Shall we meet next at 3 pm on September 18? Here are the eight steps required from start to finish to make a motion and get the decision of the assembly. Each step is a required part of the process. This list is a quick reference to make it easy for you to set up a basic agenda for your meeting. R eading and approval of minutes. R eports of officers, boards , and standing committees. R eports of special select and ad hoc committees. S pecial orders.
U nfinished business and general orders. Cheat Sheet. Rap the gavel once. One time. Uno Rappo. Ein Bangf. Further, readers should be aware that Internet Websites listed in this work may have changed or disappeared between when this work was written and when it is read. For general information on our other products and services, please contact our Customer Care Department within the U. For technical support, please visit www.
Wiley also publishes its books in a variety of electronic formats and by print-on-demand. Not all content that is available in standard print versions of this book may appear or be packaged in all book formats. For more information about Wiley products, visit us at www. He is a past president of the Louisiana Association of Parliamentarians and is a member of the American Institute of Parliamentarians. His interest in parliamentary procedure began when he was a fifth-grader at Davis elementary school in Jackson, Mississippi.
Alan confessed he was more interested in the cute young secretary who smiled at him during the meetings and made him melt than he was interested in Robert or his rules. As is true for most parliamentarians, his education as a parliamentarian is experiential. In , Alan retired as the executive director of the Louisiana Notary Association. He currently writes for several publications in his professional fields and publishes a regular newsletter for notaries at civil law in Louisiana. Alan formerly served on the advisory committee to the Louisiana State 19th Judicial District Court on civil law notary examination procedures.
Alan is active as a professional parliamentarian and serves as meeting parliamentarian for organizations on the local, state, and national levels. He provides consulting services year-round for clients in a wide variety of situations and specializes in bylaws and corporate documentation. Alan and his wife, Hartwell Harris, have been married for 32 years this year.
Retired from 31 years of public service, Hartwell is an accomplished photographer and artist. Both Alan and Hartwell enjoy not only the day-to-day adventures at home in Baton Rouge with their dapple rat terrier, Jaz; American bulldog, Buddy; golden tabby cat, Sunshine; and Manx cat, Molly , but also their working and vacation travel time together.
I am inspired by the skill and dedication of these parliamentarian teachers: Nancy Sylvester and Eugene Bierbaum. I am inspired by the wisdom and loyalty of friends like my late colleague, Col. Gratitude for personal and direct help on my original manuscript is extended to my colleagues known as the Klatched Parliamentarians, especially Rod Davidson, Kim Goldsworthy, Jonathan M. Jacobs, and John Stackpole. I am especially indebted to my colleague and friend Shmuel Gerber. His edits, comments, and quibbles gave the second printing a special luster.
Thanks, Shmuel! And that brings me to the last-but-not-least list. Bobby Matthews compliments my prose. For other comments, please contact our Customer Care Department within the U. Some of the people who helped bring this book to market include the following:.
Technical Editor: Ann L. Senior Editorial Manager: Jennifer Ehrlich. Cartoons: Rich Tennant www. Publishing and Editorial for Consumer Dummies. Ensley Eikenburg, Associate Publisher, Travel. Kelly Regan, Editorial Director, Travel. Andy Cummings, Vice President and Publisher. Debbie Stailey, Director of Composition Services. In fact it just hit the bookstores six months ago and had at least changes of some sort from the 10 th edition. I doubt that you really want to know anything about parliamentary procedure. But thanks to several very knowledgeable and experienced parliamentarians, I found that quite the opposite was true.
Instead, dive right into the chapter containing the information you need. You want to participate effectively in meetings. You may sometimes feel not confident about how to participate effectively at some point in a meeting, so you keep your mouth shut and later wonder what maybe you could have done if only you had known what to do and how to do it when it could count. You have to deal with others who attempt to minimize the importance of using proper procedures in meetings.
Ergo, arranging the material was easy. Neither is this book. If you want to get the real lowdown on what parliamentary procedure is all about, turn to Part I. In these chapters, I cover some of the basics about parliamentary procedure and how to use it to have better meetings. This part is a long one, full of details about all the different parliamentary motions that help you turn an idea into an action plan for your group. True, nobody wants to know this much about so much at one time, but the way this part is set up, you can decide what you want to accomplish and find the procedure to help you do it.
Knowing the basics of parliamentary procedure and having the experience to get things done in meetings make you a great candidate for leadership in your group. The more you know, the more you can help your fellow members make your organization all it can be. This part covers the process of selecting your leaders and the fundamentals for serving in an elective or appointive office.
It also tells you how to remove a problem officer, whether he or she is a complete deadhead or a self-important dictator. It also tells you how to start a new organization from scratch. Then, it tells you how to put together the mother of all meetings: The convention of delegates. We can come up with lists of lists. In fact, I had a lot of help with this part of the book. This way, you can see for yourself how these things look. Or a little lagniappe? Icons are these peculiar little pictures that surface in the margin from time to time in each chapter to let you know that the following topic is special in some way.
When you see this icon, pay close attention. It lets you know that trouble or problems may be lurking, but you can avoid the trouble by taking the right precautions or paying heed to some advice born of experience in the school of hard knocks. An important aspect of knowing the rules is knowing the exceptions. Get with it! Immerse yourself in an in-depth treatment of a topic as written by the somewhat droll but definitely learned authors.
Learning a little more will make you that much more effective in your meetings and service as a leader. If I can help at any time, let me know. I can be reached by e-mail through the contact page on my Web site. Point your browser to www. If you really want to learn as much as you can, check with one or both of the following organizations to find the nearest local unit or chapter of parliamentarians.
These local units have regular program meetings and offer educational programs in the community. They also usually have registered or professional members that can tailor-make a workshop for your group to help you have better meetings or develop leadership skills. Independence, MO Phone: Web site: www. More and more groups are looking to professional parliamentarians for training, consulting, or on-site meeting services.
If you have a large group and would like to have more orderly and productive meetings, or if your staff is overwhelmed when putting together your meetings and could use some help, it may be to your advantage to retain a professional parliamentarian for specific services. And even if your group is small and local and is just interested in fixing some bylaws, you save a lot of time and angst if you enlist the help of a local certified, registered, or professional parliamentarian.
You may think that everything about parliamentary procedure relates to meetings. To help you better manage your meetings, the chapters in this part provide short lessons on the fundamental principles of parliamentary law. So take it from me: The rest of the book makes a lot more sense if you have a good grasp of the information in these first few chapters.
Defining parliamentary law. Understanding the rules of parliamentary procedure. A re you one of those people who sees meetings as a wonderful and personally fulfilling activity that you look forward to with great anticipation? Attitudes like this develop most frequently when nobody in the group especially the presiding officer really knows how to run a good meeting. It really does work wonders!
The rules are there to help, not hinder, business. General Robert though not a general at the time said in his original edition:. Know all about parliamentary law, but do not try to show off your knowledge.
Never be technical or more strict than is absolutely necessary for the good of the meeting. Use your judgment; the assembly may be of such a nature, through its ignorance of parliamentary usage and peaceable disposition, that a strict enforcement of the rules, instead of assisting, would greatly hinder business; but in large assemblies where there is much work to be done, and especially where there is liability to trouble, the only safe course is to require a strict observance of the rules.
But you never want to be so informal that you compromise any rights — whether those of the individual, the minority, or the group as a whole. The author was a civil engineer in the U. In , when he was 26 years old, Robert was called on to preside at a meeting. Some years later, Robert was transferred to San Francisco and found himself working with different organizations composed of persons from all over the country. Major Robert saw the need for uniformity and immersed himself in study of the parliamentary law of the day.
Since then, the manual has seen two revisions in a total of 11 editions. In groups where a presiding officer becomes truly knowledgeable about correct parliamentary procedure, things change for the better. All the revised editions are revisions by the original copyright holder or his successor trustees of the copyrights. But just as important as having this information is knowing when to use it. They exist to help you arrive at the true will of the assembly, with due consideration for all points of view.
Adding a few basic rules of procedure to your arsenal puts you more in control. Preparation helps you know when to insist on technicalities and when not to worry about them. Parliamentary procedure refers to the practices used in meetings to keep things orderly and give everybody a fair chance to be heard for at least as long as it takes for everybody to realize that nothing new is being said and that a large majority is ready to make a decision and move on to other business.
It takes a book or two to really cover the subject. Parliamentary procedure is based on parliamentary law. Specifically, parliamentary procedure is the parliamentary law you follow in your organization, along with any special rules of order that you institute just for your group. The broad concept of parliamentary law although not actually law in the sense of statutes and jurisprudence is the body of accepted rules and practices of deliberative assemblies of all types and sizes.
Flip to Chapter 3 for more details on deliberative assemblies. The most basic rules about interacting with others form the basis of what you may hear referred to as the common parliamentary law. When you see the terms legal and illegal in this book, they usually refer to the propriety of a procedure or action under parliamentary procedure. Generally, members have the following rights:.
To attend the meetings of the assembly. To make motions, which are more or less suggestions. To participate in debate. These are fundamental membership rights that cannot be taken from you without disciplinary action that is called due process see Chapter 18 , unless provisions set out in your bylaws define limitations on these rights within specific classes of membership. Although these rights apply to the majority of members, different levels of membership carry with them varying privileges. Membership carries with it basic duties, such as the duty to vote on questions on which the member has an opinion.
For more on abstention, see Chapter 8. Membership often carries with it other duties and obligations as well. You can resign your membership if you want to end your obligations and duties to the assembly, but you can be compelled to fulfill any duties and obligations that you incurred as a member. However, a member who is in good standing cannot be compelled to continue membership to the extent that additional obligations accrue. One of the more common duties that go along with membership is to be of service to your organization.
The term membership also refers to the assembly, or to the group of people who have basic membership rights. One fundamental principle of parliamentary law is that a deliberative assembly see Chapter 3 is an autonomous body that enjoys the freedom to conduct its business in accordance with its own provisions for the rights of its members and itself as an assembly. Although members of an assembly commonly hold more than one position in the group, one person still gets only one vote. The rules that embody these principles can never be suspended. The only way to avoid having these rules apply to your group is to specify it in your bylaws more on those in Chapter 2.
Those fundamental principles are as follows:. Rules protecting absentees cannot be suspended. Therefore, business conducted in a special meeting must conform to what is specified in the call of the meeting see Chapter 4. The right to vote is limited to the members who are present in a meeting during the time a vote is actually taken.
Therefore, even if the vote is unanimous,. Only one motion can be considered at a time. You can, however, have several questions pending at one time. The majority rules, but only after ensuring that the minority is heard. The only way to keep a member from being heard is by a two-thirds vote of the entire group to stop debate. Take a look at Chapter 7 for the details on bringing debate to a close.
A higher voting threshold is required to change something than to adopt it in the first place. See Chapter 12 for more details on readdressing issues. This requirement protects against the instability of rules that may be changed easily when there are minor shifts in attendance from meeting to meeting.
Understanding motion-making techniques develops your ability to concisely state exactly what needs to be done. The better you are at making motions in meetings, the better you will be at processing your own particular action plans, both in and out of meetings. Knowing how to adopt, amend, and suspend your rules. Changing your bylaws and applying them properly. Keeping members informed of changes to bylaws and rules. These famous words begin the definition of one of the greatest organizations in the world, the United States of America. It was so important that they put it in the Constitution, making it sure to stay in force unless a large majority of Americans agree to change it.
A country is its citizens, and your organization is its membership. The success of both depends on the members agreeing to the fundamental rules. In this chapter, I focus primarily on bylaws because this governing document establishes the real framework of your organization. When it comes to the rules about rules, one rule stands out: A deliberative assembly is free to adopt whatever rules it wants or needs, as long as the procedure for adopting them conforms to any rules already in place or to the general parliamentary law which Chapter 1 defines.
The reason for having rules in the first place is to enable you and your fellow group members to agree on governance that is, who your leaders are, how you choose them, when you have your meetings, and so forth , procedures for arriving at group decisions, and policy that covers the details of administration for your organization.
Different situations call for different types of rules. Charter: The charter may be either your articles of incorporation or a charter issued by a superior organization, if your group is a unit of a larger organization. A corporate charter is amendable as provided by law or according to provisions in the document for amendment. A charter issued by a superior organization is amendable only by the issuing organization.
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Bylaws: The bylaws are fundamental rules that define your organization. Bylaws are established in a single document of interrelated rules. I discuss bylaws in detail in the sections following this one. Rules of order: Rules of order are written rules of procedure for conducting meeting business in an orderly manner and the meeting-related duties of the officers. Rules of order can be customized by adopting special rules of order to modify or supersede specific rules in an adopted parliamentary manual.
You have to amend your bylaws to change it. Standing rules: These rules are related to the details of administration rather than parliamentary procedure. That policy becomes a standing rule. Motions that you adopt over the course of time that are related to policy and administration are collectively your standing rules.
Custom: Your organization probably has some special ways of doing things that, although not written in the rules, may as well be etched in stone on your clubhouse door. Among the more fundamental rules, then, are rules about which rule takes precedence over other rules. The charter, if you have one, reigns supreme. Nothing except a judge or the law of the land supersedes it. Fortunately, a charter is usually pretty succinct and operates like a franchise. A charter usually lists the few conditions under which you must operate, but it usually provides for your organization to be subject to bylaws specifically tailored to your organization but which may not conflict with provisions of the charter.
No matter what, no rules of order or standing rules can ever be enforced if they conflict in any way with your bylaws. Special rules of order and standing rules have completely different applications and uses, but they rank together as immediately subordinate to bylaws because they have one particular point in common: They comprise individual rules each of which is usually adopted separately from the other rules in the class based on the specific need of the organization to accomplish a specific purpose for which the rule is adopted.
So when Mr. In that case, you can no longer claim that custom has any standing. Fundamental differences exist in the procedures you use to adopt or amend each class of rules. Table lists the rules by class and the requirements for their adoption, amendment, and suspension. See Chapter 11 for rules on suspending rules. Your bylaws comprise the fundamental rules that define your organization. They include all the rules that your group determines are of such importance that. I discuss procedures for motions to suspend the rules in Chapter The exception permitting bylaws to be suspended in these cases must be narrowly construed.
With the exception of any laws governing your organization or your charter if your organization is incorporated or is a unit of a larger organization , the bylaws take precedence over any and all other rules you adopt. The nature of bylaws is sufficient to establish a contract between members and define their rights, duties, and mutual obligations.
Whenever the U. Well, bylaws are like that, in a way. You just have to take it to the membership by raising a point of order see Chapter Anyone who is considering joining your organization must also be given a copy of the bylaws upon request. In times past, an organization more commonly had two separate governance documents — the constitution and the bylaws. A very old organization sometimes wants to keep its constitution, for historical reasons. The higher-ranking rules were called the constitution, and the rules that ranked just below the constitution in importance were called the bylaws.
The constitution usually contained the articles establishing the name and object of the organization, articles defining the qualifications of members and officers, and articles spelling out the essential details of meetings. Both the constitution and the bylaws contained specific provisions for amendment. The constitution was a little more difficult to amend. In fact, the only time a separate constitution is a good idea is when some law requires it. In any case, the following list outlines the articles you need to have in your bylaws and the order in which they need to appear to cover the basic subjects common to most organizations.
Name: Specify the official name of your organization in this article.
Object: This article includes a succinct statement of the object or purpose for which your society is organized. This statement should be broad enough to cover anything your group may want to do as a group, but it should avoid enumerating details. When you list items, anything you leave out is deemed excluded. Membership: Begin this article with details of the classes and types of membership, as well as the voting rights of each class. If you have eligibility requirements or special procedures for admission, include them under this article. Also include any requirements for dues, including due dates, rights or restrictions of delinquent members, explanations of when members are dropped from the rolls for nonpayment, and reinstatement rights.
Any rules related to resignations and any intricate requirements related to memberships in subordinate or superior societies are included here, too. Officers: This article is the place to explain specifications about the officers that your organization requires and any duties beyond those duties established by rule in your parliamentary authority see Chapter Sections including qualifications of officers; details of nomination, election, and terms of office including restrictions on the number of consecutive terms or total terms in a lifetime, if any ; and rules for succession and vacancies are appropriately placed in this article.
You may include a separate article to describe the duties of each officer.
Meetings: This article contains the dates for all regular meetings. Details related to how and by whom special meetings can be called, and the notice required, are included here. Also, the quorum for meetings needs to be included in a section of this article. The powers and duties of boards vary widely from one group to the next, and problems arise for many organizations whenever the members and the board have different ideas about the role and duties of the board.
This article, therefore, must be developed or amended only with the greatest care. The same amount of care must be taken when establishing the composition and power of an executive committee as when establishing a board. Furthermore, as with the executive board, no executive committee can exist except as the bylaws expressly provide for. Committees: All regular standing committees that your group anticipates needing to carry out its business are defined under this article, each in its own section.
The description of each standing committee needs to include the name of the committee, how its members are selected, and its role and function in the organization. If other standing committees may be needed, this article must contain an authorization for the formation of additional standing committees. Otherwise, the bylaws must be amended to create a standing committee. Parliamentary authority: Adopting a parliamentary authority in your bylaws is the simplest and most efficient way to provide your group with binding rules of order under which to operate. The statement adopting the parliamentary authority needs to define clearly any rules to which the rules in your parliamentary authority must yield.
Amendment: The bylaws specify the precise requirements for previous notice and size of the vote required to change the bylaws. Elect by plurality, cumulative, or preferential voting. Submit absentee votes including votes by mail, fax, e-mail, or proxy. Hold a runoff between the top two candidates. Suspend a requirement for a ballot vote. Restrict the right of a member to cast a write-in vote.
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Keep a vice president from assuming the office of the president if a vacancy occurs in the office of president. Allow honorary officers or members to vote. Create an executive board. Appoint an executive committee. Impose financial assessments on members. Hold meetings by telephone conference, videoconference, or heaven forbid e-mail. Hold special meetings. Normally, amending something previously adopted see Chapter 12 takes a majority vote if previous notice is given, a two-thirds vote without any previous notice, or a majority of the entire membership see Chapter 8. But amending a previously adopted bylaw is a different story.
You want to ensure that the rights of all members continue to be protected. The surest way to provide this protection is to prevent bylaws from being changed without first giving every member an opportunity to weigh in on a change. And bylaws ought never be changed as long as a minority greater than one-third disagrees with the proposal. This worst-case scenario illustrates why you make it a little more difficult to amend bylaws than to amend anything else. And you should always specify in your bylaws the exact requirements for their amendment.
The rule also makes sure that if more than one-third of the members voting are opposed to the change, then they win and nothing changes. When deciding what amendment requirements to put in your bylaws, consider two points: the details of the previous notice and the vote threshold required to adopt the change. For detailed information concerning previous notice, turn to Chapter 4; you can find a discussion of voting thresholds in Chapter 8. The proper notice for a bylaw amendment contains three fundamental components:.
The proposed amendment, precisely worded. The current bylaw. The bylaw as it will read if the amendment is adopted. It may also include other information, such as whether a committee or board endorses or opposes the amendment. The bylaw amendment is subject to all the rules for that motion except for the following:. The provisions for amendment contained in your bylaws determine the requirements for previous notice and the vote required to adopt a bylaws amendment. But if your bylaws have no provisions for their amendment, the requirement is a two-thirds vote with previous notice or, without notice, a majority of the entire membership.
Nor can you amend the proposal to lower the dues by any amount! But if the amendment fails, you can reconsider that vote. See Chapter 12 for more information on the motion to Reconsider. Members may offer different approaches to accomplishing similar goals, and all bylaw amendments included in the notice are eligible for consideration. Proposed amendments to bylaws are main motions, which means that the amendments are themselves open to primary and secondary amendments. The processes of the motion to Amend, which are described in detail in Chapter 9, are as follows:. Strike out words, sentences, or paragraphs.
Insert or add words, sentences, or paragraphs. Strike out and insert or substitute words, sentences, or paragraphs. Any primary or secondary amendments to the proposed bylaws amendment must be within the scope of notice, as I describe it in the previous section. When no change is proposed, any change is considered outside the scope of the notice. A revision to bylaws is an extensive rewrite that often makes fundamental changes to the structure of the organization. Bylaws amendments requiring a two-thirds vote are handled as a rising vote see Chapter 8 unless the amendments are adopted by unanimous consent.
However, because of the importance of bylaws and the impact of their amendment, unless the vote is practically unanimous, the best and fairest procedure is to count the vote and record the result in the minutes. Your bylaws belong to your group, and only your group can decide what they mean. If your group has to adopt a specific interpretation to resolve an ambiguity, make the interpretation.
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But as soon as you can, follow up by amending the bylaws to remove the ambiguity. Making the adjustment to the bylaws keeps you from having to go round and round with the same issue, depending on who attends the meeting. I list and discuss these principles here in the context of bylaws, but the principles apply to other rules, too. Bylaws are subject to interpretation only when ambiguity arises. If the meaning is clear, not even a unanimous vote can impute to them a different meaning. In other words, if you want a bylaw to have a different meaning, you have to amend it.
When bylaws are subject to interpretation, no interpretation can be made that creates a conflict with another bylaw. A more specific rule takes control when you have a conflict between the specific rule and a more general rule. For example, if your bylaws say that no relatives are permitted at meetings and another individual bylaw says that you can bring your spouse to the annual meeting and barn dance, be prepared to buy your spouse a new dress or a new tie before the festivities begin.
When bylaws authorize specific items in the same class, other items of the same class are not permitted. For example, if your bylaws allow members to enter cats, dogs, hamsters, and ferrets in the annual pet parade, then elephants are off-limits. However, other things not expressly prohibited or not as far-reaching as the prohibition are still permitted.
As I explain in Chapter 15, one of the duties of the secretary is to maintain a record book containing the current bylaws and rules of your group. This book needs to be available at meetings for easy reference. Furnishing all members with a copy of the bylaws when they join the organization is good practice.
Standing rules, which are, for the most part, policies related to the details of administration, are maintained as a current list. Update the list as rules are added, amended, or rescinded. Unlike the bylaws and special rules of order, the list of standing rules is normally furnished only to your officers and staff so that they can perform their duties in accordance with the policies the membership has adopted. Some organizations periodically publish an updated booklet containing all their rules except rules that appear in the parliamentary authority.
By publishing this type of booklet, you communicate that you intend for your rules to mean something. You encourage your members to know and understand the rules, and that helps them become more effective participants in your meetings. Everybody wins when you foster a high level of respect for and awareness of the rules of your organization.
Understanding a deliberative assembly and its characteristics. Looking at different types of meetings. Knowing when to relax formal procedures. Easing up on the rules in small groups. M eetings are the official gatherings of your group. In them, you make the decisions that bind your organization. This premise is the key to what makes your group a deliberative assembly, and meetings are the time and place for your assembly group to conduct its deliberations discussions and decisions.
These time-tested rules of parliamentary procedure apply to meetings of several types of organizations. Examples include the organizational meeting for a new society, a local meeting of a service club, a monthly meeting of the board of directors of your neighborhood association, or maybe even the national convention of your professional association.
Most of these groups are what are known as deliberative assemblies. You meet to act together in the name of the group, and you make your decisions after thorough deliberation that is, an airing of the pros and cons. The majority gives the minority full opportunity to present its case and increase its number to a majority.
Your meetings are attended in one physical location where all the participants can hear each other. For more on bylaws, turn to Chapter 2. The point is that members must be able to participate simultaneously in the discussion.
You have rules protecting the rights of absentees, and you require some absolute minimum number of participants to be present before taking action in the name of the group. A session, therefore, is a meeting or series of meetings that gets your assembly through all the business it needs to take care of at one time. In general, the groups I discuss in this book are divided into two types of deliberative assemblies and the committees subordinate to them :. For the most part, the material in this book is geared to this type of assembly; examples include your civic or service club, your neighborhood association, and a professional or trade association meeting at the local or maybe state level.
The board: The board is an administrative or management group whose members are appointed or elected. It may be an executive board that is subordinate to a larger assembly, or it may be an autonomous body elected in public elections, appointed by public officials or government agencies, or appointed by the membership of a private organization. Three other general types of deliberative assemblies exist: mass meetings, conventions of delegates, and legislative bodies.
The legislative body includes lawmaking bodies like state and national legislatures. Except for small legislative bodies such as city or town councils that are run like the boards described earlier, legislative bodies operate under specialized parliamentary rules and authority. Flip to Chapter 2 for more on that. Doing as much, if your chairman even allowed the motion, would still not keep a majority from making a decision to buy an air conditioner when things get hot at your August meeting.
The rule that keeps your group from tying its own hands in a future session also makes it possible to revisit a motion that failed at an earlier session and start over with no restrictions. Nothing prohibits any member from making a motion again, even if it failed in your last session. And any rules that apply to the motion to Reconsider see Chapter 12 evaporate when you start at that session, because you can move to reconsider a vote only in the meeting at which the vote took place or in a meeting the next day of business, if the session is more than a day.
Colston received his B. The system is made up of basic principles and rules that determine how the group will proceed through the decision-making process. Parliamentary procedure is about helping the group come to a decision; it is not about helping any one individual get his or her way, and it is certainly not intended to prevent members from participating in the group. Parliamentary procedure also helps the group stay focused on a single issue until the members resolve it. This technique helps groups make better, more logical decisions—they have the advantage of many minds working together using a systematic approach to problem-solving.
Rather, you should think of it as a set of guidelines by which to conduct meetings. The object of Rules of Order is to assist an assembly to accomplish in the best possible manner the work for which it was designed. To do this it is necessary to restrain the individual somewhat, as the right of an individual, in any community, to do what he pleases, is incompatible with the interests of the whole. Where there is no law, but every man does what is right in his own eyes, there is the least of real liberty. Robert, December, Because each group is different, parliamentary procedure is designed to be the basis for the rules, which groups can then adapt to their own needs.