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Guest Beech Richards

Appointment of Committee

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Guest Beech Richards

This  is a question on whether a debate is called for.

Organization of 1000 (hereafter Assembly) is looking to fill position of president.  The elected officers (10 members of organization, selected by Assembly).

Officers solicit nominations for Assembly Members to be on a committee to recommend the next President.  A list of 10 members are selected by the Officers, who refer to this as the Nominating Slate.

The Nominating Slate is put before the Assembly to be voted on for approval and an Assembly meeting.  A Motion (in my opinion) is presented to the Moderator, who calls for a vote of Aye to approve the Slate, No to reject the Slate.  However, no Debate is allowed among the members of the Assembly.  Specifically, a member requested a period of debate, and was told, "there will be no debate" by the moderator.

(There was no motion to suppress debate, nor are there by-laws that prevent debate that are known to the membership.  In past meetings, debate has been allowed, but not acted upon.)

Is this appropriate?  Is there a clause somewhere to prevent debate, via something that looks like a motion, but is not a motion?

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4 minutes ago, Guest Beech Richards said:

This  is a question on whether a debate is called for.

Organization of 1000 (hereafter Assembly) is looking to fill position of president.  The elected officers (10 members of organization, selected by Assembly).

Officers solicit nominations for Assembly Members to be on a committee to recommend the next President.  A list of 10 members are selected by the Officers, who refer to this as the Nominating Slate.

The Nominating Slate is put before the Assembly to be voted on for approval and an Assembly meeting.  A Motion (in my opinion) is presented to the Moderator, who calls for a vote of Aye to approve the Slate, No to reject the Slate.  However, no Debate is allowed among the members of the Assembly.  Specifically, a member requested a period of debate, and was told, "there will be no debate" by the moderator.

(There was no motion to suppress debate, nor are there by-laws that prevent debate that are known to the membership.  In past meetings, debate has been allowed, but not acted upon.)

Is this appropriate?  Is there a clause somewhere to prevent debate, via something that looks like a motion, but is not a motion?

Nominations may be debated when it is in order to make them.  Under the rules in RONR when a nominating committee presents its report the floor is then opened for further nominations and debate can be held at that time.  The election itself is not debatable.  What is very improper is to vote up or down on a slate of candidates unless that's exactly what your bylaws call for.  

Edited by George Mervosh

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Guest Beech Richards
11 minutes ago, George Mervosh said:

Nominations may be debated when it is in order to make them.  Under the rules in RONR when a nominating committee presents its report the floor is then opened for further nominations and debate can be held at that time.  The election itself is not debatable.  What is very improper is to vote up or down on a slate of candidates unless that's exactly what your bylaws call for.  

George, thank you.

I want to be clear, we weren't approving the slate of nominations for President--we were approving the group of people (all 10, all at once) that will be charged with seeking out candidates, interviewing, and ultimately recommending our new President.  They will present their single nomination to our Assembly in 6 months, where we will vote to accept the new President, or reject them.  (It's a hiring process.)

I understand that Nominations are typically not debated.  But, in my mind, this was a ratification, not a nomination.  The nominations had taken place previously.  They did allow for a period of Nomination after the motion.  And, again, that would be nomination to be on the committee, not to fill the role.  None were made, and they jumped directly to The Question.

 

Again, thank you!  I've been reading for 3 days, and haven't found where they otherwise did this appropriately.

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Well, you still shouldn't be voting on a slate, whether it's to fill a committee or officers, but back to your question.......

9 minutes ago, Guest Beech Richards said:

I understand that Nominations are typically not debated.  But, in my mind, this was a ratification, not a nomination.  The nominations had taken place previously.  They did allow for a period of Nomination after the motion.  And, again, that would be nomination to be on the committee, not to fill the role.  None were made, and they jumped directly to The Question.

That was your window for debate. Even though no further nominations were put forth, debate would have been proper on the names presented.  See RONR, tinted pages 18-19, motion 49.

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Guest Beech Richards
9 minutes ago, George Mervosh said:

Well, you still shouldn't be voting on a slate, whether it's to fill a committee or officers, but back to your question.......

That was your window for debate. Even though no further nominations were put forth, debate would have been proper on the names presented.  See RONR, tinted pages 18-19, motion 49.

I see.  Thank you for your assistance.

At the point where Nominations were asked for, the moderator stated there would be no discussion.  What I think you're saying is, during the Nominations, it would have been proper to make a comment.  At the time (and afterwards, as I have specifically asked), the moderator was clear, there would be no discussion and/or debate.

Also, we were instructed that if we made a nomination, we also had to nominate someone to be removed from the currently recommended committee.  Specifically, if I wanted to nominate Ann, I had to do so, and also state that I wanted Ann to replace John, for example.

 

On the "slate" part, I wonder if that word has a meaning I'm not privy to, with respect to parlance.  I think the right word(s) for it would be Nominating Committee.  But, what I'm hearing still is, "yeah, but you don't typically vote on that, unless it is in your bylaws."

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25 minutes ago, Guest Beech Richards said:

At the point where Nominations were asked for, the moderator stated there would be no discussion.  What I think you're saying is, during the Nominations, it would have been proper to make a comment.  At the time (and afterwards, as I have specifically asked), the moderator was clear, there would be no discussion and/or debate.

The moderator is not correct. Nominations are debatable when it is in order to make them.

25 minutes ago, Guest Beech Richards said:

Also, we were instructed that if we made a nomination, we also had to nominate someone to be removed from the currently recommended committee.  Specifically, if I wanted to nominate Ann, I had to do so, and also state that I wanted Ann to replace John, for example.

Hogwash. 

25 minutes ago, Guest Beech Richards said:

On the "slate" part, I wonder if that word has a meaning I'm not privy to, with respect to parlance.  I think the right word(s) for it would be Nominating Committee.  But, what I'm hearing still is, "yeah, but you don't typically vote on that, unless it is in your bylaws."

No matter what it's for you don't vote up or down on an entire list of names, correct.

Edited by George Mervosh

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8 hours ago, Guest Beech Richards said:

I want to be clear,

we weren't approving the slate of nominations for President --

we were approving the group of people (all 10, all at once)

that will be charged with seeking out candidates, interviewing, and ultimately recommending our new President.  

They will present their single nomination to our Assembly in 6 months,

where we will vote to accept the new President, or reject them.

Ah!

You didn't use the right adjective for your committee, so some readers may have been mis-led on what this committee shall accomplish.

The technical term for such a committee is a "nominating committee".

If you want to call it a "search" committee, that is a non-parliamentary term, but does describe your nominating committee.

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Guest Beech Richards

Thanks for replying, Kim.

 

So, is a "Nominating Committee" considered a Nomination, and precludes debate?  I'm being told by the powers that be that, this was a nomination, and nominations aren't debated.

I don't believe it was a nomination, though.  Because, we had an "open nomination" a month ago, where members could submit people to be considered for the committee.

They are telling me that this was not a motion, it was an election.  But, wouldn't an election require an Office?

Bottom line, I feel that denying debate was a breech of the rules.  Am I right or wrong?  Why have a vote at all if there is no ability to discuss it?

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Guest Beech Richards

I think I need to revisit my question, because I fear there's been some assumption as to the proceedings.  My question is this:  Should debate have occurred at some point during these proceedings, prior to the up/down vote?

  1. Two months ago, outside of a Meeting, members were told they could supply names of candidates to form a Nominating Committee.
  2. The "Board" took those nominations, and created a list of 10 names to be the Nominating Committee.
  3. Members were told when the meeting would be, and that a vote to approve the Nominating Committee would occur.
  4. Fast-forward to the meeting:
  5. The meeting was brought to order
  6. The moderator stated that Mr R. (a board member) would read the recommendation of the board, to appoint these 10 people as the Nominating Committee.
  7. He read the names, and asked those members to step forward.  (I do not recall specifically if he said "I move," or "I propose," or what.  He may not have said anything other than the names.)
  8. The moderator then said that other nominations could be taken from the floor.  He said that if you made a nomination, you must also select one of the 10 to be removed from the Nominating Committee.  No nominations were made.
  9. He then closed nominations and said "We will now take a vote."
  10. A member stood and called for discussion (debate) about the committee.
  11. The moderator said there would be no debate.
  12. The moderator proceeded to ask for the Ayes, then the Nays.

Here's what I want to know.  Should there have been debate?

Understand, this was not "old business."  There was no need for the committee at the previous meeting of the membership.  Thus, the members' only input into the process was to make nominations via email prior to the Board selecting the Nominating Committee.

A second question--if there is provision in Robert's Rules for there to be no debate on this issue, should there have even been a vote?

Is it possible to have a vote where there is never a period of debate for the membership?

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Guest Beech Richards

The powers that be say "this was a nomination, and nominations are not debatable."

I think this was a ratification.  The membership was never previously given the opportunity to discuss the committee collectively.

The organization had, prior to the meeting, announced the 10 people, and presented their bios.  The "board" (I had previously referred to them as the Officers) provided information about how these 10 people were perfect, and awesome, and great, and how there were no better qualified people to be found, anywhere, ever, since the beginning of time (yes, I am being a bit sarcastic.  My apologies.  However, the communication did include a lot of high-fives and back-pats among the "board" on what a great job they had done in finalizing this Committee.)

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2 hours ago, Guest Beech Richards said:

I think I need to revisit my question, because I fear there's been some assumption as to the proceedings.  My question is this:  Should debate have occurred at some point during these proceedings, prior to the up/down vote?

  1. Two months ago, outside of a Meeting, members were told they could supply names of candidates to form a Nominating Committee.
  2. The "Board" took those nominations, and created a list of 10 names to be the Nominating Committee.
  3. Members were told when the meeting would be, and that a vote to approve the Nominating Committee would occur.
  4. Fast-forward to the meeting:
  5. The meeting was brought to order
  6. The moderator stated that Mr R. (a board member) would read the recommendation of the board, to appoint these 10 people as the Nominating Committee.
  7. He read the names, and asked those members to step forward.  (I do not recall specifically if he said "I move," or "I propose," or what.  He may not have said anything other than the names.)
  8. The moderator then said that other nominations could be taken from the floor.  Debate would have been proper here. He said that if you made a nomination, you must also select one of the 10 to be removed from the Nominating Committee. I think my earlier "hogwash" comment stands.  No nominations were made.
  9. He then closed nominations and said "We will now take a vote." As long as the moderator was sure no one else wanted to submit a name, that's fine.
  10. A member stood and called for discussion (debate) about the committee.  
  11. The moderator said there would be no debate. Unless the member in #10 moved to re-open nominations the moderator was correct.
  12. The moderator proceeded to ask for the Ayes, then the Nays. As noted earlier, you don't vote up or down on an entire slate.

Here's what I want to know.  Should there have been debate?   I hope I clarified when that should have occurred

Understand, this was not "old business."  There was no need for the committee at the previous meeting of the membership.  Thus, the members' only input into the process was to make nominations via email prior to the Board selecting the Nominating CommitteeThat's not what you said earlier in #8

A second question--if there is provision in Robert's Rules for there to be no debate on this issue, should there have even been a vote? Sure, but if you wanted to debate, it's been explained several times when debate could have occurred.  Next time appeal the presiding officer's ruling.

Is it possible to have a vote where there is never a period of debate for the membership?  Sure, when the membership doesn't stand up to appeal an improper decision, its stuck with the result most of the time.

I'm not sure I can provide much more information than I did earlier, or that it will clear things up, but I'll try.  I'll use an inter-line response.

 

 

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Guest Beech Richards

Again, thank you so much.  I think that wraps it up nicely.

My stubbornness on when Debate should have occurred is in not understanding how opening up for nominations also opens up for debate.  I'm not seeing how these go hand-in-hand, especially with the understanding that nominations cannot be debated.  (This is what they are telling me--nominations can't be debated, and this whole process was a nomination, therefore, there's no debate, period.)

I'm not saying it is incorrect; just that I don't understand why one implies the other.  If that can be clarified, I think I've got what I need.

 

Or, wait--is my assertion that nominations can't be debated incorrect?  Because, I honestly can't find that in the RONR right now.  I thought I saw that somewhere, but the closest I see is in rule 26:

... If the election is pending, this motion is incidental to it; if the election is not pending, it is an incidental main motion. It is undebatable and when it is an incidental motion it can have no subsidiary motion applied to it except to amend. ...

I believe this is where the powers that be are coming up with "nominations cannot be debated."

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Guest Beech Richards
32 minutes ago, Daniel H. Honemann said:

Way back in the beginning of this thread you were referred to RONR (11th ed.) tinted pages 18-19, motion 49.

OK, I didn't find this the first time I looked (I was looking on page 18, looking for something tinted...doh).  Now I did.  So, motion 49, "to make nominations" is labelled as "debatable."  Thus, when the moderator opened nominations, he, simultaneously opened debate?

Is that what you (Daniel) and George have been trying to pound into my head?

Thank you!

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3 hours ago, Guest Beech Richards said:

I thought I saw that somewhere, but the closest I see is in rule 26:

... If the election is pending, this motion is incidental to it; if the election is not pending, it is an incidental main motion. It is undebatable and when it is an incidental motion it can have no subsidiary motion applied to it except to amend. ...

This is in Section 26 of the 1915 (4th) edition of Robert's Rules. The current edition is the 11th edition, which is not available online.

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Am I alone in thinking that RONR could be a lot more explicit regarding debating nominees for office?  I am willing to bet that the vast majority of members of organizations do not know that according to RONR nominations are debatable and that they are debatable only while nominations  are pending.  I bet if you ask ten random organization members whether nominations are debatable, they won't know.  If you ask them at what point should nominations be debated, they will almost certainly answer "after all nominations have been made and prior to the voting".  It has been my experience that most organizations with which I am familiar provide for a period of debate or candidate speeches after nominations have been made.  This is usually done as a matter of custom or by way of a motion and is rarely mentioned in the bylaws or special rules of order.  Only in the most formal of organizations (usually large ones) do I see nominating speeches made at the time the nomination is made.  I NEVER see nominations debated during nominations. RONR also fails to make it clear that an assembly may adopt a motion to allow debate, speeches or whatever at any time it desires, the "rule" in RONR notwithstanding. 

Nowhere in the 15 pages of Section 46 on Nominations and Elections does RONR make a single reference as to whether or when nominations are debatable, despite the fact that it otherwise goes into great step by step detail on how to handle nominations and elections.  That section appears almost to be written for the novice, but makes no mention of debating nominations.  The ONLY references to nominations being debatable are # 49 on page 18 of the tinted pages and on page 43 of the tinted pages where it is listed in motions "which are not amendable but are debatable".  It seems to me that the TEXT of the section on nominations and elections should state explicitly whether and when nominations are debatable. It should be listed as a standard descriptive characteristic of nominations.

I suggest to the authorship team that future editions of RONR be more explicit and go into a bit more detail and provide more guidance on the subject of debating nominations  for office within the text of the section on Nominations and Elections.

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It seems to me that this entire exercise was in the nature of a motion to appoint a committee that the assembly had not previously decided to create -- i.e., it was a main motion to Commit. Therefore, after nominations are closed (and if there were any nominations, after the assembly has determined who the members of the committee would be), the motion itself should be debatable, independently of any debate on the nominations (i.e., the question of which names shall be included in the motion).

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Guest Who's Coming to Dinner

Mr. Gerber, does that mean it would be proper to vote yea/nay on the list of names, as part of the motion to commit, notwithstanding Mr. Mervosh's observation that "no matter what it's for you don't vote up or down on an entire list of names"?

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On 1/11/2017 at 3:02 PM, Guest Beech Richards said:

The Nominating Slate is put before the Assembly to be voted on for approval and an Assembly meeting.  A Motion (in my opinion) is presented to the Moderator, who calls for a vote of Aye to approve the Slate, No to reject the Slate.  However, no Debate is allowed among the members of the Assembly.  Specifically, a member requested a period of debate, and was told, "there will be no debate" by the moderator.

On 1/12/2017 at 0:42 PM, Guest Beech Richards said:
  • The moderator then said that other nominations could be taken from the floor.  He said that if you made a nomination, you must also select one of the 10 to be removed from the Nominating Committee.  No nominations were made.
  • He then closed nominations and said "We will now take a vote."
  • A member stood and called for discussion (debate) about the committee.
  • The moderator said there would be no debate.
  • The moderator proceeded to ask for the Ayes, then the Nays.

 

13 hours ago, Guest Who's Coming to Dinner said:

Mr. Gerber, does that mean it would be proper to vote yea/nay on the list of names, as part of the motion to commit, notwithstanding Mr. Mervosh's observation that "no matter what it's for you don't vote up or down on an entire list of names"?

I don't know what you mean by "to vote yea/nay on the list of names, as part of the motion to commit." When a motion to Commit names the persons to be appointed to a special committee, members may offer different names, which should be treated as nominations in an election (see RONR, p. 496, ll. 18-25). Once this "election" part is completed, there is still the question on the motion to Commit itself. All of this seems to have been handled correctly, except for the parts where the chair did not permit any debate.

Also, assuming that the motion specified that the committee would consist of 10 persons, the procedure of nominating a person to remove for each person to be added is a legitimate one, although the chair does not himself have the authority to require this procedure in lieu of the ordinary nomination & election process.

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