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Re: [802SEC] Quorum Rules in IEEE 802

I'd like to note that this issue is not new and suggest that we consider previous discussions. For instance, in 2002, I initiated discussion of a potential rules change "to clarify the quorum situation for WG Interim Sessions":
My note said:

*"WGs need to know how to take actions that won't be later called into question on quorum grounds. The extra uncertainty isn't good for anyone... we have too many continuing question marks on this issue"

*"some WG's will arrange for a vote, at the WG Plenary, to authorize a WG to meet and transact business, with our without a quorum, at an upcoming Interim. My understanding has been that not all SEC members accept the legitimacy of this practice."

*"Then we have the question of when the quorum applies. Does the Chair need to check for it? Is it assumed, unless a quorum call arises? What if no quorum call arises and someone later, after the session, challenges the presence of a quorum? Does a quorum at any point in a session, or in a meeting, suffice to cover the entire session? "

This led to about 50 followup notes:

I proposed a specific solution. Given all the discussion since, I still support that same proposal and would propose it again.

However, during subsequent rules change telecons, I was unable to gather much support for my proposal, nor for any change of rules regarding quorum. Some people said they didn't see any ambiguity in the rules, and no one else in favor of quorum reform was on the phone.

So, I'd like to go back to the proposal I made in 2002 and the question I asked then: Could you support a P&P change like the one I proposed in <>?


At 12:19 -0700 2005-09-26, Bob O'Hara (boohara) wrote:
>I fail to see how adoption of comment resolutions, any of which except
>for "reject", involve changes to a draft can be accomplished without
>passing a technical motion.  This seems to me to clearly require a WG
>approval of a technical motion, covered under 7.2.4 of our P&P.
>Initiation of a WG ballot also seems to require this same technical
>vote, stating the WG position that the draft is "technically complete"
>(YMMV with different language in each WG P&P).
>I believe that the only action that a subgroup or interim session
>without quorum is to report back to the entire WG.  It is then up to the
>WG to take action, either by email ballot or at the next plenary
>That our P&P need to address this issue, is clear.  When and how needs
>to be determined.
> -Bob
>-----Original Message-----
>From: Grow, Bob [mailto:bob.grow@INTEL.COM]
>Sent: Monday, September 26, 2005 12:02 PM
>Subject: Re: [802SEC] Quorum Rules in IEEE 802
>I would respectfully disagree with your conclusion about item "b".  If
>not proscribed by the WG P&P, I believe a subgroup can take a large
>number of actions without quorum when allowed with an enabling motion.
>The only actions I would question within EC responsibility are those
>specifically defined in the LMSC P&P as requiring WG/TAG approval
>(usually with a specified percentage). 
>Comment resolution, initiation of recirculation ballots and the like are
>not things requiring WG approval within the LMSC P&P.  Even initiation
>of a WG ballot is not constrained by LMSC P&P (though 802.3 has similar
>constraints to those you describe for 802.11). 
>TAG positions and communications with government bodies though are
>approvals specified in the LMSC P&P, where there is no recognition of an
>"enabling motion", only thresholds and quorum requirements.
>Could this area be improved in the LMSC P&P absoultely (mostly by
>simplification and removal of micromanagement through the P&P).
>Unfortunately, we have a bigger "voting" issue to deal with based on
>approved Standards Board Operations Manual changes effective in 2006.
>So, I don't think anyone should not start on rules changes on this
>detailed item.  BTW, there are also some AudCom issues affecting how we
>maintain our P&P (as well as recommendations to split them up into
>multiple dcouments).  These larger issues are probably something to
>discuss on our conference call tomorrow even though it isn't on the
>--Bob Grow
>-----Original Message-----
>From: boohara@CISCO.COM [mailto:boohara@CISCO.COM]
>Sent: Monday, September 26, 2005 11:40 AM
>Subject: Re: [802SEC] Quorum Rules in IEEE 802
>I agree that we need to be able to make progress between plenary
>sessions.  I was pointing out that our rules leave a lot to be desired
>in this area.
>I would like to see something added to our rules that allows SPECIFIC
>empowerment at an interim session.  This would be take the form of a
>motion at a plenary session that would allow only the work itemized in
>the motion to be undertaken at the interim session.  The motion cannot
>include any general provision, such as "and any such business that comes
>before the working group".  Thus, a motion might include "resolve letter
>ballot comments and issue a new draft to working group recirculation
>ballot", or "respond to the liaison letter from XYZ SDO".
> -Bob
>-----Original Message-----
>From: Mike Takefman []
>Sent: Monday, September 26, 2005 10:33 AM
>Subject: 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.
> 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
>> 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
>> or until, after a reasonable time, there appears to be no prospect
>> a quorum will assemble. If a quorum cannot be obtained, the chair
>> the meeting to order, announces the absence of a quorum, and
>> 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
>> 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
>> motion - which he can no longer do except in connection with the
>> permissible proceedings related to the absence of a quorum, as
>> 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
>> 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
>> 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
>> prior action; but upon clear and convincing proof, such a point of
>> 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
>> place is established well in advance. A quorum is required at other
>> Working Group meetings. The Working Group Chair may vote at meetings.
>> 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
>> at all, outside of 802 plenary sessions, unless a quorum is present,
>> questionable under our P&P.  Where any vote is taken,
>> 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
>> 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
>> from anyone present, there is a quorum present.  Period.  The lack of
>> objection from anyone present would also seem to preclude an appeal
>> 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
>> 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
>> to the presence of a quorum in Geneva.  If a quorum was present, we
>> 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
>> 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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