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Receiving a Resolution/Committee Report


beantown_flyer

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I work in a support role for a labor union.

We have a National, Regional and Local representational structure.

When committee reports are presented to the governing body, at times there is no action to take other than to acknowledge receipt.

Some Local Councils occasionally pass resolutions that simply express an opinion/emotion...with no action being proposed.

Occasionally we also have Local Councils that pass resolutions and bring them to the Regional level that may compromise the negotiating position of the union in an upcoming negotiation.

Finally, some resolutions from the Local Councils have (rarely) created potential litigation exposure to the union.

For these reasons, we long ago adopted the practice of voting to "receive" some resolutions from Local Councils, or reports from the committee structure.

This practice has also been in use at the union's National level for a long time.

In reading your book I note that you discourage this practice in general.

I feel like our circumstances led us to adopt a satisfactory treatment of these issues.

I wonder if you agree that in our specific case, it is an acceptable process?

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we long ago adopted the practice of voting to "receive" some resolutions from Local Councils, or reports from the committee structure.

In reading your book I note that you discourage this practice in general.

I feel like our circumstances led us to adopt a satisfactory treatment of these issues.

I wonder if you agree that in our specific case, it is an acceptable process?

What RONR advises against is accepting or approving or adopting or agreeing to a report, since that would constitute an endorsement of the report without knowing whether the report was accurate. So reports should simply be received and filed. Adopting a motion to do so does no harm though RONR (p.491) describes such a motion as "meaningless".

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I wonder if you agree that in our specific case, it is an acceptable process?

No. You're wasting time. The reports should be received without a motion. (RONR, 10th ed., pg. 490, line 30 - pg. 491, line 7) The only reason the Regional Council should make any motion is if the Local Council is requesting that some action be taken, the council wishes to adopt the entire report as its own statement, or perhaps if the council wishes to censure the Local Council for taking some action. (RONR, 10th ed., pg. 489, line 8 - pg. 490, line 21) Also, like Mr. Merritt, I'm baffled as to how you think this practice somehow protects the organization. You seem to be under the impression that "receive" means much more than it really does. It simply means that the report is heard, and does not in any way imply that the council agrees with the content of the report.

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Guest beantown_flyer

"You seem to be under the impression that "receive" means much more than it really does. It simply means that the report is heard, and does not in any way imply that the council agrees with the content of the report."

Just to be clear, the use of "receive" is not because we think it means a lot. Just the opposite.

For political reasons, they want to acknowledge receipt. For practical and legal reasons, they'd prefer not to address some of these items more than necessary.

"Received" was a deemed more polite than completely blowing the issue off. Elected officials don't want to disenfranchise their constituents.

I understand your position on the matter and I agree it's sub-optimum. It was a political compromise and I'm trying to see now if I can justify keeping it.

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For political reasons, they want to acknowledge receipt. For practical and legal reasons, they'd prefer not to address some of these items more than necessary.

"Received" was a deemed more polite than completely blowing the issue off. Elected officials don't want to disenfranchise their constituents.

I understand your position on the matter and I agree it's sub-optimum. It was a political compromise and I'm trying to see now if I can justify keeping it.

If the assembly wishes to prevent receiving a report that is called for in the order of business, the proper motion to use is Suspend the Rules, which requires a 2/3 vote. If the reports are not called for in the order of business, then a majority vote or unanimous consent is necessary to receive the report. Either way, such a motion only has any meaningful effect if it is made before the report is received. "Acknowledging receipt" is meaningless. (RONR, 10th ed., pg. 490, line 30 - pg. 491, line 7; pg. 256, lines 13-24; pg. 287, line 26 - pg. 288, line 6) If you want to "politely" blow off the reports, just have the chair say, "Thank you for your report. The next item of business is..."

And with all due respect, despite the assertion that "Elected officials don't want to disenfranchise their constituents," it seems to me that's exactly what this boils down to, regardless of how the issue is sugar-coated.

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