Skip to content

Posts by Ann Macfarlane

Criticizing a board decision in public

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…

Read More

Avoiding action in Robert’s Rules

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…

Read More

Problems with Rosenberg’s Rules of Order

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…

Read More

What if your nonprofit board isn’t following its bylaws?

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…

Read More

Rights and Responsibilities of the Member

Weldon L. Merritt, PRP, CPP, has graciously authorized Jurassic Parliament to publish this listing of the rights and responsibilities of ordinary members of an organization. All citations are taken from Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised, 11th edition (RONR). Please note that neither the list of member rights nor the list of member responsibilities is…

Read More

Control disorder in your chambers

Local governments face a tough climate these days. Customs of courtesy have faded and people are often both passionate and rude about their issues. If you are a mayor or presiding officer of a public body, it is critical that you control disorder in your chambers. Council meetings are meetings of the council The basic…

Read More

Run better work meetings using Robert’s Rules

A colleague asked for our best tips on leading committee meetings at work using Robert’s Rules. In general, Robert’s Rules don’t apply at work The first and obvious point is that work is not a venue where Robert’s Rules and parliamentary procedure apply. That system of meeting management is designed for assemblies—groups—where all members have…

Read More

Do Robert’s Rules drive you crazy?

When I posted this question, Betsy Cawn of Lake County, California wrote a short and pungent response. Much appreciated, Betsy! Thanks to you, Ann, Robert’s Rules DO NOT drive me crazy — but unlearned colleagues who refuse to even discuss the abbreviated set of “simple guidelines” you provide certainly DO. Somewhere between the extreme formality…

Read More

Executive committee cannot overturn board decision

A reader contacted us recently to ask whether the executive committee of his organization had the right to overturn a decision made by the full board. The answer is no, unless the bylaws give that right. Similarly, a board of directors may not overturn a decision made by the full membership. Robert’s Rules is very…

Read More

Remedies for abuse of authority by the chair in a meeting

Robert's Rules of Order 11th edition

Abuse of authority by the chair can be challenging. Here is the guidance from Robert’s Rules of Order. Our blog posts listed below give more information on the practical aspects of dealing with abuse of authority by the chair. ENFORCING POINTS OF ORDER AND APPEALS. If the chair at a meeting acts improperly (for example,…

Read More