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Can a vote for a change be done at same time as accepting secretary's report?

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My shooting range uses Robert's Rules for our monthly membership meetings.

I meant to research this sooner, but would still like to know the answer and if anything can be done about it.

At the November meeting, the secretary read his report and gave his recommendation to raise our guest fees from $5 to $10.  It was then voted on to BOTH accept the secretary's report AND raise the guest fees in the same vote.  Several felt obliged to vote for the increase in guest fees so that the report could be accepted (our meetings are too long and filled with drama as it is) and several of us abstained from accepting the report because of this.

Is this acceptable procedure?  Unfortunately, we've already had our December meeting also, but I was out of town.

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2 hours ago, MAC702 said:

My shooting range uses Robert's Rules for our monthly membership meetings.

I meant to research this sooner, but would still like to know the answer and if anything can be done about it.

At the November meeting, the secretary read his report and gave his recommendation to raise our guest fees from $5 to $10.  It was then voted on to BOTH accept the secretary's report AND raise the guest fees in the same vote.  Several felt obliged to vote for the increase in guest fees so that the report could be accepted (our meetings are too long and filled with drama as it is) and several of us abstained from accepting the report because of this.

Is this acceptable procedure?  Unfortunately, we've already had our December meeting also, but I was out of town.

Agreeing with both Mr. Nguyen and Dr. Stackpole, you should normally not be voting to accept the secretary's report or any other reports... unless they contain statements which the organization wishes to actually adopt as its own.  Reports are made and then are simply filed with the secretary.  Verbal reports are simply made.  No motion to "accept" a report should be made.  The chair simply thanks the reporting member for the report and then announces the next item of business.

However, if the report contains a recommendation which must be acted on, then a motion should be made enact the recommendation contained in the report.  This usually done by the reporting member.  If the motion is made by the reporting member, no second is necessary since the fact that it is the majority recommendation from a committee indicates that more than one member supports it and believes the assembly should take it up.

Edited to add:  You referred to the report of the secretary.  If the report of an officer (as opposed to a board or committee) contains a recommendation, a member of the assembly other than the reporting officer should move for the adoption of the recommendations.  It requires a second.  See pages 476-477 of RONR.

Edited by Richard Brown
Added last paragraph re reports of officers

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2 hours ago, MAC702 said:

My shooting range uses Robert's Rules for our monthly membership meetings.

I meant to research this sooner, but would still like to know the answer and if anything can be done about it.

At the November meeting, the secretary read his report and gave his recommendation to raise our guest fees from $5 to $10.  It was then voted on to BOTH accept the secretary's report AND raise the guest fees in the same vote.  Several felt obliged to vote for the increase in guest fees so that the report could be accepted (our meetings are too long and filled with drama as it is) and several of us abstained from accepting the report because of this.

Is this acceptable procedure?  Unfortunately, we've already had our December meeting also, but I was out of town.

For starters, it should be noted that the Secretary’s Report should not be accepted at all. If the assembly had properly understood that, the problem would not have arisen to begin with. Perhaps understanding this rule would also help with the issue of the meetings being too long and filled with drama.

If a report has just been presented for information only, the chair simply announces that the report is placed on file and moves on. No motion is necessary or appropriate. To “accept” the report creates the impression that the report has been adopted, and to “receive” a report means to hear it, which has already been done.

“A common error is to move that a report "be received" after it has been read apparently on the supposition that such a motion is necessary in order for the report to be taken under consideration or to be recorded as having been made. In fact, this motion is meaningless, since the report has already been received. Even before a report has been read, a motion to receive it is unnecessary if the time for its reception is established by the order of business, or if no member objects (see also below).

Another error—less common, but dangerous—is to move, after the report has been read (or even before the reading), that it "be accepted," when the actual intent is that of the mistaken motion to receive, as just explained, or of a legitimate motion to receive made before the report is read. If a motion "to accept" made under any of these circumstances is adopted and is given its proper interpretation, it implies that the assembly has endorsed the complete report.” (RONR, 11th ed., pg. 507)

“Even if a report contains only an account of work done or a statement of fact or opinion for the assembly's information, it should be in writing. Apart from filing such a report, however, no action on it is necessary and usually none should be taken.” (RONR, 11th ed., pg. 525)

”If a standing committee wishes on its own initiative to recommend action by the assembly on a matter within the committee's concern, it is generally desirable, as stated above, for the report to consist of or conclude with one or more proposed resolutions embodying the committee's recommendations.” (RONR, 11th ed., pg. 514)

If the report does contain recommendations and it is desired to adopt them, one or more motions are made to implement those recommendations. The report itself should be adopted only if it is intended to endorse the report in its entirety. This might be done if, for instance, the report is to be published in the society’s name.

Setting that matter aside, I also agree that it was problematic to consider these items together. I believe it would have been in order for any member to demand that the question be divided.

“Sometimes a series of independent resolutions or main motions dealing with different subjects is offered in one motion. In such a case, one or more of the several resolutions must receive separate consideration and vote at the request of a single member, and the motion for Division of a Question is not used.” (RONR, 11th ed., pgs. 274-275)

There is also a question of whether a recommendation to raise guest fees is within the scope of the Secretary’s duties to begin with. This is not within the scope of the Secretary’s duties under RONR, but it may be that the organization’s rules assign additional duties to the Secretary. If it was not within the scope of the Secretary’s duties, the recommendation should have been made under New Business, rather than as a part of the Secretary’s report.

In any event, however, none of this constitutes a continuing breach, and it is therefore too late to raise a Point of Order now, although these items should be kept in mind for future meetings.

Edited by Josh Martin

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Very good info that I will remember.  I work more than full time most of the year (AC work in Las Vegas) but want to be more involved in the club.  I've been nominated for board positions before, but I need to leave it to the "retired" guys for now.  We definitely need Points of Order made clear.  Thank you guys for the help on this issue, and I will try to help us fix one thing at a time.

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