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Dear Parliamentarian Vol. 28 June '98

Dear Parliamentarian Vol. 28  June '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:

As treasurer of a state association with a large amount of money I was called by a member to send a check for $3300 right away. I informed this person thatall financial transaction must be voted and approved etc. Well she went to the president and that person told me to send the check and she would handle it on the state level next meeting. Help! I am looking like the bad guy because I balked. What is proper procedure. The newsletter chair has 2 checks she writes at the time and are always standard amounts and then turns that in to me after the fact. Should all of this be brought in and controlled at one level or any suggestions please!

Tim

Dear Tim

It is important for the Treasurer of any organization to see that procedures are followed in disbursing the money because the Treasurer can be personally liable for distributing the money if it has not been authorized. It sounds like you need some system that authorizes expenditures. One parliamentary that I talked with today suggested that there be a voucher system in which those receiving checks or responsible for seeing that bills are paid sign, a voucher that lets you know that it is okay to pay the bill. This way you are off the hook and that person is then responsible.  I don't know your rules or bylaws, but if expenditures have to be approved first by the board before they are paid then you are right in not giving in to someone wanting a check. The members need to see that this is a protection to the organization and the officers.  If money is mis- handled then individuals become responsible for how it is spent.  In an organization that I am a member and the secretary. We have a system where all bills are put on a pay sheet and signed by both the secretary and the president and then the treasurer pays them. The board must approve all expenditures under a certain amount and all expenditures over that amount are voted on by the membership. When spending money it is important to have accountability.

The Parliamentarian

Sir.

I would your opinion on a point of order in  Robert's Rules of Order. At our Society we have a general meeting once a month with 100 people in attendance. We also have an executive meeting once a month with just the officers and directors present consisting of 12 to 18 people. This meeting is informal where we do the mailing and discuss matters to be brought before the general meeting.  At one of the executive meetings the President made a motion which passes 14 to1 in favor. Now some time later the person that was affected by that motion is contesting the motion stating that the President can not make a motion without stepping down as President therefore the motion is no good.  I would to know if the motion is good so we can resolve a dispute in our Society. Please e-mail your answer to me. Thank You.

Thomas Creavin.

 
Dear Thomas,

You members need to understand some things. First all the assembly decides. If the assembly let's the presiding officer make a motion and not question it when this is happening, then whatever action is taken is a legal action.  Now months later a member can't say that because the presiding officer made a motion and even with a 14 to 1 vote it is null and void. First of all the assembly must agree that it is null and void and not just one member!!!!! This is democracy not dictatorship. If the president made the motion and 14 members for and one against it is a legal action of the society. It becomes a moot point about WHO made the motion. the fact is that the members vote for it.  If this member has a problem with it, then he needs to make the motion "rescind" according to the rule of rescind. If something has been carried out and is impossible to undo, then it can't be rescinded.  Now about the president making a motion  See page 389, under "Rule Aginst Chair’s Participation in Debate.

"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 of the chair in an assembly precludes his exercising these rights while he is presiding."

Now by inductive reasoning:  It is a rule that the member who makes the motion has the first right to debate the motion. So in this case the president has to step down to make the motion so he can debate it.

On page 477:  In a board meeting where there are NOT more than about a dozen members present, some of the formality that is necessary in a large assembly would hinder business. The rules governing such meetings are different from the rules that hold in other assemblies, in the following respects:  (last one)...chairman usually can make motions and usually votes on all questions.  Remember this is telling exceptions to the rule. If a presiding officer is allowed to make a motion in a large assembly, then he would have the right to do so in a small assembly. So by stating this rule, it says that he can't make a motion in a large assembly. Also see page 52, "Adoption of a motion or Action Without a motion, by unanimous consent--read this. When taking a vote by unanimous consent is the only time the president is allow to place a motion to the assembly.  Again, in your small board, adopt a rule that states the presiding officer can make a motion. Again, it is too late for the other member to challenge the vote or who made the motion after the fact.

The Parliamentarian

Copyright 1998 Robert McConnell Productions, all rights reserved.