This section is from the book "Hill's Manual Of Social And Business Forms: A Guide To Correct Writing", by Thos. E. Hill. Also available from Amazon: Hill's Manual Of Social And Business Forms: The How-To-Do-Everything Book Of Victorian America.
"The secretary will please read the minutes."
The minutes of the preceding meeting should be as brief as possible, and plainly state the work transacted at the last meeting. At the close of their reading, the president will say:
"You have heard the minutes read; what action will you take on them?"
"It is moved and seconded that the minutes stand approved. All in favor of the motion manifest the same by saying ' Aye !'"
"Those of the contrary opinion, ' No !' "
The formality of a vote on the minutes is dispensed with in many associations, as follows :
At the close of the reading of the minutes, the president says:
"You have heard the reading of the minutes; what action will you take thereon?"
A member says, "I move that the minutes, as read, stand approved."
The president says, "If no objection is offered, the minutes will stand approved."
The president will then promptly call for reports of "standing committees," if there be a standing rule to that effect, "special committees," etc., reports, petitions, etc., from the members, passing in under each head.
New business usually comes in under the head of communications or petitions, and is presented by some member rising to his feet and saying :
" Mr. president (or Mr. chairman)."
The attention of the president having been arrested, he will call the member by name, or designate his number, and announce his willingness for the member to proceed.
If two members should rise at nearly the same time, the president will determine who was first up. If his opinion is appealed from, the matter will be decided by a majority vote of the meeting. Should there be a tie, the president will vote and determine the matter.
A member making a statement relating to some matter, or presenting a communication or petition in writing from some person or persons, such communication or petition should be signed by the petitioner or petitioners.
The member who presents a petition should be so informed of the character of his petition, as to be able to make a plain statement of the nature of its contents, and whether it is worthy of consideration or not.
The person presenting the petition, or some other member, may move that the communication be received, and referred to the committee having charge of that class of business. At the same time, he should give the paper to the secretary.
His motion being seconded, the president will say:
"If no objection is offered, the communication (or petition, as the case may be) is so referred.
The secretary makes note of the fact, and holds the paper in his custody, until given to the proper committee.
If it is desirable to have the petition acted upon at once, the person presenting it offers a motion to that effect, and upon its being seconded it is put to vote by the president, as follows:
"It has 'been moved and seconded that (here the president should so distinctly stale the question that all may understand the proposition before the meeting). All in favor of the motion will manifest the same by saying ' Aye !'"
When the ayes have voted, he will say :
"All opposed to the motion, ' No !'"
Or the motion having just been made, the president may say:
"It has been moved and seconded that (here he states the question) be passed. All in favor of the same, etc."
Frequently the member who makes a motion, for the purpose of placing the ayes and noes of each member on record, will say:
"I move the adoption of the resolution, and that the clerk call the ayes and noes thereon."
The president will then state the question, and say: "The clerk will please call the ayes and noes." As a rule, unless a motion receives a second, the question is not put to vote; the idea being that if a motion does not possess sufficient popularity to secure a second, it is not worth the while to take up the time of the assembly in putting the same to vote.
A motion that has been made and seconded, has next to be stated by the president. Until it is so stated, no action can be taken thereon, as it is not yet before the meeting for discussion. Having been stated, and being before the meeting, it can only be withdrawn by motion and second, the same as it was introduced.
Whenever any member fails to understand the question, the president should state the same for the information of the member, if desired.
The assembly can consider but one question at a time, which should be disposed of before another question can be introduced.
As a rule, to insure the passage of a resolution, it is safest for the person introducing the same to have the proposition plainly reduced to writing (see chapter on resolutions). Thus the clerk or president having occasion to announce the motion, is much more likely to bring the matter clearly before the meeting.
Whether the proposition readily receive the sanction of the assembly or not will depend upon the following conditions :