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Guest Louis Cartier

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Guest Louis Cartier

Does the secretary of a Board have any discretion in reading letters from organization members, particularly when there are assertions about individual board members that cannot or haven't been substantiated?  There are references in RRO that limit language from one member of a Board to another in a meeting such as liar, fraud, etc.  How are they applied when a stakeholder of the organizations uses this language?  Also, is the primary purpose of the secretary reading the letters to make sure the Board members are informed?  If the same letters were communicated to the Board members though other means, such as fax or email, must they be read aloud?

How would the secretary's role differ for an annual member meeting tather than a Board meeting when all members in attendance may not have received the communication but it contains personal accusations about a Board member?

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29 minutes ago, Guest Louis Cartier said:

Does the secretary of a Board have any discretion

in reading letters from organization members,

particularly when there are assertions about individual board members that cannot or haven't been substantiated?

No (i.e., a secretary has no discretion. The secretary cannot read those letters.)

Under Robert's Rules of Order, incoming letters are not read aloud.

RONR does make one exception to that rule (regarding those letters from a superior body).

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Guest Louis Cartier
22 hours ago, Kim Goldsworthy said:

No (i.e., a secretary has no discretion. The secretary cannot read those letters.)

Under Robert's Rules of Order, incoming letters are not read aloud.

RONR does make one exception to that rule (regarding those letters from a superior body).

Can you provide a reference?  We are undergoing a bit of a storm on this topic.  Thank you.

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The page citation is page 28 (section 3). -- subtitle: "Motions growing out of reports or communications".

***

Not mentioned, but implied, is that junk mail, obscene mail, and generally inappropriate mail is not read aloud.

Nonprofit organizations do get unsolicited mail. -- Just because a letter is addressed to the "President" or to the "Secretary" does not automatically qualify that letter to be shared with members.

In your case:

A letter which accuses a member of a serious crime, or which accuses a member of behavior worthy of disciplinary action, is not allowed. -- Because such language is not allowed in debate, it certainly cannot be allowed an ordinary communication.

***

Consider this.

• As a president presents his regular report, or as a secretary presents his regular report, the officer may mention or summarize a letter of importance, or a telephone call of importance, or an e-mail of importance.

But if the letter contains inappropriate language, like accusations, innuendo, and libel/slander, that language is out of order.

***

So, again, "No," your secretary cannot read aloud just any old letter addressed to "President" or "Secretary", just because it is addressed so.

• Legitimate business, yes.

• Tarnishing the reputation of a member, no.

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