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Meeting protocol


Guest Jan and Ron Ray

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The chair can solicit motions, yes.

It's not clear (to me anyway), whether the original question, along with this answer, are dealing with a general solicitation:

"Does anyone have a motion to make at this time?"

versus a much more specific solicitation:

"Do I hear a motion to do blah blah blah...?"

If the latter, is such a specific request for a motion only appropriate in small assemblies (i.e. those of around a dozen or fewer members, where the chair would have the right to make motions anyway, as per the rules in RONR)?

I'm a member of one small (and fairly informal) board, in which the current president does this sometimes, using the formula: "I'll entertain a motion to do XYZ," and then waiting for the requested motion. It always rubs me the wrong way, as A) he could just make the motion himself, so why the extra rigamarole; and B) it implies that he has the obverse power to 'not entertain' motions at other times, which is hardly ever (I won't say never) a power of the chair.

Anyway, my guess is that soliciting specific motions may be OK in a small board/assembly, but is not appropriate in a larger body; or even in a smaller one, if it is the rule or custom of the organization that the chair is to maintain an appearance of impartiality. See RONR pp. 470-471 for more information on proper procedure in small boards.

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It's not clear (to me anyway), whether the original question, along with this answer, are dealing with a general solicitation:

"Does anyone have a motion to make at this time?"

versus a much more specific solicitation:

"Do I hear a motion to do blah blah blah...?"

If the latter, is such a specific request for a motion only appropriate in small assemblies (i.e. those of around a dozen or fewer members, where the chair would have the right to make motions anyway, as per the rules in RONR)?

I'm a member of one small (and fairly informal) board, in which the current president does this sometimes, using the formula: "I'll entertain a motion to do XYZ," and then waiting for the requested motion. It always rubs me the wrong way, as A) he could just make the motion himself, so why the extra rigamarole; and B) it implies that he has the obverse power to 'not entertain' motions at other times, which is hardly ever (I won't say never) a power of the chair.

Anyway, my guess is that soliciting specific motions may be OK in a small board/assembly, but is not appropriate in a larger body; or even in a smaller one, if it is the rule or custom of the organization that the chair is to maintain an appearance of impartiality. See RONR pp. 470-471 for more information on proper procedure in small boards.

Even in a larger assembly, it is not improper for the chair to call for a motion if this can be done in a way that does not give the appearance of partisanship. For example, if the reporting member of a committee fails to make the proper motion to adopt the committee's recommendations, it is not improper for the chairman to call on the member to make the appropriate motion.

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  • 4 weeks later...

It's not clear (to me anyway), whether the original question, along with this answer, are dealing with a general solicitation:

"Does anyone have a motion to make at this time?"

versus a much more specific solicitation:

"Do I hear a motion to do blah blah blah...?"

I suppose a general question gets a general answer. :)

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I'm a member of one small (and fairly informal) board, in which the current president does this sometimes, using the formula: "I'll entertain a motion to do XYZ," and then waiting for the requested motion.

I'm not in Love with the fact that the chair refers to himself in the first person. p. 23, l. 20 - 22

It always rubs me the wrong way, as A) he could just make the motion himself, so why the extra rigamarole; and B) it implies that he has the obverse power to 'not entertain' motions at other times, which is hardly ever (I won't say never) a power of the chair.

Two very good points. I wonder if that board knows it already has as a member the best presiding officer it's likely to find. (i mean you, by the way)

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