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Motions at annual membership meeting


swagaman
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I belong to an organization whose members are organizations, each represented by a delegate.  The delegates elect a board of directors who have the authority, specified in the bylaws, to conduct most of the organization’s business.  Some authority is reserved for the delegates, such as approving member dues.  The members of the board of directors are not delegates but attend the annual membership meeting.  The chairman of the board of directors chairs the annual membership meeting.  The question that has arisen is who makes motions at the annual membership meeting?

 

For example, the board of directors has voted to recommend an increase in member dues.  This must now be approved by the delegates.  It would make sense for the treasurer on the board of directors to make the motion at the annual membership/delegate meeting, but the treasurer is not a member/delegate.  While the delegates may receive advance information about the business that will be conducted at the meeting, none of the delegates will expect to be introducing motions.  May the treasurer (non-member) make a motion?  Should there be provisions in the bylaws and/or rules of order for the meeting to allow this?

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Members make motions. In general, convention motions are made by committee chairs, by direction of the committee, and these do not require seconds. This is premised, though, on the committee chair being a member, and there being at least one other member in the committee. Failing that, the committee will need to simply report, and see if a member is willing to make the motion, much as the same as RONR describes for officer reports. I note that this is not much of a problem, unless too much formality is applied - if no one is willing to make such a motion, it is hard to see how it would pass. Furthermore, nothing prevents the board from "shopping" around prior to the meeting for someone to make the motion.

You certainly can make a provision in your bylaws, and probably in your special rules of order (so long as no voting is involved), although whether you should do so is a question for your organization. I don't see this as being a big deal, unless people are inclined to worry more than they should about who makes the motion (a symptom that mindless formality is taking place, but a common one), in which case you can either solve that problem, or amend your rules, whichever is easier, I guess.

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46 minutes ago, Joshua Katz said:

You certainly can make a provision in your bylaws, and probably in your special rules of order (so long as no voting is involved), although whether you should do so is a question for your organization. I don't see this as being a big deal, unless people are inclined to worry more than they should about who makes the motion (a symptom that mindless formality is taking place, but a common one), in which case you can either solve that problem, or amend your rules, whichever is easier, I guess.

I don't think the members are particularly worried, only that it is a new structure for us and there is a curiosity about how it will all work.

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The standard answer is that members vote.  So to make a motion at the Member's meeting you would have to be a Member of that assembly. 

Non-members may be afforded the right to attend and to speak by majority vote of the assembly, or other applicable rule.  Non-members may be permitted to speak in debate and make motions by suspension of the rules, which requires a two-thirds vote.  

Non-members may not be permitted to cast votes, even by a unanimous vote.

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6 hours ago, swagaman said:

May the treasurer (non-member) make a motion?

No, not without suspending the rules, as Mr. Novosielski observes. Within the rules, the Treasurer (or another officer) could make a report and recommend adoption of a motion to raise dues. A member of the assembly could then so move.

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1 minute ago, Joshua Katz said:

Why? What difference would it make if some non-member wanted the assembly to take something up?

"A motion made by direction of a board or duly appointed committee of the assembly requires no second from the floor (provided the subordinate group is composed of more than one person), since the motion's introduction has been directed by a majority vote within the board or committee and is therefore desired by at least two assembly members or elected or appointed persons to whose opinion the assembly is presumed to give weight regarding the board's or committee's concerns." (RONR, 11th ed., p. 36, ll. 15-23)

"Motions to Implement Recommendations. When a report contains recommendations . . . the reporting board or committee member usually makes the necessary motion to implement the recommendations at the conclusion of his presentation, provided he is a member of the assembly (see examples, pp. 514–16 and 519ff., in which it is generally assumed that the 'reporting member' is a member of the assembly). . . . No second is required in these cases, since the motion is made on behalf of the board or committee (see p. 36, ll. 15–23).

"If the person presenting the report is not a member of the assembly or for any other reason does not make the required motion to implement the recommendations as just described, any member of the assembly can do so; but the motion should then be seconded. Or, when the proper motion is a matter of clear-cut procedure and must necessarily be introduced to resolve the case, the chair may sometimes expedite matters by assuming the motion—that is, stating the question on it without waiting for it to be made—provided that the assembly is accustomed to this method.*

"*Such a practice is justified by the fact that more than one person must have voted for the recommendation within the board or committee and must therefore wish it to come before the assembly." (p. 507, ll. 4-29 and footnote)

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