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Dear Parliamentarian Vol. 25 March '98

Dear Parliamentarian Vol. 25 March '98
Answers to your Parliamentary Questions
drvideo@comcast.net


"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.

Dear Parliamentarian:

Please inform of the proper procedure when one party of a group refuses to abide by majority vote and takes matters into their own hands? Ex: Eight country clubs belong to a golf league. Green fees are waived at all courses except one, Club A, (reason: management is new and negotiations have failed to obtain waiver of green fees at this time). Another club (Club B) refuses to abide by the majority rule to allow the club charging (Club A) to stay in the league and all members will pay green fees. Club B refuses to accept the majority decision and will charge Club A, and only club A, with green fees when they Club B's course in retaliation. As President I've tried negotiating with the two factions and the only constructive solution thus far is that the Club A will collect from their six players the total amount for 48 league members (six hundred and some dollars). Although very nice of Club A, Club B's rebelling against majority rule bothers me. What would be the proper course of action to Club B?

E C Burkhardt

Dear E C Burkhardt,

When members do not abide by the "majority rules" the organization is headed for serious trouble and even its own undoing. The club that is not abiding by the rules needs to understand the basic principles of democracy. The last time there was a serious disagreement in the United States Congress it ended in a Civil War.In democratic organizations it is understood that all members abide by the decision of the assembly until those disagreeing can rescind an action by the democratic process. Why have an organization if everyone is going their own way? Now Robert’s Rules has no specific rule to address this, but this is what I suggest:

1. Get the entire group back again at a meeting and let them know what the problem is -- Club B does not want to abide by the majority decision and explain the implications. If they can not abide by the majority rule in this case does that allow other Clubs to not abide by majority rule in other cases? Then if this is the case, do we have an organization? If Club B still does not want to go along with the decision, I can see two choices:

1. to revisit the issue and "rescind" or "amend" the original motion which allows Club A to charge fees

2. to bring some kind of disciplinary action to Club B

Unless Club B can understand the implications of its actions, it seems to me either Club A or Club B will not be continuing in the organization.

Perhaps if Club B can get a better understanding of the democratic process, it will abide by the decision of the majority and peace and harmony can be restored.

Robert McConnell Productions

 To whom it may concern:

I belong to a non-profit organization in New Jersey, they use they sent me an election ballot with no place for a signature and they weren't numbered. How do they know what members voted? Is this legal?

Thank you.

Sue

Dear Sue,

You have a very good point. Have you contacted the organization about its mail ballot procedures? Did they send you a returned stamped envelope or an envelope identifying the organization?

If they sent you a return envelope, it might have the number on that instead of the ballot. Or they might expect members to send it in their own envelope with the name on the outside of the envelope to identify themselves-- that way they can check the name against the membership list. I would need to see what they sent you and know more about the organization’s procedures.

It would be helpful for all involved to read pages 416 to 418 of ROBERT’S RULES OF ORDER NEWLY REVISED about the procedures for handling "mail ballots".

Robert McConnell Productions

 

Dear Parliamentarian:

What is the proper procedure for electing Officers of the board (Pres., V.P., etc.) If only one person is nominated for a position, and no one else is running for the position, and bylaws said that the election has to be by ballot? Does this person's name goes to ballot alone and the members that wish to vote for him make a mark in the ballot under his name, and the person that doesn't wish to vote for him, doesn't make any mark, or the ballot should provide for a yes or no box where members can check either for a yes or no? In any case, how many votes does the person needs to be elected, being the only nominee?

Maria Scarello

Dear Maria:

Just go ahead and take the ballot vote. Pass out blank sheets of paper and have everyone write the name of the candidate of their choice on the paper. Of course, voters are free to vote for someone else or to abstain. Then count the votes. If he gets a majority vote, he is elected. Unless the bylaws specify otherwise, he needs more than half the votes to be elected (that's a majority). Probably he will get most or all of the votes.

The Parliamentarian

 Dear Parliamentarian,

Is there any way to postpone an agenda item at a school board meeting without a motion first being made on the item itself. For example, instead of someone making a motion to hire Mr. Jones and then someone making a motion to postpone the question, can someone just make a motion to postpone the next item on the agenda, or the hiring of Mr. Jones item before a motion is made on the question itself?  Thank you for your help.

Ellen Rogalin

 Dear Ellen,

Yes, you can postpone an agenda item. The motion to Postpone to a Certain time can be either a subsidiary motion or an incidental main motion. It is an incidental main motion when no other business is pending. When a person comes to the agenda item they want postponed. She/he would say:

I move to Postpone this item of business to our next meeting.

The chair repeats the motion (do your board members second motions?) and opens it for discussion. If Postpone is adopted then it goes on the agenda for the next meeting. If it is not postponed then it is taken up now.

The Parliamentarian

DEAR INFO,

WHEN VOTING IN COMMITTE OFFICERS FOR EIGHT DIFFERENT COMMITTEES, DO THEY HAVE TO BE VOTED IN SEPARATELY OR ALL AT ONCE? IF THEY WERE VOTED IN ALL AT ONCE IS THIS CORRECT? I DO NOT BELIEVE THAT THIS COULD HAVE POSSIBLY BEEN DONE RIGHT. THIS BOARD IS NINE MEMBERS AT A COUNTRY CLUB. I AM ONE OF THEM. CAN THIS BE REDONE AFTER BEING DONE WRONG? ESPECIALLY, IT HAS COME TO OUR ATTENTION THAT THERE WERE OTHER GOOD CANDIDATES FOR THESE POSITIONS WE DID NOT EVEN DISCUSS OR KNOW ABOUT. THERE WAS ALSO A PERSON PUT INTO AN OFFICER POSITION THAT DID NOT WANT TO BE AFTER BEING TOLD BY A BOARD MEMBER HE WOULD TAKE THIS POSITION.

THANK YOU,

JANET CROW

 Dear Janet,

Committee chairman can be voted on "en bloc" (all at once). Or they can be voted on individually. If you have notified the people that they have been appointed to be a committee chairman and they have accepted the position you can not go back now and change your mind. If the people have not been notified, then you can go back and change what you have done. If no previous notice is given it will take a two thirds vote of the board to do this. If previous notice is given then it will take a majority of the board to do this.

May I suggest that you add these new names to the committees as workers.

Another thing that you might do next year when you appoint committees is to send out a committee survey sheet for your members to fill out, stating what committees they would like to serve on. That way no one will be overlooked.

Now about the officer. Do your bylaws say how a vacancy is filled? If not then you will probably have to have another election or perhaps the board can appoint someone to fill this vacancy. Your bylaws should address this. So look for your answer there, if there is none then let me know.

 Robert McConnell Productions

Copyright 1998 Robert McConnell Productions, all rights reserved.