Robert's Rules in Plain English 2e
eBook - ePub

Robert's Rules in Plain English 2e

Doris P. Zimmerman

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  1. 192 pages
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eBook - ePub

Robert's Rules in Plain English 2e

Doris P. Zimmerman

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About This Book

A revised edition of the bestselling Robert's Rules in Plain English, which still stands as the most concise, most-user friendly guide to parliamentary procedure on the market today.

If you've ever had to run a meeting according to parliamentary procedures, you know just how difficult it is to keep track of all the rules, much less follow them. Figuring out what to say and how to say it seems an impossible task.

Robert's Rules in Plain English, 2nd edition, is the solution to that problem. Not only does it provide you with the essential, basic rules in simple, straightforward English, it also includes summaries, outlines, charts, and sample dialogues so you can see exactly how these rules work in practice.

With an extended glossary and new chapters on electronic meetings and internet usage, Robert's Rules in Plain English, 2nd edition, is an authoritative, modern guide to running a meeting successfully and keeping it on track.

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Motions and Their Use


Types of Motions

Motions are the tools used to introduce business in a meeting. No business can be introduced without a motion. There are two kinds of motions: main motions and secondary motions.
A main motion is defined as a proposal that certain action be taken or an opinion be expressed by the group. Main motions allow a group to do its work. They are the motions that spend money, adopt projects, and so forth. The words to use are “I move.”

“I move that a playground be constructed in the community park with the surplus in the maintenance fund.”

A secondary motion is one that can be made while the main motion is on the floor and before it has been decided.

“I move that the motion to construct a playground be referred to a special committee of five to be appointed by the president.”

Secondary motions are divided into three classes which relate to their use in parliamentary procedure. Those classes are subsidiary motions, privileged motions, and incidental motions.
Subsidiary Motions
Subsidiary motions relate directly to the motion on the floor. They may change the words, send it to a committee, delay it, and so on. They are designed to expedite business by disposing of the pending motion other than by adopting or rejecting it. Subsidiary motions are the class of motions most frequently used in meetings.
Subsidiary motions cause confusion because they have rank among themselves. Robert calls rank “the order of precedence of motions.” A motion of higher rank can be made while a motion of lower rank is on the floor. The motion of lower rank “yields” to the one of higher rank.

A member rises and says, “I move that the question of constructing a playground be postponed until the next meeting as the hour is late.”
The subsidiary motion to postpone has higher rank than the motion to commit and takes precedence. The presiding officer takes the vote on postponing the question. If the motion to postpone is adopted, the main motion and the motion to commit are postponed until the next meeting.

Privileged Motions
Privileged motions are motions of an emergency nature, such as to recess or adjourn. They do not relate to the motion on the floor but to the welfare of the group. They are of high rank and must be handled before any other business that may be pending.

The motion to construct a playground is on the floor. A member notices that it is 12:30 p.m. and the hotel has been instructed to serve lunch at that time. He rises and says, “I move that we recess for lunch.” The motion to recess is a privileged motion and takes precedence over the main motion to construct a playground.

Incidental Motions
Incidental motions are procedural. They deal with process, such as enforcing proper procedure, correcting errors, verifying votes, and so on. When introduced, they must be decided before business can resume.

A concerned member notices that feeling regarding the playground is so intense and divided that a secret vote would be in the best interests of the group. He rises and says, “I move that the vote be by ballot.” The group must stop and vote on the incidental motion to vote by ballot.

Robert’s Rules in Plain English, Second Edition, will present only those subsidiary, privileged, and incidental motions that are the most commonly used. The current edition of Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised deals in detail with all motions.
You will find that some motions are debatable, others are not; some may be amended, others may not. Some motions require a majority vote to adopt, others a two-thirds vote. These points are known as the “Standard Characteristics” of a motion.
The Steps to Obtain Action
The member rises and addresses the Chair: “Mr. President.”
The Chair recognizes the member and assigns him the floor by calling his name if possible, “Mr. G.” Personal recognition helps keep order by informing the group that Mr. G has the floor.
Mr. G introduces the motion by saying, “I move…“ For example, “I move that the association construct a playground in the community park with the surplus in the maintenance fund.”
Another member says, “I second the motion.” This member does not need to rise and does not wait to be recognized.
Why a second? Robert says that a motion must be considered if two people are in favor of its coming before the meeting.
Motions from a committee do not need a second as the group knows that at least two people want it considered.
If a motion fails to get a second, the Chair states, “Since there is no second, the motion is not before this meeting.”
It is important that the Chair restate the motion so that the proposal is clarified in the minds of the members. “It has been moved and seconded that the association construct a playground in the community park with the surplus in the maintenance fund.” This also serves to keep the members focused and discussion centered on the construction of a playground.
The Chair can always require that a long and involved motion be submitted in writing so that he can accurately restate it.
The motion is said to be pending once it has been stated by the Chair. It must be disposed of in some manner before other business can be considered.
The Chair opens debate by saying, “Is there any discussion?” The Chair must open all debatable questions to debate.
The Chair recognizes members who wish to speak by stating their names. In a large group in which members may be unknown to the Chair, the member is asked to identify himself. Members quickly establish the habit of waiting to be recognized by the Chair before speaking.
Debate should continue as long as members wish to discuss the question unless motions have been adopted to either limit or close debate.

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