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Dear Parliamentarian Vol. 79 Sept. 2002

Dear Parliamentarian Vol. 79  Sept. 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.

Al Graham wrote:


I would very much appreciate your opinion on the following:

A Finance Committee Report was distributed to all members of our congregation a week before a special meeting. This report stated that every member would be asked to vote for one of three proposals at the meeting. In the meeting, the president opened the meeting and immediately gave the floor to one of the council members who made a motion that one of the proposals, the proposal by council , be accepted. This was quickly seconded and brief discussion on this proposal was allowed. When I attempted to make another proposal, I was ruled "out of order". The proposal submitted by the council member was voted on and passed. The meeting then was brought to an abrupt end. WAS THIS PROPER USE OF ROBERTS RULES OF ORDER?


Al Graham


Dear Al,

        It depends.  Were the other two items related to the one item that was adopted?  For example, were the three items, three choices about one thing, for example:   1.  to pay $1,500 to remodel the secretary's office, 2.  to pay $2,000 to remodel the secretary's office   or 3. to pay $2,500 to remodel the secretary's office.  Or were they three entirely different things?  If it was the former then any other motion is out of order if one of those three were adopted.  If it was the latter then it was out of order to adjourn the meeting because the call letter said there were three things on the agenda to be decided.

    It would have been polite of the presiding officer to explain why your motion was out of order.  Next time he rules what you are doing out of order, as for a reason and if you don't feel it is valid, then make the motion "to appeal from the decision of the chair."  Do you have our book, Webster's New World Roberts Rules of Order Simplified and Applied?  Our book explains how to handle these kinds of situations.

The Parliamentarian wrote:

 In the absence of an official secretary of our development's Property Owners Association, I was asked to take notes of a recent meeting, (as well as another woman).  I carried my personal tape-recorder, which I had in full view of everyone present at the meeting...the red light was shining clearly as it was active...  At a point about three-fourths of the way through the meeting, the other note-taker brought up an objection to my tape-recording the meeting.  Another voice whom I could not identify, stated that it was illegal to record P.O.A. meetings.  The President then called for a vote on the issue...there was only one dissension, and that was the initial objector.  The president then told me to shut off my recorder, because there was an objection, and no one had to have their rights violated by being recorded against their will.

I responded, that I was recording because I didn't know the names of all of the people who were at the meetings, and that I was recording for reference.  I did IMMEDIATELY shut it off though, when she had asked me to.

 My question is...Is it, or not, legal to record the meeting which you have been asked to act as a secretary?   ...or for that matter, as just a member in attendance (as I have often done before)?    What is the LEGAL status of this matter, PLEASE?

Thank you in advance,    

Joyce Jacobs

 Dear Joyce,

    There is no law that says you can't tape a meeting.  In fact the Community Associations Institute recommends that this be done.  There are legal precendences supporting the use of audio tapes.  What the association needs to do is adopt some rules concerning taping the meetings.  One person should not be able to stop the use of this.  Please call 703-548-8600 and order the following small paper back book, "Conducting Meetings."  It has an entire section about whether to record a meeting and how to handle the audio tapes.  This is published by Community Associations Institute specifically for Homeowner and Condo Associations.  It is important that your organization be informed and not run by the dictates of one person.

 The Parliamentarian wrote:

 Hi  Parliamentarian

   This is Gwen Streit - I E-mailed you back in April regarding a problem

with our Amenities Lady not showing up to fill her position month after month.

  After much discussion with her and letters to her -- she has really only

shown up for our luncheon and maybe one time more to set up the Amenities.

This has been since our March meeting when she was supposed to be installed.

At first she would call one of the ladies, who takes the coffee pots to the

meetings, to take over for her as she would not be able to come to the

meeting and this was usually the morning of the meeting.  After this went on

a couple of times I wrote Laura a letter telling her that it was NOT Betty's

responsibility to do her (Laura's job) and besides this Betty had had hip

surgery and her husband has cancer and Betty had said she would help in an

emergency -- not month after month.  This has dragged on since Laura was

installed in March of this year.  Actually she did not show up for the

installation either!

   As I mentioned before, we were in the process of changing the Amenities

and Historian positions from elected positions to positions chosen by the

President.  This was put in our newsletter and voted on and is now our new

rule as of April 2002.  It was listed in the newsletter -- twice I think.

Once for sure.

    Yesterday we had our General Meeting and when I came to the Amenities

chairman - I looked for Laura and she was not there.  Betty had brought the

coffee pot over early in the morning and the other ladies had set things up

as Betty was taking her husband to the hospital.  Laura never called anyone

-- and never showed up -- but the refreshments were brought by members who

had previously signed up so things did move on.

     We had decided, at our previous Board Meeting, that if Laura did not

show up at the General Meeting I would write her a letter -- telling her that

I planned to replace her since she is not fulfilling her responsibilities to

the club.  During the meeting one of the members wanted to make a motion that

we replace Laura as the Amenities Chairman.  I asked for a second and then a

discussion and then the members voted and it was an unanimous vote to replace

her BUT to do so she will NOT quit the club.

 I myself think it is probably just the wrong time for her to take office --

an office that has to be looked after each and every month. And I hate to

tell her that she is "kicked off the job" -- even though she has not been

fulfilling her job.

     So now -- it is up to me to write her a letter.  I guess I wrote to you

to let you know what has progressed with this problem and to also ask you if

you have any thoughts as to how to let her know that we need to replace her

-- but still would like her to belong to the club.

     If you have any comments or suggestions - I would really appreciate them.

 Thank you in advance

Gwen Streit

 P.S. I was past President of another club -- probably three times larger than

this one -- and NEVER had a problem like this before!  So I'm kind of going

by gut instinct!  And as you can see - I hate to hurt people's feelings!

Dear Gwen,

    It sounds to me the woman will be relieved to be no longer amenities chairman.  I would recommend a telephone call and a nice chat.  You might say, "Laura, I'm sure that you've been very busy this year.  But as you know Betty's husband is in the hospital and can't help you anymore, so we've decided to ask so and so to do this important work.  I hope that at some time you will be able to serve the organization. We thank you for be willing to help out the best you could."  If you keep it friendly, I am sure you will keep a member.

    Then I would follow with a friendly letter, thanking her for what she has done.  That way you have an official record that she has been notified.

The Parliamentarian

 karen kachadurian wrote:

 Dear Parliamentary Procedure,

 I have a question.  My husband and I were summoned to a hearing at our condo association.  We arrived at 7:45 p.m., our hearing letter stated our hearing was at 7:50 p.m. and there was nobody there.  The security guard told us that they had left at 7:40 p.m.  What is the protocol and do I have to attend another hearing.  There was no notification on the door about rescheduling.  The management company refuses to return our phone calls. I am totally frustrated and confused by their lack of protocol.

 Karen Kachadurian

Dear Karen,

    I would try to smooth this over. I have no idea why you were summoned to a hearing, but knowing how these associations work, I would do something to protect myself.  So this is what I recommend that you do.  Write them a letter explaining when you arrived, and that no one was there.  Then instruct them that the Security Guard told you that they left at 7:40pm.  I would give them the benefit of the doubt about clocks being not correct.  Then suggest a time and date to come to another hearing.  Be professional, be wise and keep a copy of the letter for yourself.  Remember that boards with the advice of their management companies can levey all kinds of fines and assessments.  So be very wise about this.

 The Parliamentarian

 Howells Public Schools wrote:

 At a meeting of an organization that I am a member of, there was a recent dispute as to whether a prayer should be read before the Pledge of Allegiance.  This prompted a discussion as to whether God comes before country.  Could you let me know which is correct?  What does Robert's Rules of Order say about this?  This could really help settle this issue.


Marla Prusa

Howells, NE  68641

 Dear Marla,

    Robert's Rules says the prayer comes before the pledge.

 The Parliamentarian


Sterling, Janis wrote:

Dear Parliamentarian,

The explanation of ex-officio member of a committee is very confusing in Robert's Rules.

Our Church Constitution and Bylaws state:

"The Senior Pastor shall be an ordained minister and shall have the freedom

of the pulpit in preaching and teaching the Word of God. He shall be an

ex-officio member of all ministries. In concert with his pastoral staff, he

shall watch over the spiritual interests of the church, and organize and

develop its strengths for service."

 We do not currently have an ordained Senior Pastor, although we do have a

Pastor who has been approved for ordination.  The Church has not planned

nor carried out the ordination process.  The Church has also been allowing

our Pastor to act as if he were Senior Pastor, but without the title Senior


Above, it states that the Senior Pastor is an ex-officio member in all

ministries.  We define a ministry as a group of people working together to

provide support and direction in a particular way.  For example, we have the

Human Resources Ministry which serves to guide us in all personnel issues.

We have recently formed a committee to nominate church members to review our

constitution and our Pastor claimed the privilege of joining the committee as ex-officio.

We let him join.

Our first question is this, is there really a difference between a committee

and a ministry when talking about ex-officio status?

 Secondly, has our practice of letting the Pastor act as if he were Senior

Pastor override the fact that he is not Senior nor ordained?  Meaning, since

we are already treating him as such do we need to continue to do so? Does

that negate the fact he is not ordained, nor titled as Senior Pastor.

Finally, the voting privileges of ex-officio members is unclear.  In one

spot is seems to say ex-officio's do not vote yet in another it appears that they do.

Could you please put this is somewhat simplified terms.

Thank You

 Jann Sterling


Dear  Jann,

   Ex officio means by "virtue of his office."  By virtue of the office the Senior Pastor serves.  He is allowed to make motions, discuss motions and vote.   By the definition of the word "ministries", it sounds like the definition of a committee.  In this case, then the Senior Pastor has the right to serve on the bylaws committee.

   However, your problem is that your church is letting someone act in the capacity of Senior Pastor when he does not fit the qualificaitons. To me this is in violation of your bylaws.  If you have a vacancy in the office of Senior Pastor then you need to fill it, instead of allowing someone who is not eligible fill the position.  If your church allows a very important bylaw like this to be violated, then what else will be violated?  So it is important to the integrity of the church to get this issue solved immediately.

 The Parliamentarian


Thomas Hoffman wrote:

 I have a question on how to vote in an amendment to a sports by-law.

Four Sections are to be amended. I have publicized the article with each

section on the same page.  Does all the proposed amendments have to be

accepted at one time without change or can each be accepted and amended one

at a time and voted on that night or does the whole lot become defeated and

have to be republished for the general membership and re-voted at next

meeting?  It does state in the by-laws that they can be amended at any

general meeting of the PTO by a majority of those members present and

voting.  Written notice of the proposed amendments will be provided prior to

the meeting.

 I want to be completely right in this matter.  Please help.

Thank you,

 Melanie Hoffman


Dear Melanie,

    If you are bylaw chairman, you should give a short report about why these need to be amended, and then give the proposed bylaw amendments.  Then the presiding officer should take up one article at a time.  Members can proposed amendments to these proposed amendments.  After the amendments are made, the presiding officer takes a vote on that article and then goes to the next article.  If the articles relate to each other in any way, so that a change in the last article might affect the first article proposed, then I would take a different approach.  That would be to take up each article individually, allow amendments, then at the end go back and see if the members need to amend the earlier proposed amendments.  If not then the vote can be taken as one group, or the vote taken on each one individually.

The Parliamentarian

 PS. On our Web Site <> we have several articles under the Internet Newsletter on this subject.  I believe they were written in 1997.


Lori Tietje wrote:

 My name is Lori and I have a question about how a board should go about

rescinding a motion.  Our public library voted 4-3 to move the library into

a new middle school at their July monthly meeting.  At their regular monthly

meeting in August, people from the public asked them to rescind their motion

and no action was taken.  At the September meeting, after much discussion, a

board member who had voted with the majority made a motion to rescind the

previous motion.  The board knew that the motion had to come from a majority

voter but no one seemed to know where the second had to come from.  The

motion died on the floor because of a lack of a second.  This will probably

come up again at the October meeting.  First of all, can a motion to rescind

be made again and where does the second have to come from?  Can the motion

be rescinded if the school board has begun drawing building plans including

the library?  Can the board President vote on this issue or only in result

of a tie?  Lastly, does the vote need a simple majority or a 2/3 majority

vote? This is a very volitale issue so some advice would be greatly

appreciated. You may e-mail me at  Thank you.  Lori

Tietje, Librarian.

 Dear Lori,

    First, your board is confusing the motion "reconsider the vote" with the motion to "rescind."  To "reconsider the vote" the person making the motion must have voted on the prevailing side.  However, to "reconsider the vote", it must be made at the same meeting that the motion it is reconsidering was voted on.  The motion to rescind is usually made at another meeting.  Anyone can make this motion.  However, it has some rules.  First if no previous notice is given that someone is going to move to rescind an action of the assembly, it takes either a two-thirds vote or a majority vote of the entire membership (this case of the entire membership of the board) whichever is easier to obtain.  Then it too has some rules.  The one that concerns you is this:  "When something has been done, as a result of the vote on the main motion, that is impossible to undo." it can't be rescinded.  However, "The unexecuted part of an order, however, can be rescinded or amended."  Rober't Rules of Order Newly Revised, 10th ed. page 297.

    Now let's take each of your questions.

    Can this be rescinded?   The unexecuted part can be rescinded.

    Who can make and second this motion?  Anyone can.

    What is the vote requirment?  A majority vote if previous notice goes out in the call to the meeting or it was given orally at the previous meeting.   A two-thirds or majority vote of the entire board if no previous notice was given.

    Can the president vote?  You would have to look at your own rules on this one.  If you have no rules, and this is a board  (school board?)  under twelve members, he can vote.  Or he cant wait to see how others vote, and vote to break or make a tie.

 The Parliamentarian

 PS.  Lori, this opinion is based upon what you have given me.  It would be best to have someone help you on this who has access to all the written information.

 Carolyn Archer wrote:

 I chair a State of Florida sponsored Council. Today, a quorum was not

present and my term expires 09/30/02.  I cannot call a special session

since we are all volunteers meeting monthly.

 My thought was to ask the Council at the next meeting to appoint me

Interim Chair, with motions, discussion and vote. Then conduct the

session through the agenda including the election. At that point, I

would step down.   Does this sound OK?


 Robert Archer


Dear Robert,

    What was to happen at the meeting where there was no quorum?

 The Parliamentarian

 PS.  Do your bylaws  state something like, " serve until their

successors are elected?'" wrote:

Thanks for the response.

 One agenda item was election of the Chair. The by-laws do not address this

issue. So as of 10/01/02, there is no Chair.

 Robert Archer

Dear Robert,

    Usually the bylaws state that  the chair stays in his office until his successor is elected.  IF your bylaws don't say this, then the secretary needs to call the meeting to order, and take nominations for a chairman pro tem.  You certainly could be elected to do that and serve until a new chair is elected.

 The Parliamentarian wrote:

Article VI, Section 38:  "A motion fails if there's a tie vote unless the presiding officer, exercising the right of the chair to cast a deciding vote, votes yes.If the chair's vote would cause a tie, however, the chair could cast a negative vote to defeat a measure."

 My question:  The motion is "Mary Smith remains in her position of Executive Director and as a member of the Board."

If there are 3 yes votes and 2 no votes, may the chair vote no and the motion is defeated?  Please help me.  I need this info asap on letterhead or something official.  If there is a charge, I will be happy to make a donation.  Thank you very much.

Dear Jeremiah,

    In the example that you state the chair could vote no and the motion is defeated.  A tie vote means the motion is lost.  Now what kind of letter head do you need this on?  How soon do you need it?  And where and to whom do I send it?

 The Parliamentarian



 I need an answer concerning a motion that was made at our church.

 A motion was made that no motions can be made except during regularly

scheduled conference meetings.  My question is this.  If this motion is put

in the minutes....does it mean that no business can be brought to the church

except during the regularly scheduled monthly business meeting?  Or can a

special conference be called in order to present business that cannot be put

off until the next regular business meeting?

The reason that this motion was made is because we have been having problems

with individuals getting up in revival services and other times that are not

proper to bring motions to the church.

Thanks for your help.

Bobby James

North Carolina


Dear Bobby,

    Since the intent of the motion was to prohibit motions from  being made at your revival services, members can still call a special meeting to take up business.

 The Parliamentarian

 susan martin wrote:

 Would like info about proxy voting at an annual homeowners' assoc. meeting. there were many motions made that were not announced before the meeting, all made by the same member. This member was the only one to use proxy votes-which he used for some of the motions(those that did not carry without proxy)and he did not use for others that passed on their own. He also nominated at the meeting a member for election onto the Board. His many proxies were responsible for carrying the vote on this nomination. Can these proxies be used arbitrarily and how should they be written to cover all new nominations and new motions presented at the meeting? Can proxies be used to make a quorem? What info must be provided along with the signature in order for it to be used legally?

 Thanks for your advisement on the use of proxies. Susan Martin

 Dear Susan,  

    Do your governing documents provide for proxies?  I assume they do.  You need to look in your governing documents to see what it says about proxy votes.  Usually they are included in the quorum.  Usually it is a general proxy.  Some associations state that the proxy will be given to the secretary.  Usually a proxy is a general proxy and has someone's named assigned which is the proxy holder.  Unless the person instructs them how to vote, the proxy holder is free to vote anyway he wishes.  Unfortunately it is a way to control an organization if one person acquires a lot of the proxy votes.  Why don't you go to our WEb site, <>, scroll down on the blue side bar to "Homeowners Associations".  In  I believe the third article is an example of a proxy used at a meeting.  I really can't be of further help unless I knew what your governing documents state about proxies.  Also state laws may have some say, too.

    If you are concerned about the election procedure then the association should write election rules concerning the handling of nominations and elections, and how proxies are to be used.

    It is important to know that when a corporation uses proxies, that one person can go to others, state his case, and ask them to give their proxies to him to attain a victory.  This is a valid way of using proxies; it is also a concern for those who are unfamiliar with the process . It is also undemocratic, but then again, so is the who concept of a homeowner's association.

 The Parliamentarian

 Dear Sirs,

 My question is about the minutes.  Is there any rule that controls the wording in the minutes?

Is the recording secretary allow to transcribe personal opinions like

Mrs. Smith was not able to be with us due to the sudden illness of her mother?

or words in " xx"

Ex.  The third requisition was approved by Mrs. Smith and was already "in the pipeline"?

Is she allow to present the transcription of the minutes with 5 or 6 "attachments" where she

explains in detail every wording such as a paragraph with a title Several discussion point of note:

Mrs. Smith asked why, since the rest of the Board has to give two weeks notice etc. etc  etc

No one replied to Mrs. Smith's query.

 Another commentary:  Mrs. Smith read a letter no date was given for the letter  (it must also

be noted that the transcriber did not see this letter so the paragraphs and punctuation may vary

from the author's)

Mrs. Smith read the letter rapidly and several words were "dropped" and not understandable

 I would appreciate your advise.

Thank you very much,


 Dear Gloria,

    Yes, there are rules concerning what goes into the mintues.  The secretary never gives personal opinions.  Now about Mrs. Smith.  If the assembly has rules about members having to attend meetings and must have a valid excuse because of an absence, then stating that Mrs. Smith was unable to attend because of a family illness would be appropiate.  If there is no such requirement of the organization then it is not necessary to put into the minutes.

    First of all who is Mrs. Smith?  Is she an officer?  Is she the secretary?  Anything that is read to the board or the assembly should be given to the recording secretary for her file and recording in the minutes.  All  correspondence that is read at a meeting is included in the mintues.  If it is an important letter it can be attached to the minutes.  However, the best policy is to paraphrase what the letter states, and then include in the minutes that it was filed.  The minutes should include what action was taken on the letter.  If no action was taken then, the minutes could state, a letter was received from the Heart Association asking for a hundred dollar donation, the letter was file until the annual meeting where it will be presented to the members to vote on.

        The minutes are a record of what has happened in the organization.  Sometimes it is important to put in extra details to help the future members understand what happened.

    We are currently putting together a manual for secretaries to help them write accurate minutes.  I am sure your organization will find it helpful.


The Parliamentarian

Gloria Maturo wrote:




Jim Ruane wrote:


A meeting is properly noticed, quorum appears but the president does not.

Officer next in line calls meeting to order.  first order of business is to

elect a chair for this meeting since the president is absent.  Chair elected

and meeting continues and business conducted in orderly and proper fashion.

President now claims that it was impossible to have held a "legal" meeting

in his absence and effectively puts himself in his desired position to veto

the actions he expected to happen by majority vote at the meeting he did not


Bylaws and Articles silent except to defer to the most recent RROFO as the

overarching authority to the extent they do not conflict with Bylaws and

Articles.  Has something changed or wouldn't some aspect of Rule 10 confirm

the propriety and effectiveness of the action taken?

Thank you in advance for your assistance.


James P. Ruane

Spikes Ruane Law, LLC

PO Box 780557

Wichita, KS 67278


316-636-5996 (fax)


Dear Jim,

    At no time does parliamentary law allow a president to tie the hands of the members when he does not show up for a meeting.  Parliamentary authorities allow the assembly to elect a chairman pro tem which you did.  All business is valid because there was a quorum present, and it was accomplished by the vote required.  It is not the president that makes the business valid it is the quorum and the vote of the assembly.  Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised, 10th ed.  page 437 says:  "If neither the president nor any vice-president is present, the secretary --or in the secretary's absence some other member --should call the meeting to order and the assembly should immediately elect a chairman pro tem to preside during that session.  Such office is terminated by the entrance of the president or a vice-president, or by the election of another chairman pro tem."


The Parliamentarian.

Registered Parliamentarian


Jim Ruane wrote:

thank you, your answer makes perfect sensibly both rule and logic.  This experience demonstrates for me why the Parliamentary Rules are necessarily incorporated by reference in any organizational group document.


James P. Ruane

Dear Jim,

    Normally the parliamentary rules are not incorporated in an  organizational document.  What is helpful is to train the members in the organization of basic parliamentary rules.  Did you see that we have videos and books on that subject?  If you are working with a lot of organizations, you might find it helpful to have these videos and books as reference material and then share them with your clients.

 The Parliamentarian

 Jeffrey Robinson wrote:

 Dear Parliamentarian,

I am a member of my Baptist church's pulpit search committee.  here is our conflict. we have a young minister assisting our pastor who has become ill and is ready to retire. the pastor was going to present this young minister to the congregation for the congregation to vote whether or not he would be the next pastor upon his retirement until the young minister began preaching unnecessary sermons regarding the finance committee. after members complained about his sermons, the retiring pastor went before the congregation and advised us that he would not present this young man because the congregation wanted to form a pulpit search committee and elect a pastor the way he was elected. A special call meeting took place to assemble a pulpit search committee for a new pastor.  According to our church's bylaws, that was to be the ONLY business.  unfortunately, at the end of the meeting, the facilitator took a vote for an interim pastor and! did not allow any discussion, thus the young minister became the interim pastor. the young minister wants to maintain the interim pastorate and also be a candidate for the position. Can he, or can't he be considered a candidate while holding the title of interim pastor? it is not only my opinion but several members on the search committee agree that he CANNOT.  Please advise.



Dear Jeffrey,

    You will have to look to your bylaws for the answer to this one.  If your bylaws don't say that  the interim pastor, can't be considered as a candidate, then I suggest that the members take a vote on this.  What your facilitator did at the special meeting was wrong.  A member should have raised a point of order at the time.  However, it is not too late to correct a mistake.  This action will have to be ratified by the members at another meeting.

 I suggest is that the church body decide rules on this kind of situation when a search committee is formed to hire a new pastor--the rules should include how the committee is formed, the duties of the committee, who serves as interim pastor.  Present these rules after you have solved this problem.  Do it when you are not looking for an new pastor because the members will think more clearly about it.  Perhaps after this entire fiasco is settle you will know more clearly what you have to guard against.

    May I also suggest that whomever facilities meetings be required to know the basic rules of conducting meetings.  It's amazing how an ignorant chair can cause a lot of harm in an organization.

 The Parliamentarian

 Gloria Maturo wrote:

Dear Sirs,

 I have two questions:

 ´1.  If the President wants to vote for a "special motion", can she step down from the President's chair and ask the 1st. VP to take her place in order to allow her to vote for this special motion?

 2.  The President sets the Agenda, right?  What happen if 4 Board members send 4 different motions on the same subject?  The President may ask the secretary to refrain from including in "New Business" all these written motions?  The Agenda is mailed two weeks in advance to the Board of Directors.

 I would appreciate your prompt reply as we are preparing the Agenda for our next Board meeting.

Thank you very much for your help.



Dear Gloria,

    If the vote is by a ballot vote the chair can vote without leaving the chair.  Would you please explain a little more about the situation. So I can give you a more specific answer.  Are you talking about the president stepping down at a board meeting?

    Now about the agenda.  The president usually prepares the agenda with the secretary.   

The agenda should include the four different motions, then at the meeting the members can decide by a vote which motion they will take as the main motion.  Then members can amend it.  Or perhaps when they get to the meeting, they will come up with a comprise motion which satisfies everyone.

 The Parliamentarian wrote:

Can you please tell me if Board members can be related and also how can I become on of the board members. I believe our HOA is putting the money in there pockets and when asked to attend a meeting as a homeowner they tell me they are private. I have tried to get a copy of the budget and also access to what they are doing with the dues that are sent to them but it is very fishy. The girl that runs the office with her father and Uncle say that they are the HOA and that no other residents are allowed since it causes to much trouble. They are not doing there job and we are interested in getting this neighborhood cleaned up. Please help or direct me to whom can answer my questions. Thank you for your time.

 A Friend

Dear Friend,

    The first thing that you need to do is get a copy of the state codes concerning HOA's.  In most state codes concerning HOA's all board meetings are open to the members.  It doesn't mean that the members have a right to speak, but they do have a right to be there to hear what is going on.

    Second, in most state codes the members ratify in some way the budget of the HOA.   Third, in most state codes members have a right to see and have copy of all documents of the organization, including minutes, budgets, treasurer reports.  The law states they must make an appointment that is convenient for the officers and pay for any copies of documents.

    The board is to have an annual meeting yearly.  AT this meeting members are to elect officers and to hear reports, including the financial report.  Get informed and then you will know how to proceed.

 The Parliamentarian


Margaret wrote:

We are involved in a non profit Home Owner's group. We have a 7 person board of directors. The president resigned because of health reasons. A new president was named.

since then four more board members have resigned. Letter posted stating their resignation was effective the day after annual meeting. Now two members wish to take back their resignations is this allowed/acceptable according to Robert's Rules?

 Thank You,



Dear Margaret,

    Thank you for writing.  I will check into this.

 The Parliamentarian


Dear Parliamentarian,

 I had one thing incorrect. The resignations were set for the day of the annual meeting.

Board had already asked for & listed names of people willing to run for membership on the Board of Directors.




Dear Margaret,

    Robert's Rules states that if the resignations have been acted upon, they can't be withdrawn or rescinded.  The board has already accepted the resignations and the members notified.  Those who want to be re-instated would have to be elected at the annual meeting.

 The Parliamentarian

 Teresa Brock wrote:

Dear Parliamentarian,

 The local elementary school has a volunteer group that is about to hold board elections. Their Bylaws state that all teachers, staff, parents, and community members may vote in the election. There is also brief mention of absentee ballots being accepted before the meeting is called to order. The problem is that the meeting has been arranged before 5:00 PM, meaning a majority of those eligible will not be able to attend. Although proxies are not specifically mentioned in the bylaws would they be allowed?

 Thank You,


 Dear Teresa,

    Proxies are not allowed unless your bylaws provide for it.   It seems to me that someone is trying to control the election by having it at 5pm when most can't attend.  The members need to set a time and election day when all can attend.

 The Parliamentarian

 Donna Baker wrote:


 I am in conflict with another member of our board on the appropriate

procedure with regard to minutes.

I was always taught that minutes were read and approved as submitted or

amended and you did not need a motion to do so.

My colleague says all acceptance of minutes has to be moved and seconded.

 Who is right?   


Donna Baker


Dear Donna,

    Usually minutes are handled by general consent.  The chair asks "Are there any corrections?"  If there are corrections, the chair then asks, "Is there any objection to making the proposed corrections to the minutes?  Hearing none, the minutes are approved as corrected."

    It is also correct to make a motion, second it and then vote on the minutes.  It just takes longer!  Why not let the members decided how they want to do it?

 The Parliamentarian