Tuesday, November 8, 2016
‘Dilatory… what does that mean?’
WBAI/Pacifica meetings at all levels invariably invoke Robert’s Rules of Order as to questions of order and procedure.
What, given the profound limitations of WBAI/Pacificans they actually reflect are their own profoundly pervertedly dysfunctional notions of ‘order’ rather than anything that might reasonably be seen as having even the slightest resemblance to Robert’s.
A ghoulish simulacrum, rather.
At the most recent meeting of the Pacifica National Board Audit Committee, 7 November 2016, the following question was posed:
‘Dilatory, what does that mean?’
This very brief sound bite is the actuality.
What does Robert’s actually say, both as to the role of the Chair and to the nature of ‘dilatory’ speech or motions and how they are to be handled?
The duties of the Chair
His duties are generally as follows: To open the session at the time at which the assembly is to meet, by taking the chair and calling the members to order; to announce the business before the assembly in the order in which it is to be acted upon; to recognize members entitled to the floor; to state and to put to vote all questions which are regularly moved, or necessarily arise in the course of the proceedings, and to announce the result of the vote; to protect the assembly from annoyance from evidently frivolous or dilatory motions by refusing to recognize them; to assist in the expediting of business in every way compatible with the rights of the members, as by allowing brief remarks when undebatable motions are pending, if he thinks it advisable; to restrain the members when engaged in debate, within the rules of order; to enforce on all occasions the observance of order and decorum among the members, deciding all questions of order (subject to an appeal to the assembly by any two members) unless when in doubt he prefers to submit the question for the decision of the assembly; to inform the assembly, when necessary, or when referred to for the purpose, on a point of order or practice pertinent to pending business; to authenticate, by his signature, when necessary, all the acts, orders, and proceedings of the assembly declaring its will and in all things obeying its commands.
How dilatory, absurd, or frivolous motions are to be handled
For the convenience of deliberative assemblies, it is necessary to allow some highly privileged motions to be renewed again and again after progress in debate or the transaction of any business, and to allow a single member, by calling for a division, to have another vote taken. If there was no provision for protecting the assembly, a minority of two members could be constantly raising questions of order and appealing from every decision of the chair, and calling for a division on every vote, even when it was nearly unanimous, and moving to lay motions on the table, and to adjourn, and offering amendments that are simply frivolous or absurd. By taking advantage of parliamentary forms and methods a small minority could practically stop the business of a deliberative assembly having short sessions, if there was no provision for such contingency. Congress met it by adopting this rule: "No dilatory motion shall be entertained by the speaker." But, without adopting any rule on the subject, every deliberative assembly has the inherent right to protect itself from being imposed upon by members using parliamentary forms to prevent it from doing the very thing for which it is in session, and which these forms were designed to assist, namely, to transact business. Therefore, whenever the chair is satisfied that members are using parliamentary forms merely to obstruct business, he should either not recognize them, or else rule them out of order. After the chair has been sustained upon an appeal, he should not entertain another appeal from the same obstructionists while they are engaged evidently in trying by that means to obstruct business. While the chair should always be courteous and fair, he should be firm in protecting the assembly from imposition, even though it be done in strict conformity with all parliamentary rules except this one, that no dilatory, absurd, or frivolous motions are allowed.
Note: These quoted sections from Robert's may be found/verified at http://www.robertsrules.org
It’s rather spectacularly clear that no one at WBAI/Pacifica has any more idea as to the purpose and conduct of a meeting than they have as to the purpose and conduct of an organization founded on principles of free speech, education, the arts and public affairs, supported by and responsive to their listeners.