WHAT’S THE RIGHT BOARD MEETING PROTOCOL WHEN MAKING A MOTION? - LBPM

WHAT’S THE RIGHT BOARD MEETING PROTOCOL WHEN MAKING A MOTION?

WHAT’S THE RIGHT BOARD MEETING PROTOCOL WHEN MAKING A MOTION?

Robert’s Rules of Order were written by Civil War veteran General Henry Robert and first published in 1876. He prepared rules of conduct for meetings to establish an orderly manner for everyone to be heard and make decisions. Robert’s Rules have been widely adopted by private organizations throughout the world and is the procedure of choice for homeowner association meetings.

Board & Committee Meetings. Although there is no requirement that board and committee meetings be conducted under Robert’s Rules or any other system of parliamentary procedure, many Boards find it helpful. Boards are free to use more flexible procedures, unless the association’s governing documents require otherwise.

The steps:

Motion. Motions are proposals for action by the board and can only be made by directors. Motions have a variety of objectives, and each motion has characteristics that make it unique. Directors, including the president, may make a motion by saying, “I move…” or “I make a motion…”, and then stating the motion. Motions should always be specific.

Second. Most motions require a second. A second does not mean the person agrees with the motion, but that he/she believes the motion is worthy of consideration. A director can make a second simply by saying “Second” after a motion is made.

Discussion. The motion is then discussed by members of the board, after which the motion is put to a vote. Homeowners in the audience do not have a right to participate in the discussion. However, the board can, if it chooses, invite comments from owners.

Vote. A voice vote is the most common type of voting. The chair of the meeting (usually the president) will ask those in favor of a motion to say “aye” and those opposed to say “nay” (directors can answer “yes” or “no”). Or, the chair can ask for a show of hands. He/she then announces the result of the vote. NOTE, if the meeting is conducted by teleconference, votes must be taken by “roll call.” It means each director is called by name and his/her vote is recorded individually.

How to Record Motions in the Minutes. There is no requirement the name of the person making the motion and the one seconding the motion be recorded in the minutes. While some associations do, many associations simply state that a motion was made and seconded. Both practices are acceptable. Even though boards of directors are not required to use parliamentary procedures for their meetings, Robert’s Rules of Order serve as a useful guideline for taking minutes. Since boards are not required to follow any particular rules of parliamentary procedure, many simply record that a motion passed or failed. If directors want to be on record that they voted for or against a particular motion, they must speak up at the time the vote is taken and ask that their vote be recorded by name. Following is an example of a motion recorded in the minutes:

Example: Motion by John Smith seconded by Tim Jones to approve a painting contract with ABC Paint Company to paint the exterior of the clubhouse for $10,000 using specifications prepared by Dunn-Edwards Paints. Payment to be made from the Association’s reserve account. Motion passed 4-1 with Jane McCarthy voting no.