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Dear Parliamentarian Vol. 87 May 2003

Dear Parliamentarian Vol. 87  May 2003
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.

McCubbins Farm wrote:

Hello Mr. McConnell,

My name is Josh McCubbins and I am in the process of training for the Kentucky State FFA Parliamentary Procedure Contest. I've been reading your book and have come across a question that no one seems to be certain about, therefore I'm shooting it toward you so I can here a pro's answer. On page 83 of the Second Edition of your publishing, the ladder of motions in order by rank. It state that while a pending amendment is on the floor, you may not move to postpone indefinitely, and I believe the justifications behind this, is that it ranks below the motion to Amend. What the inquiry is, is that amend is below postpone to a certain time and to refer to a committee however, they still can be amended. How would a chairperson call a member out of order if they moved to postpone indefinitely while there was an amendment on the floor? What would the justifications be? How could you say because it ranks lower, when the other two motions such as the ones I listed above are in the same situation, and can still be amended? If you could help clarify this to me, I'd appreciate it greatly. It possible I'm just thinking too much and not making any sense. Thank You for your time.

Josh McCubbins

Dear Josh,
Thank you for being patient with my reply.
If you look at the pages concerning motions you will see that any motion that has a variable can be amended. See page 88 paragraph #3. There are certain parliamentary rules that apply to each motion. You will find those rules at the beginning of each motion.
To answer your question: First, the member is not out of order unless he is being disruptive and verbally abusive. In the case that you mention about the motion to postpone indefinitely being made when the motion to amend is pending, the chair states: "The motion is not in order at this time because it is of lower rank than the motion to amend." This is done courteously and kindly.
It is important to memorize the rules concerning the motions. Here is an important point to remember about amending. An amendment is always of higher rank than the motion it amends. For example, if the motion to refer to a committee was pending and a member moved to amend what committee, then the amendment is of higher rank than the motion it amends. I hope this helps and I wish you well in your competition.
The Parliamentarian

Gerald wrote:

Hello and thank you.

The Chairman of the organization appointed a Credentials Committee for the Annual Convention. Per organization rules, the Credentials Committee met and prepared Minutes of its meeting.
The Chairperson of the Credentials Committee subsequently decides to run for Chairman of the Organization.
Are there rules prohibiting her from running for organization Chairman?
Does she have to resign from the Credentials Committee, absent bylaw provision(s) contra?

If she is asked to resign for this reason by the Chair of the Convention (asked the eve of the Convention) is the Convention Chair acting ultra vires or out of line?
If she nonetheless resigns on the eve of the Convention because of the Convention Chair's intervention, who determines her replacement? The Convention Chair, the Organization Chair, the Organizations Executive Committee, the remaining members of the Credentials Committee; or is there a need to replace her at all, as opposed on one of the existing members of the Credentials Committee becoming its CHair?

THANK YOU! This really happened.
gerald goulder

Dear Mr. Goulder,
Your question presents an interesting situation. I can only answer it from general parliamentary principles because I do not have any the organizations documents from which to derive an opinion.
The bylaws of an organization should set who is eligible to be considered for an office in the organization. Unless the bylaws prohibit a certain individual from being considered for an office than the person is eligible. In Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised, 10th edition, it states that those on the nominating committee can not be excluded from being nominated for office just because they serve on the that committee. It is my opinion that the same holds true for the Credentials Chairman. This person is responsible of overseeing that all delegates get seated properly for the convention. I do not see where there would be a conflict of interest of her being in this position and being nominated for the position of the Chairman of the organization.
Did the Chair of the Convention have the right to ask her to resign? I don't know. Was she out of line to do so? I don't know that either. I don't have the organization's bylaws to see what they say. Members always have a right to bring these things to the assembly to decide the best course of action. If the Credentials Chair was unhappy about what the Chairman asked, she could have stood her ground and waited to have her nomination ruled out of order. At that point she could have appealed the decision of the chair and let the assembly decide.
With the Credentials Chair resignation a new chairman should have been appointed by the person responsible for appointing that position. The parliamentary rule is that whoever has the power to appoint or elect fills the vacancy.
Perhaps at next years convention, those in positions of power would find it helpful to read how to handle all these matters in the chapter on Conventions, beginning on page 588 of Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised, 10th edition. Or the organization could hire a parliamentarian for the convention to help sort these matters out.

The Parliamentarian

Dear Nancy,
No. However, you don't need to approve a Treasurer's report or approve to file it. The Chair just states that the Treasurer's report is filed.

The Parliamentarian

Nancy wrote:

Does having a board smaller than 12 change those rules on assuming a motion has been implied like the approval of the minutes of the last meeting , filing of the treasurers report, and adjourning the meeting?

I can tell you what Robert's Rules says about a telephone vote: This is from Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised, 10th ed., page 469: "The personal approval of a proposed action obtained separately by telephone or individual interview, even from every members of a board, is not the approval of the board, since the members were not present in one room where they could mutually debate the matter. If action on such a basis is necessary in an emergency, it must be ratified at the next regular board meeting in order to become an official act of the board."

The Parliamentarian wrote:

We have a board of nine. Five members of the board have tried passing a vote on reserved parking. Four members and some of the community have hired an independent attorney to review the laegal aspects of the declaration to change the common area. The lawyer has said we need a vote of 80% to ammend the declaration. Four memebers of the board last month would not vote on the issue until it is researched more. at this last board meeting they said the managment company had taken a vote by phone and it has passed?? The four members say they were not called by the managment Company, the president said messages were left on their answering machines?? Is a vote by phone legal if there is no emergency??? Or is it legal or acceptanle at all?
Thank You in NY wrote:

What authority is generally granted to a proxy carrier as it relates to motions brought up on the meeting floor?

Bob Steiner

Dear Bob,
It depends upon how the proxy is worded. If it is a general proxy, the proxy holder can vote on all main motions. I will have to check to see if he can vote on secondary motions. If it is a limited proxy then the proxy holder can only vote on what the proxy allows him or her to vote on,.

The Parliamentarian

Susan wrote:

We has a person elected to President of our PTO who had no one run against him. We were told by the principal that he wins by default.
Now the person is not the type we would want to hold office. He is rude, offensive, and has made sexual advances to members. What do we do?

Dear Susan,
I don't get it. If only one person is nominated and is elected why does the Principal win by default? This does not make sense. Do you bylaws state this? If it does not the Principal is making this up.
In Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised, it is recommended that only one candidate be presented by the nominating committee. Elections in small organization are not to be like elections in the political arena. It is not about contests between two or three people. If that went on you wouldn't have an organization or people who would want to be nominated because it would be too contentious and people's feels would get hurt. The purpose of having a nominating committee nominate only one candidate is to prevent this. The nominating committee should find the best candidate and one who is willing to serve.
So look in the bylaws, be informed about parliamentary procedure and put an end to this nonsense.

The Parliamentarian

Bilderback, Susan wrote:

Sorry about the confusion. We do not have a nominating committee. No one ran for office. The only person that wanted it nominated himself. Because no one ran against him, the principal said that that person won and no vote was taken.
The President elect has not taken office and won't until July 1. He's behavior is awful. He is rude, offensive, and makes sexual advances to the other members. We are having a PTO board meeting today to discuss alternatives.
I have challenged the election saying that it wasn't legal.

Dear Susan,
Thank you for more information. A person can nominate himself. There is no rule against that. But the members still have to vote. So right now there is a nominee but there still needs to be a vote taken. You don't need to challenge an election because there was no election. What you need to point out is that the members need to still vote on this nominee. Even when there is only one nominee for office, the members still have to vote on that nomination. A nomination is just that. To bring the nominee into the office, even if there is only one, the members still need to vote.
Now this is what I suggest is that you do: point out that the members need to still take a vote. Before the vote is taken, the presiding officer should open the floor for further nominations. Have a nominee ready to present.
May I suggest that your organization get our video "Nominations and Elections" or get a copy of our book Webster's New World: Robert's Rules of Order Simplified and Applied. These questions will be answered there.

The Parliamentarian

Kouvatsos, Dean wrote:

I have just been elected to a condominium board of directors of less than 10 members.
In the first meeting one member opened the meeting by stating that another member informed her that he could not attend and requested to nominate her for President of the newly elected board by proxy. She followed this with "I Accept" before even being seconded.
She led the meeting and when we finally voted for officers there were no other nominations for President and she won by default.
Is this proper procedure? Can we contest the election and ask for a new vote? If so, how long after the first election?

Dear Dean,
> From the research that I have done, proxies are not allowed in board

meetings but only in meetings of the entire Condo body unless there is some provision in your bylaws for this.
But what in essence was done, was that the member nominated herself, which is allowed. Everyone went along with it so why rock the boat? There really isn't any parliamentary reason to challenge the election. But I would point out that in the future proxies are not allowed to be used at board meetings unless the bylaws provide for this. It is more important to nip the proxy at board meetings in the bud than the way the election was handled. No one else evidently wanted the position so leave it as it is.

The Parliamentarian

Kim Kauffman wrote:

I have read your articles about your troubles with your Homeowner’s Association. I would really love to get your opinion on our problem.
In April 2001 we moved into our home, which we built in a development (Westbury) that was started in 1996, but is not yet completed. There are still a couple more phases to develop, but the homes are going up very quickly. While we were in the process of building, we became good friends with our soon to be neighbors. They told us about a meeting that the developer (the McNaughtons) was going to be having in March 2001 to discuss the Homeowner’s Association and election of officers. Although covenants and bylaws were given to every new home built/bought, there was no board of directors and no assessment set yet. A bunch of the neighbors held a pre-meeting, in February 2001, to talk about what we wanted to bring up at the meeting, as homeowners, as well as get a feel for who might want to be nominated for board members. Well, all our efforts were futile, because at the March meeting, held by the McNaughton’s, they basically said that since the total number of homes upon completion of the development is 150 ± and there were only 80 ± homes built so far, they had the majority (each homeowner has 1 vote, and the developer has 2 votes for each available lot), so they designated themselves, and those in their office as the President, Vice-President and Treasurer, and gave us a proposed estimated budget of $60 annual assessment. That March 2001 meeting was the last we heard from the “Board” until the beginning of 2002 when we got a bill in the mail for Annual Homeowner’s dues of $95!! I did not pay it, and neither did a bunch of the other neighbors. How can they go from an estimated $60 to $95 without notice of where those funds are going. They have done nothing for Westbury or the homeowner’s – except cut the grass in the open field area… maybe 3 times last summer, only when we would call and complain.
So, now I receive a past-due statement for the 2002 dues and expect to receive one soon for 2003. They have NEVER held ANY meetings.
Is this truly a homeowner’s association? Can they assess those fees and am I liable for them?
Any assistance you can give me is greatly appreciated!

Dear Kim,
You need to see if there is a Homeowners Act in your state. Get that and read it. Become informed. I have a friend who is in a Condo Association with similar problems with the builder. As far as I know, until a certain percentage of lots are sold, the builder is still in control and that is where many big problems arise. You may need to hire a lawyer to handle this one. Be sure to pay your dues because if they have a clause in the covenants about them being able to charge high interest, putting a lien on your property or foreclosing your property you could find yourself in some serious trouble.
If they are operating as an association and the state laws say that they have to have open meetings, present a budget and other things to the members, then you will have a basis to hold them to doing things correctly. You need to get informed. Don't stay in the dark on this one. And this takes constant education because something new is always coming up in these associations.

The Parliamentarian

Harvey E. Morse wrote:

I am President of a large charitable religious organization. During the reading of the minutes, a member stood up and said that minutes only need to contain motions and nothing else, which is contrary to the way we have been handling minutes for years. Right or wrong, I feel that a charitable organization which is subject to scrutiny by public officials due to it's tax status, should report accurately the details of what took place at each meeting, and a synopsis of any discussions. Could I please have your comments?

Also, which is the most up to date book to purchase that contains a complete version of Robert's Rules?

Thank you.

Harvey Morse

Dear Harvey,
You wrote at the right time. We are currently in production on a training manual for secretaries which thoroughly covers what should go into the minutes. We will let you know when it is ready for sale. Your organization may find it very helpful to have.
All main motions with their incorporated amendments are recorded in the minutes. The name of the maker of the motion and whether it was debated (but not the debate or synopsis of the debate) is recorded in the minutes. However, there may be times background information is necessary or other information may be necessary to state why the members did something.
Minutes are the legal documents of the organization. If the minutes ever had to be used in a trial it would be important to contain enough information about whatever the problem was to help the court decide the issue in a fair manner.
It sounds to be that there is too much being put in the minutes at this time. It's one thing to put background information in, but it is difficult to accurately summarize debate unless you record word for word what someone has said. Another thing that can save space in the minutes is to reference where information is filed. So if someone gives a detailed report, the minutes can summarize the report and then state where the report is filed. So those reviewing the information can pull that file and get more details.
The official book is Robert's Rules of ORder Newly Revised, 10th edition. You will find that this book requires only bare bone minutes. However, our package includes more information because the writer has been a secretary for many organizations including non profits. We have also done a lot of research on this subject. wrote:

You are very kind to provide this service.

I am the Executive Director for a 501(c)(6) contractors association. At a recent board meeting, proposals to hire a professional webmaster were reviewed. With some discussion and comparison of the proposals, the board unanimously decided on a vendor I had recommended initially.

Two days after the board meeting a member of the website committee (who is not a board member) alerted me that this vendor not be contacted. He was angry that vendors he recommended were not chosen.

Here is the problem - the board has now scheduled a conference in two days to discuss the issue and possibly rescind or reconsider the original motion. I say this is in violation of Robert's Rules of Order in that rescinding the motion is not in order since an action had been taken as a result of a vote. I had already notified the vendor that his proposal had been accepted. I also think reconsidering the motion in not in order since it is not being done on the same day the original motion took place. Please advise me on this issue.

Thank you for your time.

Jan Stevens

Dear Jan,
You are right that the motion can't be "reconsidered" because that motion should be done at the meeting. But unfortunately in the new revision of Robert's Rules of ORder Newly Revised, 10th edition, the rules on rescinding have changed. If the 9th edition is still your authority, then they can't make the motion to rescind. In the 10th edition they have taken out the language about not being able to rescind if someone has been notified or a contract has been signed. The reasoning given for this is that an organization may need to get out of a contract or change their mind because of things that come up.
It is important that the board review this and come to a decision. If they still decide to go forward with the candidate already chosen, then you are off the hook and the board has made the final decision.

The Parliamentarian

noreen o'gara wrote:

Please send me the free brochure on parlimentary procedure. I really need any help I can get. I am part of the nominating committee for a small high school's parents association. A person who is in the midst of suing the current athletic director has put her name forward to be on the board - she believes that she can work harmoniously with the school principal and teachers and she does not see how her candidacy might imperil the parents association. I need as much documentation as possible to explain why the nominating committee might not feel comfortable at this time putting her name on the ballot.

N Dear Noreen,
The nominating committee is to find the best candidates for the office. Look carefully at the requirements of each office in your bylaws and see who fits these requirements the best. However, if she is "hell-bent" on being nominated, she probably will be nominated from the floor or nominate herself from the floor. Then the members will vote on whom they want to serve.
I think the main thing here is not to allow yourself to get embroiled in this problem. If you are on the nominating committee insist that the members do a thorough research to find the best candidates for the offices and keep them focused on this. Use your powers of persuasion. If she is calling the nominating committee asking them to nominate her, then kindly inform her that the committee is doing its work and she will be informed at the meeting of who the committee has nominated.

The Parliamentarian

noreen o'gara wrote:

Thank you for your response. Our nominating committee proposed two candidates to act as co-presidents . Our by-laws do not speak to the issue of co-presidents; they simply define the president's role. Is it therefore not proper to propose two people splitting one job - the Middle School Association has two parents acting as co-presidents and they seem to do fine.
The woman who is suing the AD brought her lawyer to Bedford High School Parents Association meeting and elections were never held. There was too much arguing over how many people could split positions and how by-laws could be amended. etc. There seemed to be much discussion about the by-laws (they are rather thin and people are intreprting Roberts Rules differently)..
Ironically we are a town with an open town meeting!
Thank you for your assistance, Noreen O'Gara

Dear Noreen,
This co-president idea must be contagious. I was talking with another school organization wanting to do the same thing. If your bylaws do not allow for co-presidents which I think is an absurd idea, then you can't have this. Instead, why not split the duties of the president with the office of Vice President and have them work closely together? Then when the President can't make the meetings, the Vice President presides. The other way to split these duties is to have a board of directors. What I have found is that the best way many organizations can operate is to have a board of directors or executive board that has a lot of responsibilities in the decision making power and then have your president preside at the board meetings and the membership meetings. This will take a lot of burden off the president.
If there are two people splitting the office as president who does what? Who is responsible for presiding? Who is responsible for which duties? This could end up being very confusing. It may be working well in the middle school, but that may be with these two people. It could be a disaster later. But the main thing is to honor your bylaws. As I said before, the best way is to have more duties assigned to the Vice President and have a policy where they work together on things. That in essence would be two people sharing the job.

The Parliamentarian wrote:

In regard to previous e-mail below, I wanted to e-mail you with the further information:
I am looking for where it is stated in roberts rules of order regarding disciplinary removal of a person from office or any writing on removal of an officer. Can you help?
What is the correct wording regarding this?
Thank You,

** I also wanted to state it is an elected officer and a non profit organization. Also, there is nothing in our by-laws regarding this matter-

Dear Pat,.
Do you have our book Webster's New World: Robert's Rules of Order Simplified and Applied? We have a short chapter on discipline of officers and members which include removal. Since you are a non profit, you also need to get a hold of the non profit codes in your state to see what the removal procedures are for officers. Usually the codes provide for the removal of officers and then tell how to do it. If you code doesn't and Robert's Rules authority you will need to follow those guidlines.

The Parliamentarian

Sheila O'Grady wrote:

Should proposed bylaws revisions be made by a group independent from an organization's executive board? Should the group/committee be elected?

Our bylaws are in desperate need of being changed, but we are afraid the group the president has formed to do this, is loyal to him, and will create new bylaws that will preserve the inordinate power that he has. What can we do about this?

Many thanks for your advice.

Dear Sheila,
Usually when selecting a bylaw committee it is a large committee with many points of views. Look in your current bylaws and see what it says about who appoints committees. If this power is given to the president or executive board then there is not much the members can do. But if there is a provision in your bylaws about the members creating an ad hoc or special committees, then the membership can make a motion to revise the bylaws and that a committee of these members be the ones that do it.
Another thing that is done when a revision is going on is for the committee to ask the membership to submit in writing any suggestions that they would like to see changed. If they don't then write a letter to the committee requesting that they make the changes.
A revision is a proposal to substitute a new document for the current bylaws. At the meeting(s) it is presented members have a right to propose amendments.
Hope this helps.

The Parliamentarian

Jennifer Niemier wrote:
Do you have a general list and/or paragraph of Rules of Conduct for a City Council Meeting that could be put on an Agenda? I would appreciate whatever help and assistance you could provide.
Dear Jennifer,
What kind of problems are you having in your meetings. IF you could tell me that, I can be of better help.

The Parliamentarian

Jennifer Niemier wrote:

Thank you for responding. I am attaching what our City used temporarily last evening. We have city council meetings the first and third Tuesday of every month. The problem has arose with the general public. The general public’s conduct is the problem while in the audience and when they approach the podium to speak/address the council. We have a five minute time limit for proponents and opponents to speak and at the end of our council meetings we take “comments from the floor”. This has not been strictly enforced in the past, but in December 2002 a new Mayor was sworn into office and wants to get rid of the free-for-all type attitude that has occurred at past city council meetings. I could use your expert advice. Thank you.
Jennifer Niemier, City of Papillion, City Clerk

Dear Jennifer,
Thank you for explaining. What the Council needs to do is adopt rules of procedure concerning how members of the community can participate in the open discussion part of the meeting. Some City Councils having hearings about certain issues and then allow for community input. Others allow remarks at the beginning of the meeting, others at the very end, and some Councils allow members to make remarks as each issue discussed. So what the Council first has to decide is when it is going allow the public to speak. After that is decided then, the Council needs to establish rules of procedure for this discussion.
First, a rule should be that all remarks are made to the presiding officer . If someone wants to ask a specific question of an individual Council member, it is still addressed to the presiding officer who then as Council member so and so to answer it.
Second, each person speaking should rise, address the presiding officer by official title and then state his name and what precinct he is from.
Third, remarks are kept to topics not to condemning people.
Fourth, remarks should be germane to the issue that is being discusses. If the chair opens up discussion about the "dog" problem someone can't discuss the "tax" problem.
Fifth, the Council should adopt a rule that limits how long someone can talk and how often.
Sixth, the Council might adopt a rule that any business that a member wants the Council to discuss that is not on the agenda be submitted in writing.
Seventh, this entire process should be done with great civility and anyone that becomes rowdy should be asked to sit down or removed from the assembly hall.
The public needs to understand that even though they have the right to attend, they don't have the right to participate.
You should have the written rules published and given to all members of the public who attend and then strictly enforce them. When someone is unruly the chair should state that the members behavior is unacceptable and that either the person obey the rules or sit down. If the person does not do this, then the chair rules the person out of order and demands that he sit down. Your president needs to check with the city attorney about the right to remove rowdy members of the public from the meetings. Since your open portion is at the end of the meeting, the presiding officer can also adjourn the meeting and cut off the rowdy person. People will soon get a clue that they need to be orderly if they want to be heard.
Have you seen our book Webster's New World Robert's Rules of Order Simplified and Applied? We have a good discussion about open meetings. You could get the book and photo copy off the two pages that deal with this and give it to your regular attendees. (See pages 168-169)
I hope you find this helpful.

The Parliamentarian

janice koehne wrote:

To Whom It May Concern:
I am the Chairman of the Guadalupe County, Texas Republican Party. As Chairman I preside at our local meetings. The parliamentarian we elected has chosen to use Webster’s. Our state party rules state that all meetings shall be governed by Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised. There is a group within our executive committee who would like to force the use of Robert's Rules Newly Revised because in it is stated that the parliamentarian sits beside the Chairman and does not vote. Webster's states that the parliamentarian, if he is a member of the organization, sit in the body of the organization and has all the rights of the other members including voting. Our By-laws do not make any distinction concerning the parliamentarian other than he assists the Chairman when necessary.
My questions are:
1. How does Webster's compare with Robert's Newly Revised?
2. Do you have any suggestions on how we can solve this dilemma?
Jan Koehne

Dear Jan,
Thank you for writing. The second edition of our book is based upon the 10th edition (latest edition) of Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised. However, we have not covered everything in our book to the detail that the official edition does. For example, we have nothing about conventions in our book and the official book does. (The first edition of our book is based upon the 9th edition of RONR.) However, if your state bylaws require all county parties to use the official book then you need to use it. There is no difference between our two books concerning the information about the parliamentarian. Please re-read both books carefully and open-mindedly. You will see that they are saying the exact same thing only in different words. We have tried to be a in line with the official book as much as possible.
A parliamentarian, if a member of the assembly, can vote in a ballot vote just like the president. (see 10th edition page 451 line 7. See bottom of page 302 of Webster's (our book). But this is concerning the parliamentarian in a meeting of the members, not that of a board. The size of the board determines the rules of debate and handling a motion. This I believe then affects what rights your parliamentarian would have.
If your board is over 12 then it should follow all the rules of a meeting of the assembly. If it is under 12, then the rules are more relaxed. The question is, "Is the parliamentarian a member of the board?" If the person is elected to the board and acting as parliamentarian, then the question is concerning the board size. As Chairman what are your rights as chairman of the board? Do you have the right to make motions, enter into debate, and to vote on all issues? Whatever rights are extended to you as chairman of the board, then the parliamentarian should have the same rights. Both of our books have to do with a parliamentarian serving in a meeting of the assembly of members not of a board. So what you need to do is go further. Read what our books say about rules in board meetings. The board size determines the rules for conducting meetings in a meeting.
If the parliamentarian is not a member of the board, but a member of the organization, that person has no right to participate in board meetings unless that right is given to members to come and participate. If the parliamentarian, is not a member of the board then they are only in an advisory capacity and have no right to speak. The purpose in this case is to advise the chairman in seeing that the rights of the members of the board are protected that business is conducted according to the proper procedures.
Why Robert's limits what the parliamentarian can do, just like it limits the conduct of the presiding officer, is so that the parliamentarian will not unduly influence how other members vote or decide an issue. Most of us put a great deal of influence on people who know more than we do. Why the chair usually doesn't vote in an assembly meeting is so that the chair won't influence the vote of the members to vote the same way as the chair. Since the parliamentarian sits beside the chair and in front of the assembly, the same principle is true. That is why the parliamentarians rights are limited in this case.

If I can be of further assistance please let me know.

The Parliamentarian

janice koehne wrote:
Thank you so much for your prompt reply. There are a few points that I don't think I made clear in my first correspondence and I think they may make a difference. I am elected by a county wide vote and the members of my committee are elected by the precincts in which they live. These precinct chairmen and myself make up the executive committee. The parliamentarian is an elected precinct chairman. He was appointed by me to serve with the approval of the other members of the executive committee. We all have voting rights. There are 25 precinct chairmen. Our by-laws state that the parliamentarian will advise the Chairman and ensure that meetings are conducted in accordance with proper authorities. (Pretty broad) It is the State Party by-laws that state Robert's Rules Newly Revised shall be the parliamentary authority. I contend that our by-laws should be the governing authority. Those who oppose the use of Webster's have an agenda. Their agenda is to prevent the parliamentarian from voting and thus dilute the strength of the slight majority. If Webster's conforms to Robert's Rules concerning the conduct of business at our meetings then I feel more solid using Webster's. I guess I am looking for reassurance. We are much more comfortable with Webster's because it is much easier to use. Thanks again
Jan Koehne

Dear Janice,
I am glad that you like our book. We have tried to make it helpful. Now, if the state bylaws say that county members of the party must use Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised then you need to do that. If the state bylaws say it is only for the state organization then you can choose your own parliamentary authority. There is a ranking of documents. The parent organizations bylaws take precedence over the subordinate bodies bylaws.
If you have to use the official book, here is how to enable the parliamentarian to vote. A person can be parliamentarian for the organization and still vote if the parliamentarian does not sit beside you at the meetings and act in that capacity. This person can get with you before the meetings and go over the agenda and any problems that may arise during the meeting. Since any member can raise a point of order when rights are being taken away, the person who serves in this capacity could as a member of the executive committee could help keep things in order by raising points of order during the meeting. Even the official book allows this.

The Parliamentarian wrote:

Dear Parliamentarian,

How many options are there for voting for the following situation?
5 candidates for 2 board member vacancies.
Thank you very much.

S. Liu

Dear S Liu :
There are as many options as there are ways to take a regular vote: by voice, by ballot, by a roll call vote. May I suggest that you take it by ballot. That way everyone can vote without anyone else knowing how they voted. The candidates will feel better too because they won't go around thinking that "that person didn't vote for me." Your organization might be interested in our video "Nominations and Elections" which explains the voting procedure carefully. It also include the correct way to take a ballot vote, count it and report it to the members.

The Parliamentarian wrote:

I am in no way sure that I should write to you about this, but any information you can offer would be truly appreciated. Our documents state that we can call for a recall of the board (for or without cause) with 10% of the homeowners. We submitted a letter requesting a meeting to recall the board with approximately 17% of the owners signing.

The management company says we have not followed the required steps and they can't tell us what to do (prohibited by law). Do you have an easy to follow system?

Thank you.

Joyce Berry

Dear Joyce,
You need to find out what the laws are in your state concerning Homeowners Associations. In the law there is a way to remove board members. If there is no Homeowners Association Act then find out what the corporation code is that you are incorporated under. That will also have requirements for removing directors. What is sad is that the Management company works for the board and not for you. So I am sure they will not be that helpful in getting this information to you. When you find our this information write me back and hopefully I can help.

The Parliamentarian