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Special rule or standing rule?


Guest Sue
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I understand that normally meetings are open only to members of that particular body. Is it possible for an organization to pass a rule that would permit members of the general membership to attend board meetings as observers (thereby requiring the board to advise the general membership of the time, date and location of the board meetings)?

If that is possible, would that be a standing rule of order, a special rule of order, or something else altogether?

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2 hours ago, Guest Sue said:

I understand that normally meetings are open only to members of that particular body. Is it possible for an organization to pass a rule that would permit members of the general membership to attend board meetings as observers (thereby requiring the board to advise the general membership of the time, date and location of the board meetings)?

If that is possible, would that be a standing rule of order, a special rule of order, or something else altogether?

Yes. It would be a standing rule. I would note, however, that if it is desired to require the board to “advise the general membership of the time, date and location of the board meetings,” I would advise explicitly stating this in the rule, rather than simply arguing that a rule which permits general members to attend “thereby requires” that the board provide this information.

1 hour ago, Guest Sue said:

Is there a reference in RONR I can point to (because I expect this may be challenged by some)?

Regarding the membership’s authority to adopt such a rule:

“Within this framework under the general parliamentary law, an assembly or society is free to adopt any rules it may wish (even rules deviating from parliamentary law) provided that, in the procedure of adopting them, it conforms to parliamentary law or its own existing rules. The only limitations upon the rules that such a body can thus adopt might arise from the rules of a parent body (as those of a national society restricting its state or local branches), or from national, state, or local law affecting the particular type of organization.” (RONR, 11th ed., pg. 10)

“The executive board of an organized society operates under the society's bylaws, the society's parliamentary authority, and any special rules of order or standing rules of the society which may be applicable to it. Such a board may adopt its own special rules of order or standing rules only to the extent that such rules do not conflict with any of the rules of the society listed above.” (RONR, 11th ed., pg. 486)

”Except in matters placed by the bylaws exclusively under the control of the board, the society's assembly can give the board instructions which it must carry out, and can rescind or amend any action of the board if it is not too late (see 35).” (RONR, 11th ed., pg. 483)

Regarding the rule’s classification as a standing rule:

“Standing rules, as understood in this book except in the case of conventions, are rules (1) which are related to the details of the administration of a society rather than to parliamentary procedure, and (2) which can be adopted or changed upon the same conditions as any ordinary act of the society.” (RONR, 11th ed., pg. 18)

A rule concerning persons who are permitted to be present solely as observers is not related to parliamentary procedure.

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