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Sean Hunt

Debate on appeal by non-member chair

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Non-members have no rights but the assembly could suspend the rules to permit a non-member to participate in debate.

 

True, but it seems to me that the chair, even if a non-member, has an obligation to explain the reasons for his ruling on a Point of Order. Whether this would translate to a right to further explain (i.e., debate) during the processing of an appeal is not so clear.

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Can a non-member chair[man] debate an appeal?

Do you mean,

you have a presiding officer who is not a member of the body which is meeting?

 

If the appeal is non-debatable, then the issue is moot.

 

If the appeal is debatable, then:

Robert's Rules of Order says that a chair does have the right to speak on a debatable appeal.

 

See Standard Descriptive Characteristic #5 for the motion Appeal.

5. Is debatable, unless it

(a.) relates to indecorum or a transgression of the rules of speaking;

(b.) relates to the priority of business; or

(c.) is made when an undebatable question is immediately pending or involved in the appeal.

When an appeal is debatable, no member is allowed to speak more than once except the presiding officer ― who need not leave the chair while to speaking, but should stand.

The first time the chair speaks in debate on the appeal he is entitled to preference over other members seeking recognition.

He can answer arguments against the decision or give additional reasons by speaking a second time at the close of the debate.

He may announce his intention to speak in rebuttal and ask if there are others who wish to speak first.

Even when the appeal is not debatable, the chair can, when stating the question on it, give the reasons for his decision without leaving the chair.

 

This is a duty of the presiding officer, so the presiding officer need not be a member of the body to fulfill this parliamentary duty.

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You should send JJ a message.  He did a very interesting article on what a non-member chair can and cannot do.  I'm sure he'll provide you a copy of his article.

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Can a non-member chair debate an appeal?

 

Yes, I think so.

 

Non-members have no rights but the assembly could suspend the rules to permit a non-member to participate in debate.

 

A non-member chair also does not have a right to make motions, but he may nonetheless raise a Point of Order or an Objection to the Consideration of a Question, as making those motions are connected to the duties of the presiding officer. The situation here seems similar.

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Yes, as cited, it is the duty associated with the chair.  The chair, member or not, has certain abilities incumbent on the office.  That is one of them.

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A non-member chair also does not have a right to make motions, but he may nonetheless raise a Point of Order or an Objection to the Consideration of a Question, as making those motions are connected to the duties of the presiding officer. The situation here seems similar.

 

Not disagreeing, but a non-member chair could also, as a practical matter, could also move Division of the Assembly (pp. 281-2). 

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