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Non-members at Board meetings


Quietstorm
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Our bylaws state that a non-member may attend Board meetings. However, there is one member who has been attending the Board meetings on a regular basis.  There is/has been no specific purpose for his attendance (he has been at all of the Board meetings so far). At our last meeting I made the chairman aware of this and also made him aware that he (chairman) should, introduce the guest, and state the purpose for the guest attending which he (chairman) has not done as there appears there is no specific purpose. I have also made the chairman aware that at a Board meeting, non-members have no rights and  if they are granted permission to attend, that is all they have been granted permission to do. The chairman has, on one occasion, allowed this guy to comment and ask a question - which I strongly objected to. Are there any rights for this non-member to attend, allegedly, as "simply an observer"?  Thanks.

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Perhaps you have answered your own question.

Q: Are there any rights for this non-member to attend, allegedly, as "simply an observer"?

A: Our bylaws state that a non-member may attend Board meetings

 

RONR would provide that non-members may attend if the board permits it. But your bylaws apparently go further than that and allow any and all (?) non-members to attend. Are there bylaw provisions restricting their attendance, or requiring the chair to introduce them and state their purpose in attending?

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40 minutes ago, Quietstorm said:

Our bylaws state that a non-member may attend Board meetings. However, there is one member who has been attending the Board meetings on a regular basis.  There is/has been no specific purpose for his attendance (he has been at all of the Board meetings so far). At our last meeting I made the chairman aware of this and also made him aware that he (chairman) should, introduce the guest, and state the purpose for the guest attending which he (chairman) has not done as there appears there is no specific purpose. I have also made the chairman aware that at a Board meeting, non-members have no rights and  if they are granted permission to attend, that is all they have been granted permission to do. The chairman has, on one occasion, allowed this guy to comment and ask a question - which I strongly objected to. Are there any rights for this non-member to attend, allegedly, as "simply an observer"?  Thanks.

Non-member rights?  No, none, but there is no rule in RONR that either requires the chair to ask (your "should ... state" has no basis in RONR) or the non-member to explain why he/she is there, just as long as he has permission (implicit or explicit) to attend in the first place.  And the "may attend" would appear (without reading all of your bylaws) to grant that permission.

You point of order that the chair can grant the non-member the opportunity to comment is well taken  --  the chair should have asked the permission of the Board (majority or 2/3 required depending on the parliamentary situation, see page 263 footnote) to let him speak.

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Quietstorm, If the bylaws grant guests the right to attend board meetings, neither the chairman nor any other board member nor the board as a whole has the right to demand to know why a particular person is attending. Why go there? Why not welcome their attendance?  They have a right to be there.

Do the other board members share your concern?

 I sense that there is more to this than we have been told.

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Thank you all for you responses.  A couple of us on the Board know that this individual has, in the past, attempted to divide the organization (older members from younger members) in order to try and have those who may side with him "control" things. He tried the same thing with another organization 2 years ago and is no longer a member of that organization. In other words he and two current members of the Board do not have good intentions. He has already been reaching out to some older members, in the current organization, and is spreading his poison once again. There are those of us who know full well "It is personal" with him.  The other thing is that we all know that issues discussed at our Board meetings are supposed to be confidential. So it appears that unless/until we can prove he is discussing Board issues "outside" we are stuck with him, unless we go into Executive Session".  One last question: If there was nothing in our bylaws under "Board of Directors Meetings" that mentions anything about "visitors or non-members" attending Board meetings, would we then be able to refer to RONR on the matter? Thanks again.

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