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Guest Ann Macfarlane

Member demands to put something "on the record"

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Guest Ann Macfarlane

Dear colleagues,

 

When a member of a body demands that something be put "on the record," I have always assumed that this request lies within the power of the assembly to grant or deny. In other words, the members must vote on whether the statement should be included in the minutes or not. However, I can't find any citation for this in RONR. 

 

A difficult board member, prone to making such statements, is asking "where it says that?"

 

Can anyone point me in the right direction, either to specific guidance on this point, or to general guidance about the rights of members and the rights of the body with regard to the content of the minutes/record?

 

With thanks in advance,

 

Ann

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A member has no "right" to have something included in the minutes, but the assembly, by a majority vote, has the final say on what goes in the minutes and can direct the secretary to include something in the minutes at the request of a member.

 

Edited:  That question is not addressed directly in RONR, but in his book "Parliamentary Law", published in 1923, General Robert notes on page 499 that it a member wants his vote recorded in the minutes, it may be done by unanimous consent or majority vote.

Edited by Richard Brown

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Direct the member to RONR pp. 468-471 regarding what should go in the minutes with an emphasis on p. 468 ll. 14-18 which says the minutes reflect what was done at a meeting not what was said. 

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Dear colleagues,

 

When a member of a body demands that something be put "on the record," I have always assumed that this request lies within the power of the assembly to grant or deny. In other words, the members must vote on whether the statement should be included in the minutes or not. However, I can't find any citation for this in RONR. 

 

A difficult board member, prone to making such statements, is asking "where it says that?"

 

Can anyone point me in the right direction, either to specific guidance on this point, or to general guidance about the rights of members and the rights of the body with regard to the content of the minutes/record?

 

With thanks in advance,

 

Ann

 

"The basic principle of decision in a deliberative assembly is that, to become the act or choice of the body, a proposition must be adopted by a majority vote" (RONR 11th ed., p. 4, ll. 3-5).

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A difficult board member, prone to making such statements, is asking "where it says that?"

 

If the difficult board member claims that he has a right to have his comments included in the minutes, the burden of proof is on him to show you the rule that supports his claim.

 

For more on the burden of proof, click here.

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I think the member of the body is confusing RONR with House and Senate rules where items can actually be put in the record viz. the Congressional Record.  Ultimately the best recourse would be for a member to raise a Point of Order that such a demand is out of order and as others have said, the member should make a motion and leave it up to the assembly to decide.  The chair could do that as well and leave it to the demander to raise an Appeal.

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This probably falls into the common confusion about minutes.  You might give the difficult board member a gift of a small book called "Spotlight on You:  The Secretary" that explains the purpose of minutes.  If he is a big reader, and you like him enough, you could give him "What Happened At The Meeting?" instead.

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Guest Ann Macfarlane

Thank you all for these very helpful comments, which will certainly enable us to deal with this issue!

 

With gratitude,

 

Ann

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Dear colleagues,

 

When a member of a body demands that something be put "on the record," I have always assumed that this request lies within the power of the assembly to grant or deny. In other words, the members must vote on whether the statement should be included in the minutes or not. However, I can't find any citation for this in RONR. 

 

A difficult board member, prone to making such statements, is asking "where it says that?"

 

Can anyone point me in the right direction, either to specific guidance on this point, or to general guidance about the rights of members and the rights of the body with regard to the content of the minutes/record?

 

With thanks in advance,

 

Ann

 

It's obvious from the rules in RONR about the content of the minutes that an individual member does not have any right to have a statement or paper put on the record. But so far I haven't seen any good citation posted in this thread regarding how the assembly may decide to include the information in the minutes if it chooses to.

Maybe it will have better luck in the Advanced Discussion forum. :)

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if you're counting on luck, why not post it in all three fora.

 

Is nothing sacred?

 

There is probably no need to point out that this does not count as a proper RONR citation.

 

I moved this topic to the Advanced Discussion forum because six regular or semi-regular posters had already replied to the question, which was posted by a seasoned parliamentarian (or by someone posting with the same name as one and who just happened to write "Dear colleagues"), without any of them providing a satisfactory (IMHO) answer with citations to RONR. So it is probably worthy of some advanced discussion. I believe this particular subject has come up before, so maybe what we need is a link to a previous discussion.

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How about the member make a request that this information be included in the minutes per RONR p. 299?

 

 

How about this thread?

 

Those seem pretty close, maybe as close as we're going to get to a clearly applicable citation.

But have no fear; the next edition of RONR should be arriving in about five years, and it's bound to have something more to say on the topic of including additional information in the minutes. :)

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Dear colleagues,

 

When a member of a body demands that something be put "on the record," I have always assumed that this request lies within the power of the assembly to grant or deny. In other words, the members must vote on whether the statement should be included in the minutes or not. However, I can't find any citation for this in RONR. 

 

A difficult board member, prone to making such statements, is asking "where it says that?"

 

Can anyone point me in the right direction, either to specific guidance on this point, or to general guidance about the rights of members and the rights of the body with regard to the content of the minutes/record?

 

With thanks in advance,

 

Ann

 

Your assumption that it is within the power of an assembly to grant or deny this sort of request is almost certainly correct, but the exact facts and circumstances will make a difference as to what rules may or may not be applicable. This may be a request falling under the rules at the bottom of page 299, or it may be offered as a garden-variety main motion, or it may be offered as a correction to minutes while they are pending for approval (or maybe something else). There is nothing in RONR indicating that the assembly cannot agree to any of these, or that such agreement will require more than a majority vote. 

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Maybe the best course would be for the body to have an archive or a record wherein items not appropriate for the minutes could be stored such as letters from the national body or promotional flyers the body has made up.  Since the items of the archive would be up to the discretion of the body, it would be entirely appropriate for a member to move to enter items into the record.

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Maybe the best course would be for the body to have an archive or a record wherein items not appropriate for the minutes could be stored such as letters from the national body or promotional flyers the body has made up. 

I suspect they already have such an archive.  It's commonly referred to as a file.

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Ann, you may wish to look at an article titled, ironically, "On the Record,"  NP, 4th Quarter, 2000.  While it deals with recording of votes, but the same principle would apply to other items. 

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Methinks this thread has focused too much on what properly goes in the minutes and not enough on what the member is requesting.  Without questioning motives, we need to acknowledge that sometimes a request to put something in the minutes that RONR would not ordinarily call is perfectly appropriate.  It may be to build a complete historical record in case of potential lawsuit, to avoid ambiguity of purpose, or whatever. The proper method for gaining recognition to do so is to rise to a question of privilege (p. 227-228).  Although this motion is frequently misused, this would seem to be a perfect application, especially given RONR's suggestion on p. 227 that the motion can be used to ensure the accuracy of the minutes.   

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Methinks this thread has focused too much on what properly goes in the minutes and not enough on what the member is requesting.  Without questioning motives, we need to acknowledge that sometimes a request to put something in the minutes that RONR would not ordinarily call is perfectly appropriate.  It may be to build a complete historical record in case of potential lawsuit, to avoid ambiguity of purpose, or whatever. The proper method for gaining recognition to do so is to rise to a question of privilege (p. 227-228).  Although this motion is frequently misused, this would seem to be a perfect application, especially given RONR's suggestion on p. 227 that the motion can be used to ensure the accuracy of the minutes.   

 

Well, I thought this had been covered by the first sentence in post #15, but maybe not. 

 

In any event, legitimate questions of personal privilege are extremely rare, and, in this connection, almost always relate to something recorded in the minutes that is erroneous, and not to a request (or "demand") that something be included that hasn't been. 

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Since we don't know exactly what the member is requesting it is hard to say.  The OP says the member is prone to wanting things put on the record so I think this is less of something like asking the actual amounts of annual revenue & expenses in the minutes and more towards wanting his objection to the motion "on the record".  Maybe if the OP can give us specifics we may be able to supply some guidance.

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Since we don't know exactly what the member is requesting it is hard to say.  The OP says the member is prone to wanting things put on the record so I think this is less of something like asking the actual amounts of annual revenue & expenses in the minutes and more towards wanting his objection to the motion "on the record".  Maybe if the OP can give us specifics we may be able to supply some guidance.

 

I suspect the "OP" has all the information she sought.

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There is probably no need to point out that this does not count as a proper RONR citation.

 

I moved this topic to the Advanced Discussion forum because six regular or semi-regular posters had already replied to the question, which was posted by a seasoned parliamentarian (or by someone posting with the same name as one and who just happened to write "Dear colleagues"), without any of them providing a satisfactory (IMHO) answer with citations to RONR. So it is probably worthy of some advanced discussion. I believe this particular subject has come up before, so maybe what we need is a link to a previous discussion.

 

Rob Elsman was always fond of giving a very consistent reply to questions that involved a member wanting their dissenting vote recorded in the minutes.   The last one I found was this.  http://robertsrules.forumflash.com/index.php?/topic/8378-recording-individual-negative-vote-in-minutes/?p=26609   I think he believed there was no satisfactory answer with citations to RONR that would permit this.

Edited by George Mervosh

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