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As per my email from earlier today, I asked Dave Ringle, the Director, Governance & Technical Committee Programs for the IEEE SA if sponsor P&P are the equivalent of Bylaws. His answer, shown below, is sponsor P&P are not Bylaws and the EC can suspend its P&P.
I confirmed Dave's interpretation via a brief phone call a few minutes ago. His view is that when RROO refers to Bylaws it means the IEEE Constitution and Bylaws in our situation (http://www.ieee.org/documents/ieee_constitution_and_bylaws.pdf). Therefore the Sponsor P&P may be suspended with at least a 2/3 majority.
Therefore, I believe it is in order to conduct an EC ballot on a motion to suspend the rules regarding EC meeting notice duration. However, before I proceed with the motion (Mike Lynch and Bob Heile have agreed to move/second when we are ready to proceed), I want to give the EC a chance to respond to my plan of action. Fire away.
------ Forwarded Message ------
From: "David Ringle" <email@example.com>
To: "Paul Nikolich" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: 4/23/2013 11:54:00 AM
Subject: Re: Definition of Bylaw
Paul,---------- This email is sent from the 802 Executive Committee email reflector. This list is maintained by Listserv.
Are sponsor P&P the equivalent of Bylaws as defined in rroo?
DR: I do not believe so.
The narrower question is can the EC suspend its P&P? If no, why not?
DR: In my opinion, YES.
Here is what Roberts Rules states:
"§25. SUSPEND THE RULES
When an assembly wishes to do something during a meeting that it cannot do without violating one or more of its regular rules, it can adopt a motion to Suspend the Rules interfering with the proposed action—provided that the proposal is not in conflict with the organization's bylaws (or constitution), with local, state, or national law prescribing procedural rules applicable to the organization or assembly, or with a fundamental principle of parliamentary law.
Standard Descriptive Characteristics
The incidental motion to Suspend the Rules:
1. Can be made at any time that no question is pending. When business is pending, Suspend the Rules takes precedence over any motion if it is for a purpose connected with that motion. It yields to the motion to Lay on the [page 261] Table and to all privileged motions when these motions are in order at the time according to the order of precedence of motions—except that if it relates to the priority of business it does not yield to a Call for the Orders of the Day. It also yields to incidental motions arising out of itself.
2. Can be applied to any rule of the assembly except bylaws* (or rules contained in a constitution or corporate charter). No subsidiary motion can be applied to Suspend the Rules.
3. Is out of order when another has the floor.
4. Must be seconded.
5. Is not debatable.
6. Is not amendable.
7. Usually requires a two-thirds vote (see below, however). In any case, no rule protecting a minority of a particular size can be suspended in the face of a negative vote as large as the minority protected by the rule.
8. Cannot be reconsidered (see below regarding its renewal).
Further Rules and Explanation
OBJECT AND EFFECT OF THE MOTION. The object of this motion is to suspend one or more rules applicable to the assembly—such as rules contained in the parliamentary authority, special rules of order, or standing rules**—that interfere with proposed action during a meeting. A motion to "take up a question out of its proper order," or to consider one before a time to which it has been postponed, is an application of the motion to Suspend the Rules (see 14, 41).
[page 262] In making the incidental motion to Suspend the Rules, the particular rule or rules to be suspended are not mentioned; but the motion must state its specific purpose, and its adoption permits nothing else to be done under the suspension. Such a motion, for instance, may be "to suspend the rules and take up the report of the Building Committee," or "to suspend the rules and agree to [that is, to adopt without debate or amendment] the resolution ..." When the purpose of a motion to Suspend the Rules is to permit the making of another motion, and the adoption of the first motion would obviously be followed by adoption of the second, the two motions can be combined, as in "to suspend the rules and take from the table (34) the question relating to ..." The foregoing is an exception to the general rule that no member can make two motions at the same time except with the consent of the assembly—unanimous consent being required if the two motions are unrelated (see also pp. 110, 274–75).
If a motion to Suspend the Rules is adopted and its object is to allow consideration of business that could not otherwise have been considered at the time, the chair should immediately recognize the member who moved the suspension of the rules, to make the appropriate motion that will bring up the desired business. Or, if no further motion is necessary (for example, if the two motions were combined as indicated above, or if the question is one that was postponed), the chair should announce the business as pending.
RENEWAL OF THE MOTION. If a motion to suspend the rules is voted down, it cannot be renewed by moving to suspend the rules for the same purpose at the same meeting, unless unanimous consent is given. It can, however, be renewed for the same purpose after an adjournment, even if the next meeting is held the same day. Any number of motions to suspend the rules for different purposes can be entertained at the same meeting.
[page 263] RULES THAT CANNOT BE SUSPENDED. Rules contained in the bylaws (or constitution) cannot be suspended—no matter how large the vote in favor of doing so or how inconvenient the rule in question may be—unless the particular rule specifically provides for its own suspension, or unless the rule properly is in the nature of a rule of order as described on page 17, lines 22–25. A rule in the bylaws requiring that a vote—such as, for example, on the election of officers—be taken by (secret) ballot cannot be suspended, however, unless the bylaws so provide (see also Voting by Ballot, pp. 412–13).
No applicable procedural rule prescribed by federal, state, or local law can be suspended unless the rule specifically provides for its own suspension.
Rules which embody fundamental principles of parliamentary law, such as the rule that allows only one question to be considered at a time (p. 59), cannot be suspended, even by a unanimous vote. Thus, since it is a fundamental principle of parliamentary law that the right to vote is limited to the members of an organization who are actually present at the time the vote is taken in a regular or properly called meeting (p. 423), the rules cannot be suspended so as to give the right to vote to a nonmember,* or to authorize absentee (pp. 423–24) voting. Likewise, since it is a fundamental principle that each member of a deliberative assembly is entitled to one—and only one—vote on a question, the rules may not be suspended so as to authorize cumulative voting (pp. 443–44).
Rules protecting absentees cannot be suspended, even by unanimous consent or an actual unanimous vote, because the absentees do not consent to such suspension. For example, the rules requiring the presence of a quorum, restricting [page 264] business transacted at a special meeting to that mentioned in the call of the meeting, and requiring previous notice of a proposed amendment to the bylaws protect absentees, if there are any, and cannot be suspended when any member is absent.*
Rules protecting a basic right of the individual member cannot be suspended. Thus, while generally applicable limits on debate and the making of motions may be imposed by motions such as the Previous Question, the rules may not be suspended so as to deny any particular member the right to attend meetings, make motions or nominations, speak in debate, give previous notice, or vote. These basic rights may be curtailed only through disciplinary proceedings.
At a regular meeting of an organization that has an established order of business, the assembly cannot, even unanimously, vote to dispense with that order of business (in the sense of voting, in advance of the time when it adjourns, that the order of business shall not be gone through at all at that meeting). If the assembly, by a two-thirds vote, adopts a motion "to dispense with the regular order of business and proceed to"** a certain subject, it has in effect voted to pass all classes in the order of business which normally would precede that subject (see pp. 363–64). In such a case, when the matter taken up out of its proper order has been disposed of, even if it has consumed as much time as the usual meeting, the chair must return to the regular order of business and call for the items in sequence, unless the assembly then votes to adjourn (see 21).
Rules that have their application outside of the session which is in progress cannot be suspended. For example, a [page 265] policy prohibiting total contributions to any one charitable organization in excess of $500.00 in any one calendar year is a rule which has its application outside of a meeting context, and thus cannot be suspended so as to permit the adoption of a motion to make a contribution in excess of the specified amount. (Such a rule can, however, be rescinded or amended; see 35.) Likewise, the rules cannot be suspended in order to permit postponement of a motion to a future session that will be held after the next regular business session or that will be held after more than a quarterly time interval has elapsed.
RULES WHOSE SUSPENSION REQUIRES A TWO-THIRDS VOTE. The rules of order of a society, as contained in the manual established by the bylaws as the parliamentary authority, or as included in any special rules of order adopted by the organization (see 2), are rules of parliamentary procedure, the suspension of which requires a two-thirds vote. Some societies call all their rules "standing rules." But by whatever name a rule is called, if it relates to parliamentary procedure, it requires either (a) previous notice and a two-thirds vote or (b) a vote of a majority of the entire membership for its amendment; hence, it requires a two-thirds vote for its suspension.
RULES THAT CAN BE SUSPENDED BY A MAJORITY VOTE. An ordinary* standing rule, as the term is used in this book, is a rule that does not relate to parliamentary procedure as such and refers, for example, to such matters as the use of recording devices at meetings (see p. 18). Standing rules are adopted, as any ordinary motion, by a majority vote, and they may be amended by a majority vote with previous notice (see p. 306, ll. 24–31); they therefore can be [page 266] suspended by a majority vote as they do not involve the protection of a minority of a particular size. Through an incidental main motion adopted by a majority vote, a standing rule can be suspended for the duration of the current session.
SUSPENSION OF RULES BY UNANIMOUS CONSENT. Frequently, when the matter is clearly not controversial, time may be saved by asking unanimous consent rather than by making a formal motion to suspend the rules. A member who has obtained the floor can say, for example, "Madam President, I ask unanimous consent to offer the courtesy resolutions before we receive the report of the special committee." The chair then asks if anyone objects and, if so, proceeds to take a vote on suspending the rules, just as if a formal motion had been made.
Form and Example
The usual form of this motion is:
MEMBER A (obtaining the floor): I move that the rules be suspended [or "to suspend the rules"] which interfere with ... [stating the object of the suspension]. (Second.)
MEMBER A (obtaining the floor): I move to suspend the rules and take up ... (Second.)
When the object is to adopt a motion without debate or amendment, the form is:
MEMBER A (obtaining the floor): I move to suspend the rules and adopt [or "agree to"] the following resolution: "Resolved, That ..." (Second.)
[page 267] If such a motion does not receive the required two-thirds vote, the main motion can be taken up only in the normal way. A member moving to suspend the rules can briefly give sufficient information to enable the members to vote intelligently on his undebatable motion. (For the manner of taking a two-thirds vote, see pp. 46–47, 50–51.) In announcing an affirmative result, the chair says, for example,
CHAIR: There are two thirds in the affirmative and the rules are suspended for the purpose of ... The chair recognizes Mrs. Watkins. "
David L. Ringle
Director, Governance & Technical Committee Programs
IEEE Standards Association
445 Hoes Lane
Piscataway, NJ 08854-4141 USA
TEL: +1 732 562 3806
FAX: +1 732 875 0524
On Tue, Apr 23, 2013 at 6:42 AM, Paul Nikolich <email@example.com> wrote: