Adams Stirling PLC


QUESTION: If an item is tabled at a regular board meeting, can it be acted on at the next meeting under old business?

ANSWER: Tabling a motion simply delays a vote on the motion. For example, a motion is made and seconded to hire the ABC Company to paint the buildings. During the discussion, the company's insurance is questioned and the board tables the matter pending clarification of coverage. If the insurance question is not answered before the end of the meeting, the matter is carried over to the next meeting and listed under "Unfinished Business" on the board's agenda.

Lay on the Table. A motion to "table" an item of business takes precedence over a main motion. It must be seconded and approved by a majority of directors. (Robert's Rules, 11th ed., p. 210-212.) More often than not, it is done informally when there appears to be a consensus by board members that action on a particular matter should be delayed, at which point the president states, if there is no objection, the matter is tabled. If a majority of the board disagrees, the matter is not tabled.

Take From the Table. To bring a tabled motion back for active consideration is to "Take from the Table" (Robert's Rules, 11th ed., p. 213), which can be done by any director and needs to be seconded and approved by a majority vote. (Robert's Rules, 11th ed., p. 301). This is not the same as a motion for reconsideration. If the issue is listed on the next meeting's agenda, most boards simply take up the matter when they reach that point in the agenda without the need for a formal motion to "take from the table." The original motion to hire the ABC Company is then voted as-is or the motion can be withdrawn or revised.

Agenda Posted. For open meetings, if the board contemplates discussion or action on a tabled motion, it must be listed on the agenda and posted at least four days in advance of the meeting.

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Adams Stirling PLC