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Dear Parliamentarian Vol. 63 May 2001

Dear Parliamentarian Vol. 63  May 2001
Answers to your Parliamentary Questions

"Dear Parlimentarian" is written by the author of Parliamentary Procedures Made Simple: The Basics, an 80 minute video that tells how to have better meetings.

Dear Parliamentarian,
My question involves the nomination and election of officers in a State non-profit organization.Our bylaws provide for a Nominating Committee, who presents a slate of officers at our annual State Convention. After the slate is presented, the floor is opened for further nominations.This year, the Nominating Committee did not receive nominations for two of our offices--Second Vice President and Treasurer. If there are no nominations from the floor, how do we proceed?
Our bylaws state that the Executive Committee shall fill any officer vacancies.Do we elect the other nominated officers and then allow the Executive Committee to fill any vacancies?Our organizational year is July 1 through June 30. These officers that are being elected will be for the upcoming year--2001-2002. If the Executive Committee is responsible for filling any vacancies, there is also the question of which Executive Committee should do so--the 2000-2001 Executive Committee or the incoming 2001-2002 Executive Committee.
Our bylaws also state that in the event there is only one candidate for each office "the current Recording Secretary shall cast the ballot for the entire ticket." Will that still apply if there are no nominees for certain offices? And, in general, is there special language to be used by the Recording Secretary in casting the ballot?Any help you can offer will be greatly appreciated.
Judy Mack

Dear Judy,
Did the committee try hard enough to get nominations for these two offices? Also do your bylaws state an officer shall serve until its successor is elected?  What I recommend is that you get information about to the members that you need nominees for these offices. Two people might step forward. Then check the bylaws to see what they say about serving until a successor is elected. If this is the case the members currently serving serve until someone is elected. If you don't' have this clause, then you will have a vacancy after the new board takes their place. The new board would then fill the vacancies. Hope this helps.
The Parliamentarian
At the meeting, if no nominations are coming forward for these offices, have someone make a motion to call a recess. Then try to find people to fill these two positions.

Dear Parliamentarian,
Please answer the following question:  I am a former board member of a HOA which, at one time had an appointed Parliamentarian. The current President and officers did not extend that appointment and have no parliamentarian at this time.  Does the former parliamentarian reserve the authority to address himself as "Parliamentarian" in his correspondence to the Board of Directors or to any other member of our Association?   Is there a "formal" certificate or degree one can receive or an organization one can join to become a "professional parliamentarian"? Thank you for your time.
N. Blake

Dear Andy,
You can only refer to yourself in a letter to your association as parliamentarian as along as you are appointed the parliamentarian.  If you want to become a "registered Parliamentarian" you need to contact the National Associaition of Parliamentarians. If you wanted to be a certified parliamentarian contact the American Institute of Parliamentarians. You can contact the AIP through our WEb site <> Go to our links section.  The NAP you can call at 1-800- NAP- 2929.
The Parliamentarian

Dear Parliamentarian:
We, or they the board of directors have no one to manage and enforce ANY rules. Kids run all over scream and yell climb the tree in front of our living room window. Noisey exhaust systems from cars wake us up, booming/vibrating noises from autos about 24/7.I want to sue everyone. I sent letters to them and no results. I want to take their unit from them. Then maybe We can enjoy some peace and quiet as stated in CCR,s. I read a section that says any owner may enforce rules. Does that mean I can just take charge and tell people to comply or move out?
Mike Swanson, The young and ANNOYED, Thanks for any suggestions.

Dear Mike,
First, please calm down. You can't solve a problem by being angry. If you go on our WEB Site and read what I have written under the Homeowners Section. I followed proper procedures. I wrote a letter and then had others sign it. In the letter I called for a special meeting.   Now to enforce the rules doesn't mean kicking anyone out. First, approach the noisy neighbors nicely and ask them if they are familiar with the rules-- show them a copy of the rules about the noise. Let them know poilitely that their noisy music is causing a disturbance and that their are penalties for not obeying the rules. And that you have a right to enforce them.
If they still continue to be noisey then write a formal letter to the board of your association. Ask the board to put your complaint on the agenda and go to the meeting to explain why you want them to enforce the rules about noise. (You have a right to attend board meetings. According to law they are to be open.) If you still can't get anywhere with this, then contact an attorney that specializes in Condo and Homeowner associations. See what that person recommends that you do. You also might want to contact the Community Association Institute. They specialize in Condo Associations. They give workshops to members of associations. They can be of great help in this type of situation. Call 703-548-8600. Their web site is
The next approach is to see if other neighbors are annoyed about this situation. If you have a group that is upset with the noise then as a group you will have more force.   Be watchful that you don't get the reputation as a "hothead" because no one will listen to you. So become informed, be methodical and reasonable in your approach, and stay calm. Taking legal action will make you a very unpopular neighbor. And you still have to live in the community.
Best regards,
The Parliamentarian

Dear Parliamentarian:
I'm on a Volunteer fire Dept, we are incorporated, have by-laws, rules of Order, etc. My Question is : Is the Chief automatically the Chair? Is it voted on by the members? or can someone else chair the meetings? The chief has done it for the past 14 years. I've just been introduced to Robert's Rules and cannot find an answer to this question. Can you help me?
Thank You,

Dear Mark,
The chairman is whomever the bylaws state is the chairman or president. So look in the bylaws. The chief may not be the chairman. If your bylaws don't say who is to chair the meeting and the members want someone else to chair the meeting, a member will have to make a motion to do this. Since the chief has been chairing it for fourteen years, then the motion will need a two thirds vote to set aside or give previous notice that is will be done and it will take a majority vote. Are there problems when the chief chairs the meeting?
The Parliamentarian

Dear Parliamentarian:
Only sometimes is there problems with this Chief. Some items are decided on before the meeting among his followers. A motion is made with a second, then a vote is immediately called for with no discussion. When it is convienant , we follow Robert's Rules, but not always. Our Parlimatarian is seldom present to set things straight.
When a question comes up, the chief says show it to me in Robert's Rules. Well, nobody knows them in order to show him. Until now. I will learn them. Our by-laws state: The Chief of the Dept. shall have sole and absolute control and command over persons connected with this Fire Department and posses full power and authority over its organization, government, and discipline.
He uses this statement to over ride anything he does'nt want. He says this statement gives him the right to have the last word in anything that goes on in the dept. Do you agree?   Thanks for the information.

Dear Mark,
I'm afraid you work for a dictator and live under a dictatorship. They way your bylaws are written you don't stand a chance. If there is a provision for amending the bylaws, I suggest that you do that and give the chief other powers than what he now has. Right now by having meetings he is presenting the illusion of democracy and wanting your imput. How sad that this organization was set up this way. Keep studying. You will find a way to solve the problem.
The Parliamentarian

Dear Parliamentarian:
When neither the President or Vice President are able to attend a meeting and the Secretary/Treasurer is not a Board member or a share holder but a paid employee, can a meeting still be held? If the meeting is held, who conducts the meeting? If a former Board member decides that the Board member with the longest seniority take charge and issued are resolved, will this constitute a legal meeting and can these issues legally be put into effect?  We need help on these issues. Might I add that the former Board member is a very pushy, take charge person.

Dear June,
I'm sorry that I took so long in answering you. I just was given your e-mail message.   To answer your question: First there must be a quorum present before any meeting can be called to order. If there is a quorum present, then the secretary calls the meeting to order and asks for nominations for a chairman pro tem. After the chairman is elected, then that person conducts the meeting.
As long as you had a quorum present, then the meeting was official. The decision was made who should conduct the meeting and so what transpired is legal as long as a quorum was present. Now you know what to do and can share it with the others.
The Parliamentarian

Dear Parliamentarian:
I spoke with you a few weeks ago about your book (Robert's Rules of Order - Simplied and Applied) and I ordered some copies of the summary of basic parliamentary information from you. Thank you, these arrived very quickly.
We are having a discussion at our Board of Directors currently about the permissibility of a recorded vote (by this I mean recording names in the minutes of those who voted in favour and those against a motion). This has come up because recently some member requested it be noted in the minutes that they had voted against a particular proposal, however, that request is seen as not fair to the rest of the Board. In my former workplace, at the school board, we had a provision for this in our by-laws and recorded votes were taken quite routinely if requested by 3 members. In my current employment, we do not have such a practice or tradition, and are unclear about Robert's position on this. How would a recorded vote be called for, and what section of your book would you suggest we refer to in presenting this to the Board?  Hope you can help with this - thanking you in advance.
Susan McNeil
Executive Assistant
Durham Children's Aid Society
Oshawa, Ontario, Canada

Dear Susan,
A recorded vote is a roll call vote. To have a roll call vote, a member must make the motion and it requires a majority vote unless you have bylaw or rule that states differently. One member can not insist that the way he voted be recorded in the minutes unless the other members vote to allow this to happen. See page 166 about what votes are recorded in the minutes.
Did you tell this group about how the previous group handled this? Perhaps they would want to adopt the same bylaw.  Hopes this helps.
The Parliamentarian

PS. An important point to bring out to your members is that everything is decided by the majority. One person can't insist that something be done. Have you gone over with them the basic principles that are discussed basic principles of democracy as found on pages 3 - 13?

Dear Parlimentarian,
Is it consistent with RROR to seek a formal motion to approve the minutes followed by a simple majority vote? Thank you.
Daniel E. Shaw

Dear Dr. Shaw,
Yes, it is consistent with Robert's Rules. However, the common arliamentary practice is for the presiding officer to ask, after the minutes have been read, "Are there any corrections? (if no corrections, then the chair states,) The minutes are approved as read." If the assembly has the custom of making a motion to approve the minutes, then it is adopted by a majority vote.
The Parliamentarian

Dear Parliamentarian:
I have a question regarding the resignation of an elected President. We have a situation where is very probable the President will be leaving the area. The Vice-president has indicated that they have no desire nor the time to assume the full duties of the President. Our By-laws state that in the absence of the President the vice president will assume the duties of the President, they also state, any vacancies occurring on the board during the year shall be filled until next annual election by a majority vote of all the then members of the board. "Except that, the office of the President shall be filled automatically by the Vice-president and resulting vacancy in the office of the Vice-president shall be filled by the board. The bylaws also state "Robert's Rules of Parliamentary Procedure shall, when consistent with the Articles of Incorporation and By-laws, govern all meetings of the Club and all its committees. My question, is, since there is nothing clear in our bylaws, where in Robert's rules does one turn for the answer. I have been appointed by the President and the Board as parliamentarian. I am in a quandary and am looking for a way out. Thanks in advance

Dear Barney,
Your bylaws are very concise about the procedure that you need to follow. When the president resigns the Vice President takes the position and then the board fills the vice presidency. If the new president doesn't want the job, then he will have to resign and the new vice president appointed will then have to take over. I realize that you want a way out. Perhaps some of the duties can be shared among the board members so that the president doesn't feel overburdened and will serve.
The Parliamentarian

Dear Parliamentarian:
Can you tell me if there is a difference between a motion and a resolution.  Are these terms used interchangeably?
Sally Henry, Administration

Dear Sally,
How do you want to use it?
The Parliamentarian

Dear Parliamentarian:
At a recent committee meeting there was a proposed resolution to take a particular action (i.e. raise funds). The proposed resolution, in written form, was passed out to all committee members and voted on. In the minutes I am not sure how to word this. For example, should I say "a motion was made to..." or should the record read "a resolution was proposed to..." Thanks for you assistance, I am very new to this (as I'm sure you can tell).

Dear Sally,
It's okay that you are new to this, I was at one time, too. The only way we learn is to ask questions. Write the entire resolution in the minutes. Be sure to state who made the resolution. Since a resolution is a formal proposal, many organizations have a book of resolutions that they keep and put a resolution in whenever it is adopted. There is a thought that since these are more formally presented they are of more importance and therefore should be kept in a book by itself. Also they believe that they are enforce until rescind. All this is true, but it is also true for any main motion that is adopted. So if your committee has a resolutions book be sure to put it in that too.

The Parliamentarian

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