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Budget Approval


Guest Robert Lehigh
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I am the presiding officer at the meetings of a small church.  One of the special orders at our annual meeting is the adoption of a budget.  While not mentioned in our constitution, we have a budget committee which meets prior to the meeting to establish a proposed budget for the coming year.  These meetings are announced with anyone welcome to attend these meetings and give their input.  Other committees are solicited as well, (Mission, etc) and then, based on their best information, they construct a proposed budget for the coming year.  It is then shared before the congregation.  My question is, Does this budget require a congregational vote for approval?  According to Robert's Rules of Order, standing committee reports, even though they may include recommendations, are to be filed with the minutes.  But this is a special order and I saw no provision for  acceptance either way in Robert's Rules of Order for a way to adopt a special order. My thinking is that this should be the same.  There were those at the meeting who did not attend the budget committee meetings and, hearing this information for the first time, wanted to introduce new motions for changes.  In my opinion, this has the effect of turning the entire congregation into a second budget committee.  My thinking is that, at the congregational level, questions should be limited to procedural issues, (noticing a decimal point in the wrong place, etc) or points of clarification.  Alterations to the budget should have been done at the board level as with, say, the missionary committee.  This is my first time on this web site and hopefully you can help.  I can be contacted at boblehigh@yahoo.com.  Any help would be greatly appreciated.  Kindest regards, Bob

   

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The question is, who adopts the budget, according to your rules - is it the Board, or the congregation? Is your church independent, or is it part of a denomination, whose constitution might provide an answer to that question?

If the congregation adopts the budget, then the recommendation of the budget committee is open fully to amendment. It someone wants to move to amend any part of the proposal, they may do so.

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Guest Who's Coming to Dinner

Agreeing with Mr. Goodwiller, unless the bylaws confer exclusive financial authority on the board, then it is the congregation who adopts the budget. Or at least the congregation has the power to review and amend any budget adopted by the board.

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8 hours ago, Guest Robert Lehigh said:

My question is, Does this budget require a congregational vote for approval?  According to Robert's Rules of Order, standing committee reports, even though they may include recommendations, are to be filed with the minutes.  But this is a special order and I saw no provision for  acceptance either way in Robert's Rules of Order for a way to adopt a special order. My thinking is that this should be the same.  There were those at the meeting who did not attend the budget committee meetings and, hearing this information for the first time, wanted to introduce new motions for changes.  In my opinion, this has the effect of turning the entire congregation into a second budget committee.  My thinking is that, at the congregational level, questions should be limited to procedural issues, (noticing a decimal point in the wrong place, etc) or points of clarification. 

It depends on who adopts the budget.  Since your bylaws do not create or describe a budget committee (or so we're told), that committee has probably not been empowered to adopt a budget - it's only recommending one.  (If your bylaws list other standing committees, then it's also not a standing committee.)  The filing of reports is irrelevant - just because a report is filed does not mean the recommendations contained within it are approved.  Considering that adoption of the budget is a special order for your annual meeting, it seems fair to guess that your annual meeting adopts the budget.  That being the case, unless there's a notice requirement somewhere (which seems unlikely, since the budget committee isn't mentioned in the bylaws), the budget is fully open to amendment.  This does not have the effect of turning the entire congregation into a second budget committee - the difference being that the congregation is authorized to adopt a budget, and the budget committee is not.  Even if there is a notice requirement, that would create some restrictions on amendments, but not limit it to procedural issues, decimal points (which are not procedural, as an aside) or points of clarification.

In short: unless your bylaws say otherwise, what would make you think members of an assembly considering a motion could not amend that motion, and would be forced into a binary of acceptance or not?  Limits on the authority of the assembly have to be contained somewhere.

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