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. 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.


  2. 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.


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

  6. I do enjoy the way you have framed this specific challenge and it does offer me some fodder for consideration. However, through everything that I have personally seen, I simply just hope when the actual reviews pack on that men and women continue to be on issue and not get started on a soap box associated with the news du jour. Yet, thank you for this exceptional point and although I can not really agree with the idea in totality, I value the point of view.

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

  8. 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.

  9. 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. 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.

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

  11. Hmm it appears like your site ate my first comment (it was super long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I wrote and
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  12. Can a President of a Club/Committee appoint a chairman (other than himself to chair a meeting?

    1. 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.

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

  14. When chairing a meeting can the chair discussion a motion

  15. 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.

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