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Motion to Amend passed by vote but announced and recorded as failed

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I'm ran into an issue two weeks ago at a regular meeting which I'm hoping you can assist in resolving. Here's the brief:

  • Intent to make a Motion to Rescind was announced at the prior regular meeting, included in the minutes, and on the agenda for the following meeting.
  • Motion to Rescind was intended to rescind an endorsement of a candidate made earlier in the year which passed with a majority.
  • When the motion was presented, the chair incorrectly stated that a 2/3 vote was required to pass
  • Point of Order was raised stating only a majority was necessary due to prior announcement of intent to consider motion
  • Point of Order was ruled out of order, with the chair agreeing that previous notice was given, but vaguely citing a non-existent bylaw as reason for 2/3.
  • Motion to Appeal was raised and seconded from the floor.
  • Chair proceeded to rule that a 2/3 vote was required to successfully appeal. (Should have raised a point of order that this was false, I know)
  • Motion to appeal was never allowed to be voted on or debated.
  • Vote was taken on main motion to recind with 21 for, 17 against.
  • Chair announced results and stated the motion failed.
  • After consulting with parliamentarian at the meeting and agreeing on the point of order, another point of order was raised (untimely, I know) that the requirement was a majority
  • Parliamentarian then demurred providing an opinion.
  • Chair upheld ruling that 2/3 was required. and ruled point of order was not valid.
  • Appeal was raised and seconded. Again, the chair improperly stated 2/3 was required to appeal. Motion to appeal was never voted on or debated.

We have 2 weeks before the next regular meeting and I'm not sure what the most expeditious way to address this is. The chair definitely is using his position to prevent the motion to rescind to pass by misapplying rules and bylaws, intimidating members, and squashing appeals. Obviously we have a case for discipline, and can pursue, but specifically to the motion to rescind:

  1. Can the minutes be amended at the next meeting before adoption to change the disposition of the vote while retaining the vote itself, that is, can we keep the 21-17 vote, but record it as passed rather than failed. May require point of order, then an appeal, then another point of order to properly set appeal vote required to majority, then passing the motion to amend the minutes...
  2. We can renew the motion, but to maintain the majority vote threshold, would we have to announce intent to motion to rescind, wait another month, then revote?

I know now what I should/could have done as far as motions to table, recess, appeal, etc at the meeting where the chair was playing games, so I only need advice on go-forward options.

 

Any help is greatly appreciated.

 

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Thanks Hieu, I'm already overly familiar with the rules for motion to rescind :) Notice was given, thus reducing the requirement to majority. And yes, the minutes are a record of what was done.

You didn't really answer my question though, what is the most expeditious way to handle this situation? Can the minutes be amended before adoption to correct the mistake, so long as the vote counts are not amended? The amendment is to change this:

The vote was 21-17. A 2/3 majority was required thus the motion failed.

To this:

The vote was 21-17. A simple majority was required due to previous notice, thus the motion passed.

Is this allowed and all that is necessary to address this issue?

Would it be prudent to also contact secretary with notice of intent to renew motion to rescind, so we can fall back to a revote? This endorsement opens our coffers to the person endorsed and so as long as the endorsement stands, money can be disbursed, thus the urgency of getting the endorsement rescinded. Two months is too long to wait.

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33 minutes ago, amnesia said:

Can the minutes be amended before adoption to correct the mistake, so long as the vote counts are not amended? The amendment is to change this:

The vote was 21-17. A 2/3 majority was required thus the motion failed.

To this:

The vote was 21-17. A simple majority was required due to previous notice, thus the motion passed.

Is this allowed and all that is necessary to address this issue?

No.

Notice could be included in the call of the meeting.

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One last thought. The vote was taken as a rising vote. Per RR p. 411 ll. 19-21 and pp. 418-419, a recount can be moved at the next meeting. Would that suffice to address the issue? Like this:

A majority passes the vote to recount, the recount reviews the tally sheet, the vote is confirmed to be 21-17. If the chair insists a 2/3 is needed, his ruling is appealled, a majority is obtained to overrules his mistake, the majority threshold stands for the motion to rescind due to previous notice having been given and the recount is reported as a pass instead of a fail?

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7 hours ago, amnesia said:

I'm ran into an issue two weeks ago at a regular meeting which I'm hoping you can assist in resolving. Here's the brief:

  • Intent to make a Motion to Rescind was announced at the prior regular meeting, included in the minutes, and on the agenda for the following meeting.
  • Motion to Rescind was intended to rescind an endorsement of a candidate made earlier in the year which passed with a majority.
  • When the motion was presented, the chair incorrectly stated that a 2/3 vote was required to pass
  • Point of Order was raised stating only a majority was necessary due to prior announcement of intent to consider motion
  • Point of Order was ruled out of order, with the chair agreeing that previous notice was given, but vaguely citing a non-existent bylaw as reason for 2/3.
  • Motion to Appeal was raised and seconded from the floor.
  • Chair proceeded to rule that a 2/3 vote was required to successfully appeal. (Should have raised a point of order that this was false, I know)
  • Motion to appeal was never allowed to be voted on or debated.
  • Vote was taken on main motion to recind with 21 for, 17 against.
  • Chair announced results and stated the motion failed.
  • After consulting with parliamentarian at the meeting and agreeing on the point of order, another point of order was raised (untimely, I know) that the requirement was a majority
  • Parliamentarian then demurred providing an opinion.
  • Chair upheld ruling that 2/3 was required. and ruled point of order was not valid.
  • Appeal was raised and seconded. Again, the chair improperly stated 2/3 was required to appeal. Motion to appeal was never voted on or debated.

We have 2 weeks before the next regular meeting and I'm not sure what the most expeditious way to address this is. The chair definitely is using his position to prevent the motion to rescind to pass by misapplying rules and bylaws, intimidating members, and squashing appeals. Obviously we have a case for discipline, and can pursue, but specifically to the motion to rescind:

  1. Can the minutes be amended at the next meeting before adoption to change the disposition of the vote while retaining the vote itself, that is, can we keep the 21-17 vote, but record it as passed rather than failed. May require point of order, then an appeal, then another point of order to properly set appeal vote required to majority, then passing the motion to amend the minutes...
  2. We can renew the motion, but to maintain the majority vote threshold, would we have to announce intent to motion to rescind, wait another month, then revote?

I know now what I should/could have done as far as motions to table, recess, appeal, etc at the meeting where the chair was playing games, so I only need advice on go-forward options.

 

Any help is greatly appreciated.

 

1.  Minutes are a record of what happened, not what should have happened.  Amending the minutes is, first, improper, since they are accurate (but, of course, the body controls its minutes, so it can be done) and, second, ineffective - changing the minutes does not change what happened.  

2. In order to rescind with a majority vote, you need to give notice.  Unless your rules specify otherwise, that notice can be given prior to your next meeting and distributed with the call to meeting.  It doesn't have to be given at a meeting - again, unless you have rules to the contrary.  A majority of the entire membership will also work.

So, the question remains - what happened, in terms of decisions?  Here's how I see it:

A point of order is raised, and ruled not well taken (not "out of order.")  Apparently, whether or not the chair is right is a matter of bylaw interpretation, so I can't help you there.  The ruling was appealed - sort of.  The chair stated that the threshold for an appeal is 2/3 (in the affirmative or the negative?  An aye vote on an appeal sustains the chair's ruling, while a nay vote overturns it - I would guess the chair is trying to make it harder to overturn his ruling, but the words used don't say that).  Now, if left unchallenged, the chair's declaration of whether the motion was adopted or not adopted is key - if the chair uses the wrong threshold, the result still stands unless challenged at that time.  So if a majority, but not 2/3, voted to overturn, and the chair ruled that the body has sustained the ruling of the chair, then it is sustained.

However, somehow, no vote was taken, and I don't follow how that happened.  The chair seems to have said "this will require 2/3.  Are you ready for the question?  Ha ha, you can't have it - no voting!"  Is that what happened, or something different?  Certainly this appeal adheres to the main motion and so shouldn't still be pending...

From here on, I guess I'll just pretend the chair's ruling was sustained on appeal.

The chair announced the result and a point of order was raised.  I do not think this point of order was untimely, as it challenged the stated result which had just occurred.  It might be seen as dilatory if it is materially the same as one ruled on and sustained on appeal, though.  

From here, we have another of those weird appeal not voted on things.  I'll need more detail to understand how that happened.

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7 minutes ago, amnesia said:

One last thought. The vote was taken as a rising vote. Per RR p. 411 ll. 19-21 and pp. 418-419, a recount can be moved at the next meeting. Would that suffice to address the issue? Like this:

A majority passes the vote to recount, the recount reviews the tally sheet, the vote is confirmed to be 21-17. If the chair insists a 2/3 is needed, his ruling is appealled, a majority is obtained to overrules his mistake, the majority threshold stands for the motion to rescind due to previous notice having been given and the recount is reported as a pass instead of a fail?

The purpose of a recount is "to ensure that the count is precisely correct as reported" (RONR, 11th ed., p. 410, ll. 33-35).

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This is my confusion: while RR stipulates the requirements to initiate a recount, it contains no description of the recount process. As you stated, the purpose is "to ensure that the count is precisely correct as reported". However, what is of significance is that the implicit effect of a recount is to either uphold or overturn an vote as announced. Otherwise why recount? Would it not follow that at the conclusion of a recount, the results of the recount would be announced along with the chair's declaration of the result of the vote, per whatever requirements for the vote to pass/fail?

As an example, let's say a vote passed 100-99 with a simple majority required, if paper ballots were used and the recount revealed that the vote tally was actually 99-100, the vote would then be announced as failed per the results of the recount.

The fact that the tellers' tally report can be used for recounting a standing vote must lend credence to my position. If a recount is ordered immediately, it's effect is to validate the number of standing voters equals what is written down. However, p. 411 l. 21 holds recounts of a rising vote to the same rules as ballots on 418-419, which allow the recount to be ordered at the next regular meeting. That next regular meeting would not necessarily have the same members as the meeting where the vote was originally taken, therefore, recount must go beyond physically asking everyone to stand back up to validate the tellers' tally report is accurate and extend to the purpose of the section that contains the recount criteria "Tellers Report and the Chair's Declaration of the Result". Why allow it to be recounted at the next meeting if it doesn't?

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6 hours ago, amnesia said:

This is my confusion: while RR stipulates the requirements to initiate a recount, it contains no description of the recount process. As you stated, the purpose is "to ensure that the count is precisely correct as reported". However, what is of significance is that the implicit effect of a recount is to either uphold or overturn an vote as announced. Otherwise why recount? Would it not follow that at the conclusion of a recount, the results of the recount would be announced along with the chair's declaration of the result of the vote, per whatever requirements for the vote to pass/fail?

As an example, let's say a vote passed 100-99 with a simple majority required, if paper ballots were used and the recount revealed that the vote tally was actually 99-100, the vote would then be announced as failed per the results of the recount.

The fact that the tellers' tally report can be used for recounting a standing vote must lend credence to my position. If a recount is ordered immediately, it's effect is to validate the number of standing voters equals what is written down. However, p. 411 l. 21 holds recounts of a rising vote to the same rules as ballots on 418-419, which allow the recount to be ordered at the next regular meeting. That next regular meeting would not necessarily have the same members as the meeting where the vote was originally taken, therefore, recount must go beyond physically asking everyone to stand back up to validate the tellers' tally report is accurate and extend to the purpose of the section that contains the recount criteria "Tellers Report and the Chair's Declaration of the Result". Why allow it to be recounted at the next meeting if it doesn't?

When a recount is ordered of a counted, rising vote, what are recounted are the tellers' tabulations. These are the tellers' tally sheets referred to on page 411, lines 19-21, which, in order to have a recount, must have been retained pursuant to the rules on pages 418-19. The purpose of the recount is simply to check the correctness of the tellers' mathematics; to ensure that the sums arrived at when adding up the numbers reflected on the tally sheets were correct. 

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After perusing the forums, I can see that the subject of recounts is still an area that is open to interpretations, given the cursory treatment given to it in the 11th edition. I really hope the 12th will clarify recounts. On the upside, all this research only makes me more knowledgeable for future cases and limits the chairs ability to game the system.

In the meantime, I think I've come up with a plan of attack to address the miscarriage of proper order at the last meeting.

  1. Placing on the call a motion to conduct a recount. If the body chooses to allow the recount to correct the tellers report with the correct majority required for passage, the previous vote can stand as passed.
  2. Possibly attempt a Point of Order relating to a continuing breach? This is a much trickier argument. The bylaws allow the executive board to disburse funds to endorsed candidates. Because, the vote was improperly announced as failed, it allows a continuing breach of the bylaws in that the executive board can continue to disburse funds to a candidate whose endorsement was validly rescinded.
  3. Get the renewal of the motion to rescind on the meeting call as a backup plan. That way if we have to renew and vote on the rescind again, we can do so with a simple majority. If the chair insists on a 2/3rds, I raise a Point of Order, and if necessary I appeal with a majority voting nay to not uphold the chair's decision. We then vote with a simple majority to rescind and we're done.

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4 hours ago, amnesia said:

After perusing the forums, I can see that the subject of recounts is still an area that is open to interpretations, given the cursory treatment given to it in the 11th edition. I really hope the 12th will clarify recounts. On the upside, all this research only makes me more knowledgeable for future cases and limits the chairs ability to game the system.

In the meantime, I think I've come up with a plan of attack to address the miscarriage of proper order at the last meeting.

  1. Placing on the call a motion to conduct a recount. If the body chooses to allow the recount to correct the tellers report with the correct majority required for passage, the previous vote can stand as passed.
  2. Possibly attempt a Point of Order relating to a continuing breach? This is a much trickier argument. The bylaws allow the executive board to disburse funds to endorsed candidates. Because, the vote was improperly announced as failed, it allows a continuing breach of the bylaws in that the executive board can continue to disburse funds to a candidate whose endorsement was validly rescinded.
  3. Get the renewal of the motion to rescind on the meeting call as a backup plan. That way if we have to renew and vote on the rescind again, we can do so with a simple majority. If the chair insists on a 2/3rds, I raise a Point of Order, and if necessary I appeal with a majority voting nay to not uphold the chair's decision. We then vote with a simple majority to rescind and we're done.

No 3 is the way to go. Neither 1 nor 2 is in accordance with the rules.

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Amnesia,

Tip for you:

• "Never spring a parliamentary rule on a chairman if you can finesse the 'snafu' by pre-springing it early, i.e., before the meeting."

In other words:

• "Do not wait until the meeting hour to pick up the telephone and ask your chair what the chair thinks the parliamentary rule is."

If your chair had hardened his stance, then the parliamentary situation goes in one direction.

If your chair had been enlightened on the true applicable rule (here, the vote threshold), then the parliamentary situation goes in a completely different direction.

***

(This philosophy is taken from "The Art of War" by Sun Tzu (circa 450 B.C.E.))

 

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Kim, I understand the desire for peace and how, if your "enemy" is willing to bend, in the words of Sun Tzu, "the supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting." Unfortunately, I didn't have the luxury of being able to pre-question the parliamentary rule as no-one expected him to mis-apply the threshold and then make up a bylaw that didn't exist. He was ready for a particular process, which was wrong, and when confronted, decided to fight instead of reasoning on the points. He expected a fight between the two sides of the debate, but didn't expect a fight between himself and the rules. I think he considered a heavy hand better than appearing weak and inviting a ruckus. Regardless, he had a responsibility to uphold the rules, not his preconceptions of them, and the membership is now out for blood. I'm just trying to figure out a way to calm a crowd with pitchforks before they storm the castle and allowing the proper rules to do the fighting seems to be the most honorable way to accomplish that. But to take issue with your Art of War, Sun Tzu didn't advocate telegraphing your moves. Even more, he stated point blank, "all warfare is based on deception", "let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt." and finally "Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected."

The motion to rescind isn't the only issue he's been playing fast and loose with, it's just the spark next to the dry tinder. Just in the last two meetings he has been setting debate limits without a motion or vote or authority in the rules or bylaws, denying members the right to attend meetings without formal disciplinary hearings, making decisions in executive board session that the bylaws explicitly state the membership has to approve and then not seeking approval, denying members the right to speak in debate when they are entitled to, not acknowledging points of order or parliamentary inquiries from certain members when in order, preventing new business from being presented without prior approval (not required by the bylaws or any other rules)... At the meeting where the intent to make the motion to rescind was introduced, he fought to kill it in the crib, so his twisting of the rules at the meeting where it was actually debated and voted on wasn't surprising and just fed into the narrative of the pitchfork wielders. No matter how egregious the chair acts, most of these are newer members who cannot vote on removal procedures until their election is confirmed in November. The existing members that qualify to vote for removal have little reason to do so if his derelictions of duty benefit their positions. At the conclusion of the meeting (without going into a lot of detail) and we suggested a way for the board to save face and disarm the growing discord, something I hope they do, rendering all this a moot point. Time will tell.

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4 hours ago, amnesia said:

Unfortunately, I didn't have the luxury of being able to pre-question the parliamentary rule

You have that luxury now, and I think Kim was suggesting you avail yourself of it.  Perhaps bring him a fresh new copy of RONR in Brief and if feeling very generous, the full RONR. At the very least I would hope your presiding officer will see that the 2/3 requirement for an appeal can't be right. As for the motion to rescind, he is also probably not right, but the "vague reference" to a bylaw means there might be some interpretation issue. Maybe you could ask about that too, while sharing a cup of tea.

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I want to apologize if I've appeared ungracious for everyone's help. Thank you so much. It's a delicate balancing act trying to remain dispassionate about the proceedings I've witnessed and I've probably given an unintended impression. I also want to apologize if I've withheld any information that could have helped you grasp the particulars. I'm being cautious about revealing the org in question while we work out the kinks. I really don't care one way or the other if the motion to rescind was successful or not, but watching the rules being broken and seeing the membership's anger at being denied fair proceedings fires me up. If they failed the motion fairly, so be it, but to see it denied them out of either incompetence or malice, it's a big deal to me. Anyway, I've been consulting with the parliamentarian from a higher body in our org and he's helping me out as well, so I'm sure we'll get past this hump.

Regarding interfacing with the chair, I made a point to approach the chair after the meeting to express no hard feelings about my attempts to make sure the rules were being followed. I also expressed a desire to review the rules and work together to address some of the issues with broken rules, however my attempts to work with him were rebuffed. I was informed that he was a "political scientist" and knew all the rules backwards and forwards, and that he did not need to review the rules or bylaws. Needless to say, I was very discouraged by his conduct both during the meetings and then his attitude afterwards when we spoke privately. The poor parliamentarian recently appointed is just out of their depth and was very apologetic about their lack of knowledge and experience. If I can't work with the chair, I may have more success interfacing with the parliamentarian and making sure we are on the same page with regards to the rules so they can research and be prepared to address some of the upcoming points of order to bring the group back into compliance with its bylaws and RONR.

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8 hours ago, amnesia said:

I was informed that he was a "political scientist" and knew all the rules backwards and forwards

Ugh, I have been in your shoes. People who misunderstand the rules I can help. But stubborn folks who will stick to their misconceptions (either because they are self proclaimed experts or 'we have always done it this way') and not even try to learn, I cannot tolerate.  I wish you the best of luck, and I think your course of action is probably the best.

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