denied this right (p. 3, ll. 5-9), and that when a motion is made and seconded, the chair must place it before the assembly for consideration (p. 39, ll. 8-11).

You'll want to discuss this plan ahead of time with some like-minded members, so that they will be prepared to second your motions and speak in debate in favor of them.

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Now, about that identity crisis lingering in the background.....

Hey, if I got a CAPTCHA code with three numerals I'd be tempted to celebrate by using it as a Guest Name too. And while the "p" is pretty easy to figure out, the "c" and the "V" can be trouble.

H7cSAk

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Sorry to confuse. I joined in the middle of this trail ... checked back in and forgot to sign in. I'm one in the same person and will remember to sign in under adavis.

There's that saying again, Edgar: one in the same. I suppose it's a phonetic interpretation.

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