High Council Meeting
The High Council currently meets once a week on Sunday evenings at 9pm EST on the New OutRiders Discord server. The first Sunday of each month is the "Business Meeting" where branch leaders give their Duchy Reports.
The frequency and location of HC Meetings has changed over time. There have been monthly meetings, bi-monthly meetings and the weekly schedule used today. The first HC meetings were held ingame on TSoY or in another chat area on INN. After departing INN, mIRC, MSN messenger and Teamspeak 3 have been employed.
The protocol of HC Meetings is based largely upon Robert's Rules of Parliamentary Procedure.
Each meeting has a "Chair" which moderates the meeting. Custom is for the HC members to rotate through this duty on a monthly basis in alphabetical order. The Chair may:
- Set the agenda;
- Call for a vote;
- Open or close discussion on a vote;
- Close a que.
Most meetings will follow a regular Agenda as follows:
- Duchy Reports, this is for Business Meetings only, the 1st Sunday of each month.
- Open Forum, an opportunity to say whatever you have to say about anything. This should be more general, less specific. A good example of a topic or remark for Open Forum would be, "I am concerned about the lag on the forums." - or "Has anyone else noticed a server 500 error on the forums lately?", but a proposed solution to this problem (if there is one) would be discussed in New Business. This can also be used for promotions at Meetings, Awards, etc.
- Old Business, is anything issue or matter requiring discussion that was raised in a previous meeting
- New Business, an issue that has not yet been addressed to the membership or the High Council, an example would be, opening a new branch, closing an old one, promoting an officer, etc.
- Attendees declare their desire to address the HC regarding the current topic by typing a "!" in order to be recognized and enter the que to be given the floor;
- To declare a different topic than that being discussed they type a "?";
- Speakers yield the floor by typing "<d>" or "Done" or some clear indication that they have finished speaking.
- A quorum must be present to call a vote. A quorum is greater than 51% of the seated members. For example, the current HC has six members. Four must be present to comprise a quorum.
- Voting is generally restricted to seated High Council members, but in matters specifically relating to a particular branch, the branch leader is often given a vote.
- Any seated High Council member may make a motion. They must still declare their intentions to speak by typing a "!" and be called upon by the Chair.
- A motion must be "seconded" by another seated member of the HC to be called to a vote.
- Once seconded, the Chair will call for Discussion prior to taking the roll.
- Once Discussion is concluded or closed, the Chair will call for the vote. HC votes are typically simple up or down affairs. Affirmatives stating "Aye" or "Yay" and dissenters saying "Nay". A member may also "Abstain" from a vote in which case their vote is not counted as either an Aye or Nay, but leaves the quorum intact.
- Proxies may be given, but may not constitute a quorum.
The vast majority of votes of the High Council are simple procedural votes or even so-called "rubber stamp" votes, such as in instances of readmitting members.
Some votes are quite complex and may be worked out prior to the vote even being called, sometimes for days or even weeks before the meeting. This is particularly true of revisions to the guild documents, where the precise wording is entered into the language of the motion and may require several renditions before the actual vote is called.
New observers have remarked that this procedure during meetings seems overly formal and needlessly ponderous. In the guild's experience; however, High Councils have sometimes consisted of 10 or more seated members; or members have attended the meetings in great numbers. With fifteen, twenty, or even more individuals in attendance the need for these rules quickly become apparent particularly if a discussion turns heated.
It is desirable to maintain some order and to provide a system that allows everyone who wishes to speak to be heard. While debates can become quite animated, the discipline imposed upon the meetings provides a steady grounding.
- Longest HC meeting on record appears to be June 4th, 2006, with the open meeting lasting 2 hours and 40 minutes and a closed meeting following that lasted 28 minutes, for a combined total of over three hours;
High Council Recess Schedule
- Any Sunday 3 or less days, either side of New Years day.
- Superbowl Sunday
- Valentines day when said holiday occurs on a Sunday.
- Easter Sunday.
- Mothers Day.
- The Sunday adjacent to the US Holiday, Memorial Day.
- Fathers Day.
- The closest Sunday to July 4th when the said date occurs on any day Thursday-Tuesday.
- Any sunday in August that the High Council will not have a Quorum. (Dates will be posted on the forums no later then the last day of July)
- The Sunday adjacent to the US Holiday, Labor Day.
- Halloween when said holiday occurs on a Sunday or Monday.
- The Sunday following the US Thanksgiving Holiday.
- Any Sunday 3 or less days, either side of Christmas Day
Established by the High Council December 13th 2015