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Defining Non-Responsiveness/Refusal to Attend Meetings


Guest ConstitutionCommitteeChair

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Guest ConstitutionCommitteeChair

Dear Forum Folks,

 

I am chairing a committee to develop a constitution for our organization, and we would like to do one thing that seems difficult and would like some guidance.

 

We have a small six-member board and we have good reason to try to prevent "playing politics" with meeting attendnace, either by scheduling meetings when some people can't come, or by refusing to attend to prevent certain issues from being adequately dealt with.

 

We would like to require full attendance for certain high-importance types of items to be on the agenda, but this also makes it important to define what constitutes adequate chance to attend the meeting and what constitutes obstinate refusal to do so. Can anyone point me in the right direction?

 

Thanks!

-Chair

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Could you offer any more insight, such as a rationale?

 

Thanks.

If by requiring full attendance, you mean setting a quorum of 100%, you're making it very easy for someone to obstruct business by not showing up.

 

Better to leave the quorum alone, presumably at a majority (4) of the six members. 

 

To prevent meetings from being scheduled at inconvenient times, you can have the committee itself schedule its meeting dates.

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Could you offer any more insight, such as a rationale?

 

Sure. Let's take the concept of "adequate chance" (to attend a meeting). Provisions for calling a special (as opposed to a regular) meeting should include the number of days' notice required (e.g. "five days notice"). This is intended to give members an "adequate chance" to attend. But it seems like you want to somehow individualize this so that, for example, even if the proper notice has been given, a particular member (due to unforeseen circumstances?) may not have had an "adequate chance" to attend. Do you really want to try to encode this in your bylaws? If so, be my guest.

 

Then there's the notion of "obstinate refusal". Do you really want to try to determine a member's motives for not attending?

 

Then there's the problem of defining attendance. Can you show up late? How late? Can you leave early? How early?

 

Keep the rules simple. And objective. If a board member is under-performing he can be removed per the provisions in Chapter XX.

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It is entirely possible for the majority to try to schedule meetings on days and times when it is impossible for other members to attend (i.e. if a member works in the evenings, meetings - even with long notice periods - are not likely possible for this member.)  Yes, people should play fair, but this is part of being a member of an organization.  It's called majority rule. 

 

The person, or group, responsible for appointing the Committee members could inform the Committee that if members are not given an adequate chance to attend that members will be replaced.  Other then that, I think there is little that can be done to stop something like this from occurring.  Not that it would usually occur in my experience.

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Are you talking about preventing "playing politics" with meeting attendance as something to include in your proposals for the constitution that will affect your board (which is what I thought) . . . 

 

That's my assumption too. I don't know why others think this is about adopting rules for the committee.

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