Dear Dinosaur Advice Column

Got questions about Robert's Rules of Order? Ann Macfarlane is a dinosaur who knows her stuff. She explains the complexity of Robert's Rules so it makes sense. She loves hearing from readers with their questions about Robert's Rules of Order.

Can we pull back an item that was postponed two months ahead?

© CanStock Photo/andrewgenn

Dear Dinosaur: At our December board meeting, the board postponed an agenda item to early February. Is there any proper way to pull the item back early?

Answer: Interestingly enough, Robert’s Rules allows an item to be postponed only to the next meeting, if it falls within a quarterly interval. You can read more about postpone in our article, Table, Postpone, or Postpone Indefinitely.

Jurassic Parliament thinks that this is too restrictive. We encourage boards to pass a “special rule of order” saying that they may postpone to a further date.

The motion to postpone to a definite time may be used to postpone a motion to a time that is further away than the next meeting, provided that it is within a quarterly interval (3 months).

You can read more about this in our blog post, Extra rules to add to Robert’s Rules.

There is nothing set in stone about future scheduling. It would be fine for you to move that the item previously postponed to March should be considered at an earlier date.

Dear Dinosaur provides simple, practical answers to questions about Robert’s Rules and parliamentary procedure. Send your questions to Dear Dinosaur here. Our answers are based on Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised, 12th edition. As always, nothing in this post constitutes legal or business advice. For specific issues, seek a qualified authority.

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Ann Macfarlane

Ann G. Macfarlane is a Professional Registered Parliamentarian. She offers an interactive and user-friendly way to master the key points for effective, efficient and fair meetings. Her background as a diplomat and Russian translator enables her to connect with elected officials and nonprofit board directors and give them the tools they need for success. She is the author of Mastering Council Meetings: A guidebook for elected officials and local governments.