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Guest Ann

making motion not on agenda under New Business

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Guest Ann

My board has a policy which states that our agenda must be followed, and that in order to change the agenda set by the chairman and executive member, there must be a unanimous vote of the board.  This policy has been interpreted to mean that no motions of new business can be made without it being approved on the agenda.  I contend that this is in violation of RONR.  We follow "the most recent edition of Roberts Rules of Order".  I cannot find anything specific in RONR which states that the purpose of New Business is to bring up new motions, whether they are specifically listed on the agenda or not.  Please advise.

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Guest

Thomas, our board has a Policy Review Committee which reviews all our policies over a five year cycle.  Changes have typically been recommended by the entity over which we preside, so often we see policies crafted to limit the authority of the board over the school system/superintendent.  (It's a county school board.)  I am new to the board and have tested some of these practices.  The committee votes on changes to our policies and then presents their recommendations to the full board for a vote.

I recently attempted to enter a motion under New Business which had not been specifically approved on our agenda.  I was recognized by the chair and made my motion which was seconded.  They didn't know how to respond.  Then another member, without being recognized, made a motion to table, which passed nearly unanimously.  Our parliamentarian, the board's attorney, made no recommendations during the entire motion.  Afterwards, he issued an opinion that I was out of order, which I reject as a flawed opinion.

I need language in RONR to justify my position.  Help!

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1 hour ago, Guest said:

(It's a county school board.)

"County"?

There is your problem.

I don't know what county or state you are in, but in most government- and quasi-government bodies, there is a "sunshine law".

A sunshine law is a law where new business must be pre-annouced to the general public before that body takes up the business itself.

While I cannot guarantee that your "county school board" is truly under a sunshine law, based on what restrictions you have cited so far, it walks and quacks like a sunshine law.

Thus my recommendation: "Consult your legal counsel and ask what the sunshine law is which would apply to your county school board."

Your question may not be a question about Robert's Rules of Order, but rather a question about your state's (or county's) sunshine law.

 

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Guest

There is nothing like that in our policies, and that was never mentioned in reference to this issue.  So assuming there is no sunshine law, here is an excerpt of our policy governing agendas for meetings.  The assumption and practice has been to interpret this policy to mean that items of new business cannot be spontaneously introduced by motion during New Business on the agenda without a specific agenda item for it.  I am challenging that assumption, putting forth the notion that this policy only governs the setting of the agenda, not the making of motions.  I contend I followed RONR in making a motion under New Business for an item that was not specified on the agenda.  But I need RONR language which states the purpose of New Business.  In the Brief Version, under the section New Business, it states on p.15: "The chair asks, "Is there any new business?" New items may then be brought up by any member, using the procedure - making a motion"...  Then the next section talks about "Agenda: an alternative to following a standard order of business".

I. Policy Statement

The Board (Board) recognizes that efficient ordering of its business meetings is a key element to the orderly conduct of public business. The Board establishes this policy to govern the preparation, adoption, and dissemination of the agenda for each of its regular meetings.
  1. Preparation and Dissemination

    1. The Superintendent shall prepare a draft agenda for each Board meeting for approval of the Board’s officers.

    2. Agenda items shall include matters proposed by the Superintendent, as well as issues of concern and interest raised by the Board or by individual members of the Board.

    3. Board members may submit to the Superintendent or the Board Chair a proposed agenda item for consideration at a future Board meeting.

    4. Agenda materials, by electronic and/or hard copy, shall be made available to Board members prior to each regularly scheduled Board meeting.

  2. Conduct of Meetings

    The Board will follow the approved agenda, except as follows:

    1. The Superintendent may ask that an agenda item be removed. If the Board takes no exception and consents by a unanimous vote, the corrected agenda will be followed.

    2. During the regular Board meeting, items may be added to the agenda by unanimous consent of the Board members present. 

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You have a rule. -- III.2. -- which says

>> During the regular Board meeting, items may be added to the agenda by unanimous consent of the Board members present. 

So, use that rule to introduce your 'item' to the 'agenda'.

But introduce it EARLY in the meeting, so that your item may be added to the tail end of the agenda.

If you WAIT and move your motion spontaneously, then you are NOT making a motion "to add an item to the agenda", and so your motion will be ruled "not in order".

***

You have NO SUCH CLASS OF BUSINESS as "new business", per your customized "policy".

So any citation from Robert's Rules will be futile. -- It won't apply, in the face of a contrary rule, which your policy certainly is.

 

 

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Guest

If the chair refused the add the agenda item in the first place, he can vote against modifying the agenda which requires a unanimous vote to pass.  So the practicality of our policy is that our chair can single-handedly prevent an item from coming up for discussion.  Why do you say we have no such class as New Business?  We have an agenda we follow which includes specified items under new business.  That's the meat of my question.  Even though I can't get an item onto the agenda, do you think our policy says we can't bring up new items spontaneously under New Business?

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Guest Ann

Here's what our agenda looks like for our next meeting.  Note there is New Business, it is just broken down to specific items.

MEETING OF THE BOARD OF EDUCATION
Tuesday, March 15, 2016
A. CLOSED SESSION
B. PLEDGE OF ALLIGIANCE/SILENT MEDITATION
  1. Opening Remarks
C. AGENDA
  1. Consideration of the Agenda
 
E. SPECIAL ORDER OF BUSINESS
  1. Magnet Schools Program
F. PUBLIC COMMENT
 1. Stakeholder groups
2. General Public Comment
G. NEW BUSINESS - PERSONNEL MATTERS (retirements, resignations)
H. NEW BUSINESS - ACTION TAKEN IN CLOSED SESSION
  1. Consideration of action taken in closed session
I. NEW BUSINESS - REPORT ON POLICIES (first reading)
J. NEW BUSINESS - PROPOSAL - SAFETY IN TECHNOLOGY COMMITTEE
K. BOARD MEMBER COMMENTS
L. INFORMATION
  1. Financial Report
  2. Update on legislation
M. ANNOUNCEMENTS

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While you have a class of business called "new business", you have customized rules to get items under this class of business.

In other words, the default parliamentary rules of Robert's Rules of Order will not apply.

So, you cannot cite Robert's Rules to justify getting your new business before your assembly in the way you described.

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20 hours ago, Guest Ann said:

My board has a policy which states that our agenda must be followed, and that in order to change the agenda set by the chairman and executive member, there must be a unanimous vote of the board.  This policy has been interpreted to mean that no motions of new business can be made without it being approved on the agenda.  I contend that this is in violation of RONR.  We follow "the most recent edition of Roberts Rules of Order".  I cannot find anything specific in RONR which states that the purpose of New Business is to bring up new motions, whether they are specifically listed on the agenda or not.  Please advise.

So far as RONR is concerned, members are free to introduce motions during New Business, whether they or not they are listed on the agenda. I don't think that there is anything explicitly stating as much, because it should be painfully obvious to any reasonable person that the purpose of the heading "New Business" is the introduction of new business.

Your board, however, is free to adopt its own rules which supersede those in RONR, and it would seem that your board has adopted a rule on this subject. So the real question whether that rule prohibits the introduction of motions which are not listed on the agenda, and that is a question that only your board can answer.

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Guest Kris

This occurred after a motion was attempted to be made under new business and was informed that due to it not addressing anything on the current agenda it could not be submitted: I would appreciate your concerns, comments or suggestions.

Chair suggesting, outside of meeting, that the motion be discussed at a retreat?

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Guest Who's Coming to Dinner

You could have appealed the decision of the chair and let the members decide if your motion should come before the meeting.

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Guest
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