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Admission of New Members - Order of Business


Guest crystaltrox

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Guest crystaltrox

I can't seem to find specifically where new members are voted in within the order of business.  Would this fall under Old Business?  New Business?  And, within that section, does it matter where it falls?

This could be substantial if as soon as they are voted in they are then allowed to vote as a member.

(our club does have a process where the application is read at a meeting and then voted on at the next meeting)

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They should follow the procedures for any other business, which by default would make them New Business, although it may be appropriate for an officer to recommend that new members be admitted in their report, in which case it should be considered immediately after the officer delivers the report. If all that needs to happen at the previous meeting is for the application to be read, and no motion is made or formal debate held at that time, then this requirement seems akin to previous notice, and so the assembly is not formally considering their application until a member actually makes a motion to adopt it.

 

If, however, the assembly formally considers the application at the first meeting, and then (as a matter of custom or rule) postpones it to the next meeting, it should come up under "Old Business" as it it is an unfinished item of business.

 

(As an aside, RONR discourages the use of the term "Old Business" in favour of "Unfinished Business", to emphasize that bringing up new motions related to subjects discussed at a previous meeting are still New Business).

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I can't seem to find specifically where new members are voted in within the order of business. 

Would this fall under Old Business? 

New Business? 

And, within that section, does it matter where it falls?

This could be substantial if as soon as they are voted in they are then allowed to vote as a member.

(our club does have a process where the application is read at a meeting and then voted on at the next meeting)

You won't find an explict election of new members in RONR -- The process is always 100% customized, from organization to organization.

So there is no generic process.

 

When new members join, typically, there is no vote, as there is no announcement.

Organizations, as a whole, do not report the names of new people, inside an average meeting.

(They could, but in 30 years experience, it is exceeding rare when I have seen such a thing.)

 

If you must do such a thing, then I see two possible classes of business where such a thing ought to be classified.

 

1.) under Committee Reports.

The New Members Committee, or the Membership Committee, gives its report. It closes its report with a motion. The motion might be worded as so. "On behalf of the X Committee, I move that the following applicants be approved for membership. Mr. Alpha, Miss Beta, Mrs. Gamma."

 

2.) under New Business

Same process. Since this kind of business has no carry-over from a previous meeting or from ongoing effort, then New Business might be preferred over the class of "Reports from Standing Committees," which typically hold informational (non-voting) kind of data, more often than not.

 

***

 

3.) Unfinished Business

Not a recommended classifcation, as RONR has a defined use for this category, and your customized process doe not strike me as quite fitting.

 

***

 

If you do want the new members to vote in the same meeting as the one in which they were voted on, then, sure, do it early.

Do it after approval of minutes, if you wish.

That would be a very customized order of business.

But organizations can customize their order of business.

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In this case, it could be made the special order for the meeting.

I don't think I would make approval of new members the special order for a meeting, since it is something that they probably do fairly often.  I do agree that the approval of new members could be made a special order of business.   However, in my opinion, the preferred way would be for this organization to adopt a customized order of business where new members are considered at the same point in every meeting.   In the alternative, as others have suggested, if they are being recommended by a membership committee, the appropriate time seems to be at the conclusion of the report of the membership committee.

 

If there is no membership committee report, then perhaps it could come up at the conclusion of the secretary's report in which the secretary would report that applications for membership have been received from Mr. Alpha, Ms Beta, and Mrs. Gamma.

 

The bottom line is that you can take up new member applications at pretty much any point in the meeting that the assembly desires, but it is a good idea to do it at the same point in each meeting.  You can even do it at the conclusion of the president's report if he reports that the organization has received the above referenced applications for membership.  That puts it pretty much at the top of the order of business as the president's report should normally be the first item taken up after approval of the minutes from the previous meeting. 

 

Edited to add:  If you don't want to take up new member applications until near the end of the meeting, then take them up under new business.  Again, the assembly can do it at pretty much any point in the meeting that it wants to.

Edited by Richard Brown
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"The special order for the meeting will then be taken up as soon as the minutes have been approved, and the remainder of the order of business will not be taken up until this special order has been disposed of."  RONR (11th ed.), p. 371, ll. 5-9

Hieu, you are omitting the sentence which precedes the sentence you quoted:

 

"The Special Order for a Meeting. When it is desired to devote an entire meeting to a subject, or as much of the meeting as may be necessary, the matter can be made the special order for the meeting (as distinguished from a special order for the meeting; see pp. 356–57)."

 

I agree that while this could be made the special order for a meeting, it is not so time consuming or of such urgency or importance that it should be made the special order for a meeting.   It has been my experience that organizations that vote on approving new members do it pretty regularly.   I think it should be handled in the routine order of business at whatever point the organization wants it to come up.

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I think to sum up this thread, the voting for admission of new members could be made at whatever time during the meeting that this organization wants. It could be made near the beginning (the special order), near the end (new business) or any time in between (officer reports, committee reports, unfinished business).

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It would make sense, however, to have this as early in the meeting as possible, so making it the special order for the meeting makes sense.  And since committee reports are fairly early, that's another workable spot.

 

The reason is that while in most groups, approval of new members is routine and unanimous, it's not always.  If someone is going to be accepted, accept them right away, so they can fully participate.  If they're going to be rejected, let them go home (if they're there) instead of cooling their heels for half the night till new business comes up.

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If someone is going to be accepted, accept them right away, so they can fully participate.  If they're going to be rejected, let them go home (if they're there) instead of cooling their heels for half the night till new business comes up.

 

That sounds sensible though I think, in some cases, members are concerned that an unusually large number of brand new members will "pack" the meeting and affect the outcome of a sensitive vote. Of course that's democracy for ya. One "solution" might be for new membership to take effect upon adjournment. That way it can be considered early so the rejected applicants won't have to hang around, And the accepted members will have to wait until the next meeting before they can vote. Then they can affect the outcome of a sensitive vote.

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