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Dear Parliamentarian Vol. 120 March 2006

Dear Parliamentarian Vol. 120  March 2006
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,

 In public forum meeting, what order should these actions  come in...the Invocation, the Presentation of Colors and the Pledge of Allegiance?  Thanks. for your help.


  Dear Susan,
    This is what the official Robert's Rules book states the order of opening cermonies:  Invocation (always first if offered--God before country), the singing of the Naitonal Anthem, the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag, a ritual briefly recalling the objects or ideals of the organization or the like.  I would say that the presentation of colors, if that is bringing in the flags, would come before the pledge.

The Parliamentarian

Benjamin T. Winsor wrote:

I am part of a small non-profit home-owners association here is Sussex County, DE and we have recently written a set of bylaws that seem to meet our needs.  My question is how many readings are necessary in order for the majority of members of vote to accept them as the rule and guide of our organization?  We had one reading at a  meeting in December which had had prior notice to the members and all present were given copies of the Bylaws.  The next meeting, two months later we did the reading by title with the approval of a majority of the membership.  The reason for not doing a second line by line reading was to save time and most (70 to 2) felt that it was unnecessary to go through the time of content was clear and non threatening.  We now have been challenged by one or two folk who think we have done something illegal by not reading each and every paragraph at the second reading and that we do indeed need a third reading, also to be read aloud  by line.  Can you help?   Benjamin Winsor and thanks for the time.

 Dear Benjamin,
    The first place you need to look for handling a revision is in the bylaws that you are replacing.  Usually bylaws need previous notice and a two thirds vote.  However, I know that many HOA's only require a majority vote for their adoption.  The normal procedure is to have a meeting or meetings where members can proposed amendments to the revision, discuss the amendments and then adopt them. Usually each article is read and then members propose amendments.  The amendments are discussed and voted on and then become part of the revision.  When the members have gone through all the articles then the entire document is then open again for discussion and amendment so the assembly can go back to prior articles and make any necessary changes.  Then the revision is vote on as amended.
    However, many organizations just open the entire revision for discussion, amendment and then a vote.  If the bylaws are now adopted it is too late for these members to complain about procedure.  If there is something that was adopted that they don't like, they can propose to amend the bylaws according to the procedure that is stated in the bylaws.
    Let me say this about "first, second and third" readings.   This procedure is done in city governments for the adoption of new laws.  Unless your bylaws state that you have to have so many readings you don't.  Instead follow the procedure stated above.  If you go to our WEB Site <>, you will find a link that says "bylaws".  It tells what should be in the bylaws and how to handle bylaw revisions and bylaw amendments.  You have our permission to print this information and share it with your members.

The Parliamentarian


March 6, 2006


Hi there:

 May I have your comments, opinion, regarding the following so that we may know how to proceed in the future:

 A Nominating committee is selected with two Board officers and three members.  These are A, B, C, D, E.

 A, chairman, and B, decide to approach the Board and see who will continue in office.  The answers are all positive.  So then, C, D, and E are contacted with the results.  All five agree that it is a great idea.  They all agree to the proposed slate and the vote is unanimous.  The slate is presented to the Assembly.  Additional candidates will be accepted from the floor.  There are NO additional nominations from the floor.

 Then lo and behold, Nominating committee member E nominates Nominating committee member D for an office.  D accepts.  There now has to be a ballot election for that office, which now has two candidates.

 Question:  After agreeing unanimously to the Nominating Committee's Slate, is one of the Committee members "allowed" to add candidates from the floor?  Is Committee Member D who has also agreed to the Slate, allowed to accept a nomination by E to be a candidate?  That means that D and E have actually nominated two persons. Why accept the Slate and then add a candidate?

 I would very much appreciate your input.  Thank you very much.

 Best Regards,

Shirley Sinclair

P. O. Box 1484
Monterey Park, CA. 91754


Dear Shirley:

The nominating committee is still made up of members who have the same rights as any other member.  That includes the right to nominate and be nominated.  Robert's Rules of Order (2000 ed.) says:  "Members of the committee are not barred from becoming nominees for office themselves."  P. 419.  The second nomination is ok too because anyone can make a second nominations after all others have had a chance to nominate.  So what they did is permissible under the rules.

The Parliamentarian