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What to do if the chairman made a procedural mistake.


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Quick question.    At our last Church board meeting (in which I am the chair,) I made a mistake.    It was not pointed out at the time, but realized by myself and others afterwards.   

A motion was made in new business that caught me off guard and this being my first board meeting I honestly just messed up. A second followed and without hesitation I (knowing better but accidentally) called for the vote.   The Vote passed it was split 8-10.   I failed to allow for discussion/debate.     I did not realize it until after it had already happened.    No one asked for the floor or tried to correct/ stop it from happening because I think they were also caught off guard.  There was some brief banter afterwards because the motion was not thought out all the way and will have some impacts the motion didn't consider.      How can this be resolved or what is the proper thing for me to do as chairman.   I do fully acknowledge that I made this mistake.    We do not have a parliamentarian on the board, but usually someone would have caught it prior to voting and would have called for a point of order.   

 

Thanks for any advice.

 

 

 

 

Edited by donaltman3
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There is nothing you need to do about the procedural error at the last meeting.  Any member may make the motion again at a future meeting if they so choose.  Next time, as you know, allow for debate.  The member who made the motion is entitled to be recognized first to debate the motion.  

Edited to add - If the vote passed as Mr. Brown said, forget the second sentence.

Edited by George Mervosh
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43 minutes ago, donaltman3 said:

Quick question.    At our last Church board meeting (in which I am the chair,) I made a mistake.    It was not pointed out at the time, but realized by myself and others afterwards.   

A motion was made in new business that caught me off guard and this being my first board meeting I honestly just messed up. A second followed and without hesitation I (knowing better but accidentally) called for the vote.   The Vote passed it was split 8-10.   I failed to allow for discussion/debate.     I did not realize it until after it had already happened.    No one asked for the floor or tried to correct/ stop it from happening because I think they were also caught off guard.  There was some brief banter afterwards because the motion was not thought out all the way and will have some impacts the motion didn't consider.      How can this be resolved or what is the proper thing for me to do as chairman.   I do fully acknowledge that I made this mistake.    We do not have a parliamentarian on the board, but usually someone would have caught it prior to voting and would have called for a point of order.  

What do you mean when you say "The vote passed it was split 8-10"?  I am assuming (for now) that you mean it passed by a vote of 10 to 8.  (Always state the yes votes first). 

The remedy, assuming that the  motion did pass and that you announced that it passed, is for someone to move to  reconsider the vote from the previous meeting. The motion to reconsider is covered in Section 37 of RONR.  If you need more information on that, let us know.

It is too late for a point of order that the vote should not have been taken until after debate.  The remedy at this point (if the motion was adopted) is to reconsider the motion at the next meting.

Edited to add:  CORRECTION!!!  I don't know what I was thinking.  It is too late to move to reconsider the motion.  Unless this happened at a session of more than one day, the motion to reconsider must be made at the SAME MEETING at which the original motion was adopted.  Instead, the motion to Amend or Rescind Something Previously adopted may be used.

I tried to strikethrough my incorrect text, but the strikethrough option is not being offered when I use this laptop!

 

Edited by Richard Brown
Added last paragraph to completely change my answer!!
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If the motion was adopted then do give notice in the invitation to the next meeting to rescind or amend the motion, with this notice there's only a majority vote needed to correct (let's call it that way) the mistake, without this notice you need a 2/3 vote (or a majority of the membership) 

If the motion was not adopted it can just be made again as if nothing was decided.

 

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Although you don't need to do anything, I think as a new chair, you can do much to gain the respect of your fellow board members if, at the next meeting, you acknowledge that you erred at the previous meeting by not calling for debate on the motion in question. You can do this as part of your report to the board, and at the same time, inform them of how they can amend or rescind the motion, if desired, assuming it passed previously.  If this group qualifies as a small board (not more than about a dozen members), you could even provide previous notice yourself if you want to amend or rescind the motion, which will reduce the vote requirement from a 2/3 vote to a majority vote. See RONR: 35 for the rules and vote requirements for the motion to Rescind or Amend Something Previously Adopted

 

 

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21 hours ago, Richard Brown said:

@donaltman3Hmmm, in reading the response above by my friend Mr. Mervosh, it appears we have come to different conclusions as to whether the motion was adopted!  Please clarify what happened and specifically whether the motion was adopted.

It was adopted 10 yes -  8 no.   The meeting was adjourned it has not carried over.   We will not meet again for a month.   

 

The issue was usage of masks.   The motion read that "masks are required to be worn while at the church."       This did not take into consideration that our pastor would potentially (if he followed the rules)  be required to wear one while he is in the church during the week or our secretary while she was in her office often times also alone and the office is secure, with even a glass talk-through window in it anyways.    Also persons reading or talking to our congregation during service would have no ability to remove their mask so they could be understood or heard.    The motion was absolute and did not give any room for exceptions.   The person after the motion passed acknowledged it and said everyone should just use "common sense" during those times contrary to how he phrased the motion.  During what I mentioned as "bantor" after the vote, he was given the opportunity to resend or amend but stated he did not want to chance a re-vote that didn't pass so he refused to do so.     

 

I have some board members that did not get to debate that opposed the motion that I have heard in passing plan to make their own motion which now says mask usage is no longer required.   Can a contradicting motion be used to replace another without specifically voting to resend the previous one?    There was no set time limit or sunset in the original motion.      At some point (I hope) this motion will not be needed.  

If the answer is that the original must be rescinded or amended to change our mask policy.   Is it proper for a board chair to advise someone that they could have it included the agenda for a simple majority vote instead of the 2/3 vote ?  

 

 

Edited by donaltman3
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43 minutes ago, donaltman3 said:

It was adopted 10 yes -  8 no.   The meeting was adjourned it has not carried over.   We will not meet again for a month.   

 

The issue was usage of masks.   The motion read that "masks are required to be worn while at the church."       This did not take into consideration that our pastor would potentially (if he followed the rules) would be required to wear one while he is in the church during the week or our secretary while she was in her office often times also alone and the office as a glass talk through window in it anyways.    Also persons reading or talking to our congregation during service would have no ability to remove their mask so they could be understood or heard.    The motion was absolute and did not give any room for "common sense."   The person after the motion passed acknowledged it and said everyone should just use common sense during those times contrary to how he phrased the motion.  He was given the opportunity to resend or amend but stated he did not want to chance a re-vote that didn't pass so he refused to do so.    

I have some board members that did not get to debate that opposed the motion that I have heard in passing plan to make their own motion which now says mask usage is not required but encouraged.  Can one motion be used strike out  or replace another without specifically voting to resend the previous one?           There was no set time limit or sunset  in the original motion.

 

Thank you for the clarification.  Base on this new information, the appropriate remedy is for someone to use the motion "Rescind or Amend Something Previously Adopted".  (They are separate motions, but the basic rules are the same, therefore RONR classifies them together in Section 35 of RONR).  If it desired only to amend the original motion to further refine it, then use the motion to amend something previously adopted.  It could be worded as follows:  "I move to amend the motion  requiring the use of masks that was adopted at the congregation meeting on January XX as follows:  To strike the first paragraph and replace it with the following paragraph: xxxxx".  Once it is seconded and stated by the chair  as the pending motion, it can be debated and amended just as any other main motion could be.

The motion to rescind or amend something previously adopted requires a regular majority vote if previous notice of the motion is given in the call of the meeting or at the previous meeting.  Without previous notice, the adoption of the motion requires either a two thirds vote or the vote of a majority of the entire membership, whichever is easier to achieve.

Edited to add:  For details on methods of giving previous notice of motions, see sections 1:7, 10:41-51 and 44:10 of RONR (12th edition).

Edited by Richard Brown
Added last paragraph
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20 hours ago, Bruce Lages said:

Although you don't need to do anything, I think as a new chair, you can do much to gain the respect of your fellow board members if, at the next meeting, you acknowledge that you erred at the previous meeting by not calling for debate on the motion in question. You can do this as part of your report to the board, and at the same time, inform them of how they can amend or rescind the motion, if desired, assuming it passed previously.  If this group qualifies as a small board (not more than about a dozen members), you could even provide previous notice yourself if you want to amend or rescind the motion, which will reduce the vote requirement from a 2/3 vote to a majority vote. See RONR: 35 for the rules and vote requirements for the motion to Rescind or Amend Something Previously Adopted

 

 

I plan to acknowledge my mistake and assure it was an oversight not intentional.   I will ask for my fellow board members to help me by calling for a point of order if they see any other errors.       Thanks !!!

Edited by donaltman3
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10 minutes ago, Richard Brown said:

Thank you for the clarification.  Base on this new information, the appropriate remedy is for someone to use the motion "Rescind or Amend Something Previously Adopted".  (They are separate motions, but the basic rules are the same, therefore RONR classifies them together in Section 35 of RONR).  If it desired only to amend the original motion to further refine it, then use the motion to amend something previously adopted.  It could be worded as follows:  "I move to amend the motion  requiring the use of masks that was adopted at the congregation meeting on January XX as follows:  To strike the first paragraph and replace it with the following paragraph: xxxxx".  Once it is seconded and stated by the chair  as the pending motion, it can be debated and amended just as any other main motion could be.

The motion to rescind or amend something previously adopted requires a regular majority vote if previous notice of the motion is given in the call of the meeting or at the previous meeting.  Without previous notice, the adoption of the motion requires either a two thirds vote or the vote of a majority of the entire membership, whichever is easier to achieve.

 

" Is it proper for a board chair to advise someone that they could have it included the agenda for a simple majority vote instead of the 2/3 vote ? " 

Richard Brown, I am re-asking this because I didn't have it included in my previous post before your response.   (I took too long editing.)

Thank you for your quick responses and help!   

   

 

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20 minutes ago, donaltman3 said:

 

" Is it proper for a board chair to advise someone that they could have it included the agenda for a simple majority vote instead of the 2/3 vote ? " 

Richard Brown, I am re-asking this because I didn't have it included in my previous post before your response.   (I took too long editing.)

Thank you for your quick responses and help!   

   

 

It is acceptable, but certainly not required.

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32 minutes ago, Richard Brown said:

Base on this new information, the appropriate remedy is for someone to use the motion "Rescind or Amend Something Previously Adopted".  (They are separate motions, but the basic rules are the same, therefore RONR classifies them together in Section 35 of RONR).

More accurately, they are "two forms of one incidental main motion governed by identical rules." RONR (12th ed.) 35:1. As such, either form (to rescind or to amend) can be amended by substituting the other form. 35:2(6).

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9 minutes ago, donaltman3 said:

 

" Is it proper for a board chair to advise someone that they could have it included the agenda for a simple majority vote instead of the 2/3 vote ? " 

Richard Brown, I am re-asking this because I didn't have it included in my previous post before your response.   (I took too long editing.)

Thank you for your quick responses and help!   

 

The answer depends somewhat on your own rules and procedures, but generally just including notice of the motion in the agenda is  not sufficient.  The rule in RONR is  specific that the notice must either  be in writing and included "in the call of the meeting" (the notice of the  meeting) or given orally  (or in writing) at the previous meeting.   An agenda does not substitute for the call of the meeting unless your own rules provide that it does.  The intent of the rule is that the fact that a motion to amend or rescind something previously adopted should be prominently brought to the attention of the members and not be buried in an agenda. Will this next meeting be a regularly scheduled meeting or a special meeting?  If it is a special meeting, it is simple enough to include it in the call of the meeting.  If it is a regular meeting, do you normally send a meeting notice to the membership prior to the meeting?  If so, and if it is a reasonable time in advance of the meeting, it might be possible for your church to consider that giving notice of the  proposed motion in the meeting notice might be sufficient.   My own opinion, if you  have regular monthly meetings, is that it it is not sufficient, but the ultimate decision on what is sufficient rests with your members.  Stay tuned as other members may have additional comments on that point. 

It is also important to note that if these meetings are separated by more than a quarterly time interval, different rules for giving notice apply.  We really need more details in order to fully and answer your questions.

btw, I just re-read your original post and realize that you are referring to board meeting, not meetings of the congregation.  In an earlier comment, I mistakenly made reference to a meeting of the congregation.   If most (or  all) board members regularly attend the board meetings, obtaining the vote of a majority of the entire board might be easier than obtaining a two thirds vote.

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44 minutes ago, Richard Brown said:

The answer depends somewhat on your own rules and procedures, but generally just including notice of the motion in the agenda is  not sufficient.  The rule in RONR is  specific that the notice must either  be in writing and included "in the call of the meeting" (the notice of the  meeting) or given orally  (or in writing) at the previous meeting.   An agenda does not substitute for the call of the meeting unless your own rules provide that it does.  The intent of the rule is that the fact that a motion to amend or rescind something previously adopted should be prominently brought to the attention of the members and not be buried in an agenda. Will this next meeting be a regularly scheduled meeting or a special meeting?  If it is a special meeting, it is simple enough to include it in the call of the meeting.  If it is a regular meeting, do you normally send a meeting notice to the membership prior to the meeting?  If so, and if it is a reasonable time in advance of the meeting, it might be possible for your church to consider that giving notice of the  proposed motion in the meeting notice might be sufficient.   My own opinion, if you  have regular monthly meetings, is that it it is not sufficient, but the ultimate decision on what is sufficient rests with your members.  Stay tuned as other members may have additional comments on that point. 

It is also important to note that if these meetings are separated by more than a quarterly time interval, different rules for giving notice apply.  We really need more details in order to fully and answer your questions.

btw, I just re-read your original post and realize that you are referring to board meeting, not meetings of the congregation.  In an earlier comment, I mistakenly made reference to a meeting of the congregation.   If most (or  all) board members regularly attend the board meetings, obtaining the vote of a majority of the entire board might be easier than obtaining a two thirds vote.

The next meeting is a regularly scheduled board meeting.   A letter does go out to all board members before the meeting usually a week or so before and sometimes includes known agenda items.  Meetings are held once a month on the  third Thursday of the month.   The letter stating the agenda with refrence to the specific motion can go out sooner if need be in order to have a majority vote if need be.  What would be sufficient if we meet every 4 weeks?  The previous board meeting was one week ago Jan. 21st. 

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2 hours ago, donaltman3 said:

Is it proper for a board chair to advise someone that they could have it included the agenda for a simple majority vote instead of the 2/3 vote ? " 

 

2 hours ago, J. J. said:

It is acceptable, but certainly not required.

I think that in this particular instance, JJ's response is a bit misleading.  I don't think JJ is saying that including something in the agenda is enough, in and of itself, to be considered "previous notice" in the sense that it reduces the vote threshold from a two thirds vote (or the vote of a majority of the entire membership) to an ordinary majority vote.   I don't believe that simply including something in the agenda, even if it is mailed out  in advance, necessarily constitutes giving "previous notice" as contemplated by RONR.  It would be more appropriate for the chair to advise a member that "if he gives previous notice either at the previous meeting or in the call of the meeting" that it will reduce the vote requirement  to an ordinary  majority vote.  Sending out an agenda does not, in and of itself, constitute a "call of a meeting".

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5 minutes ago, Richard Brown said:

 

I think that in this particular instance, JJ's response is a bit misleading.  I don't think JJ is saying that including something in the agenda is enough, in and of itself, to be considered "previous notice" in the sense that it reduces the vote threshold from a two thirds vote (or the vote of a majority of the entire membership) to an ordinary majority vote.   I don't believe that simply including something in the agenda, even if it is mailed out  in advance, necessarily constitutes giving "previous notice" as contemplated by RONR.  It would be more appropriate for the chair to advise a member that "if he gives previous notice either at the previous meeting or in the call of the meeting" that it will reduce the vote requirement  to an ordinary  majority vote.  Sending out an agenda does not, in and of itself, constitute a "call of a meeting".

I am referring to a statement that the action was incorrect, nothing more. 

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6 minutes ago, J. J. said:

I am referring to a statement that the action was incorrect, nothing more. 

If I am reading the question and your answer correctly, you said it IS acceptable, but not required, to give notice in the  agenda.   Is that what you meant to say?

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20 minutes ago, Richard Brown said:

If I am reading the question and your answer correctly, you said it IS acceptable, but not required, to give notice in the  agenda.   Is that what you meant to say?

If the society uses an agenda, an announcement that the chair erred would be permissible.  That would not constitute previous notice of anything.  I do not regard this as asking about how to reverse the action. 

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6 hours ago, J. J. said:

If the society uses an agenda, an announcement that the chair erred would be permissible.  That would not constitute previous notice of anything.  I do not regard this as asking about how to reverse the action. 

I agree with what is written above.

But how does putting on an agenda [that is sent to all members before the meeting] that a motion will be made to amend or rescind the rule on mask not count as giving notice in the call of the meeting?

I think they should rescind the present rule on mask and adopt a new one this can be done in one motion.

 

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1 hour ago, alanh49 said:

I agree with what is written above.

But how does putting on an agenda [that is sent to all members before the meeting] that a motion will be made to amend or rescind the rule on mask not count as giving notice in the call of the meeting?

I think they should rescind the present rule on mask and adopt a new one this can be done in one motion.

 

That would constitute previous notice if it was effectively the call of the meeting.   An agenda is not sent out in general, nor is it appropriate for societies meeting at least quarterly.   

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1 hour ago, alanh49 said:

I think they should rescind the present rule on mask and adopt a new one this can be done in one motion.

If it's done in one motion, that's called Amend Something Previously Adopted.

13 hours ago, donaltman3 said:

Can a contradicting motion be used to replace another without specifically voting to resend the previous one? 

No. RONR (12th ed.) 10:26(4): "Apart from a motion to Rescind or to Amend Something Previously Adopted (35), no main motion is in order that conflicts with a motion previously adopted at any time and still in force"

(With my physician hat on, I have to say that the motion's fine as it is. But this forum is about the How, not the What).

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