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AFS1970

Terminology Question

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Trying to figure out of I am using the right wording for something. 

If someone makes a motion at a meeting that directs someone to do something, it is seconded, debated and voted on. The motion passes. Is the matter at hand still called a motion? I have also heard it called an order or a ruling. What is the best (and least confusing) term to use?

 

 

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10 minutes ago, AFS1970 said:

Trying to figure out of I am using the right wording for something. 

If someone makes a motion at a meeting that directs someone to do something, it is seconded, debated and voted on. The motion passes. Is the matter at hand still called a motion? I have also heard it called an order or a ruling. What is the best (and least confusing) term to use?

Well if someone makes a motion it is best to refer to it as a motion.  Are you asking for the purpose of the minutes?  If so, it could be something such as this: Mr. X moved "that Mr. Y be directed (instructed) to ___________."  The  motion was adopted after debate.

Also, the book refers to instructions to a committee, which is done in the form of a motion.

The word ruling is typically referred to in the book as the presiding officer's response to a point of order, so I wouldn't use that in this case.

Edited by George Mervosh

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I am thinking about what the action is called after a meeting. We are considering adding a duty to the president that he/she be responsible for ensuring matters from the meetings are carried out.

Suppose the motion is to buy a new computer. The committee that was directed to do so does not do so. While the president generally has oversight of committees we are considering making it more clear that the president has to enforce the will of the assembly. 

I saw some similar language in another thread here, that seemed to call these matters orders, but I wasn't sure that was the right word.

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22 minutes ago, AFS1970 said:

If someone makes a motion at a meeting that directs someone to do something, it is seconded, debated and voted on. The motion passes. Is the matter at hand still called a motion?

Yes, it is still referred to as a motion.  However, it is no longer a "pending motion", but is an adopted motion.   It can perhaps also  be referred to as a resolution, depending on its nature, but it is an adopted motion.  If a motion is later made to rescind or amend that motion, it is a motion to rescind (or amend) the motion adopted on XXX date to paint the clubhouse red. Or to purchase a new computer.  Or to do whatever the original motion called for.

btw, the way I see it, it is no longer the "matter at hand".  It has already been adopted. What is now "at hand" may be a discussion about it such as a request for information or a motion to rescind or amend it, but the original motion is no longer "at hand" as in being the  pending business.   The only way that I can see, offhand, that it again becomes the matter "at hand" is if it actually being reconsidered after the adoption of a motion to reconsider. In that case, it is back before the assembly as if it had never been adopted.  That would be a very limited circumstance and is probably not the situation you have in mind.

One more point (or exception):  If the motion which was adopted is a special rule of order (or a bylaw amendment), it would be proper to say that the assembly "adopted a special rule of order" to limit speeches to three minutes (or that the assembly adopted a bylaw amendment limiting officers to serving no more than two consecutive terms).   Both the special rule of order and bylaw amendment started off as motions, but once adopted are usually referred to as "a special rule of order" or a "bylaws amendment". 

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There is an unfortunate tendency to attempt to use rules to settle or prevent disputes within organizations.

RONR already states that it is the duty of each member to cheerfully support the implementation of decisions by the body until they can obtain the vote to reverse the decision.  If a committee, or the president is defying the body, adding another rule is not likely to fix the problem.

A body can discharge a committee from duties if necessary, or even dissolve the committee (subject to limitations of the bylaws.)  Individual members, including the president, can be brought up on disciplinary charges.  Such matters are often painful to contemplate or execute, but by bringing the dispute to the direct attention of the body, they bring the issue to a definite close.

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41 minutes ago, AFS1970 said:

Trying to figure out of I am using the right wording for something. 

If someone makes a motion at a meeting that directs someone to do something, it is seconded, debated and voted on. The motion passes. Is the matter at hand still called a motion? I have also heard it called an order or a ruling. What is the best (and least confusing) term to use?

It is an adopted motion and it is an order.

It is not a ruling, as that term refers to a ruling by the chairman on a question of procedure.

I don't really think, however, that wording is the problem here.

26 minutes ago, AFS1970 said:

I am thinking about what the action is called after a meeting. We are considering adding a duty to the president that he/she be responsible for ensuring matters from the meetings are carried out.

Suppose the motion is to buy a new computer. The committee that was directed to do so does not do so. While the president generally has oversight of committees we are considering making it more clear that the president has to enforce the will of the assembly. 

While it may well be a good idea to add this to the President's duties, it's not entirely clear to me that this will accomplish anything for this particular situation, unless the President also has the authority to do something about it. If the committee already has said it will disobey the direct orders of the assembly (which outranks the President), I don't know why they would be any more likely to listen to the President. It seems to me it might be more efficient for the assembly to just enforce its own orders rather than getting the President to be the middleman. :)

How are the members of this committee appointed? An effective way to enforce the order would be to fire them and replace them with members who can follow orders.

31 minutes ago, AFS1970 said:

I saw some similar language in another thread here, that seemed to call these matters orders, but I wasn't sure that was the right word.

You might be thinking of the language on page 110, which notes that motions written in the form of a resolution use the term "Ordered" instead of "Resolved" when the motion is in the nature of instructions to employees.

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A motion to give an order to an officer or employee is called an order.  If the motion is formally written out like a resolution, the word "Ordered" replaces the word "Resolved".  See RONR (11th ed.), p. 110.

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All of our committees are appointed by the President. There is no language as to how they are disbanded or replaced. Our custom is that the President appoints new committees at the start of his 2 year term. 

The problem is twofold. We have a couple of committees that due to various reasons just do nothing. We have had several presidents who have done nothing about this, either by way of orders or replacement. The other problem is a current president who indicated, after a meeting, that he was not going to implement a motion. Although we won't know if he really plans on doing this until a few months from now and there is an election in between, so it may be a moot point. 

While we are in the process of a bylaws revision, the idea of adding this duty came up, both to give some teeth to enforce committee work but also to give a clear charge should the president try and block the motion implementation.

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1 hour ago, AFS1970 said:

All of our committees are appointed by the President. There is no language as to how they are disbanded or replaced. Our custom is that the President appoints new committees at the start of his 2 year term. 

"If appointment was by the president acting alone . . . he may remove or replace committee members by his own act" (RONR 11th ed., p. 497, lines 11-13)
and
"Unless the bylaws or other governing rules provide otherwise (see pp. 497, 653), the appointing authority has the power to remove or replace members of the committee: If a single person, such as the president, has the power of appointment, he has the power to remove or replace a member so appointed" (RONR 11th ed., p. 177, lines 24-29)
 

I don't have a solution for a president who won't follow and act to execute the decisions of the assembly. If you think that a bylaws provision will convince him to do his obvious duty, feel free to try it. Let us know if it works.

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11 hours ago, AFS1970 said:

All of our committees are appointed by the President. There is no language as to how they are disbanded or replaced. Our custom is that the President appoints new committees at the start of his 2 year term. 

The problem is twofold. We have a couple of committees that due to various reasons just do nothing. We have had several presidents who have done nothing about this, either by way of orders or replacement. The other problem is a current president who indicated, after a meeting, that he was not going to implement a motion. Although we won't know if he really plans on doing this until a few months from now and there is an election in between, so it may be a moot point. 

While we are in the process of a bylaws revision, the idea of adding this duty came up, both to give some teeth to enforce committee work but also to give a clear charge should the president try and block the motion implementation.

It is already the duty of everyone in the society to carry out the society's orders. If the President doesn't understand that, fire him too. See FAQ #20.

If it has habitually been a problem of the President and committees refusing to carry out the society's orders, then perhaps a) the society needs to do a better job of picking Presidents and/or b) perhaps the bylaws should be amended to remove the President's power to appoint committees.

In my view, the society already has all the "teeth" it needs, but I suppose it is free to add remedial language to its bylaws on this matter if some people are having a hard time getting it. If the society intends to add this, it might as well add similar language for committees.

Edited by Josh Martin

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On 7/28/2020 at 12:49 PM, AFS1970 said:

Trying to figure out of I am using the right wording for something. 

If someone makes a motion at a meeting that directs someone to do something, it is seconded, debated and voted on. The motion passes. Is the matter at hand still called a motion? I have also heard it called an order or a ruling. What is the best (and least confusing) term to use?

Acts that are intended to be preserved in durable form after the motion is adopted are often termed "resolutions" and there's a section in RONR telling how to phrase one.  It usually contains the word RESOLVED in it, which is why it's called a resolution.

If the effect of the resolution is to direct an employee to do something, the word is changed to ORDERED, and the result is an order.

 

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