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Questions about "small board" rules


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Hello All,

I am on a small board of 7 people in an HOA. We have issues with people constantly breaking the rules of decorum and launching personal attacks, and also not learning Roberts Rules aside from knowing how to second a motion, and say "aye" even though our by laws require using it in our meetings.

My questions are:

In such a group, where following the 'small board rules' seems to be an issue, meaning more formality may be needed, not less, would using the 'regular rules' instead of the the 'small board rules' be improper?

In a small board, can the 'small board' rules be cherry picked (which is what is happening now) or should 'all or none' thinking be the way? Meaning we use all of them, or we use the regular rules, but not a mix?

Also, slightly unrelated, if any of you parlimentarians were training a board of such people, and you kept hearing 'I make a motion' instead of 'I move that' would you feel inclined to correct it?

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In such a group, where following the 'small board rules' seems to be an issue, meaning more formality may be needed, not less, would using the 'regular rules' instead of the the 'small board rules' be improper?

 

I don't think the small board rules are your problem, since "constantly breaking the rules of decorum and launching personal attacks" is highly improper regardless of the size of the assembly. Nonetheless, a small board may use the rules for larger assemblies if it wishes to do so.

 

Part of the problem may be that the board is not entirely clear on what the small board rules are. They can be found in RONR, 11th ed., pgs. 487-488.

 

In a small board, can the 'small board' rules be cherry picked (which is what is happening now) or should 'all or none' thinking be the way? Meaning we use all of them, or we use the regular rules, but not a mix?

 

It doesn't have to be "all or nothing." A board could use some of the rules for small boards and some of the rules for larger assemblies if it wishes to do so. For instance, I've seen many boards which will require seconds for motions, or require the presiding officer to relinquish the chair to speak in debate, but otherwise follow the rules for small boards.

 

Also, slightly unrelated, if any of you parlimentarians were training a board of such people, and you kept hearing 'I make a motion' instead of 'I move that' would you feel inclined to correct it?

 

No. The member's meaning is clear, and I'm sure I will have bigger problems to deal with than such a minor issue in wording.

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Also, slightly unrelated, if any of you parlimentarians were training a board of such people, and you kept hearing 'I make a motion' instead of 'I move that' would you feel inclined to correct it?

 

 

No. The member's meaning is clear, and I'm sure I will have bigger problems to deal with than such a minor issue in wording.

 

Well, if this happened during practice at a training session, I would probably point it out. But usually the problem is either that the member begins making a motion (or even begins to debate the motion) before being recognized by the chair, or the member begins with tentative wording such as "I would like to make a motion that . . ." or "I move that we discuss adopting . . . "

Saying "I make a motion to . . ." seems relatively benign in comparison.

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Well, if this happened during practice at a training session, I would probably point it out. But usually the problem is either that the member begins making a motion (or even begins to debate the motion) before being recognized by the chair, or the member begins with tentative wording such as "I would like to make a motion that . . ." or "I move that we discuss adopting . . . "

Saying "I make a motion to . . ." seems relatively benign in comparison.

Is it proper for someone to begin speaking, with or without obtaining the floor, during debate, and go on a long comment, and then tack on a motion at the end of it? (At the end of the commentary) "so....(because of all the reasons they just gave) I make a motion to" (etc)

?

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Is it proper for someone to begin speaking, with or without obtaining the floor, during debate, and go on a long comment, and then tack on a motion at the end of it? (At the end of the commentary) "so....(because of all the reasons they just gave) I make a motion to" (etc)

?

Well, let's try to break that up a bit.

 

It is not proper for someone to begin speaking without having been recognized, but in small congenial groups this happens fairly often.  The body does not need to be any more formal than is necessary to efficiently conduct business.  If the behavior is being disruptive, then of course it should not be tolerated.

 

If debate is progress, that implies that a motion is likely being debated.  If so, making a new motion would be out of order unless it is a secondary motion or some other motion that is in order while the motion being debated is pending.

 

Normally, a motion....whether a main motion or subsidiary motion.... should be made prior to discussing the reasons for the motion.... which would be debate.  The normal order is motion first, then debate.

 

However, when following the small board rules, informal discussion while no motion is pending is permissible.  So, if there is no  motion pending, it is permissible with the small board rules for a member to begin his remarks and then tack on the motion at the end.   Even in larger assemblies, members will sometimes preface a motion with a few (very few) words about why he is making the motion.  For example, "Mr. Chairman, I see that our guest speaker has arrived so I move that we lay the pending motion on the table so that we do not detain him unnecessarily". 

 

The assembly (the body which is meeting, which in this case is your seven member board) does not need to be any more formal than is necessary to efficiently conduct business.  There is no need to be more formal than is necessary.  To insist on strict adherence to the rules in a casual, congenial small board setting will sometimes serve only to irritate the others.

 

I do suspect, though, that perhaps the chairman should exercise a bit more control and try to get the other members to at least try to follow the rules.  Perhaps getting each member a copy of RONR in Brief would be helpful.

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Normally, a motion....whether a main motion or subsidiary motion.... should be made prior to discussing the reasons for the motion.... which would be debate. The normal order is motion first, then debate.

True, but it would be in order for a member to speak on debate in the pending motion, and conclude his remarks by making a secondary motion (even if the assembly is not using the small board rules).

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