Does Robert’s Rules support quorum busting?

By Ann Macfarlane / November 27, 2023 /

Dear Dinosaur: Recently, two board members walked out during a roll call vote knowing that they were going to lose on the vote.  Their departure ended the meeting because there was no longer a quorum. At the next meeting, they cited “Roberts Rules” that said they had a “right” to walk out as a filibuster and…

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What justifies calling a Point of Order?

By Ann Macfarlane / November 8, 2023 / Comments Off on What justifies calling a Point of Order?

Guest post by Nicole Schenk The motion Point of Order is a request to the chair to enforce a parliamentary rule, which a member is claiming has just been broken, or is in the process of being broken. Calling a Point of Order is a basic right of every member. It is one way to…

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Less Is More: Action Minutes Save Time, Serve the Agency Best

By Ann Macfarlane / October 27, 2023 / Comments Off on Less Is More: Action Minutes Save Time, Serve the Agency Best

This article describes the benefits of action minutes. It was first published on the MRSC blog. MRSC is a private nonprofit organization, formerly known as “Municipal Resources and Service Center,” serving local governments in Washington State. The insights described here apply to local governments across the nation. If your council, commission, or committee takes detailed…

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Can we amend land acknowledgement motion to include national anthem and state song?

By Ann Macfarlane / October 19, 2023 /

Dear Dinosaur: Our school board will be passing a resolution to institute a protocol for a Native Land Acknowledgement at school events. A board member plans to move to amend the motion to have it apply to our national anthem and state song. Can they do this? Answer:  According to Robert’s Rules of Order, amendments…

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Will a Vote of No Confidence remove the chair?

By Ann Macfarlane / September 22, 2023 / Comments Off on 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?

By Ann Macfarlane / August 15, 2023 /

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?

By Ann Macfarlane / August 9, 2023 / Comments Off on 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

By Ann Macfarlane / July 26, 2023 / Comments Off on 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 importance of Special Rules and Standing Rules for healthy organizations

By Ann Macfarlane / June 9, 2023 /

Guest post by Ted Weisgal Brigadier General Henry Martyn Robert was a genius. After a disastrous 14-hour meeting in 1863, he reflected for 13 years and attended lots of meetings. From those experiences as well as research into British parliamentary law and rules of the U.S. House of Representatives, he created what has become the…

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The most useful and practical phrase a chair can say

By Ann Macfarlane / May 17, 2023 /
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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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