Can I be prevented from adding to the agenda?

What Robert's Rules says about making changes to an agenda.

Alan Jennings explains things quite simply on his Robert’s Rules for Dummies site, by stating “at the foundation of every good meeting is a good meeting plan, or agenda. And Mr. Robert is the man with the plan. Robert’s Rules provides your group with a standard order of business, which is simply a sequence for taking up each different class of business.”

A recent question was presented in The National Parliamentarian Volume 9, No. 3 Spring 2018 publication of the National Association of Parliamentarians. The writer explains that after years of running informally, a new president was elected that has implemented new policies and procedures in a more rigid manner. This included the circulation of a meeting agenda beforehand and not allowing new business to be added to the agenda unless it is provided in advance of the meeting. 

According to Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised “RONR” (11th ed.) p 372-373, unless a pre-circulated agenda is formally adopted at the session to which it applies, it is not binding as to detail or order of consideration other than as it lists preexisting orders of the day or conforms to the standard order of business or an order of business prescribed by the rules of the organization.

When the adoption of the agenda is pending, it is subject to amendment by majority vote. After an agenda has been adopted by the assembly, no change can be made in it except by a two-thirds vote, a vote of a majority of the entire membership, or unanimous consent.

Likely, this new president is trying to be efficient and run things according to the agenda so that everyone is prepared well in advance. A conversation prior to the next meeting might be helpful to review the above material, or as a last resort if the presiding officer still refuses to entertain a motion to add to the agenda, a point of order could be raised stating the right to introduce that new business. 

Michigan State University Extension Educators can provide your organization with assistance in learning more about parliamentary procedure.  The Government and Community Vitality team also offers training for elected and appointed officials for improved effectiveness in several areas, including various public policy issues and effects of government programs, regulation, incentives, strategies and more. By working together with local elected and appointed officials, and interested citizens, MSU Extension is able to provide education on critical local and state issues. To contact an expert in your area, visit MSU Extension’s expert search system or call 888-MSUE4MI (888-678-3464).

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