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Guest Mitch

Addressing the Body vs. addressing the Chair

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Guest Mitch

Hi Roberts Rules.

 

Question:  Is there any rule, guidelines or precedures stating that the speaker at the microphone in a large Body must face the Chair when placing a motion or during discussion on a motion vs. facing the Body members and speaking to the Body vs. speaking directly to the Chair?

 

In my union meetings the President who is also the Chair states that the speaker MUST face him during their entire time at the mic and that they can't turn around or sideways to address the Body members.

 

Thanks.

 

Mitchell

 

 

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Well, I dunno abut not (apparently) moving when debating, but, yes, the remarks in debate should be addressed to the chair. p. 392.

 

Perhaps the "no turning" rule is something from your union rules  --  but it seems a good thing as it helps assure that the speaker's remarks are indeed directed toward the chair.

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Question:  Is there any rule, guidelines or precedures stating that the speaker at the microphone in a large Body must face the Chair when placing a motion or during discussion on a motion vs. facing the Body members and speaking to the Body vs. speaking directly to the Chair?

 

In my union meetings the President who is also the Chair states that the speaker MUST face him during their entire time at the mic and that they can't turn around or sideways to address the Body members.

RONR provides that remarks are addressed to the chair, but I would not interpret this rule to mean that the speaker must physically face the chair the entire time he is speaking. The point of the rule is to prevent a member from addressing another individual member directly, in order to maintain formality and decorum.

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RONR provides that remarks are addressed to the chair, but I would not interpret this rule to mean that the speaker must physically face the chair the entire time he is speaking. The point of the rule is to prevent a member from addressing another individual member directly, in order to maintain formality and decorum.

 

But give them an inch and they'll take a mile, no?  Or maybe these guys take a mile from the start, who knows.  :)  I agree with your interpretation and it does seem a bit harsh because it's an art to address others and still have the chair think you're addressing him.  A beautiful art which should not be interfered with.  :)

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RONR provides that remarks are addressed to the chair, but I would not interpret this rule to mean that the speaker must physically face the chair the entire time he is speaking. The point of the rule is to prevent a member from addressing another individual member directly, in order to maintain formality and decorum.

 

I agree. It's the words used that matter, not the direction in which the member is facing.

 

In my opinion, the response provided to Question 28 in the most recent issue of NAP's National Parliamentarian is in error.

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>Hi Roberts Rules.

 

Aside from the question of addressing the chair or the body, one should refrain from addressing a book, whether using the full title or an abbreviation.

 

I concur with Mr. Mervosh on the beauty of this particular art form.

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I agree. It's the words used that matter, not the direction in which the member is facing.

 

In my opinion, the response provided to Question 28 in the most recent issue of NAP's National Parliamentarian is in error.

 

I am glad you mentioned this because as I read this question (in the forum) I happened to have the NP issue open to that same page.  It seems to me the intent of the rule is as Josh stated above, and does not extend to restricting one from making eye contact with those who also are listening intently. In many cases it might be hard for people to hear a speakers voice through the back of their head, so a speaker in the front of the room might need to turn to allow his voice to project to the members.  As for the OP's question, you may have special rules of order that apply in your union, but otherwise I would opine that the speakers facing should not be restricted as long as the words are addressed to the presiding officer.  

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In my opinion, the response provided to Question 28 in the most recent issue of NAP's National Parliamentarian is in error.

Well, doggone it, thanks for messing up my day!  Since my copy of the 4th quarter National Parliamentarian hasn't come yet, I'm terribly intrigued but helpless to see what you are talking about!!   Now I'll be on pins and needles all day, peeking through the curtains watching for the postman and running out to the mailbox every half hour like a kid who is anxiously awaiting his Annie Oakley secret decoder ring so I can quickly flip to question # 28 to see what the heck all the excitement is about. 

 

Can you save me and perhaps some others a few seconds of anxiety by telling us what page it is on so we don't waste precious time looking it up in the table of contents when it finally arrives?  :)

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Question:  Is there any rule, guidelines or precedures stating that the speaker at the microphone in a large Body must face the Chair when placing a motion or during discussion on a motion vs. facing the Body members and speaking to the Body vs. speaking directly to the Chair?

 

In my union meetings the President who is also the Chair states that the speaker MUST face him during their entire time at the mic and that they can't turn around or sideways to address the Body members.

Ahhh....    memories!!!   Note that "Ken" deleted some of his posts, making it a little difficult to follow the thread, but it's easy to grasp what the discussion was about.  This was just over a year ago.  I've often wondered about "Ken/Norm" (aka a few other names) since then.   Enjoy!  :)http://robertsrules.forumflash.com/index.php?/topic/23101-place-to-stand-while-in-debate/

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RONR provides that remarks are addressed to the chair, but I would not interpret this rule to mean that the speaker must physically face the chair the entire time he is speaking. The point of the rule is to prevent a member from addressing another individual member directly, in order to maintain formality and decorum.

 

Actually, for whatever it's worth, RONR says on page 392 that all remarks are addressed THROUGH the chair, not TO the chair.  Further, page 392 refers users to pages 294-295, Request for Information, which indicate, when taken as a whole, that the remarks (or question) may indeed be addressed to another member (or members).   I agree that the rule should not be interpreted to necessarily require the speaker to face the chairman when speaking in debate.  I think it is more important that the other members be able to hear the speaker, especially in debate.  When making a motion, it might be more important to face the chair.  Then, the chair is supposed to state the motion to the assembly exactly as proposed by the mover.

 

Perhaps a good solution is for a member who is seated in the front of a large room to request the permission of the Chair to face the other members when speaking in debate.

 

I agree. It's the words used that matter, not the direction in which the member is facing.

 

In my opinion, the response provided to Question 28 in the most recent issue of NAP's National Parliamentarian is in error.

 

My copy of the new National Parliamentarian arrived this afternoon.  It's Volume 77, # 1, the Fall 2015 issue.  After reading question # 28 and the answer, I agree with Mr. Honemann.

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The presiding officer in Question 28 seemed satisfied that the words spoken were addressed through the chair.  The scenario really doesn't address what was said.  Most good presiding officers give a very short leash to members when it comes to who they are addressing their remarks to.  I don't think the committee gave the presiding officer's opinion enough weight.  If he felt the member was addressing the assembly or some of its members instead of him, it's more likely than not that he would have brought this to the speaker's attention himself. As Mr. Martin notes, simply turning away or turning around in and of itself does not violate the spirit of the rule. There needs to be more for a violation of the rule and the presiding officer didn't feel there was anything more.

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Not to defend or criticize the answer in Question 28, I would not that it was based, to an extent, on the guidence given in RONRIB.  I belive that was cited. 

 

I would, however, encourge you to continue the discussion of the question. 

 

I would also note that I am familiar with the chair who made the initial ruling.  The ruling was, according to him, "The member is addressing the chair and is not being disrespectful in any way.  Further, it might help the other members to hear his comments.  The point of order is not well taken."  :)

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Not to defend or criticize the answer in Question 28, I would not that it was based, to an extent, on the guidence given in RONRIB.  I belive that was cited. 

 

I would, however, encourge you to continue the discussion of the question. 

 

I would also note that I am familiar with the chair who made the initial ruling.  The ruling was, according to him, "The member is addressing the chair and is not being disrespectful in any way.  Further, it might help the other members to hear his comments.  The point of order is not well taken."  :)

 

I don't see how you can say that the answer was based to any extent on the guidance in RONRIB.

 

The discussion at the bottom of page 31 and at the top of page 32 of RONRIB makes it rather clear that it is what is said that is important, not the direction in which the speaker happens to be facing (which isn't even mentioned).

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I don't see how you can say that the answer was based to any extent on the guidance in RONRIB.

 

The discussion at the bottom of page 31 and at the top of page 32 of RONRIB makes it rather clear that it is what is said that is important, not the direction in which the speaker happens to be facing (which isn't even mentioned).

 

 

Well, generally, you would face the person you are talking to.  To "speak as though you are talking to the chair," it would be usual to face the person, though not impossible to speak without facing the person. 

 

One other point is "chair" has dual meaning, referring to both the presiding officer and station of the chair.  While I would agree that this p. 43, l. 16, citation would refer to the presiding office, I could not conclude that it excludes the station of the chair.  Had that citation said "presiding officer" or "person chairing the meeting," I think I would agree with your position, in toto.  It may have been the intent to refer to the person of the chair, and not at all to the station, but I could determine the intent from text. 

 

I think, in looking at the opinion, it is well argued, and a valid interpretation of the text.   (Note that I did not say if I was in complete  agreement with it or not.)

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Well, generally, you would face the person you are talking to.  To "speak as though you are talking to the chair," it would be usual to face the person, though not impossible to speak without facing the person. 

 

One other point is "chair" has dual meaning, referring to both the presiding officer and station of the chair.  While I would agree that this p. 43, l. 16, citation would refer to the presiding office, I could not conclude that it excludes the station of the chair.  Had that citation said "presiding officer" or "person chairing the meeting," I think I would agree with your position, in toto.  It may have been the intent to refer to the person of the chair, and not at all to the station, but I could determine the intent from text. 

 

I think, in looking at the opinion, it is well argued, and a valid interpretation of the text.   (Note that I did not say if I was in complete  agreement with it or not.)

 

Well, you ought to agree with it (even although it's indefensible), since you are largely responsible for it.   :)

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I think, in looking at the opinion, it is well argued, and a valid interpretation of the text.   (Note that I did not say if I was in complete  agreement with it or not.)

 

Well, you ought to agree with it (even although it's indefensible), since you are largely responsible for it.   :)

What's the procedure among the NAP Parliamentary Journal Questions and Answers Research Team to reconsider or to Rescind or Amend Something Previously Adopted?   :)

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Well, you ought to agree with it (even although it's indefensible), since you are largely responsible for it.   :)

 

 

Who told you that?  :)

 

{Hint:  I do not necessarily write the opinions.]

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What's the procedure among the NAP Parliamentary Journal Questions and Answers Research Team to reconsider or to Rescind or Amend Something Previously Adopted?   :)

 

 

It could be done, but, so far, I could not make a convincing argument based on text (personal opinions aside). 

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It could be done, but, so far, I could not make a convincing argument based on text (personal opinions aside). 

 

Okay, but I do want to congratulate the presiding officer referred to in Q&A 28 for getting it right, as all of us who know him rightfully expect that he would.

 

Thanks to him, the assembly over which he presided now has a precedent upon which they can rely as being completely in accord with the rules in RONR. 

 

Congratulations! 

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