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Alan Bunce

"Any other business" meeting

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My organization (a small non-profit association) has used Robert's Rules for its meetings, including making the last agenda item of each meeting "Any other business that may properly come before the meeting."  But it appears we've lost sight over the years of what that phrase actually means. For example, can members make new motions that weren't in the call of the meeting? Can they be on any subject? Are there any limits?

I can't seem to find any guidance on this, and would welcome some feedback.

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18 minutes ago, Alan Bunce said:

My organization (a small non-profit association) has used Robert's Rules for its meetings, including making the last agenda item of each meeting "Any other business that may properly come before the meeting."  But it appears we've lost sight over the years of what that phrase actually means. For example, can members make new motions that weren't in the call of the meeting? Can they be on any subject? Are there any limits?

I can't seem to find any guidance on this, and would welcome some feedback.

It's not clear whether the meetings in question are regular meetings or special meetings.

"The term regular meeting (or stated meeting) refers to the periodic business meeting of a permanent society, local branch, or board, held at weekly, monthly, quarterly, or similar intervals, for which the day (as, "the first Tuesday of each month") should be prescribed by the bylaws and the hour and place should be fixed by a standing rule. If, instead, an organization follows the practice of scheduling the dates of its regular meetings by resolution, notice must be sent to all members in advance of each regular meeting, and the number of days' notice required should be prescribed by the bylaws (p. 576)." (RONR, 11th ed., pg. 89)

At a regular meeting, members may indeed introduce "any other business that may properly come before the meeting," unless the organization's rules provide otherwise. This heading is referred to as "New Business" in the standard order of business. Members may make motions which are not included in the call, and the motions can be on any subject. There are very few limits on what business may be considered at a regular meeting.

"Any business that falls within the objects of the society as defined in its bylaws (or, in the case of a board, any business within the authority of the board) can be transacted at any regular meeting (provided that the parliamentary rules relating to action already taken, or to matters not finally disposed of and remaining within the control of the assembly, are complied with in cases where they apply; compare pp. 110–13; see also 35 and 38)." (RONR, 11th ed., pg. 91)

Also, even the "business that falls within the objects of the society as defined in its bylaws" piece is not an absolute limit, as the assembly may permit the introduction of motions outside the objects of the society by a 2/3 vote. "No motion can be introduced that is outside the object of the society or assembly as defined in the bylaws (see p. 571), unless by a two-thirds vote the body agrees to its consideration." (RONR, 11th ed., pg. 343-344)

On the other hand, if this is a special meeting, the rules are much different.

"A special meeting (or called meeting) is a separate session of a society held at a time different from that of any regular meeting, and convened only to consider one or more items of business specified in the call of the meeting." (RONR, 11th ed., pg. 91)

At a special meeting, the only business which may be introduced is items included in the call of the meeting. As a consequence, a heading of "any other business that may properly come before the meeting" (or "New Business") would not be appropriate for a special meeting.

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Mr. Martin's quotation of p. 91 seems to hit the mark.  As such, the phrase, "any other business", would be equivalent to the "New Business" category in the standard order of business, discussed in RONR (11th ed.), p. 360.  In particular, the inclusion of the "any other business" phrase would not require the agenda to be adopted by a two-thirds vote in those organization's that have adopted Robert's Rules as the parliamentary authority, RONR (11th ed.), p. 372.

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21 hours ago, Alan Bunce said:

My organization (a small non-profit association) has used Robert's Rules for its meetings, including making the last agenda item of each meeting "Any other business that may properly come before the meeting."  But it appears we've lost sight over the years of what that phrase actually means. For example, can members make new motions that weren't in the call of the meeting? Can they be on any subject? Are there any limits?

I can't seem to find any guidance on this, and would welcome some feedback.

I agree that that sounds like "New Business", but it t also seems that it might be in the nature of the class of business commonly referred to as "Good of the Order, General Good and Welfare or Open Forum" that some societies have as a standard item of business following New Business.  It is discussed on page 362 ot the 11th edition.

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1 hour ago, Richard Brown said:

I agree that that sounds like "New Business", but it t also seems that it might be in the nature of the class of business commonly referred to as "Good of the Order, General Good and Welfare or Open Forum"

Except that "the Good of the Order often involves no business or motions" (RONR 11th ed., p. 362, lines 14-15)

I draw the distinction because "any other business" clearly indicates that business can be conducted.

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