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Improper Notice of Meeting under pandemic conditions

Guest Diane

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After a year-long suspension due to the pandemic, of Regular, in-person Meetings of a local, chartered organization, the new chair announced regular meetings would resume (virtually).  Pre-pandemic, the Regular Meetings were held monthly, specific day of week, specific time; the steering committee met a week prior to the regular meeting, finalizing the agenda, and an approx 5-day reminder was routinely sent.   For the first resumed meeting, the steering committee met and finalized the agenda.  Following pre-pandemic (years-long practice), the new chair directed the the 5-day reminder be sent.  

At the first regular (virtual) meeting, the new chair stated the next regular monthly meeting would be held on the same schedule the following month.  There were no further discussions on the meeting during the following weeks.  The steering committee meeting normally called a week before each regular meeting, at which time the agenda was finalized, was not called. Nothing was heard from any of the officers regarding the failure of the steering committee to meet.  Without notifying any officers, the chair resigned a few days before the next scheduled monthly meeting.  He had not delegated preparation for the meeting, nor provided agenda.   

Without knowledge of the resignation, and not hearing from the chair about the upcoming meeting, on the day of the scheduled meeting, with no urgent items to be discussed - two hours before the start time, the vice chair decided to proceed with the meeting, and 30 minutes prior to the meeting, sent email notice to SOME members.   Several members who were noticed, but had not receive the usual reminder, being 'out of practice' for a year, forgot the meeting had been scheduled the month before.  Others assumed because the steering committee meeting was not called, and reminder of the regular meeting was not sent, that the meeting had been canceled.  With all the confusion or new officers and the year-long  chaos in the organization adjusting to changes of functions due to covid, they did not think it strange the meeting would have been canceled without notice.  Also, they were not watching their email at 6:30pm and missed the 30-minute notice the meeting was going forward.  Unexcused absences are counted against members.  Without prior notice with an agenda, appointments to committees and other items were voted on in the meeting. 

In response to objections of inadequate notice - failure to notify all members, and untimeliness of reminder - the vice chair said that because the schedule was the same as used pre-pandemic (although only the 2nd meeting after a year's suspension) members should have called an officer to learn if the meeting was still scheduled.  Bylaws are silent on types, timeliness of notices, but are required to follow Roberts Rules. Should the vice chair have assumed authority with no knowledge of the chair’s situation, and proceeded with a non-emergency meeting with this short notice?  Or should the VC have postponed the meeting until formally resolving the chair’s situation/elect new chair?   

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