How Do I Handle a Missed Meeting or Missed Election Meeting?

One of the more important dates for all PTA units is the annual election meeting. This association meeting is where officers for the upcoming term will be elected. Your unit bylaws specify the date of your annual election meeting in Article V, Section 7 and then again in Article VII, Section 2. Most units hold their annual election meetings in the spring, typically February or March, but check your bylaws if you’re not sure. New officers typically take office on July 1st.

If you hold your meetings and elections on time, then great! Good job! Take a bow!

But what if you missed the date, or were unable to hold your election on the date specified in the bylaws? What if you simply missed a regularly scheduled association meeting, or need to move it because of a holiday or closure?

Not to worry! We have you covered. First, let’s look at the relevant bylaws passages that give you the process here:

Article VII – Association Meetings

Section 1.

Association meetings are meetings of the general membership. Association meeting dates shall be identified in the Standing Rules of this Association. With the exception of the annual meeting, notice of any change in time or date of regularly scheduled meetings must be given in writing to the entire membership at least ten (10) days in advance. Whenever members are required or permitted to take any action at a meeting, a written notice of the meeting shall be given not less than ten (10) days nor more than ninety (90) days before the date of the meeting to each member who, on the record date for the notice of the meeting, is entitled to vote at such meeting. The written notice shall contain the place, date and time of the meeting and the general nature of the business that the board, at the time of the notice, intends to present for action by the members, but any proper matter may be presented at the meeting for action.

Section 2.

The association meeting in _____ (your date is listed here) shall be the annual election meeting at which time officers shall be elected. At least thirty (30) days prior written notice of the annual election meeting must be given.

Note the sections in bold above. For a regular association meeting, if the date or time changes, you must give notice of the new date/time, in writing, at least ten (10) days in advance of the meeting. For the annual election meeting, that notice must be given thirty (30) days in advance.

These are the rules and procedures, so if you have missed a meeting or election, or you need to move a regularly scheduled meeting, you must make sure you give proper notice to your membership either 10 or 30 days in advance. “Notice” can be via email, Totem mass mailing, written and mailed postcards, or other mechanism that reaches all of your Association members. You don’t need to ensure that it was received, only that it was sent. It is also good practice to announce the new date via a posting by the school, or an email blast, or even a notice taped to the room door, just in case non-members wish to attend.

What about date or time changes that you know well in advance?

These are typically the result of a holiday, a school closure, or some other unavoidable situation. The same rules apply as listed above. Here are a few common scenarios:

1) If you know far enough in advance (say, in January for a March meeting) that the next scheduled date will not work , you can announce at that prior meeting that the (regularly scheduled) meeting will be moved to a new date. Follow up that announcement with proper notice, as mentioned above, to ensure that those who did not attend also hear about the date change. This scenario is likely when someone looks at the calendar at a regular meeting and says “oh, dang, our next meeting isn’t going to work because…” and then you simply address it in that meeting, with a follow-up notice to the full membership.

2) If you become aware that a date change is necessary after a regular meeting, but still farther away than the 10 and 30 day notice requirement, then just announce the new date, again following notice procedures, to the whole membership. This satisfies both the 10 and 30 day notice requirement.

Now for a tricky one…

3) If the (new) date is now within the 10/30 days notice period, then the only options are to [a] handle the business at the next regular meeting or [b] call a special meeting. Generally, it is advised to use the special meeting route, as most units have at least a month or two between regular meetings. Schedule and announce a special meeting. Special meetings are an excellent way to handle tricky scenarios, but you need to advertise it well. Notify all members so that quorum can be obtained. A proper quorum is required for all meetings.

Extra credit!

4) What if you miss the annual election meeting completely?

First, don’t panic. No one is going to send the Parliamentary Police to your unit to demand that someone pay for the oversight. Common sense should prevail! If you missed holding an election meeting, then schedule a special meeting (with that same appropriate notice) and hold it at the first available opportunity. True, this may mean that you miss some important deadline dates for your Council or District, but it’s better than not holding the election at all. Breathe, relax, and reschedule. Remember that a missed election does not require you to immediately schedule one for the next day. In fact, you still need to give the required notice, and then hold the election at the appropriate opportunity.

Of course, if you panic and are not sure of the best approach, you can always contact your council or district parliamentarian for advice. Following the guidelines above enable you to be flexible when needed and your regularly scheduled meeting is no longer “regular.”