Jump to content
The Official RONR Q & A Forums

input on item under discussion


Guest Joseph

Recommended Posts

In working to determine how members feel about a certain issue, some members offer lengthy replies, while a majority are silent on the issue. Since a majority have not voiced an opinion, does the Chair have the right to make an assumption that their silence is in effect an approval of the item under discussion?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In working to determine how members feel about a certain issue, some members offer lengthy replies, while a majority are silent on the issue. Since a majority have not voiced an opinion, does the Chair have the right to make an assumption that their silence is in effect an approval of the item under discussion?

No.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In working to determine how members feel about a certain issue, some members offer lengthy replies, while a majority are silent on the issue. Since a majority have not voiced an opinion, does the Chair have the right to make an assumption that their silence is in effect an approval of the item under discussion?

How members feel is immaterial.

Someone makes a motion. Someone else seconds it. The motion is debated. Then you vote. The outcome of the vote tells the chair whether the motion was adopted or lost. No need to assume anything.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the comments. Is ther somewhere in RONR that states such?

Our Chairman stated that RONR indicates that in general discussion, where he is asking members for their positon on a motion that the governing board will take action on, that 'silence is essentially agreement', or at the very least, an expression of those making no comment that they do not disagree with his stated positon on the issue.

The bottom line issue is that a majority of the members who have spoken up are opposed to the proposed action, but they represent less than 1% of the total membership. His positon is that the other 99% must be in agreement as they have not voiced their opposition or opinion, one way or another.

I'm trying to find some specific reference in RONR, or some other established and recognized authority that can counter his argument.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Is ther somewhere in RONR that states such?

See RONR, 10th ed., Section 4: The Handling of a Motion for the proper way to conduct business.

Our Chairman stated that RONR indicates that in general discussion, where he is asking members for their positon on a motion that the governing board will take action on, that 'silence is

essentially agreement', or at the very least, an expression of those making no comment that they do not disagree with his stated positon on the issue.

The chairman is referring to the procedure of unanimous consent (also known as general consent), but he appears to be somewhat confused about its appropriate use. If even a single member objects to unanimous consent, a formal vote must be taken. See RONR, 10th ed., pgs. 51-54 for more information about unanimous consent.

The bottom line issue is that a majority of the members who have spoken up are opposed to the proposed action, but they represent less than 1% of the total membership. His positon is that the other 99% must be in agreement as they have not voiced their opposition or opinion, one way or another.

I'm beginning to be concerned that you are referring to some procedure of decision-making outside of a meeting, which is not valid unless provided for in the Bylaws. What exactly is the parliamentary situation here?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the comments. Is ther somewhere in RONR that states such?

Here are 2 cites but stay tuned for others...

RONR p. 2 says:

In any decision made, the opinion of each member present has equal weight as expressed by vote - through which the voting member joins in assuming direct personal responsibility for the decision, should his or her vote be on the prevailing side.

RONR p. 4 says:

The basic principle of decision in a deliberative assembly is that, to become the act or choice of the body, a proposition must be adopted by a majority vote; that is, direct approval - implying assumption of responsibility for the act - must be registered by more than half of the members present and voting on the particular matter, in a regular or properly called meeting at which the necessary minimum number of members, known as a quorum, is present.
Our Chairman stated that RONR indicates that in general discussion, where he is asking members for their positon on a motion that the governing board will take action on, that 'silence is essentially agreement', or at the very least, an expression of those making no comment that they do not disagree with his stated positon on the issue.

That right there is part of your problem. The Chairman should not be stating any position on a pending question. He should as the presiding officer remain impartial.

RONR p. 382 says:

If the presiding officer is a member of the society, he has - as an individual - the same rights in debate as any other member; but the impartiality required of the chair in an assembly precludes his exercising these rights while he is presiding. Normally, especially in a large body, he should have nothing to say on the merits of pending questions.
The bottom line issue is that a majority of the members who have spoken up are opposed to the proposed action, but they represent less than 1% of the total membership. His positon is that the other 99% must be in agreement as they have not voiced their opposition or opinion, one way or another.

He is dead wrong.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Our Chairman stated that RONR indicates that in general discussion, where he is asking members for their positon on a motion that the governing board will take action on, that 'silence is essentially agreement', or at the very least, an expression of those making no comment that they do not disagree with his stated positon on the issue.

If one member (even the chairman) wants to know what other members think, he should ask them outside of the context of a meeting. Meetings are for making decisions, not taking "straw polls".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If one member (even the chairman) wants to know what other members think, he should ask them outside of the context of a meeting. Meetings are for making decisions, not taking "straw polls".

Since it seems like the discussion is currently ongoing, I'm starting to wonder if this is taking place outside the context of a meeting.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In working to determine how members feel about a certain issue, some members offer lengthy replies, while a majority are silent on the issue.

Since a majority have not voiced an opinion,

does the Chair have the right to make an assumption that their silence is in effect an approval of the item under discussion?

No.

I think your chair has confused "agreement" with "apathy".

(a.) "I do not object."

... is not the same thing as ...

(b.) "I don't care."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

See RONR, 10th ed., Section 4: The Handling of a Motion for the proper way to conduct business.

The chairman is referring to the procedure of unanimous consent (also known as general consent), but he appears to be somewhat confused about its appropriate use. If even a single member objects to unanimous consent, a formal vote must be taken. See RONR, 10th ed., pgs. 51-54 for more information about unanimous consent.

I'm beginning to be concerned that you are referring to some procedure of decision-making outside of a meeting, which is not valid unless provided for in the Bylaws. What exactly is the parliamentary situation here?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Our Board is considering a move to 'appoint' voting Board members. This would tilt the Board 8/5 (appointed/elected) which clearly has long term potential negative implications. Our history has been to elect all voting Board members, but @ 10 years ago we voted to give the BOD the right to make changes to the Bylaws without member approval. The intent as stated and understood by all was for typo's, small wordsmithing, etc, to get things clear adn not haev to go through the time/expense of having the membership vote on these small changes. Little did we know!!!

So, prior to the BOD vote, REgional BOD members have been asking all members what they think. It is in this context that only @ 125 members have spoken out, most against this motion (but without the right to vote on it. The Chairman stated in a con call that since most members (some 13,000)have had nothing to say, that RONR gives him the right to assume that silence is an implicit approval, and thus a majority fo the members are in favor of the motion.

I'd like to challenge this assertion by him, if I cna find a good source to quote.

Thsk for asking for more information.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Chairman stated in a con call that since most members (some 13,000)have had nothing to say, that RONR gives him the right to assume that silence is an implicit approval, and thus a majority fo the members are in favor of the motion.

I'd like to challenge this assertion by him, if I cna find a good source to quote.

The way to challenge the assertion is to ask him to show you where it says what he says it says. No one can show you where it doesn't say it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Our Board is considering a move to 'appoint' voting Board members. This would tilt the Board 8/5 (appointed/elected) which clearly has long term potential negative implications. Our history has been to elect all voting Board members, but @ 10 years ago we voted to give the BOD the right to make changes to the Bylaws without member approval. The intent as stated and understood by all was for typo's, small wordsmithing, etc, to get things clear adn not haev to go through the time/expense of having the membership vote on these small changes. Little did we know!!!

So, prior to the BOD vote, REgional BOD members have been asking all members what they think. It is in this context that only @ 125 members have spoken out, most against this motion (but without the right to vote on it. The Chairman stated in a con call that since most members (some 13,000)have had nothing to say, that RONR gives him the right to assume that silence is an implicit approval, and thus a majority fo the members are in favor of the motion.

I'd like to challenge this assertion by him, if I cna find a good source to quote.

Thsk for asking for more information.

You don't need to. He's the one claiming that RONR gives him that authority. The burden is on him to provide the page and line number where that exists.

He will not be able to. The closest he will be able to come is the section on Unanimous Consent or General Consent. If he tries that, you will point out that it takes but a single member (not 125 members) to defeat a request for unanimous consent. If this "asking" took place outside a meeting, then it's completely irrelevant to anything. If it took place inside a meeting, then the way you "ask people what they think" is to make a motion, and hold a vote*.

This guy is a charlatan, and this is a pretty blatant grab for power. His unfamiliarity (decorum prevents calling it dishonesty) concerning the rules is a clear alarm that the board already has too much power, and actions like this are exactly the sort of thing you'll have to be getting used to if you allow this to go on.

Start a campaign to amend the bylaws to remove this dangerous power and make the board accountable to the assembly. I presume the assembly hasn't signed away their rights to make bylaws amendments. I they have, it's probably a lost cause. Start looking for other things to join.


*"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend; inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." --Groucho Marx

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Our history has been to elect all voting Board members, but @ 10 years ago we voted to give the BOD the right to make changes to the Bylaws without member approval.

Whoops.

The Chairman stated in a con call that since most members (some 13,000)have had nothing to say, that RONR gives him the right to assume that silence is an implicit approval, and thus a majority fo the members are in favor of the motion.

Well, it seems to me the chair can assume whatever nonsense he wants, and you'll just have to hope that the other board members have more reasonable heads on their shoulders. I imagine the interpretation of the members' wishes will be part of the debate on the motion.

I'd like to challenge this assertion by him, if I cna find a good source to quote.

RONR doesn't really address this much as the opinins from the members are happening outside of a meeting, and RONR doesn't have anything to say about what happens outside of meetings. So this is really a philosophical argument. The pages on unanimous consent seem to be fairly relevant, but I think you'll have more luck sharing those with the other board members than with the deranged chair.

I presume the assembly hasn't signed away their rights to make bylaws amendments. I they have, it's probably a lost cause.

It's not completely a lost cause until the board takes away the general membership's power to elect board members. So elect board members favorable to changing the Bylaws before the board realizes it can do that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...