[KI-LC] RONR Rules of Quorum

J. Trent Adams adams at isoc.org
Thu Jan 21 13:00:58 EST 2010


Conor -

Cahill, Conor P wrote:
> Two points in response:
>
> a) it's that the chair notices the *change in quorum* not that they 
> notice something that might possibly indicate a potential change in
> quorum.   Just because you hear a sound that sounds like somebody 
> might have left, doesn't actually mean that someone has left or that
> one of the members who were part of the quorum was the actual person
> to leave.   It could have been someone else, you might have hearing
> problems and be hearing things, etc., etc.   So I don't think this
> means that we *must* recalculate quorum at ever beep on the call.
>   

I agree that your interpretation is valid, albeit focused on the
"letter" rather than the "spirit" of this particular passage in RONR.  I
believe, however, that this is more about legitimizing work than
adhering to rules.

IMO, the Chairs metaphorically plugging their ears when they hear a
leaving beep (or announcement by someone they're leaving) doesn't fill
me with happy feelings of goodness.

> b) The Kantara bylaws actually allow the meeting to proceed without
> quorum -- we just have to get our actions approved afterwards.
>
> Of course, as we've always managed it, any member can call for a 
> quorum recalculation... so you or anyone else on the call can make
> a motion to revalidate that we have quorum at any point.
>   

This is in alignment with RONR (and what I suggested below). 
Non-quorate business can continue, but must be re-introduced in the next
quorum setting.  In our case, this could also be via email.

> I suggest we continue to operate as we always have.
>   

What I believe you're suggesting is: We run meetings as quorate, after
quorum has been established, until a failed call for quorum is made
(regardless of other observable events).

If that's the case, I suggest that the LC make that clear by passing a
motion to that effect.  As long as the rules are clear, we'll avoid
future ongoing (and possibly endless) interpretive discussions.

- Trent

> Conor
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: lc-bounces at kantarainitiative.org [mailto:lc-bounces at kantarainitiative.org] On Behalf Of J. Trent Adams
> Sent: Thursday, January 21, 2010 12:29 PM
> To: LC at kantarainitiative.org
> Subject: [KI-LC] RONR Rules of Quorum
>
>
> All -
>
> I spent some quality time reading Robert's Rules of Order (RONR) over
> the holiday (yeah, I have no life).  I'd previously been relying on the
> "... in Brief" version, but it was missing some good stuff.
>
> The reason for this note is to share with WG/DG Chairs something I
> uncovered regarding the management of quorum during a meeting.  While
> we'd been operating under the assumption that as long as there is quorum
> during a roll call, you're good to conduct business even if enough
> people leave to drop out of quorum (until another roll call is made).
>
> Unfortunately... RONR is a bit more strict than that.  Basically, as
> soon as the Chair becomes aware (by any means) of someone leaving, they
> are obligated to act accordingly.  The allowable actions without quorum
> are: to set the date for the next meeting,  recess, take measures to
> achieve quorum, and to adjourn.  No other actions are permitted.
>
> For example, if there are exactly enough people on a teleconference to
> make quorum, and the Chair hears a "leaving beep", he/she must take
> appropriate action (which means discussion on the open topic can
> continue, but no official action taken on it).  The Chair should try to
> regain quorum (by pinging members via email/chat/etc.), and adjourn if
> unsuccessful.  The folks can continue talking, but any further notes
> taken must be clear they've been made after adjourning, and be read into
> the minutes of the next quorate call for acceptance.
>
> It's possible I've missed something (after all, it's a thick tome), so
> I've copied the salient text below in case you spot something I didn't.
>
> Thanks, and happy chairing.
>
> - Trent
>
> ----------
>
> Roberts Rules of Order, Newly Revised
> 10th Edition
>
>
> Chapter XI: Quroum; Order of Business and Related Concepts
>
> SS40. Quorum
> p.337.33-p.338.28
>
>
> SUMMARY:
> -----
> If the chair notices the absence of a quorum, it is his duty to declare
> the fact, at least before taking any vote or stating the question on any
> new motion... Any member noticing the apparent absence of a quorum can
> make a point of order to that effect at any time so long as he does not
> interrupt a person who is speaking.
> -----
>
>
> Manner of Enforcing the Quorum Requirement
>
> Before the presiding officer calls a meeting to order, it is his duty to
> determine, although he need not announce, that a quorum is present. If a
> quorum is not present, the chair waits until there is one, or until,
> after a reasonable time, there appears to be no prospect that a quorum
> will assemble. If a quorum cannot be obtained, the chair calls the
> meeting to order, announces the absence of a quorum, and entertains a
> motion to adjourn or one of the other motions allowed, as described above.
>
> When the chair has called a meeting to order after finding that a quorum
> is present, the continued  presence of a quorum is presumed unless the
> chair or a member notices that a quorum is no longer present. If the
> chair notices the absence of a quorum, it is his duty to declare the
> fact, at least before taking any vote or stating the question on any new
> motion -- which he can no longer do except in connection with the
> permissible proceedings related to the absence of a quorum, as explained
> above. Any member noticing the apparent absence of a quorum can make a
> point of order to that effect at any time so long as he does not
> interrupt a person who is speaking. Debate on a question already pending
> can be allowed to continue at length after a quorum is no longer
> present, however, until a  member raises the point. Because of the
> difficulty likely to be encountered in determining exactly how long the
> meeting has been without a quorum in such cases, a point of order
> relating to the absence of a quorum is generally not permitted to affect
> prior action; but upon clear and convincing proof, such a point of order
> can be given effect retrospectively by a ruling of the presiding
> officer, subject to appeal (24).*
>
> *What happens to a question that is pending when a meeting adjourns
> (because of the loss of a quorum or for any other reason) is determined
> by the rules given on pages 228-29. If such a question, however, was
> introduced as new business and it is proven that there was already no
> quorum when it was introduced, its introduction was invalid and, to be
> considered at a later meeting, it must again be brought up as new business.
>
> -----
> NOTE: The previously referenced allowable actions without quorum are: to
> set the date for the next meeting,  recess, take measures to achieve
> quorum, and to adjourn.  No other actions are permitted.
> -----
>
> ----------
>
>   

-- 
J. Trent Adams
=jtrentadams

Outreach Specialist, Trust & Identity
Internet Society
http://www.isoc.org

e) adams at isoc.org
o) 703-439-2149




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