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VolleKeepo

Adoption of guidelines for electronic meetings

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The charter of the organization does not say that electronic meetings are disallowed, nor do they say that a meeting must be held in a physical location where the members must be present. How does a small assembly adopt guidelines to hold electronic meetings? Is it adopted through a resolution by a majority vote? By a 2/3 vote?

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1 minute ago, VolleKeepo said:

The charter of the organization does not say that electronic meetings are disallowed, nor do they say that a meeting must be held in a physical location where the members must be present. How does a small assembly adopt guidelines to hold electronic meetings? Is it adopted through a resolution by a majority vote? By a 2/3 vote?

They must be authorized by the bylaws or you can't have them and you'll need plenty of special rules to supplement that authorization.  See RONR (11th ed.), pp. 97-99

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30 minutes ago, George Mervosh said:

They must be authorized by the bylaws or you can't have them and you'll need plenty of special rules to supplement that authorization.  See RONR (11th ed.), pp. 97-99

Well, how many special rules you need depends on the technology or technologies you hope to employ. but the guidelines in the quoted section give you some idea of the parameters. If you want to say more about what you want to do, we can make some suggestions.

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13 hours ago, George Mervosh said:

They must be authorized by the bylaws

The organization doesn't have bylaws

13 hours ago, Greg Goodwiller said:

If you want to say more about what you want to do, we can make some suggestions.

This is a small assembly and everyone is usually very orderly. Here are my initial (core) guidelines:

Announcement of the meeting

The members may be notified personally, through a memorandum, or a notice of meeting. Members must be notified within an appropriate amount of time. The software to be used, the time the meeting will start and end must be identified ahead. (The recommended software will be Skype and Messenger.) Electronic meetings may only be done through video calls where the both the face and voice of the member are clear. The presiding officer or the secretary sets up the room for a video call.

During the meeting

The presider, the secretary, the members, and all other persons participating in the meeting must speak clearly. If the audio from the person who has obtained the floor is clear, it is unnecessary for him to write down his motion in the chat. However, if for any reason, the audio is unclear, the member must still speak but is now required to type in the chat what he wishes to say.

The host is recommended to record the video and audio together with the chat log. In case if conflict between what is said in the video and what is found in the chat log, the video prevails.

If documents are to be submitted, they have to submitted through in a format that is legible. It is recommended that every member has his own copy of said documents before the meeting had started.

The minutes of the meeting will be done in the same manner as it would be done in physical meetings.

Obtaining the floor

To obtain the floor, the person may show his hand on the camera or may say so. If it is unclear to the presider who wants to be recognized, he may ask them to type in the chat that they want to be recognized. In any case, the presider must take into account the delay that comes with electronic meetings. With this, he must at all times give ample time for members to respond.

Voting

The rights of the members to vote is the same as stipulated in the governing documents. The recommended voting procedure during electronic meetings is always roll call voting except for non controversial matters. Roll call voting is done in the same manner as it would be done in physical meetings.

 
 

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If RONR is your parliamentary authority, and you have no bylaws (!) then you can't use electronic voting unless a law says you can.  If you don't have a parliamentary authority, well, then you follow the common parliamentary law, and I suppose nothing stops you from allowing electronic voting.

23 minutes ago, VolleKeepo said:

Members must be notified within an appropriate amount of time.

I would specify how much notice is required, to avoid endless fights over "appropriate."

24 minutes ago, VolleKeepo said:

The presiding officer or the secretary sets up the room for a video call.

Which one?  If the usual presiding officer is not present, the secretary will presumably set it up - but if neither is present, you won't know who the presiding officer is until you elect one.

26 minutes ago, VolleKeepo said:

or may say so.

This is going to obligate you not to mute people.  It would be better to have the ability to mute people.  There are videoconferencing services where you can set a visual "status."  In one organization I know of, we use visual statuses for various things - a hand to seek the floor, a rabbit for a privileged motion, and happy/sad faces to vote via roll call.

 

27 minutes ago, VolleKeepo said:

except for non controversial matters.

I think this is too vague.

28 minutes ago, VolleKeepo said:

Roll call voting is done in the same manner as it would be done in physical meetings.

I would recommend a provision for what to do if a member is dropped, becomes inaudible, etc. during a vote.  In my organization, we have a rule that if a member was present before the vote, and returns fewer than 5 minutes after the vote concludes, he may vote.

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10 hours ago, VolleKeepo said:

The organization doesn't have bylaws

Do you have some document that is the equivalent of bylaws? A document that defines such details as, for instance, the members and officers of the society? Perhaps the charter you refer to serves this purpose. In that event, that document must be amended to specifically authorize electronic meetings.

If there is no document of this nature at all, then you don’t actually have a society.

10 hours ago, VolleKeepo said:

This is a small assembly and everyone is usually very orderly. Here are my initial (core) guidelines:

You must first adopt a rule in your bylaws (or equivalent) authorizing such meetings. After that is done, it seems to me the rules above may be adopted by the same vote as to adopt special rules of order, since at least some of them are in the nature of rules of order. This requires a 2/3 vote with notice or a vote of a majority of the entire membership.

10 hours ago, VolleKeepo said:

The members may be notified personally, through a memorandum, or a notice of meeting. Members must be notified within an appropriate amount of time.

I would specify the method(s) by which notice may be provided - mail, e-mail, etc. I would also certainly specify the amount of time required for notice.

10 hours ago, VolleKeepo said:

The rights of the members to vote is the same as stipulated in the governing documents. The recommended voting procedure during electronic meetings is always roll call voting except for non controversial matters. Roll call voting is done in the same manner as it would be done in physical meetings.

Is it intended that the roll call votes actually be recorded in the minutes as usual, or not? I would clarify this.

Additionally, the phrase “non controversial matters” and it is also ambiguous to merely “recommend” a voting procedure. I recommend the following instead specifying that a roll call vote is required if requested by a certain number of proportion of members. In this manner, the members themselves will determine whether a motion is controversial enough for a roll call vote.

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We do not have by laws but we do have a charter that lists the roles and responsibilities of officers and the rights of the members.

 

17 minutes ago, Josh Martin said:

it seems to me the rules above may be adopted by the same vote as to adopt special rules of order

Is it possible to have the RONR as the parliamentary authority but adopt a separate special rules of order specifically only for electronic meetings?

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2 hours ago, VolleKeepo said:

We do not have by laws but we do have a charter that lists the roles and responsibilities of officers and the rights of the members.

Then this document serves as the equivalent of bylaws for your organization and must be amended to authorize electronic meetings if you wish to have them.

2 hours ago, VolleKeepo said:

Is it possible to have the RONR as the parliamentary authority but adopt a separate special rules of order specifically only for electronic meetings?

Yes, but as previously noted, it is also necessary to adopt a rule in the bylaws (or in your case, the charter) authorizing such meetings. A special rule of order is not sufficient to authorize electronic meetings, but if such meetings are authorized, special rules of order can (and should) be adopted to facilitate such meetings.

“Except as authorized in the bylaws, the business of an organization or board can be validly transacted only at a regular or properly called meeting—that is, as defined on pages 81–82, a single official gathering in one room or area—of the assembly of its members at which a quorum is present.

...

If electronic meetings are to be authorized, it is advisable to adopt additional rules pertaining to their conduct (see Additional Rules for the Conduct of Electronic Meetings, below).” (RONR, 11th ed., pg. 97)

Edited by Josh Martin

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Guest Bev Suderman

In this time of Covid-19 Pandemic, a lot of societies are trying to continue to do business ... but don't necessarily have bylaws that authorize electronic meetings. Any suggestions? 

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18 minutes ago, Guest Bev Suderman said:

In this time of Covid-19 Pandemic, a lot of societies are trying to continue to do business ... but don't necessarily have bylaws that authorize electronic meetings. Any suggestions? 

Yes, there is a thread with much information.

https://robertsrules.forumflash.com/topic/35186-unofficial-faq-electronic-meetings-to-replace-in-person-meetings/

If you have any questions, please start a new thread.

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