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Shmuel Gerber

Unofficial FAQ: Electronic meetings to replace in-person meetings

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On 4/2/2020 at 3:48 PM, Guest Gary said:

Would there be a reason for an organization to specify a certain edition so that it can review changes on new editions prior to adopting them? To understand the ramifications on the organization?

I am actually strongly in favor of this.  The pattern has been for the new version of RONR to be released in August on years which are even numbered.  For politically-oriented organizations this is approximately the worst possible time to introduce (even the possibility of) procedural changes.  An organization that was in the middle of a nominating period for electing its officers might similarly be disadvantaged.

For such an organization, it would seem sensible to provide for the automatic change to occur not upon the release of a new addition, but after some organizational milestone following the release.  For instance, following the annual meeting, or for the organizational meeting.

I believe I'm in the minority on this, however.

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9 hours ago, Nathan Zook said:

I am actually strongly in favor of this.  The pattern has been for the new version of RONR to be released in August on years which are even numbered.  For politically-oriented organizations this is approximately the worst possible time to introduce (even the possibility of) procedural changes.  An organization that was in the middle of a nominating period for electing its officers might similarly be disadvantaged.

For such an organization, it would seem sensible to provide for the automatic change to occur not upon the release of a new addition, but after some organizational milestone following the release.  For instance, following the annual meeting, or for the organizational meeting.

I believe I'm in the minority on this, however.

Oh, you're definitely in the minority on it. :)

I still do not believe this is a serious concern, for multiple reasons:

  • It should first be noted that the basic premise that "The pattern has been for the new version of RONR to be released in August on years which are even numbered." is incorrect. Of the soon to be 12 editions of RONR, only six have been released in even-numbered years - the 1st and 2nd editions in 1876, the 7th edition in 1970, the 9th edition in 1990, the 10th edition in 2000, and now the 12th edition in 2020. The other six were released in odd-numbered years. Additionally, I have not found anything suggesting that any of the editions which have so far been released in even-numbered years were released in August. So not much of a pattern. I do believe the 11th edition (which is the only one released during my time as a parliamentarian) was released around the same time of year, but it was released in 2011 - an odd-numbered year.
  • Even the 12th edition is not being released until the very end of August. It is scheduled to be unveiled at the National Training Conference for the National Association of Parliamentarians, which is currently scheduled for August 28th-30th, which is after all of the national party conventions are done. Additionally, it seems the edition will not be widely available until September 1st (the date currently listed on Amazon).
  • Even in the event that a new edition was released shortly before (or even during) a convention, the changes between new editions, while important, are not earth-shattering and certainly not a cause for panic.

With all that said, in the event an organization really feels it is necessary to be concerned about these matters, I at least prefer your proposed rule to the suggestion to specify a particular edition, since in this proposed rule the transition still occurs automatically (albeit with a delay) rather than relying on the membership to remember to update the bylaws.

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