Andrea from Koroop in Victoria, Australia has asked:  “Can the president move a motion at a meeting? What law is this held under?”

The short answer is yes. The longer answer is that a wise chair will only move certain motions from the chair.

The only motions a president or person in the chair should move are motions of congratulations or motions of condolence or motions of thanks. These are nearly always “carried by acclamation” with the obvious exception of the motion of condolence. These are often carried without a seconder.

Inexperienced or “power chairs” sometimes move all sorts of motions and in so doing demonstrate their lack of understanding of their role.

Procedural motions should never be moved from the chair. For instance, a motion seeking to close debate, when moved from the chair, takes away all impartiality – the cornerstone of the chair’s authority.

Substantive or main motions can be moved from the chair technically, but a wise chair will not – they will invite a members to move the motion.

A chair may suggest that it would be appropriate for a particular motion (procedural or substantive) to be moved but encourage someone else to move it. They may even suggest the wording.

The minute a chair moves a motion from the chair, they have “declared their hand” and their impartiality goes out the window. They therefore cannot, with integrity, preside over the discussion which follows and their major role is to fairly and impartially preside.

Andrea also asks – What law this is held under?

There is no law as such, it is custom and good governance. Most meeting procedure authorities agree that the presiding person should not move motions from the chair.

Please Note: The author accepts no responsibility for anything which occurs directly or indirectly as a result of using any of the suggestions or procedures detailed in this blog. All suggestions and procedures are provided in good faith as general guidelines only and should be used in conjunction with relevant legislation, constitutions, rules, laws, by-laws, and with reasonable judgement.


This Post Has 18 Comments

  1. JUANITA

    My understanding is this: A person (secretary or treasurer) cannot move that the report they have just presented be ccepted. Please let me know of the proper procedure.

    thanks

  2. JUANITA

    My understanding is this: A person (secretary or treasurer) cannot move that the report they have just presented be accepted. Please let me know of the proper procedure.

    thanks

  3. Ian Robertson

    In my experience it is common practice for the presenter of a report to a meeting, at the the end of discussions then says ” I move that the report be accepted”. It is then seconded by another person and put to the vote.

    For example, this procedure is followed by the Treasurer of our Probus Club when he presents the current financial status at the monthly general of members.

  4. Claire Frey

    As president of my condo, I made a motion to approve the upcoming budget. At our last meeting, I was challenged to say that I should not have made that motion. It was approved.

    Is there a corrective action I can do?

    Thank you.

  5. itinthenhs

    I love your useful post. great contribution. I hope you produce others. I will carry on subscribing

  6. Valerie

    If the President moves a motion on an important, or any, issue, does this motion have to be seconded?

  7. L Scott

    Thank you for this providing this comment section.

    I am trying to find reference to whether or not a member, being an apology for a meeting, can move a motion at that meeting.

    I believe they cannot but would like to see your answer please.

  8. Brian G

    There doesn’t seem to be a definitive answer to Juanita’s question so I’ll pose:
    Is the Treasurer the appropriate person to put the motion given the (vested?) interest that the person (Treasurer) has in getting his report passed – inferring that the finances as presented are accurate?
    Would appreciate clarification – Thanks

    1. walktall

      The person putting the motion is simply doing that – putting forward a motion. The meeting decides.
      I suggest though, that best practice is for someone other than the treasurer to move that their report be accepted. It just removes any doubts that you rightly point ut may exist.

  9. Linda Johnson

    When chairing a meeting can the chair make a motion from his position as chair?

  10. Thomas

    Can a President of a Club/Committee appoint a chairman (other than himself to chair a meeting?

    1. David Price

      If the rules do not disallow it, then yes. It is often a smart thing to do.
      I chair lots of meetings for groups where the chair is not confident.

  11. Emma

    Wooow. I love this. The question and your approach to answering it. Thanks

  12. Bobby Woods

    When chairing a meeting can the chair discussion a motion

  13. Erik U. Maenpaa

    The chairman of a meeting needs to be impartial to a question being debated/deliberated. In the event that a chairman has a point of pertinent information to offer to the debate, he/she must turn the meeting over to the next highest ranking office ie. the Vice President. The Vice President will continue conducting the meeting for the duration of the debate/deliberation of the question. Afer the question has been decided, the chairman can again assume the role of the chair.

  14. Martin L

    I wish I’d seen this dicussion in 2014 – so I’ll refer you to Brian G’s comment of 19 November 2014:

    The Treasurer presents the financial statement. The meeting is being told “This is the state of the finances.” If the Treasurer does not back the figures that have been provided, why should anybody else? In fact, how can anybody else recommend the financial statements to the meeting when the mover may not have seen the figures before?If the treasurer is not prepared to clearly demonstrate support of the financial report, I would be worried. The Treasurer MUST (in my opinion) move the motion of acceptance.

    1. David Price

      Having the Treasurer move the motion to accept the financials has no more weight than anyone else moving it. But, there should be concrete evidence that the figurea are correct so seeing bank statements is important to show the balances. It is good practice to have someone apart from the treasurer log on to the bank and check the balances. A smart treasurer would insist on it to make sure there was no doubt as to their propriety.

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