rights of members

Insulting body language – what to do

By Ann Macfarlane / July 26, 2023 / Comments Off on Insulting body language – what to do

Dear Dinosaur:  We have a board member who rolls their eyes, sighs, shrugs their shoulders or grimaces while others are speaking. How can this be addressed? Answer: The rules of parliamentary procedure, and specifically Robert’s Rules of Order, require that all members of a body show courtesy and respect. We suggest requesting that the board…

Read More

When can you bring up a new topic during a meeting?

By Ann Macfarlane / June 11, 2021 / Comments Off on When can you bring up a new topic during a meeting?

At a recent council meeting I attended, the city issued a proclamation honoring efforts to assist the homeless. In responding to the proclamation, a local pastor asked the council to provide extra funding for their project. Before the mayor could move on to public comment, a council member made a motion to provide the funding.…

Read More

Disruptive members derailing your Zoom meetings? Use these rules!

By Ann Macfarlane / May 24, 2021 / Comments Off on Disruptive members derailing your Zoom meetings? Use these rules!

A client is running Zoom meetings for 300-400 members. Not surprisingly, the meetings are challenging! People fail to follow common courtesy, Points of Order are rife, sometimes discourse collapses. It doesn’t have to be that way. Jurassic Parliament has developed a set of “sample Zoom rules,” based on Robert’s Rules of Order and adapted to…

Read More

Hostages of her ranting

By Ann Macfarlane / March 1, 2021 /

Dear Dinosaur: One board member was dissatisfied with the way the bylaws amendment process was handled. At the membership meeting, she proceeded to monopolize the meeting and refused to stop having the conversation. So we were all hostages of her ranting. Is there anything to do? Answer: At a meeting, a member of an organization has…

Read More

Host shuts eligible directors out of meeting

By Ann Macfarlane / December 6, 2020 /

Dear Dinosaur:  With Zoom, the host kept eligible directors from entering into their board meeting while allowing others in. Then, after finally allowing those unwanted but eligible members to enter the meeting, the host removes him/her repeatedly from the meeting so that they are unable to participate in discussions, deliberation, and vote. Another method utilized…

Read More

Failed motion can’t be made again – true or false?

By Ann Macfarlane / November 27, 2020 / Comments Off on Failed motion can’t be made again – true or false?

Dear Dinosaur: In my first year on the city council, I have made several motions which have all failed. My colleagues say, “Don’t make a motion you know will fail because once it fails it cannot be made again.” Is this true? Answer: No, this is wildly wrong. According to Robert’s Rules of Order, during…

Read More

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…

Read More

“America will be”

By Ann Macfarlane / July 31, 2020 /

The current turmoil in our country over social justice issues isn’t the first time, of course, that people have grappled with inequality. August 4, 1789 was a landmark in the struggle to recognize all human beings as equally worthy. Representatives of all 3 “estates” were meeting in Versailles outside Paris—the clergy, the nobility, and the…

Read More

“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…

Read More

No debate at all—legitimate, but unwise

By Ann Macfarlane / July 6, 2020 / Comments Off on 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…

Read More