THE CANADIAN MARITIMES UNIT NUMBER 194 OF THE AMERICAN CONTRACT BRIDGE LEAGUE
GUIDELINES FOR THE CONDUCT OF ANNUAL AND GENERAL MEETINGS (to be read in conjunction with the Constitution and Bylaws of Unit 194)
1. Business cannot be transacted at a meeting unless three conditions are satisfied. These are:
- the presence of a presiding officer;
- the recording of the meeting by a meeting secretary; and
- the presence of a quorum of members.
2. The President shall chair Annual and General Meetings. In the absence of the President, the First Vice-President shall chair, and in the absence of both the President and the First Vice-President the Second Vice-President shall chair. (Constitution and By-Laws Articles 8.3, 8.8, 8.10).
3. The Secretary shall keep minutes of all meetings of the Unit. (Constitution and Bylaws Article 8.11). In the absence of the Secretary, the Presiding Officer may designate a member to act as Secretary for the purposes of that meeting only.
4. The quorum shall be as set out in the Constitution and By-laws. (At present fifteen members.) It is the responsibility of the Chair to ensure that the quorum is maintained throughout the meeting and to adjourn the meeting if the quorum is lost.
5. In addition to the items set out in Article 6.4 of the Constitution and By-laws, the agenda of the Annual General Meeting shall include such other items as are determined by the Board and of which proper notice has been given in accordance with Articles 6.2 and 6.3 of the Constitution and By-Laws.
6. The agenda of a General Meeting shall include such items as are determined by the Board and of which proper notice has been given in accordance with Articles 6.2, 6.3 and 6.8 of the Constitution and By-Laws.
7. A copy of the Agenda for a meeting shall be made available to all members attending the meeting. A motion to approve the circulated Agenda shall be the first item of business conducted at the meeting. An officer or member wishing to add a new item to the circulated Agenda shall move an amendment to the motion to approve the circulated Agenda. After the amending motion is seconded, the Chair will rule on whether the matter is a minor or routine item that can be dealt with under “other business” or whether it is of a substantive nature for which proper notice should normally have been given. If it is the latter it shall be put over to the next meeting of the Board and the moving of the amendment to the Agenda shall be deemed to be notice for its inclusion on the Agenda for the next meeting.
8. A copy of the minutes of the previous meeting (of General and Annual General meetings respectively) shall be circulated to members prior to the start of the meeting. A motion to approve the minutes must be made and seconded. Following the vote on the motion to approve the minutes, an opportunity shall be provided to the members to raise matters arising from the minutes that are not listed elsewhere on the agenda for the current meeting.
9. A matter cannot be formally discussed or debated until a motion is moved and seconded. A motion is a proposal for action or an expression of opinion which is presented to the meeting for a decision. This is a formal statement and not merely a suggestion. Before making a motion a member must be recognized by the Chair. The member should use a form of words such as, “I move that…” or “I make a motion to…”
A member desiring to second a motion does not have to wait for recognition but addresses the Chair saying “I second the motion”.
If a motion is not seconded within a reasonable period of time, the Chair shall ask if any member wishes to second it. If no one seconds the motion, the motion dies.
After a motion has been moved and seconded, it is read to the meeting by the Chair or the Secretary and is recorded in the minutes. The matter is now open to discussion and debate by the members of the Board. The motion cannot be withdrawn without the unanimous consent of the members.
10. Any member who finds that a motion, while acceptable in principle, is deficient in any one or more of its terms, may propose a motion to amend it.
Amendments are motions that enable a pending question (motion) to be modified. An amendment provides an alternative form of wording for the question (motion) which is now called the main motion.
The modification is effected by the addition, deletion, or substitution of certain words, but not of the entire motion.
An amendment must be relevant to the basic idea of the main motion. It may be contrary to the intention of the main motion, but must not convert this motion into its direct negative.
An amendment should provide an alternative to part of the substantive motion before the meeting.
An amendment must be seconded and must not introduce a matter or matters which are in reality a new motion, in which case the chair shall rule it out of order.
Only one amendment shall be before the meeting at any one time and a vote on an amendment shall be held before the main motion is voted on.
11. When the Chair is satisfied the discussion is finished and any amendments have been dealt with, the final motion shall be read out by the Chair or the Secretary and be put to meeting for a decision by a show of hands vote. Unless otherwise provided in the Constitution and By-Laws, (See Article 11.1) the decision shall be based on the majority of votes cast.
12. Discussion and debate on a motion are to be conducted in a harmonious, courteous manner so that all are satisfied with the proceedings and therefore accept the result. The Chair and members of the Board must cooperate to maintain order and decorum. The desired result can be obtained if each understand and fulfill their respective roles which are summarized as follows:
ROLE OF THE CHAIR
The Chair is responsible for safeguarding the debate by:
a) recognizing members and determining the order of speakers;
b) inviting the mover of a motion to initiate the debate and to present the closing argument on the question;
c) ruling on whether proposed amendments or procedural motions are in order;
d) ruling on appeals made to the Chair;
e) maintaining an environment that is conducive to the expression of the views of the speakers without undue noise, hassle or unnecessary interruptions;
f) ensuring the debate remains focused on the question and, when necessary, intervening to restate the proposition or directing the speaker to keep to the issue;
g) when necessary, reminding members that a reiteration of views already expressed is unnecessary;
h) ruling, when necessary, that speakers be limited to a specified time limit and that a speaker may not speak more than once to a question;
i) encouraging, where possible, the presentation of opposing positions;
m) bringing the matter to a vote by show of hands after the matter has been fully debated.
ROLE OF MEMBERS
Members are responsible for assisting the debate by:
a) identifying themselves before speaking and addressing all remarks to the Chair;
b) confining their remarks strictly to the motion under consideration;
c) stating their positions clearly, succinctly an without repetitiveness;
d) maintaining an impersonal tone and avoiding personal comments;
e) drawing the attention of the Chair to a lack of quorum;
f) making an appeal to the Chair to correct any improper procedure or to alleviate a detrimental situation.