meeting ground rules

How disagreeable are your meetings?

By Ann Macfarlane / February 16, 2021 / Comments Off on How disagreeable are your meetings?

We had some wild stories at our workshop 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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Only one vote – does the motion pass?

By Ann Macfarlane / January 29, 2021 / Comments Off on 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?

By Ann Macfarlane / January 19, 2021 / Comments Off on 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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Minor mistakes in Robert’s Rules don’t invalidate action

By Ann Macfarlane / December 18, 2020 / Comments Off on Minor mistakes in Robert’s Rules don’t invalidate action

A recent news report described how a school board, realizing that no one had seconded the motion they approved, went back at the next meeting and voted on it again. This was a waste of time. Download PDF The purpose of “seconding the motion” is to be sure that at least two people on a…

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Robert’s isn’t the only game in town – consider AIPSC

By Ann Macfarlane / December 4, 2020 /

Guest post by Weldon L. Merritt, PRP, CPP Does your organization use Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (RONR) as its parliamentary authority? Do you sometimes feel daunted by RONR’s 700+ pages and its often seemingly archaic terminology? If so, you may be interested to learn that RONR is not your only choice for a…

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What about our elections in this pandemic?

By Ann Macfarlane / October 19, 2020 / Comments Off on What about our elections in this pandemic?

  With fall and the turning of the year, many organizations are struggling over their elections. We can’t do things the way we have always done, so what are the options? Here are a few thoughts on holding elections in this pandemic. As always, this is not legal advice. Be sure to consult your attorney!…

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How to be objective about subjective comments

By Ann Macfarlane / September 28, 2020 /

  What can you do when your colleagues on a board or council say things that you find offensive? What if they are making subjective statements that hurt your feelings? We are living in tough times for civility. People feel free to say things during meetings that can be offensive and challenging. Robert’s Rules of…

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Be vigilant when fundamental principles are compromised in emergency situations

By Ann Macfarlane / August 28, 2020 / Comments Off on Be vigilant when fundamental principles are compromised in emergency situations

This article by John R. Berg, PRP, president of the Washington State Association of Parliamentarians (WSAP), was originally published in the August 2020 issue of the Washington State Parliamentarian, the WSAP newsletter. Jurassic Parliament expresses its gratitude to John and to WSAP for permission to reprint. In my previous message I stressed the need to…

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When First Amendment Rights and Public Meetings Clash

By Ann Macfarlane / August 7, 2020 /

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”

By Ann Macfarlane / July 27, 2020 / Comments Off on “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…

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