OAG 93-46

June 8, 1993

John E. Pennington

347 Railroad Avenue

Manchester, Kentucky 40962

Dear Mr. Pennington:

Your letter raises a question about parliamentary procedure at a city council meeting.

Bids were received by the city in connection with the purchase of a vehicle. A motion was made by one of the councilpersons to accept the lowest bid. Another councilperson seconded that motion. The mayor, as presiding officer, refused to permit the council to vote on the motion and stated that the city should purchase the vehicle from some other car dealer.

Your question is whether the mayor may refuse a motion that has been properly made and seconded.

In Robert's "Rules of Order Revised," under the topic of seconding motions (§ 5, pp. 36-37), the author states that as a general rule every motion should be seconded. This prevents time being consumed in considering a matter in which only one person is interested. A person need not be recognized by the chairperson or presiding officer in order to second a motion.

In Robert's "Rules of Order Revised," under the topic of stating the question (§ 6, p. 38), the following appears in part:

When a motion has been made and seconded, it is the duty of the chair, unless he rules it out of order, immediately to state the question -- that is, state the exact question that is before the assembly for its consideration and action.

In Mason, "Manual of Legislative Procedure for Legislative and Other Governmental Bodies," in § 156, the author states in part as follows:

It is the duty of the presiding officer to accept or to entertain any proper motion whenever it is in order. A motion is in order when it is presented at an appropriate time, violates no rule, and is not clearly dilatory.

The same source states in § 157 that motions no longer need to be seconded. While a second to a motion is not out of order its only effect is to disclose that one or more other members may favor the motion made. Unless the local rules require seconds they may be ignored and the presiding officer may not refuse to put a question before the body because it has not been seconded.

Thus, under the limited factual situation you have presented, a motion properly made and seconded must be accepted by the presiding officer and stated and presented to the legislative body for its consideration and action.




Thomas R. Emerson

Assistant Attorney General

(502) 564-7600