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4 Motions, Debate & Voting

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Parliamentary Law: Motions, Debates & Voting

Parliamentary Law: Motions, Debates & Voting


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  • 1. Management & Leadershipin Ministry Motions, Deliberations & Voting
  • 2. The most basic component of a business mtg. is…A Motion - A formal proposal that the organization „say or do‟ something (usually stated in the positive) i.e. “I would like to make a motion that we hire Rev. Sally Smith to be our youth pastor for the next 3 years”.
  • 3. A Motion - Every motion needs to have a seconder (at least one person who agrees the proposal, merits a discussion and a vote) i.e. “I would like to second the motion to hire Rev. Smith for 3 yrs.” Sometimes a person simply says: „second‟ NO ONE (incl. the chair, the mover, nor anyone else in the assembly) can begin discuss the motion, until there is a seconder!
  • 4. When a motion has been made, and it appears there is no seconder …The chairperson reminds the assemblyonce, that without a second, the proposedmotion will not be considered (the motionis „lost‟; meaning it won‟t bedebated, nor voted upon).Pause for a moment … if there is no„second‟ then the chairperson IMMEDIATELYgoes on to the next item of business.
  • 5. A Motion- A person who seconds a motion is not necessarily indicating their agreement with the motion … they are simply indicating they believe the „motion‟ has enough merit for the assembly to consider, debate & vote upon. A person may ultimately vote against a motion they seconded, if they wish.- Motions made by a committee or a board DO NOT need a seconder. The motion has already, the support of a „few‟ people.
  • 6. A Motion - Every motion needs to be stated clearly (the more complex or confusing, the less likely it will be approved). - Motions are generally no longer than one (1) sentence in length. - Whenever possible, state/present the motion in the positive (what you want to happen; not what you don‟t want to happen).
  • 7. Motions correctly/incorrectly statedI would like to propose that we not buy a van for theyouth department.I would like to propose the youth cabinet investigate avariety of other options for transporting our teens to theirevents.I would like to make a motion that our next businessmeeting be held after providing the congregation with 3weeks advance notice, being sensitive to the workschedules of our board members, and held no earlierthan 4 weeks after the close of our fiscal year, and allmembers & adherents be given a copy of all relevantdocuments printed on blue paper, 2 weeks in advance.I move we hold our next mtg. on June 23 at 6 p.m. withappropriate advance notice and documentation provided.
  • 8. A Motion: The typical sequence - A member secures permission from the chairperson to speak (have the floor) This is normally done by raising your hand & saying “Mr. (or Madam) Chair” - The chairperson, recognizes the person by saying the person‟s name: “Mr. Brown” - The member moves/makes the „motion‟. - Another member „seconds‟ the motion. - The chair or secretary „restates the question‟& asks “Is there any discussion?” or more formally “The motion is before the assembly for their deliberation & action” - The group debates the pros & cons. - Chairperson calls for the „vote‟.
  • 9. Debating a Motion
  • 10. DEBATING THE MOTION - No one may speak for or against the motion, nor ask clarifying questions, until formally recognized (given permission) to speak, by the chair. - First & last to speak about the motion, is the „mover‟ of the motion, whether a person or committee. - No one may speak for or against a motion a second time, until all those who wish to debate the issue have spoken once. - No one may speak more than a total of 20 minutes for or against a motion (speak twice x 10 min.).
  • 11. DEBATING THE MOTION- All debate is directed solely/courteously to the chairperson ... never towards another person (present or absent at the mtg.) nor is anyone allowed to question the motives or character of another person. The perceived consequence of the motion IS fair game for discussion, but not the motivation of the person making the motion.- Debate must relate solely to the motion & not to unrelated issues. - Asking clarifying questions or making an amendment is NOT considered part of the two times a person may speak for or against a motion.
  • 12. Amending a Motion
  • 13. Amending a Motion: - Amendments may be suggested to most motions, but not all motions (we will clarify this in a later presentation) - A proposed amendment must be seconded, and then debated and voted on, before returning to the original motion. i.e. “I would like amend the motion to hire Rev. Smith from 3 years to 4 years” - An amendment creates a NEW motion, that may be again spoken to twice by each member.
  • 14. Voting- After the issue has been sufficiently debated, the chair asks “Are you ready for the question” or „Are you ready to vote‟ If the assembly indicates they are ready to vote ...- The chairperson stands & restates the „question‟ (the motion) and the vote is taken. If the vote is taken by a voice or hand vote, the chairperson asks for the „yes‟ vote first, then the „no‟ vote. The contrary vote must always be asked for.- After the votes have been tabulated/ counted, the chair announces the numerical results & declares the motion adopted or defeated (or who is elected).
  • 15. At any time a member may ask for clarification of their rights, clarifyingquestions & the particulars of the motion. Called: A Question of Privilege
  • 16. Voting: in the case where a voice or consensus vote is & there is any doubt whether or not the motion is adopted or rejected, the wise chairperson will immediately ask for either a „hand vote‟ or a „standing/rising‟ vote so that the will of the majority can more easily be determined. “Those in favour of the motion please stand (or raise your hand) to be counted” “Those opposed to the motion, please stand (or raise your hand) to be counted.” Count carefully!
  • 17. Voting by Ballot: the most accepted & most accurate form of determining the will of the people is by voting using confidential ballots.- diminishes the likelihood of conforming to peer pressure.- abstentions (blank), destroyed or improperly marked ballots (too many ‘marks‟) are NOT counted, nor factored into determining the number needed to carry a motion. - if the intent of the person voting is obvious, then the ballot IS valid & included in the count.
  • 18. Wesleyan Power Point slide Absentee BallotingDiscouraged … but is permissible within the Wesleyan denomination in certain circumstances: - for the hiring or retaining of a senior or an associate pastor (no other issue) - sealed envelop, with covenant or community member‟s name written on outside of envelop - held in trust by the Board secretary - opened and placed in the mix of ballots prior to the ballots being counted
  • 19. VOTINGMAJORITY: Most of the items a church will vote on, will require only a majority to adopt the motion (50% +1).2/3rds.VOTE: Motions which change the rules, limits rights or overturns the previous decisions, generally require a 2/3 vote (twice as many votes for, as against)PLURALITY VOTE: has the most votes, but not necessarily 50% +1. (a great tool to use)TIE VOTE: is a negative vote.BREAKING OR CREATING A TIE VOTE: generally the chairperson has the right to break or create a tie vote, IF THE CHAIR HAS NOT PREVIOUSLY VOTED & they have the permission of the assembly.
  • 20. VOTING CLARIFICATIONA majority vote: Means „more than half‟ … usually, but not necessarily 50% +1 Consider 17 voters: 17 ÷ 2 = 8.5 Doesn‟t need 9.5 votes … just 9A 2/3 vote: Means at least twice as many people are in favour of the action/vote, as against. If the business meeting has an indivisible number of people voting … 2/3 means you must round the number UP. Thus, 2/3 of 100 votes is 66.666% … thus 66 votes IS NOT SUFFICIENT to carry the vote. 67 votes are needed.A Spoiled, Blank or Abstention ballot: ARE NEVER COUNTED in the totals. Thus, not factored into the tabulation for a majority or 2/3 vote.
  • 21. VOTING CLARIFICATIONProxy Voting: There is no provision in the Wesleyan church for authorizing another person to vote on behalf of another person (whether present or absent).Mail in/ Phone in Voting: is not permitted in the Wesleyan church
  • 22. Election of Officers usually require a ballot vote (not: hand/voice/consensus) By-law/LawTricks of the trade: 1 nominee, for 1 position (w. permission of mtg) = Secretary casts one ballot Some churches elect a „slate/list‟ of officers = one ballot “yes/no” on the whole group, rather than voting on individuals Some churches elect officers using ballot box = just like a political election, make available a ballot box all day at the church. Provide a space on the ballot for „write in‟ votes.
  • 23. Class ExerciseScenario: Location: Kingswood University Situation: Trustee meeting Motion: “Increase tuition fees, by $1000 per year, so as to build a gym in 2015.”