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Defining "small board" when determining Chair's right to debate and vote


Guest Mark McD
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Your FAQ response (pasted below) says that the Board Chairs have the same rights and privileges as other members, including the right to make motions, debate and vote -- when the board size is about a dozen.  However, suggests that the Chair not vote for larger boards.  Our board size is 14 and becomes 18 when the non-voting board members are counted.  While I certainly support the need for the Chair to remain impartial during larger assemblies, what is so magical about 12 members determining if a Board Chair may vote?  Why shouldn't we allow our Board Chair to vote on motions with our 14-18 member Board (following her proper handling of the discussions in an impartial way)? 

Question 1:
Is it true that the president can vote only to break a tie?

Answer:
No, it is not true that the president can vote only to break a tie. If the president is a member of the voting body, he or she has exactly the same rights and privileges as all other members have, including the right to make motions, to speak in debate, and to vote on all questions. So, in meetings of a small board (where there are not more than about a dozen board members present), and in meetings of a committee, the presiding officer may exercise these rights and privileges as fully as any other member. However, the impartiality required of the presiding officer of any other type of assembly (especially a large one) precludes exercising the rights to make motions or speak in debate while presiding, and also requires refraining from voting except (i) when the vote is by ballot, or (ii) whenever his or her vote will affect the result.

When will the chair's vote affect the result? On a vote that is not by ballot, if a majority vote is required and there is a tie, he or she may vote in the affirmative to cause the motion to prevail. If there is one more in the affirmative than in the negative, the chair can create a tie by voting in the negative to cause the motion to fail. Similarly, if a two-thirds vote is required, he or she may vote either to cause, or to block, attainment of the necessary two thirds. [RONR (11th ed.), pp. 405-6; see also Table A, p. 190 of RONRIB.]

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1 minute ago, Guest Mark McD said:

Your FAQ response (pasted below) says that the Board Chairs have the same rights and privileges as other members, including the right to make motions, debate and vote -- when the board size is about a dozen.  However, suggests that the Chair not vote for larger boards.  Our board size is 14 and becomes 18 when the non-voting board members are counted.  While I certainly support the need for the Chair to remain impartial during larger assemblies, what is so magical about 12 members determining if a Board Chair may vote?  Why shouldn't we allow our Board Chair to vote on motions with our 14-18 member Board (following her proper handling of the discussions in an impartial way)? 

Question 1:
Is it true that the president can vote only to break a tie?

Answer:
No, it is not true that the president can vote only to break a tie. If the president is a member of the voting body, he or she has exactly the same rights and privileges as all other members have, including the right to make motions, to speak in debate, and to vote on all questions. So, in meetings of a small board (where there are not more than about a dozen board members present), and in meetings of a committee, the presiding officer may exercise these rights and privileges as fully as any other member. However, the impartiality required of the presiding officer of any other type of assembly (especially a large one) precludes exercising the rights to make motions or speak in debate while presiding, and also requires refraining from voting except (i) when the vote is by ballot, or (ii) whenever his or her vote will affect the result.

When will the chair's vote affect the result? On a vote that is not by ballot, if a majority vote is required and there is a tie, he or she may vote in the affirmative to cause the motion to prevail. If there is one more in the affirmative than in the negative, the chair can create a tie by voting in the negative to cause the motion to fail. Similarly, if a two-thirds vote is required, he or she may vote either to cause, or to block, attainment of the necessary two thirds. [RONR (11th ed.), pp. 405-6; see also Table A, p. 190 of RONRIB.]

Nothing in RONR prevents your board from allowing its presiding officer to vote.

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Guest Who's Coming to Dinner
4 hours ago, Guest Mark McD said:

[W]hat is so magical about 12 members determining if a Board Chair may vote? 

Nothing, really. If you were writing a book of rules, what number would you pick?

The idea is that some formalities may be relaxed in a small board meeting. RONR says "about a dozen" because a number is needed to illustrate the concept.

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On 2/1/2017 at 7:24 PM, Guest Who's Coming to Dinner said:

The idea is that some formalities may be relaxed in a small board meeting. RONR says "about a dozen" because a number is needed to illustrate the concept.

I beg to differ. It's a practical point:  look at the first two pages of RONR-IB for a partial discussion; and an analogous condition is discussed in RONR,  Eleventh Ed., p. 456, lines 14 - 18.  After which, whether you have come around to my view or not, please let me know whether you understand where I'm coming from.

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