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Benjamin Geiger

Recording names of seconders in minutes?

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An organization I'm in records the names of those who second motions in the minutes.

RONR says:

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The name of the maker of a main motion should be entered in the minutes, but the name of the seconder should not be entered unless ordered by the assembly.

(RONR 11 p. 470 ll. 26-28, emphasis mine)

Does custom qualify as being "ordered by the assembly"? Should I bring this up to the secretary (who, as I understand it, has been secretary for quite some time, where I'm not even officially parliamentarian (yet))? Or should I chalk this up to "pick your battles" and go back to reminding people that "friendly amendments" aren't a thing?

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Yes, the custom would count. But a motion would be more appropriate in my opinion. It would clarify the issue and could only be changed through a motion to amend something previously approved.

 

 

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4 hours ago, Benjamin Geiger said:

Does custom qualify as being "ordered by the assembly"? Should I bring this up to the secretary (who, as I understand it, has been secretary for quite some time, where I'm not even officially parliamentarian (yet))? Or should I chalk this up to "pick your battles" and go back to reminding people that "friendly amendments" aren't a thing?

When people are eating with their hands, don't admonish them that the silverware above their plate is for dessert. 

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1 hour ago, Joshua Katz said:

When people are eating with their hands, don't admonish them that the silverware above their plate is for dessert. 

I don't follow. What do you mean by this?

3 hours ago, Tom Coronite said:

The education about "friendly amendments" seems a worthy battle, though!

Actually ran into that in a committee meeting yesterday. I let it slide since it happened before the chair stated the motion. (I'm not part of the committee but was asked to attend as "parliamentarian pro tem", so to speak.)

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4 minutes ago, Benjamin Geiger said:

I don't follow. What do you mean by this?

3 hours ago, Tom Coronite said:

Well, first, I'm aggravated by the number of people I've seen eating salad with their dessert silverware lately.  More importantly, though, I'm endorsing "pick your battles."  If people are doing everything wrong, start with the things that impact the rights of the members, not with recording seconds.  

I used to coach weightlifting.  There's only one way to do a clean correctly, but thousands of ways to do it wrong.  If I told a student "...and your elbows need to go directly under, and the bar should never move downwards, and you need to jump at the top of your first pull, and..." they'd never learn anything.  But if you start with "fully extend your hips on the first pull, regardless of where the bar goes," they can master that.  Then you can work on squatting at the top, then jumping when unloaded, etc.

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Just now, Joshua Katz said:

Well, first, I'm aggravated by the number of people I've seen eating salad with their dessert silverware lately.  More importantly, though, I'm endorsing "pick your battles."  If people are doing everything wrong, start with the things that impact the rights of the members, not with recording seconds. 

That makes sense, thanks for the clarification.

Overall, they're keeping to the spirit (if not the exact letter) of Robert, so there are few things that are particularly urgent. "Friendly amendments" are the biggest problem, with "Question!" cropping up from time to time; I do speak up about the latter. In fact, I think that's part of why the president has asked me to serve as de facto parliamentarian.

And yes, I'm in the process of joining the NAP.

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By the way, bringing things up has nothing to do with being parliamentarian.  If you are a member, in fact, it is, by and large, easier for you to raise parliamentary objections without being parliamentarian.  Simply rise to a point of order.  

I think friendly amendments are worth correcting.  It's not a huge thing, but they do impact the rights of the assembly, more than including seconds in the minutes, for example.  Although if that's your biggest problem, you're doing pretty well.  

I took my NAP membership exam at a convention.  Prior to the convention, I attended a board meeting (I was elected to the board at that convention, but was not on it prior).  During that meeting, they spent 20 minutes fighting over whether or not certain amendments were friendly amendments.  I turned to my friend, who was going to administer the test to me, and joked "I don't think I'm ready to take the test; I don't even know what a friendly amendment is!"  

Anyway, the easiest way to correct things, in my opinion, is to speak up about them precisely when they are causing a problem.  You need an answer to "who cares" other than "Henry Robert!"  The answer should be that it's trampling someone's rights.  Failing that, offer to hold a workshop, and explain why the rules you choose to teach are the way they are.  People are much more open to learning things, even if they go against "the way we've always done it" if you give them a reason and avoid pointless technicalities or formalities.

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26 minutes ago, Joshua Katz said:

By the way, bringing things up has nothing to do with being parliamentarian.  If you are a member, in fact, it is, by and large, easier for you to raise parliamentary objections without being parliamentarian.  Simply rise to a point of order.

Right. I didn't mean to imply that I had to be a parliamentarian (or Parliamentarian) to rise to a point of order, only that by doing so, I've been identified as someone who is familiar with at least the basics of Robert's Rules, and therefore the go-to person for any parliamentary inquiries.

Edited by Benjamin Geiger

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2 minutes ago, Benjamin Geiger said:

Right. I didn't mean to imply that I had to be a parliamentarian (or Parliamentarian) to rise to a point of order, only that by doing so, I've been identified as someone who is familiar with at least the basics of Robert's Rules, and therefore the go-to person for any parliamentary inquiries.

Got it.  I'm just pointing out that, if you were to serve as parliamentarian, you would not, unless you have special rules, be able to raise points of order, or make any motions.

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9 minutes ago, Joshua Katz said:

Got it.  I'm just pointing out that, if you were to serve as parliamentarian, you would not, unless you have special rules, be able to raise points of order, or make any motions.

... ugh. I did not realize that. This throws a wrench in the gears.

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As a purely technical matter, I don't think that "custom" (as described on page 19) qualifies as being "ordered by the assembly" (as that term is used on page 470), but I certainly agree that it would not be wise to call attention to this rule that the name of the seconder is not to be entered in the minutes unless prompted by some event (such as number of members calling out "second", and a discussion ensuing as to whose name should be entered).  :) 

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1 hour ago, Daniel H. Honemann said:

As a purely technical matter, I don't think that "custom" (as described on page 19) qualifies as being "ordered by the assembly" (as that term is used on page 470), but I certainly agree that it would not be wise to call attention to this rule that the name of the seconder is not to be entered in the minutes unless prompted by some event (such as number of members calling out "second", and a discussion ensuing as to whose name should be entered).  :) 

I think that this is a matter of custom, but, as such, it should be continued until the assembly decides to do otherwise.  It is the same result, but I would use that different path to get to it.    :)

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2 hours ago, Daniel H. Honemann said:

As a purely technical matter, I don't think that "custom" (as described on page 19) qualifies as being "ordered by the assembly" (as that term is used on page 470), but I certainly agree that it would not be wise to call attention to this rule that the name of the seconder is not to be entered in the minutes unless prompted by some event (such as number of members calling out "second", and a discussion ensuing as to whose name should be entered).  :) 

 

4 minutes ago, J. J. said:

I think that this is a matter of custom, but, as such, it should be continued until the assembly decides to do otherwise.  It is the same result, but I would use that different path to get to it.    :)

So what happens if someone becomes secretary and, knowing the rules, writes the minutes without seconds?  Is the assembly supposed to follow its custom?

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10 minutes ago, Joshua Katz said:

 

So what happens if someone becomes secretary and, knowing the rules, writes the minutes without seconds?  Is the assembly supposed to follow its custom?

No. If the assembly wants it done, it should order the secretary to do so.

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12 minutes ago, Daniel H. Honemann said:

No. If the assembly wants it done, it should order the secretary to do so.

I conclude that your answer, and JJ's answer, do not necessarily come out the same.

 

 

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4 minutes ago, Joshua Katz said:

I conclude that your answer, and JJ's answer, do not necessarily come out the same.

 

 

If the secretary does not include the names of seconder, the assembly may "correct" that set of minutes to include it.

If the assembly instructs the secretary to include the names of seconders, generally, it is no longer a custom. 

If the secretary does not include the names of seconder in future, and on one objects, the assembly will eventually have a new custom.  :)

 

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7 minutes ago, J. J. said:

If the assembly instructs the secretary to include the names of seconders, generally, it is no longer a custom. 

 

Which, to my mind, brings up a more general question.  Are there any limits on what the assembly may order, i.e. things that bring a point of order rather than just a no vote?  

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15 hours ago, Benjamin Geiger said:

... ugh. I did not realize that. This throws a wrench in the gears.

Well, you specifically said that you would be serving as a de facto parliamentarian, so I don’t think there is any wrench after all.

2 hours ago, Joshua Katz said:

Which, to my mind, brings up a more general question.  Are there any limits on what the assembly may order, i.e. things that bring a point of order rather than just a no vote?  

There are certainly limits as to what the assembly may order. :)

Is your question whether there are limits on what the assembly may order with respect to the contents of the minutes?

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47 minutes ago, Josh Martin said:

Well, you specifically said that you would be serving as a de facto parliamentarian, so I don’t think there is any wrench after all.

3 hours ago, Joshua Katz said:

I must have misunderstood.  I thought he was de facto parliamentarian now, and would be appointed parliamentarian later.

47 minutes ago, Josh Martin said:

Is your question whether there are limits on what the assembly may order with respect to the contents of the minutes?

Fair point.  Yes, my question is whether there are limits on what the assembly may order with respect to the contents of the minutes.

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2 hours ago, Joshua Katz said:

 . . . Fair point.  Yes, my question is whether there are limits on what the assembly may order with respect to the contents of the minutes.

 

This brings to mind a discussion we were having just a few weeks ago about whether the assembly can direct that a certain statement be included the minutes.  It was my position then and it is still my position that the assembly can order that pretty much anything it wants to be included in the minutes.  Whether the assembly should do such a thing is an entirely separate issue.  By suspending the rules, I think the assembly can direct that things be put in the minutes that RONR specifically says should not be in the minutes.

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10 hours ago, Joshua Katz said:

Which, to my mind, brings up a more general question.  Are there any limits on what the assembly may order, i.e. things that bring a point of order rather than just a no vote?  

To be put into the minutes?

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18 hours ago, Joshua Katz said:

I must have misunderstood.  I thought he was de facto parliamentarian now, and would be appointed parliamentarian later.

That was the original plan. I think I'll ask the president to hold off on making the switch until we have a chance to update our bylaws. Our parent organization is updating theirs, so we'll have to update ours, and I think I'm going to suggest a full revision instead of patchwork amendments. Some of the existing bylaws are confusingly written.

If we so chose, how would we basically nullify the language on p. 467 (edit: ll. 8-19)? Should we do so? Something like "The Parliamentarian retains all rights of membership of [the organization] and is permitted to participate in debate and cast votes"?

Edited by Benjamin Geiger

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