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Can a society member who is allowed by bylaws to attends Executive Board meetings enter into debate?

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I chair an organization and some of our members attend, as allowed in our bylaws, the Executive Board meetings. Can those members, who are not on the Executive Board, speak in debate or make presentations in those meetings?

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Guest Nancy N.

destone, unless this is something I've been badly misunderstanding for 20 years or so, the non-board members can be allowed to speak in debate by suspending the rules; and perhaps oddly, to give a presentation with just a majority vote.  I think I used to remember the rationale behind this discrepancy, but it evades me at the moment, and probably has since 2005 or so, come to think of it.

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Guest Nancy N
2 minutes ago, destone said:

does anyone have page numbers and RONR sections to go to on this questions

Suspending the rules is Section 25, p. 260 - 267; particularly the footnote on 263.

After ten minutes of finger-licking (and surreptitious thumb-sucking), I confess that the other is trickier.  It's referred to sidelong on p. 189, lines 19 - 21, vis.: "after the address by our guest speaker."  But that wouldn't likely satisfy legalists, or for that matter, me.

___________

N. B.  I probably didn't use "vis" correctly either.  What a wash.  I shoulda gone back to Lexington.

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Guest Nancy N.

OK, we got p. 229, lines 25 - 29 (or into the middle of p. 230, if you breathlessly need to find out how the story ends).

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Guest Nancy N.

I'm going to stop with this: p. 96, line 32 - 97, line 4.  But I'll own as to how all of this, put together, still seems meagre.

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9 hours ago, destone said:

I chair an organization and some of our members attend, as allowed in our bylaws, the Executive Board meetings.

Can those members, who are not on the Executive Board, speak in debate or make presentations in those meetings?

Some principles:

Whenever a body meets, only the voting members of that body (e.g., board; committee; general membership; council; commission; etc.) hold rights of membership.

Any non-member may be barred from that meeting.

If a non-member is invited (or tolerated tacetly) to sit-in on a meeting, that non-member has no rights. -- Not to speak. Not to make motions.

Permission is required for a non-member to speak in a meeting. -- That permission may be via a Suspension of the Rules, or may be via an ordinary request, as moved by a voting member.

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Guest Nancy N.
2 hours ago, Kim Goldsworthy said:

That permission may be via a Suspension of the Rules, or may be via an ordinary request, as moved by a voting member.

But Kim, why is one one, and the other the other?  Remember, OP destone said that he or she (I never heard that name before, and I have the impression that s/he writes like a man while thinking like a woman, unless the other way around, which paradoxically minimizes the confusion rather than reducing it) is surrounded by "legalists," who probably would need citations, which is why destone asked for them; and these very legalists might not care to accept as apodictically persuasive an assertion that a proposition is irrefutable because Kim Goldsworthy says it is, athough of course more reasonable heads like mine or Donald Trump's, or, better, Ivanka Trump's, or Dick Cheney's if we could find him (and where is Gary Johnson lately when we need him?), would have no trouble with that.

Furthermore (I say to introduce a repetition, if I can come up with one, otherwise I'll have to think of something else), remember only yesterday, OP Ken (Guest Ken at first), was asking about Interim Board Members; and at one point, evidently having misunderstood some previous replies (particularly Richard Brown's, with its critical qualifiers), he wrote "I think that the question has been answered. The interims may vote.", and you jumped up and down on his horrifically mangled and mutilated corpus and then you chewed off his leg (or ear, I couldn't tell, there was so much blood, all the blood, it was all I could do to keep my spoon in my breast pocket)!

How about that!

(Hey destone, we're on a roll here.)

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17 hours ago, destone said:

I chair an organization and some of our members attend, as allowed in our bylaws, the Executive Board meetings. Can those members, who are not on the Executive Board, speak in debate or make presentations in those meetings?

The answer to this question is no, members of your organization who are not members of its board have no right to speak in debate or make presentations during meetings of the board unless your rules specifically provide otherwise. You say that your bylaws provide that members of your organization who are not members of its board have the right to attend board meetings, but this certainly does not confer any greater rights upon them. In fact, depending upon exactly how this bylaw provision is worded, it may well mean that members of your organization who are not members of its board are prohibited from exercising any other rights of board membership (RONR, 11th ed., p. 589, ll. 33-34).

As far as the rules in RONR are concerned, a member of an assembly is a person entitled to full participation in its proceedings, that is, the right to attend meetings, to make motions, to speak in debate, and to vote (RONR, 11th ed., p. 3, ll. 1-15). Nonmembers allowed to be present at a meeting have no right to participate in the proceedings in any way (RONR, 11th ed., p. 648, ll. 11-14).

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19 hours ago, destone said:

I chair an organization and some of our members attend, as allowed in our bylaws, the Executive Board meetings. Can those members, who are not on the Executive Board, speak in debate or make presentations in those meetings?

As has been clearly pointed out, they do not have the RIGHT to do so. However, by majority vote, guests may be allowed to speak at such a meeting. In order to participate in debate, the rules must first be suspended by a two-thirds vote to allow a guest to participate in debate.

Even if those these visitors are members of the society, they are not members of the body which is meeting and are therefore considered guests and non-members.

 

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Thanks to each one who has responded to this question.   

In reference to Daniel H Honemann's suggestion that it depends on "exactly how this bylaw provision is worded," I'll quote from it...[society members] "are allowed attendance at meetings of all committees, including the Executive Board, except the executive sessions."

Does this shed any light, Daniel, which would change your answer in any way?

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43 minutes ago, destone said:

Thanks to each one who has responded to this question.   

In reference to Daniel H Honemann's suggestion that it depends on "exactly how this bylaw provision is worded," I'll quote from it...[society members] "are allowed attendance at meetings of all committees, including the Executive Board, except the executive sessions."

Does this shed any light, Daniel, which would change your answer in any way?

Well, I would not interpret this bylaw provision as meaning that members of your organization who are not members of its board are actually prohibited from exercising any rights of board membership other than attendance at board meetings , but in all other respects my answer remains the same.

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Daniel H Honemann...let me rephrase what I think you said. Did you say your assessment of this bylaw provision is that society members are NOT actually prohibited from entering debate, making motions and attending Executive Board meetings?

In my mind, your answer says they have every right that Executive Board members have in the Executive Board meetings. Is this what you meant to say?

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11 minutes ago, destone said:

Daniel H Honemann...let me rephrase what I think you said. Did you say your assessment of this bylaw provision is that society members are NOT actually prohibited from entering debate, making motions and attending Executive Board meetings?

In my mind, your answer says they have every right that Executive Board members have in the Executive Board meetings. Is this what you meant to say?

No, not at all.

Just strike out the last sentence of the first paragraph of my initial response.

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Just now, destone said:
13 minutes ago, Daniel H. Honemann said:

No, not at all.

Just strike out the last sentence of the first paragraph of my initial response.

OK, Thank you. I think I understand. You meant that society members are only allowed to attend Executive Board meetings, but entering debate, etc. is prohibited unless by a 2/3 majority decision of the E-Board to suspend the rules. Correct?

 

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Yes, I think this is a correct statement. 

However, what I was indicating in that last sentence of the first paragraph of my initial response was that, depending upon how it was worded, your bylaw provision granting members of your organization who are not members of the board the right to attend board meetings might mean that they are prohibited from exercising any other rights of board membership other than attendance, even if the board wanted to allow them additional rights.

However, as I said before, after reading the provision itself, I do not think that this is the case.

So I say again, just ignore that last sentence of the first paragraph of my initial response.

 

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55 minutes ago, destone said:

OK, Thank you. I think I understand. You meant that society members are only allowed to attend Executive Board meetings, but entering debate, etc. is prohibited unless by a 2/3 majority decision of the E-Board to suspend the rules. Correct?

 

29 minutes ago, Daniel H. Honemann said:

Yes, I think this is a correct statement. . . . .  (Remainder of post omitted)

I would say that destone's statement above is only partially correct.  It's the "etc" part that I believe he has wrong.

It requires a suspension of the rules (which requires a two thirds vote) to allow a non member to participate in debate.  However, nonmembers may be permitted to address the assembly (in this case the board) by a majority vote.  There is a difference between addressing the executive board and participating in debate.  For example, it is quite common for Boards to have a segment in the meeting for non-board members to address the board or to permit a non-board member to raise an issue with the board.  That is not the same as being able to participate in debate.

Edited by Richard Brown
Re-worded second sentence of the second paragraph

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19 minutes ago, Richard Brown said:

 

I would say that destone's statement above is only partially correct.  It's the "etc" part that I believe he has wrong.

It requires a suspension of the rules (which requires a two thirds vote) to allow a non member to participate in debate.  However, nonmembers may be permitted to address the assembly (in this case the board) by a majority vote.  There is a difference between addressing the executive board and participating in debate.  For example, it is quite common for Boards to have a segment in the meeting for non-board members to address the board or to permit a non-board member to raise an issue with the board.  That is not the same as being able to participate in debate.

Oh, I agree that the "etc." should have been omitted, but I'm getting tired of looking for perfection. I've already caused enough confusion.

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You folks are very helpful and I appreciate your input. It can be confusing sometimes when you are not face to face. It happens all the time in "texting." When I used etc. I was referring to making motions also. Anyway, I think we have had enough back and forth that I'm fairly comfortable with the answers and their accuracy. Thanks Much & Blessings2U!

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5 hours ago, destone said:

I'll quote from it

...[society members] "are allowed attendance at meetings of all committees, including the Executive Board, except the executive sessions."

For the sake of interpretation (this rule or any rule), I think it would be prudent to remember the distinction between:

     (a.) a right

     (b.) a privilege

A right is a power a person may exercise as an individual.

A privilege is something a person may exercise only at the discretion of a superior party, the granting party, the tolerating party.

***

At a board meeting, the board may grant permission for a nonmember to exercise what would have been a right of membership, like to speak in debate.

But that privilege is temporary, and may be taken away at any time, by the granting party (the board).

***

Thus, a rule which grants Power N1 to a nonmember is not a prohibition on another party (like a board) to grant a privilege of exercising Power N2.

Here, the distinction I wish to make is:

     (a.) the right to attend a meeting

. . . is not the same thing as . . .

     (b.) a prohibition to speak.

And, because they are not the same:

   • A bylaw may grant a Power N1 as a right, to a certain subset of people.

   • A board may grant a Power N2 as a privilege, to a certain subset  of people.

N1 is not the same as N2.

 

 

 

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Kim, some of the rest of what you say in your post may be true, quite likely characteristically admirable (but , for example when did you establish what N1 and N2 are?), but what I quote here I think is plain wrong, unless you trust everything mommies tell you:

23 minutes ago, Kim Goldsworthy said:

For the sake of interpretation (this rule or any rule), I think it would be prudent to remember the distinction between:

     (a.) a right

     (b.) a privilege

A right is a power a person may exercise as an individual.

A privilege is something a person may exercise only at the discretion of a superior party, the granting party, the tolerating party.

I concede it would be pleasant if this distinction were established in the language, but it isn't now.

Edited by Gary c Tesser
puttering

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