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Postponed Until Project is Modified


Guest Jason
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We had a confusing and controversial Capital Project at our last regularly scheduled meeting. After much frustration and debate Alderman #4 made the motion to "postpone until amended project representing only X and Y streets is presented".  We were about to deny the project but this motion for a more limited project was approved unanimously.

 

Now we have a split council. Some want to just deny the initial project, some want to approve and some want to propose other modifications to the Project. However Alderman #4 is insistent that we cannot discuss the project until he decides to remove it from the table. 

To make matters worse we're now going to have an Alderman that must abstain due to conflict. No one really knows what to do, but of course there's a lot of arguing. 

 

Im concerned that our attorney doesn't seem completely confident here. Does anyone know what Roberts Rules would say?

 

thanks 

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3 hours ago, Tom Coronite said:

"...until he decides to remove it from the table..."

 

IF you are saying Alderman 4 believes the postponed item cannot be discussed until HE decides to discuss it because HE is the one who postponed it, as if HE somehow owns the motion, Alderman 4 would be incorrect. 

That is exactly what he believes. He is saying that he won't allow conversation on this for a while. 

 

Can you site site where I could look to prove him wrong. 

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Who the hell is he to allow or not allow?  Tell him to sit down and shut up.  If he has a point of order, he can make it, and it can be found not well taken.

That said, the postponement will not survive the next meeting (or a quarterly time period if that happens first) and after that, the business is dead and you can make whatever motions you like.  Until then, you can't make another motion on the topic until the matter is discharged.  Or, some might think that, since the motion to postpone was not well-formed, nothing was postponed at all.  Either way, alderman 4 is wrong.

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12 hours ago, Guest Jason said:

motion to "postpone until amended project representing only X and Y streets is presented".

I'm looking at this motion and wondering exactly what we have here.  If this is treated as a motion to postpone to a time certain, it can only be postponed to the next regular meeting occurring within a quarterly time interval.  But it really isn't a "time certain," since the amended project might not ever be presented.  If no such "amended project" is in the works, could this be considered a motion to postpone indefinitely?

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1 hour ago, Guest Jason said:

That is exactly what he believes. He is saying that he won't allow conversation on this for a while.

Can you site site where I could look to prove him wrong. 

Well, we have a couple (or more) major problems here.  First, I question whether the motion to " postpone until amended project representing only X and Y streets is presented" was proper unless it was expected that the amended project would be presented at the same meeting or possibly at the next meeting.  It is improper to postpone a question beyond the next session, which, in this case, is probably the next meeting.   Except when being postponed until later in the same meeting, a motion to postpone to a definite time is usually made for a specific date or time.  But, the motion to postpone it in this unusual manner was adopted.   I'm not sure what the status of such an unorthodox motion is now, but I'm inclined to treat it as a postponement until the next meeting. 

Second issue:  The conversation has somehow shifted from a postponement to being "laid on the table".  If it is treated as being laid on the table, it dies if not taken off the table by the end of the next session.  ANY member may move to take a motion from the table.  The person who made the original motion or the motion to "postpone" (or to "table") has no more say than any other member.  As Josh said, he does not own the motion.  It is under the control of the assembly, not a single member.

Whichever is the case, no one member is in control of the motion.  Councilman # 4 cannot single handedly prevent it from coming back.

You asked for a citation.  As to taking from the table (not that I agree that the motion was ever laid on the table) is in RONR at page 123.  The pertinent part reads as follows.  I will bold and highlight the key provision:

"TAKING A QUESTION FROM THE TABLE. Rules affecting the motion to Lay on the Table are closely related to the motion to Take from the Table (34). After a question has been laid on the table, it can be taken from the table by a majority vote as soon as the interrupting business is disposed of and whenever no question is pending, provided that business of the same class as the question on the table, unfinished business, general orders, or new business is in order.
Any member can move to take a question from the table in a regular meeting or in a meeting that is an adjournment (9) of a regular meeting."  (Emphasis added).

If the motion was postponed until a certain time, as opposed to having been laid on the table, it should be brought up automatically by the chair under "unfinished business and general orders"   If the chair fails to bring it up, any member may bring it up by making a point of order.  So, again, councilman # 4 has no control over it.  The motion to "postpone to a definite time" is covered in RONR on pages 179 - 191.

 

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2 hours ago, Richard Brown said:

Well, we have a couple (or more) major problems here.  First, I question whether the motion to " postpone until amended project representing only X and Y streets is presented" was proper unless it was expected that the amended project would be presented at the same meeting or possibly at the next meeting.  It is improper to postpone a question beyond the next session, which, in this case, is probably the next meeting.   Except when being postponed until later in the same meeting, a motion to postpone to a definite time is usually made for a specific date or time.  But, the motion to postpone it in this unusual manner was adopted.   I'm not sure what the status of such an unorthodox motion is now, but I'm inclined to treat it as a postponement until the next meeting. 

Second issue:  The conversation has somehow shifted from a postponement to being "laid on the table".  If it is treated as being laid on the table, it dies if not taken off the table by the end of the next session.  ANY member may move to take a motion from the table.  The person who made the original motion or the motion to "postpone" (or to "table") has no more say than any other member.  As Josh said, he does not own the motion.  It is under the control of the assembly, not a single member.

Whichever is the case, no one member is in control of the motion.  Councilman # 4 cannot single handedly prevent it from coming back.

You asked for a citation.  As to taking from the table (not that I agree that the motion was ever laid on the table) is in RONR at page 123.  The pertinent part reads as follows.  I will bold and highlight the key provision:

"TAKING A QUESTION FROM THE TABLE. Rules affecting the motion to Lay on the Table are closely related to the motion to Take from the Table (34). After a question has been laid on the table, it can be taken from the table by a majority vote as soon as the interrupting business is disposed of and whenever no question is pending, provided that business of the same class as the question on the table, unfinished business, general orders, or new business is in order.
Any member can move to take a question from the table in a regular meeting or in a meeting that is an adjournment (9) of a regular meeting."  (Emphasis added).

If the motion was postponed until a certain time, as opposed to having been laid on the table, it should be brought up automatically by the chair under "unfinished business and general orders"   If the chair fails to bring it up, any member may bring it up by making a point of order.  So, again, councilman # 4 has no control over it.  The motion to "postpone to a definite time" is covered in RONR on pages 179 - 191.

 

Thanks, this is exactly what I was looking for.

 

This was messy (at best).  Now that I'm doing a little more research it is very clear that anyone can make a motion to have discussion on the item at the next meeting.  However, should this be treated like a motion to postpone until a certain time?  Even though the actual time was not specified, the EVENT (or information) was specified and approved by all.  It's not as clear as postponing to a specific date, but we approved postponement until a modified project is presented. 

 

This bad project is causing us quite the mess.

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41 minutes ago, Guest Jason said:

However, should this be treated like a motion to postpone until a certain time?  Even though the actual time was not specified, the EVENT (or information) was specified and approved by all. 

I would incline towards that view, but even so, it can't be postponed beyond the next meeting, or beyond a quarterly time period.

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I tend to agree with Mr. Katz.  I would treat it as a motion to postpone definitely (to a definite) time, but with that time being only until the next meeting, as that is as far as you can postpone it. 

A similar issue has come up in the forum as to what is the status of a motion that has improperly been postponed until a time too far.  I believe the majority opinion in here is that it should be considered as having been postponed for one meeting, since it cannot be postponed beyond that.

Keep checking back to see if others respond. 

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2 hours ago, Richard Brown said:

I tend to agree with Mr. Katz.  I would treat it as a motion to postpone definitely (to a definite) time, but with that time being only until the next meeting, as that is as far as you can postpone it. 

A similar issue has come up in the forum as to what is the status of a motion that has improperly been postponed until a time too far.  I believe the majority opinion in here is that it should be considered as having been postponed for one meeting, since it cannot be postponed beyond that.

Keep checking back to see if others respond. 

Yeah, I've learned that by researching on this site. It doesn't happen too often, but we have postponed to specific dates that were beyond the next meeting in the past. 

 

 

Thanks everyone for the help

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