Dear Parliamentarian Vol. 98 May 2004
Dear Parliamentarian Vol. 98 May 2004
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.
Kumar Nochur wrote:
Dear Mr. McConnell,
I am the Secretary of a community group in the Boston area. Your Robert's Rules of Order (2nd edition) is my trusty guide to run our meetings and other operations. Thank you for the friendly and clear format in which you have organized and presented the rules.
I request your help with a current issue regarding voting by mail of our members: Ballots have been mailed to about 350 members [the total membership] re the setting up of a special committee. Our Bylaws are vague with regard to the % of ballots that must be received back and what % of returned ballots must be Yes votes to set up the committee. Are there any guidelines or rules that can help us in this situation? Do we need a specific minimum number of ballots to be returned? Is a simple majority of the returned ballots [whatever the number?!] enough to decide the issue?
Your response to the above asap would be muchly appreciated -- we are counting the ballots on Sunday!
Thanks in advance for your help. If you would prefer to call me re this, my phone is 617-244-6394.
Dear Mr. Nochur,
When mailing out a ballot, there is no guarantee that the members will return it. It is good that your bylaws do not require a number to be returned nor set a percentage for the votes cast. The vote required to adopt on a mail ballot is a majority of those ballots that are returned. See the section in the book about handling a ballot vote. That will help the tellers committee in counting the ballots.
Canton, Denise wrote:
Thank You for the expert advice in the past and I am again asking a
church-related procedural question.
The maximum number of Trustees allowed by our bylaws is 7. They serve staggered terms of 3 years, 2 years and 1 year as determined by the nominating committee. In the 2003 church year, our church, in error, elected 5 new members for the Board of Trustees when we should have elected3. All 5 received the required majority vote, but the rank ordering by number of votes is clear. The lowest ranking had significantly less votes than the three who were at the top. The The two lower ranking selectees (Trustees A and B) were appointed to serve a 2-year term. The other three were appointed to serve 3 and 2 year terms. Not realizing the error, the Conference this year voted again, keeping the total at 9 instead of the 7 on the Trustees Board. The Trustees have been permitted to then vote for three
of their members to serve on the Board of Administration (LBA) a higher
We just discovered that we have 2 members too many on the Trustees. Prior to the installation of officers, we also discovered that there were some irregularities in the Trustees voting for the LBA members and the results of that election by the Trustees for the LBA members will have to be voided and redone. My question is, now that we have discovered that Trustees A and B apparently were not duely elected by the Conference and apparently should not be on the trustee Board, what are our options to cure this situation and to avoid compounding this error exponentially by allowing them to vote for and/or be considered to serve on the higher level board? Thank you for any advice you can provide.
You have two illegal members of the board. Two things can be done. Either they must step down from office since the bylaws do not provide for these positions or the members must amend the bylaws to add two members to the board of trustees. How important it is for the president, secretary and other members to read the bylaws before elections. If they had done this, the mistake would not have been made.
Dear Mr. McConnell, I have purchased a number of items from you over the past few years when I was president of a local museum. They were of great help. Your book Roberts Rules Simplified has been particularly helpful. I wish to relate a situation that I can't find a clear cut answer to. At a special meeting a motion to fire the director was voted down by a close vote. At an upcoming regular meeting the now president is rumored to be considering a motion to rescind the prior vote or perhaps, he will ask to reconsider. I want to challenge this possible vote.The research that I did through the internet and the Roberts Rules website gets conflicting comments. One response is that you can't rescind a defeated motion, one refers me to RR p.294 lines 20-30.which I cannot see as germaine to my position. Your book is also not as specific as I would like since I do not want to go into a meeting without ammunition to end the president's attacks and my aim is to kill any motion that would require a revote.. Can you help? Harvey Spivack. My email is email@example.com
Since the motion was defeated it can't be rescinded because it was never adopted. It can't be reconsidered since this can only be done at the meeting the vote was taken. It has to be presented as a new main motion. I don't understand how the president can make a motion unless this is a board of directors with members under 12. What you can do to stop this is as soon as the motion is made, and before discussion, make the motion "Object to consideration of the question." If that is defeated then make the motion to Postpone Indefinitely. When the president makes verbal attacks raise a point of order stating that these personal attacks are considered out of order under parliamentary law. Do you have our first edition or second edition of the book? If you have the second edition, look carefully at the chapter on discipline. Perhaps your president needs to be censured for behaving so badly.