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new business raised without discussion of committee chair


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Guest backyard farmer

Question.  If at a Board meeting during new business someone raises, with a paper handout, a new idea but that person has NOT discussed that with the committee chair or informed the chair that this will be brought up- is this a violation of Roberts Rules of Order?  At best it seems really discourteous,  dis respectful and undermining,

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6 minutes ago, Guest backyard farmer said:

Question.  If at a Board meeting during new business someone raises, with a paper handout, a new idea but that person has NOT discussed that with the committee chair or informed the chair that this will be brought up- is this a violation of Roberts Rules of Order?  At best it seems really discourteous,  dis respectful and undermining,

Since it's a board meeting, what does the committee chair have to do with this question?  Board members are generally free to bring up new business, but a few more facts/background here might help.

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Guest backyard farmer

thanks for your input.  The new business brought up falls under the content area of the committee chair.  So my question was is this a violation of Roberts rules of order, or just a way of doing business that undermines the committee chair.

 

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If the "someone" is a member of the board, making a main motion on a new topic during the handling of new business is the ordinary and proper way to bring business before the board. There is no requirement in the rules to discuss the matter beforehand with anyone. There is nothing disrespectful or "undermining" about it.

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48 minutes ago, Guest backyard farmer said:

thanks for your input.  The new business brought up falls under the content area of the committee chair.  So my question was is this a violation of Roberts rules of order, or just a way of doing business that undermines the committee chair.

 

Please elaborate upon what you mean by the statement that the new business falls under the content area of the committee chair.

Unless your bylaws or special Rules of Order contain some unusual provisions, bringing up new business when the new business section of the order of business has been reached is the normal way of introducing new business in an assembly. If the motion which was made properly falls under the jurisdiction of a standing committee, the board would then refer that matter to the committee.

Either your organization has some unusual rules or you do not have a proper understanding of how new business is normally brought before an assembly.. It will help us to help you if you will give us more information as to what your concern is and what the nature of the motion was.

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1 hour ago, Guest backyard farmer said:

thanks for your input.  The new business brought up falls under the content area of the committee chair.  So my question was is this a violation of Roberts rules of order, or just a way of doing business that undermines the committee chair.

It is certainly not a violation of Robert’s Rules of Order, and in my opinion, it also does not undermine the committee chair.

25 minutes ago, Richard Brown said:

If the motion which was made properly falls under the jurisdiction of a standing committee, the board would then refer that matter to the committee.

Assuming, of course, that the board wishes to do so. Unless the board’s rules provide otherwise, the board is never obligated to refer a motion to a committee.

Edited by Josh Martin
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Guest backyard farmer

Thank you all for your quick and really helpful advise. As I hear the consensus among you it is not a violation of the Robert's Rule of Order, but indeed it "should" have been outside of the culture of how new business is brought up, that is, new business that falls under the purview of a standing committee should be referred to a standing committee.  AND  in my opinion, that standing committee chair should have been notified in advance of the BOD meeting. Indeed as one poster commented, this could be a result of a lack of a shared understanding of how new business is dealt with within the organization.

I do respectfully disagree on the undermining-  because none of this referral or prior notice happened, it had the effect of undermining the committee chair- it sure feels that way

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16 minutes ago, Guest backyard farmer said:

Thank you all for your quick and really helpful advise. As I hear the consensus among you it is not a violation of the Robert's Rule of Order, but indeed it "should" have been outside of the culture of how new business is brought up, that is, new business that falls under the purview of a standing committee should be referred to a standing committee.  AND  in my opinion, that standing committee chair should have been notified in advance of the BOD meeting. Indeed as one poster commented, this could be a result of a lack of a shared understanding of how new business is dealt with within the organization.

I do respectfully disagree on the undermining-  because none of this referral or prior notice happened, it had the effect of undermining the committee chair- it sure feels that way

 My opinion is you should re-read the answers by Mr. Elsman and Mr. Martin and leave it at that.

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7 hours ago, Guest backyard farmer said:

Question.  If at a Board meeting during new business someone raises, with a paper handout, a new idea but that person has NOT discussed that with the committee chair or informed the chair that this will be brought up- is this a violation of Roberts Rules of Order?  At best it seems really discourteous,  dis respectful and undermining,

As it was moved under New Business, it seems perfectly appropriate. If seconds are required it would need a second, but at that point it would be opened for debate and if anyone thought that it should first be considered by whichever committee we're talking about, all it takes is a motion to Refer it to the committee.  That's why such motions exist.  No need for anyone to saddle up a high horse.

If your society has special rules, as some do, that certain classes of  business are automatically referred to certain standing committees, there's still no need to fret.  The chair simply states: "It has been moved and seconded that the canopy of the oscillating steam widget be dry cleaned. In accordance with Rule #3, the motion is referred to the Committee on Widgetry for its consideration."   

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10 minutes ago, Guest backyard farmer said:

but indeed it "should" have been outside of the culture of how new business is brought up, that is, new business that falls under the purview of a standing committee should be referred to a standing committee. 

No, that is not what I said. No one else said that, either.

I said your organization's culture may be that new business gets referred to a standing committee. I did not say that it should be the culture. In fact, others have said the exact opposite:

4 hours ago, reelsman said:

making a main motion on a new topic during the handling of new business is the ordinary and proper way to bring business before the board.

 

3 hours ago, Richard Brown said:

bringing up new business when the new business section of the order of business has been reached is the normal way of introducing new business in an assembly.

Your opinion, quoted below, is not supported by any other poster in this thread.

21 minutes ago, Guest backyard farmer said:

new business that falls under the purview of a standing committee should be referred to a standing committee.  AND  in my opinion, that standing committee chair should have been notified in advance of the BOD meeting.

 

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Guest backyard farmer

OK the clarifications are duly noted, thank you.  I heard this Simon and Garfunkel quote recently- "A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest." I guess we all can fall victim to that. Today was my turn.

I am still of the opinion that the more collegial approach would be to notify the standing committee head before bringing up new business that falls under the purview of an existing committee.  It might not be a rule- but by NOT doing this, it was, in all intensive purposes,  an ambush.

 

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1 hour ago, Guest backyard farmer said:

I am still of the opinion that the more collegial approach would be to notify the standing committee head before bringing up new business that falls under the purview of an existing committee.

Why do you feel this way? Under standard parliamentary procedure for the last several hundred years, the assembly decides whether to refer a question, or not, to a committee selected by the assembly to study a question and return a recommendation. I do not understand why it is collegial to notify the committee's chairman since the issue has not yet been introduced in the assembly. There is no rule in any parliamentary procedure that I am aware of that obligates anyone to give a chairman of a committee a "heads up" as to their intentions. Perhaps you have been frequenting societies that expect this behavior, and if your society adopts this attitude then I suppose it is OK, but such ideas are highly unusual and in no way do they correspond to any regular parliamentary procedure.

1 hour ago, Guest backyard farmer said:

It might not be a rule- but by NOT doing this, it was, in all intensive purposes,  an ambush.

How is it possible that this is an ambush? The committee is not obligated to render any particular recommendation. The committee meets and debates the question and their recommendation could be anything, from adoption with or without modifications to rejection, or even return the motion to the assembly stating that the committee has no recommendation. The assembly in turn after debate is free to take the committee's recommendation or not. How could anyone be ambushed by such a procedure that societies have been following since the early days of the British Parliament in the Fifteen Hundreds?

So, perhaps this story is not about the committee being ambushed or even the assembly being ambushed, but it is perhaps about you being ambushed? You have certain feelings about the proposed matter and feel that maybe you have been deprived of a chance to have some influence before the motion is voted on by the assembly. Well, if that is the case then rephrase the matter and we can make suggestions about what to do. There are all sorts of tools that can be used, but we need to know what you are trying to accomplish before pointing you in the proper direction.  And if you do not have a copy of the 11th edition I urge you to purchase it.

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11 hours ago, Guest backyard farmer said:

OK the clarifications are duly noted, thank you.  I heard this Simon and Garfunkel quote recently- "A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest." I guess we all can fall victim to that. Today was my turn.

I am still of the opinion that the more collegial approach would be to notify the standing committee head before bringing up new business that falls under the purview of an existing committee.  It might not be a rule- but by NOT doing this, it was, in all intensive purposes,  an ambush.

If you feel that the committee should have an opportunity to review a motion which has been made, simply make a motion to refer the main motion to the committee in question. The motion is debatable and amendable and requires a majority vote for adoption.

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Guest backyard farmer

Well I guess I am being less clear than I had hoped.  Someone brings up a new idea in new business, with no notice of the committee it should go through.  I am so taken aback I don't have my wits about me to recommend it is referred to the committee where it belongs. This part I understand and a motion should have been made to refer to the committee.

The second part as to why all of you feel this is business as usual baffles me.  Of course new ideas are welcome- and should be encouraged.  But if you have a standing committee on the subject, why would you not talk about in committee first, rather than spring a hugely new idea at the Board meeting, along with a written proposal, without the courtesy of discussing in the committee first and notifying the committee chair?

 

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6 minutes ago, Guest backyard farmer said:

The second part as to why all of you feel this is business as usual baffles me.  Of course new ideas are welcome- and should be encouraged.  But if you have a standing committee on the subject, why would you not talk about in committee first, rather than spring a hugely new idea at the Board meeting, along with a written proposal, without the courtesy of discussing in the committee first and notifying the committee chair?

No one said it's business as usual, we just note that it's not improper and it shouldn't be taken personally.  I can see a situation where there is no time to bring this up in a committee because a matter needs dealt with now, without committee vetting.  Also, as previously noted, if the board felt it needed committee review it would have simply referred it to them.

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7 minutes ago, Guest backyard farmer said:

Well I guess I am being less clear than I had hoped.  Someone brings up a new idea in new business, with no notice of the committee it should go through.  I am so taken aback I don't have my wits about me to recommend it is referred to the committee where it belongs. This part I understand and a motion should have been made to refer to the committee.

The second part as to why all of you feel this is business as usual baffles me.  Of course new ideas are welcome- and should be encouraged.  But if you have a standing committee on the subject, why would you not talk about in committee first, rather than spring a hugely new idea at the Board meeting, along with a written proposal, without the courtesy of discussing in the committee first and notifying the committee chair?

 

What baffles me is why you think that someone following the rules to the letter should be accused of being discourteous, much less causing such a shock that other members sit in stunned silence rather than making a simple motion to Refer. Courtesy works in both directions.  Unless this is a new member who does not know the culture, there could be a reason that the committee chair was not contacted.  Perhaps new ideas are not as welcome and encouraged in practice as you believe they should be in theory?  And if it is a new member, the shock and outrage is even more inappropriate.

If working through the standing committees is as important as it seems, I wonder why you have adopted no rule requiring it.  How can a member be blamed for breaking a rule that does not actually exist?  And even if the rule did exist, the member would have every right to move the motion in the same way as it was done.  All that would be saved is a motion and a vote to refer it. If the committee is going to get its chance to consider this motion, what is the vital need for the committee chair to know a few hours earlier than the actual meeting?  What would the chair do differently?

Some societies get too enmeshed in doing things perfectly, the way they have "always" been done, rather than concentrating, in this case, on the merits of the new idea that was being proposed.  I think it would be valuable to take a step back, and resolve not to become one of those people who find fault as if there were a reward for it.

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2 hours ago, Guest backyard farmer said:

But if you have a standing committee on the subject, why would you not talk about in committee first, rather than spring a hugely new idea at the Board meeting, along with a written proposal, without the courtesy of discussing in the committee first and notifying the committee chair?

I have no knowledge of the the way your committees are managed, but I would note that nothing in RONR requires persons who are not members of a committee to be notified of or invited to the meetings of the committee, and therefore, a person who is not a member of the committee may not have the opportunity to discuss an idea in the committee first.

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Guest backyard farmer
4 hours ago, Gary Novosielski said:

What baffles me is why you think that someone following the rules to the letter should be accused of being discourteous, much less causing such a shock that other members sit in stunned silence rather than making a simple motion to Refer. Courtesy works in both directions.  Unless this is a new member who does not know the culture, there could be a reason that the committee chair was not contacted.  Perhaps new ideas are not as welcome and encouraged in practice as you believe they should be in theory?  And if it is a new member, the shock and outrage is even more inappropriate.

If working through the standing committees is as important as it seems, I wonder why you have adopted no rule requiring it.  How can a member be blamed for breaking a rule that does not actually exist?  And even if the rule did exist, the member would have every right to move the motion in the same way as it was done.  All that would be saved is a motion and a vote to refer it. If the committee is going to get its chance to consider this motion, what is the vital need for the committee chair to know a few hours earlier than the actual meeting?  What would the chair do differently? 

Some societies get too enmeshed in doing things perfectly, the way they have "always" been done, rather than concentrating, in this case, on the merits of the new idea that was being proposed.  I think it would be valuable to take a step back, and resolve not to become one of those people who find fault as if there were a reward for it.

I think you misunderstand.  I am now reacting to the culture- not the rule.  The prior advise I have received has clarified that for me- this is not a rule of order nor do I think it should be one- my original post was asking the question and it has been answered.

While I hear your point of view, I personally think it is collegial way to operate to give prior notice.  You are free to disagree.  And I did not sit in stunned silence- although I was indeed stunned.  I just did not have it together to think about making a motion to refer to the standing committee.

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42 minutes ago, Guest backyard farmer said:

While I hear your point of view, I personally think it is collegial way to operate to give prior notice.

In all of the 716 plus pages of RONR you will not find a single reference or even a hint that motions should be somehow "run by" committee chairs prior to making the motions at a meeting of the assembly.   btw, I refer to 716+ pages of RONR because although it has 716 numbered pages, it has almost 100 additional pages in the way of introductory material, charts, tables and lists.  There are 48 pages of charts, tables and lists alone.  I also have never seen such a suggestion in any of the many other books I have on parliamentary procedure.  Not once. Out of many thousands of posts I have read on this forum and its predecessor forum over the years, yours is the very first time I have seen anyone make a complaint such as yours.

Note:  There is one notable exception in RONR:  That is primarily for conventions (usually large conventions) which often have a rule that certain types of resolutions and motions (such as proposed bylaw amendments) must first be submitted to the appropriate committee for consideration prior to being submitted to the delegates for consideration.  But, that is only where there is a rule requiring it.  An organization such as yours could also adopt such a rule, but in the absence of such a rule, the proper way of having a motion submitted by a member is the way we have all been attempting to describe to you.  That isn't just Robert's Rules:  Its the rule and procedure in every book on parliamentary procedure with which we are familiar.

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I think the misunderstanding is around the role of a committee and chair. A committee is a subordinate body and its duty is to provide advice, and sometimes take action, as per the Board's direction. Unless your rules provide otherwise, a committee has no authority of its own. And a committee chair's duty and authority is, again provided that your rules don't provide otherwise, limited to management of the committee and ensuring that it's able to conduct its business. Unlike what is typically the case with officers, committees don't usually have independent authority and committee chairs even less so. There shouldn't be concerns about undermining a committee chair's authority where they have none.

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