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Benjamin Geiger

What is the proper procedure to relinquish the chair?

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Suppose that the chair needs to step away from the lectern for reasons unrelated to the meeting itself*, turning over control of the meeting to a vice-chair. How would this be properly worded?

Also, would the restriction on page 395, lines 15-18, apply, since they didn't relinquish the chair for reasons of lack of impartiality?

* Apparently, the chair walked away and refused to acknowledge dissent, claiming the next day that he needed to use the restroom. I'm hearing most of this secondhand, but it sounds as though there's no way to properly describe what actually happened without using the word "cluster". (I've been thumping RONR pretty hard, trying to get people to learn it so this doesn't happen again. I would've gone myself if I had been able to get time off of work.)

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10 minutes ago, Benjamin Geiger said:

Suppose that the chair needs to step away from the lectern for reasons unrelated to the meeting itself*, turning over control of the meeting to a vice-chair. How would this be properly worded?

* Apparently, the chair walked away and refused to acknowledge dissent, claiming the next day that he needed to use the restroom. I'm hearing most of this secondhand, but it sounds as though there's no way to properly describe what actually happened without using the word "cluster". (I've been thumping RONR pretty hard, trying to get people to learn it so this doesn't happen again. I would've gone myself if I had been able to get time off of work.)

There appears to be absolutely nothing wrong with what the chair did in this instance. What was all the fuss about?

13 minutes ago, Benjamin Geiger said:

 

Also, would the restriction on page 395, lines 15-18, apply, since they didn't relinquish the chair for reasons of lack of impartiality?

 

No, nothing on pages 394-95 is applicable.

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I don't see why the Chair couldn't just announce that he needs to step out momentarily and the VP will be presiding. If he couldn't wait until there was a lull in business before making the announcement I suppose he could 1) ask someone sitting close to him to grab the VP, or 2) let someone sitting close to him know he was stepping out momentarily and to summon the VP when there is a lull in business or someone inquires where the heck their presiding officer vanished off to. 

Of course, having the VP know as soon as possible is preferable so you don't have a situation where someone raises a Point of Order and the VP has no clue what was happening because he was busy playing Candy Crush on his phone.  :D

Edited by Chris Harrison

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1 hour ago, Benjamin Geiger said:

Suppose that the chair needs to step away from the lectern for reasons unrelated to the meeting itself*, turning over control of the meeting to a vice-chair. How would this be properly worded?

“The chair needs to step away momentarily. The Vice Chair will preside in the chair’s absence.” Or some less formal version thereof, depending on the assembly’s customs.

1 hour ago, Benjamin Geiger said:

Also, would the restriction on page 395, lines 15-18, apply, since they didn't relinquish the chair for reasons of lack of impartiality?

No.

1 hour ago, Benjamin Geiger said:

* Apparently, the chair walked away and refused to acknowledge dissent, claiming the next day that he needed to use the restroom. I'm hearing most of this secondhand, but it sounds as though there's no way to properly describe what actually happened without using the word "cluster". (I've been thumping RONR pretty hard, trying to get people to learn it so this doesn't happen again. I would've gone myself if I had been able to get time off of work.)

I feel like we are missing some relevant facts. What is described (the chair momentarily stepping out in order to go to the bathroom) is a completely routine and mundane occurrence, so I do not understand why this, in and of itself, would lead to any situation which would be described with words starting with “cluster.”

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1 hour ago, Daniel H. Honemann said:

There appears to be absolutely nothing wrong with what the chair did in this instance. What was all the fuss about?

 

As I understand it, the chair walked away in order to effectively "run out the clock" and prevent further discussion on a group of resolutions (I'm not sure whether anyone attempted a Division of the Question). They also only allowed five minutes for discussion, but I haven't heard any confirmation on whether that part was done properly.

16 minutes ago, Josh Martin said:

I feel like we are missing some relevant facts. What is described (the chair momentarily stepping out in order to go to the bathroom) is a completely routine and mundane occurrence

The issue is (again, as I understand it) that the meeting was effectively unchaired (de facto unilaterally recessed?) for much of the time that was allocated for this particular discussion, so nobody could debate the motion (or amend it, or call to divide the question). It should be noted again that I wasn't there; if I had known there would've been this much drama, I would have been there to lend my meager parliamentary skills.

 

Really, the main reason I asked for the proper wording (aside from wanting to know for future reference) is so I could make a snarky comment about what should have actually happened instead of "peace out, fend for yourselves".

Edited by Benjamin Geiger

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Next time get a vice chair who will just step in when the chair leaves the hall to use the restroom or elect someone chair who has a stronger bladder.  

(Of course this isn't helpful, but neither is third hand information)

Edited by George Mervosh

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19 hours ago, Benjamin Geiger said:

As I understand it, the chair walked away in order to effectively "run out the clock" and prevent further discussion on a group of resolutions (I'm not sure whether anyone attempted a Division of the Question).

Okay, that makes more sense. In the future, the assembly should be aware that in the chair’s absence, the vice chair can and should take over, even if the chair fails to formally announce this.

In the alternative, the assembly could choose to actually take a recess, in which event the time consumed by the recess would not count toward the time for the debate (provided that it was set for a certain length of time., such as ten minutes, rather than ending at a certain time, such as 5 PM).

It should also be noted, of course, that discussion of a motion to enact a group of resolutions may be divided by the demand of a single member, unless all of the resolutions are on the same subject 

19 hours ago, Benjamin Geiger said:

They also only allowed five minutes for discussion, but I haven't heard any confirmation on whether that part was done properly.

Assuming the assembly does not have its own rules on this subject, this would require a motion to Limit Debate, which requires a 2/3 vote for adoption.

I would also note that unless this limit is combined with a shorter limit on the length of individual speeches than what RONR permits (or if the assembly already has such a limit), a member could have run out the clock simply by talking for five minutes.

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