The basic principle underlying conflict of interest is easy to state but applying it in real-life cases can be complicated. In a nutshell, when you accept a position on a local government body or a nonprofit board, you are obliged to put the interests of the organization above your own personal interest, and you can’t…

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A reader writes to say that in his city council, the members frequently say, “Point of Personal Privilege,” and then go on to give their opinion about something. This is wrong. Robert’s Rules of Order explains that in a meeting, members may raise a Point of General Privilege, or a Point of Personal Privilege. Neither…

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Have you ever attended an annual meeting of an organization and been asked to vote to approve the minutes from the previous year’s annual meeting? How well did you remember that previous meeting? I am guessing that your memory was a bit fuzzy, unless something dramatic happened. There is a better way. Use Minutes Approval…

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Cover of Roberts Rules of Order current edition - the only authorized version

Here are the sample minutes provided in Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised, 11th edition, on pages 472-473. Attend our webinar on Tuesday, February 4 to gain confidence in processing meeting minutes. See details and register here.   The regular monthly meeting of the L.M. Society was held on Thursday, January 4, 20__, at 8:30…

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In my experience there are three major pitfalls that can affect the ability of a nonprofit board of directors to fulfill its duty and serve its organization. Pitfall 1 – lack of immediate feedback In many cases, nonprofit boards are dealing with matters whose results will occur sometime in the future—next month, next year, or…

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Robert’s Rules of Order is quite strict about dealing with something once in a meeting and moving on. If a motion has been defeated, the only way to bring the same motion up again during that meeting is to move to reconsider the motion. You have to have voted with the prevailing side—the side that…

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It is a basic principle of parliamentary procedure that the decision of the majority, voting at a properly called meeting, is the decision of the body as a whole. The members whose views did not prevail are bound to go along with the majority. This goes back deep in time, to the origins of our…

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Guest post by Colette Collier Trohan on how NOT to do things by avoiding action in Robert’s Rules. Many thanks Colette for this useful summary! Have you ever been in a meeting and had the sinking feeling there was no good path forward? If the motion was adopted, perhaps it would inadvertently send the wrong…

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Rosenberg’s Rules of Order is a simplified set of parliamentary rules widely used in California. In many respects it parallels Robert’s Rules of Order. Rosenberg offers an excellent discussion on the role of the chair and the basic format for an agenda item discussion. However, Jurassic Parliament believes that there are several problems with Rosenberg’s…

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If your board isn’t following its own bylaws, here are some different approaches you can take. 1. Educate the board about liability The first step is to educate the board. Point out to them that bylaws are not a “suggestion,” they are mandatory. They form the foundation of how the entire organization functions. Failing to…

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