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Answers So Far..

  • Someone asked:
    When a new club president takes office can this new president dismiss/fire/remove executive officers who were appointed by the previous president?
    • Kirby Glad, PRP replied:
      It depends on what your bylaws say, but the general rule is the position that has the power to appoint also has the power to remove, with or without cause. This doesn’t apply if the person is appointed to fill the term of a vacant position. Send your constitution and bylaws to kirby@parliamentarian.com and I can give you a better answer on this specific case without charge.
  • Someone asked:
    If a proceeding President appoints an executive officer (secretary) can the succeeding President remove the appointment without a reason?
    • Kirby Glad, PRP replied:
      It depends on what your bylaws say, but the general rule is the position that has the power to appoint also has the power to remove, with or without cause. This doesn't apply if the person is appointed to fill the term of a vacant position. Send your constitution and bylaws to kirby@parliamentarian.com and I can give you a better answer on this specific case without charge.
  • Someone asked:
    Are approved minutes required to establish the adoption of a motion, or is the motion adopted with the majority vote of a quorum of voters?
    • Kirby Glad, PRP replied:
      A motion is adopted at the time the vote is carried, and the motion goes in effect immediately. The minutes are simply a record of it. We "approve" the minutes only to ensure that we have a correct record. There is no need to validate the motion or to have the motion approved a second time via approval of the minutes. (Not all votes are valid with a majority - as some may require 2/3 or the majority of the membership regardless of a quorum, but other than that your statement is essentially correct about the adoption of the motion.)
  • Someone asked:
    Can a motion be made on behalf of another person without that person knowing?
    • Kirby Glad, PRP replied:
      No. Only members who are present and entitled to participate can make a motion. You cannot make a motion in the name of another person regardless of whether they know it or not. I can't imagine the purpose on making a motion "on behalf" of another member.
  • Someone asked:
    A 501c3 charitable organization is amending its bylaws to 1) remove the position of district reps from the board and make them at-large board members and 2) adding term limits of serving no more than 4 consecutive 2 year terms. My questions are 1) how do you move the district reps to the at-large positions (the President can appoint unfilled positions per the bylaws), once the amendment is approved and 2) do all board members terms start over fresh with the adoption of the amendments, meaning they all can serve the 4 consecutive terms starting with the new adoption of amendments? Thank you for your help.
    • Kirby Glad, PRP replied:
      You can just say "All board positions are elected at large" then let them continue to the end of their current term and stand for at-large election. You can decide how to make the transition - there is no set rule for this. You do this by passing a "proviso" with the bylaw, which applies only to the transition and then is dropped (not made a permanent part of the bylaws). Such as "Proviso: Upon adoption of this bylaw all current directors must stand for reelection" or " all current board members will be considered at-large". If you pass the term limits you can state it as "board members can not be elected to more than 4 consecutive terms" which allows them to stay in office until the next election. Or you can say "cannot serve more than 4 consecutive terms" which means they will have to stop serving, in which case you would clarify with the "Proviso: Currently serving board members who have served more than 3 consecutive terms are here by removed from office". If you would like specific advice on drafting your bylaws you can email kirby@parliamentarian.com
  • Someone asked:
    At a Church Meeting 500 members show to vote on a matter and in order for the matter to pass three-forth of the votes cast must be in favor. However the church membership is around 1000 active members. Is the vote legal as everyone had a chance to show and vote?
    • Kirby Glad, PRP replied:
      Your bylaws should provide a "quorum" requirement for a meeting. For a church it could commonly be a low number, like 10% of members, or 10 people, or whatever. If the bylaws don't provide a quorum number then Robert's Rules of Order says a quorum is a majority of the members. A quorum is the minimum number of members that can take action and speak for the church. If you have that number present, then yes their actions are legal because, as you say, everyone had a chance to show up (assuming and meeting notice requirement was met). Then if your bylaws call for "3/4 of the votes cast" or a "3/4 vote", then you are fine. However if your bylaws call for "3/4 of the members", and you have 1000 members, that would be 750 votes regardless of the number of members at the meeting. This is an area where exact wording of the bylaws is very important. If you would like me to review the bylaws, you can email kirby@parliamentarian.com. There is no charge for the initial consultation.
  • Someone asked:
    Our organization will be voting on seven proposed amendments to our bylaws. There will probably be no objections to any of these proposals. Can we use unanimous consent for all seven amendments?
    • Kirby Glad, PRP replied:
      Unanimous Consent is, according to Robert's Rules, for administrative issues, and should not be used for something as weighty as a bylaw change. It is better to open the matter for debate.
  • Someone asked:
    Can a presiding officer, refuse to give a member the floor?
    • Kirby Glad, PRP replied:
      Only if the member is out of order, which could include a member who is clearly just wasting the time of the body, which is known as being "dilatory".
  • Someone asked:
    What does a "consent agenda" mean?
    • Kirby Glad, PRP replied:
      A consent agenda is a collection of motions that all of the member of the body agree to. They can all be lumped together and passed with a single vote, which is a time saver. It is a list of things that we all consent to. Usually the way this happens is the chair or an administrator makes a list of motions that seem to be non-controversial (like routine administrative matters). Any of the members of the voting body (such as a board or commission) can review the items and any one person can object and cause it to be removed from the consent agenda, and then the items must be debated and voted upon individually.
  • Someone asked:
    I am a president of a teachers’ union and we typically allow members of our executive council to find a sub if they cannot attend a meeting to ensure we have a quorum. Our constitution does not prohibit doing so (and we have done it for years). Is this allowed, per Roberts Rules? Thank you
    • Kirby Glad, PRP replied:
      The use of proxy voters is prohibited by Robert's Rules unless there is a specific provision in your bylaws that allows for it. In other words, it is prohibited by default and must be specifically allowed by your constitution.