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Tomm

Missing the Date

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Suppose the Bylaws state, “Annual meetings shall begin in February and held on the 4th Wednesday of every other month.”

Some time after the October meeting someone finally realizes that the 4th Wednesday in December is Christmas Day, and obviously nobody would be attending and a quorum would be out of reach.

Assuming there isn’t enough time for previous notice or a call for a special meeting to amend the Bylaws, what happens? Wouldn’t missing or not holding the meeting on the “specific date” in December be a violation of the Bylaws even IF a meeting was held in December on a different day?

Just wonder’n!

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Do the Bylaws specify where the meeting is to be located and what time of the day?  The easiest solution while staying in compliance with the Bylaws is for one or two members to meet at the location and time specified in the Bylaws and call the meeting to order.  Immediately they can set an Adjourned Meeting (RONR pp. 242-247) with whatever time and date the Members had agreed to (via email or some other method).  Then they adjourn until that date and time.

Edited by Chris Harrison

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5 hours ago, Tomm said:

Suppose the Bylaws state, “Annual meetings shall begin in February and held on the 4th Wednesday of every other month.”

Some time after the October meeting someone finally realizes that the 4th Wednesday in December is Christmas Day, and obviously nobody would be attending and a quorum would be out of reach.

Assuming there isn’t enough time for previous notice or a call for a special meeting to amend the Bylaws, what happens? Wouldn’t missing or not holding the meeting on the “specific date” in December be a violation of the Bylaws even IF a meeting was held in December on a different day?

Just wonder’n!

In the event no one notices this in time to do anything about it, and absolutely no one shows up, then I suppose there will be no meeting in December and the bylaws will have been violated.

3 hours ago, Chris Harrison said:

Do the Bylaws specify where the meeting is to be located and what time of the day?  The easiest solution while staying in compliance with the Bylaws is for one or two members to meet at the location and time specified in the Bylaws and call the meeting to order.  Immediately they can set an Adjourned Meeting (RONR pp. 242-247) with whatever time and date the Members had agreed to (via email or some other method).  Then they adjourn until that date and time.

I would note that an inquorate meeting still satisfies the requirement to holds meeting, so scheduling an adjourned meeting is only necessary if there is some business which can’t wait until February. The assembly could simply immediately adjourn.

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What I'm really seeking is an explanation that will trigger my thought process into understanding exactly what's considered a Standing Rule. RONR states that Standing Rules are ones "which are related to the details of the administration of a society rather than to parliamentary procedure..." , but if the Rule is stated in the Bylaws it can't be suspended.

I'm confused because I'm under the impression (probably wrongly) that the "time" of the meeting stated in a Bylaw can be suspended but the "date" cannot!?!? 

Had the above Bylaw said, “Annual meetings shall begin in February and held on the 4th Wednesday of every other month beginning at 7 PM.” 

I'm thinking suspension is allowed to change 7 PM to 6:30 PM but it's not allowed to change Wednesday to Tuesday?

Am I way off base in my thinking? Am I confusing where the Rules are being stated (i.e. Bylaws vs Standing Rules)?

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Article V: Meetings. The first section of the article on meetings should fix the day on which regular meetings of the society are to be held -- as by specifying, for example, "the first Friday of each month." If the words "unless otherwise ordered by the Society [or "Executive Board"]" are added, the date can be changed in an unusual circumstance, but only for that single meeting on that particular occasion, and not for a period of time including several meetings. To change the general rule fixing the time for meetings would require amendment of the bylaws. The hour and place at which meetings are to be held should not be specified in the bylaws, but should be established by a standing rule (2) adopted by the society or, if it is empowered to do so, by the executive board.

RONR 11th edition, page 575.

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1 hour ago, Tomm said:

What I'm really seeking is an explanation that will trigger my thought process into understanding exactly what's considered a Standing Rule. RONR states that Standing Rules are ones "which are related to the details of the administration of a society rather than to parliamentary procedure..." , but if the Rule is stated in the Bylaws it can't be suspended.

I'm confused because I'm under the impression (probably wrongly) that the "time" of the meeting stated in a Bylaw can be suspended but the "date" cannot!?!? 

Had the above Bylaw said, “Annual meetings shall begin in February and held on the 4th Wednesday of every other month beginning at 7 PM.” 

I'm thinking suspension is allowed to change 7 PM to 6:30 PM but it's not allowed to change Wednesday to Tuesday?

Am I way off base in my thinking? Am I confusing where the Rules are being stated (i.e. Bylaws vs Standing Rules)?

Neither the time nor the day can be suspended if they're in the bylaws, unless the rule provides for its own suspension under certain circumstances. That's why RONR recommends not including these in the bylaws but rather adopting a Standing Rule setting the time and day.  Standing rules that are not included in the bylaws may be suspended by a majority vote.

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4 hours ago, Tomm said:

What I'm really seeking is an explanation that will trigger my thought process into understanding exactly what's considered a Standing Rule. RONR states that Standing Rules are ones "which are related to the details of the administration of a society rather than to parliamentary procedure..." , but if the Rule is stated in the Bylaws it can't be suspended.

I'm confused because I'm under the impression (probably wrongly) that the "time" of the meeting stated in a Bylaw can be suspended but the "date" cannot!?!? 

Had the above Bylaw said, “Annual meetings shall begin in February and held on the 4th Wednesday of every other month beginning at 7 PM.” 

I'm thinking suspension is allowed to change 7 PM to 6:30 PM but it's not allowed to change Wednesday to Tuesday?

Am I way off base in my thinking? Am I confusing where the Rules are being stated (i.e. Bylaws vs Standing Rules)?

No, neither of these rules may be suspended, for a few reasons. 

First, rules in the bylaws may not be suspended unless the rule is in the nature of a rule of order, which neither of these are.

Second, the motion to Suspend the Rules may not be applied to rules which have effect outside of the current session. This makes suspending a rule concerning the time or date of a regular meeting rather difficult, since the rule could not be suspended until the meeting in question begins, at which time the rule has already been complied with.

As a consequence, rules concerning the time or date of a meeting, regardless of where they are placed, cannot be suspended unless the rule so provides. For instance, the rule might provide that regular meetings are held on a certain date or time unless otherwise ordered by the society, in which event the society might order that a particular meeting be held at a different date and/or time. If the society meets infrequently, it might be prudent to instead grant this authority to the board.

In the absence of such rules, the only option is that the meeting could be called to order at the specified time or date and the assembly could then vote to recess or adjourn to a later date or time, thereby moving the remainder of the meeting to a later date or time. Without the provisions noted above, there would be no mechanism to move a meeting to an earlier date or time.

I’d also note that “annual” means “once a year,” so meetings which are held every other month cannot all be annual meetings. :)

3 hours ago, Gary Novosielski said:

Neither the time nor the day can be suspended if they're in the bylaws, unless the rule provides for its own suspension under certain circumstances. That's why RONR recommends not including these in the bylaws but rather adopting a Standing Rule setting the time and day.  Standing rules that are not included in the bylaws may be suspended by a majority vote.

A standing rule regarding the starting time of a meeting also cannot be suspended, although such a rule will be easier to amend. If the society desires to occasionally hold meetings on a different date or time, the rule should specify as much.

Edited by Josh Martin

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14 minutes ago, Josh Martin said:

A standing rule regarding the starting time of a meeting also cannot be suspended, although such a rule will be easier to amend. If the society desires to occasionally hold meetings on a different date or time, the rule should specify as much.

This seems to be the hardest thing for me to understand, the difference between Standing Rules and Rules of Order and Special Rules of Order!?!?!?

Why wouldn't a starting time be considered a Rule of Order, simply an administrative function?  Or are the restrictions against changing the time or date strictly a matter of the heading under which they are placed (i.e. Bylaw, Standing Rule or Rule of Order)

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2 minutes ago, Tomm said:

This seems to be the hardest thing for me to understand, the difference between Standing Rules and Rules of Order and Special Rules of Order!?!?!?

Why wouldn't a starting time be considered a Rule of Order, simply an administrative function?  Or are the restrictions against changing the time or date strictly a matter of the heading under which they are placed (i.e. Bylaw, Standing Rule or Rule of Order)

Rules pertaining to the date and time of meetings are not rules relating to the orderly conduct of business within meetings, or the duties of officers in that connection, which is what a rule of order is. Even if they somehow were rules of order, however, they still could not be suspended.

The restrictions against changing the time or date are not a matter of the heading under which they are placed. Such rules, as a practical matter, cannot be suspended regardless of the type of rule they are, unless the rule itself so provides.

This is because the motion to Suspend the Rules cannot be used to suspend rules which have effect outside the current session. So a motion to Suspend the Rules cannot be used in regards to a future meeting, and by the time the meeting in question begins, the rule cannot be suspended without a time machine, since the meeting has already been called to order at the time and date specified in the rule.

Regardless of the type of rule which specifies the time or date of the meetings, the time or date cannot be changed unless a.) the rule is amended (not suspended) or b.) the rule itself provides a mechanism to do so, such as by providing that the meeting is held at a certain time or date unless the society (or some other body or person) orders otherwise in a particular case.

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Thanks so much for your patience! I think, with your help, I've got.

A "Bylaw" is a Bylaw and can only be changed, amended or suspended by a rule that allows for such a thing but that rule must be part of the Bylaw. A special rule of order can't change, amend or suspended any Bylaw.

"Rules of order" are simply the governing authority used to run the organization, like "Current edition of Roberts Rules of Order."

If any of the rules within Roberts Rules are modified or some new rule is established, that would be a "Special Rule of Order." Like changing the amount of time and length of speech in debate.

"Standing Rules" have nothing to do with the rules of order but are rules like, Meetings will start at 7:05, or cell phones must be on silent or vibrate. 

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6 minutes ago, Tomm said:

Thanks so much for your patience! I think, with your help, I've got.

A "Bylaw" is a Bylaw and can only be changed, amended or suspended by a rule that allows for such a thing but that rule must be part of the Bylaw. A special rule of order can't change, amend or suspended any Bylaw.

"Rules of order" are simply the governing authority used to run the organization, like "Current edition of Roberts Rules of Order."

If any of the rules within Roberts Rules are modified or some new rule is established, that would be a "Special Rule of Order." Like changing the amount of time and length of speech in debate.

"Standing Rules" have nothing to do with the rules of order but are rules like, Meetings will start at 7:05, or cell phones must be on silent or vibrate. 

I think you've pretty much "got it", but perhaps a tiny bit of nitpicking is still in order, at least with reference to bylaws.

In general bylaw provisions cannot be suspended, b,ut bylaws which are in the nature of rules of order may be suspended just like rules of order and special rules of order.  Examples of common bylaw provisions which are actually in the nature of rules of order are provisions which state that "The  President shall preside at all meetings of the society" and bylaw provisions setting out the order of business to be followed at meetings.  Bylaw  provisions which prescribe the manner of handling nominations and elections are frequently in the nature of rules of order and may be suspended. However, a provision in the bylaws that elections must be conducted by ballot, even though seemingly in the nature of a rule of order, cannot be suspended.  Bylaw provisions which themselves provide that they may be suspended may, of course, be suspended.  Qualifications for membership and for holding office, such as "Officers must have served on a committee prior to being nominated" or "officers must have been members for three years prior to being nominated" cannot be suspended.

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1 hour ago, Richard Brown said:

However, a provision in the bylaws that elections must be conducted by ballot, even though seemingly in the nature of a rule of order, cannot be suspended. 

I would nitpick that a rule of this nature is not “seemingly” a rule of order. It certainly is a rule of order, but it cannot be suspended because RONR specifically states that it can’t be suspended.

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49 minutes ago, Josh Martin said:

I would nitpick that a rule of this nature is not “seemingly” a rule of order. It certainly is a rule of order, but it cannot be suspended because RONR specifically states that it can’t be suspended.

I agree.  I used that language specifically for the benefit of the original poster who might be thinking to himself, "Isn't that in the nature of a rule of order????".   I wanted him to know, "Yes, it is, but it is one that may not be suspended".   It's the sort of thing that makes newbies (and some of us who have been around a while) want to pull out whatever hair we have left. :)

Edited to add:  I suppose I should have used more explicit language.

Edited by Richard Brown
Added last paragraph

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You guys are brilliant! I don't know how you can remember all these rules or even know that they exist in the first place! 

I'll just continue reading thru RONR and hopefully it will all begin, at some point, to make sense!

Thanks again for your patience.

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