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Dear Parliamentarian Vol. 119 Feb. 2006

Dear Parliamentarian Vol. 119  Feb. 2006
Answers to your Parliamentary Questions

"Dear Parlimentarian" is written by the author of Parliamentary Procedures Made Simple: The Basics, an 80 minute video that tells how to have better meetings.


My question is, are we allowed to count the proxy votes along with the members present at a meeting to have a 20% quorum?   

We have 258 active members in our massage therapy association & we are incorporated.

 Our bylaws state, under General Meetings, "Members may be represented by proxy where both parties are active members and where the absent member's written authorization is presented to the Secretary at the time of registration."



Anne-Marie Dupuis RMT,D Ac

115 John Street
Moncton NB Canada


Dear Anne-Marie,
    I have found the answer in only one of my many books.  It says that  the bylaws must have a provision under quorum that would state that proxies count in the quorum.  However in reading your bylaw it is very general and it could be interpreted that proxies are counted in the quorum.  The reason for me to say this is because of the phrase "members may be represented by proxy".  That would mean in all aspects of the meeting.  My second reason is because it is presented to the secretary at the time of registration.  The proxy is registered in as being represented by proxy.  I think the best thing for you to do is to be more specific in your bylaws.  The other way of solving this is to find out what the intent of the person or bylaw committee was at the time that this change took place.  If there intent was to be that it was counted in the quorum then that needs to be made general knowledge in the organization.  But since there is a problem, change the bylaws so that there can be no question about what the proxy covers.
    Right now are there people questioning the action that was taken at the meeting and/or questioning whether a quorum was present?  If that is the case, then you may have to seek some legal advice or have another meeting and ratify the action taken at the last meeting.

The Parliamentarian