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J. J.

Approving something already done.

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Some members of the society take action  on behalf of the society; they have no authorization to do so, are not a committee or part of one, nor are they officers.  For example, claiming to act on behalf of the society, they reserve the picnic grounds of the second Saturday in July.

At the next meeting, they inform the assembly. Surprisingly, a majority of the assembly  that are present thinks that this is a  great idea, and wishes to authorize the action of reserving the picnic grounds.  What is the proper method for doing it?

I'll say these things that I think would apply:

1.  It does not meet the criteria of something that could be ratified (pp. 124-5).

2.  The assembly would certainly have the ability to take that the action, i.e. reserving the picnic grounds.

3.  I could see some circumstances where the motion could be an original main motion.

 

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1 minute ago, Joshua Katz said:

I guess I'm having trouble seeing why this is difficult. It seems clear to me that it's an original main motion.

It, technically, does not meeting the requirements of a motion to ratify.

It would not necessarily be an original main motion.  The assembly could have appointed a committee to look into reserving the picnic ground and report back to the assembly.  This action is taken by members not on any committee.  That might make it an incidental main motion, in that case, because the assembly has dealt with the issue.  I think that there are cases where it would be an original main motion. 

 

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If it's within the jurisdiction of another committee, I think it's out of order for the assembly to take any action. They'd need to move to take it from the committee's hand, then take it up. If it was a referred motion, it's just the same original main motion considered again. If only the topic was referred, then, after the assembly takes it back, there would be an original main motion. What am I missing?

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17 minutes ago, Joshua Katz said:

If it's within the jurisdiction of another committee, I think it's out of order for the assembly to take any action. They'd need to move to take it from the committee's hand, then take it up. If it was a referred motion, it's just the same original main motion considered again. If only the topic was referred, then, after the assembly takes it back, there would be an original main motion. What am I missing?

The only thing that the committee was instructed to do was investigate and report back; they were not authorized to reserve the picnic grounds.  Had the committee reserved it, it could clearly be ratified.

Now, if there was never a committee, and it was never before the assembly, what is the mechanism for authorization.  What would the motion look like? 

A motion " that the society reserve the picnic grounds for the second Saturday in July," really does not authorize the action of those members.

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1 hour ago, J. J. said:

Some members of the society take action  on behalf of the society; they have no authorization to do so, are not a committee or part of one, nor are they officers.  For example, claiming to act on behalf of the society, they reserve the picnic grounds of the second Saturday in July.

At the next meeting, they inform the assembly. Surprisingly, a majority of the assembly  that are present thinks that this is a  great idea, and wishes to authorize the action of reserving the picnic grounds.  What is the proper method for doing it?

I'll say these things that I think would apply:

1.  It does not meet the criteria of something that could be ratified (pp. 124-5).

In my opinion, (and assuming no other material facts) the society's assembly may ratify this action taken on behalf of the society by some of its members.

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57 minutes ago, Daniel H. Honemann said:

In my opinion, (and assuming no other material facts) the society's assembly may ratify this action taken on behalf of the society by some of its members.

Would, in the case where no committee was appointed, this motion to ratify be an original main motion?

The assembly took no action prior to this.

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1 hour ago, J. J. said:

Would, in the case where no committee was appointed, this motion to ratify be an original main motion?

The assembly took no action prior to this.

I don't suppose it matters much, but I think that motions to ratify, including this one, are incidental main motions. 

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4 hours ago, Daniel H. Honemann said:

In my opinion, (and assuming no other material facts) the society's assembly may ratify this action taken on behalf of the society by some of its members.

Well, then I clearly do not understand the subject.

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6 hours ago, Daniel H. Honemann said:

In my opinion, (and assuming no other material facts) the society's assembly may ratify this action taken on behalf of the society by some of its members.

I agree that the society should be able to ratify the action. But like J.J., I don't see how it fits into the list of actions that can be ratified on pp. 124-125. The third bullet comes closest , but its still doesn't seem to fit. The members who took the action are not officers, committees, delegates, or subordinate bodies. So where do they fit in the list?

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I agree with JJ, Mr. Katz, and Mr. Merritt. I do not see how ratifying unauthorized acts of ordinary members or a group of members  is permitted by RONR. If we are going to stretch the rules to permit that, then why don’t we go ahead and allow an assembly to ratify its own actions taken at an Illegal or improperly called and noticed meeting? 

Edited to add: I would have no problem if the rule on page 124 in RONR is expanded to include ratifying the unauthorized acts of members, but it simply does not say that at this time.
 

Edited by Richard Brown
Added last paragraph

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From RONR (11th ed.), p. 102, I gather that ratification pertains to actions that were previously taken in a meeting. If I'm understanding the facts that J.J. set out, the group of people that decided to make the reservation did not make that decision in a legal meeting, so I do not see how the action can be later ratified. It is precisely because a matter comes up at an earlier legal meeting that motions to ratify are regularly incidental main motions.

In this particular case, I agree with the others that a motion to reserve the picnic grounds is an original main motion to which an Objection to the Consideration of the Question can be raised. From the facts, it sounds like the objection would be futile, but would be in order.

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Just to be clear, referring to the example originally provided by J.J., the action that I am saying may be ratified is the act of some members in reserving, in behalf of the society, the use by the society of certain picnic grounds on a specified date. The fact that this action was taken by some members and not by just one member is entirely irrelevant. The action sought to be ratified is not some prior action presumably taken by these members in agreeing among themselves to reserve the picnic grounds, it is the act of actually reserving the picnic grounds that is sought to be ratified. 

If an officer of the society had taken this unauthorized action in behalf of the society, I suspect that none of you would have any doubt but that such action can be ratified. I am suggesting to you that if a single member of the society, not an officer, had taken this unauthorized action in behalf of the society, such action can also be ratified. And if it happens to be three members that do it and not just one, this too may be ratified.

 

 

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If this group of members decides to hold an impromptu meeting (without proper notice), and authorize reserving the picnic ground, may the assembly, at a proper meeting, ratify the act of reserving the picnic ground may be ratified?  If they may, is that motion to ratify an incidental main motion?

I will add that, while this example is hypothetical, the issue has cropped up from time to time.

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12 minutes ago, J. J. said:

If this group of members decides to hold an impromptu meeting (without proper notice), and authorize reserving the picnic ground, may the assembly, at a proper meeting, ratify the act of reserving the picnic ground may be ratified?  If they may, is that motion to ratify an incidental main motion?

I will add that, while this example is hypothetical, the issue has cropped up from time to time.

I thought I had answered these questions, but I'll try again.

Although the actions taken by this group at their impromptu meeting cannot be ratified, the subsequent action taken by the members in reserving the picnic grounds for the benefit of the society can be ratified.

I think that motions to ratify, including this one if it's made, are incidental main motions. 

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4 minutes ago, Daniel H. Honemann said:

I thought I had answered these questions, but I'll try again.

Although the actions taken by this group at their impromptu meeting cannot be ratified, the subsequent action taken by the members in reserving the picnic grounds for the benefit of the society can be ratified.

I think that motions to ratify, including this one if it's made, are incidental main motions. 

Okay, that kind of explains it.  (I was thinking that adopt might be a better form.)

Now, would the group of members be responsible for the action, if the assembly ratifies the action?

I guess this would lead to my next question.  Could the assembly, at a properly called and quorate meeting, adopt the action taken by this group at this impromptu meeting?  If so, is that an original main motion?

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J.J., I think you cloud the issue by calling the first gathering a meeting in the sense meant in RONR (11th ed.), pp. 81, 82; it is not an "official gathering". You also cloud the issue by using ratify ambiguously. An improperly called meeting is an illegal meeting in the parliamentary sense.  This is really just a group of people that go and impersonate agents of the society to make a reservation in the society's name without authority.

In the sense of the term given in RONR (11th ed.), pp. 101, 102, a motion to ratify is not in order, because there is nothing to ratify. If the assembly wishes to make a reservation, it can adopt a main motion to do so, but, in my opinion (and in perilous contrast to that of Mr. Honemann--do I get to cut my own switch?), such a motion is an original main motion, since it is the first time the topic has come before the assembly, as an "official gathering", and brings business before the assembly for the first time.

Were the facts slightly different, and the group had entered into a legal contract under false agency, the assembly could ratify that contract at a later time; however, ratify is used in this sense as a legal term, not a parliamentary one. The motion to do so would still be an original main motion, since it brings business before the assembly for the first time.

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1 hour ago, Rob Elsman said:

J.J., I think you cloud the issue by calling the first gathering a meeting in the sense meant in RONR (11th ed.), pp. 81, 82; it is not an "official gathering". You also cloud the issue by using ratify ambiguously. An improperly called meeting is an illegal meeting in the parliamentary sense.  This is really just a group of people that go and impersonate agents of the society to make a reservation in the society's name without authority.

In the sense of the term given in RONR (11th ed.), pp. 101, 102, a motion to ratify is not in order, because there is nothing to ratify. If the assembly wishes to make a reservation, it can adopt a main motion to do so, but, in my opinion (and in perilous contrast to that of Mr. Honemann--do I get to cut my own switch?), such a motion is an original main motion, since it is the first time the topic has come before the assembly, as an "official gathering", and brings business before the assembly for the first time.

Were the facts slightly different, and the group had entered into a legal contract under false agency, the assembly could ratify that contract at a later time; however, ratify is used in this sense as a legal term, not a parliamentary one. The motion to do so would still be an original main motion, since it brings business before the assembly for the first time.

 

Here is my original premise.

23 hours ago, J. J. said:

Some members of the society take action  on behalf of the society; they have no authorization to do so, are not a committee or part of one, nor are they officers.  For example, claiming to act on behalf of the society, they reserve the picnic grounds of the second Saturday in July.

Does it make any difference if they claim it was an impromptu meeting (which is not a legal meeting) or just sit around and  say, "Let's reserve the picnic grounds for the second Saturday in July?"

The assembly wishes to approve of this action, and make their own.  Would the motion "to adopt (or "agree to") the act taken by the members in reserving the picnic ground."  Again that could be a single member, or a group of members, not officers nor part of a committee.  That could an original main motion as per p. 224, ll. 13-17.

I am wondering if there is this distinction between a motion to "adopt" and a motion to "ratify."  I am also interested in the nature of that distinction, if it does exist. 

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2 hours ago, J. J. said:

Does it make any difference if they claim it was an impromptu meeting (which is not a legal meeting) or just sit around and  say, "Let's reserve the picnic grounds for the second Saturday in July?"

Neither of these are an "official gathering" of the type defined in RONR (11th ed.), pp. 81, 82. They are not meetings in the parliamentary sense.  They're just a bunch of people having a good pizza and a beer together.

2 hours ago, J. J. said:

The assembly wishes to approve of this action, and make their own.  Would the motion "to adopt (or "agree to") the act taken by the members in reserving the picnic ground."  Again that could be a single member, or a group of members, not officers nor part of a committee.

Again, any motion in the assembly to make a reservation of the picnic grounds--however worded--would, in my own opinion (now provoking the Wrath of you-know-who), be an original main motion,  which would yield to an Objection to the Consideration of the Question.

Were the facts different, a motion to ratify, of the type described in RONR (11th ed.), pp. 102, 103, would be an incidental main motion, which would not yield to the motion, Objection to the Consideration of the Question.

Edited by Rob Elsman

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5 hours ago, Rob Elsman said:

Neither of these are an "official gathering" of the type defined in RONR (11th ed.), pp. 81, 82. They are not meetings in the parliamentary sense.  They're just a bunch of people having a good pizza and a beer together.

 

I agree that both are not official meetings, but one can produce something that could be ratified and while the other can produce something that could not be.

RONR does note that, in some cases, a motion to "accept" or "agree to" can be a original main motion.

Edited by J. J.

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