Will a Vote of No Confidence remove the chair?

Dear Dinosaur: We have a small group in our Precinct who are trying to remove the Chairman and causing chaos, infighting, and name calling. They are going to call for a Vote of No Confidence at our next meeting. We have adopted Robert’s Rules of Order but don’t have any bylaws. How can we stop…

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Is the Planning Commission a rubber stamp?

Dear Dinosaur: Some of the citizens in our area accuse the Planning Commission of being a rubber stamp for staff recommendations. How should we respond? Answer: If your Planning Commission fulfills your duty of reviewing staff recommendations carefully, asking pertinent questions, deliberating on those recommendations, listening to the public, and allowing every commissioner’s opinion to…

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School board adopts modified Robert’s Rules – is this legit?

A recent news story described how the Conway School District in New Hampshire adopted a modified version of Robert’s Rules of Order, after extensive debate on the topic. Was this a reasonable way to proceed? Absolutely! You can write your own rules of order Not every school board, local government body, or nonprofit board of…

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Insulting body language – what to do

Dear Dinosaur:  We have a board member who rolls their eyes, sighs, shrugs their shoulders or grimaces while others are speaking. How can this be addressed? Answer: The rules of parliamentary procedure, and specifically Robert’s Rules of Order, require that all members of a body show courtesy and respect. We suggest requesting that the board…

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The most useful and practical phrase a chair can say

gears with word practical

It’s a little risky to make extreme claims, but in the view of Jurassic Parliament, the most useful and practical phrase a chair can say is: Members will kindly seek recognition before speaking. This is based on our 20+ years of experience, in which the tendency of meetings to dissolve into conversations among the members…

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Can the chair take the minutes?

Dear Dinosaur:  In our organization, one person makes the agenda for the meeting, chairs the meeting, takes the notes, and creates the minutes. Besides being a lot of work for one person, it seems like more people should be involved to avoid the appearance of a concentration of power within the commission. Are there specific…

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Is your meeting aimed at efficiency or expression?

Photo of David Rumsey

Guest post by David Rumsey Meetings can come in all shapes and sizes.  But there are ultimately two reasons for holding a meeting: to discuss topics and/or to make decisions.  Although most meetings include both elements to some extent, understanding which element should be emphasized and when will go a long way toward achieving successful…

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The Neuroscience of You and good decisions

Book cover Chantel Prat The Neuroscience of You

I’ve been fascinated by Chantel Prat’s book, The Neuroscience of You. She does a great job making complex information about the brain accessible to a lay person like me. Up until now, scientific research has focused on how brains in general work. This book is different. It gives ideas, quizzes and exercises to estimate how…

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Can board member see previous minutes?

Dear Dinosaur:  Is a newly voted board member allowed to see the previous 12 months of board minutes? Answer: A board member has the right to view all the board meeting minutes. This is necessary because a board member is a fiduciary for the organization, in a position of trust. One has the obligation to…

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