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NancySkiff

Adjournment before Speaker yields the Floor

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I attended our Annual General Meeting for our Condo Association.  I waited patiently while other owners were recognized by the President to rise and take the podium.  When the President recognized me, I stood, took the podium and started to speak.  After about a minute and while I was speaking, the President took a motion from the floor to adjourn the meeting.  I promptly told the President numerous times that I had not yielded the floor.  He ignored me and took a vote.  The meeting was adjourned and I was left standing at the podium.

Can a meeting be adjourned while a member is speaking and the member has not yielded the floor to the chair?  

I do have a copy of Robert's Rules of Order 11th edition, but it doesn't answer my question since in this case I already had the floor.   Page 240 (5) If the chair learns, immediately after declaring the assembly adjourned, that a member seeking the floor for one of these purposes had risen and addressed the chair before the adjournment was declared, then, since the adjournment was improper and this breach was promptly noted, the chair must call the meeting  back to order---but only long enough or the purpose for which the member legitimately sought the floor.

Many thanks.

Nancy

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The motion to Adjourn is out of order when another has the floor.   [RONR 11th ed. page 228, line 9.]

Unless your time had expired, the chair acted improperly.   In fact, even if your time had expired, the chair acted improperly, since he should first have told you that your time had expired, and then recognized the person seeking to move to adjourn, which it sounds like he did not do.

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7 minutes ago, Gary Novosielski said:

The motion to Adjourn is out of order when another has the floor.

Unless your time had expired, the chair acted improperly.   In fact, even if your time had expired, the chair acted improperly, since he should first have told you that your time had expired, and then recognized the person seeking to move to adjourn, which it sounds like he did not do.

But how 'bout the consequence That old devil consequence

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cabin_in_the_Sky_(film)  and on edit http://lyricsplayground.com/alpha/songs/c/cabininthesky_soundtrack.shtml )

Edited by Clurichan
full lyrics, etc.

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The consequence would have been raising of a Point of Order that adjournment was not in order followed by a ruling by the chair, which, if unfavorable would be subject (with a second) to Appeal and a majority vote.

At this late date, a point of order would no longer be timely.  You could introduce a motion to censure (reprimand) the chair for violating the rights of a member, but it would have no other effect than to express displeasure, and you'd need majority support to pass it. 

Edited to add:

See the third descriptive characteristic of Adjourn:  [RONR 11th ed. page 228, line 9.]    "3.  Is out of order when another has the floor."

Edited by Gary Novosielski
Add citation for Adjourn.

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1 hour ago, NancySkiff said:

Can a meeting be adjourned while a member is speaking and the member has not yielded the floor to the chair? 

While it is out of order for the interruption to occur, if the interruption does occur, and if the motion is made To Adjourn, and if the motion To Adjourn is adopted, then, unless a Point of Order is immediately raised, the vote stands, and the meeting stands adjourned.

So, yes, "a meeting can be adjourned while  member is speaking".

The violation (viz., to entertain an interruption which, by rule, cannot interrupt a speaker) is a minor violation, and won't invalidate the motion, or invalidate the meeting.

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On 11/27/2016 at 3:36 PM, Kim Goldsworthy said:

The violation (viz., to entertain an interruption which, by rule, cannot interrupt a speaker) is a minor violation, and won't invalidate the motion, or invalidate the meeting.

You think that the chair's interruption of a member who has the floor, and who repeatedly reminds the chair that she has the floor, in order to improperly state a motion to adjourn the meeting is a minor violation?

In truth, we don't know in what capacity the member actually had the floor and whether there was a time limit, but let's put that point aside for the moment.

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In reply.

A violation which is not a continuing breach, is a violation which is "minor" in the sense that, its violation does not lead to any kind of nullification of the transacted business.

It may be "major" in a psychological sense, or in a political sense, or in an ethical sense.

But in the parliamentary sense, the error remains as mere parliamentary error, due to no point of order and no appeal being offered by a second member.

***
In the opinion of the majority of the members present, the violation was not worth the labor or effort of a timely point of order/appeal.

So, from the original post, the membership itself did not consider the violation major. --That context is quite telling, in my opinion. -- The chair's evaluation of the situation must have matched 99% of the members present. Why else the dead silence?

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On 11/27/2016 at 2:17 PM, NancySkiff said:

I attended our Annual General Meeting for our Condo Association.  I waited patiently while other owners were recognized by the President to rise and take the podium.  When the President recognized me, I stood, took the podium and started to speak.  After about a minute and while I was speaking, the President took a motion from the floor to adjourn the meeting.  I promptly told the President numerous times that I had not yielded the floor.  He ignored me and took a vote.  The meeting was adjourned and I was left standing at the podium.

 

11 hours ago, Kim Goldsworthy said:

But in the parliamentary sense, the error remains as mere parliamentary error, due to no point of order and no appeal being offered by a second member.

Really?  It seems to me Nancy did more than her due diligence in raising a point of order.  Her point was ignored without a ruling, therefore there doesn't seem to be an opportunity to have an appeal.  Does it invalidate business?  No.  Was it minor in the parliamentary sense?  No. Ignoring her in this case, based upon what Nancy has said, is not a minor error or a proper way to preside.  

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Guest Who's Coming to Dinner

This would have been an opportunity for Nancy to put the Point of Order to a vote herself since the chair repeatedly ignored her. Now that would make an interesting meeting.

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17 hours ago, Godelfan said:

I have been to many meetings where people did not know how to raise points of order.  It is like the Passover Seder - some sons must be taught even if they do not know what to ask.

Why is this night different--subject to Appeal?

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Review the context:

   • This was an annual meeting.

   • The motion, to adjourn the annual meeting, was adopted.

What does this imply?

It probably implies that the original poster was speaking on a topic which the majority of the members present thought was of less value than "going home."

It probably implies that the portion of the meeting was in the "good of the order / general welfaire" kind of business. -- All talk. No motions.

***

If you interrupt a speaker when there is no motion on the floor, that interruption is probably a minor violation, and not a major violation.

Robert's Rules of Order does allow a speaker to be interrupted, for a subset of motions. -- See tinted page 40, for a list of ten such motions.

So the "interruption" isn't an act to be accorded the level of egregious violation, when there are ten legitimate opportunities to do exactly that.

It's no "fundamental principle."

If it is not a fundamental principle, then it must be something else.

I think it is indeed "something else."

I await details from the original poster to suggest that the violation was something more.

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2 minutes ago, Kim Goldsworthy said:

Review the context:

   • This was an annual meeting.

   • The motion, to adjourn the annual meeting, was adopted.

What does this imply?

It probably implies that the original poster was speaking on a topic which the majority of the members present thought was of less value than "going home."

It probably implies that the portion of the meeting was in the "good of the order / general welfaire" kind of business. -- All talk. No motions.

***

If you interrupt a speaker when there is no motion on the floor, that interruption is probably a minor violation, and not a major violation.

Robert's Rules of Order does allow a speaker to be interrupted, for a subset of motions. -- See tinted page 40, for a list of ten such motions.

So the "interruption" isn't an act to be accorded the level of egregious violation, when there are ten legitimate opportunities to do exactly that.

It's no "fundamental principle."

If it is not a fundamental principle, then it must be something else.

I think it is indeed "something else."

I await details from the original poster to suggest that the violation was something more.

I think that the fact that there are ten, or twelve, or twenty legitimate opportunities to interrupt are hardly persuasive when the subject situation is not one of them.

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30 minutes ago, Kim Goldsworthy said:

Review the context:

   • This was an annual meeting.

   • The motion, to adjourn the annual meeting, was adopted.

What does this imply?

It probably implies that the original poster was speaking on a topic which the majority of the members present thought was of less value than "going home."

It probably implies that the portion of the meeting was in the "good of the order / general welfaire" kind of business. -- All talk. No motions.

Yes, I think it is fair to say that a majority of the members present preferred to go home rather than listen to the member speak. As to the latter point, I think that it is certainly a possibility - it is not clear to me whether a motion was pending - but I don't think we can assume that no motion was pending.

30 minutes ago, Kim Goldsworthy said:

Robert's Rules of Order does allow a speaker to be interrupted, for a subset of motions. -- See tinted page 40, for a list of ten such motions.

So the "interruption" isn't an act to be accorded the level of egregious violation, when there are ten legitimate opportunities to do exactly that.

It's no "fundamental principle."

If it is not a fundamental principle, then it must be something else.

I think it is indeed "something else."

No one has suggested that the violation is egregious enough to constitute a continuing breach, nor that the violation of a fundamental principle is involved. It is indeed "something else." All that has been suggested is that there are different degrees of "something else." The fact that a violation does not constitute a continuing breach does not mean it is "minor," as you have previously suggested.

As I understand the facts, the chair permitted a motion to adjourn to be made while a member legitimately had the floor. In and of itself, this might be viewed as the chair being woefully misinformed about the rules on the motion to adjourn. This is unfortunate, but if the story had ended there, I'd probably just advise the OP to talk to the chair about it before the next meeting, and everything should get sorted out for future meetings.

What happened next is a horse of a different color. The member who had the floor informed the chair several times that she had not yielded the floor. Rather than responding to the member's complaint with a ruling or explanation, the chair ignored the member and proceeded to put the motion to adjourn to a vote. This seems to me to be an instance of "gaveling through" the proceedings, and while this does not invalidate the meeting or any of the business conducted wherein, it casts serious doubts as to the chair's fitness for the duty of presiding. I would not, therefore, describe this violation as "minor."

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Thank you for all your comments.  I can assure you that Josh is correct; the violation was not "minor".  I was defending myself from false statements made in a letter that the Board distributed during the meeting and the Vice President read out loud for all in attendance.  I was not shown the letter before the meeting and it was not on the Agenda.  The letter was libelous and once read probably became slander.

I have talked to the President about adjourning the meeting while I was speaking and he insists he did no wrong.  

Again, thank you for the time you spend on answering these questions.  They are very helpful and I appreciate all the work you do.

Nancy

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28 minutes ago, NancySkiff said:

Thank you for all your comments.  I can assure you that Josh is correct; the violation was not "minor".  I was defending myself from false statements made in a letter that the Board distributed during the meeting and the Vice President read out loud for all in attendance.  I was not shown the letter before the meeting and it was not on the Agenda.  The letter was libelous and once read probably became slander.

I have talked to the President about adjourning the meeting while I was speaking and he insists he did no wrong.  

Again, thank you for the time you spend on answering these questions.  They are very helpful and I appreciate all the work you do.

I can't speak to whether the letter constitutes libel or slander (those are legal issues), but it sounds like the content of the letter was certainly indecorous and, for that reason, should not have been read. You did indeed have the right to raise a Question of Privilege to address the false statements made in the letter.

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On 11/28/2016 at 7:15 PM, Shmuel Gerber said:

You think that the chair's interruption of a member who has the floor, and who repeatedly reminds the chair that she has the floor, in order to improperly state a motion to adjourn the meeting is a minor violation?

In truth, we don't know in what capacity the member actually had the floor and whether there was a time limit, but let's put that point aside for the moment.

We also don't know if the time set for adjournment (that might have been reached). 

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47 minutes ago, J. J. said:

We also don't know if the time set for adjournment (that might have been reached). 

In that case, the chair certainly should neither have entertained a motion to adjourn nor taken the vote on such a motion.

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On 12/27/2016 at 9:52 PM, Shmuel Gerber said:

In that case, the chair certainly should neither have entertained a motion to adjourn nor taken the vote on such a motion.

Agreed, but perhaps the assembly should have adjourned at that point.  

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