A general assembly (GA) is a gathering of all the members of a club and the BOD administrators to make decisions on specific matters, such as the purchase of equipment and the hiring of a new employee. Usually held annually, a GA allows administrators to inform members and members to vote on changes to the organization’s operations.The procedures, listed below, are an abbreviated version of the Code Morin.
TYPES OF GENERAL ASSEMBLIES
- A GA that includes all the usual items of an agenda.
- A GA that includes only those items for which it has been expressly convened.
- An extraordinary GA is not necessarily an emergency assembly.
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE
- A GA studying an item, like a committee, with a view to formulating one or more motions to have an item on the agenda.
A TYPICAL GENERAL ASSEMBLY
BEFORE OF THE ASSEMBLY
The call for a GA must be sent generally 5 days in advance and contain the agenda and all necessary documents (at the latest 48 hours before the GA).
BEFORE THE BEGINNING OF THE ASSEMBLY
- There must be a verification of attendance. Guests do not have the right to vote, they only have the rights granted by the assembly (i.e. speaking, questions and comments).
- There must be a quorum check, the minimum number of members for the GA to validly proceed. If the quorum is no longer present, the GA ends immediately, but what has been decided remains valid.
- A member must be nominated to chair the GA if there is no nominated member.
CHAIRING THE ASSEMBLY:
- Opens the GA and then conducts and moderates it
- Calls the items on the agenda
- Distributes the speaking rights to the speakers:
- Who has never intervened in the current debate (they have priority)
- Who has already intervened
- Decides on the admissibility of motions and questions
- Clearly states the motions submitted to the GA
- Calls the vote and announces the result
- Must be impartial, except in the case of a tie vote (must decide whether the motion is accepted or not)
- Cannot intervene in the debate (neither submit, nor support, nor fight a motion)
- Decides on the rules
- Ensures that order is maintained and that the rules are respected
- Applies the sanctions provided for whenever it deems it necessary:
- Order to remove certain words
- Suspension of the right to speak for a limited time
- Order to leave the room
- Expulsion by force
If the number of members is very small or if the chair is a voting member, it is acceptable for the chair to express her/his opinion and to intervene on the substance of the debate, even to move or second a motion, without leaving the chair.
If the chair has a voting right, she/he may choose not to exercise this right.
If the chair wishes to speak as a member of the GA, she/he must relinquish the chair and be temporarily replaced by another participant.
BEGINNING OF THE ASSEMBLY
1. Appointment of a secretary
- The secretary shall keep the minutes.
2. Presentation of the agenda
- The agenda is created by the President, the Secretary or an Executive Committee.
- Deferred business, which was not completed at the last GA, takes precedence over new business.
- When presented by the Executive Committee, the proposed agenda does not require a seconder.
3. Adoption of the agenda
- The agenda must be as presented in the call for a GA.
- Changes to the agenda require a majority vote.
4. Approval of minutes
- No motions can be received at this point.
- The minutes shall reflect those motions duly accepted/supported by the President.
- The minutes may not revisit a past GA, but may request the recording of an item or motion.
- The minutes are not a transcript of the GA and can only be adopted by the members present at the assembly to which they refer.
5. Business arising from the minutes (if any)
6. Information period (if applicable)
7. Question period (if applicable)
8. Deferred business (if applicable)
9. New Business
- This is the call of the first item.
10. Call for the second item
11. Call for the third item
12. Calling for other items
- Each item must be called in order and one at a time.
13. Varia (i.e., other businesses)
14. Adjournment and closing of the assembly
DURING THE ASSEMBLY
- A GA can only debate if it has a motion before it, otherwise the GA must go into a committee of the whole, for the purpose of making a motion or moving on to the next item.
- The chair judges the admissibility of a proposal according to its relevance, and to be received by the GA, a proposal must have a seconder (a voting member) as well as the mover.
- The identification of the mover and seconder must be part of the motion
A motion is a statement that allows the GA to make a decision. The GA decides through motions, which are usually composed of a series of recitals followed by a motion itself. The recitals present the cause of a motion or the arguments in favor of a motion.
“Considering how critical our upcoming decisions are to the future of our NPO, I move that we use the assembly procedures known as the Code Morin.”
TYPES OF MOTIONS
A motion specifically related to an agenda item. There are four types of ordinary motions.
1. Main motion
- A seconded motion concerning the issue under discussion, which becomes the property of the GA and it can only decide on the motion.
2. Amendment motion
- A motion to amend a main motion, which is in order even if it changes the nature of a main motion as long as it does not deviate from the subject.
3. Subamendment motion
- A motion to amend the amendment motion. This is an addition or deletion to amend the amendment.
4. Rescinding or Reconsidering a Vote
- A motion that requires a notice of motion usually at the previous GA and at the latest at the beginning of the GA, before it goes on the agenda. Only one notice of motion may be given on any one item during the GA.
A motion that has the effect of avoiding or precluding discussion, postponing or ending debate.
A motion related to the consideration of other motions. It serves to decide or define the modalities of discussion or voting and suspends the debate on the main motion.
A motion that directly or indirectly affects the rights of the assembly or its members and takes precedence over other motions because of its importance/urgency.
WITHDRAWAL OF A MOTION
The member who has made a motion may withdraw it whenever before the vote. Since a motion is the property of the GA, it requires the consent of the seconder and the unanimous consent of the GA.
A motion that has been passed on by the assembly (i.e., passed, amended, defeated or referred to a committee).
NOTICE OF MOTION
A privileged motion that seeks to rescind a previous decision or reconsider a vote. The notice of motion must have been announced and recorded in the minutes of the previous GA, does not require a seconder and cannot be amended. The member who made the notice of a motion must make a motion at the next GA. The notice of motion must be passed on the merits of reconsidering the decision before anything else is proposed in its place.
QUESTION OF PRIVILEGE
Invoked when the reputation of an individual, the GA or the NPO is under attack. Can be invoked at whenever except when a vote is in progress or when someone else is speaking. In the case of an emergency, the chair will decide whether or not to accept a motion.
ORDER OF MOTION PRIORITY
- A privileged motion has priority over any other category of motion.
- An incidental motion that affects the content or form of the proceedings has priority over a dilatory and ordinary motion.
- A dilatory motion has priority over an ordinary motion.
- Within a category, a higher-ranking motion has priority.
- A subamendment has priority over an amendment.
- An amendment has priority over a main motion.
- No motion may be received during a vote.
- A vote may be taken only if five members have taken part in the debate.
- Any member may register a dissent before the end or adjournment of the GA.
- A vote, by default, is always taken by a show of hands, unless it concerns a member. In that case, a secret ballot shall be taken.
- When a vote is called, no motion may be made except to request a roll call vote or a secret ballot.
- A vote may be requested by a member who is not a mover, seconder or by a member who has not taken part in the debate.
- The secretary shall record all names and votes.
- The chair checks to see if there is a request for a vote when there is no one left, if there are no requests, the resolution is passed unanimously.
- The chair informs the GA of the number of speakers on the list and invites the mover to withdraw the request for a vote, before asking if there is a seconder.
- If the mover does not withdraw his/her request for a vote, the chair asks the GA if they are ready to vote. This preliminary question does not interrupt a person who has the floor.
- Two thirds of the members must be ready to vote without further discussion.
- If the preliminary question is defeated, the GA must wait until at least five members have spoken since the question was defeated, before the question is put up again.
- A member who has moved or seconded the preliminary question may not move or second it again in the same debate.
- If the preliminary question is accepted, a motion shall be put to a vote without further discussion.
- The chair shall take a roll call to have each member of the GA publicly state whether they are FOR, AGAINST or ABSTAINING.
SUMMARY OF THE DECISION-MAKING PROCESS
- One person makes a clearly worded motion.
- Another person seconds the motion.
- The motion is recorded in the minutes.
- The secretary reads the motion to the GA.
- There is a debate.
- The secretary reads the motion back to the GA before the vote if the debate continues.
- The preliminary question is asked (is the assembly ready to vote?).
- There is a vote.