Consent and Priority Agendas

A group may use a consent agenda, which enables members to vote on a block of items that are noncontroversial without a lot of time or discussion. If the group usually doesn't have any problem approving the minutes, paying bills, and other official business, this may be the way to go.

To use a consent agenda, each member must receive a copy before the start of the meeting. A consent agenda doesn't mean you have to approve everything on it to use it; members can request that an item be “extracted” (removed). No second or vote is necessary for the removal.

After any items are removed, the chair can either use general consent or take a vote. Since a group that is amenable to a consent agenda probably won't object, the chair should say: “If there is no objection, the consent agenda will be adopted. Hearing no objection, the items on your consent agenda are adopted.” If there is an objection, the chair should proceed to a vote.


Where do the removed items go?

Any business that the membership removed from the consent agenda should be placed on the regular agenda. It will be dealt with as any item of business would in the category in which it belongs (new business, unfinished business, and so on). A member or members have simply indicated that they prefer to have the item(s) up for discussion and a vote.

A priority agenda is all about how important a matter is to the members. Each task is taken up in order of importance. This agenda is good for organizing a meeting, especially for committees and small groups that, because of their informality, might get off track and not get everything done. A priority agenda can also be used under the new business category on any agenda; listing items in the order of their importance can ensure that they're taken care of in a timely manner.

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