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Discussion of Candidates for Executive Offices


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In nominating several candidates for executive offices (President, VP, Secretary, Treasurer), when multiple candidates were nominated for the same office, a request was made by the Parish Council (who elect their officers) to have the candidates step out so that qualifications of the candidates could be briefly discussed before the body votes.  We were promptly told this was "out of order" and "inappropriate" and would not be allowed.  Yet, I find nothing in Robert's Rules to this effect, and it is a process procedurally followed in other organizations over which I have presided.  Please advise.

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The right to participate in debate is a basic right of membership in an organization, which Robert's Rules upholds. So, assuming these individuals are members of the organization in question, by Robert's Rules they have every right to be present - and barring their participation would require a rule that "trumps" the parliamentary authority (bylaws or special rules of order, in this case). I'm a bit confused by your term "executive," which is often applied to positions that are more like "staff" positions and do not require prior membership in the organization. If that is what you mean, then the opposite is true - non-members have no default rights in Robert's Rules, and only have the privileges granted them by vote of the organization.

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1 hour ago, Guest Parish Guest said:

In nominating several candidates for executive offices (President, VP, Secretary, Treasurer), when multiple candidates were nominated for the same office,

a request was made by the Parish Council (who elect their officers) to have the candidates step out

so that qualifications of the candidates could be briefly discussed before the body votes. 

We were promptly told this was "out of order" and "inappropriate" and would not be allowed. 

Yet, I find nothing in Robert's Rules to this effect, and it is a process procedurally followed in other organizations over which I have presided.  Please advise.

>> . . .a request was made by the Parish Council (who elect their officers) to have the candidates step out ...

You can request all you want. But you cannot take away a right of membership, of which one such right is "to attend meetings".

The nominees who are members of the body which is meeting, may decline the offer to "step outside".

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It is entirely appropriate for the candidates to be present while nominations are under discussion. However, it may be especially important for such discussion that the chair be familiar with, and enforce, the rules concerning decorum in debate, which are described in detail in RONR, pp. 391-394. Specifically, discussion concerning the relative merits of one candidate versus another must be handled judiciously, and never allowed to descend into personal attacks.

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44 minutes ago, Guest Parish Guest said:

So then as I understand your response, discussing the qualifications of the candidates is appropriate as a "debate" of the nominations, as well as it being most appropriate for them to remain as part of the debate/discussion thereof.  Correct?

Correct.

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On 1/24/2017 at 7:12 PM, Guest Parish Guest said:

So then as I understand your response, discussing the qualifications of the candidates is appropriate as a "debate" of the nominations, as well as it being most appropriate for them to remain as part of the debate/discussion thereof.  Correct?

Yes.

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