Jump to content
The Official RONR Q & A Forums

When the Chair is not the Chair


Guest Mum
 Share

Recommended Posts

Recently, a person who acts as Chair said they alone could decide how meetings were conducted, and that they could modify rules as they saw fit, being the Chair...

When I protested, and said they didn’t have that authority, they said “we’re just going to have to agree to disagree”

They then told me that it was the last time the subject would be spoken about.

I asked if they’d be willing to look at the actual duties of the Chair... they said no.

i asked: what about decorum?

They said: “don’t care”

i asked to clarify that they didn’t care about decorum... they said no

When I spoke of member rights, they got angry, and said I was obsessed with the rules 

The rest of the group is apparently fine with this level of power abuse.

I’m pretty sure this is a losing battle, and that this person who pretends to be the Chair will hurt me in any way they can, in retaliation.

 

Suggestions?

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

40 minutes ago, Guest Zev said:

Curiosity question: Without naming names, what kind of organization is this, and what do the bylaws, if they exist, say about the adoption of any parliamentary authority? Also, Are you under any constraint in that you must be present at these meetings?

HOA

bylaws have officially adopted RONR

Not required to be there if I don’t want to remain a member of the assembly ... if I wish to remain, then yes. 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

49 minutes ago, Guest Zev said:

Curiosity question: Without naming names, what kind of organization is this, and what do the bylaws, if they exist, say about the adoption of any parliamentary authority? Also, Are you under any constraint in that you must be present at these meetings?

HOA

RONR is officially adopted

If I want to stay in the assembly, yes I must be there.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Since this is an HOA, even though you are not actually required to be present, yet the decisions arrived at may impact you in several different ways. The problem seems to be how to jolt the membership out of their lack of knowledge, and the bigger problem of how to get the president to observe the proper rules of debate and decorum. Unfortunately there is no magic solution. We cannot force people to observe these rules; they must believe that the rules serve a good and useful purpose and are willing to observe them for that reason. One of the things you could do is purchase several copies of the publication "Robert's Rules Of Order Newly Revised In Brief" and pass it around to those you feel are more receptive to the idea. Little by little you could have an influence on the membership in raising their awareness of the benefits of proper procedure.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

24 minutes ago, Guest Zev said:

Since this is an HOA, even though you are not actually required to be present, yet the decisions arrived at may impact you in several different ways. The problem seems to be how to jolt the membership out of their lack of knowledge, and the bigger problem of how to get the president to observe the proper rules of debate and decorum. Unfortunately there is no magic solution. We cannot force people to observe these rules; they must believe that the rules serve a good and useful purpose and are willing to observe them for that reason. One of the things you could do is purchase several copies of the publication "Robert's Rules Of Order Newly Revised In Brief" and pass it around to those you feel are more receptive to the idea. Little by little you could have an influence on the membership in raising their awareness of the benefits of proper procedure.

Am I wrong in thinking that, in refusing to follow the officially adopted rules as named in the By-Laws, that in doing so, they are refusing to uphold a thing in the governing documents, which is a non-negotiable and primary duty?

From this perspective, it seems like dereliction of duty for that particular item.

It is my view that if meetings are not conducted fairly, than neither is the business that takes place in them.

Also- can the Chair make a condition that a member cannot bring up the fact that RONR is our adopted rules in meetings?

Can they, unilaterally, limit speech like that?

Can they limit speech through the group with a passed motion?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

37 minutes ago, Guest Mum said:

Am I wrong in thinking that, in refusing to follow the officially adopted rules as named in the By-Laws, that in doing so, they are refusing to uphold a thing in the governing documents, which is a non-negotiable and primary duty?

I'm sure there are some things in the Bylaws that are more important to the organization's existence than others.  That being said they should obey the Bylaws no matter how unimportant or inconvenient they may find them.  :)

Quote

It is my view that if meetings are not conducted fairly, than neither is the business that takes place in them.

I agree there is often a correlation between running a meeting in a less-than-democratic manner and their decisions not truly reflecting the assembly's will.

Quote

 

Also- can the Chair make a condition that a member cannot bring up the fact that RONR is our adopted rules in meetings?

Can they, unilaterally, limit speech like that?

 

Does RONR bestow the Chair with that power...no...but apparently the assembly by not immediately setting him or her straight is allowing the Chair to run roughshod over certain members.

Quote

Can they limit speech through the group with a passed motion?

It is not proper to specifically target a single member except in cases of discipline.  However, there are ways for the assembly to alter RONR's default rules on debate.  They can shorten speeches, they can lengthen them, they can order no more debate on the pending question and it be immediately voted on, and so on.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It is not proper to specifically target a single member except in cases of discipline.  However, there are ways for the assembly to alter RONR's default rules on debate.  They can shorten speeches, they can lengthen them, they can order no more debate on the pending question and it be immediately voted on, and so on.”

 

What about the president saying to me directly, or having the group agree, or vote, to tell me I’m no longer allowed to mention RONR, or the fact they are our rules, or any content within it?

Can the president, or the group  pass a motion to say that a member (or no members) are allowed to speak of or mention RONR or the enforcement of, etc...(?)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 minutes ago, Hieu H. Huynh said:

Perhaps there could be a new president (see FAQ #20).

The problem is, the president is now working off unwritten “rules” made purely of their own capricious whim, so any attempt to use RONR to achieve anything will be shot down by her and her enablers.

She, and they, have said that not only are we not using RONR, but RONR can no longer be mentioned.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The reality is that it is the assembly (any assembly) which enforces the rules that it has decided to accept for itself. For the most part, the assembly delegates that authority to the presiding officer. The assembly can take that authority back through appeals and other mechanisms.

It sounds like your assembly has agreed to this presiding officer's conduct. Whether it's due to fear, ignorance, or actual acceptance (because it can be seen as very "efficient" to run roughshod over individual member's rights) does not matter because the assembly is self-policing in its procedures. That is, unless they run afoul of superior authority, such as the legislation that applies to HOAs in your jurisdiction.

Education may help with the ignorance or even the fear. For the rest, you may need to find out who enforces the superior authority.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 minute ago, Atul Kapur said:

The reality is that it is the assembly (any assembly) which enforces the rules that it has decided to accept for itself. For the most part, the assembly delegates that authority to the presiding officer. The assembly can take that authority back through appeals and other mechanisms.

It sounds like your assembly has agreed to this presiding officer's conduct. Whether it's due to fear, ignorance, or actual acceptance (because it can be seen as very "efficient" to run roughshod over individual member's rights) does not matter because the assembly is self-policing in its procedures. That is, unless they run afoul of superior authority, such as the legislation that applies to HOAs in your jurisdiction.

Education may help with the ignorance or even the fear. For the rest, you may need to find out who enforces the superior authority.

The board member who was allowed shout at me and call me “big mouth” while she sat idly by, made a point to tell me I was literally the only one trying to impose the rules, and that for that I should drop it.

The President said expressly that decorum would not be kept at any time now.

When another board member told me I should just resign, the president called for a vote to see how many people felt the same way.

This was during open session, with no indication such a thing was felt by anyone.

Later, after she said she hoped I’d attend more meetings in the future (I had missed some) I said: “You say you want me at meetings, but I thought you said you didn’t want me here”

She said “I don’t... nobody does”

before I left she said: “You should think about the answer to that question, about us wanting you here”

So now we are following her unwritten rules, made up on the spot, uncontested.

The membership is the authority.

Since no written rules are in place, technically none can be referenced or enforced. 

I suppose there could be an upside. No rules, no way to enforce rules.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

19 hours ago, Guest Mum said:

The rest of the group is apparently fine with this level of power abuse.

I’m pretty sure this is a losing battle, and that this person who pretends to be the Chair will hurt me in any way they can, in retaliation.

Suggestions?

If the rest of the group has no issue with it, there is no parliamentary solution. Any parliamentary solution would require at least a majority vote.

I suggest consulting an attorney, or resigning.

14 hours ago, Guest Mum said:

Am I wrong in thinking that, in refusing to follow the officially adopted rules as named in the By-Laws, that in doing so, they are refusing to uphold a thing in the governing documents, which is a non-negotiable and primary duty?

From this perspective, it seems like dereliction of duty for that particular item.

It is my view that if meetings are not conducted fairly, than neither is the business that takes place in them.

These sounds like legal questions and terms to me.

14 hours ago, Guest Mum said:

Also- can the Chair make a condition that a member cannot bring up the fact that RONR is our adopted rules in meetings?

Can they, unilaterally, limit speech like that?

No to both questions.

14 hours ago, Guest Mum said:

Can they limit speech through the group with a passed motion?

I think it would be rather difficult (and foolish) to limit discussion of RONR in particular, as this would obviously be relevant when raising a Point of Order or in discussion on an Appeal. The assembly could, of course, amend its rules so that RONR is no longer its parliamentary authority. RONR is still a value resource on the common parliamentary law, but a rule prohibits discussion of RONR would certainly be less problematic in an assembly which does not use it than in one which does.

In general, however, yes, a group may adopt rules limiting the subjects which may be discussed.

13 hours ago, Guest Mum said:

What about the president saying to me directly, or having the group agree, or vote, to tell me I’m no longer allowed to mention RONR, or the fact they are our rules, or any content within it?

Can the president, or the group  pass a motion to say that a member (or no members) are allowed to speak of or mention RONR or the enforcement of, etc...(?)

The President certainly may not do so. I am less certain about the group, but I am leaning toward “no,” unless the group amends its rules so that RONR is no longer its parliamentary authority. To do otherwise would prevent members from enforcing the rules in RONR, some of which cannot be suspended.

Frankly, why doesn’t the group simply amend its rules to remove any reference to RONR? That would seem to be simpler than all of these shenanigans.

Edited by Josh Martin
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Josh Martin said:

Frankly, why doesn’t the group simply amend its rules to remove any reference to RONR? That would seem to be simpler than all of these shenanigans.

That would take amending the by-laws.

If we amended them, and RONR was not our parliamentary authority, and common parliamentary law then kicks in, does that mean that the chair has to follow common parliamentary law?

Does common parliamentary law allow for a chair person to arbitrarily & unilaterally create their own rules, and then selectively enforce them?

Where is it written that common parliamentary law is what takes over when a set of rules is not named?  

What if the assembly refuses to use that too?

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

17 hours ago, Guest Mum said:

If we amended them, and RONR was not our parliamentary authority, and common parliamentary law then kicks in, does that mean that the chair has to follow common parliamentary law?

It would mean that they are required to follow common parliamentary law as they understand it, and they don’t seem to understand it very well. :)

They can also adopt their own rules as they please for those aspects of the common parliamentary law they don’t like.

A deliberative assembly that has not adopted any rules is commonly understood to hold itself bound by the rules and customs of the general parliamentary law—or common parliamentary law (as discussed in the Introduction)—to the extent that there is agreement in the meeting body as to what these rules and practices are.” (RONR, 11th ed., pg. 3)

“Within this framework under the general parliamentary law, an assembly or society is free to adopt any rules it may wish (even rules deviating from parliamentary law) provided that, in the procedure of adopting them, it conforms to parliamentary law or its own existing rules. The only limitations upon the rules that such a body can thus adopt might arise from the rules of a parent body (as those of a national society restricting its state or local branches), or from national, state, or local law affecting the particular type of organization.” (RONR, 11th ed., pg. 10)

17 hours ago, Guest Mum said:

Does common parliamentary law allow for a chair person to arbitrarily & unilaterally create their own rules, and then selectively enforce them?

Not as any reasonable person understands it, but your board may find otherwise.

17 hours ago, Guest Mum said:

Where is it written that common parliamentary law is what takes over when a set of rules is not named?  

It is written on page 3, but don’t forget the part where it says “to the extent that there is agreement in the meeting body as to what these rules and practices are.”

17 hours ago, Guest Mum said:

What if the assembly refuses to use that too?

Then I suppose the society will have to adopt its own rules, such as “The chair person shall arbitrarily & unilaterally create their own rules, and then selectively enforce them.”

Societies enforce parliamentary law for themselves. There are no RONR Police or RONR judges. It can’t compel anyone to do anything. Most societies use it because they find it preferable to chaos or tyranny.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...