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Entering an accusation to the record


Rojo

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This evening as our neighborhood council meeting was called to order, one of the members immediately made an accusation of "conflict of interest" against another member. That said member was not present, so was not able to speak to this. He was very adamant that this allegation be entered into the record. The discussion went on for a full 4 minutes. I'm just wondering if this was appropriate. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

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For what purpose was the member bringing up the "conflict of interest"?  Is this member arguing the "conflicted" member should be abstaining from the consideration/vote on a particular item of business?  Or is this member claiming that the "conflicted" member violated some rule and wishes to press some sort of disciplinary action?  Or....?

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I'll do my best to keep this on point as I came to this meeting as a bit of a newbie. There is a building in question where a variance was approved by the city and a neighborhood group filed an appeal against it. The "present" member stated that the "absent" member was the driving force and instigator behind the appeal. That is what they wanted put in the record. There was no mention in regards to that members vote. As an aside, the person who initiated the appeal was actually in attendance and stated that the absent member in no way had any involvement. The present member would not accept that even though there were then numerous attendees again stating that there was no involvement. I was so taken aback by the delivery of the accusation.It was just so aggressive and truly set a very intimidating tone for the rest of the meeting. Can an accusation like that be entered into the record with no findings of fact and the member not being there to speak to the statement?

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The minutes are a record of what was done at a meeting not what was said (RONR p. 468 ll. 16-18) though of course the rules may allow (or even require) more information be included in the minutes-so you should check them.  If this member wanted to have the accusations included in the minutes he would need to either make a motion that they be included (which the assembly probably should quickly and decisively defeat) or encompass the accusations in a motion (though unless the motion was worded very carefully or was to implement some form of disciplinary action or censure the Chair should rule it out of order as breaching decorum).

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I'll do my best to keep this on point as I came to this meeting as a bit of a newbie. There is a building in question where a variance was approved by the city and a neighborhood group filed an appeal against it. The "present" member stated that the "absent" member was the driving force and instigator behind the appeal. That is what they wanted put in the record. There was no mention in regards to that members vote. As an aside, the person who initiated the appeal was actually in attendance and stated that the absent member in no way had any involvement. The present member would not accept that even though there were then numerous attendees again stating that there was no involvement. I was so taken aback by the delivery of the accusation.It was just so aggressive and truly set a very intimidating tone for the rest of the meeting. Can an accusation like that be entered into the record with no findings of fact and the member not being there to speak to the statement?

 

So far as RONR is concerned, the accusation certainly should not have been entered into the minutes and the President should have called the member to order for his violation of decorum.

 

Since this appears to be a public body, it's possible that the assembly's rules or applicable law provide otherwise on one or both of these points.

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