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Wrong Ruling by the Chair


Guest Gene
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Our By-Laws state "In all meetings of the congregation the majority of the votes cast shall decide all questions".  A motion was voted on and received a majority of the votes cast.  The Chair ruled that it did not pass because a majority of those members who signed in was required (a few had left but a quorum was still present ~ 3 times what was needed, and some did not vote).  A point of order was made that only a majority of those voting was needed.  Chair stuck with his ruling and stated that the motion did not pass.  Since the meeting the Chair has been informed in writing of his error and that the motion should stand as passed and that his ruling is null and void.  Is this correct?  What should/can the Chair do now.  Does the fact the motion passed and should be implemented take precedence over the Chair's ruling that it did not pass.

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3 hours ago, Hieu H. Huynh said:

Generally, an appeal could be made on the chair's ruling on a point of order at that time. It is too late to make an appeal now. The defeated motion could be renewed at the next meeting.

Since the chair took action that was clearly in violation of the bylaws, why is it now too late to raise a point of order (RONR p. 251, l. 25)?

Or was his action not in violation of the Bylaws?

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1 hour ago, Willie Watson said:

Since the chair took action that was clearly in violation of the bylaws, why is it now too late to raise a point of order (RONR p. 251, l. 25)?

Or was his action not in violation of the Bylaws?

Because even though the provision on the vote requirement to adopt a motion is in the bylaws, it is a provision in the nature of a rule of order. If there was a violation, it was a procedural violation, and not a substantive violation.  The announcement by the chair of whether a motion passed is final unless objected to by a timely point of order.  That was apparently done, but the chair apparently found that the point of order was not well taken and that his decision stands.  That ruling was not appealed to the assembly, so it is is final.  An appeal to the assembly would have required a timely appeal and would have to have been made immediately.  It does not constitute a continuing breach.

So, the motion stands as defeated.  As Mr. Huynh said, it can be renewed (made again) at the next meeting, but RONR provides no way for anyone or even for the membership to arbitrarily reverse the chair's ruling now after the fact.  Just make the motion again at the next meeting and make sure everyone knows what the vote threshold is.

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6 hours ago, Guest Gene said:

Our By-Laws state "In all meetings of the congregation the majority of the votes cast shall decide all questions".  A motion was voted on and received a majority of the votes cast.  The Chair ruled that it did not pass because a majority of those members who signed in was required (a few had left but a quorum was still present ~ 3 times what was needed, and some did not vote).  A point of order was made that only a majority of those voting was needed.  Chair stuck with his ruling and stated that the motion did not pass.  Since the meeting the Chair has been informed in writing of his error and that the motion should stand as passed and that his ruling is null and void.  Is this correct?

No.

6 hours ago, Guest Gene said:

What should/can the Chair do now.

The chair should inform the assembly that his ruling was in error, however, it is too late too raise a Point of Order regarding the issue at this time. He should suggest that the supporters of the motion make the motion again.

6 hours ago, Guest Gene said:

Does the fact the motion passed and should be implemented take precedence over the Chair's ruling that it did not pass.

No, the fact is that the motion didn't pass. The chair declared that the motion was not adopted. A member raised a Point of Order, and the chair ruled the point not well taken. No Appeal was raised from the decision of the chair. The motion should have passed, but it didn't.

3 hours ago, Willie Watson said:

Since the chair took action that was clearly in violation of the bylaws, why is it now too late to raise a point of order (RONR p. 251, l. 25)?

Or was his action not in violation of the Bylaws?

His action was in violation of the bylaws, but it helps if you read the full text instead of paraphrasing.

"The only exceptions to the rule that a point of order must be made at the time of the breach arise in connection with breaches that are of a continuing nature, in which case a point of order can be made at any time during the continuance of the breach. Instances of this kind occur when: 
    a)    a main motion has been adopted that conflicts with the bylaws (or constitution) of the organization or assembly," (RONR, 11th ed., pg. 251)

It does not say "any action has been taken that conflicts with the bylaws." It says "a main motion has been adopted that conflicts with the bylaws." This exception would apply if the assembly adopted a main motion, and the wording of that motion was in conflict with the bylaws. The chair's declaration and subsequent ruling are not main motions. None of the other exceptions on pg. 251 apply either, so a Point of Order must be raised promptly after the breach occurs, and an Appeal must be raised promptly after the chair's ruling on the Point of Order.

So it's too late now, but it's not the end of the world. Just make the motion again.

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