Post meetings may be in a committee, at a called or scheduled Post Executive Committee (PEC) session, or at a general meeting of post members (third Thursday of the month). All American Legion meetings are open to a post member; however, committee meetings are as observers (the post member can not vote). Post members can request that a concern or recommendation of theirs be considered by the committee and can do so through the committee chair or member.
Committees use motions and resolutions. Motions are internal business management tools and can lead to support of a resolution for approval of the post membership that supports or suggests a new rule, or modification of an existing Department or National regulation, Constitution, or Bylaws. See the American Legion Officer’s Guide and Manual of Ceremonies for details. Enroll at myLegion.org to view.
How do you submit a proposed motion to a post committee or Post Executive Committee? There is a suggested format, but we’ll address that later. First, contact a Sergeant-at-Arms or other Post Officer and share your thoughts. They will help you locate the applicable committee. If the committee can solve the concern or sponsor the project, then they will forward your suggestion as a motion to the Post Executive Committee (PEC). The PEC meets on the first Thursday of each month, except in December.
Committees use motions to document and record what action was taken. That is why motions require a little homework, preplanning, and preparedness. A motion needs a second (a second committee member to co-sponsor and defend the motion). No second? No consideration is given and the motion dies. If there is a second, the motion is discussed (argued as to merits, cost, limitations, validity, application, etc.). When all of the questions of the committee have been considered, the chair can call the question (vote).
Here is where the homework is critical. Lots of questions get raised in committees and presenters may be good at presenting or just the opposite. How can you get ready to present your project for consideration? First, ask yourself (1) do you just want to share information? or (2) do you need get approval for the Post to spend money, support a program, or otherwise obligate or put at risk the wealth of the post? If it is number two, you need to work on a formal motion that will get the support and favorable endorsement of the committee (or PEC). Committees are fairly informal, but the PEC has a tougher job.
The Post, as an organization, operates under a set of Post Bylaws (view a copy here: Final Post C and Bs Jun 23, 2021) and the American Legion National Constitution and Bylaws, as a Chartered American Legion Post and North Carolina Non-Profit Corporation. Most post business is completed or initiated within a committee that reports to the PEC. The PEC, as the elected corporate officers of the Post, serves as our Board of Directors. The Post Commander serves as the Chair.
Preparing a motion. The Post Adjutant has a motion template that you can download and modify/fill-in using MS Word or OpenOffice.org (LibreOffice.org). Download and save a copy to your personal computer to use as a template. Next, open the saved copy and immediately SAVE AS a new document with the name you want to use. Ready? Click on: DOWNLOAD HERE
At the Department level, the PEC is known as the Department Executive Committee (DEC) and it includes all NC District Commanders and some committee chairs. At National it is the National Executive Committee or NEC.
Here is a quote from the American Legion Officer’s Guide.