parliamentary procedure

4 bad habits to avoid at council meetings

By Ann Macfarlane / August 6, 2016 / Comments Off on 4 bad habits to avoid at council meetings

There are a number of “urban myths” about Robert’s Rules of Order that can get in the way of democratic process for your council. If your municipality, county council, or special district avoids these bad habits, congratulations! If these errors happen at your meetings, however, you might want to bring them to the attention of your colleagues…

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What is a quorum and why does it matter?

By Ann Macfarlane / March 16, 2016 /
cartoon about quorum

A friend recently described a board meeting when 20 members, who had driven or flown in from distant parts, sat around waiting because they couldn’t take action – they didn’t have a quorum. Eventually one straggler arrived and the meeting could begin. What is a quorum? A quorum is the minimum number of voting members…

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When can you withdraw a motion?

By Ann Macfarlane / March 11, 2016 /
cartoon illustrating withdraw a motion

Have you ever been at a meeting where the person who made a motion becomes unhappy about the direction of the discussion, and says, “OK, I withdraw my motion”?

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Keep the chair in line using appeal

By Ann Macfarlane / February 22, 2016 /
appeal stamp

Updated July 22, 2021 The “motion to appeal” is one of the least-known motions in Robert’s Rules of Order, and the most powerful. All of us are very familiar with the role of the chair of the meeting. Under Robert’s Rules of Order, the chair has the duty of keeping things on track. The chair…

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What are special rules of order in Robert’s Rules?

By Ann Macfarlane / October 22, 2015 /

Updated July 14, 2021 Special rules of order are permanent rules, specific to your group, that guide your discussions and meetings. They allow you to make sure that your group talks about things and makes decisions in the way that works best for you. Robert’s Rules of Order encourages groups to set up their own special…

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Are summary minutes right for your nonprofit board?

By Ann Macfarlane / August 25, 2015 /
paper with pen

Over the years Jurassic Parliament has been a strong supporter of “action minutes.” We agree with Robert’s Rules of Order that the fundamental purpose of minutes is to record official actions taken by a governing body. Minutes are a legal record and document what the body has done. This is true for elected councils, appointed…

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Which Robert’s Rules should I buy?

By Ann Macfarlane / April 17, 2015 / Comments Off on Which Robert’s Rules should I buy?

Updated July 15, 2021 When I first became interested in Robert’s Rules of Order and parliamentary procedure, I toddled off to the bookstore to get myself the book. A thin volume with a purple and green art nouveau cover, proffering Robert’s Rules for the current century, looked like a good bet. I handed over my…

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