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Motion help


Angie N
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Good Afternoon Everyone!

Can someone help me out regarding a previous motion made?  The example is: There was a motion to pay for something in 2 years by an assessment. We paid for it after 1 year. We are now having conflicts on 2 years versus the goal met.  

Some feel we should continue to pay because it hasn't been 2 years and others feel we met the goal despite it not being 2 years and should stop paying.

Who is correct and what are our options to stop payment? 

Thank you! 

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5 minutes ago, Angie N said:

Good Afternoon Everyone!

Can someone help me out regarding a previous motion made?  The example is: There was a motion to pay for something in 2 years by an assessment. We paid for it after 1 year. We are now having conflicts on 2 years versus the goal met.  

Some feel we should continue to pay because it hasn't been 2 years and others feel we met the goal despite it not being 2 years and should stop paying.

Who is correct and what are our options to stop payment? 

Thank you! 

The question of who is correct probably depends mostly on the exact wording of the motion which was adopted.

But, regardless, the best way to get rid of it is probably to use the motion to amend  or  rescind something previously adopted.  You could  amend it  so state that it shall end on a certain date or on a date certain.

Such a motion requires a two thirds vote or the vote of a majority of the entire membership if previous notice of the motion is not given.  If previous notice is given, it can be adopted with an ordinary majority vote.

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Chances are that once the "something" was all paid for (well ahead of time) you could view the requirement for the remaining year of assessments as no longer valid.  The terms of the motion -- buying the "something" were met -- and the motion is therefore all finished with.

But show us the exact text of the original motion to make this, perhaps, clear. (Or make it worse -- who knows.)

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You do have one other option.  At a meeting, someone can make a point of order that the collection of the assessment should cease because the objective has been reached.  The chair rules on the point of order.  His ruling can be appealed to the assembly.  It takes a majority vote to overturn the ruling of the chair.  The decision of the assembly is final.  But, if the decision (whether by the chair or the assembly) is that the collection should stop, that is the end of it.  However, if the decision is that the collection must continue, then the motion to amend or rescind something previously adopted is your only recourse.

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Thank you both for responding. The motion was to pay an outstanding balance by donating $1500 per year for 2 years. This will be done by assessing each member $50 for 2 years. 

It was done in 1 because of new members being assessed the fee as well. 

So if the balance is met and no one decides to amend the motion, how can the excess funds be used?  

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Well, then it appears you have a bigger problem.

In any case, the motion as adopted opened the door to a contradiction. If I were a member, I'd think (setting aside the issue that a compulsory assessment not authorized by the bylaws is not permitted) that the $1500 is controlling, but ultimately the organization will need to decide. Or it can avoid the issue by rescinding, as described by others.

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I agree in part and disagree in part with Mr. Katz. I agree with him that personally I think the $1,500 figure is controlling or was certainly the intent of the motion.

I also agree with him that if your bylaws do not authorize the imposition of assessments, then they are not permitted and the assessment actually violated your bylaws.

I think I disagree with him on the minor point that I believe it is more appropriate to amend the previously adopted motion to provide that it shall end once $1,500 is collected rather than to rescind the motion. If you rescind the motion, you are left in the awkward situation of having collected $1,500 based on a motion that you have rescinded. You cannot rescind that portion of a motion which has already been carried out.

You also have the option, as I stated in a previous post,  to raise a point of order that the collection of the assessment should cease because the purpose of the motion was satisfied once $1,500 was raised.

Be aware that some member may raise a point of order that the imposition of the assessment was illegal in the first place and that the $1,500 collected should be returned to the members. Good luck if that happens! The chair can rule on the point of order and his ruling can be appealed to the assembly. The decision of the assembly is final.

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2 hours ago, Richard Brown said:

I think I disagree with him on the minor point that I believe it is more appropriate to amend the previously adopted motion to provide that it shall end once $1,500 is collected rather than to rescind the motion. If you rescind the motion, you are left in the awkward situation of having collected $1,500 based on a motion that you have rescinded. You cannot rescind that portion of a motion which has already been carried out.

 

Good point (although that awkward situation already exists given that the bylaws do not allow assessments). Amend makes more sense.

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The thing that bothers me about this issue is the fact that a fair amount of money is involved and the fact that its collection was not predicted in the bylaws. In my estimation this is not a run-of-the-mill parliamentary procedure question to be resolved by way of a Point Of Order and an Appeal. I would feel a whole lot more comfortable if a special meeting was called and all the relevant information was exposed to the assembly and allow the assembly via a main motion and in a Committee Of The Whole to recommend what to do with any remaining funds and what to do if the assembly feels that some form of disciplinary action is required.

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2 minutes ago, Guest Zev said:

The thing that bothers me about this issue is the fact that a fair amount of money is involved and the fact that its collection was not predicted in the bylaws. In my estimation this is not a run-of-the-mill parliamentary procedure question to be resolved by way of a Point Of Order and an Appeal. I would feel a whole lot more comfortable if a special meeting was called and all the relevant information was exposed to the assembly and allow the assembly via a main motion and in a Committee Of The Whole to recommend what to do with any remaining funds and what to do if the assembly feels that some form of disciplinary action is required.

Personally, I don't see any need for all that.  I suspect... rather strongly... that the assessment is something the membership felt it had to do and wanted to do and there will not be the support to try to undo it or make a big deal  out of it.  I think all of the groups I have ever been a member of would take the collective position, "Hey, we did what we thought we needed to do and we are happy with it and we want to leave it alone".   Apparently, no one was even questioning it until we brought it up.  I think the group just wants to move on, but they want to know the best way to stop collecting the money now that the amount they needed has been raised.

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To Mr. Brown's suggestion that the original main motion be amended to cap the sum to be collected, I would point out that a motion to amend a previously adopted main motion that is null and void on account that it conflicts with the bylaws is not in order. The motion is an improper main motion, persuant to the rule in RONR (11th Ed.), p. 111, item 1. 

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2 hours ago, reelsman said:

To Mr. Brown's suggestion that the original main motion be amended to cap the sum to be collected, I would point out that a motion to amend a previously adopted main motion that is null and void on account that it conflicts with the bylaws is not in order. The motion is an improper main motion, persuant to the rule in RONR (11th Ed.), p. 111, item 1. 

I don't necessarily agree, and if it is improper, then a motion to rescind, as was suggested by someone else, would also be out of order.  In the opinion of most of us here, the original motion to impose the assessment was out of order and is null and void.  As to amending the previously adopted motion, the amendment, if anything brings the motion into compliance with the bylaws from this point forward by providing that the special  assessment shall cease.

Ultimately, the presiding officer or the membership will decide  the issue.  It is for them to decide, not us.  We can only give our opinions.

Aside from that, the assembly can also take the point of order route that I suggested, by someone raising a point of order that the collection of the assessment should cease because the goal of $1.500 has been collected.  Although we parliamentarians may believe that the assessment and collection  of it was out of order and "illegal" (from a parliamentary standpoint) ab initio, that decision actually rests with the presiding officer or the assembly.  Whatever they decide is  the final answer, regardless of whether we believe it is the right answer.  I'll say again that although we regulars on this forum may believe that the imposition and  collection of the assessment was illegal, that is a determination that can be made only by this organization itself (short of going  to court).  I have a hunch that the membership is going to want to leave well enough alone, not raise a ruckus, and just move on from here.... a bit wiser, hopefully.

Question:  How would you suggest this organization handle this situation, assuming for the sake of this  discussion that the imposition of the special assessment was something  uncontroversial that the membership believed at the time was necessary and the best course of action and that they want to leave well enough alone and want only to stop its collection in the future?

Edited to add:  The collection of the assessment can also be stopped by means of a point of order that the imposition of the assessment  was "illegal" and must stop immediately because there is no authorization for such an assessment in the bylaws.  Of course, that does not address the question of what to do with the money already collected. :unsure:

Edited by Richard Brown
Added last paragraph
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Uh-oh is right. From all the facts given, it appears that the original main motion was null and void ab initio, as Mr. Brown suggests. The only thing needed is a ruling to that effect by the chair, which can be done "at any time". RONR (11th Ed.), p. 251.

The questions that may arise about the liability of the organization are questions of civil law about which I will not opine on this forum.

 

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Whew! Thank you everyone!  This is a lot to digest. Mr. Brown is indeed correct that the membership felt the need for the assessment and everyone was ok. The concern became after realizing the payment in full was made and continued assessments. It doesn't necessarily sound the right thing based on the feedback however the membership decided to let the assessment continue to the 2nd year and excess would get allocated to another expense.

This has been super helpful to me. Thank you again for your insight and expertise.

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