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Motions in a Board Meeting


Guest David L

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To rephrase, at the meeting, we heard a special presentation (on the agenda) that ended with a recommendation to accept one of three options. A motion (not on the agenda) to accept was made from the floor, which I allowed; said motion was approved. If that action is not allowed in Robert's Rules, at our next meeting, I will declare our decision null and void. Thank you for your patience with me.

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As a rule, all motions to be considered by our Board are written in detail on the agenda. This past meeting, as chair, I allowed unwritten motions to be made that complemented two written agenda items. Did I err, or what that allowed?

When you say "as a rule", does this mean your bylaws state all motions must be made in writing, in advance, and on the agenda? Or, is this something that you, as Chair, decided was in the best interest of your organization?

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As a rule, all motions to be considered by our Board are written in detail on the agenda. This past meeting, as chair, I allowed unwritten motions to be made that complemented two written agenda items. Did I err, or what that allowed?

If you actually have a rule on this subject, then it's up to your organization to interpret its own rules. See RONR, 11th ed., pgs. 588-591 for some Principles of Interpretation.

If by "as a rule" you simply mean that this has been the past practice of the organization, you were correct and it's the past practice that is in error. No rule in RONR requires that a motion must be on the agenda, and it's not at the chair's discretion.

To rephrase, at the meeting, we heard a special presentation (on the agenda) that ended with a recommendation to accept one of three options. A motion (not on the agenda) to accept was made from the floor, which I allowed; said motion was approved. If that action is not allowed in Robert's Rules, at our next meeting, I will declare our decision null and void. Thank you for your patience with me.

You did the right thing under Robert's Rules, but the way you started out the original post raises the question of whether your organization has its own rules on this subject.

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Thanks to those who have responded. Yes, as Chair, I decided it was in the best interest in the operation of the Board to have all motions made in writing, in advance and on the agenda. Our organization has no written rules on this subject, nothing in the bylaws or in policy. As a result of your responses, I "will not lose sleep on this one," and am much clearer on the issue.

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Thanks to those who have responded. Yes, as Chair, I decided it was in the best interest in the operation of the Board to have all motions made in writing, in advance and on the agenda. Our organization has no written rules on this subject, nothing in the bylaws or in policy. As a result of your responses, I "will not lose sleep on this one," and am much clearer on the issue.

First, you cannot require any motion to be written in advance, except by virtue of an adopted rule.

Second, since it is not required, it is not a violation.

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Yes, as Chair, I decided it was in the best interest in the operation of the Board to have all motions made in writing, in advance and on the agenda. Our organization has no written rules on this subject, nothing in the bylaws or in policy. As a result of your responses, I "will not lose sleep on this one," and am much clearer on the issue.

That is something to lose sleep over, as that's not within your power to do as the Chair.

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As a result of your responses, I "will not lose sleep on this one," and am much clearer on the issue.

Well, as suggested, you've chosen the wrong thing to not lose sleep over. You might want to put a small note on your mirror that says, "I'm only the chair". Then repeat that to yourself before each meeting.

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