The basic principle underlying conflict of interest is easy to state but applying it in real-life cases can be complicated. In a nutshell, when you accept a position on a local government body or a nonprofit board, you are obliged to put the interests of the organization above your own personal interest, and you can’t…

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Updated February 17, 2020   Counting a vote wrong can land you in big trouble. As readers know, the QUORUM is the minimum number of voting members who must be present for business to be done. Once you have your quorum in place, you can take action by discussion and voting. (Read “what is a quorum”…

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When deciding about recording votes in meeting minutes, first review any legal requirements in your state of incorporation. For instance, in California, public bodies must record how each board member cast her vote by name in the minutes. Those requirements may settle the matter for you. If your state doesn’t specify how to record the…

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A council member called me recently with one of the most common errors people make about Robert’s Rules of Order. She said, “We have a really controversial vote coming up, and if someone abstains, that counts as a ‘yes’ vote, right?” No, it doesn’t. Under Robert’s Rules of Order, you can vote “aye” or you…

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