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Doug

trying to bring up a failed motion again

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At our executive board meeting, we had a motion to send a number of people to a convention. A member of the eboard made a "motion to amend" to include one more person. The amendment failed, but the original number passed. During the general membership meeting when the eboard minutes were read, no one questioned, or otherwise took issue with the motion (or any other motion) and the eboard minutes were voted on and accepted by the membership. During the new business part of the general membership meeting, a member tried to make a motion to add the same person to the convention that was previously amended in the eboard meeting and had failed. The chair ruled the motion out of order because it was already addressed and the membership had accepted the eboards decision. My questions: I've been trying to look for answers and the closet thing I can find is a "motion to reconsider". Since the members bringing this up were not in the eboard meeting, from what I've read they can not use "reconsider". So the question becomes once the membership accepts the eboards minutes and motions made there in, can the defeated motion (or any defeated or approved motion) ever be brought up again? Can someone keep bringing it up at every monthly meeting?

 

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The answer depends on your bylaws. If they give the board exclusive authority over the matter, the membership may not change it. If they do not (which is likely the case) then the general membership may override the board's decision. 

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There are several things wrong with this and a little more information might be helpful.

First, why is the general membership approving the minutes of the executive board? Unless your bylaws provide differently, the executive board should be approving its own minutes. The general membership should not be involved in that process.

Second, approving the minutes does not mean agreement with what they say was done, it simply means they report what happened correctly. Approving the minutes does not prohibit the body from rescinding or amending the previously adopted motion.

It is true that it is too late for the motion to reconsider. Also, the motion to reconsider would have to have been made in a meeting of the executive committee.

However, assuming that the executive board is subordinate to the general membership, the general membership may reverse a decision of the executive board. Whether the membership can do that in your case depends upon the exact wording of your bylaws and how much power is given to the executive board. The way to do that is by a motion to amend or resend something previously adopted. That motion can be adopted with a majority vote if previous notice is given. Without previous notice, it requires a two-thirds Vote or the vote of a majority of the entire membership.

Edited to add: see official interpretation 2006-12 and ,2006-13 on the main website: http://www.robertsrules.com/interp_list.html#2006_13

Edited by Richard Brown
Added last paragraph

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1 hour ago, Doug said:

At our executive board meeting, we had a motion to send a number of people to a convention. A member of the eboard made a "motion to amend" to include one more person. The amendment failed, but the original number passed. During the general membership meeting when the eboard minutes were read, no one questioned, or otherwise took issue with the motion (or any other motion) and the eboard minutes were voted on and accepted by the membership. During the new business part of the general membership meeting, a member tried to make a motion to add the same person to the convention that was previously amended in the eboard meeting and had failed. The chair ruled the motion out of order because it was already addressed and the membership had accepted the eboards decision. My questions: I've been trying to look for answers and the closet thing I can find is a "motion to reconsider". Since the members bringing this up were not in the eboard meeting, from what I've read they can not use "reconsider". So the question becomes once the membership accepts the eboards minutes and motions made there in, can the defeated motion (or any defeated or approved motion) ever be brought up again? Can someone keep bringing it up at every monthly meeting?

 

10

If the rules in RONR apply, the membership would not be voting on minutes of the executive board.  Each body approves its own minutes.  And approving the minutes means that they are an accurate record of what was done.  It does not mean approval of what was done.  So accepting the minutes does not indicate approval or disapproval of any of the actions taken by the board.  If the membership approves of the actions of the board, it need take no action.  If it wishes to overturn or amend a decision of the board it would use the motion to Amend Something Previously Adopted. See RONR §35.

The chair was therefore incorrect in ruling the motion out of order.   In fact, if the board's motion did not say or imply that those names and no others would attend, it might not be necessary to use the Amend motion, but simply make a new motion that Mr. N. would attend the convention.  And either motion would be in order under New Business.  You should probably familiarize yourself with RONR §24  Appeal (from the decision of the chair).

And in general, a failed motion may be renewed (made again in the same form) at each new session, until the proponent gets tired of moving it.

That's according to RONR.  Are any of your somewhat strange procedures specified in your bylaws?

 

 

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A little more clarification. Yes our bylaws state the membership has overriding authority as a check and balance to the eboard. That's why the minutes need to be approved by the membership. If the membership approves the eboards minutes, the actions taken by the eboard are considered approved by the membership and those motions are moved as stated. Sorry if I don't provide enough as I'm learning this as I go. That's why I came here. Roberts Rules is hard to understand for a new person

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4 minutes ago, Doug said:

That's why the minutes need to be approved by the membership.

Do the bylaws require that the general membership review and approve all (or any ) of the exec board's actions?  RONR doesn't.  The purpose of reviewing minutes is to be sure that the minutes are a correct statement of what was done (not what was said - page 468ff) at the meeting.  Clearly the general membership could not do that for exec board meetings; only the board can.

BTW, no need to apologize.  Some parts of RONR are kinda opaque to us old-timers as well.   A good way to get a fair amount of information quickly and get up to parliamentary speed is via...

RONRIB:

"Roberts Rules of Order Newly Revised In Brief", Updated Second Edition (Da Capo Press, Perseus Books Group, 2011). It is a splendid summary of all the rules you will ever need in all but the most exceptional situations. And only $7.50! You can read it in an evening. Get both RONRIB and RONR (scroll down) at this link: 

http://www.robertsrules.com/inbrief.html

Or in your local bookstore.

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21 minutes ago, Doug said:

A little more clarification. Yes our bylaws state the membership has overriding authority as a check and balance to the eboard. That's why the minutes need to be approved by the membership. If the membership approves the eboards minutes, the actions taken by the eboard are considered approved by the membership and those motions are moved as stated. Sorry if I don't provide enough as I'm learning this as I go. That's why I came here. Roberts Rules is hard to understand for a new person

Doug, you're going to have to quote the provisions from your bylaws or your special rules of order that contravene the provisions in RONR in order to convince any of us that the procedure which you say your organization is following is proper. It is clearly not what is prescribed in RONR.

If there are any such provisions that contravene the rules in RONR, please quote them verbatim.

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5 hours ago, Doug said:

A little more clarification. Yes our bylaws state the membership has overriding authority as a check and balance to the eboard. That's why the minutes need to be approved by the membership. If the membership approves the eboards minutes, the actions taken by the eboard are considered approved by the membership and those motions are moved as stated.

This practice woefully misunderstands the purpose of approving the minutes. Even if your bylaws require the membership to approve all actions of the board (which would be rather unusual), one or more motions should be made to approve the actions of the board, not to approve the minutes. The board should approve its own minutes. Approval of the minutes is used to indicate that the minutes are an accurate record of what happened during the meeting, not to indicate approval of the actions taken at the meeting. The board is presumably in the best position to know whether the record of its own meetings is accurate, and therefore the board should approve its own minutes.

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12 hours ago, Doug said:

A little more clarification. Yes our bylaws state the membership has overriding authority as a check and balance to the eboard. That's why the minutes need to be approved by the membership. If the membership approves the eboards minutes, the actions taken by the eboard are considered approved by the membership and those motions are moved as stated. Sorry if I don't provide enough as I'm learning this as I go. That's why I came here. Roberts Rules is hard to understand for a new person

Well, my question remains whether these rules are in your bylaws or special rules of order. They are not proper according to RONR.  RONR does provide that the membership has the overriding authority, but this is not implemented through approval of minutes, as I explained in my previous message.  Approving minutes only says that they are accurate, which the membership would presumably have no way of knowing unless they were present at the board meeting.  And more importantly, approving minutes does not mean approving of what was done.

It would be possible to formulate rules that require the membership to explicitly approve every action of the board (though I would not recommend it) but it seems to me that using minutes approvals to do so is going about it in the wrong way.

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