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can a chair person move a motion? under what circumstances?

Guest Lindsay

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No, in an ordinary assembly or general membership meeting, the chair should be impartial and should not make motions or speak in debate. However, if the chair is a member, then he or she technically has the same rights as all other numbers and therefore has the right to make motions and speak in debate but should not do so in order to maintain the appearance of impartiality.  It is a “should not” rule, not a must (or must not) rule. In ordinary assemblies, if the chair wants to make a motion or speak in debate, he should step down from the chair and turn it over to the vice president or someone else to preside until the main question being considered has been disposed of. RONR (12th Ed.) §43:29 

However, the rule is different in committees and small boards of no more than about a dozen members. In those situations the “small board rules“ of RONR are applicable and the chair may make motions and speak in debate just like the other members. §49:21

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"If the presiding officer is a member of the society, he has—as an individual—the same rights in debate as any other member; but the impartiality required of the chair in an assembly precludes his exercising these rights while he is presiding. Normally, especially in a large body, he should have nothing to say on the merits of pending questions. On certain occasions—which should be extremely rare—the presiding officer may believe that a crucial factor relating to such a question has been overlooked and that his obligation as a member to call attention to the point outweighs his duty to preside at that time. To participate in debate, he must relinquish the chair; and in such a case he turns the chair over:  .... "   RONR, 12th ed., 43:29 (Emphasis supplied)   

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