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Dear Parliamentarian Vol. 78 August 2002

Dear Parliamentarian Vol. 78  August 2002
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.

Dear Parliamentarian,

 I've just been reading through your book some more, the section on managing meetings, and I was noticing how brilliant it is, well written too, and very professional.  I don't know if I told you this before, but -- good job!

 Well, having said that, though, I still didn't find the answer to another question.  Hopefully at least my questions are giving you ideas to add to your third edition.

 Question:  Is there anything wrong with the Board formulating the motions to be made at the special membership meeting?  I didn't like it when the Board did that and I wasn't on the Board.  I thought it was controlling and manipulative.  On the other hand, at least the motions will be well thought out, stated in a rational order, precise, and we will all know what we're discussing and voting on.

Egads!  That sounds like I think the members are too dense to come up with an intelligent motion, doesn't it?  It sounds rather hierarchical doesn't it?  (But they have not been thinking this through for three weeks and we have!)

OK, then, assuming that is not a good idea, should we ask the ACOP to come up with the motions?  She gave me a long talk this morning about how we should not tell the members too many details, or ask them to decide on too much -- that might take time.  Just the basics of whether to have it and whether to change the time of our Wed meeting, and the Board can make the rest of the decisions.  Well, secretiveness is her modus operandi, poor thing, she had a terrible CSB.  She also has a very hierarchical thought, being of the blind obedience to the CSBOD ilk.

I guess this is mainly why I want the Board to come up with the motions.  But that is not very democratic.  Is it?

Thank you.  I hope this is my last question on this awful subject.  And I appreciate your patience in helping me.



 Dear Betsy,

        For the board to make the motion, the board must agree what should be in the motion, and then have a member present it that says "by direction of the board...."  Now the problem with this is if members of the board don't agree with the motion.  Why not have the people on the board who want this write down the motion, and then have the board review it for accuracies.  Then the two members or so that want the motion, make the motion at the meeting.  So at the meeting Board member Jones rises and presents the motion, and then board member Smith seconds it.  This way two board members are making the motion, but it is not coming from the entire board.  That seems to be the most democratic way to handle this situation and still make sure the motion includes enough details so that the members can make a rational, informed decision.

        Betsy,  it is not controlling for either the board or a committee to present a motion to the assembly.  This is reasonable and a normal thing to do.  Think differently about democracy.  A committee or board works together, receives and gathers information about different things.  They've discussed it, thought about it, and then voted to present it to the membership.  As a group they can formulate an intelligent motion, work out the snags and weakness, and present it to the members.  At a meeting like this the members are not privy to all the information before they make the motion, unless the assembly goes into committee of the whole or informal consideration to receive the information before making a motion.   Now just because a board or committee makes a motion doesn't mean that the assembly has to adopt it.  If a motion comes from a committee or board, the committee or board should give a report giving all the information that leads to the motion.  After all the information is presented, then the committee chairman or board member finalizes his report with a direction of the committee, I move....   That means that a majority of the committee or board has voted to present the motion.  If a minority of the committee or board disagrees with the motion, the minority can speak against the motion in debate or ask to give a minority report.

The Parliamentarian wrote:

Is it proper for a man and wife to serve on the Board of directors?

The wife is treasurer. The husband is field director in addition to being on

the board of directors. Would like to know if this is proper?

This  is a antique tractor type of club with about 250 members

thanks charlie

Dear Charlie ,

    It is proper unless you have a bylaw provision that prevents it.  If you would like to prohibit this, then you must amend your bylaws to say that family members can't serve on the board of directors at the same time.

The Parliamentarian

Ron Swonger wrote:

The Board of Directors of our Homeowners Association (homes, not condos) in Florida has, under pressure from homeowners, very reluctantly agreed to abide by the Florida Statues, namely to start announcing in advance when the Association's board of directors meetings will occur and let members attend. There is great hostility between the board and association members. My question is: Does the board have to let members participate in these board meetings or can they refuse to let any member speak who is not a director? What laws or regulations govern the conduct of such meetings? What should members do if the board refuses to let members speak? My question assumes, of course, that members, if allowed to speak, would behave civilly and properly but would want to make a statement to the board or submit a document to the board.

I'll deeply appreciate any information on this matter. Thank you!

 Ron Swonger

 Dear Ron,

    The board does not have to allow the members to speak, but they do have to conduct the meetings open to the members of the HOA.  If there is this much hostility between the board and the members, it would be wise to try to mediate some kind of solution.  One good way is for the members to come to the meeting and quietly listen to the board conduct its business.  If the board members do not ask for input or give time for the members to bring up their concerns, then respect that.  The more the members respect the board members and try  to co-operate then the board will feel less hostility and be  more likely to co-operate.

    The reason that you can attend is to see that all the laws, rules, and covenants of the association are being upheld by the board.  If  they don't do that, then you can write a letter to them explaining the mistakes and that they must correct it.  If they don't then they are ways to remedy that by calling for a special meeting of the association.  In our state the RCW's concerning HOA's do give the members a way to call for a special meeting.

 The Parliamentarian

 a o wrote:

 Can the Chariperson make a motion?  If not, where

documented in RRs?  Thank you.

Are you asking about the chairman of a board of directors or the assembly?  If this concerns a board tell me how big the board is.

 The Parliamentarian