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dauerbach
03-28-2006, 03:23 PM
I am ignorant of Roberts Rules of Order, however, I believe our group meetings follow them. We have an agenda published prior to the meeting. The board of directors has been keeping a matter of interest to many of us off the agenda. Is there a way, at the meeting itself, to add this to the agenda, or at least open the matter for discussion. Any advice will be appreciated.

aktep
03-28-2006, 04:07 PM
http://www.robertsrules.com/faq.html#14


Question 14:
How can I get an item on the agenda for a meeting?

Answer:
For a proposed agenda to become the official agenda for a meeting, it must be adopted by the assembly at the outset of the meeting. At the time that an agenda is presented for adoption, it is in order for any member to move to amend the proposed agenda by adding any item which the member desires to add, or by proposing any other change.

It is wrong to assume, as many do, that the president "sets the agenda." It is common for the president to prepare a proposed agenda, but that becomes binding only if it is adopted by the full assembly, perhaps after amendments as just described. [RONR (10th ed.), p. 363, l. 8-20; see also p. 16 of RONR In Brief.]

Bricker
03-28-2006, 04:50 PM
I am ignorant of Roberts Rules of Order, however, I believe our group meetings follow them. We have an agenda published prior to the meeting. The board of directors has been keeping a matter of interest to many of us off the agenda. Is there a way, at the meeting itself, to add this to the agenda, or at least open the matter for discussion. Any advice will be appreciated.

If there is a period for New Business, and this itme has not been discussed on the floor before, and if you have a voice in the body, then that's the time to bring up. When "New Business" is announced, you obtain the attention of the chair and say, "I move that we {do | consider} Item X." If you can, make sure that someone else is on board with your plan; that person should be prepared to second your motion. Your motion is now "on the floor" and may be discussed.

If the item has been previously discussed, and tabled, then the proper place to revive the item is under "Old Business." The proper approach is: "I move to Take from the Table the motion to {do | consider} Item X." Again, a second is needed.

If the chair rules that the motion is out of order, a member may Appeal the Decision of the Chair. This is a preferential motion, and it must be decided before other business is resumed.

If you simply wish to deviate from the existing agenda, you may move to Suspend the Rules.

dauerbach
03-28-2006, 06:35 PM
So it sounds like I have three opportunitites to bring the matter up. First at the opening of the meeting, before the agenda is really set. Second, at the new business part, and lastly, anytime during the meeting by requesting to suspend the rules. To suspend the rules takes a 2/3 majority vote. Am I correct in assuming the other two ways simply need a second to the motion?

Scuba_Ben
03-28-2006, 06:46 PM
Amending the agenda needs to be approved by the organization. I don't have RONR10 handy, but I'm guessing that amending the agenda is by simple majority -- it might even be debatable (but only to the extent of the change to the agenda, and not on the topic that you're adding). An ordinary motion, during New Business, simply needs a second to become the main motion on the floor for debate; it normally requires a simple majority for passage.

Bottom line: Know your organization's bylaws, especially what is the stated parliamentary authority, and where your rules override that authority. If the bylaws say that the item you want to discuss is not subject to discussion by the general membership, then you probably need to look into changing the bylaws.

Nitpick #1: "2/3 majority" is bad grammar, as "majority" means "more than half." The better phrasing is "To suspend the rules takes a 2/3 vote."

Nitpick #2: "Old business" is also a misnomer, according to RONR. Old business has been settled; what you really want to address at this point in the meeting is "unfinished business."

Nitpick #3, and I got tagged by it once: Never present business as "I move to consider X" -- always present business as "I move to take action X." If the motion is seconded, then it is under consideration.

dauerbach
03-28-2006, 10:22 PM
So far the advice has been excellent. I actually erased "an affirmative vote of 2/3 present to 2/3 majority." My bad.

The company I now work for is the result of a merger of three once unique companies, and what we want to discuss is to dissolve the merger. What would be the ideal way to state this, parliamentary-wise. "I move we take action to dissolve the merger." "I move we take action to discuss the dissolution of the merger."

Hari Seldon
03-29-2006, 05:42 AM
One piece of advice. Find out the rules of your organization and insist that they be followed. If it is Robert's rules, then get a copy. People have all sorts of beliefs that are false. For example, it is commonly thought that the mover and seconder of a motion can withdraw it after debate. Your organization could certainly adopt that as a bylaw, but it is not in RROO. Another point is that the organization's chairman can lie to you if you don't know the rules. I resigned from the Amer. Math. Soc. in 1969 (and have never rejoined) because the parliamentarian lied to us. By the time, we discovered that he had we had passed on to a different agenda item and he commented laconically, "That's interesting", but it was too late to come back.

aktep
03-29-2006, 09:50 AM
"I move we take action to discuss the dissolution of the merger."

"2nd"

"Discussion/Debate"

"I think we should dissolve the merger because ... "

"You're out of order. We're discussing the merits of the motion on the floor"

"I think we should not dissolve the merger because ... "

"You're also out of order. We're discussing the merits of the motion -- please limit discussion or debate to whether or not we should have a discussion session about the dissolution of the merger."

"I'm confused. Call the question?"

"Ok. All in favor?"

"Aye"

"Opposed?"

"Nay"

"The 'ayes' have it. Please spend 10 seconds discussing the dissolution of the merger."

"Time's up. Next item --"


Discussion is not action. If you want to dissolve the merger, move to dissolve, then let the discussion period about the motion be the time to discuss the merits of dissolving.

dauerbach
03-29-2006, 11:29 AM
Ok, I think I am actually getting the idea. One must be extremely careful of wording because what will be done is exactly what has been asked. What is fascinating is that while we have Roberts as the guidelines for our meetings, the chair clearly has little or no clue how to use them, as sloppy and incorrect things are happening all the time. I could make sure nothing was ever accomplished just by insisting RROR is followed. Any fun little things I can do procedureally to point out just how poorly things are being run. Any motions and the like to throw things into a tizzy?

Elendil's Heir
03-30-2006, 10:38 AM
Good responses so far. Ritualistic obeisance to RROO is more common than actual reference to it, in most organizations, IMHO. One rule that is frequently forgotten: a motion to adjourn is always in order, and needs no second.

brianmelendez
03-30-2006, 02:25 PM
One rule that is frequently forgotten: a motion to adjourn is always in order, and needs no second.Actually, a motion to adjourn does require a second under Robert's.

Scuba_Ben
03-30-2006, 06:25 PM
Ok, I think I am actually getting the idea. One must be extremely careful of wording because what will be done is exactly what has been asked. What is fascinating is that while we have Roberts as the guidelines for our meetings, the chair clearly has little or no clue how to use them, as sloppy and incorrect things are happening all the time. I could make sure nothing was ever accomplished just by insisting RROR is followed. Any fun little things I can do procedureally to point out just how poorly things are being run. Any motions and the like to throw things into a tizzy?Nonononono. Rules of order are to ensure smooth conduct of business, and not to prevent business from happening.

Nitpick #4: "2/3 vote of those present" is not the same as "2/3 vote" under RONR -- if 30 people are present, and 21 vote on a question and 9 abstain, then if the question requires a 2/3 vote it passes on 14 votes FOR, but if the question requires a 2/3 vote of those present, it passes on 20 votes FOR.

I should note here that detail is vital in all points of procedure; these nitpicks are intended to help.

There is a good quick-reference chart to motions, their precedence, their required votes, and which ones can interrupt someone else at Robert's Rules Online (http://www.robertsrules.org/motions.htm)

Elendil's Heir
03-31-2006, 03:36 PM
Actually, a motion to adjourn does require a second under Robert's.

I see, at least according to Scuba_Ben's handy-dandy reference chart, that it does. Huh. I coulda sworn that it didn't.... now why did I think that?