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Motion to allow the chair to enter debate

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12 minutes ago, mjhmjh said:

Could a member move to suspend the rules to allow the chair to enter debate? Or is there another more appropriate motion?

And yes, I realize this is inadvisable.

Yes, a motion to suspend the rules is in order.  In a small board or committees no such motion is necessary, but you probably already knew that.

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2 hours ago, mjhmjh said:

Could a member move to suspend the rules to allow the chair to enter debate? Or is there another more appropriate motion?

And yes, I realize this is inadvisable.

I don’t see the point in such a motion, as if the chair wishes to speak in debate, he may already do so by relinquishing the chair. No motion is necessary.

“If the presiding officer is a member of the society, he has—as an individual—the same rights in debate as any other member; but the impartiality required of the chair in an assembly precludes his exercising these rights while he is presiding. Normally, especially in a large body, he should have nothing to say on the merits of pending questions. On certain occasions—which should be extremely rare—the presiding officer may believe that a crucial factor relating to such a question has been overlooked and that his obligation as a member to call attention to the point outweighs his duty to preside at that time. To participate in debate, he must relinquish the chair; and in such a case he should turn the chair over: 

a) to the highest-ranking vice-president present who has not spoken on the question and does not decline on the grounds of wishing to speak on it; or 

b) if no such vice-president is in the room, to some other member qualified as in (a), whom the chair designates (and who is assumed to receive the assembly's approval by unanimous consent unless member(s) then nominate other person(s), in which case the presiding officer's choice is also treated as a nominee and the matter is decided by vote).  

The presiding officer who relinquished the chair then should not return to it until the pending main question has been disposed of, since he has shown himself to be a partisan as far as that particular matter is concerned. Indeed, unless a presiding officer is extremely sparing in leaving the chair to take part in debate, he may destroy members' confidence in the impartiality of his approach to the task of presiding.” (RONR, 11th ed., pgs. 394-395)

Nonetheless, if the assembly wishes to suspend the rules so that the chairman may speak in debate without relinquishing the chair, it is free to do so. I agree, however, that this is inadvisable.

(As Mr. Mervosh notes, the chairman of a committee or small board may already speak in debate without relinquishing the chair.)

1 hour ago, Bruce Lages said:

I think also that if such a motion is adopted, the chair should still follow RONR's prescription to relinquish the chair until the pending matter is resolved.

As I understand it, this prescription is precisely what the motion seeks to suspend.

Edited by Josh Martin

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3 hours ago, mjhmjh said:

Could a member move to suspend the rules to allow the chair to enter debate? Or is there another more appropriate motion?

And yes, I realize this is inadvisable.

What rule would be suspended?  There is no rule in RONR that prohibits the chair from entering into debate, so a motion to suspend the rules should be ruled out of order.

Even if such a rule existed and was suspended it would remain inadvisable, and all the reasons for that would continue to exist.

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1 hour ago, Gary Novosielski said:

What rule would be suspended? 

It seemed clear to me the one cited by Mr. Martin.

Edited by George Mervosh

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