Section updated July 9, 2014.
1.1 Pre-meeting Preparation
All Proposals to the board or a committee must be written in the standard proposal format.
Board and committee agendas should be announced the Friday prior to the board or committee meeting. Meeting packets, including the meeting agenda, will be distributed by officers the Saturday preceding the meeting, or in the case of GMMs, at least one week before the meeting.
Packets will be distributed to Board representatives only via e-mail, at the e-mail address they have provided the Board, unless they have opted-in to receiving a paper copy. A single paper copy of each packet will be distributed to the house, outside of any packets delivered to opt-in Board reps.
1.2 MCC Standard Proposal Format (Amended 11/9/16)
The following format is to be used for all proposals to the MCC board or committees.
Summary of Proposal
Actual Text of Proposal
All agenda items shall have an individual sponsor, noted on the agenda, and shall be denoted as Informational (no discussion required), Discussion (no vote), or Decision (vote at this meeting).
It is the responsibility of board and committee members to be prepared for the meeting. It is assumed that everyone has read the proposal in the meeting packet. If an interested MCC member or staff person has not received an agenda packet, it is their responsibility to obtain a packet.
1.3 Agenda Review and Approval
Matters not included in the agenda packet may be discussed, but only if a majority approves, and then only after all motions included the packet have been debated and voted on.
Items shall not be discussed unless that sponsor (or a designated proxy) is present to introduce the item. A written proposal for all agenda items requiring a vote must be included in the Board packet in standard proposal format unless items come up which require emergency action.
The Board must vote to approve inclusion of emergency items before they are discussed.
1.4 Miniature Toolkit for Shorter and More Focused Board Meetings
MINIATURE TOOLKIT FOR SHORTER AND MORE FOCUSED BOARD MEETINGS
A. This policy will be printed on the back side of every Board meeting agenda.
B. All agenda items shall have an individual sponsor, noted on the agenda, and shall be denoted as Informational (no discussion required), Discussion (no vote), or Decision (vote at this meeting).
C. Items shall not be discussed unless that sponsor (or a designated proxy) is present to introduce the item. A written proposal for all agenda items requiring a vote must be included in the Board packet in standard proposal format unless items come up which require emergency action.
D. The Board must vote to approve inclusion of emergency items before they are discussed.
E. The Facilitator will ask the sponsor of each item to briefly introduce it in 3 parts:
1) A summary of the proposal.
2) A brief background statement’why is it important, what events led up to this?
3) What action is requested of the Board at this meeting?
F. During discussion of the item, the suggested role of the facilitator is to:
1) Keep a speaker’s list and call on members in turn,
2) Limit unfocused discussion; bring discussion back to the issue at hand if it strays off track,
3) Ask for a motion on decision items if there is none,
4) Help the group move toward a decision; restate areas of agreement to the group and clarify issues needing further work,
5) Watch for the moment when you can ask for a vote,
6) Watch the emotional vibes in the meeting if bad vibes are getting in the way, ask the group to stop and address emotional issues first, and
7) Keep items within pre-set time limits; when the timekeeper announces we’ve hit the limit for an item, ask the group to vote on a definite time extension
(i.e. _Should we table, vote, or discuss for another 10 minutes?_)
G. Board members are urged to read the Self-Facilitation Guide in the Board Guide.
2. Meeting Process
“The Stack” is the order of participants who are speaking. If a participant raises their
hand to say something, the facilitator puts them on Stack, i.e. the facilitator puts their
name at the bottom of a list. When the person at the top of Stack has finished speaking,
the facilitator crosses their names off and announces who the next two participants on
stack are. Facilitators may change the order of Stack at their discretion to equalize
disparities in participation.
2.2 Clarifying Questions
Asked by members of the group to clarify what is being proposed. Clarifying questions refer to content and not to opinion. The author of the proposal is generally the person who will respond to clarifying questions.
2.3.1 Main Motions
Main motions can be made only when no main motion is already on the floor. They must be seconded, can be discussed, and require a formal majority vote to pass. Types of main motions:
1) A Motion to Refer to Committee seeks to have a discussion or decision sent to a different MCC committee.
2) A Motion to Extend Time seeks to lengthen the time for discussion of the item currently under consideration. A set amount of time must be specified.
3) A Motion to Amend seeks to modify a proposal. See ‘AMENDMENTS’ below.
All motions and amendments in writing shall have precedence over verbal motions and amendments. Precedence of written motions and amendments shall be in the order received by the facilitators.
2.3.2 Subsidiary Motions
Subsidiary motions can be made only when there is a main motion on the floor. They must be seconded, can be discussed, cannot be amended, and require a formal majority vote to pass. When general consensus is apparent, if no one opposes the action, the facilitator may simply declare that a subsidiary motion passes by an informal majority. There are three types of subsidiary motions:
1) A Motion to Amend the Main Motion seeks to alter and improve the main motion. See section 2.4 on Amendments.
2) A Motion to Introduce a Substitute Motion seeks to replace the main motion with something else. A vote determines whether the substitute motion is successfully put on the floor alongside the main motion. If the substitute motion is added to the floor, another vote determines which motion remains on the floor as the main motion and which motion is taken off the floor. Both motions can be discussed before taking this vote. Note that a Motion to Introduce a Substitute Motion is out of order if there is a Motion to Amend the Main Motion on the floor.
3) A Motion to Table the Main Motion seeks to delay all further action on the main motion until the next meeting or a designated time.
2.3.3 Privileged Motions
Privileged motions can be made without the facilitator’s recognition, are considered immediately, and cannot be amended, and requires a two- thirds supermajority vote to pass.
1) A Motion to Vote seeks to call the question on the main motion on the floor, does not need to be seconded, cannot be discussed but all who oppose calling the question get a chance to speak. Note that this is the only motion that the facilitator can make.
2) A Motion to Extend the Meeting seeks to lengthen the total time of the meeting by a set amount of time.
3) A Motion to "object to consideration of a question" seeks to close discussion of a question and is used when a motion or amendment does not have substantial support and would waste the body’s time and energy. Such a motion may be made upon introduction or early in the course of debate on a motion or amendment.
2.3.4 Privileged Requests
Privileged requests ask the facilitator to do something. The facilitator can accept or reject a privileged request, but this acceptance or rejection can itself be appealed through a privileged motion. Privileged requests can be made without the facilitator’s recognition, are considered immediately, cannot be amended, and are not directly voted on. There are seven types of privileged requests:
1) A Request to Take a Sense Vote seeks to hold a non-binding sense vote relevant to the business under consideration.
2) A Request to Solicit Round-Robin Feedback seeks to solicit the input of all people present on the issue at hand.
3) A Request to Hear from the Silent seeks to solicit the input of those who have not yet spoken.
4) A Request to Hear from the Dissenters seeks to solicit the input of those who were in the minority on a vote.
5) A Request to Change the Agenda can be made at appropriate times, usually at the beginning of the meeting.
6) A Request to Take a Recess seeks a pause in the meeting, after which business continues where it left off.
7) A Request to Limit Discussion seeks to shorten the amount of time allotted to discuss something.
Any voting member may propose an amendment to a proposal.
If the person or group that authored the proposal agree to accept the amendment, it is considered to be a “friendly amendment” and no vote is taken. The amendment is added to the proposal, and all further discussion is on the amended proposal.
If the person or group that authored the proposal does not wish to accept the amendment, it is treated as a separate motion. There is discussion on the amendment, and then a vote on the amendment. If the amendment passes by majority vote, all further discussion is on the amended proposal. If the amendment does not pass, discussion reverts to the initial, unmodified proposal.
Discussion is focused on the merits of the proposal, and whether it will be good for MCC. Discussion may lead to amendments to the proposal in order to address concerns of members.
2.6 Voting System
The voting options for MCC governance meetings are "for, opposed, object and abstain." Voters who object to a proposal must state a reason for their objection, to be indicated in the meeting notes. In the spirit of consensus process, objections should be based on points previously raised in the meeting.
a) An objection is considered valid only if the objector(s) agree to hold a reconciliation meeting with the proposers and any other interested members to be held within two weeks of the objection. This meeting could be the first of several, but must first occur within two weeks of the initial objection.
b) The Membership Officer shall be responsible for facilitating this reconciliation meeting. The Membership Officer is free to appoint an alternate facilitator. In the event that either the proposer(s) or the objector(s) are dissatisfied with facilitation on the part of the Membership Officer, or the alternate facilitator, they are responsible for obtaining a replacement facilitator, to which all parties must consent. The facilitator is responsible for informing the Coordinating Committee whether or not a reconciliation meeting has been held.
c) The reconciliation process shall continue until all parties consent to a revised proposal, the proposer(s) agree to withdraw the proposal, or the objector(s) agree to withdraw their objection, or it is decided that the Board should vote on a motion to override the objection.
d) All proposals that are in reconciliation do not take effect until the reconciliation process is finished. If proposals undergo significant changes, they will be brought back before the Board of Directors.
2.8 Escape Hatch
There is an escape hatch voting mechanism for times when one or two objections cannot be worked out with the problem-solving techniques specified in the proposal, or when an emergency decision might require an over-ride of the objection. An objector must explain their reasons for objection. If all avenues of discussion fail, the Board may opt to over- ride the objection.
In "emergency" situations, a 3/4 vote of the Board shall be required for an over-ride vote to pass, but only after it is clear that the decision requires a vote at that meeting (3/4 must agree that this is the case).
In non-emergency cases, an over-ride vote shall also require 3/4 to pass, but shall not be taken until the issue has been discussed during at least two Board meetings, alternatives to the main proposal have been asked of both the objectors and non-objectors, and the Reconciliation Committee meeting has been attempted.
The following clarifying sentence was added on 9/27/06 by a decision of the Board of Directors: Objections are not allowed during escape hatch votes, and a 3/4 majority of present voting members is required.
3.1 Board Meeting Time Limit Policy
1. MCC Board meetings will be scheduled to start at 6:00, and will end at 9:00 p.m. If there is no quorum at 6:15, it will be left to the discretion of the facilitator to wait a reasonable amount of time or to cancel/reschedule the meeting.
2. There will be a break of 10 minutes.
3. Any items on the agenda not reached by 8:45 will be dealt with as per the coordinating officer's discretion. At this time, the facilitator will be prepared to recommend deferring the items, referring them back to the appropriate committee/s, or extending the meeting.
4. The Board can vote to extend the meeting either for a set period of time, or for however long it takes to finish particular items. The vote to extend takes a 2/3 majority.
5. Each agenda issue shall be assigned a time limit for debate by the Coordinating Committee (for board) or committee chair (for committees). Sub-limits may be assigned by the chair. The facilitators shall keep track of the time elapsed and notify when the limit is exceeded.
3.2 Committee Meeting Minutes (passed 2/3/2009)
A. Written minutes shall be kept of every meeting of all standing committees and all ad- hoc committees created by the Board of Directors. The minutes shall include but not to be limited to a list of meeting attendance and records of all roll call votes taken on substantial issues or resolutions placed before the meeting.
B. Copies of the minutes shall be submitted in writing at the following committee meeting and approved by a majority vote. This requirement may be waived if the committee in question is an ad-hoc meeting and/or a meeting of a temporary nature that may not have subsequent meetings.
C. Copies of the approved minutes shall also be submitted in writing at the following Board of Directors meeting but will not require a vote of approval.
D. One permanently bound copy and one electronic copy of the minutes shall be kept at the corporate office of MCC and be made available for inspection by members during normal working hours.
E. The appropriate officer or chairperson in charge of the committee will be responsible for ensuring that this policy is enacted. The Officer Nomination and Evaluation Committee (ONEC) will monitor this portion of officers' duties and will have the authority to withhold stipends from officers in the event that they are not compliant with this policy.
3.3 Executive Sessions during Board Meetings
An executive session is defined as a discussion or decision item that only certain members, such as elected board reps from each MCC house, MCC officers, MCC staff, and/or special invitees, may be present for. A particular board member may be asked to leave if they will be a subject of the discussion. The length of the session will include both discussion and final vote and no notes will be kept of the discussion, although the tallies of any votes taken will be included in the meeting minutes.
Instances in which an executive session can be called are limited to:
• Discussions of staff or officer performance or hiring/dismissal
• Issues involving conflict or mediation
• Accommodations made for personal or health issues
• Specific member issues such as eviction or appeals to the board
• Issues of MCC or house liability or legal repercussions
Executive sessions, including who is included in the session, must be announced in advance on the front of the board packet. The text of the proposal also must contain a notification and a reason that an executive session is being proposed. In unexpected circumstances, an executive session for an item may be requested at the board meeting during agenda review and must be approved by at least a 2/3 majority of voting members.