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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Only one vote – does the motion pass?

Dear Dinosaur:  A motion was made by one board member. After discussion, the other board members did not feel adequately informed about the issue at hand to cast an educated vote. The board member who made the motion insisted on a vote. The vote was taken and resulted in one yes vote with 4 abstaining…

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Can we vote on 10 ordinances at once?

Dear Dinosaur:  We have 10 ordinances on tonight’s agenda for pay increases for all Village employees.  Each ordinance covers a department. After they discuss each piece and nothing has to be revised or discussed further, can they vote all ten ordinances in one vote, rather than voting on each one individually? Answer: From a Robert’s…

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How can we approve November minutes with 3 new board members?

Dear Dinosaur: During the last election, three of our five board members were replaced with new directors, who take their oath of office at the December meeting. Our question is regarding the approval of the November board minutes. With three of the five being new board members who were not in attendance at the November…

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Meeting minutes record what is DONE, not what is SAID

The biggest problem we encounter in meeting minutes is too much verbiage. Striving to do justice to their job, secretaries sometimes include the arguments that are made, what people say in response, and all the minutiae of discussion. There is a better way! According to Robert’s Rules of Order, minutes should record what is DONE,…

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When First Amendment Rights and Public Meetings Clash

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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“That’s a bold-faced lie”

It beats me how people can say that parliamentary procedure is boring. An article about a recent meeting of Branson Missouri aldermen is full of interest (read it here). The most gripping moment, from my perspective, is when the City Administrator says the following: “He’s not going to stand up there and lie about me.…

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No debate at all—legitimate, but unwise

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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What can a president do without the board? Thoughts on leadership

Several readers have written to me recently with questions about their authority as president of a nonprofit organization. It seems that Jurassic Parliament has been almost too successful at expounding the principle that during the meeting, the chair is the servant of the group, and the group is the final authority. These readers drew interesting…

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