Roberts rules–motion withdrawal

There has been much ado about Robert’s Rules here in Methuen. I am the cause of most of it. The City Council claims, in the procedures for that group, to follow the letter unless overridden by an existing procedure.
This is often not the case.
I have been accused of trying to slow government action or make government work at a snails pace.
I dispute these accusations.
I ask that our elected officials follow the rules and procedures that they write. It actually makes for a more efficient and effective process. Less prone to the whims of the time and able to quickly and easily verify all of it’s actions.

Recently I have been asking a lot about motion to withdraw.
I am told that resolutions or ordinances have been withdrawn and when I attempt to verify those statements there is no recourse or trail to show that to be true.

I checked the rules and procedures of the Council and Rule X section b) states:A motion shall be made and seconded. To clarify the debate, the Chairman of the City Council may ask the Clerk to read the motion from the notes. A motion may not be withdrawn without the consent of the second. When the mover modifies the motion, the second may withdraw. (highlighting added by author)
This is the only use of the term withdraw in the document.

The bottom line is that if a motion is placed on the agenda and the agenda is accepted, all items on that agenda belong to the Council as a whole. If they are voted upon for first read, even if tabled for any reason, they still belong to the meeting/Council.

The only way they can be removed is by a motion to withdraw and a vote taken.
For too long the City Council has used informal processes to obscure or hide actions taken.

I ask that each City Councillor and Councilor candidate read Robert’s Rules and ask that the next Council FOLLOW there own processes and procedures.

Here is a more technical explanation of the Motion to withdraw taken from Sonoma State University based upon Robert’s Rules of Order Made Simple. Also see; Robert, Henry M. (2000). Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised, 10th ed., p. 283–284.

Requests and Inquiries

c. Request for Permission to Withdraw or Modify a Motion.
Although Robert’s Rules of Order specify that until a motion has been accepted by the chair it is the property of the mover, who can withdraw it or modify it as s/he chooses, a common practice is that once the agenda has been adopted, the items on it become the property of the meeting.
A person may not, therefore, withdraw a motion unilaterally; he or she may do so only with the consent of the meeting, which has adopted an agenda indicating that the motion is to be debated.
Similarly, a person cannot, without the consent of the meeting, change the wording of any motion that has been given ahead of time to those attending the meeting-for example, distributed in printed form in advance, printed on the agenda, a motion of which notice has been given at a previous meeting, etc.If a person does want to change the wording, they must move to substitute or amend before the body can consider the changed motion.
The usual way in which consent of a meeting to withdraw a motion is obtained is for the mover to ask the consent of the meeting to withdraw (or change the wording).
If no one objects, the chairperson announces that there being no objections, that the motion is withdrawn or that the modified wording is the motion to be debated.
If anyone objects, the chair can put a motion permitting the member to withdraw (or modify) or any two members may move and second that permission be granted.
A majority vote decides the question of modifying a motion–similar to amending the motion.
A two-thirds majority is needed for permission to withdraw a motion, as this has the effect of amending the agenda.

admin posted at 2011-8-19 Category: City Council

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