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Can Secretary Speak?


Guest Thor

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I served in our Community College's Associated Student Government for a year term. Now that my term has ended, I did not reinstate and instead was hired as the Secretary for the meetings. This is a paid position, but since I have more experience than anybody else on the current Board, they keep making out of order motions and do not follow basic Parliamentary Procedure rules.

The Bylaws read (ASO-Associated Student Organization):

A) Secretary

(01.03.021) 1) Funds shall be appropriated to employ a secretary to perform official

clerical duties of the ASO.

(01.03.022) 2) Shall keep accurate written minutes of proceedings transacted during

ASO meetings and maintain a complete and accurate file of all such

meetings.

(01.03.023) 3) Shall perform any other functions as deemed necessary by the

President of the ASO or a majority vote of the ASO.

The people who decided to hire me were split because of past history (ie: I beat another one in a campaign for office) and argued that I would talk too much during the meetings. The past two meetings, I didn't say a word. The meeting a week ago, they approved fund allocation, but a motion wasn't made, so they had to redo the motion at the next meeting (becaues I talked with them afterwards). At yesterday's meeting, the Chair was about to do debate on a motion that doesn't even need to be seconded or voted on. I raised my hand, the Chair called on me, and I pointed this out. Immediately, one of the people who tried to convince everyone not to hire me yelled: "Point of Order: The secretary is not supposed to be talking!"

Since this policy of the Secretary not allowed to give Parliamentary Inquiry is not in writing, and not in the Bylaws, I was wondering if it is outlined in Robert's Rules of Order. If it isn't, I'll check the Brown Act (California). If it is not there, does that mean I am allowed to give Parliamentary Inquiry during meetings?

Any help is appreciated, thanks.

Sincerely,

Thor

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If the secretary is a member of the body (which is the situation we see more often here), the secretary has all the rights of membership, including the right to make parliamentary inquiries, raise points of order, etc.

However, if the secretary is not a member (which is what your situation sounds like ??), the secretary does not have those rights, at least not according to RONR. Non-members have no inherent right to participate in a meeting.

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Now that my term has ended, ...

... you are no longer a MEMBER of the board!

I ... was hired as the Secretary for the meetings.

Thus, you are an employee.

You are

(a.) not a member of the board;

(b.) not an officer.

The Bylaws read (ASO-Associated Student Organization):

A) Secretary

(01.03.021) 1) Funds shall be appropriated to employ a secretary to perform official clerical duties of the ASO.

(01.03.022) 2) Shall keep accurate written minutes of proceedings transacted during ASO meetings and maintain a complete and accurate file of all such meetings.

(01.03.023) 3) Shall perform any other functions as deemed necessary by the President of the ASO or a majority vote of the ASO.

Okay. Subitem #1 is clear.

Funds were appropriated.

• A secretary was employed.

That's it. That's all.

Since this policy of the Secretary not allowed to give Parliamentary Inquiry is not in writing, and not in the Bylaws, I was wondering if it is outlined in Robert's Rules of Order.

Yes, it is covered!

Non-members are not allowed to speak.

You cannot make a motion. You cannot raise a point of order, nor a parliamentary inquiry.

You don't sit on the board.

You are "staff". You are "administration".

People who are hired are not officers, and not members.

Unless of course (a.) they already were members; (b.) they join the organization formally.

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The meeting a week ago, they approved fund allocation, but a motion wasn't made, so they had to redo the motion at the next meeting (becaues I talked with them afterwards).

It sounds to me like you shouldn't have talked with them afterwards, because all you've done is to make unnecessary, and probably improper, work for the student government.

Just take the minutes and keep quiet. The only time you should interrupt is when you do not have the exact wording of a motion and you need for the chair to repeat it for you or for the chair to ask the maker of the motion to submit it in writing.

At yesterday's meeting, the Chair was about to do debate on a motion that doesn't even need to be seconded or voted on. I raised my hand, the Chair called on me, and I pointed this out. Immediately, one of the people who tried to convince everyone not to hire me yelled: "Point of Order: The secretary is not supposed to be talking!"

Since this policy of the Secretary not allowed to give Parliamentary Inquiry is not in writing, and not in the Bylaws, I was wondering if it is outlined in Robert's Rules of Order. If it isn't, I'll check the Brown Act (California). If it is not there, does that mean I am allowed to give Parliamentary Inquiry during meetings?

Thor

No, you are not allowed to make a parliamentary inquiry if you are not a member.

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