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Invalid Agenda? How to correct the agenda during the meeting.

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I'm a new member of the Town Board of Trustees.  Our regularly scheduled meeting is coming up on 8/12/2019.  The agenda contains multiple duplicate agenda items and are (in my opinion) out of order.  I'm concerned that any actions taken during the meeting will be invalid due to the way the agenda is currently written.  Anyone have any suggestion on how to correct the issue during the meeting to ensure that any actions taken are not illegal or null due to the way the agenda is written?  Currently the Agenda does not require approval.  However two Board Members requested to have the duplicate items removed in advance.  The agenda is posted. 

 

  1. Call to Order
  2. Roll Called
  3. Flag Salute
  4. Approve Minutes of July 2019 meeting as written.
  5. Citizens to Be Heard
  6. Discussion and possible action to be taken on Residents failing to comply with the 30 days notice to clear Town Right of Ways of Obstruction.
  7. Discuss and possible action on updating order of Agenda items.
  8. Discuss and possible action Security Cameras at Town Hall.
  9. Discuss and Possible action on renewing membership with OKIE811 for line location services.
  10. Discuss and possible action on updating order of Agenda items.
  11. Discuss and possible action Security Cameras at Town Hall.
  12. Remarks, Reports, Inquiries of Town Trustees, Treasurer and Clerk.
  13. Old Business:
  14. Tree Trimming Update
  15. Online Purchasing Solutions Update
  16. Handicap Button to be installed on teh Front Door per American Disabilities Act.
  17. Update the Blanket Purhase Orders
  18. Update on the Cherokee Grant Application
  19. Discussion and Possible action on completing the addition of voicemail to the Town Office phone number xxx-xxx-xxxx and the forwarding of calls on the WWTP phone number xxx-xxx-xxxx
  20. Tree Trimming Update
  21. Online Purchasing Solutions Update
  22. Handicap Button to be installed on teh Front Door per American Disabilities Act.
  23. Update the Blanket Purhase Orders
  24. Update on the Cherokee Grant Application
  25. New Business
  26. Adjournment

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Since the agenda does not require approval, but is apparently provided for information only, there really is nothing to correct. If there are some kind of legal concerns that I do not know, you should obtain the counsel of the town's attorney.

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Guest Zev

And stop using that expression "old business" on line 13.

Quote

5. Unfinished Business and General Orders. The term unfinished business,* [*The expression "old business" should be avoided, since it may incorrectly suggest the further consideration of matters that have been finally disposed of.] in cases where the regular business meetings of an organization are not separated by more than a quarterly time interval (pp. 89-90) refers to questions that have come over from the previous meeting (other than special orders) as a result of that meeting's having adjourned without completing its order of business (pp. 236-37) and without scheduling an adjourned meeting (9, 22) to complete it.

RONR 11th edition page 358.

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I have several concerns, questions, and comments.

First, since this appears to be a public body, I would think that there is probably a controlling open meetings or Sunshine Law or rule of some sort, either state or local, which dictates the agenda or agenda format.

Second, although it is poor draftsmanship, I see no problem with the duplicate agenda items. Once an item is taken up, the second listing becomes moot.

Third, as to the use of the  terms new business and old business, I believe the first use of the term new business is intended to be a heading and the next several items listed below it are individual items of new business to be taken up during the meeting. I suspect that such a listing of the individual items of new business actually turns them into general orders. The second use of the term new business appears to be using the term in the way we are used to seeing it in the standard order of business. It is an opportunity to introduce new items of business which have not already been taken up and which were not listed earlier on the agenda.

I also note that each item of new business, rather than being in the form of a motion, starts off with the phrase "discussion and possible action on . . . ." We all know that RONR says you should not normally have discussion without a pending motion, but this assembly is free to adopt its own rulers in that regard. I would also note that with this being a Town Council, it is most likely in the nature of a small board of no more than about a dozen members and that it can follow the small board rules which do permit discussion without a motion. It could actually adopt such a format regardless of its size.

The use of the term old business is not being used in the sense of Unfinished Business as contemplated by RONR, but rather appears to be the heading for a list of status reports on items of business or projects that are ongoing in the town.

It is quite an unusual agenda format, extremely unusual. However, if that is the way the town council wants to prepare its agenda, and if doesn't violate some controlling law or rule, then so be it. The council is free to adopt and use its own order of business and agenda in pretty much any format it desires.

My concluding comment is that I still believe that there is a rule, ordinance, City Charter, or state statute somewhere which governs the agenda or order of business. Any such provisions would supersede any contradictory Provisions in RONR.

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2 minutes ago, Gary Novosielski said:

Items 2 and 3 should be reversed.

  1. Well, according to the protocol in RONR, yes, but every assembly is free to adopt its own order of business.  It's sort of like "God before country" as a way of expressing that in opening ceremonies proper protocol is to have the prayer precede the pledge of allegiance.  It's protocol, but every assembly is free to do it any way it wants to.  I don't see anything "fatal" about having the roll called prior to the "salute to the flag".

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9 minutes ago, Richard Brown said:
  1. Well, according to the protocol in RONR, yes, but every assembly is free to adopt its own order of business.  It's sort of like "God before country" as a way of expressing that in opening ceremonies proper protocol is to have the prayer precede the pledge of allegiance.  It's protocol, but every assembly is free to do it any way it wants to.  I don't see anything "fatal" about having the roll called prior to the "salute to the flag".

That's why I said should instead of shall.  😎

It just stood out for me because I can clearly recall saying "The secretary will call the roll." just about simultaneously with my seat hitting the seat after the Flag Salute.

Edited by Gary Novosielski
to avoid confusion between chair and chair.

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