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Dear Parliamentarian Vol. 13 January '97

Dear Parliamentarian Vol. 13 January '97

 



Dear Readers:
 Have  “Dear Parlimentarian” sent to your e-mail box every month. You may subscribe to this column.  The cost is $5.00 per month or $60.00 a year. To subscribe call 1-800-532-4017 and we will e-mail you the column every. We take VISA, MC, and AMERICA EXPRESS. Checks and money orders are also accepted.  Questions are still answered for free.



In this month’s column we begin with a letter about how to handle correspondence. Other topics include:

    Nominations and Elections
    More about voting procedures and how abstentions affect the vote
    How does Robert’s Rules apply to County Commission meetings
    An organization that does not allow members to resign
    If the presiding officer steps down to debate when does he/she return to the chair
    Does an honorary officer have voting rights
    Quorum question
    Problems in City Hall
    Bylaw interpretation on voting
    Union meeting problems

Question:

    Could you please tell me what is the correct way according to Robert's Rules of Order to deal with Correspondence. There seems to me some confusion in my organization as to how correspondence should be received and presented. I am involved with an organization that is very unorganized at the moment and composed of lay-people that have to be educated as to the importance of using a system like "Rules of Order".

    Any help that you could provide me with would be appreciated. Feel free to Email me any opinions you may wish to offer.

Thank-you.
J. Cove Dear John,

Answer:

    The members should address all correspondence to the secretary. The secretary usually receives the mail, opens the mail, and passes on the mail addressed to, or which concerns, the officers and individual members. All relevant correspondence is put on the agenda.

    How does she/ he decide which correspondence is appropriate? By knowing the objectives of the organization which are found in the Articles of Incorporation or the bylaws. Only those letters that comply with the objectives should be presented to the board and/or the members at a meeting. The members should not have to waste their time with trivial matters.

    It is important to remember that Robert’s Rules says that a motion that is outside the object of the organization cannot be considered unless a two-thirds vote of the members vote in favor of considering it. However, one parliamentarian, who is a lawyer, said that he would question the ability of an organization to consider anything outside the “object” as stated in the Articles of Incorporation (this is a legal document filed with the Secretary of State).

    After the secretary decides that the correspondence is relevant (the president can be of help in deciding this too), it is put on the agenda usually after the reading of the minutes.(Unless the organization has adopted other rules that places it elsewhere on the agenda) The secretary can read the letters to the members, or if there is information that needs to be acted on, the letters can be photo copied and given to the members to follow along as the secretary reads the letter.

    If a letter has business for the members to act upon, a motion is made at the time the letter is read and not put under new business. It is a general principle of parliamentary procedure to dispose of the business when it arises and not put it off to a later time unless the members adopt a motion to “postpone it “ to a later time in the meeting. This expedites business and takes care of it when it is fresh in the minds of the members.

    I hope this helps. If I haven’t answered your question please write back.


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