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Guest Karen

Improper Motion

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Guest Karen

The Chair needs to address a motion that was made and passed at a previous meeting, but turns out to be in conflict with a written rule, the bylaws.  That would be an improper motion.  But, how does the Chair affect that the motion is null and void?  It seems an attempt to rescind the motion would imply its validity.  Can the Chair simply send a notice to the membership or announce in the meeting that the motion was improper and therefore null and void?     

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The chair just makes a ruling, at the next meeting, that the motion is improper for the reasons given and hence void.  This ruling is subject to appeal.

Edited by jstackpo

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14 hours ago, Guest Karen said:

The Chair needs to address a motion that was made and passed at a previous meeting, but turns out to be in conflict with a written rule, the bylaws.  That would be an improper motion.  But, how does the Chair affect that the motion is null and void?  It seems an attempt to rescind the motion would imply its validity.  Can the Chair simply send a notice to the membership or announce in the meeting that the motion was improper and therefore null and void?     

Any member can raise a Point of Order to that effect, including the Chair, who can simply describe the situation and rule that given the facts, the motion is null and void.  It seems to me that unless there is good reason to do it at some other time, doing it under the President's Report is a natural choice.  The ruling may be Appealed by a motion and second, and overturned by a majority vote, unless there is no possibility of any other reasonable interpretation.

Edited by Gary Novosielski

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Guest Karen

The improper motion conflicts with the bylaws that set out a process to obtain meeting venues and pay cost for hosting meetings. How could there be some other reasonable interpretation?  Seems only a properly proposed bylaw amendment would have been appropriate.  But the surprise motion, instead, came from a recommendation following a committee report.  Is there a place in RONR that references when a ruling can and cannot be overturned in this case?

 

 

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2 minutes ago, Guest Karen said:

The improper motion conflicts with the bylaws that set out a process to obtain meeting venues and pay cost for hosting meetings. How could there be some other reasonable interpretation?  Seems only a properly proposed bylaw amendment would have been appropriate.  But the surprise motion, instead, came from a recommendation following a committee report.  Is there a place in RONR that references when a ruling can and cannot be overturned in this case?

 

 

See RONR (11th ed.), p. 251 for raising a point of order and §24. APPEAL beginning on p. 255 if you disagree with the ruling.

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1 hour ago, Guest Karen said:

The improper motion conflicts with the bylaws that set out a process to obtain meeting venues and pay cost for hosting meetings. How could there be some other reasonable interpretation?

There is certainly no other reasonable interpretation on the question of whether a main motion which conflicts with the bylaws is null and void. There may well be, however, other reasonable interpretations of what the rule in the bylaws means, or other reasonable interpretations of what the motion means, or both.

1 hour ago, Guest Karen said:

Is there a place in RONR that references when a ruling can and cannot be overturned in this case?

The only instance in which a ruling cannot be overturned is if there cannot possibly be two reasonable opinions. All other rulings may be overturned by a majority vote, as the society is the ultimate judge of its own rules.

”As further examples, it is dilatory to obstruct business by appealing from a ruling of the chair on a question about which there cannot possibly be two reasonable opinions...” (RONR, 11th ed., pg. 342)

I would advise the chair use this rule extremely sparingly, however, for several reasons:

  • In my experience, it is more frequently the case that there are, in fact, multiple reasonable opinions.
  • If it is in fact the case that there is only one reasonable opinion, one certainly hopes that opinion would prevail anyway, as one hopes that most members of the organization are reasonable people. :)
  • If the assembly is truly determined to overturn the chair’s ruling, the assembly has other tools at its disposal to achieve such an outcome, such as suspending the rules to remove the chairman.

So I would generally suggest that the chair permit an appeal and only declare an appeal dilatory due to this rule in the most egregious cases. Since I have not seen the rule or motion in question, I offer no opinion on whether it is correct that the motion conflicts with the bylaws, let alone whether this is so clearly correct that there can be no other reasonable opinion.

I would also note that since whether a motion is dilatory is primarily based on intent, the rule above is primarily applicable in cases where it is clear that even the member making the appeal knows his opinion is unreasonable, and is offering the Appeal merely for the sake of obstructing business, not because he actually disagrees with the chair’s ruling.

Edited by Josh Martin

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