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Question on a motion to table a scheduled committee task


Guest Scott
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I have read the FAQ on Tabling motions and I still have a question

Background. We are a national club that, among other things holds an annual, national event for which we have to select & hire judges.  Our standing rules, state that the judges selection process falls to the chair of the event committee and that the selection process needs to be conducted at lease every 3 years and this is the 3rd year. Judges are usually selected a min of 2-3 years out and this year’s selection process would pick judges for 2021-2023.  None of this process is outlined in the bylaws, just the standing rules. I just took over as president and am serving out the remainder of the previous presidents term, which ends in Oct and am not running for the position.

The club has a contentious election coming up in October and at this week’s board meeting, one of the directors, who be running for president against the nominating committees slate, made the following motion

‘Motion to table the judge's selection process until the next board is elected.

The motion passed 4-2 with 2 members abstaining because they could not decide how to vote. Is this a proper use of a motion to table and is the vote valid? there is no emergency that has arisen, beyond this person’s desire to gain control of the judge’s selection process and what else the board tries to accomplish before the election.

This to me implies that they are trying to set a precedent to say that all committee business must now be approved by the board before the election or delayed until after the election.

 

Thank you for your input

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Thank you, For reference, because I will be asked. Is there even a proper way to format that motion, (assuming  points 2 and 3 also did not apply)

As president and chair, could notify the board that the motion was not in order and instruct the committee proceed with the Judges selection. There is not a another board meeting scheduled until next month.  Our bylaws state that the president conducts the business of the club between meeting

'The President is the chief executive officer of the Club and shall preside at all meetings of the Club and of the Board and shall have the duties and powers normally appurtenant to the office Within the framework of these By-Laws and approval as set forth by the Board, the President shall conduct the business of the Club between Board meetings. '

Zev - Under the current process, Members are to be sent a list of all eligible judges by electronic ballot with votes tabulated by the program and results automatically sent to all committee members to be fair. Therefore it should not matter who the chairman of the event chairman is since the judges are selected by the membership. The implication being that a new board may want to change that process to their benefit.

 

 

 

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26 minutes ago, Guest Steve said:

Therefore it should not matter who the chairman of the event chairman is since the judges are selected by the membership.

If the process as defined in the standing rules was also established by the membership, then the board cannot change that process. If the date at which electronic ballots are sent is also defined in the assembly's standing rules then, in my opinion, it would be an egregious act for the board to attempt to hijack or delay the process. In my opinion what you should have done is once the motion was introduced to declare it out of order since it attempts to interfere with the assembly's standing rules. Now that the motion has been adopted, however, as presiding officer of the board you may raise a Point Of Order at your own discretion and declare that the motion previously adopted that purported to interfere which the assembly's standing rules is null and void. If anyone attempts to raise an Appeal refuse to state the question explaining that the issue at hand belongs to the assembly and that the best that can be done is to pass a motion requesting that the assembly adopt a motion delaying the selection process, or as individual members they make their case directly to the assembly.

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3 hours ago, Guest Steve said:

As president and chair, could notify the board that the motion was not in order and instruct the committee proceed with the Judges selection. There is not a another board meeting scheduled until next month.  Our bylaws state that the president conducts the business of the club between meeting

Okay, let's see.  If you're presiding, you can rule on the matter as a point of order.  I suppose you could contact board members and inform them of your intention to rule the motion to Lay on the Table null and void, but doing so would not be an official ruling until made at a meeting.

As I see it there are several reasons to support such a ruling.

  • The Motion to Lay on the Table is not in order if the intent is to postpone a motion for reasons other than to consider a more urgent matter.  The proper motion would be a motion to Postpone to a Certain Time.
  • Even assuming that the motion is deemed to have been a misspoken motion to Postpone, it is not clear that any pending motion was being postponed.  (Was any motion regarding judge selection before the board at the time, or was this just out of left field?)
  • The board has no power to amend, suspend, or ignore a standing rule passed by the assembly, so even if there were a motion regarding judge selection before the board, that motion itself would not be in order and, if passed, would be null and void.
  • A motion to Postpone to a Certain Time cannot postpone any matter beyond the next regular meeting, so even if such a motion were otherwise in order, the motion as made would be out of order and, if passed, would be null and void.
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My only quibble is with this bullet:

3 hours ago, Gary Novosielski said:

Even assuming that the motion is deemed to have been a misspoken motion to Postpone, it is not clear that any pending motion was being postponed.  (Was any motion regarding judge selection before the board at the time, or was this just out of left field?)

If there was no motion pending, as seems to be the case here, then this was an example of the Incidental Main motion to Postpone Definitely.

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4 hours ago, Gary Novosielski said:

A motion to Postpone to a Certain Time cannot postpone any matter beyond the next regular meeting, so even if such a motion were otherwise in order, the motion as made would be out of order and, if passed, would be null and void.

I agree that a motion to postpone something beyond the next regular meeting is out of order. However, it is my understanding that if a motion is none-the-less postponed to a meeting too far away, it is deemed to have actually been postponed merely to the next meeting, at which time it can be taken up. 

I don't think the statement about the effect of adopting a motion to postpone a motion beyond the next regular meeting is contained in RONR, but I believe it is the consensus of several regular contributors to this forum and, I believe, of at least one member of the authorship team as well.

Edited by Richard Brown
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10 hours ago, Guest Scott said:

The club has a contentious election coming up in October and at this week’s board meeting, one of the directors, who be running for president against the nominating committees slate, made the following motion

‘Motion to table the judge's selection process until the next board is elected.

 

The motion passed 4-2 with 2 members abstaining because they could not decide how to vote. Is this a proper use of a motion to table and is the vote valid? 

No, that is not a proper use of the motion to table. There are two reasons.

First, if the intent is to postpone the elections until another meeting,  the proper motion should be a motion to postpone definitely, not a motion to table. The intent is to postpone the election till another meeting, not just to lay the elections aside temporarily while more pressing business is taking up. It should properly be phrased as a motion to postpone to a definite time.

The second reason that it is not a proper motion is that page 185 of RONR says that a matter that the bylaws require to be taken up at a certain meeting, such as the annual meeting, cannot be postponed in advance of the meeting. The motion to postpone the elections would not be proper until the day of the election meeting and the elections are actually the pending item of business.

However, what is not clear is that I cannot tell whether your bylaws require that the elections take place at the October meeting or if there is some lesser rule which requires it.

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I'm sorry if I was not clear.  There was no motion to postpone the election. The election is by mail ballots sent in mid August, with the results announced at the annual meeting the first weekend if October. The motion to table the judges selection process, as outlined above, was designed by the person making motion (who is running for president) to delay the judges selection process unit after the election she and her board could control it, if she and her groups were to take the majority of the board. 

The motion to table was made at the July 31 meeting and we had  meeting scheduled prior to the annual meeting, one in mid August and one in July.  If I understand what some of you are saying , the original motion was not formed correctly but could still only delay the judges selection process until the next meeting, when another motion could be made to delay it again, if properly made. Therefore there is not real way to prevent delaying the judges selection process if a majority of the board votes to do so, even though it is a regularly scheduled task of the Event Committee that should be completed now.

'If there was no motion pending, as seems to be the case here, then this was an example of the Incidental Main motion to Postpone Definitely. '

There was no other motion pending regarding Judges selection.  The motion made was to table or postpone a scheduled task, Judges selection by the Event Committee, until after upcoming election, and was made by a candidate for president, who wants to take control of the process.

 

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1 hour ago, Guest Scott said:

Therefore there is not real way to prevent delaying the judges selection process if a majority of the board votes to do so

You've told us earlier that the judges selection process is described in the Standing Rules. To amend the standing rules requires any one of:
- a 2/3 vote
- a majority vote when Previous Notice has been given
- a majority of the entire membership (of the body authorized to amend or rescind that particular standing rule)

As this is a standing rule with an "application outside a meeting context," it cannot be suspended. (RONR, p. 18, line 23-25)

In this case, a 2/3 vote was achieved. Given the confusion as to the duration of the postponement, I think it could be validly taken up at the next meeting (i.e., the August meeting) and dealt with then, along with any attempts to further delay by amending the standing rule.

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On 8/3/2019 at 12:38 AM, Richard Brown said:

I agree that a motion to postpone something beyond the next regular meeting is out of order. However, it is my understanding that if a motion is none-the-less postponed to a meeting too far away, it is deemed to have actually been postponed merely to the next meeting, at which time it can be taken up. 

I don't think the statement about the effect of adopting a motion to postpone a motion beyond the next regular meeting is contained in RONR, but I believe it is the consensus of several regular contributors to this forum and, I believe, of at least one member of the authorship team as well.

That makes sense, but it may be a distinction without a difference.  The chair, if on the ball, should not allow a defective postponement, but if one slips by, it should be interpreted in a way that does the least damage.  Still, if the postponement were considered null and void, that should cause the matter, if pending at the time, to come up at the next meeting under Unfinished Business or, if an incidental main motion to postpone were declared void it would leave the next meeting free to consider the matter.  So deeming the matter as postponed to the next meeting, and declaring the postponement void have essentially the same effect.

However, if as appears to be the case here, a committee has already been charged with the task, I believe an incidental motion to postpone is not appropriate.  The matter is not in the hands of the board at that point.  If this committee reports to the board, it could instruct the committee to delay action, but if not, the matter appears to me to remain out of the board's hands.

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