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“I think I speak for the entire board...”


Guest Hammy
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A fairly common figure of speech. Nevertheless, if during the debate you speak to the contrary opinion then it seems safe to say that the previous speaker was just unaware of your opinion. But saying such things does not constitute any form of a breach of decorum, if that is what you are trying to get at.

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9 hours ago, reelsman said:

Don't get up and make a speech using those words. Dealing in personalities in debate is verboten.

Do you see that kind of statement as part of what is verboten?

The issue I have with it is the following (long):

To me it seems inappropriate, because that statement, spoken by another, especially if it’s a person with perceived power,  leaves people in a place to either listen and wait (and not protest in the meantime) to see what the person who just said that is about to say, to see if they agree with them speaking for them, which by their attentive silence, appears to others as if they are already giving consent, already in agreement, because they don’t say anything, or they’re faced with saying something after-the-fact which they’re not likely to do... why?  Nobody else did...and why would one person want to be the only person who says anything, and seen as dissenting alone?
 
So it looks either way like the people in question who are being spoken for are in fact OK with being spoken for, and the person who says it, does in fact speak for them... and in the transaction, the person who spoke and made the unchallenged claim, gets another measure of perceived power, authority, and respect, whether it’s true or not, deserved or not.
 
It’s manipulation, it’s sneaky, and it seems dishonest, unless one has actually had in-depth discussion, agreement, and gotten consent to be the actual voice of the other people they are claiming to speak for.
 
May not have anything to do with RONR, it’s just a nuance thing that I noticed at a meeting I had been to recently. 
 
Could making such a statement be seen as not germane, and unsubstantiated, because consent and agreement by the others has not specifically been given?
 

 

 

 

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18 hours ago, Guest Hammy said:

It just seems awfully manipulative, sneaky, and dishonest to me.

In any event, the words in question violate no rule in RONR. Accusing a member of being “manipulative, sneaky, and dishonest,” however, does violate the rules of decorum, so don’t do that.

If the member is mistaken in his claim that he speaks for the entire board, the remedy is quite simple. Another board member can say, “Respectfully, the previous speaker does not speak for the entire board. My own view is that...”

7 hours ago, Guest Hammy said:

To me it seems inappropriate, because that statement, spoken by another, especially if it’s a person with perceived power,  leaves people in a place to either listen and wait (and not protest in the meantime) to see what the person who just said that is about to say, to see if they agree with them speaking for them, which by their attentive silence, appears to others as if they are already giving consent, already in agreement, because they don’t say anything, or they’re faced with saying something after-the-fact which they’re not likely to do... why?  Nobody else did...and why would one person want to be the only person who says anything, and seen as dissenting alone?

The members will have to grow the backbone to express their own opinions.

5 hours ago, Guest Zev said:

If you think it is a problem then stand up immediately and call the member to order. And if you think an apology is required then say that also.

In my view, however, the chair should rule this point not well taken.

7 hours ago, Guest Hammy said:
Could making such a statement be seen as not germane, and unsubstantiated, because consent and agreement by the others has not specifically been given?

I suppose I could see an argument for it not being germane, although I think it is a rather weak argument. The fact that it is unsubstantiated and that the member has not received consent and agreement from those persons he purports to speak for are not parliamentary concerns.

I would just call the member on these statements as often as possible. After doing this a few times, it will quickly become apparent to the assembly that the member really has no idea whether he speaks for the entire board.

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10 hours ago, Guest Hammy said:

appears to others as if they are already giving consent, already in agreement, because they don’t say anything, or they’re faced with saying something after-the-fact which they’re not likely to do...

Ann Landers had a saying, "No one one can take advantage of you without your consent."

This member may be presumptuous and even arrogant but, if other people don't want to speak up for any reason then this person is free to continue to believe their assumption is correct.

I do not recommend trying to "Bend, fold, or mutilate" parliamentary procedure to fix a problem that is easily solved by people speaking up for themselves. In fact, I would say that the assumption that people will do exactly that underlies the entire book.

 

Edited by Atul Kapur
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1 hour ago, Gary Novosielski said:

A member does not speak for the board unless the board has voted on the opinion to be expressed.  And if the vote was a bare majority, the member might be speaking for the board, but would not necessarily be speaking for the entire board, unless the vote had been unanimous.

I agree, but not withstanding this, I do not think it violates any parliamentary rule for a member to state in debate “I think I speak for the entire board...”

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5 minutes ago, Josh Martin said:

I agree, but not withstanding this, I do not think it violates any parliamentary rule for a member to state in debate “I think I speak for the entire board...”

No, I don't either.  And at least it's better than, "I'm certain I speak for the entire board".

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1 hour ago, Josh Martin said:

I agree, but not withstanding this, I do not think it violates any parliamentary rule for a member to state in debate “I think I speak for the entire board...”

Agreed.

The best way to handle it to say, in debate, "The member who said ______ certainly does not speak for me."

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