Our church board has a custom that the pastor (who is the moderator of the elders board) may not make a motion. But recently he was assigned to do some work and bring back a proposal. The question came up how to properly accomplish that. Based on my research and checking with another church that operates similarly to ours, the answer is, when our moderator brings a proposal to the board it is up to one of the other elders to make a motion to take action on the proposal, as appropriate.
My research follows…
§2 – Rules of an assembly or organization: Custom
In some organizations, a particular practice may sometimes come to be followed as a matter of established custom so that it is treated practically as if it were prescribed by a rule. If there is no contrary provision in the parliamentary authority or written rules of the organization, the established custom should be adhered to unless the assembly, by a majority vote, agrees in a particular instance to do otherwise. However, if a customary practice is or becomes in conflict with the parliamentary authority or any written rule, and a Point of Order citing the conflict is raised at any time, the custom falls to the ground, and the conflicting provision in the parliamentary authority or written rule must thereafter be complied with. If it is then desired to follow the former practice a special rule of order (or, in appropriate circumstances, a standing rule or a bylaw provision) can be added or amended to incorporate it.
§48 – Minutes and reports of officers: Reports of executive officers
…In addition to their annual reports, the president and vice-president from time to time may wish or need to report on their activities in connection with administrative duties. Such reports are usually for purposes of information only, but may sometimes contain recommendations calling for action by the assembly…Motions to adopt or implement any recommendations should be made from the floor by a member other than the reporting officer…
§49 Boards: Procedure in small boards
…If the chairman is a member, he may, without leaving the chair, speak in informal discussions and in debate, and vote on all questions.**
**Informal discussion may be initiated by the chairman himself, which, in effect, enables the chairman to submit his own proposals without formally making a motion as described on pages 33-35 (although he has the right to make a motion if he wishes).
- According to the parenthesis of a footnote of Robert’s Rules §49, the chairman of a small board has the right to make a motion himself.
- At Clearnote Church Indianapolis we have an established custom (Robert’s Rules §2) that the moderator (chairman) of the elders board may not make a motion.
- In light of this custom, the applicable parliamentary practice would be that when our moderator brings a proposal to the board it is up to one of the other elders to make a motion to take action on the proposal, as appropriate (Robert’s Rules §48).