ASK THE PARLIAMENTARIAN
BY MIKE SWIFT, VVA PARLIAMENTARIAN
Q: Can the Chair, while presiding, make a motion to take
action on something?
A: An office does not deprive a member of his or her rights
as a member. See Robert’s, page 432, line 10. Customs
of formality followed by the presiding officer serve to
maintain the chair’s necessary position of impartiality
and to preserve an objective and impersonal approach. Robert’s,
page 21, line 31. In small boards, twelve or less, the
chair can speak in discussion without rising or leaving
the chair, can make motions, and votes on all questions.
Robert’s, page 470, line 17.
Q: When you assign a
parliamentarian at a chapter, does he or she have to be
A: No. The parliamentarian does not have
to be a member. The parliamentarian’s role during
a meeting is purely an advisory and consultative one since
parliamentary law gives the chair alone the power to rule
on questions of order or to answer parliamentary inquiries.
page 449, line 7.
Q: When members are elected, when do they
A: An election to an office becomes final
immediately. If a formal installation ceremony is prescribed,
failure to hold it does not affect the time at which the
new officers assume office. Robert’s, page 430, line
Q: How should a convention or state council delegate
A: At the convention or council, the delegate has the duty
to be present at the meetings and to be prepared, on returning,
to present to the chapter a report of what transpired.
A delegate is free to vote as he sees fit on questions,
except as his chapter may have instructed him in regard
to particular matters scheduled for consideration. Robert’s,
page 586, line 20.
Q: Can the new administration rescind
a motion that was made at a board meeting before the elections?
A: Rescinding is the motion by which a
previous action or order can be canceled or countermanded.
It is debatable, and debate can go into the merits of the
question that it is proposed to rescind. It requires (a)
a two-thirds vote, (b) a majority vote when notice of intent
to make the motion has been given at the previous meeting
or in the call of the present meeting, or (c) a vote of
a majority of the entire membership. There is no time limit
on making the motion after the adoption of the measure
to which it is applied, and any member, regardless of how
he voted on the original question, can move it. Robert’s,
Q: What do we do if the elected secretary
does not come to the meeting?
A: The minimum officers for a meeting
are a presiding officer and a secretary. Robert’s,
page 21, line 5. In the absence of the secretary, a secretary
pro tem (temporary) should be elected. Robert’s,
page 443, line 27.
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