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Motion from out of town members

Guest D.H.

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Does a member have to be present at a general meeting to make a motion? We have members that work and reside 150/200km from were we hold our monthly general meeting and don't frequently attend. They want to be able to send a written motion to the Chairperson to be read out at meetings. We have nothing in our Constitution and bylaws to prevent this and I cannot find anything in Roberts rules to this specific question. 

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1.  In theory, the rules could be suspended to permit the chair to entertain a motion submitted by letter.  Someone would have to make the motion to suspend the rules to do that; another member would need to second it.  It would require a 2/3 vote. 


2.  The chair could also ask for general consent to suspend the rules permit the chair to entertain a motion submitted by letter.  A single objection would require the motion to formally adopted by a 2/3 vote.

3.  The out of town member may send the motion to a member who will be at the meeting and can make the motion.


Personally I'd suggest #3, which Richard has suggested.  :)






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There are a few question types that I suspect embody some misconceptions about parliamentary procedure.  This is one of them.  It's hard to say what, but there seems to be some sort of mistake underlying an issue of this type.  I've seen the same thing in some organizations - well, this is a motion to give money to this state, so this person from that state should make it.

A theory: as I mentioned in an earlier thread today, it reflects a belief (which, to be fair, we parliamentarians don't always do much to dispel) that many, or most, rules are about formalisms, and procedure for its own sake.  

I ran into this, in a few ways, when I taught a class last summer for municipal officials.  First, there was my boss, who pulled me aside to say that, yes, he knows I'm a parliamentarian, but please, don't insist on government officials engaging in mindless formalisms.  I was taken aback because when he said it, I was working on a class outline that focused on why parliamentary procedure isn't a bunch of mindless formalisms.  Then there were the students.  I walked in prepared to explain the practical value of our rules and how they facilitate, not hinder, business - and I found that most of the questions I got during class assumed that parliamentarians love formalism for its own sake (aside from a few that, I suspect, might have been attempts to develop strategies for hindering business).  It's an interesting dilemma.

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1 hour ago, SaintCad said:

Joshua, I have noticed the same thing and coincidently putting together a training for a group for which I have been parliamentarian.  Anyone who has a chance to compare a meeting without "formalism" with one that has it would never again go back to the anarchy of a meeting without parliamentary law.

Well, certainly agree with that.  I got interested in parliamentary procedure because I used to go to meetings that ran hours and accomplished nothing - and the only reason they weren't longer was that the library closed at 9.  But I think it's important that we emphasize not to engage in formalism for its own sake.  The General emphasized this, and I think he got it right.  I hear from too many people "well, yea, our meetings suck, but if we used RONR, they'd still suck because we'd be arguing about the rules instead of going in circles."  Important to show these people that that outcome isn't predetermined.

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