1.1 Roles in Leading and Coordinating the Business Meeting
Given that we plan to hold one Regional Assembly business meeting in four different physical sites, let’s refer to Bloomington, Indiana as the “chair site,” and refer to the other three as “non-chair sites.”
At each of the non-chair sites, we should have two Board members present, one designated as Site Chair and the other as Site Credentials Officer.
At the chair site, in addition to the Region President as Meeting Chair, we should also have two other Board members, designated respectively as Site Chair and as Meeting Credentials Officer. The latter would also serve as Site Credentials Officer for the chair site. The chair-site would also have the Parliamentarian, who would be someone from outside the Board.
In addition, each site would also have a (non-Board) person designated as the Site Business Communicator, responsible for monitoring the status of the meeting, such as speakers at pro/con/procedural mikes, status of the meeting communications technology, and anything unusual that a physically removed Meeting Chair might want to know about. These four Communicators would be in communication with each other during the meeting, perhaps via a conference call line or text messaging.
|-||Topeka, KS||Wausau, WI||Bloomington, IN||Ann Arbor, MI|
|Meeting Chair||------||------||Bill Sasso||------|
|Site Chair||Charlotte Preston||Kathy Burek||Amy Taylor||Tom Sommerfeld|
|Credentials Officer||David Martin||Erin McElroy*||Eric Huffer||Cindy Landrum|
None of the roles above should be taken on by the Regional Staff Team, since they will have a lot else to be responsible for and may also need to be available as speakers in the meeting itself.
1.2. Voting Procedures
A vote will be called by the Meeting Chair, but the voting process at each site will be conducted by the Site Chair. When a vote is called, we will use a phased process. In the first phase, a visual report from each site will be communicated to the chair-site. After all reports have been received, the Meeting Chair will announce each site’s result. If these results leave room for uncertainty in the judgment of the Meeting Chair, the second phase will entail a counted vote at every site. Counted votes will be conducted at each site simultaneously under the supervision of the Site Chairs. When each site has completed its voting process, its results will be communicated to the chair-site. When all results have been received at the chair-site, the Meeting Chair will announce the individual site results and the overall result.
1.3. Process for Business Submitted by Congregational Action
Context: The MidAmerica Bylaws (Article IV, Section 5, Business Submitted by Congregational Action) state that "Member congregations wishing to have business considered by the Annual Meeting shall do so following a process to be determined by the Board and communicated to the member congregations."
Regional Business Submission Process: A congregation in good standing may propose an item of business for consideration by the 2014 Annual Business Meeting of the MidAmerica Region in the following manner.
- The leadership of the congregation should contact the Region President or Vice-President for a preliminary discussion of how the proposed item of business relates to the authority and jurisdiction of the Region.
- The item should be formally proposed by vote of the congregation’s governing board or its membership.
- The proposed item should be formally endorsed by at least four additional congregations in good standing, in each case by vote of the congregation’s governing board or its membership.
- The proposed business item and the endorsements should be received by the Region President or Vice-President by March 1.
- Upon certification by the MidAmerica Board that the business item is within the authority and jurisdiction of the Region, it will be added to the agenda of the Annual Meeting.
- Social justice statements on issues specifically affecting our region;
- Proposed business for the 2015 UUA General Assembly Business Agenda;
- Policies affecting the governance of the Region and/or its congregations; or
- Other business appropriate for consideration by the Regional Assembly.
2.1. Rules of Procedure
Consideration of and action upon items must proceed in the order set forth in the Final Agenda unless during the meeting that order is changed by majority vote.
RULE 2. PARTICIPATION IN DEBATE
Speakers recognized by the President shall identify themselves by name and congregational affiliation. Participation in debate is limited to delegates. The President may waive this requirement.
RULE 3. MEANS OF VOTING
So long as a quorum is present, action on any question, unless the Bylaws otherwise provide, will proceed by vote of the delegates. A vote will be called by the President, but the voting process at each site will be conducted by the Site Chair. When a vote is called, we will use a phased process. In the first phase, a visual report from each site will be communicated to the President. After all reports have been received, the President will announce each site’s result. If, in the judgment of the President, these results leave room for uncertainty, the second phase will entail a counted vote at every site. Counted votes will be conducted at each site simultaneously under the supervision of the Site Chairs. When each site has completed its voting process, its results will be communicated to the President. When all results have been received at the chair-site, the President will announce the individual site results and the overall result. The required proportion of votes cast by delegates to approve any action or resolution will be as set forth in the Bylaws or these Rules of Procedure.
RULE 4. PRESENTATION OF ITEMS
The provisions of Rule 5 notwithstanding, the Board will, at its discretion, either move the item as printed on the Final Agenda or move an amended version of the item.
RULE 5. AMENDMENTS
Except for clarifying amendments, amendments to the main motion and motions to refer, table or to call the question will not be in order until there has been at least ten minutes of debate, if that much is needed, on the merits of the main question as moved. No amendment or other change to any motion under consideration will be entertained unless it is submitted in writing. However, the President may waive this requirement.
RULE 6. TIME LIMITS
The following time limits are imposed on all business transacted by the assembly. If, however, there is no objection from the floor, the President may grant minor extensions of time. Any time limits imposed by this rule may be extended by a two-thirds vote.
a) No person may speak on any motion for more than two minutes, and not more than once, so long as there are others who have not spoken who desire the floor, except that persons having special information may, with the permission of the President, reply to questions.
b) Twenty minutes is allowed for discussion of any proposed bylaw amendment, rule change, resolution, or action on a report that is on or admitted to the Final Agenda, unless the time limit is extended in the manner provided in the first paragraph of this Rule 6. Whenever possible, the discussion time will be equally divided by proponents and opponents and by the alternate recognition of Pro and Con speakers.
c) A motion to call the previous question on the main motion shall not be in order if there are potential speakers at both Pro and Con microphones and the original or extended time for discussion has not expired. A motion to call the previous question on a motion to amend the main motion is in order after 8 minutes of discussion concerning the amendment.
RULE 7. MULTI-SITE ORDER OF SPEAKING
The President will rotate recognition of speakers across the various sites, alternating pro and con speakers.
RULE 8. COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE
At any stage of the meeting, the President, without a vote of the assembly, at the President's discretion from time to time may order the meeting resolved into a Committee of the Whole or reconvened in regular Session. While the meeting is acting as a Committee of the Whole, the following Special Rule will apply: The President, without a vote of the Committee of the Whole, may permit reconsideration of any action taken by the Committee of the Whole and other departures of the Rules of Parliamentary Procedure if it appears to them that the work of the Committee of the Whole will thereby be expedited. When the assembly is reconvened, the only motion in order will be to adopt the recommendation of the Committee of the Whole. A motion recommended by the Committee of the Whole will not be subject to amendment, debate, or delay.
RULE 9. PROCESS REGARDING MULTI-SITE COMMUNICATIONS DIFFICULTIES
The 2014 MidAmerica Region Annual Meeting will be conducted as a multi-site, virtual meeting. Given that we rely on communications technology to meet in four physically remote sites, should we experience difficulties with inter-site communications, the following rules will apply.
a) If any site loses primary communication capabilities, the Meeting will automatically recess for five (5) minutes to attempt to reconnect the primary communication services. The President will announce the situation and recess to the sites still in communication. In the event that the President is located at the site that has lost primary communications, the Vice-President will announce the situation and recess to the sites still in communication.
b) If primary communications have not been successfully restored after five minutes, but secondary communications remain operational, the meeting will continue with the site experiencing difficulties using secondary communications capabilities. If the President is at the site experiencing difficulties, the Vice-President will assume responsibility to chair the remainder of the multi-site meeting.
c) If the status of secondary communications is ambiguous after five minutes, the President may (1) resume the meeting, (2) extend the recess, or (3) adjourn the meeting.
d) Should one (or more) site(s) experience a complete failure of all communications capabilities, the President will notify the other sites of the situation, and after the five-minute recess, the meeting will continue, with those sites in communication with each other meeting together as a multi-site, virtual meeting, and the other site(s) meeting independently, conducted by the Site Chair(s). In this case, business will be limited to that included on the Final Agenda, and no amendments will be in order at either the multi-site virtual meeting or the independent meeting(s). When in effect, this Rule 9(d) will supersede elements of Rules 1, 3, 5, 8, (above) and 10 (below) that would allow changes to these rules or to the Final Agenda and its component business items. In this situation, all votes at these meetings will be held as counted votes, and will be tabulated and reported by the MidAmerica Board of Trustees as soon as possible.
e) In the event that the synthesis of votes taken on a motion essential to the programs, services, and/or integrity of the MidAmerica Region is somehow ambiguous, the MidAmerica Board of Trustees is empowered to resolve the ambiguity in a manner that attempts to honor the intentions of the delegates as the Board understands them. Any ambiguous outcomes that are not considered essential will be referred to the subsequent MidAmerica Region Annual Meeting for resolution.
RULE 10. AMENDING THE RULES OF PROCEDURE
These Rules of Procedure will be adopted by a two-thirds vote and may be amended, suspended, or repealed during the course of the assembly only by a two-thirds vote.
2.2. Approval of the Minutes
Per MidAmerica Region Bylaws, Article VI, Section 8, “Minutes of Regional Business Meetings,” the minutes of each Business Meeting of the Region will be approved by the Regional Board within three (3) months of the Business Meeting during a regular Board meeting.
2.3. Delegate Credentials
The Bylaws of the MidAmerica Region of the UUA state that congregations have the same numbers of membership-based delegates at the Regional Annual Business Meeting as are permitted at the UUA General Assembly. The MidAmerica Bylaws also grant delegate status to the following persons engaged by a congregation: (a) any minister in fellowship with the UUA; (b) any other individual credentialed by the UUA (religious education professionals, musicians); and (c) any employed religious education director. Delegate status is also conferred on any minister emeritus/emerita so designated by February 1, 2014. Members of the Church of the Larger Fellowship (CLF) resident in MidAmerica are afforded one delegate for every 50 CLF members, or fraction thereof. Details can be found in Article III; Section 3 of the MidAmerica Region Bylaws. Delegate cards in the appropriate numbers will be mailed to congregations prior to the Annual Business Meeting – watch for a large, bright-colored envelope. Delegates must bring their delegate credentials to the Annual Business Meeting site of their choice and register for their voting credentials no later than 60 minutes before the business meeting begins.
Voting materials will be made available on the Governance page of the MidAmerica website by approximately March 13.
For further information, please contact Lisa Presley, Congregational Life Consultant, at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Frequently Asked Questions about Delegate Credentials
When should we receive our Delegate Credential Cards? The Delegate Credential Cards will be mailed to your church office about March 13.
When will delegates receive voting materials? Voting materials will be emailed to all those registered for the Regional Assembly by March 13, and will also be available on the MidAmerica website on March 13.
How many delegates is each congregation entitled to send to Annual Business Meeting? The list on the next page, sorted alphabetically by state and then city, shows the number of delegates each congregation may send to Annual Meeting. It also includes the number of professional delegates. Should you believe that the number of either type of delegate is in error, please contact Lisa Presley, Congregational Life Consultant, at email@example.com.
How is the number of delegates determined? The Region follows the same formula as does the UUA for member congregation delegates when determining delegates for General Assembly – “certified member congregations are entitled to that number of such delegates determined as follows: the number of delegates of a certified member congregation shall be equal to the number of members of the congregation divided by fifty, plus one delegate for any fraction remaining; provided that each certified member congregation shall be entitled to at least two delegates.” Professionals serving congregations are entitled to be delegates in addition to the above member delegates, provided they are in fellowship, are credentialed by the UUA, or are employed as religious education directors. As well, ministers emeritus/emerita awarded such standing by February 1, 2014, are also entitled to delegate credentials. Congregations must be in good standing with the Region, which is signified by a financial contribution to the Region or one of the predecessor Districts during the previous fiscal year (July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013).
How are membership numbers determined for each congregation? The congregational membership is reported/certified with the UUA in February each year. The number of certified members as reported by February 1, 2014, is used to determine number of member delegates for each congregation for the April 2014 Regional Business Meeting. If a congregation fails to certify by February 1, 2014, the last number so certified will stand as its membership number.
A LIST OF CONGREGATIONS WITH NUMBERS OF MEMBER DELEGATES AND PROFESSIONAL DELEGATES ALLOWED:
 Part 1 of this process, comprising items 1.1, 1.2, and 1.3, was adopted by the MidAmerica Region Board of Trustees at its meeting on 11/16/2013 and was posted on the Governance page of the MidAmerica website, as well as mentioned in the Region President's letter to congregational leaders (November, 2013). Part 2 --including items 2.1, 2.2, and 2.3 -- was adopted at the Board's meeting on 1/23/2014, and was posted on the Governance page of the MidAmerica website in early February.