Robert's Rules Motion to Fix the Time to Which to Adjourn - dummies

Robert’s Rules Motion to Fix the Time to Which to Adjourn

By C. Alan Jennings, PRP, PRP

The motion to Fix the Time to Which to Adjourn is the one that can be made at just about any time, no matter what else is before your meeting.

It may become clear at some point in the meeting that you need more time if you’re to get everything accomplished that you intended. And you don’t want to wait until the next regular meeting to finish things up.

You may be dealing with elections or just an overloaded agenda. You may not even have another regular meeting scheduled for a long time. When you find yourself in this situation, you want to provide for an adjourned meeting.

An adjourned meeting refers to a meeting that continues the same order of business, or agenda, that wasn’t concluded in an earlier meeting. It’s a separate meeting, in one sense, but it’s technically a continuation of the same meeting.

The adjourned meeting mostly takes care of important business that shouldn’t (or mustn’t) wait until the next regular meeting, but that can’t go forward in the current meeting because of a lack of time (or perhaps a lack of a quorum).

As soon as you realize that the work ahead of you is likely to consume more time than you have, the time is right to offer the motion to Fix the Time to Which to Adjourn. It’s privileged when it’s made while other business is pending, and because it’s the highest-ranking motion, it takes precedence over just about everything, including a pending motion to Adjourn.

That last little inclusion is great because it gives you or other judicious members of your organization one last chance to keep your good ideas alive and within reach of the membership before the next regular meeting. This consideration means a lot in the case of a group that meets only quarterly (or even less often).

This motion is commonly used when a motion is made that would benefit from having an evening to itself. In this situation, the motion to Fix the Time to Which to Adjourn is made as a way of postponing the motion until the assembly has enough time to handle it properly.

You may even want to move to postpone the pending question to the adjourned meeting after adoption of the motion that sets the adjourned meeting. After adoption of the motion to postpone, the group can take up some other item of business in the current meeting before there’s a motion to Adjourn.

Or if you’re running out of time, this privileged motion may be made to set up the time for an adjourned meeting just before making a motion to Adjourn.

When you’re faced with a lack of quorum (enough people to legally hold the meeting), fixing the time to which to adjourn gives you another chance to have the meeting that should have gone forward on the original date but couldn’t due to poor attendance.

The privileged motion to Fix the Time to Which to Adjourn

  • Can’t interrupt a speaker who has the floor

  • Must be seconded

  • Can’t be debated

  • Can be amended only as to the date, hour, and place; such amendments cannot be debated

  • Needs a majority vote

  • Can be reconsidered

If this motion is made when no business is pending, it is a main motion and can be debated. It is subject to all the rules of an incidental main motion.