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Dear Parliamentarian Vol. 64 June 2001

Dear Parliamentarian Vol. 64  June 2001
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:

During a motion, there is always someone stating they have an unreadiness to what was said. In turn the Person in charge would say, " What is your unreadiness? If it did not change the motion they continue, if it does they start over. I had never heard of this but they practice it frequently. Please help me understand if this is correct or not?

Gosha

Dear Gosha,

I have never heard of "unreadiness" to what is said. This must be a custom to your organization--some unusual practice that began somewhere. It also sounds rather undemocratic. Do they know how to amend a motion? Are they using some form of consensus instead of using rules based upon debate and vote? Why not get them to explain this procedure to you and then write me back. I will be out of the office July 1 to July 8.

The Parliamentarian

 

Dear Parliamentarian:

Please advise when you are voting on something and there is a tie who would be the person to make the tie breaking vote? Thank you.

Ann chrstmas@gisco.net

Dear Ann,

Only the presiding officer can break the tie vote if he or she hasn't already voted. If everyone has voted, and it is a tie, then the motion is lost. No one can vote twice.

The Parliamentarian

 

Dear Parliamentarian:

My question is, are Kendall's parliamentary procedures intended for legislative and judicial procedures only or dothey cover other types of organizations. In other words if we make a decision at a Board of Directors meeting would that decision be seconded by both Kendall and Robert's equally or what would the situation be Kendall vs Robert's. Does Kendall's procedures substitute Robert's or to they run on an equal basis? Thank you for your reply?

Anonymous

Dear Anonymous:

I'm not familar with Kendall's parliamentary procedures. What organization are you a member of that uses these rules? I know that there are some national societies or a few unions that have different parliamentary authories. Your organization should just adopt one parliamentary authority. If you have two then whose rules apply and when?

The Parliamentarian

 

Dear Parliamentarian:

I have read your pages- I am interested as a board member in finding out when to get legal council and when it would be covered under the litigation insurance that they take out on us as a board member. Let me start from the beginning.

We just took over the association from the builder in Oct. of 2000. The 5 members ( who kid not know each other before this time) that were voted onto the interim board were a very easy going ( trust me we have to live here but we all agreed that we did not need harshness to rule the roost!) We would have our discussions and our disagreements from time to time - but overall got along wonderfully!! In Jan we had our Annual elections- but we did not get a quorum. In Feb. we had the meeting again- met quorum- I ,as president, was unable to make it due to a trip out of the country. The gentleman that was voted in had already left me 18 e-mails when we arrived home about an issue with a new school being built in our neighborhood, specifically- right behind his house.

He was very upset with me because I researched the information in theletter that he wanted to send to the school district. Then when I went to him- I was against sending the letterto the school board for it was very negative and demanding that things be done without getting specific. This was the start of it all.

To make a long and drawn out story shorter- the first board meeting we were supposed to have- only ended up being about 5 min. worth because he was so adamant about yelling for an hour. The second meeting we had went from 7-10;30 . He is a very confrontational person who cannot have a "discussion" but has to yell and be in your face. He has since phoned everyone and resigned. You would think - "thank God" but this is where the fun begins. When the board or the management co. did not get the resignation in writing- the secretary and vice pres. went over to get it in writing. Instead of answering the door- he called the cops and filed harassment charges against the 3 of us. I was not even there!!

We had started a petition to get this guy recalled. On the grounds that he had given out confidential HOA board information to one of his friends who was threatening a lawsuit against the HOA and a neighbor and the fact we were all tired already of the yelling and nothing had been accomplished in two months of meetings.

Again to shorten this story for you- we cannot figure out the management company. They were new in March so unfortunately they have only seen this one side of us. We had to cancel the June meeting last week because this guy is the kind who would have called the cops and had us arrested if we had shown up- going against the injunctions of harassment. We had asked for a cop to be at the meeting site to break up any meetings that my try to occur there- the management company later told him to only stay from 6;30 - 7 when the meeting was to start at 7. The trouble maker on the board ended up having a 1 1/2 hour meeting slandering us to about 15 homeowners. We have it on tape thanks to one of the homeowners taping it all for us. The management company keeps telling us that if we do not like the advice that they are giving us- to get an attorney- we want them to hire the attorney that they take out the litigation insurance on us for. They are claiming that since the board is not being sued that we can not use that insurance. If this is even close to anything you would know about - or if you could send me in a certain direction to get more information- I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you so much for hearing my story and hopefully this will never happen to you with your "Hitler" President- ours unfortunately is the "Hitler" secretary!!!!!
Heather Wilson

Dear Heather,

Let me tell you about an organization that I think can help you. It is called Community Associations Institute. They are an organization for Homeowner and Condos. The publish a magazine and have a state organization which has attorneys and management companies that belong to it. It sounds like you may have chosen a management company that does not understand all things. Unfortunately, Homeowner Associations and Condo's are much more complicated that most of us realize. I know that we would like to have everything easy going but it doesn't work out this way. And you can see the results. What I recommend is that you call the association and ask them to put you in touch with the state organization in your state. Then see if the state organization can give you the names of some attorneys to call. You may need an attorney to help with several matters here. The phone number of the national organization is 703-548-8600.

The Parliamentarian

PS. Let us know how this all turns out.

 

Dear Parliamentarian:

Here I am back again with a procedure question:

When it is written in your constitution that you will hold at least ten meetings a year but you have only held 8 and two did not take place because of quorom not being met. What is the procedure then because actually we should be having the two meetings but no one wants to meet duing the summer months, who is the determining factor in setting some sort of line or decision on that? Thanks,.

S Versteeg

Dear S Versteeg,

If members came to the meeting and there was no quorum, it still fulfills the bylaw requirement to have a meeting. So those two meetings do not need to be rescheduled.

The Parliamentarian

 

Dear Parliamentarian:

At a recent special Town Meeting, while an article was being debated,

one of the Selectmen called for a vote on the article. Many of the

voters questioned his right to call for a vote while there were still

more people who wanted to express their views of the article. The

selectman that called for the vote, interrupted the debate and did not

ask to be recognized by the moderator before calling for the vote. The

moderator immediately stopped all debate and called for the vote. When

he was questioned as to the legallity of this action he said that it was

proper and that a vote on the article had to be taken even though their

were some who wanted to continue the debate. It was also questioned as

to whether we were supposed to vote on whether to stop the debate. We

were told that we could not vote on it, that if one person called for a

vote on the article being discussed that we had to vote on that

article. End of discussion.

Also, the selectman that called for an end to the debate and an

immediate vote on the article, will be personally benefitting by the

passage of this article. Was it proper for him to do this or would it

be considered a conflict of interest.

Linda

Dear Linda,

Before I answer this question, is this a Town Meeting where the members of the assembly are the members of the town and not just the selectmen? Or is this where the selectmen open up part of their meeting for members of the commmunity to give their input or then the selectmen decide the issue? Please answer and then I can help.

Thank you,

The Parliamentarian

 

Dear Parliamentarian:

I am resending my answer to your question because it has been a few days since I sent it and I have not gotten an answer from you so I thought maybe you did not receive it. I am anxiously awaiting your answer to my questions.

Linda

Dear Linda,

Thanks for re-sending your answer because I didn't get it. You are right the debate was not closed properly. The correct way to close debate is for a member of the assembly (or the selectmen) to rise, address the chair and be assigned the floor. Then present close debate as a formal motion: "I move to close debate" or "I move the previous question." Another person must the second the motion. The presiding officer then places it before the assembly, and takes vote by a rising vote. It takes a two thirds vote to close debate. May I suggeast that you ask your library to buy our video "Parliamentary Procedure Made Simple the Basics." This information is covered on the video. Also our book "Webster's New World, Robert's Rules of Order Simplified and Applied" has a chapter called "Meeting Strategies" which tell you how to counter this motion. The more you and your friends know parliamentary procedure you could stop this kind of "railroading". But also those presiding need to the know the rules too. Remember "Knowledge is power".

There is nothing to stop the selectman from making the motion to close debate even though he personally benefited from it. However, he really should have stayed out of the discussion, and certainly not voted, and let the assembly decide. If you know this people why don't you suggest that they become informed. Because the presiding officer is ignorant of the rules he took away the rights of the assembly to debate by tyranny and willfulness. Whenever rights of the assembly are being taking away, it always takes a two thirds vote. Such motions include, close debate, limit debate, object to consideration of a question, suspend the rules, amend the bylaws.

Hope is this helps. I would strongly encourage you to approach your library about getting our books and videos. Then the entire community would have this information. You can find information about our books and videos on our WEB Site <parli.com>. Go to the book store.

The Parliamentarian:

Dear Parliamentarian:

HELP:!

Question: Our PTO bylaws does not address this..we are to revert back to ROBERTS RULES OF ORDER is what the by laws state.

Can the PTO President propose to amend a by law..with 30 days notice and a vote of the memebers?

Can the following Treasure/Secretary/V. President cast a vote for things motioned on the floor...Can they motion for a vote of something.

Thanks

Shala
Custer PTO PResident

Dear Shala,

Tell me a little more about your organization? Do you have an executive board or an executive committee? What exactly do your rules say about amending your bylaws?

Thank you,

The Parliamentarian

 

Dear Parliamentarian:

Roberts ------the chair, then may elect to cast the deciding vote to break the tie. Women's institute books say the president shall not have a vote, except when voting by ballot. declare motion is lost in the event of a tie vote. can president or chair. vote during a ballot vote and if a tie vote, defeat or vote in favour for the tie.

Wendy

Dear Wendy,

The official book on Robert's Rules of Order says that a presiding officer may vote in a ballot vote. In a ballot vote if he has already voted, he can't then break the tie vote because he can only vote once. Since a tie vote is not a majority vote, the motion is lost. He can only make or break a tie vote if he hasn't already voted.

The Registered Parliamentarian

Copyright 2001 Robert McConnell Productions, all rights reserved.