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If a mistake is made in a meeting.


Guest Noel
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I'm president of our congregation.  A couple of mistakes were made regarding our Annual Voters' Meeting.  First, the notification of the meeting is to include an agenda.  We had an information meeting where information was given and questions were addressed, but no actual agenda was provided.  No objection was made either at the information meetings or during the actual Voters' Meeting.  Now someone has asked.  So now what are my responsibilities?

The second instance happened during the meeting.  A motion was made to divide the question/motion.  I asked for and received a second.  I went to take a vote, and a point of order was called that there had been no debate.  I didn't have my cheat-sheet, so I allowed debate when I shouldn't have.  I don't believe this affected the outcome of any of the votes, but, 1) do I need to do anything having allowed debate where I shouldn't have? 2) IF someone were to bring this up, since the meeting is over, what would be the right thing to do?

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First, regarding the agenda:   exactly what do your bylaws ssy about providing an agenda with the notice of the annual meeting? Please provide the exact wording of the relevant provision. Don't paraphrase.

Second, regarding the motion, point of order and debate: based on the information you provided, nothing that you described affects the legitimacy of the outcome. Even if mistakes were made, they are the type that would require a timely point of order or are waived. 

 

Edited by Richard Brown
Typographical correction
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Guest Who's Coming to Dinner
8 hours ago, Guest Noel said:

So now what are my responsibilities?

IF someone were to bring this up, since the meeting is over, what would be the right thing to do?

  1. Outside a meeting? None, so far as RONR is concerned. If a member should raise a point of order regarding the lapse during a future meeting, you will rule the point well-taken or not based on your interpretation of your bylaws. Generally, a point of order must be timely. See RONR (11th ed.), Page 251 for exceptions.
  2. The right thing would be to rule the point not well-taken because it is not timely and the breach is in the past.
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20 hours ago, Guest Noel said:

I'm president of our congregation.  A couple of mistakes were made regarding our Annual Voters' Meeting.  First, the notification of the meeting is to include an agenda.  We had an information meeting where information was given and questions were addressed, but no actual agenda was provided.  No objection was made either at the information meetings or during the actual Voters' Meeting.  Now someone has asked.  So now what are my responsibilities?

The second instance happened during the meeting.  A motion was made to divide the question/motion.  I asked for and received a second.  I went to take a vote, and a point of order was called that there had been no debate.  I didn't have my cheat-sheet, so I allowed debate when I shouldn't have.  I don't believe this affected the outcome of any of the votes, but, 1) do I need to do anything having allowed debate where I shouldn't have? 2) IF someone were to bring this up, since the meeting is over, what would be the right thing to do?

 

 

In the first case, "informational meetings" are not "business meetings" as such.   The purpose is not to take substantive action, only to receive information.  An agenda for such a meeting is totally improper. 

Unless your bylaws give you sole authority to impose an agenda, the assembly would have to adopt that agenda for it to be binding.  Further, the majority could amend it, and completely replace it (see pp. 372-3).    Any member could have proposed an agenda, but none did.  That is a clear indication that there was no objection. 

The rules could have been suspended to permit debating that motion to divide.  Since the act of debating that motion does not fall under any of the criteria for a breach of a continuing  nature found on p. 251, it entirely too late to do anything about.  A point of order would had to have been raised before debate had begun on the motion (pp. 250-51).

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