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Deleting Previous Notice From Agenda?


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Witnessed what I believe was a complete disregard for parliamentary procedure, if not RONR alone.

A local council meeting agenda had two Previous Notices listed on the agenda.  At the adoption of the agenda, a member moved and had seconded a motion to have the Previous Notice deleted from the agenda.  This was passed by the majority (who often vote in unison).

The member who had their Previous Notice deleted was told that any further attempts to reintroduce it would be a "reconsideration" and require 2/3rds.

While I am still studying for RP, I am I wrong in believing this is a complete disregard for parliamentary procedure.  RONR is quite explicit at 1:4 in saying that being able to give Previous Notice is an absolute right.  I would think the only option available to the majority would be to Postpone Indefinitely, once the item actually did come up for discussion.  There is no New Business section, so the Member wouldn't be able to just bring up the motion there.

Seems very undemocratic that the majority can simply remove items before any debate can take place on them.

Am I alone here or ?

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9 minutes ago, Dr. John said:

 RONR is quite explicit at 1:4 in saying that being able to give Previous Notice is an absolute right. 

I wouldn't worry about this part too much since you state the notice was given. 

So was it the motions for which previous notice was given that were removed from the proposed agenda prior to adopting it?

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2 hours ago, Dr. John said:

Witnessed what I believe was a complete disregard for parliamentary procedure, if not RONR alone.

A local council meeting agenda had two Previous Notices listed on the agenda.  At the adoption of the agenda, a member moved and had seconded a motion to have the Previous Notice deleted from the agenda.  This was passed by the majority (who often vote in unison).

The member who had their Previous Notice deleted was told that any further attempts to reintroduce it would be a "reconsideration" and require 2/3rds.

While I am still studying for RP, I am I wrong in believing this is a complete disregard for parliamentary procedure.  RONR is quite explicit at 1:4 in saying that being able to give Previous Notice is an absolute right.  I would think the only option available to the majority would be to Postpone Indefinitely, once the item actually did come up for discussion.  There is no New Business section, so the Member wouldn't be able to just bring up the motion there.

Seems very undemocratic that the majority can simply remove items before any debate can take place on them.

Am I alone here or ?

Since this appears to be some sort of public body, I don't know that this forum will be of much assistance. The rules pertaining to previous notice for such bodies are generally governed by the assembly's own rules and by state and local laws, and those rules will take precedence over RONR.

I concur that, so far as the rules in RONR are concerned, an assembly may not prevent a member from giving previous notice. Giving previous notice of a motion in RONR may be done by sending it to the secretary in writing to include in the call of the meeting. If the notice is instead given orally during a meeting, while notice is ordinarily given while no business is pending, it may be made while other business is pending if there is no other opportunity to give the notice. It is not necessary for the giving of the notice to be listed on the agenda.

"When no question is pending, a member desiring to give a notice is entitled to preference in recognition (but see 42:6-13 for circumstances in which others may have a higher priority for such preference). But if the member wishing to give the notice is unable to obtain the floor while no business is pending (as may sometimes happen, for example, in a convention that is following an adopted agenda or program, 41, or in cases where a meeting of an ordinary society adjourns before completing its regular order of business), the notice, if necessary, can interrupt pending business or any pending motion; the notice is also in order when another person has been assigned the floor but has not yet begun to speak, and is in order even after it has been voted to adjourn, provided that the chair has not yet declared the meeting adjourned (see also 21:20-12)." RONR (12th ed.) 10:48

As previously noted, however, there are quite likely rules on this matter in the council's rules or applicable law, and those rules take precedence over RONR.

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2 hours ago, George Mervosh said:

I wouldn't worry about this part too much since you state the notice was given. 

So was it the motions for which previous notice was given that were removed from the proposed agenda prior to adopting it?

It was the Previous Notice, or "Notice of Motion" as the terminology they use, that was deleted.  Effectively (in their view) killing motion and preventing reconsideration of it.

5 minutes ago, Josh Martin said:

As previously noted, however, there are quite likely rules on this matter in the council's rules or applicable law, and those rules take precedence over RONR.

Yes, the interesting thing is the Rules of Procedure is so poorly written as it has "where there is a conflict with RONR, this document shall prevail".  So it appears as if it may be permitted by the rules.  No protection of minority rights.  Quite ridiculous.

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2 hours ago, Dr. John said:

Yes, the interesting thing is the Rules of Procedure is so poorly written as it has "where there is a conflict with RONR, this document shall prevail".

They should say that. RONR says the same thing (albeit not in exactly the same words). An assembly is free to adopt its own rules of procedure, and such rules take precedence over RONR.

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I would think that, if an agenda is required, an item that was properly given previous notice could be removed from the agenda. even under RONR.  There is a right to notice, by an individual member, but no individual member could compel the assembly to consider an issue at a given meeting.

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As a practical matter, if a majority was so opposed to the topic that they were not willing to give it agenda time, it seems very unlikely that a majority would have voted to adopt whatever motion would have been offered by the person who gave previous notice.

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8 hours ago, Dr. John said:

I feel they left the door open the proviso "Roberts Rules *may* be used as an interpretative aid".  Too much subjectivity.

Yes, I agree that a rule which provides "Robert's Rules may be used as an interpretative aid" is unwise.

6 hours ago, J. J. said:

I would think that, if an agenda is required, an item that was properly given previous notice could be removed from the agenda. even under RONR.  There is a right to notice, by an individual member, but no individual member could compel the assembly to consider an issue at a given meeting.

I agree. I would think, however, that the proper course of action in such a case would be to amend the agenda to remove the motion, not to amend the agenda to remove the notice itself. (I'm also not clear on why the notice is on the agenda rather than in the call to begin with, but that's a separate issue.)

17 hours ago, Dr. John said:

The member who had their Previous Notice deleted was told that any further attempts to reintroduce it would be a "reconsideration" and require 2/3rds.

Coming back to this, I would note that the motion to Reconsider requires only a majority vote under RONR, although it may well be that the council has its own rules on that matter as well.

Edited by Josh Martin
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Maybe I'm confused, but I read the question differently than the above answers imply. My reading is that the members wanted to give notice at this meeting, not that they wanted to make a motion for which they had given notice. I admit that doesn't fit the question perfectly, which also referred to debate, but I will, nonetheless, take a shot at answering my question.

As a practical matter (aside from what Alicia said above), the straightforward solution is to give notice in writing, unless there are rules requiring that it be given at a meeting.

Well, I do not find 1:4 persuasive here. It says that members may not be deprived of rights except through a disciplinary process. It includes giving notice as among those rights. But it also gives examples like attending meetings, making motions, speaking in debate, and voting. Is a member deprived of the right to make motions if the assembly adopts an agenda that does not allow him to make the motion he had planned to make? Not really. He can move to suspend the rules. He can move to amend the agenda. And, in any event, that's not what it means. It doesn't mean to make any motion, at any time, with no limitation. It just means, generally, the right to make motions. Similarly, a member cannot force an organization to meet simply because he has the right to attend meetings. The fact that some motions are undebatable (or that an assembly might vote to create a special rule making yet others undebatable) does not infringe the right to speak in debate, which only means that, when there is a debate, he may participate. So I do not agree that there is some absolute right to give notice.

Now, should an assembly permit a member to give notice? I'd say yes. (Another question is, after all this debate on the topic, whether, in fact, notice has been given because everyone is very much on notice that the member plans to make this motion. I'd say no because it will not go into the minutes.) But I don't think it's impossible not to.

18 hours ago, Dr. John said:

The member who had their Previous Notice deleted was told that any further attempts to reintroduce it would be a "reconsideration" and require 2/3rds.

 

This is nonsensical. For one thing, reconsider does not require a 2/3 vote. 37:5.7. For another, while it may be true that trying to amend the agenda during this session to add a deleted item requires reconsideration, it is certainly not the case at future sessions, if that is what is meant by "any further attempts." 

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1 hour ago, Joshua Katz said:

Maybe I'm confused, but I read the question differently than the above answers imply. My reading is that the members wanted to give notice at this meeting, not that they wanted to make a motion for which they had given notice.

That is my understanding of the situation as well, although I don’t know that there was more than one member who wanted to give notice. Perhaps there was.

It would be a great help to all of us if the original poster would come back and clarify the situation. I don’t think any of us fully understand exactly what was taking place or what the intent of the “previous notice“ was. Giving previous notice in the agenda seems a strange way of giving previous notice.

I would also like confirmation of whether this was a meeting of a public body. The original poster referred to a council meeting, and it reads as if it is a public body, but he doesn’t say so explicitly. If it is a public body, there are almost certainly superior rules, such as an open meetings law, requiring what type notice must be given for different things.  

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I am reading the question as removing a motion for which an item for which previous notice was given.

Unless some special rule intervenes, under RONR it would not be required to put "giving notice" on the agenda.  

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On 5/5/2021 at 7:45 AM, Josh Martin said:

I agree. I would think, however, that the proper course of action in such a case would be to amend the agenda to remove the motion, not to amend the agenda to remove the notice itself. (I'm also not clear on why the notice is on the agenda rather than in the call to begin with, but that's a separate issue.)

Yes, I would agree.  If the assembly didn't want to deal with it, they could remove the actual motion.  I think that would balance a member's right to bring notice and the majority's right to remove items they see as undesirable.

On 5/5/2021 at 8:32 AM, Joshua Katz said:

Now, should an assembly permit a member to give notice? I'd say yes. (Another question is, after all this debate on the topic, whether, in fact, notice has been given because everyone is very much on notice that the member plans to make this motion. I'd say no because it will not go into the minutes.) But I don't think it's impossible not to.
...
This is nonsensical. For one thing, reconsider does not require a 2/3 vote. 37:5.7. For another, while it may be true that trying to amend the agenda during this session to add a deleted item requires reconsideration, it is certainly not the case at future sessions, if that is what is meant by "any further attempts." 

Yes, it was two members giving notice in accordance with their rules of procedure.  Notice must be in writing and it is read out at the meeting, with actual consideration scheduled for the next regular meeting.  Their reconsideration rules are rather rigid and unusual, after previous notice of a motion that constitutes a reconsideration has been given, at the next meeting it requires 2/3 to even be discussed.  

23 hours ago, J. J. said:

I am reading the question as removing a motion for which an item for which previous notice was given.

Unless some special rule intervenes, under RONR it would not be required to put "giving notice" on the agenda.  

It was removing a "Notice of Motion", the assembly's version of previous notice from the agenda. 

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2 minutes ago, Dr. John said:

Yes, it was two members giving notice in accordance with their rules of procedure.  Notice must be in writing and it is read out at the meeting, with actual consideration scheduled for the next regular meeting.  Their reconsideration rules are rather rigid and unusual, after previous notice of a motion that constitutes a reconsideration has been given, at the next meeting it requires 2/3 to even be discussed.  

On 5/5/2021 at 10:18 AM, J. J. said:

It is becoming apparent that this question intersects with a number of customized rules, which may make some of what we have to say less valuable. 

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10 minutes ago, Joshua Katz said:

It is becoming apparent that this question intersects with a number of customized rules, which may make some of what we have to say less valuable. 

I think saying "customized" would be a kind way of describing, I would use perversion based on how I saw these rules come about.  But I think reading further into the rules of procedure I have found enough holes that would make a block of Swiss Cheese enviable as to my original concerns.

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20 minutes ago, Dr. John said:

it was two members giving notice in accordance with their rules of procedure.  Notice must be in writing and it is read out at the meeting, with actual consideration scheduled for the next regular meeting.

Can you post the EXACT TEXT of the rule.... not a paraphrase?

Note:  I agree with Mr. Katz that it is becoming apparent that this situation is apparently covered by customized rules of this assembly and that we might not be able to be of much help.

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1 hour ago, Richard Brown said:

Can you post the EXACT TEXT of the rule.... not a paraphrase?

Note:  I agree with Mr. Katz that it is becoming apparent that this situation is apparently covered by customized rules of this assembly and that we might not be able to be of much help.

Yes I wholly agree.  The rules of procedure definitely leave a lot to be desired in terms of best practices.  Here is the text... first is the definition...

Quote

“Notice of Motion” means a written notice, given by a Member, advising Council that the motion described therein will be brought forward at a subsequent meeting. 


And then the rule...

Quote

7.7 Notices of Motion 

(1) A notice of motion must be made in writing and delivered to the Clerk no later than 4:30pm on the Wednesday prior to the Committee of the Whole or Council meeting to be included on the agenda for consideration at a subsequent meeting. A notice of motion is not debatable. 

(2) A notice of motion, in writing, may also be received by the Clerk prior to the closing of the meeting and in this event, the Chair shall read the notice of motion and it shall be duly recorded in the minutes without debate, and shall form part of the Agenda for the subsequent meeting. 

(3) The presentation of a notice of motion does not require a seconder until it comes before a meeting for debate. 

(4) The motion shall be printed in full on the agenda for the next meeting and may be considered at that time. 

(5) A notice of motion shall not be introduced at Special Council meetings. 

(6) If a motion is introduced and not brought forward in the next two (2) subsequent meetings, the motion shall expire. 

(7) Where it is deemed necessary to not delay the consideration, a notice of motion may be considered immediately upon its introduction by a successful two-thirds (2/3) vote of the Members present. 

 

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1 hour ago, Dr. John said:

Yes, it was two members giving notice in accordance with their rules of procedure.  Notice must be in writing and it is read out at the meeting, with actual consideration scheduled for the next regular meeting.  Their reconsideration rules are rather rigid and unusual, after previous notice of a motion that constitutes a reconsideration has been given, at the next meeting it requires 2/3 to even be discussed.  

Then it appears that what was done (as was suggested earlier) was done based upon the organization's own rules, which differ from RONR. Those rules will take precedence over RONR. As a result, answering your original question will require reviewing those rules.

1 hour ago, Dr. John said:

I think saying "customized" would be a kind way of describing, I would use perversion based on how I saw these rules come about.  But I think reading further into the rules of procedure I have found enough holes that would make a block of Swiss Cheese enviable as to my original concerns.

They are "customized" in the sense that they are different from RONR. It is not my place to weigh in on whether the rules are good or bad or to what extent they resemble cheese.

As to the question regarding the meaning of the rule, I think that is more of a question for the City Council and the City Clerk than this forum, but for what it is worth, I expect answering that question will require a review not only of the rules pertaining to notice, but also of the rules pertaining to adoption of the agenda.

Edited by Josh Martin
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1 minute ago, Josh Martin said:

As to the question regarding the meaning of the rule, I think that is more of a question for the City Council and the City Clerk than this forum, but for what it is worth, I expect answering that question will require a review not only of the rules pertaining to notice, but also of the rules pertaining to adoption of the agenda.

Yes, I agree... I am putting an inquiry with the City Clerk now.  In reading my transcript of the meeting, their answer was neither "here" or "there".

I appreciate the input and consideration from the Forum members.

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22 minutes ago, Dr. John said:

(2) A notice of motion, in writing, may also be received by the Clerk prior to the closing of the meeting and in this event, the Chair shall read the notice of motion and it shall be duly recorded in the minutes without debate, and shall form part of the Agenda for the subsequent meeting. 

(3) The presentation of a notice of motion does not require a seconder until it comes before a meeting for debate. 

(4) The motion shall be printed in full on the agenda for the next meeting and may be considered at that time

It looks to me like notice of a motion can also be given by providing a written copy of it to the clerk prior to the adjournment of a meeting and that it SHALL BE read read by the chair and recorded in the minutes and form a part of the agenda for the subsequent meeting.

However, as always, it is ultimately up this body itself to interpret its own rules.  The resolution of this  matter seems much more dependent on local law and rules than on the provisions of RONR.

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3 minutes ago, Richard Brown said:

It looks to me like notice of a motion can also be given by providing a written copy of it to the clerk prior to the adjournment of a meeting and that it SHALL BE read read by the chair and recorded in the minutes and form a part of the agenda for the subsequent meeting.

 

I started to say that, but what do you do with (1):

30 minutes ago, Dr. John said:

(1) A notice of motion must be made in writing and delivered to the Clerk no later than 4:30pm on the Wednesday prior to the Committee of the Whole or Council meeting to be included on the agenda for consideration at a subsequent meeting. A notice of motion is not debatable. 

 

For consideration? What does that mean? 

I think this organization erred in trying to write into their own rules parts of the rules in RONR. The rules in RONR for previous notice usually suffice, but transcribing them imperfectly can cause a mess.

Additionally, I'm not sure what to do with these shalls. They say it shall be on the agenda. But it's not self-enforcing. What if they adopt an agenda without the item on it? And, in any case, this provision looks to me like its suspendable. Frankly, I am baffled, and think too much of this question relates to the custom rules to say much at all.

Edited by Joshua Katz
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Just now, Joshua Katz said:

I started to say that, but what do you do with (1):

I read the provisions as providing two methods of giving notice, one by placing it on the agenda prior to the meeting and a second method by giving the notice in writing to the clerk DURING the meeting.   The discussion so far has been solely about the first method.  We didn't even know about the second method until the OP posted the rule itself.

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17 minutes ago, Richard Brown said:

However, as always, it is ultimately up this body itself to interpret its own rules.  The resolution of this  matter seems much more dependent on local law and rules than on the provisions of RONR.

 

15 minutes ago, Joshua Katz said:

I think this organization erred in trying to write into their own rules parts of the rules in RONR. The rules in RONR for previous notice usually suffice, but transcribing them imperfectly can cause a mess.

Gentleman, amen.  The council had a very well-oiled rules of procedure very aligned with RONR before it was completely repealed and replaced with this new set.  Assemblies are free tp adopt their own rules, but RONR hasn't became the de facto resource for parliamentary procedure by accident.

 

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This rule is very messy, indeed.  In (2) it says the notice of motion "...SHALL form part of the Agenda for the subsequent meeting."  And it says the agenda, not just the proposed agenda, which could be read to say that it can't be removed from the agenda...  But then in (4) you have that the motion, "MAY be considered at that time."  How do you consider the motion at that meeting if it's only the "notice of motion" which is on the agenda?  You need the motion to be on an agenda.  And like Joshua, I don't know what consideration one gives to a notice of a motion, or how one would debate someone else's notice of intent to make a motion.

It seems the vocabulary choices are very inconsistent, with perhaps the rule author not carefully distinguishing between "notice of motion" as opposed to the actual motion itself.  There is certainly ambiguity here that could leave the council to interpret its own rule until such time as it can be rewritten in a coherent way.

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