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Adjourning a meeting


Guest KC

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At a recent board meeting, members stood up in anticipation of leaving when a member was talking. It took a little longer than two minutes and the presiodent called for a motion to adjourn while the member was speaking, which the other members ignored. A few left the meeting, one of which was the president. There was never a motion or vote taken to adjourn, it just disentegrated. It was not a contentious meeting, however this maneuver is viewed by some as a ploy the president frequetnly uses when he does not like the topic. How should the minutes reflect a meeting that never formally ended? What is the appropriate response to a president that is disrespectful to speakers and/or the process?

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At a recent board meeting, members stood up in anticipation of leaving when a member was talking. It took a little longer than two minutes and the presiodent called for a motion to adjourn while the member was speaking, which the other members ignored. A few left the meeting, one of which was the president. There was never a motion or vote taken to adjourn, it just disentegrated. It was not a contentious meeting, however this maneuver is viewed by some as a ploy the president frequetnly uses when he does not like the topic. How should the minutes reflect a meeting that never formally ended? What is the appropriate response to a president that is disrespectful to speakers and/or the process?

I don't have an answer to the question, "How does one record in the minutes a highly irregular act which is not supported by any parliamentary rule?"

Just say what happened. The minutes ought to record what was done, even if "what was done" was improper, illegal, or fattening.

E.g., "The president, suddenly and unilaterally, adjourned the meeting, while Col. Mustard still had the floor."

(That accurate statement will likely be targeted by somebody next meeting for amendment!) ;)

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How should the minutes reflect a meeting that never formally ended?

As Mr. Goldswrothy noted, you record what happened. But there was no reason to end the meeting just because the president said it was adjourned and left. As long as a quorum remained, the meeting could have, and should have, continued,

What is the appropriate response to a president that is disrespectful to speakers and/or the process?

See FAQ #20.

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I don't have an answer to the question, "How does one record in the minutes a highly irregular act which is not supported by any parliamentary rule?"

Just say what happened. The minutes ought to record what was done, even if "what was done" was improper, illegal, or fattening.

E.g., "The president, suddenly and unilaterally, adjourned the meeting, while Col. Mustard still had the floor."

(That accurate statement will likely be targeted by somebody next meeting for amendment!) ;)

'The minutes should never reflect the secretary's opinion, favorable or otherwise, on anything said or done.' (RONR p. 451 ll. 28-29)

One could argue that Mr. Goldsworthy's suggested language doesn't adhere to this guideline ;)

Also, poster KC said that the president called for a motion to adjourn, was generally ignored, and then left. Apparently, the president did not actually adjourn the meeting.

The fact that the meeting 'never formally ended' will make it impossible for the secretary to note an exact time of adjournment in the minutes... and the minutes should not be doctored (i.e. corrected at the next meeting) to make it look like a normal adjournment took place at a known hour and minute. However, there is no question that the meeting did eventually adjourn, despite the lack of formality (the meeting isn't still 'alive' in some sense, simply because there was no formal adjournment). The minutes should accurately reflect what happened.

What is the appropriate response to a president that is disrespectful to speakers and/or the process?

Note that a motion to adjourn is not in order when someone else has the floor. Another member could raise a point of order to that effect if/when the president tries this maneuver again. Be prepared to appeal from the ruling of the chair; the assembly eventually decides (by vote) on the outcome of an appeal. Hopefully the member who had the floor when the president interrupted will remember what the heck he was talking about, after all the drama is over :lol: .

If the president again flounces out, after announcing his wish to adjourn the meeting, keep in mind (as Mr. Mountcastle noted) that the meeting can continue, and can conduct business, in the president's absence.

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