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going back to an item on the agenda for member that stepped away


Cuibono
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At our last meeting, one member of the board of directors stepped out without anyone being aware and upon his/her return, asked the presiding officer to repeat the motion and highlights from the discussion.   I know this is incorrect and unfair to the remaining members but I'm not sure what I can authoritatively point to that bars that.

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It's the type thing, especially in a small board meeting, that would usually be handled by unanimous consent.  The member who stepped away would ask if the motion can be repeated, the chair will ask if there is any objection, and if not, it will be repeated. Repeating the highlights of the discussion is another matter.  I suppose, however, if there is no objection, someone could also provide what that person sees as the highlights of the discussion.   A member could also move to suspend the rules and have the motion repeated.  Doing so requires a two thirds vote.

As far as the actual wording of the motion itself, however, it should be repeated by the chair when he "puts" the motion to a vote after debate has ended.   A motion is usually stated three times:  When the mover makes the motion, when the chair "states the motion" to open debate, and again after debate when the chair "puts" the motion to a vote.

Edited to add:  If you object to either the motion being repeated or to the discussion being summarized, you should  raise a point of order that the motion has already been stated and that it is an imposition on the other members to make them have to sit through a summation of the debate that has taken place.  I cannot point to a specific prohibition in RONR, however.

Edited again to add:  The closest thing in RONR I can find that is close to being on point is in the section on "Reading Papers" on pages 298-299.  This seems like the key provision on page 299.  I have bolded what seems to be the key provision:

When any paper is laid before the assembly for action, it is a right of every member that it be read once; and, if there is any debate or amendment, that it be read again before members are asked to vote on it. Except as just stated, no member has the right to have anything read without permission of the assembly. But whenever any member requests that a document that is before the assembly be read—obviously for information and not for delay—and no one objects, the chair normally should direct that it be read. If there is an objection, a majority vote is required to order that it be read. If a member was absent from the hall when the paper under consideration was read—even though absent on duty—he cannot insist on its being read again; in this case, the convenience of the assembly is more important than that of a single member.   (Emphasis added).

Edited by Richard Brown
Added last two paragraphs and quote from RONR
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While I agree that asking for discussion 'highlights' to be summarized is inappropriate, I do not believe that asking for the motion to be re-read is necessarily an imposition. RONR says that "The chair should take special care to make sure that the members always understand what is the immediately pending business - the exact question to be voted on the next time a vote is taken." (p 454, l. 34 - p.455, l.2). It seems to me that repeating the exact wording of a motion is in keeping with this obligation, assuming it is not requested excessively. I'd be willing to err on the cautious side here to make sure that every member knows exactly what question is being considered.

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