Every now and then a member seems to want to interject their thoughts questions or comments, sometimes heatedly. We once had a 6 foot 8 marine announce he was coming to a meeting. He arrived in full fatigues thankfully without weapons and proceeded to thump the board table and demand action. Sometimes a director wants to hog the floor and seems perhaps to want every other word and the last word on any topic.
What’s a board to do?
Here are a couple of suggestions. Many associations clearly state that they are governed by Roberts’s rules of order and, many others make reference to some rules of order in the bylaws. In this case the president can ask for a motion before any item on the agenda is addressed, rather than a discussion. Some larger organizations have a mini meeting a week before the board meeting to determine the agenda and formulate the motions so that s speedier decision making process occurs when the members are present. It of course allows for perfectly coined motions which may still be amended at the actual meeting. But this is a rarity in my observation. Most of us follow the agenda and spend considerable time debating the issue before a vote. The president can change the procedure very swiftly by asking for a motion and a second without which there is no debate. After the motion has been made and seconded he or she can call for discussion allowing each member to speak once before a member director may speak a second and final time. Calling the question is the Roberts rule phrase to end a motion and vote. The president will then declare the ayes or nays have it, and on to the next item on the agenda.
One particularly valuable tool has come out of the recent change in the legislation whereby only items that are on the agenda may be discussed except in true emergencies. Emergencies must be determined to be just that by vote before a discussion on the subject can take place. Given that a president or the manager may elect to give a certain time allotment to each section or item on the agenda. If consensus or a vote is not reached the matter is tabled until a later date and the meeting moves forward. Sometimes having a timer or an hourglass can be a helpful visual aid. Members comment time can take a ton of time if it is not limited to say a fixed period with a maximum time per speaker. In the event there seem to be a large number of speaker speakers slips can be used and the president may select a few or ask if there is a spokesperson for a particular topic. Often many people will want to speak to the same issue but one spokesperson may eloquently present their combined views in a few minutes.
And now for the angry sergeant. I was forewarned a rampage was possible, with looting and pillaging anticipated. For what happened next email us at info @pilotprop.com