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Parlipal

Meeting Called to Order in a Manner Which Violates Internal Procedures

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An assembly calls a meeting to order in perfect accordance with the procedures outlined on Page 453 of RONR, but fails to notice that the assembly's internal Rules and Procedures state the following:

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The chair shall call meetings of the Senate to order. If fifteen minutes have elapsed since the start time proposed in the call for the meeting, any member of the Senate shall call the meeting to order and surrender the chair to whomever is first in the above line of succession. If none of these members are present, the Senate shall elect a temporary chair from the floor.

The meeting is called to order by a member of the assembly three minutes into the meeting rather than fifteen. No member of the assembly raises a point of order, and the chair nor any of the outlined members in the line of succession ever arrive to the meeting (this is recorded in the meeting's roll call votes and attendance records). Does the meeting still qualify as a meeting? Please note that I am specifically raising the question of whether or not the meeting qualifies as the assembly "holding a meeting" in order to determine whether or not this meeting qualifies as the assembly's first meeting of the term.

Edited by Parlipal
Edited to fix a typo

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Yes, it is a full fledged "meeting".

Any point of order about a failure to follow procedural rules must be timely - page 250.  You said there was no point raised.  End of story.   But...

Now the fun begins:  Was the premature call to order of the meeting a "continuing breach of order", for reason e) (page 251), i.e., the (tardy or no-show) absentees had the right to be assured that the meeting wouldn't start until (at least) 15 minutes after the planned opening time?  

I don't know.  I suspect the only authority that can answer that is the assembly itself interpreting your rules at a later meeting via a point of order raised then.  See page 588.   

If the answer is "Yes", the meeting shouldn't have happened and it should be declared null and void.  It, then, was not your first meeting of the term.

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The meeting was held and qualifies as the first meeting.

The bylaws excerpts you give all seem to be in the nature of Rules of Order, so any objection or point of order would have had to be raised in a timely manner.

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2 minutes ago, jstackpo said:

Now the fun begins:  Was the premature call to order of the meeting a "continuing breach of order", for reason e) (page 251), i.e., the (tardy or no-show) absentees had the right to be assured that the meeting wouldn't start until (at least) 15 minutes after the planned opening time?

I would say that that particular breach only continued for 12 minutes.

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29 minutes ago, jstackpo said:

Now the fun begins:  Was the premature call to order of the meeting a "continuing breach of order", for reason e) (page 251), i.e., the (tardy or no-show) absentees had the right to be assured that the meeting wouldn't start until (at least) 15 minutes after the planned opening time?  

I don't think this is anything other than a procedural rule regarding a chair pro tem, as Dr. Kapur noted earlier and I see nothing in the facts presented which would invalidate and entire meeting.

Edited by George Mervosh

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2 hours ago, Parlipal said:

. . . and surrender the chair to whomever is first . . . 

One thing is certain: the rule should say "whoever," not "whomever."

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Just now, Shmuel Gerber said:

One thing is certain: the rule should say "whoever," not "whomever."

(I added that comment mainly so that this topic could qualify for the Advanced Discussion forum.)

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3 hours ago, Parlipal said:

Does the meeting still qualify as a meeting?

Yes. In my view, the rule in question is in the nature of a rule of order, and failure to observe it does not constitute a continuing breach, at least certainly not in such a way which would invalidate the entire meeting.

3 hours ago, Parlipal said:

Please note that I am specifically raising the question of whether or not the meeting qualifies as the assembly "holding a meeting" in order to determine whether or not this meeting qualifies as the assembly's first meeting of the term.

I think there is no doubt that the meeting was validly held, and therefore qualifies as the assembly’s first meeting of the term.

1 hour ago, jstackpo said:

Yes, it is a full fledged "meeting".

Any point of order about a failure to follow procedural rules must be timely - page 250.  You said there was no point raised.  End of story.   But...

Now the fun begins:  Was the premature call to order of the meeting a "continuing breach of order", for reason e) (page 251), i.e., the (tardy or no-show) absentees had the right to be assured that the meeting wouldn't start until (at least) 15 minutes after the planned opening time?  

I don't know.  I suspect the only authority that can answer that is the assembly itself interpreting your rules at a later meeting via a point of order raised then.  See page 588.   

If the answer is "Yes", the meeting shouldn't have happened and it should be declared null and void.  It, then, was not your first meeting of the term.

The absentees can only be said to have any protection at all in this matter if it was known in advance that the regular chairman would not be present, otherwise the absentees had no reason to believe the meeting would start 15 minutes after the scheduled time. Even in such a case, I see no reason why the entire meeting would be invalid on this basis. At most, it seems to me the only business in jeopardy would be the business conducted in the twelve minutes between the time at which the meeting was called to order and the time at which the meeting was supposed to be called to order.

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1 hour ago, Shmuel Gerber said:

(I added that comment mainly so that this topic could qualify for the Advanced Discussion forum.)

And it's a good thing that you did because otherwise I probably would have moved it.  

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3 hours ago, Josh Martin said:

The absentees can only be said to have any protection at all in this matter if it was known in advance that the regular chairman would not be present, otherwise the absentees had no reason to believe the meeting would start 15 minutes after the scheduled time. Even in such a case, I see no reason why the entire meeting would be invalid on this basis. At most, it seems to me the only business in jeopardy would be the business conducted in the twelve minutes between the time at which the meeting was called to order and the time at which the meeting was supposed to be called to order.

With one exception: the chairman had the right to delay the meeting by 15 minutes. So:

5 hours ago, Atul Kapur said:

I would say that that particular breach only continued for 12 minutes.

 

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I agree, in part, with the other comments. 

My only disagreement is that the breach could have existed for the 12 minutes.  Once the time for the meeting to start arrived, the meeting could be called to order; this rule, who presides over the meeting is in the nature of a rule of order and, as such, is in order.  Though awkward, the rules could be suspended to permit someone other than the presiding officer to preside and call the meeting to order; there was no breach of a continuing nature as the rule violated is one in the nature of a rule of order.  The point of order would have to have been raised at the time the person called the meeting to order.

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