Jump to content
The Official RONR Q & A Forums
Tomm

Conflicting Rules

Recommended Posts

Where talking about a Board meeting of 9 members.

The rules for establishing a Special Rule of Order requires either:

a) Previous notice and a 2/3rds vote, or

b) A vote of the majority of the entire membership.

Question/Assumption: It's up to the Board chairman/president to decide which criteria he uses in a vote count to establish a Special Rule of Order unless there's some other determining factor that I'm unaware of?

BTW...It's known that a 2/3rds vote would cause the motion to fail but a majority vote would allow it to pass!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If it meets either of those criteria, it is adopted. 

If your board has 9 members, then a majority of the entire membership is 5 affirmative votes.

If a vote is 5:4 on a proposed Special Rule of Order, then it is adopted because it is a majority of the entire membership, even though it is not a 2/3 vote.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Then perhaps the RONR should read:

"previous notice and a 2/3rds vote unless there's vote of the majority of the entire membership"???.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Tomm said:

Then perhaps the RONR should read:

"previous notice and a 2/3rds vote unless there's vote of the majority of the entire membership"???.

I don’t know if this wording would necessarily be better, but I agree that some additional explanation may be desirable, as there does seem to frequently be confusion on this point. This is certainly not the first time we’ve had this question.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Tomm said:

Then perhaps the RONR should read:

"previous notice and a 2/3rds vote unless there's vote of the majority of the entire membership"???.

 

5 hours ago, Josh Martin said:

I don’t know if this wording would necessarily be better, but I agree that some additional explanation may be desirable, as there does seem to frequently be confusion on this point. This is certainly not the first time we’ve had this question.

Which wording in RONR are you referring to?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Don't have book in front of me, butvi believe they're referring to sentence on adoption or amendment of a Special Rule of Order. It's seems pretty straightforward: adoption or amendment requires either (a) or (b).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Tomm said:

Where talking about a Board meeting of 9 members.

The rules for establishing a Special Rule of Order requires either:

a) Previous notice and a 2/3rds vote, or

b) A vote of the majority of the entire membership.

Question/Assumption: It's up to the Board chairman/president to decide which criteria he uses in a vote count to establish a Special Rule of Order unless there's some other determining factor that I'm unaware of?

BTW...It's known that a 2/3rds vote would cause the motion to fail but a majority vote would allow it to pass!

It is not up to the chair to decide.  If either of the criteria is met¹, the motion is adopted.  You clipped that part off.

____________________
¹Or, of course if both are met.

Edited by Gary Novosielski

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Joshua Katz said:

I think the rule as written comports perfectly with formal logic. If more explanation is needed, perhaps add "any one of which will suffice" at the end.

Actually, in Tomm's other thread, that's exactly what I said, but he didn't copy/paste it for some reason.

https://robertsrules.forumflash.com/topic/34403-timeliness-of-appeal/?do=findComment&comment=203253

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My misinterpretation was initiated do to the fact that we're taking about a Board. One confusion was generated by the fact that there are two options. The next confusion arose because we were talking about a Board which is subordinate to the organization, so when (b) mentioned the majority of entire membership I wrongfully assumed that option (a) would apply to the Board as sort of a stand-alone requirement on itself, but when the entire membership was mentioned I assumed it was referring to "the entire membership"! My bad!

It also kinda made sense to me that the stricter 2/3rds requirement offers sorta more protection for smaller boards which is what I would think you want for a Special Rule of Order while a majority of the entire membership involves a much larger body of members and a more varied set of opinions which would drive the vote?.  

I still don't understand why there needs to be an option (a) of only a simple majority would suffice in any case?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Remember that the same requirement for adoption applies to small assemblies (such as boards) as well as large ones. And that it's not a "simple majority". It's a majority of the entire membership. That may be relatively simple to obtain if it's a small group such as a board where attendance by all or almost all members is common, but would be much more difficult for a large membership organization, which likely only has a small percentage of the total membership attend any meeting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Tomm said:

I still don't understand why there needs to be an option (a) of only a simple majority would suffice in any case?

A simple majority does not suffice in any case. 

  • What is often called a "simple" majority, which RONR calls a majority vote means a vote of a majority of those present and voting.  Only the votes actually cast count.  Members who abstain, or who are absent entirely do not affect the vote at all (so long as a quorum is present).  All that is necessary is that there be more Yes votes than No votes.  A vote of 1-0 is sufficient to pass a motion.  A Special Rule of Order (SRO) cannot be passed by a "simple" majority. 
  • A vote of a majority of the entire membership, which is the alternate choice for passing a SRO is different.  The threshold depends only on the size of the entire membership of the body.  For a board of nine, passing a motion requires five Yes votes.  It makes no difference how many are present, how many vote No, how many abstain, how many are asleep, how many are absent--five votes are required.  

For a small board where everyone is usually present and everyone usually votes, the two can seem very similar.  But the definitions are different. 

Suppose for a board of nine, the quorum is five, and five members are present.  If everyone votes, a motion could be passed by a majority vote of 3-2.  But that would not be enough to adopt a SRO, because it does not satisfy a majority of the entire membership.  In order to reach that threshold, all five present members would have to vote Yes.

It might seem that a majority of the entire membership will always be easier to satisfy than a 2/3 vote.  If all nine members vote a 2/3 vote would require 6-3 or better to pass.  And 6 is greater than five.  But if three members abstain, or are absent, a 2/3 vote can be achieved by a 4-2 vote.  (Of course the 2/3 threshold for passing a SRO also requires previous notice.)

Does that clear it up, or make it worse?

Edited by Gary Novosielski

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Clear as mud!!!!  You say, "For a board of nine, passing a motion requires five Yes votes.  It makes no difference how many are present, how many vote No, how many abstain, how many are asleep, how many are absent--five votes are required."  Five are required no matter what because you're using option (b) majority of the entire membership? 

So are you saying that; assuming only 5 members (a quorum) are in attendance but only 3 vote, a 2 to 1 vote would pass and a majority of the entire membership be damned?? Huh?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, Tomm said:

Five are required no matter what because you're using option (b) majority of the entire membership? 

Yes.

9 minutes ago, Tomm said:

So are you saying that; assuming only 5 members (a quorum) are in attendance but only 3 vote, a 2 to 1 vote would pass and a majority of the entire membership be damned?? Huh?

 

Yes, if you gave notice. If you didn't give notice, then no. Giving notice enables people to know they should show up to vote against the proposal if they are against it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, I got the previous notice thing!

I hope you guys get paid a lot of money ;) because some of these rules just scramble by tiny brain! I don't know how you can keep track?

I won't even read the motion to Reconsider! That's way above my pay-grade!

Is the test to get credentialed as a PRP open book? They can't expect you to know this stuff off the top of your head.....can they?

You guys are great. Thanks

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've heard there's a new system, but for the old system, the RP test was mostly closed-book, with one open-book section (research). In practice, looking things up quickly is an important skill, as important or more so than memorizing things.

The reality is, memorizing rules is hard and not a great approach. Understanding is easier and more helpful. I always suggest, instead of trying to memorize a rule, trying to understand why it is the way it is. This thread has some good explanations as to why a majority of the entire membership can adopt a motion that otherwise would require notice, for instance. Once you understand it, if you forget it, you can figure it out. 

As a general rule, parliamentarians get paid what they charge - i.e. they set their own fees and either get business or not. I know one person who makes a living as a parliamentarian; the others I know do it as a side job. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, Tomm said:

Clear as mud!!!!  You say, "For a board of nine, passing a motion requires five Yes votes.  It makes no difference how many are present, how many vote No, how many abstain, how many are asleep, how many are absent--five votes are required."  Five are required no matter what because you're using option (b) majority of the entire membership? 

So are you saying that; assuming only 5 members (a quorum) are in attendance but only 3 vote, a 2 to 1 vote would pass and a majority of the entire membership be damned?? Huh?

 

Yes, five votes are required in order to meet a majority of the entire membership.  It's not "because" you are using option b). You are always using both options, and if either one of them is met, the motion passes.

So, presuming previous notice was given, a 2-1 vote would pass the motion because it is 2/3 of those present and voting--option a)

And yes, in this case, the vote passes on option a) even though it does not pass option b).   EITHER of the thresholds will suffice to pass the motion; it is not required to meet both.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One last question! Is this motion, to establish a Special Rule of Order, the only motion that gives you this "either or" option for passage?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Tomm said:

One last question! Is this motion, to establish a Special Rule of Order, the only motion that gives you this "either or" option for passage?

The most common one is Rescind or Amend Something Previously Adopted, which has three options:

  • A majority vote with previous notice
  • A 2/3 vote
  • A vote of a majority of the entire membership 

See also the table on tinted pgs. 44-45.

Share this post


Link to post
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.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...