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Parliamentary Law: Common mistakes

Transcript of 9 Common mistakes

  • 1. Management & Leadershipin Ministry Business Meeting Mistakes & Misunderstandings
  • 2. Common Mistakes &Misunderstandings a) Committee Reports: - Do NOT need a motion or a seconder to present a report to the business meeting for their consideration (The report of the Treasurer or Sun. School Dept. is before us for your consideration and questions ). - Do NOT need a motion to receive, adopt or accept most reports. Instead say Lets express our thanks to the committee The mtg. HAS received the report! - Do need a special motion to accept recommendations contained within a report. Wording: I would like to make a motion to adopt the recommendations Note: it is common for the reports of ministry leaders to express opinions or hopes for the future, without those opinions necessarily being a formal recommendation. Hopes and opinions do not necessarily become motions.
  • 3. b) Discussing, debating motions: - no one may speak either for or against a motion, until it has been seconded. People often want to talk about the motion, even before it is officially before the congregation for debate. Once a motion has a seconder, it may then be discussed. A motion without a seconder is automatically defeated and thus not open to discussion. - no one may speak twice (for or against, NOR ask clarifying questions) concerning a motion, until each member has had an opportunity to speak once to the issue under discussion.
  • 4. Discussing , debating motions (continued): - Does silence indicate consent? The answer is YES. If the chair makes a statement/decision & no one objects, that decision has the support of the assembly. - The person or committee who originally makes a motion always has the right to speak first & last to the issue, plus one other time (they get to speak 3 times to the issue). This is commonly overlooked & when not done is a violation of the rights of the mover as provided for in Roberts Rules.
  • 5. Discussing , debating motions (cont): - Discussions of the motion, must be done in a civic & impersonal manner (no personal attacks are allowable against another persons character/motives). The comment is out of order.- All comments made by those in attendance at a business meeting are to be directed only to the chairperson & NOT to anyone else in attendance. The formal rules of debate indicate no ones name is to be used (i.e. it is improper to say George, you are an idiot)- It is helpful to everyone present if the debater clearly states, I am in favour/against the motion and then proceeds to say why.
  • 6. Common Mistakes &MisunderstandingsDebating (cont.): - No one may debate on a matter that solely affects themselves (they and their spouse/children should temporarily excuse themselves from the meeting). An individual may stay and debate items that include them self & others in the issue being considered. A person can vote for them self.
  • 7. Discussing , debating motions: - The chairperson CAN make a motion to help move business along, but should do so rarely. The role of the chair is to ensure orderliness, clarity and timeliness but not to influence decision-making. Would it be helpful to the assembly if I made a motion to refer this matter to the Finance committee?... Or The chair would entertain a motion to amend the motion to include the words - A person may only speak to an issue a third time, IF the assembly votes 2/3 in favour of extending this privilege (suspend the rules).
  • 8. Amendments - The business meeting must vote either for or against the amendment, before returning to discuss and vote on the original motion. - Although technically a violation of Roberts Rules, it is common practice that if a minor amendment is agreeable to the original mover of the original motion, then by general consent, the amendment does not need the formal approval of the business meeting to be included in the original motion being considered. However if any one person objects to this practice, then it is handled as a normal amendment.
  • 9. c) Lack of Clarity: - The wise chairperson will periodically remind the business meeting what motion is on the floor & any known implications of the motion Before the business meeting votes on a motion The Chair ought to provide one last chance for those who have not spoken to the issue, to speak. The Chair provides the mover of the motion the opportunity to have the last word. The motion being considered ought to be read slowly & carefully one last time in its entirety (highlighting any modifications/ amendments that have been made to the original motion).
  • 10. c) Lack of Clarity (contd):- One of the most frustrating and time consuming issues to contend with is a lack of clarity concerning a motion that is verbally and spontaneously made (off of the cuff). It may be wise to take a short recess and ask the mover of the motion to take a few moments to write out his/her motion and give it to the secretary and chairperson.- During debate, do not assume that just because someone is stating their objections or thoughts, they are also suggesting an amendment. Ask the person if they are proposing an amendment or just stating their thoughts.
  • 11. d) Insufficient Committee work:- Many annual business mtgs. & monthly Board mtgs. get bogged down by doing the work that ought to be provided by committees. Make sure committees have done sufficient investigations into the details and particulars of the item up for discussion and are MAKING SPECIFIC RECOMMENDATION(S) so the annual business mtg. and/or monthly church Board mtgs. function primarily as supervision, and high level decision making meetings. Boards and Business meetings exist to make decisions. Committees exist to study, recommend actions & direction, and implement decisions ! Differentiate between : Standing Committees (permanent, structural/strategic) Special Committees (short term, temporary/tactical)
  • 12. e) Exhaustive Minute taking:- Typically the secretary only records decisions and a general summary concerning discussions & reports (i.e. The church board received the Trustee report, and then discussed the pros and cons of whether or not to purchase a van.). The secretary should NOT record who said what other than who makes a motion, the actual wording of the motion and the numerical results of a vote. There is no need to record who seconded the motion. The minutes of any church business mtg. are public information and available to any member who
  • 13. f) Voting - A person may fill in (write in) any name they wish on a ballot, even those not formally nominated. Those ballots ARE counted in the totals, and their votes included in the report of the tellers.
  • 14. f) Voting (cont.) - A tie vote is a negative vote- The chairperson is entitled to vote, but usually only does so when the vote is taken by ballot- The chairperson may break a tie with the permission of the business mtg., if he/she has not already voted.- The chairperson may create a tie, by adding his/her vote against a one vote victory thus creating a tie (negative) vote. The chairperson should RARELY use his/her right to make the final decision on such controversial issues. The better course of action is usually to send the issue to a committee for further study, planning, review, recommendations.
  • 15. f) Voting (cont.) - Do not begin or continue the practice of allowing non-members to vote at church busin