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Question: Special meetings, Executive Meetings and general meetings

Could someone please define each one of these for me? Our PTO needs the President to turn over all Treasurer items (i.e. checkbook, ledger, receipts and give our Treasurer access to the bank acct) and because of the need for that meeting, we have decided to have another to amend our By Laws. Which meeting is which and what is standard procedure for how many days notice and do we invite non- Board members to participate?


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Advice from PTO Today

Craig writes:
A general meeting is a regular meeting of your membership. An executive board meeting is a meeting of your board. A special meeting is a meeting of either your general membership or the board called at a time other than your regular meetings and usually to discuss a specific topic. Another term you might have heard is executive session. An executive sessions is a closed meeting of the board. It usually occurs during a public meeting when the board needs to discuss something private, like personnel issues. PTOs rarely need to use executive session. As far as proper notice for a meeting, I don't know if there's a standard. It's good practice to be able to announce your next meeting at the previous one. For special meetings, it's conceivable that you might need to get people together within a few days. That's easier with your board than with your larger membership. I'd say as a rule, a week is enough notice for a general meeting and two or three days for a board meeting. Keep in mind that you need a quorum present at any meeting to do business. Amending your bylaws is done at a general meeting. Your bylaws should spell out a procedure for amending them. Typically, bylaws amendments require a two-thirds vote.
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cyrisez writes:
Thank you. Could you clarify this for me then please? If the Treasurer, Secretary and Vice President are asking the President to relinquish all of the Treasurers reports, receipts, checkbook, etc. would we be calling an Executive Meeting or Session?
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Advice from PTO Today

Craig writes:
I'm not sure that needs to be done at a meeting -- it's more like an administrative task. But if you want to have it on record, do it first at a board meeting.
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Community Advice

cyrisez writes:
Thank you.
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sunshinecowgill writes:
Our By-Laws spell out how much notice is required for each type of meeting and what quorum must be present. In the case of a board meeting or special meeting, it's something like 48 hours or something. The By-Laws also specify that "meeting" can include a conference call and don't have to be in person. In our case, we also use group emails, and save the date-stamped emails as evidence of votes. Your By-Laws may have the answer right there.
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cyrisez writes:
thank you.
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domsdaughter writes:
Is it appropriate for a pto to only include parents in 4 meetings throughout the year? Our pto is keeping the monthly meetings as strictly board meetings. Also, should the bylaws be put where anyone can read them? I am a member of the board (co-vice president) and I have never seen a copy of the bylaws
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Advice from PTO Today

Craig writes:
You don't have to have monthly membership meetings -- it's OK to use the system that works best for your group. Monthly meetings are certainly most common, but a lot of groups have fewer.

However, you do have to follow your bylaws. If the bylaws require monthly meetings, you should amend the bylaws before making the change. (A typical clause would be at least x general membership meetings a year.)

Regarding having the bylaws available, yes, they should be available to everyone. Unfortunately, it's not unusual for groups to be unable to locate a copy. We do recommend giving a copy to all officers and committee chairs, and making the bylaws readily available to anyone else who's interested.
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