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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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Guest Karen

Thank you. 

In the following meeting, the parliamentarian gave an explanation of the conflict and an "Opinion" indicating that the motion was improper, and so it was out of order, and therefore null and void.  Then the Chair stated a ruling that supported the same and announced that a Special committee would be appointed to research the matter and report back with a recommendation.

  1. Should the parliamentarian's "Opinion" be included in the minutes and formally provided in writing for the record? 
  2. The "improper motion" came as a recommendation from a standing committee, but that administration's term has elapsed.  Is the president's appointment of the Special committee to, now, address the issue, appropriate and in order?  The president has authority via the bylaws to establish Special and Ad Hoc committees to facilitate business, including the authority to appoint the chair and members of the committee, which shall expire at the discretion of the president.

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1 hour ago, Guest Karen said:

Should the parliamentarian's "Opinion" be included in the minutes and formally provided in writing for the record? 

No, but the President’s ruling and reasoning (which appears to restate this opinion in some respects) should be included in the minutes.

1 hour ago, Guest Karen said:

The "improper motion" came as a recommendation from a standing committee, but that administration's term has elapsed.  Is the president's appointment of the Special committee to, now, address the issue, appropriate and in order?  The president has authority via the bylaws to establish Special and Ad Hoc committees to facilitate business, including the authority to appoint the chair and members of the committee, which shall expire at the discretion of the president.

Possibly not, but a review of the specific matter referred to the special committee and of the duties of the standing committee, as defined in the bylaws, would be necessary to say for sure.

”A special committee may not be appointed to perform a task that falls within the assigned function of an existing standing committee.” (RONR, 11th ed., pg. 492)

Edited by Josh Martin

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Guest Karen

The listed Membership committee responsibilities do fall under the matter being referred.  So, the RONR, 11th ed., pg 492 does not apply.   However,  the membership committee took on this task, under the last administration.  At the last meeting, before the end of their term, they presented this unexpected recommendation which was not on the agenda.  Some members found the recommendation to be inconveniencing and confusing.  Should the new Membership committee be given a shot at the task or should the president go ahead and appoint a broad group of membership representation to conduct the research and give a recommendation?  How soon should the committee be appointed? 

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Guest Zev
3 hours ago, Guest Karen said:

The listed Membership committee responsibilities do fall under the matter being referred.  So, the RONR, 11th ed., pg 492 does not apply.

It is abundantly clear, at least to me, that the bylaws have defined this as a permanent committee and that their responsibilities include dealing with this subject.

3 hours ago, Guest Karen said:

However,  the membership committee took on this task, under the last administration.

It makes no difference when this committee took up the task.

3 hours ago, Guest Karen said:

At the last meeting, before the end of their term, they presented this unexpected recommendation which was not on the agenda. 

They presented a recommendation before the end of their term of office. Had they not made a recommendation then the new Membership Committee would be tasked with making the recommendation. In the view of RONR the subject is taken up by the assembly whenever the committee delivers its report. Why the report was not on the agenda is a mystery. And why a committee would need permission to deliver a report is another mystery.

3 hours ago, Guest Karen said:

 Some members found the recommendation to be inconveniencing and confusing.

This type of thing happens from time to time. It is nothing to get bent out of shape, after all it is only a recommendation. If the assembly desires they can deal with the question themselves or recommit the question to the Membership Committee with or without new instructions.

3 hours ago, Guest Karen said:

 Should the new Membership committee be given a shot at the task or should the president go ahead and appoint a broad group of membership representation to conduct the research and give a recommendation?

Yes, the new Membership Committee. Also, please observe that Mr. Martin has already indicated that a special committee cannot be appointed to perform a task that the bylaws have set for an existing permanent committee. (RONR 11th edition page 492)

3 hours ago, Guest Karen said:

 How soon should the committee be appointed? 

As soon as possible according to the method prescribed in the bylaws.

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15 hours ago, Guest Karen said:

The listed Membership committee responsibilities do fall under the matter being referred.  So, the RONR, 11th ed., pg 492 does not apply.

The citation in question specifically applies in cases where the matter referred falls under the duties of a standing committee.

15 hours ago, Guest Karen said:

Should the new Membership committee be given a shot at the task or should the president go ahead and appoint a broad group of membership representation to conduct the research and give a recommendation?  How soon should the committee be appointed? 

Since the matter falls under the duties of the membership committee, if it is to be referred to a committee, it must be referred to the membership committee.

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Guest Karen

I am so sorry for causing a misunderstanding of the issue that I raised.  I have misstated "The listed Membership committee responsibilities do fall under the matter being referred.  So, the RONR, 11th ed., pg 492 does not apply".  I really meant to say that the listed Membership committee responsibilities do NOT fall under the matter being referred.  Again, I apologize for inadvertently leaving out that one IMPORTANT word.  Thank you for so clearly responding. 

Can we please try again?  Should the new Membership committee be given a shot at the task or should the president go ahead and appoint a broad group of membership representation to conduct the research and give a recommendation? 

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2 hours ago, Guest Karen said:

I am so sorry for causing a misunderstanding of the issue that I raised.  I have misstated "The listed Membership committee responsibilities do fall under the matter being referred.  So, the RONR, 11th ed., pg 492 does not apply".  I really meant to say that the listed Membership committee responsibilities do NOT fall under the matter being referred.  Again, I apologize for inadvertently leaving out that one IMPORTANT word.  Thank you for so clearly responding. 

Can we please try again?  Should the new Membership committee be given a shot at the task or should the president go ahead and appoint a broad group of membership representation to conduct the research and give a recommendation? 

If the issue does not fall under the duties of the membership committee, there is nothing wrong with appointing a special committee to review this matter, and it is puzzling why the membership committee made a recommendation on this matter in the first place.

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