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Adjourn


Mark Apodaca
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A motion to adjourn was not required.  The chair should simply announce, "The time for adjournment has arrived, <pause> and the meeting is <pause>  therefore adjourned.

The pauses are to allow a member not wishing to adjourn to seek recognition in order to move to extend the time.  If nobody does, the meeting is adjourned.

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6 minutes ago, Mark Apodaca said:

The agenda was approved during yesterday's business meeting.  Today's meeting was to end at 6:30 PM.  A motion was made to extend the meeting to 7 PM.  At 7 PM, a motion was made to adjourn the meeting.  Members voted and the motion failed.  Now, what are some other options?

The motion to adjourn should not have been allowed. If anyone wanted to extend the meeting past 7 pm, this should have been treated as a motion to set aside the orders of the day and would require a two-thirds vote to refuse to proceed to the orders of the day. After the assembly has refused to proceed to the orders of the day, they can be called for as soon as the pending business is disposed of. (See RONR (12th ed.) 18:8.)

Or, another motion could have been made to extend the meeting for a certain amount of time, which also would require a two-thirds vote. (See 41:56.)

And if there were no previously set time for adjournment, a defeated motion to adjourn could be renewed whenever there has been material progress in business or in debate—even before the pending business has been disposed of. (See 38:7(4).)

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Thank you...

At the request of the President, I read 21:14 Cases Where the Assembly Can Adjourn Without a Motion to the membership.  I explained that the agenda, which was approved by the membership, set the time to adjourn at 6:30 PM EST.  Instead of adjourning the meeting, the President allowed a member to make a motion to extend the time for adjournment to 7 PM EST.

On a separate laptop (I used two, one for the membership meeting and the other just for me and the President), I told the President that 21:14 allows him to decide to end the meeting for which he did.

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8 minutes ago, Mark Apodaca said:

Instead of adjourning the meeting, the President allowed a member to make a motion to extend the time for adjournment to 7 PM EST.

That was the correct thing to do. A member has the right to move to extend the meeting, in the hopes of obtaining a 2/3 vote for doing so. The chair can adjourn at the set time without a motion to adjourn, but still has to allow members to make motions that are in order at that time, such as a motion to extend the time for adjournment.

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I spent some time thinking about the two-day business meeting and am preparing a summary so that if a situation occurs again during a business meeting, I will be able to address it more effectively.

Going back to this issue: adjournment, the membership approved the agenda where the business meeting would end at 6:30 PM EST.  When the member made the motion to extend time to 7 PM (in sign language), he did not make the motion to say "I move that the meeting adjourns at 7 PM EST".  When you make a motion to extend time, not debate, it does not necessarily mean the meeting ends at 7 PM EST.  It can be viewed as when 7 PM comes, someone could make a motion to extend the time for another 30 minutes.

During the two-day meeting, there were 6 motions to be discussed.  Members had to submit their motions with someone seconding to a committee.  On the first day of the business meeting, only one motion was completed.  The second day, two more but four more were added during the business meeting.  So it is 7 PM EST with completing only three.  I was surprised that the membership did not want to adjourn because there would have been issues such of the unavailability of interpreters, CART, and available staff to help with the technical issues.  But using RRO, the President decided to adjourn the meeting.

Any thoughts?

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Perhaps I don’t understand what you are asking, but I think it was certainly reasonable for the chair to interpret the motion to extend the time until 7 PM as a motion to change (or extend) the time of adjournment from 6:30 PM until 7 PM. That is apparently what the chair did and we have no evidence that there was an objection, Point of Order, or appeal.

Therefore, If that is the way he interpreted the motion, he was correct to declare the meeting adjourned at 7 PM.

If that is not what you are asking, please clarify. 

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I agree with Mr. Gerber that the seven o'clock motion to Adjourn should not have been admitted.  The proper procedure is found in RONR (12th ed.) 41:66.  This is the procedure that Mr. Gerber describes.  Note well that the meeting is adjourned without a motion at seven o'clock, unless a motion is adopted by a two-thirds vote to extend the meeting further.

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2 hours ago, Mark Apodaca said:

I spent some time thinking about the two-day business meeting and am preparing a summary so that if a situation occurs again during a business meeting, I will be able to address it more effectively.

Going back to this issue: adjournment, the membership approved the agenda where the business meeting would end at 6:30 PM EST.  When the member made the motion to extend time to 7 PM (in sign language), he did not make the motion to say "I move that the meeting adjourns at 7 PM EST".  When you make a motion to extend time, not debate, it does not necessarily mean the meeting ends at 7 PM EST.  It can be viewed as when 7 PM comes, someone could make a motion to extend the time for another 30 minutes.

When an assembly has set a time for adjournment at 6:30 PM, and a motion is made "to extend time to 7 PM," it seems to me this necessarily implies that the new time of adjournment is 7 PM. It is of course correct, however, that at or prior to that time, the assembly could extend the time again.

I'm not sure what distinction you are drawing between this and a motion to extend limits of debate.

2 hours ago, Mark Apodaca said:

During the two-day meeting, there were 6 motions to be discussed.  Members had to submit their motions with someone seconding to a committee.  On the first day of the business meeting, only one motion was completed.  The second day, two more but four more were added during the business meeting.  So it is 7 PM EST with completing only three.  I was surprised that the membership did not want to adjourn because there would have been issues such of the unavailability of interpreters, CART, and available staff to help with the technical issues.  But using RRO, the President decided to adjourn the meeting.

It is indeed correct that when the time for adjournment has been reached, the President may declare the meeting adjourned, although the chair must allow for the making of motions which are in order at that time, such as motions to extend the time for adjournment.

If a motion to adjourn has been (albeit improperly) admitted and defeated, this would seem to suggest that at least some members do not, in fact, wish to adjourn the meeting at that time, and therefore it would seem to behoove the President to inform the assembly of its options in that regard.

As to the matters regarding "the unavailability of interpreters, CART, and available staff to help with the technical issues," those are certainly issues for the assembly to take into account when determining the advisability of whether or not to adjourn at that time, but that does not mean the assembly must adjourn.

2 hours ago, Richard Brown said:

Perhaps I don’t understand what you are asking, but I think it was certainly reasonable for the chair to interpret the motion to extend the time until 7 PM as a motion to change (or extend) the time of adjournment from 6:30 PM until 7 PM. That is apparently what the chair did and we have no evidence that there was an objection, Point of Order, or appeal.

Therefore, If that is the way he interpreted the motion, he was correct to declare the meeting adjourned at 7 PM.

If that is not what you are asking, please clarify. 

Under ordinary circumstances, I would agree, but I think it is problematic for the chair to declare the meeting adjourned immediately after a motion to adjourn has just been defeated. It would seem to me the chair should have informed the members of their options in regard to extending the time for adjournment, since it was clear that at least some members did not wish to adjourn.

Edited by Josh Martin
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Thank you all for sharing your comments.  When I look at Robert's Rules of Order, in my opinion, the rules were always intent for physical meetings.  It was not until COVID-19 hit did things change. Of course, the rules will remain as they are.  When it comes to video conferencing, it is a challenge.  We can only make the best of it.

Hypnotically, we have a virtual NAP conference coming.  Supposed a high percent of the delegates are Spanish speaking only.  A majority of the delegates speak English.  Now the conference business meeting is running out of time.  The Spanish speaking members know once the meeting goes beyond the time to adjourn, they will lose all the Spanish speaking interpreters.  Now a motion was made to adjourn and it failed to pass.  The Spanish speaking interpreters are gone.  Should the meeting continue?  I would say no because the Spanish speaking delegates' equal access and participation to the meeting was violated.  It would mean all the Spanish speaking delegates would have leave the meeting. This would cause a problem.

What I am trying to say is that the deaf members will lose their interpreters.  The CART will be gone.  Tech staff will be gone.  Section 21:14 was justified in my opinion and not one of the 400 members attending objected.  Nobody made a point of order or appealed the decision of the President. I may be wrong, but I don't think RONR covers a situation like this.

As to the matters regarding "the unavailability of interpreters, CART, and available staff to help with the technical issues," those are certainly issues for the assembly to take into account when determining the advisability of whether or not to adjourn at that time, but that does not mean the assembly must adjourn.  

Sadly, the members did not take it into account.  I was surprised because the purpose of the organization is to serve the Deaf customer and they were not even thinking about the Deaf members who are customers too.

Maybe it would be nice if in the future, there will be a RONR version for Virtual Meetings.

Again, I am just expressing my opinion.  🙂

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2 hours ago, Mark Apodaca said:

Maybe it would be nice if in the future, there will be a RONR version for Virtual Meetings.

I'm not sure it's reasonable to expect the publishers to produce a separate version for virtual meetings. That gets into the realm of special rules of order that should be adopted by organizations that want to do virtual meetings. 

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Hi Weldon,

It was just a thought.  We have Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised in Brief.  Another chapter in the brief covering virtual meetings might be helpful.  From what you mentioned, I agree it is not reasonable.

Hopefully in 2022, I will not have to do virtual meetings.  Too challenging.

Mark

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2 hours ago, Mark Apodaca said:

What I am trying to say is that the deaf members will lose their interpreters.  The CART will be gone.  Tech staff will be gone. 

....

I was surprised because the purpose of the organization is to serve the Deaf customer and they were not even thinking about the Deaf members who are customers too.

Maybe it would be nice if in the future, there will be a RONR version for Virtual Meetings.

It does not appear that these issues are unique to virtual meetings. It would apply to any organization that has meetings (in-person or virtual) of members with different languages—we are very used to this in Canada with English and French members and hired simultaneous interpretation.

So I agree with Mr. Merritt that this is a situation that calls for special orders.

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14 minutes ago, Atul Kapur said:

It does not appear that these issues are unique to virtual meetings. It would apply to any organization that has meetings (in-person or virtual) of members with different languages—we are very used to this in Canada with English and French members and hired simultaneous interpretation.

And how about South Africa, which has eleven official languages? Although for most everyday purposes, only English and Afrikaans are widely used.

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I also think an issue was limiting the time for the conference business meeting to three hours on Saturday and Sunday.  It would make sense if it was for 6 hours each day to accomplish business.  How can you finish with so many motions within a very limited time.  A new board and CEO are coming in and I hope to work with them with the conference planning and program.

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3 hours ago, Mark Apodaca said:

Hypnotically, we have a virtual NAP conference coming.  Supposed a high percent of the delegates are Spanish speaking only.  A majority of the delegates speak English.  Now the conference business meeting is running out of time.  The Spanish speaking members know once the meeting goes beyond the time to adjourn, they will lose all the Spanish speaking interpreters.  Now a motion was made to adjourn and it failed to pass.  The Spanish speaking interpreters are gone.  Should the meeting continue?  I would say no because the Spanish speaking delegates' equal access and participation to the meeting was violated.  It would mean all the Spanish speaking delegates would have leave the meeting. This would cause a problem.

No rule in RONR would prohibit the assembly from continuing. Whether the meeting should continue is at the assembly's discretion. Continuing may well cause problems for delegates who are present but do not speak the language used by the majority of the members of the assembly, but RONR does not create rights for members in this regard.

3 hours ago, Mark Apodaca said:

What I am trying to say is that the deaf members will lose their interpreters.  The CART will be gone.  Tech staff will be gone.  Section 21:14 was justified in my opinion and not one of the 400 members attending objected.  Nobody made a point of order or appealed the decision of the President. I may be wrong, but I don't think RONR covers a situation like this.

It is correct that RONR does not cover a situation like this. Nonetheless, it remains my view that no rule in RONR prohibits an assembly from continuing to meet notwithstanding that "the deaf members will lose their interpreters.  The CART will be gone.  Tech staff will be gone." It may well be that the assembly should adjourn such circumstances.

It may also be that there applicable laws which require certain accommodations to be made in either or both of the situations described above, but that is beyond the scope of RONR and this forum.

As I have previously stated, in the ordinary case the appropriate course of action for the chair when the assembly has reached the time for adjournment is to declare the meeting adjourned. We are told in these particular circumstances, however, that a motion to adjourn had just been made and defeated. As a consequence, when the chair now remembers that the chair may simply declare the meeting adjourned, I think it is incumbent on the chair to explain to members their options in regard to extending the meeting, since it would appear that at least some members do not wish to adjourn. The chair has a duty to assist members in understanding the current parliamentary situation and in making proper motions. I think it would also be fully appropriate to inform the assembly of the issues relating to the interpreters, tech team, etc. That is information the assembly would presumably wish to know when deciding whether to adjourn.

After informing the assembly of this, it may well be that no one makes a motion to extend the meeting, and I think the chair would then appropriately proceed to declare the meeting adjourned. Alternately, it is possible that such a motion is made, and the assembly will then determine what to do about it. As has previously been noted, extending the time at which to adjourn when a time for adjournment has already been set requires a 2/3 vote for adoption.

Ultimately, if no member objected, however, I suppose that is the end of it.

Edited by Josh Martin
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