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Dear Parliamentarian Vol. 24 February 1998

Dear Parliamentarian Vol. 24 February 1998  

Dear Robert:
Must motions made and passed at the annual meeting of a Homeowners Association in Florida be included in the minutes of that meeting in  their entirety? Oor can the secretary, who received a complete copy of  what the homeowners voted for, water them down or change them, then place an incomplete or inaccurate version in the minutes?

 Please advise.
 Thank you,

Dear Mike,

        Do you have a copy of ROBERT'S RULES OF ORDER NEWLY REVISED, 1990 EDITION?  Your answer is on page 458.  It says this about the minutes "In an ordinary society, unless the minutes are to be published, they should contain mainly a record of what has done at the meeting, not what was said by the members.  The minutes should never reflect the secretary's opinion, favorable or otherwise, on anything said or done."

        The secretary is to record the motion as voted on in the minutes-- that means how it was phrased by the chair when the vote was taken.

        The secretary has no right to re-write the minutes to suit him/her. Now these minutes should be approved at the next meeting or by someone.  Hopefully you will be able to make corrections.  I would show your home-owner’s association board and the secretary the pages in ROBERT'S RULES that tell what goes into the minutes.

Robert Mcconnell Productions
 I just had a simple question about a procedure. Would you be able to answer the question through e-mail free of charge or would I need to  make an appointment? My question is--- as a non-voting member of a  committee can an ex-officio make a motion in a committee meeting or  are they just there to comment (voice concerns/make recommendations)? I would appreciate any information that you may have. We seem to have some disagreement on the Student Senate here at school.
 Thank you for your assistance,

Dear Megan:

        If you look in your bylaws, you should find what the rights of an ex officio member are. If the bylaws are silent on the matter, then "Robert's Rules of Order" says:  "there is no distinction between him and other board members...he has all the right and privileges of board membership, including the right to make motions and vote..."  p. 473-4.

        So, unless your bylaws state otherwise, it looks like he has the right to make motions.

The Parliamentarian


If the member is an honorary member, "Robert's Rules of Order" says:

"Rights carried with the honor include the right to attend meetings and to speak, but not to make motions or vote unless the person is also a regular member or unless the bylaws provide full membership rights.” See P. 454 in "Robert's Rules of Order" for a detailed explanation of

The Parliamentarian

Dear Parliamentarian,

Our organization will be holding its annual meeting in May. This will also be for the election of officers plus a vote on an amendment to the Bylaws. In accordance with our Bylaws, election will be by ballot, either mailed in or delivered in person by a time certain. The Bylaws call for the installation of elected officers at the annual business meeting immediately following "Unfinished Business" and before "New Business". My concern at this time is that this will be the first time our annual meeting will be held out of state and I am worried that we will not have a quorum to conduct business. Were it not for the election, I would assume that we would call the meeting to order, determine if a quorum was present, and if not, immediately adjourn to meet at some future time and place certain. What problems (and solutions) does the election and installation of officers present in the absence of a quorum?


Dear Bill,

        I had to do some thinking and research on your question.

        Since you have a set time that all the ballots for officers are to be in,  the teller committee or whoever is designated to count the ballots can fulfill that function.  In a mail ballot no quorum of the membership has to be present to count the ballots.  However a majority of the teller committee needs to be present to count the ballots.  I am treating all ballots whether mailed in or handed in as a mail ballot.  One of the things Robert's does not mention is how the vote is announced when an organization takes the vote by mail.  So I am assuming that the vote can be announced by mail.

        If you call the meeting to order and there is no quorum and the teller committee has counted the ballots and come up with winners, you can go ahead an install your officers without a quorum because an installation is a ceremony and you don't need a quorum present to have ceremonies.  Now it is your choice whether to set the time for an adjourned meeting.  If you think you can get more people to come at an adjourned meeting,  then you can wait to install the officers because the present officers will preside at the adjourned meeting.  Remember an adjourned meeting is a legal continuation of the present meeting.  If you don't think that you will get a quorum at the adjourned meeting, then you have fulfilled your bylaw requirement to have your annual meeting.   I realize that you won't get your bylaw proposals presented but it may have to wait.  Perhaps in amending the bylaws you need to change your quorum requirement.

The Parliamentarian

David Schmidt wrote:

 We have a situation where three nominees were declared victor  at the end of a general meeting.  One of the contestants asked for the tally for each of the candidates.  The president said that they would be posted in the minutes and place in the Library.   Few days later, it was found that the two of three did not have a majority.   The president now calls another election to include all but the one who received a majority.  Since there is no directions in the constitution as what to  do, is the newly called election "not according to the Robert’s Rules of  Order?
 I would appreciate any help and where it could be found on hard copy.
 Thanks.  Hal

Dear Hal,

        If it is posted that candidate X has a majority of the votes then he is the winner.  There is no need for another election.  These votes should be included in the minutes.  If not when the chair asks for the minutes to be corrected,  ask why the votes are not in the minutes and point out that they should be in the minutes.  At that time you can point out that candidate X has a majority vote and is elected to the office.  If the chair does not agree with you, then appeal his decision. In other words let the members decide by vote.

        Your organization needs help big time with your voting procedure!!!!!   The correct procedure was for the tellers committee to have a written report.  Read it to the assembly.  Then the president is to re-read the tellers report and announce a winner.  If the members then doubt the results of the teller's committee then they can challenge it at that time.

        Hope this helps.

Robert McConnell Productions

Liz Maser wrote:
 I'm trying to find the method of attaching a numbering system to items  discussed in a meeting (meeting minutes). Do you discuss minutes in  your book? Do you have any suggestions of where I might be able to find  information on how to take meeting minutes?
 Liz Maser

Dear Liz,

        If you will look on the WEB Site <>,at the August 1996 Parliamentary Internet Newsletter that will help you with taking the minutes.  Also the book ROBERT'S RULES OF  ORDER NEWLY REVISIED has a few pages about taking minutes.  Our videos that we produce have information about minutes and what to record in the minutes.

        If you have a lot of motions that are being adopted and are going to be on long standing,  then I recommend that you put them in a document called "Standing Rules".  Then put the date by each rule that it was adopted.  Because these motions can be amended, or rescinded by  another vote of the membership.

        If you are trying to find things in your minutes,  put a marginal note by each paragraph.  Perhaps you are putting too much information into your minutes.  The PARLIAMENTARY INTERNET NEWSLETTER will help you with what you are supposed to do.

Robert McConnell Productions

John Kenneth Berg wrote:
 Do you have any readily available information on alternate voting schemes such as "preference" voting (?) in cases where you would have several candidates for one office, or one person to select for an honor when there are more than two nominees??
 Please send to:
 Not my son's (on whose account I am browsing the Web).
 Thank You

Dear Mr. Berg:

        Preferential voting is a method of voting which is most useful in mail in balloting where it is impractical to have more than one ballot.  It is designed for cases where there are more than two choices for a candidate or an issue and allows the third or fourth choices to be taken into account.  It goes like this:

        A ballot is distributed with all the possible choices printed on it.  Then the voter is instructed to vote for all the choices in rank order with the most preferred being 1, the second being 2, the third being 3, etc.

        When the votes are counted, all the 1's for each candidate or issue are put in a pile for each candidate or issue and recorded in the tellers report.   That means there would be a separate pile of ballot for each candidate or issue.  If one candidate has a majority of the ballots, he is declared elected.  If not,   then the thinnest pile of ballots is eliminated and his votes are redistributed to the other candidates piles of votes based on the indicated #2 choice.  If one candidate or issue than has a majority, he is declared elected.  If not, then the thinnest pile is eliminated and the votes are redistributed according to whoever got the # 3 choice.  Then the piles are counted again.  If one has a majority, he is declared elected, and so on.

        This procedure should not be used in cases where normal voting procedures or multiple ballots are possible because it denies voters the freedom of choice of basing their later ballot votes on the results of the earlier ballots and because last place candidates are eliminated from consideration when they might be a good compromise choice.

        All this is covered in detail in "Robert's Rules of Order" p. 418-421.
Robert McConnell Productions  "Your Parliamentary Procedure Resource"

DosFingers wrote:
 I came across your web page and was most impressed.   Would you, or else know of someone, who would have good example bylaws for an employee bargaining group.  We are a small group of 12 and I desire a concise, simple set of bylaws for purposes of setting up a checking account for dues, election of officers, and rules for expenditure of funds.  Any leads will be appreciated.
 Please e-mail your reply to my two-finger typing e-mail address of :  Thank you.
 Robert Gresens
 San Ramon, Ca.

Dear Robert:

        You can look on our web site (see below for URL) under the "Parliamentary Internet Newsletter" for some general guidelines on what should go in the bylaws.  We have a booklet about it "Bylaws" $5 + $1 S & H, $6 total, which can tell you more about it.  Send postal address and we'll try to find a Parliamentarian in your area with whom you can consult.

The Parliamentarian

Bill Goodchild wrote:

Not having a ready copy and charged with revising our constitution and by-laws, I wish to delineate that our meetings will run by Robert's Rules....  However, until I can get a copy, I would like to know the guidelines on:  a) requiring a seconder for a motion; and, b) if the chair may vote only in cases of a tie.  If you can quickly get that back to me, it will be very much appreciated.  Thank you.

        Bill Goodchild
Dear Bill,
         If you are revising your bylaws I suggest you look at our WEB Site at the Parliamentary Internet Newsletter.  The second issue has a great deal of information that will help you with revising bylaws.  In fact most of the newsletters have to do with revising and adopting bylaws.

         Now your parliamentary authority tells you about making motions and  seconding them.  This should not be in your bylaws.  One of the last  articles in the bylaws should state what your parliamentary authority  is.  Many organizations adopt ROBERT'S RULES OF ORDER NEWLY REVISED as  the parliamentary authority.

         Now about your question.  In a big membership meeting, all motions  (there are a few exceptions) require a second.  In committee meetings  and board meetings under 12 members motions do not need a second.  See  pages 34- 36 of ROBERT'S RULES and pages 478 and 490.
         Now about the chair voting.  He votes to make or break a tie vote and  can vote in a ballot vote, or if he feels strongly about an issue and  steps down from the chair during that issue so that he can debate and  vote on it like any other member.  Rules of voting in a small board can  allow him to vote.
         Hopes this helps you.  Did you see  where we sell videos on this  subject that can help you with these questions?   See the book store  section of our WEB Site.
The Parliamentarian

Nels Larsen wrote:

 Hi our club was born in 1982. In 82 our by-laws were written. Since then  it has grown. One part of the club is so large that it takes a full time person to run it. In the by-laws it states that all directors and officers shall serve without pay. We the board have decided to make the  secretary a paid position. It won't be much just enough to make up for  the line that must be drawn between volunteer work and WORK. We went to  the board and made the motion to make the position a paid one and if and  when it passes we will have to then change that part of the by-laws that say it can't be paid. Well it passed at the board meeting and at the  membership. Now one of the members are saying that the by-laws have to  first then go through what we have already accomplished. Is that true?  We try to run club by Robert’s Rules. We have a meeting next Tues.  hopefully we can get an answer so we can get this settled. Thanks so  much for your help. Nels

Dear Nels:

"Robert's Rules of Order" says:  "Motions that conflict with the corporate charter, constitution, bylaws, or other rules of a society...are out of order." p. 337.  Therefore, you need to amend your bylaws (see p. 299-304) before you pay the secretary.  The motion to pay the secretary is null and void.  It can't conflict with your bylaws. After you have revised your bylaws to allow paid positions, then you can make the motion and establish the practice in your club.

The Parliamentarian

Can you tell me what the procedures are for "minutes"?  Our Executive  Board changes what was said when we are reviewing minutes for errors.  The minutes are then changed to reflect what should have been said or  what sounds better to them.  I have argued with fellow Board Members,  however, they are telling me that they can change the minutes.  I say  they can't.  What does Robert’s Rules of Order say???????
 Kimberly Henderson
 517-355-5145 work

Dear Kimberly:

        Do you have access to the world wide web?  If so, see our web site at  Look for the "Parliamentary Internet Newsletter" for Aug. 1996.  It is about minutes.  From your e-mail, it sounds like discussion is being recorded in the minutes.  This is not necessary.  Minutes are supposed to record what is done in a meeting, not what is said.  This means you only record the motions and the votes, points of order, rulings of the chair, etc.  See p. 459 in "Robert's Rules of Order."

        Members have the right to correct the minutes but corrections should be voted on if there is any disagreement about the content of the correction.  We suggest you download the advice about minutes from our web site and give a copy to the board members.

        Your organization should have a copy of the book "Robert's Rules Of Order" (1990) which is the most recent edition.  We have it available here for $20 inc. S & H. Call 1-800-532-4017 or send us an e-mail order if you want a copy.

The Parliamentarian

Dear Cheryl:

This is the answer to you telephone inquiry:

        You said that 'the nominating committee is part of the board in your organization.  An incumbent was not approved by the nominating committee.  Some people want to write in the name of the incumbent who was not approved.  Is this allowable?'

Yes it is.  Anyone can write in a name on a ballot vote and that name can be counted as long as that person is qualified to serve (a member of the club, dues paid, or whatever your bylaws say). See p. 434.

You further ask:  'If the bylaws require a 2/3 vote of the board members, what happens to the "votes" of the abstainers, if any?'

"Robert's Rules of Order" says:  If the bylaws state  2/3 vote of the board is required, then a 2/3 vote is required.  The abstainers (if there are enough of them) can make it impossible to get a 2/3 vote just by abstaining.  See p. 396-399.

The Parliamentarian

DIANES 2BS wrote:
Hello again,
In answer to your questions regarding our bylaws...Our bylaws committee is a special committee.  The revision has been adopted, and the committee has given it's final report, although we do need to reconvene and do some "housekeeping"  items, such as spelling, a change of a word here and there, adding that the latest version of Robert's Rules is our parliamentary procedure, things like  that.  Thanks for you prompt answer.  Diane

Dear Diane:

        When the bylaw committee gave its final report, it was dissolved.  Now someone needs to move to establish a bylaws committee.  Once established, you can appoint members (the same ones that were on it before, if you like).

The Parliamentarian

DIANES 2BS wrote:
Hello Janet,
Can we still send our questions to you?  I sure hope so!  As always, I have  one.
We are having our first Board meeting of the new year very shortly with new Board members.  We will need to discuss and/or explain things to these new members, along with new items on the agenda.  Which rule should we use for the WHOLE Board to be able participate in the discussion(s)?  General Consent, Suspend the Rules, or is there another.
Also, we need to add an Executive Committee to the Board of Directors.  We finished our bylaws revision a little over six months ago.  Can this be sent back to the old bylaws committee, which did the revision, or does the new president have to appoint a new bylaws committee.  Thank you once, again for coming to my rescue.

Dear Diane,

        If you are a board under twelve, the procedures can be informal.  This is what I would do if I were presiding.  I would call the meeting to order and then explain the procedures for meeting and how the meeting is conducted and new items on the agenda.  I would then ask if anyone had any questions about procedure or the agenda.  If there were questions,  I'd answer them and then proceed with the meeting.  Remember the rules are to keep order and us going forward in the meeting not to tie our hands.

        Is the bylaws committee a standing a committee or a special committee?

Has your revision been adopted?  If so has the committee given its final report?   This would be
helpful to know before I can answer.


Rich 2 wrote:
Here is the basic information of what is happening in my Kennel Club and I  do not know how to solve the problem.  Can you give me an interpretation?  ASAP if possible.
 FROM:  Ann L. Addison
            13 Archdale Road
            Columbia, SC 29209
 RE:  Problem that needs to be resolved ASAP
 DATE:  January 14, 1998
Last night at my Kennel Club meeting I was given the responsibility to  research and solve a problem and I need advice.   Below you will find a summary of how the problem came to be.  You need to know that there are two factions in the club and that since I am relatively new to the membership, I belong to neither faction completely.  I can see good and bad in both sides.
You also need to be aware that  our constitution says that all officers and board members must have attended at least five meetings during the months of  November - October prior to the nominations.
 1.  November is our meeting to make nominations for new officers in 1998.  We have a report from the nominating committee for one person per office. Then the floor is open for nominations from the floor.  A nomination was made from the floor for President..  No one questioned this nomination.
 2.  December meeting is when we have a party and elect officers for the new year.  At this meting ballots were passed out that had both names of committee nominees and nominees from the floor.  They were filled out and counted.  For President, the nominee from the floor WON the election.

 3.  January meeting went really smoothly with the new President holding the meeting in a very organized manner.  When the meeting was drawing to a close, a person in the Œother¹ faction made a statement that this President could no longer serve because he had discovered that the President had not  met the attendance requirements to be eligible to run for the office.
 1.  If we replace the president, what is the correct procedure?

         Do we go back to last year¹s president and hold a new election?
         Do we automatically give the president¹s job to the nominee that lost the  election?
         Do we start from scratch with nominations and then election.
2.  Is all the business conducted in the January meeting null and void?
 3.  Since the elected president¹s attendance was not researched by the  outgoing president during the time it should have been, is the outgoing  president responsible for the goof up?  Or is the nominating committee responsible for not researching this?  The year before, the nominating committee published a list of people eligible for nomination from the floor.   This past year they did not publish a list with this information.
 4.  Is it possible for the election to stand even though the person did not meet the attendance requirements since the goof up was not his fault but the  fault of the outgoing administration?  I have checked Robert’s Rules of Order and would like your opinion on this  matter.
Please look up section 34 - Rescind: or Amend something previously adopted.  Heading of further rules and explanation.  Paragraph is on page 302 or  Robert’s Rules of Order 9 th edition.    Actions that cannot be rescinded or amended  - Statement  ³d².  Refers to section 60 page 657  - around the  middle of the page:  Remedies against misconduct. - except .....
 If my interpretation of this is correct the election cannot be reversed  except for misconduct or dereliction of duties in office.

Dear Anne,

        You are correct, the president can not be removed from office except for misconduct and dereliction of duties.

        First of all, members had a month between the nominations and voting to check to see if this nominee met the eligibility requirements. They did not do this.

        ROBERT'S RULES OF ORDER NEWLY REVISED states on page 302 #d an election can not be rescinded if the person was present and notified.  However, since it is a bylaw violation the members could have again brought this up when the teller committee was giving its report.  But they did not do this.

        However, this is the resource I am going to quote for you to share with your membership.  It is from another parliamentary authority by George Demeter and he deals specifically with this subject:

        "When it becomes too late to nullify an illegal election.  Until the president-elect or other officer of an illegal election actually takes possession of the office -- that is, prior to the time when he is supposed to assume the duties of his office as provided in the bylaws, or before he actually enters into his duties if the bylaws do not specify time-- an illegal election may be vacated or voided.  It is too late to nullify it after adjournment or after assumption of the office, or when too late to convene a legal meeting to correct it."  page 249 DEMETER'S MANUAL OF PARLIAMENTARY LAW AND PROCEDURE.

        It was the duty of the nominating committee to see if the nominee was eligible to serve.  They should have given a list to the members like they did in previous years.

        Since the person has assume office, conducted a meeting and is filling his duties as president, he can't be removed from office.

        For future reference, even if he could be removed from office all the proceedings at that meeting are valid.  The meeting has nothing to do with who was presiding.   Anything adopted at the meeting would only be null and void if no quorum were present.

Robert McConnell Productions

Bruce and Jeanie wrote:
 I have been recently elected as Chairman of Deacons at our church.
What  short, concise manual on procedure should I use to run meetings.

Dear Bruce and Jeanie:

        The standard reference book of parliamentary procedure is "Robert's Rules of Order" (1990 ed.) 700 pages.  You should have a copy if this as a reference work.  It is available from us for  $20 inc. S & H.  However, for a short, concise guide, we recommend "Meeting Procedure Fundamentals"  by Harold Corbin ($4 inc. S & H) 10 pages.  You can order from our web site (see below for the URL address) or you can call us at 1-800-532-4017.  We also have a video tape which explains it is clear simple terms which might be good for your church members to see because it will show them how to follow "Robert’s Rules of Order" in a meeting.

The Parliamentarian

Jmerkk2 wrote:
 yesterday day my parli pro team for Business Professionals went to competition,  and on the agenda there was an item of business like this
 main motion
 create a blank
 fill a blank
 My question is what is create a blank and fill a blank?
 We scored and did really good, but we never saw those until now.
 Can you please tell me what these are?

Dear Jmerkk2:

        Create a blank and fill a blank is a way of amending when the group needs more than three choices.  For example, in the normal amending process, there can be a main motion, a primary amendment and a  secondary amendment.  However, what if the group wants to buy a computer and the choices are to pay $1000, $ 1500, $2000, $2500, $3000, $3500 etc.?  In that case, the group can create a blank which would go like this:  "I move to buy a computer for the sum of $___________."

        There are 3 ways to create the blank:  a member can offer a motion or
amendment containing a blank, a member can move that a blank be created, or the chair can suggest that a blank be created.  Once the blank is created, the members can suggest any number of dollar amounts to fill the blank.  When they have suggested enough possibilities, the members then vote on the possibilities in order (various orders are suggested in "Robert's Rules of Order").  When one of the possibilities gets a simple majority, the blank is declared filled. (For example, the group decides to fill the blank with "$2000.")  Then the group votes on the finished proposition as with any other motion. (For example, the chair would say: "It is moved and seconded to buy a computer for a sum not to exceed $2000.")

        Furthermore, the blank can contain names, dates, or anything else where there are more than 3 choices to consider.   All of this is covered in detail in "Robert's Rules of Order" p. 159-164.

The Parliamentarian

Mariah Mase wrote:
 Q.  Procedure on mail-in ballots could you inform me on proper procedure  as to voting with mail- in ballots

A.  The proper procedure for mail-in balloting is explained on P. 416-418 of "Robert's Rules of Order" 1990 ed.  These procedures are designed to insure that everyone gets to vote and that which way they voted remains a secret.  If you do not have a copy of "Robert's Rules of Order,"  you can probably get one from the library or we have it available on our web site for $20 inc S & H.  Or call 1-800-532-4017 to order by phone.

Q.  and if existing president, should be handing ballots on personal level

A.  The presiding officer normally should not be handling ballots.  It is provided in "Robert’s Rules of Order" that the Presiding Officer should appoint a "tellers committee" of 2-3 members to handle the ballots.  p. 407.

Q.  and if so if new election is held  should he remain on ballot?

A.  The presiding officer can remain on the ballot, and can vote with the others,  but if he
fails to vote before the polls are closed, he cannot vote without the permission of the
assembly. p. 408

The Parliamentarian

Dear Parliamentarian:

The following is more a legal than a parliamentary question but may be of interest nonetheless.

What are the legalities and parliamentary concerns of taping an open public meeting of a body such as homeowners' association board?

At a recent meeting of such a board of which I'm a member, we were discussing a controversial issue which happens to involve our unit.

My wife, not a Board member, was seated beside me at the Board table (spouses, other association members often attend meetings and sit at the table).  She was taping the discussion, so that we could have an accurate record of what was said.  The small cassette recorder was on the table in front of her, beside some papers, not concealed, but no announcement had been made.

Our thinking was: it's an open public meeting; whatever is said at it is on the record, or anyway should be; we're not hiding this;  we just want an accurate record of what we said, and what other people said.

After about 30 minutes of debate, someone noticed the tape recorder for the first time.  The entire group was very annoyed and angry; in fact we totally undermined our position in the debate.

My questions are, however:  Was this ILLEGAL? (in California), and was it parliamentarily incorrect?  Don't  city councils, similar bodies,  routinely tape their meetings?  Is it  illegal to sit with a cassette
 recorder in an open public meeting of an  open public body?

Free, informed opinions gratefully received.

Dear Anthony,

        As far as being "illegal", I do not know about California state law on this.   I realize that you have an open meeting law, but it may not apply to homeowner's associations.  That is something else you will have to check with the state of California.

        Now, I can answer your question concerning parliamentary law.

        One of the rules of parliamentary law is "courtesy" and protecting the rights of the entire membership versus the individual member. Parliamentary law recognizes that the majority must prevail and the rights of individual members must be consider in this light.

        What you have really done is broken the principle of "courtesy" by not letting the rest of the members know that you had a tape recorder, and the fact that you didn't ask permission of the rest of the board to record the meeting.

        Usually, if there is a tape recording of the meeting, it would be the secretary that would be taping to help write the minutes of the meeting. Since neither you or your wife are the secretary of the organization, the proper thing to do was to ask permission of the assembly to record the meeting.  Robert's Rules puts this under the category of incidental motions, "Requests and Inquires".

        Parliamentary law puts a lot of weight on "custom" and "tradition".  If it is not a tradition or custom for the meetings to be recorded, then a member must "ask permission of the assembly" to do this.  If the assembly does not want it done then the member does not have a right to do this unless you can prove there is a law supporting this being done.

        But even if there is a law that supports it, for the sake of unity and harmony and having a good relationship with your fellow neighbors, it would still be appropriate to let them know that the meeting is being recorded.  Many people feel uncomfortable knowing that their conversation is being recorded.  Or, if they knew it was being recorded, they might have a written statement prepared versus just talking off the top of their heads.

        In a democracy, things are done in an open manner and not a "secret" manner.  I realize that you thought it was being done that way, but by the members' reaction they evidently did not see the tape recorder that was placed on the table.

--      Whenever in doubt ask permission of the assembly.  It will help "win friends and
influence people" in the right way.

        I suppose the question now is "how can the situation be repaired?"

Robert McConnell Productions

 Dear Mr. McConnell,
 I am a previous customer (1997).  In reviewing your video and in looking at Robert’s revised 1990, I can not get a clear picture of what I am  trying  to understand.
 My question.
 Can I as a member of an assembly  1. "reserve a point of order" and then
 2.  Ask a "point of information" and 3. based on the information I  receive  then call for a "point of order".
 My reason is as follows:
 I believe that a motion to overrule the chair (appeal)  would be out of  order because if it passes then the motion (which was ruled out of  order) violates a Federal law. Before I make a point of order about
this  motion being "out of order"  I wish to ask the chairman and/or the  chairman's legal counsel if "in fact" a vote on the motion in the  affirmative would make the organization in violation of the law.
 If my procedure is not the correct one to use. Could you please point me to the correct set of procedures.  Please also understand that part of  my reason in wanting to use the procedure I have outlined is to allow the other  members of the assembly to understand exactly what is happening.
 Joel Friedman

Dear Joel,

        This is what I suggest.  When the motion comes up, ask a "Parliamentary Inquiry."  Ask if the proposed motion is going to conflict with federal law.  I would ask if the attorneys have checked into this.   If you want to educate the members then read to them, ROBERT’S RULES OF ORDER NEWLY REVISED page 108, #1 which states "NO main motion is in order which conflicts with national, state, or local law, or with the bylaws (or constitution) or rules of the organization or assembly.  If such a motion is adopted, even by a unanimous vote, it is null and void."

        In this case, if the motion is  adopted, a point of order is always in order because it
is of a continuing nature.  See ROBERT'S RULES NEWLY REVISED page 251.

        It is my opinion that if you have done your research and can prove that the motion
violates federal law that is what is going to prove your case.  They can't argue with the
facts and if they do, then there is a problem in the organization and they will be opening
themselves for legal problems.

        Hope this helps.

Robert McConnell Productions

PS.  Robert's does say that you can reserve a "point of order" but since this case has to do
with federal law, the members can't make a motion that violates federal law.  So I think
that is what you really need to stress to the membership. wrote:
 Please send me this information to this e-mail  Also, if you have any information on meetings with board members that are out  of state and they are not able to attend the meetings.  How do you handle proxy voting?

Dear Doug,

        An organization can't have proxy voting unless the bylaws provide for it, or your organization is incorporated in a state that allows for proxy voting.

        If your bylaws do provide for this, then they should also establish a procedure for
who can bring the proxy votes, what the proxies are able to do (what votes -- just main
motions, or those in the call to the meeting), and how they are going to be counted.  This
is really an involved process.

        People today are using e-mail and chatrooms to conduct their business.  Perhaps this might be a solution where in a chat room all the members could log on and then participate in the meeting and vote.  This too needs a procedure.

        Other organizations are using e-mail and posting everyone's response and how they
are voting.  E-mail meetings can be rather slow.

        The National Association of Parliamentarians sells a book called "GUIDE   TO
VOTING">  It has some information about proxy voting and a sample proxy that would
help you.  There phone # is 1-888-627-2929.

Robert McConnell Productions
 Dear Sir/Madam.
 I have been asked to update our current by-laws booklets and not having  any experience in this process I would kindly ask for your guidance.  Here is my situation:
 Our current by-laws booklets are issued in a three ring binder with the  intent of inexpensively being able to replace a page or pages should  approved amendments require it.
 We are now in need of replacing  3 pages effected  by  amendments. Being  that this is our first time having to do this, we want to make sure that  the procedure will be  done correctly and in a way that it will uphold  the validity of the effected pages.
 Can this be possibly be done by having  a  footnote on the revised page  stating  the date that the amendment was approved ?
 Should a page contain two amendments approved at two different  meeting  dates ,which date should be used ? Will it be correct to use the latest  amendment date?
 Please feel free to suggest any other methods that will achieve my  objective.
 Also, what is the proper procedure to use when issuing the revised pages  to the members  at our next membership meeting ?
 Should this be done as a motion ?
 If so, what should the proper wording be ?
 Thank you so much for your help.
 Al. Rodegher

Dear Al,

        If you are replacing 3 pages of amendments, and if this is considered extensive, you can have a date at the beginning of the document that says "amended 1998".  If a I am working with only a few amendment changes then, at the bottom of the page,  I will put "amended", 9/98 or it could just say "amended 1998" at the bottom of a page where the months are different.

        After all the changes have been made and printed, it is the duty of the secretary to see that all members get a copy.  As secretary of an organization that has just done this,  I have handed out the changes to the members present at a meeting, and then mailed copies to those who did not attend or let them know they could pick them up in my office.

        If you want this procedure done differently then, someone could make a motion explaining the procedure.  This is considered an incidental main motion.  It needs a second, it is debatable and amendable, and can only be made when no other business is pending.
Robert McConnell Productions

Dick Sims wrote:
 Please give examples of reasons a person might appeal the chair's decision.  Could you appeal after a point of order on the kind of vote (majority or 2/3)?
 What is the name of the other authority for parl. proc. (not Robert's  Rules of Order)
Pam Sims, Advisor, Bus. Prof. of Am., Heartland Career Center
Please reply to:

Dear Pam,

        Thanks for writing.  We really like helping student groups.

        An appeal is the way for members to say to the present, "you're taking our rights away! and we aren't going to stand for it."
        Here's an example:

        Let's say a member has made a motion to amend a main motion, and the chair rules
that the amendment is not germane and therefore, not in order.  But the member believes it
is in order and "appeals from the decision of the chair".  What an appeal does, is allows
the membership or the assembly to decide whether it is germane or not instead of letting
"One" person, the presiding officer decide.

        Other examples might be allowing someone to close debate when no debate has
been allowed.

        You don't call point of order to challenge the result of the vote.  You call out "division" which means the chair must retake the vote.  I believe your school has our videos for competition teams.  See the first video  PARLIAMENTARY PROCEDURE MADE SIMPLE: THE BASICS under voting on a motion.

        Other parliamentary authorities are by George Demeter, Alice Sturgis, and Riddick.  The most common other authority is called THE STANDARD CODE OF PARLIAMENTARY PROCEDURE, by Alice Sturgis.  Is that the one you are referring to?

        If we can answer more questions, please write.

        Have you been reading the articles that we have been writing for the Commique and Local Advisor's magazines?  These articles are also posted on our WEB SITE <>  under the competition section.

Robert McConnell Productions

Gary Davis wrote:
 The group's attorney suggests that it adopt a policy that bylaws changes will require a 2/3 vote. A member says that's foolish because at any  future meeting the group could vote by majority to overturn the 2/3  rule. Is the member right?

Dear Gary,

        If policy statements are adopted and rescinded by a majority vote then yes that would be true.  Your bylaws should include an article stating how they are to be amended.  Do you have a copy of ROBERT'S RULES OF ORDER NEWLY REVISED 1990 Ed?  It has an entire chapter related to bylaws.  If you will look on our WEB SITE <> at the PARLIAMENTARY INTERNET NEWSLETTER, volume 2, ( I believe that is the one) has a complete article about writing and revising bylaws and what is included in the bylaws.  Your attorney is correct in that to amend
bylaws it should be by a two thirds vote.

Robert Haley III wrote:
 February 17, 1998
 Dear Janet,
 My homeowners' association has the following situation in its Board of Directors' meeting.  Would you
 be willing to answer a few questions on proper  parliamentary procedure?
 The situation in all its parts is rather complex.  The parliamentary questions, if I can formulate them are probably simple.
 Some general background -
 A couple who owns one of the units has had some difficulty with actions, or with inaction, of the property mgt. company, with the Board, and with the Association.  So  they brought complaint to the civil court.  To make a long story short, they won a judgment in the case.  There are several points
 in the judgment.  One of those points involves certain  expenses the couple incurred in refurbishing their unit after it was damaged by water that spilled out of  a water heater (not theirs) adjacent to their unit.

 Essentially, the Board is left to determine with the couple the amount of the costs they incurred and how  much of those costs the homeowners' association should bear.  There has been a dispute over this amount, whether this amount should equal a replacement cost, which is what the  Board has argued, or their actual cost.  They put in more expensive flooring (tile) than what was damaged.  This is  known as the "tile issue."
 In addition, though it is not a matter addressed in the court  order, the couple keeps a dog on the property that weighs more than the weight allowed in our by-laws.  This is known as the  "dog issue."
 The Board has wrestled to resolve these and related matters  over the past two or three year , attorneys have been brought in  who have advised the Board on where we stand with respect to
 complying with the court order, etc.
 As of January 5, I am the new president who presides over our Board meetings.  I am not experienced with Rules of Order, but  I have been reading about this; so I do know some things.
 Some more specific, meeting background -
 At the 1/5/98 meeting, I became president at start of meeting.  Not  knowing parliamentary proc., I rather relied on the previous pres. to direct me along.
 It was moved, seconded and voted 5 to 1 that we meet on Feb. 2 at  5:30 p.m. to draft one, or possibly two, letter(s).  (The minutes of the Jan. 5 mtg., as subsequently drafted by our property mgt.
 representative, show that we agreed to meet in the special  meeting to write one letter, to deal with the dog issue.  At least two Board members, however, remember that we agreed  to write two letters, one for the dog issue and one for the tile issue.) The two letters would be sent to all the home-
 owners, presenting them with the latest information on the  tile issue and the dog issue and asking them to vote or express their opinion on how they wanted the Board to proceed on these two issues.  This meeting to be on Feb. 2 was  called a special meeting. Our understanding from our prop. mgt. co.
 rep. was that at a special meeting, only the issues that were  scheduled could be addressed.  After reading a bit about parliamentary proc., I thought that this special meeting was  essentially a special order.
On Feb. 2 at the meeting time, there was not a quorum of persons  there.  (Our Board has six people.)  I was present and had been  given the proxy of three persons, who at the last minute let me know
 that they could not attend.  But at the meeting, with only two Board  members present, we decided that to do business, we should have the  three (or four?) persons for a quorum actually present.
 Our Board has traditionally met almost monthly; however, this  is not a requirement of our by-laws.  In fact, I think that the  normal business of the association can be done with meetings  only 1/quarter or 1/six months.
 At the Feb. 2 special meeting, the two present agreed to a date  for the next regular meeting of the Board.  That will be March 5.

 Dear Robert.
         Thank you for all the good background  information.  It was very helpful.

         1. The Special meeting:  The minutes should state what was going to be  taken up at the special meeting.

         At a special meeting only the things in the  call to the meeting can be considered at the meeting.  When someone made the motion to have a special meeting, what was to take place at the
 meeting should be  included in the motion.  This then is recorded by  the secretary and put
into the minutes.

         When this is not done then everyone has a  different view of things.

       2.  A special order is different than a "special meeting". A special  order is a motion that is made and postpone to the  next meeting to be  taken up at a specified time.  There is also a way to
 make a motion "the" special order of a meeting.  This takes a two thirds vote.  "The  special" order takes precedence over any other  business.

         3.  Since a "special meeting" means that only certain business is going to be discussed, then you don't need a "special order" for the meeting.
         4.  This is where you stand now.  Since the letters could not be addressed at the special meeting, they can come up at this meeting.  If you want to discuss this issue and resolve it at this meeting, someone can make a motion after the reading and approval of the minutes, to make this issue "the special" order of the meeting.  It will take a two thirds vote to adopt.  If it is adopted then, this
 would be the primary focus of the meeting.  When the letters were written then the board could go onto other business.  So nothing has been lost, just delayed.

        5.  Now about the board member who is one of the couple that brought the suit.  This person can not take part in the discussion or voting on writing the letters because it involves him/her.

       Do you have the correct edition of ROBERT'S RULES? (ROBERT'S RULES OF  ORDER NEWLY REVISED, 1990 EDITION)  See page 402, 'ABSTAINING FROM VOTING ON A QUESTION OF DIRECT PERSONAL INTEREST.  No member should vote  on a question in which he has direct personal or pecuniary interest not  common to other members of the organization."
         If you would like to talk with us, you can call  at two numbers:  765-282-9294; if it is busy then call  765-282-2171.  You can ask for Janet.
         If you send us your postal address, we will send you a brochure about our videos on Robert's Rules of order.
Questions -
 1. What is the status of the special order to draft these   two letters?  If I am properly calling it a special order?

  That is, since there was not a quorum present at the appointed time, has the decision to meet and draft the letters become fruitless, of no effect, at this point. In order to proceed with these two letters now, must we vote again to do so?  So what is the status of a special order if it is not dealt with at the appointed time?
 2. If the status of the special order is that we must deal with it at the next regular meeting (frankly
  I would prefer that we have to re-address this matter of writing the two letters; for one reason
  that it was not properly discussed in my opinion), then must we do the drafting the first thing in
  the next meeting? Or could it be set for later in the agenda?
 3. If the special order to write these one or two letters is still outstanding, then what options, if any, do I have to ask for a reconsideration of the decision to write them?

 4. I assume that at he Mar. 5 regular mtg., we will correct, if necessary, the prev. meeting minutes, on
 whether to write one or two letters.  Depending on answer to question 1. above,  it may turn out to be
 somewhat irrelevant what we decided to do at the special meeting, since there was not a quorum at the special meeting to act.
 These questions are for me rather important for a couple of reasons.  One, the Board I think is not in agreement on these matters.  So I want to deal with all the issues carefully, thoroughly and in order.  Two, one of the Board members is one of the couple who brought complaint against the Board and the Association.
 This has turned out to be a longer message than I intended. If I knew more about the parliamentary procedures, perhaps I could have distilled this down.
 I would appreciate answers and/or any comments that you have the time to give.

 E-mail answer should to
 Phone 615-532-0669.
 R Haley

Elliott & Louise Manke wrote:
Please send the brochure "Parliamentary Procedure Made Simple, The Basics"  to Louise Manke, 1052 Sea Gate Dr., Newport, NC 28570.
 Would appreciate e-mail response to this question, " Are Board of Director's decisions made in Working Meeting (their wording) binding, e.g.  to "de-s