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In dividual Committee Member


Guest Gary
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Is there a general explanation of individual municipal committee members protocol on expressing opinions or seeking information within a meeting of the committee, a meeting with the committees appointing authority or publicly? Certainly, a committee member cannot misrepresent the committees purpose or determinations by a majority vote. What are individual committee members obligations to fellow committee members verses the assembly (in this case the municipality) the committee serves? Thank you.       

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If you're asking if you can say your peace after the committee puts forth a recommendation, you most certainly can express your opinion if you are a member of the regular assembly, even if it differs from some or all of the others on the committee.  You simply can't allude to what happened during the committee proceedings.  Stating your own opinion on the matter, however, is fine.

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I am not 100% if I understand the question, but here is what I can say based on what I understand:

1)  At a meeting of the Committee, any Committee member may ask any questions/concerns about any issue(s) being discussed at the meeting.  It does not matter if a majority of Committee members may not seem to agree - that's the point of debate: to look at the different sides of the issue/motion being debated.  People may change their minds during debate.

2)  If the Committee member is also a member of the superior body (the body that the Committee reports to), then when a recommendation comes back to the superior body, the member is free to bring up the same concerns again.  However, the member is not free to discuss details of what occurred at the Committee meetings, especially if they were held under Executive Session.

3)  When a Report is presented to the superior body, if only a majority of members agree - but not all members - the minority members may offer a Minority Report, or a Report based on the opinions/recommendations of a minority of members.  The Minority Report does not have to be considered by the superior body, but it could be accepted and may persuade some members to change their minds.

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See page 527-29.  The presentation of a minority report is not a matter of right, but a matter of privilege, whereas any member of the committee may speak to the matter as a member of the assembly (presuming they are members of the assembly) without reference to what went on in the proceedings.  A formal minority report need not be received by the assembly, unless your rules say otherwise.  

Carver's has an interesting take on this question when it comes to boards - he allows for board members to publicly disagree with decisions, but only if they first state (assuming it's true) that the decision was fairly reached and they were given a say during the decision process.

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