The term “pass the gavel” refers to a situation where the chair of a meeting (the presider, the person running the meeting) temporarily gives up the position of chair (the authority to run the meeting) to allow another person to preside over the meeting. Download PDF Pass the gavel in a large meeting In a…

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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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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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Dear Tony, Thank you for checking in as you prepare for the first annual meeting of your homeowners’ association on Zoom. Here are a few thoughts to help it go well. Can you meet remotely? The first thing is to make sure that you CAN meet remotely. Our article, When COVID-19 cancels your meeting, describes…

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Laura Morgan, a Black Parliamentarian from Chicago’s South Shore, kicks off this webinar by sharing her story of how she became a Professional Registered Parliamentarian. Then we go on to present 4 guidelines that allow every voice to be heard and all opinions to be considered. Social justice meetings deal with important issues that generate…

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The History City News in Missouri published an account of a commission meeting that got Robert’s Rules of Order wrong: Under Roberts Rules of Order, Commissioner Henry Dean could not offer a motion during the County Commission meeting yesterday to mandate the wearing of face masks in the county since it failed last week. So,…

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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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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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Nonprofit membership organizations sometimes are plagued with members who create difficulties at meetings. What can you do about that? Can you kick a member out of a membership meeting? And if so, how? Our article, Dealing with difficult members, lays the groundwork for this post. Download PDF Rights and responsibilities Attending membership meetings is one…

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When I served on the board of the American Translators Association, a fellow board member drove me crazy. His blithe assumption of superiority and his ego were insufferable. Of course, it is a truism of psychology that a strong emotional reaction like that is linked to unresolved inner issues. When I looked at the matter…

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