The clerk of a local government meeting or the secretary on a nonprofit board has a high calling. Under Robert’s Rules, two persons must be present for a valid meeting: the chair and the secretary. They cannot be the same person, and state law often specifies this as well. The clerk or secretary keeps the…

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MRSC has graciously given permission for us to republish this helpful article. MRSC is a private nonprofit organization, formerly known as “Municipal Resources and Service Center,” serving local governments in Washington State.  Read more of their articles here. Jurassic Parliament articles on this topic are listed below. Most governing bodies of cities, towns, counties, and…

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A citizen rang me up in some concern about the way his city council had processed a big motion the night before. The land-use proposal was introduced and seconded, a member was recognized to debate, and that member immediately said, “I call the question.” Five of the seven members on the council voted in favor…

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The big moment is here. You’ve done your due diligence by: reviewing any emergency declarations affecting local government meetings in your state, studying how your body can proceed in light of the Coronavirus/COVID-19 emergency, planning with your staff, consulting your attorney, and choosing an online platform. You’re all set to launch your first totally remote…

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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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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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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…

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Guest post by Tami A. Tanoue, CIRSA Executive Director Those who have been working with municipalities for an extended period have observed a phenomenon that occurs at the governing body level.  Let’s call this phenomenon the Outlier Syndrome.

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