meeting ground rules

Does Robert’s Rules support quorum busting?

By Ann Macfarlane / November 27, 2023 / Comments Off on Does Robert’s Rules support quorum busting?

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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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 /
gears with word practical

Updated April 25, 2024 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 25+ years of experience, in which the tendency of meetings to dissolve into…

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“Order of Business” says when you can make a motion

By Ann Macfarlane / December 9, 2022 /

It is a fundamental principle of Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised, 12th edition (RONR) that main motions must be taken up at the proper time on the agenda. (A main motion proposes action by the body). This is necessary in order to preserve order, and the rights of members. To that end, RONR establishes…

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Don’t attack or criticize the staff in public

By Ann Macfarlane / November 17, 2022 / Comments Off on Don’t attack or criticize the staff in public

Several local government officials have recently described to us situations where elected officials are criticizing and attacking the staff during public meetings. This must not happen. Councilmembers and board members must respect the role of the administrative head of the organization (mayor, city manager, general manager, etc.). They may not criticize the staff in public.…

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Ann’s podcast interview, “Running Amazing Council Meetings,” with Jim Hunt

By Ann Macfarlane / September 7, 2022 / Comments Off on Ann’s podcast interview, “Running Amazing Council Meetings,” with Jim Hunt

I had the pleasure this summer of a lively conversation with Jim Hunt, host of “Amazing Cities and Towns” podcast. Jim is a former mayor and councilmember in Clarksburg, West Virginia, and past president of the National League of Cities. He brought a candid eye,  wide experience, and sharp insights to our discussion. We talked…

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Significant Changes to Washington Nonprofit Corporation Law

By Ann Macfarlane / May 12, 2022 /

Guest article by Matthew J. Schafer, PRP Many organizations are incorporated in Washington State under the Washington Nonprofit Corporation Act. (This article will refer to this law as “the Act”.) During the 2021 session, the legislature repealed the existing Act and replaced it with a new one. These are some of the most important changes…

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Why bylaws?

By Ann Macfarlane / March 15, 2022 /

Guest article by Ted Weisgal Are bylaws the be-all and end-all of organizational development? If you create good ones will a flourishing organization be the natural outcome? Probably not. Good bylaws are critically important, but you should also have: A mission that resonates with people, Orderly meetings, Members who are reliable, Agendas that justify people’s…

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Newly elected? 6 key questions for success

By Ann Macfarlane / January 7, 2022 / Comments Off on Newly elected? 6 key questions for success

Congratulations on being elected to your nonprofit board of directors! Here are six key questions as you prepare for your new gig, with answers below: What is my moral and legal “duty of care” as a nonprofit board director? Is it a good idea to “go along to get along” on a nonprofit board? What…

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