What Happened?

At last night’s business meeting chaired by a first-time chair we had a complicated session.

IMHO Heather Cunningham did an amazing job of chairing. She used her parliamentarian and secretary to great advantage and managed to bring the session to a conclusion.

However, there were some challenges and it might be helpful to revisit the new business session.

But remember this is just my opinion and may even be incorrect. Where we go for accuracy is the big book of Robert’s Rules of Order.

So here’s how I see it. (And if you see it differently you can comment below or send me your post and I’ll publish it.)

In an October meeting, a member moved that (and I’m paraphrasing here) that all members be compelled to wear a costume at our Hallowe’en party meeting.

The motion was seconded, discussed and passed.

However, after some deliberation, another member later noticed the wording which compelled members to do something.

The club has no constitutional right to compel any member to do anything and none of us can force another member to do anything.

Even if a member was being disruptive and the sergeant-at-arms was directed to remove the member by the chair, the disruptive member can refuse to leave and it would be unwise, if not illegal, for the sergeant-at-arms to physically eject the member. What should happen if the member declines to leave is the police should be called as they are empowered to act.

I know that sounds farfetched but it serves to throw some light on the issue. We can’t compel any member to do anything.

In this case we need to fix the unconstitutionality nature of the motion even though Hallowe’en has passed and normally any attempt to modify the motion would be declared out of order. Here we’re not fixing the motion, we’re correcting the unconstitutionality of our previous actions. The motion was just the end result. It’s our actions that were offensive.

So a new motion was put forward at a recent meeting. An objection to consideration wasn’t voted upon as orders as the day were called.

Last night our new chair dealt with the objection and the vote supported the objection so the motion to correct the October motion was lost.

But the October motion remains clearly out of order as it is unconstitutional and therefore should be rescinded or amended and this action be reflected in our minutes.

To rescind means to strike out the entire motion while to amend means to change a word or two while leaving the intent of the motion intact.

Either rescinding or amending would apply here and the mover can get up and explain why they are making this motion and we can discuss and vote on what to do.

So a new motion should read: “I move to rescind the motion of (date) which states (have secretary read the October motion).

Or I move to amend the motion of (date) which states (have secretary read the October motion) to read …and here substitute a phrase like “we suggest all members wear a costume…”

If it were up to me, I’d rescind and be done with it.

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