Becoming a parliamentarian step-by-step

Picture of Texas Senate Parliamentarian talking with Senator

A reader wrote, saying that he had been running a summer camp for 23 years, and would like a change of occupation. What would it take to become a parliamentarian? I had to reply that becoming a parliamentarian is not an easy career path. Most parliamentarians I know either have another job, or are retired.…

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Unanimous written consent in lieu of a meeting

One of the useful techniques to add to your voting toolkit is “unanimous written consent in lieu of a meeting.” If allowed by state law, you can use this approach when it’s not feasible to hold a live board meeting. In order to do this, prepare a written motion proposing the action that you would…

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When can you bring up a new topic during a meeting?

At a recent council meeting I attended, the city issued a proclamation honoring efforts to assist the homeless. In responding to the proclamation, a local pastor asked the council to provide extra funding for their project. Before the mayor could move on to public comment, a council member made a motion to provide the funding.…

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Disruptive members derailing your Zoom meetings? Use these rules!

A client is running Zoom meetings for 300-400 members. Not surprisingly, the meetings are challenging! People fail to follow common courtesy, Points of Order are rife, sometimes discourse collapses. It doesn’t have to be that way. Jurassic Parliament has developed a set of “sample Zoom rules,” based on Robert’s Rules of Order and adapted to…

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Lost the vote? Don’t sabotage the council’s action

We’ve had inquiries recently about elected officials who lost a vote, and then actively worked against the outcome. This amounts to trying to sabotage the council. It is wrong, wrong, wrong. Download PDF The majority rules General Henry Martyn Robert, the original author of Robert’s Rules of Order, expresses it this way: The great lesson…

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Can married couples serve together on a nonprofit board?

A married couple, or other closely related persons, can serve together on a nonprofit board provided that no higher authority prevents it. However, you will want to think deeply before proceeding to do this. Here are some considerations to take into account. Does a higher authority prevent married couples from serving together? If you are…

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When and how can you change your vote?

A reader contacted us with some concern because a member of her local government body had changed their vote in order to be able to move reconsideration at the next meeting. Was this legitimate? A note about “reconsideration” First off, readers should know that ordinarily, the motion “to reconsider” can be made only during the…

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Are your meetings seven hours long?

This strange time of COVID-19 is producing some strange situations. We hear reports of local government meetings lasting far into the night, in some cases taking as long as 7 hours. (See this article about San Jose California). Does this happen to you? Are your meetings too long? If yes, what can be done to…

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How disagreeable are your meetings? Take our survey

We had some wild stories at our webinar on “difficult board chair or member.” One person commented, “Seems like Zoom makes all interactions tougher and bolder.” While the norm has not descended to the level of the Handforth Parish Council (see this internet sensation here, or search for “Jackie Weaver”), clearly many meetings are problematic.…

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