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Re: [802SEC] Quorum Rules in IEEE 802


We are now getting onto a tricky position that threatens our
abilities as an SDO to do our function wrt to quorums.

Many dot groups allow interim sessions to do comment resolution,
revise drafts and start ballots (recircs or new ballots). Normally
with some form of enabling motion that is narrow in scope to
allow "just" that particular project to progress. I have no problem
with this sort of work being done without a quorum as the ballot
itself gives the full WG (or Sponsor Group) the chance to object to
any decisions, hence there is oversight. However, as strict reading
of a quorum rule might disallow even that.

Any crafting of rules in order to insure that WGs don't run willy
nilly at interims should be undertaken carefully as to insure that
the above case is not curtailed, less we grind progress to a halt.

Arguably, having a WG chair follow any interim session with a
quick ballot to confirm decisions is acceptable. However
as we see in cases such as this, the timeframe to do such a confirmation
would have to be at the short end.

I look forward with interest to this ongoing debate.

mike wrote:
> As the EC parliamentarian, I do not believe we have any cause to
> question the procedure of 802.18 in Geneva.  Our P&P constrains us to
> only the review of the document requested by Mike.  I will offer my
> reasoning and the backup material to fill in the picture.  First the
> backup material.
> From Robert's Rules, Chapter 11, section 40:
> "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, [page 338] 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).*"
> Clause of the LAMS P&P states:
> " Voting at Meeting 
> A vote is carried by a 75% approval of those members voting "Approve"
> and "Do Not Approve". No quorum is required at meetings held in
> conjunction with the Plenary session since the Plenary session time and
> place is established well in advance. A quorum is required at other
> Working Group meetings. The Working Group Chair may vote at meetings. A
> quorum is at least one-half of the Working Group members."
> Now some analysis.
> As the EC parliamentarian, I have to say that we are in an ambiguous
> situation.  Whether any WG or TAG is permitted to conduct any business,
> at all, outside of 802 plenary sessions, unless a quorum is present, is
> questionable under our P&P.  Where any vote is taken, requires
> a quorum to be present at any meeting outside of a one held in
> conjunction with a plenary session or 802.  There is no exception to
> this rule.  This clause also defines a quorum.
> Robert's Rules clearly specify that it is the responsibility of the
> Chair to determine if a quorum is present, before calling a meeting to
> order.  HOWEVER, we have made Robert's Rules advisory only.  The Chair
> has full discretion under the LMSC P&P to decide all procedural issues.
> Determining the presence of a quorum is clearly procedural.  Under our
> P&P, if the chair declares a quorum is present and there is no objection
> from anyone present, there is a quorum present.  Period.  The lack of an
> objection from anyone present would also seem to preclude an appeal (but
> this is not a question for today).
> So if Mike declares that a quorum was present at the meeting in Geneva
> and there was no objection from anyone at that meeting, we do not have
> the right to second guess him under our P&P.  He has absolute authority
> on procedural matters in his TAG.  The members present in Geneva could
> also be assumed to be working under the presumption of a quorum, since
> Robert's Rules does not require the chair to announce that a quorum is
> present.  Unless a member called for a quorum determination, business
> could proceed.
> Finally, my response.
> My recommendation is that we defer to Mike, allowing him to inform us as
> to the presence of a quorum in Geneva.  If a quorum was present, we have
> no reason, or ability, to question it.  If a quorum was not present,
> then 802.18 was unable to take any official action and there is no
> document, yet, for us to review.
> Lastly, a recommendation.
> We should immediately institute a change to the P&P that requires the
> adherence to Robert's Rules for the conduct of our meetings and those of
> the WGs and TAGs in order to remove these types of issues, for which
> Col. Robert spent significantly greater time considering than have we.
>  -Bob
> ----------
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Michael Takefman    
Distinguished Engineer,       Cisco Systems
Chair IEEE 802.17 Stds WG
3000 Innovation Dr, Ottawa, Canada, K2K 3E8
voice: 613-254-3399       cell:613-220-6991

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