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Can the chair second a motion?


Guest Connie Gallant

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In cases when the Chair has a duty to remain impartial (assemblies with about a dozen or more members or large committees) he should refrain from being partial (and seconding a motion demonstrates partiality). In cases when there is no duty of impartiality (committees and assemblies with about a dozen or fewer members) seconds aren't generally required. See FAQ #1.

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Guest Edgar

. . . seconding a motion demonstrates partiality.

Well, not necessarily. But since the purpose of a second (p.36) is to indicate to the chair that more than one member thinks the motion is worth considering (if only so that it can be defeated), it makes little sense for the chair to second a motion.

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But if the Chairman is a member of the group, the Chairman has the same rights of every other member (i.e. to make motions, second motions, enter into debate, vote, etc.), but should not to preserve the appearance of neutrality unless the group is operating under the 'relaxed' rules of RONR which Chris already mentioned.

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In cases when the Chair has a duty to remain impartial (assemblies with about a dozen or more members or large committees) he should refrain from being partial (and seconding a motion demonstrates partiality). In cases when there is no duty of impartiality (committees and assemblies with about a dozen or fewer members) seconds aren't generally required. See FAQ #1.

But if the Chairman is a member of the group, the Chairman has the same rights of every other member (i.e. to make motions, second motions, enter into debate, vote, etc.), but should not to preserve the appearance of neutrality unless the group is operating under the 'relaxed' rules of RONR which Chris already mentioned.

"A second merely implies that the seconder agrees that the motion should come before the meeting and not that he necessarily favors the motion." RONR (11th ed.), p. 36 - as Mr. Mt. already mentioned,

As a pratical matter, if no second is forthcoming he can either state it without a second if he wants it before the meeting and take his chances on a point of order, or simply move on. His choice.

Edited by George Mervosh
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"A second merely implies that the seconder agrees that the motion should come before the meeting and not that he necessarily favors the motion." RONR (11th ed.), p. 36

Granted. But I would think that while presiding the Chair shouldn't have any official opinion on whether a motion comes before the assembly and by seconding the motion wouldn't he be opining that this motion should be considered?

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Granted. But I would think that while presiding the Chair shouldn't have any official opinion on whether a motion comes before the assembly and by seconding the motion wouldn't he be opining that this motion should be considered?

That's why I suggested he not second it in post #5 (his motives would be confusing), he should just state it if he feels it urgently needs considered (which is certainly silently opining the motion should be considered) and take his chances on a point of order being raised. I'm not suggesting he routinely do this, in fact just the opposite. He should most likely announce there is no second and move on nearly every time.

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  • 6 years later...
16 minutes ago, Guest Jerry Koster said:

Can the person who made the motion second his own motion?

No, that would defeat the point.

“After a motion has been made, another member who wishes it to be considered says, "I second the motion," or, "I second it," or even, "Second!"—without obtaining the floor, and in small assemblies without rising.” (RONR, 11th ed., pg. 35)

“The requirement of a second is for the chair's guidance as to whether he should state the question on the motion, thus placing it before the assembly. Its purpose is to prevent time from being consumed by the assembly's having to dispose of a motion that only one person wants to see introduced.” (RONR, 11th ed., pg. 36)

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