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instructed vote procedures


PTA Patty
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Our parent group organizations in our school district have a council that meets monthly. One of the roles of the council is to take on district-wide programs and initiatives.  For over 30 years, the council has coordinated the funding of an initiative with each member organization contributing equally. This year, several member organizations have questioned continuing the initiative due to an increase in the share of the funding. A long discussion was held and the chair of the meeting asked each member organization representative to put the question to vote at a general membership meeting of the individual organization. The representatives were directed to return to the next meeting to cast their vote on whether to continue the initiative or not based on the vote of their general membership. 

There was not a motion made before the discussion that led to the chair calling for the instructed vote. My questions is when the meeting is held in order to take the vote on continuing the funding, is a motion required (since each representative made the motion at their individual meetings), should there be a second, and is further discussion allowed?

Also for future reference, we will be taking an instructed vote on another issue later in the school year. Do we need to have a motion to take an instructed vote or does the chair announce the question and state that the business in question requires an instructed vote? 

 

 

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RONR has nothing called an "instructed vote".  But if I get your meaning, delegates to this parent organization meeting are instructed by their smaller group on how to vote.  That's appropriate and in order.

As far as requiring a motion in the parent organization's meeting, I'd say yes, but if the presiding officer "assumed" a motion, and any debate has occurred on the question. then it's too late to raise a Point of Orderr now.  What's important, and one of the primary reasons for having a motion, is so that everyone knows precisely what is being voted on with no ambiguity.

You could still try raising a Point of Order that no motion was made, but it would likely be ruled against.  You could also raise a Parliamentary Inquiry to ask what question is pending, precisely.

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55 minutes ago, PTA Patty said:

There was not a motion made before the discussion that led to the chair calling for the instructed vote. My questions is when the meeting is held in order to take the vote on continuing the funding, is a motion required (since each representative made the motion at their individual meetings), should there be a second, and is further discussion allowed?

 

Back up a second.  Unless your bylaws contain some unusual provisions, the chair had no such authority.  Therefore, it's not clear that we can actually expect these things to come up at the individual meetings.  (Also, there shouldn't be discussion without a motion except in small boards and committees, but maybe your council is one of these.)  In any event, the chair giving an unjustified order to members doesn't remove the fundamental idea that, if a decision is to be made by the council (within its authority), it must be done by a motion, which is the basic "unit" of decision-making in all deliberative bodies.  Certainly the topic will not come up on its own simply because the chair gave such an order.

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Thank you for your responses.

Gary- yes, you did get my meaning. When our council is asking for our individual organizations to contribute funds to a council project -we take what we call an instructed vote that requires the general membership of each member organization to vote on the question. Is there a proper terminology for this type of vote in Robert's Rules?  I am using 11th Edition and could not find it which is one of the reasons I am here.  Is it possible for that to be the motion of the council meeting - that the council is asking each council delegate to return to their individual organization and pose the question because it involves the use of the individual unit's funds?

At the last meeting discussion occurred with it being closed by the decision (not by motion) to use an instructed vote as described above.

At the next meeting, should a motion be offered to the question: does your organization agree to contribute funds for the council project as described? If there is a second, can there be discussion or was the discussion that led to the decision to go to the instructed vote all that was allowable?  Or once the agenda item is reached, does the meeting chair poll the delegates for their votes with the majority ruling?

 

 

 

Edited by PTA Patty
typo
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13 minutes ago, PTA Patty said:

When our council is asking for our individual organizations to contribute funds to a council project -we take what we call an instructed vote that requires the general membership of each member organization to vote on the question.

1. Are you asking or telling?  In other words, is this a voluntary contribution from the member orgs, or a levy imposed by the council?

2. Do your bylaws give the council the authority to direct these votes?  Do they require the council members to vote as directed?

14 minutes ago, PTA Patty said:

At the last meeting discussion occurred with it being closed by the decision (not by motion) to use an instructed vote as described above.

 

Then it seems to me there was no decision.

 

15 minutes ago, PTA Patty said:

At the next meeting, should a motion be offered to the question: does your organization agree to contribute funds for the council project as described? If there is a second, can there be discussion or was the discussion that led to the decision to go to the instructed vote all that was allowable?  Or once the agenda item is reached, does the meeting chair poll the delegates for their votes with the majority ruling?

 

Well, the answer to this probably is in your bylaws regarding the power of the council to impose mandatory levies on the member orgs.  In any case, the question at the council meeting is not "does your organization agree..."  It is "shall the council...", with the ellipses probably filled in with something about imposing a levy for a specific amount, for a specified purpose.  In other words, a motion within a body has to relate to the action of the body, regardless of rules about how people wind up voting.  And, finally, for the council to consider the question, again regardless of how people will vote on it, a motion must be made and voted upon.  I see no reason to restrict debate on the motion - if everyone already knows how they'll vote, though, there likely won't be much debate.

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1. Definitely asking- with the understanding that any organization that votes "no" is not required to participate in the funding.

2. Council bylaws prohibit the council from legislating for the individual member organizations. The bylaws do not distinguish between instructed votes (as we define them, when related to  taking a district-wide positon on an issue, reviewing or amending the bylaws or requesting money or manpower for a council project) vs. uninstructed votes. Each member organization defers to their own unit bylaws for the instructed vote. The uninstructed vote for routine business and elections is covered in the council bylaws.

3. Understood that the "decision" not being a motion was not proper procedure.

4. As above in my response #2- the council cannot legislate for the member organizations. Thank you for the help on the wording and on the order of business.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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1 minute ago, PTA Patty said:

4. As above in my response #2- the council cannot legislate for the member organizations. Thank you for the help on the wording and on the order of business.

 

In that case, what exactly is to be decided?  It sounds like the only question to be resolved is whether or not each group will donate, and they've likely already (pursuant to an inappropriate order, but facts are facts) decided that.  What does the council need to decide?

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The question related to the issue is: Shall the council continue to administer the funding initiative with the support of the donations from the member organizations?

The question related to parliamentary procedure is: Does the chair of the meeting need a motion and a second and is discussion permitted prior to taking the vote?  The current approach to the vote is: the question was raised (not as a motion) at the prior meeting with discussion allowed to follow, there was no motion so the discussion was ended with the idea to use an instructed vote with voting delegates returning to their member organization and presenting the motion there. The report of the voting results by each individual member organization is on the agenda for the next meeting with no discussion being permitted.

  

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1 hour ago, PTA Patty said:

The question related to parliamentary procedure is: Does the chair of the meeting need a motion and a second and is discussion permitted prior to taking the vote?  The current approach to the vote is: the question was raised (not as a motion) at the prior meeting with discussion allowed to follow, there was no motion so the discussion was ended with the idea to use an instructed vote with voting delegates returning to their member organization and presenting the motion there. The report of the voting results by each individual member organization is on the agenda for the next meeting with no discussion being permitted.  

Yes, a motion and a second is required, and discussion is in order.

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