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The Florida Parliamentarian

Volume 35, Issue 7 February 2017

Professionalism FSAP LOOKS FORWARD TO 2017

2017 Events DISTRICT THREE February 25 Atlanta, GA

With the holidays behind us, FSAP and members are looking forward to study and events for the new year.

FURP Workshop April 8 Naples, FL FSAP Annual Meeting and Workshops May (TBD) NAP Biennial Convention September 8-11 Westin Lombard Yorktown Center Lombard, IL (Chicago area)

Thank you to all members who renewed membership. For those who have not, dues were delinquent on February 1. Membership is forfeited on March 1 if dues are not paid by then. So please pay your dues! We don’t want you to miss a thing! Meetings coordinator, Julie Palm, reports that she is still making plans

for the annual meeting in May. She is looking for a location in the Orlando area and most likely on May 6. Be watching for more information on this very soon. The Florida Unit of Registered Parliamentarians has a wonderful workshop planned in Naples on April 8. All members are welcome to attend. The workshop is open to members and the public so there will be something for everyone.

Inside this issue: Presidentially Speaking






Unit Lesson: Closing Debate


Research Questions


Unit News


Directory Update


Barbara Holland, Guest, Tim Wynn, Alison Wallis, Ann Guiberson, Sarah Russell, Virgie Lee Shaw at the FSAP Henry M. Robert’s Day Meeting October 2016

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The Florida Parliamentarian

Presidentially Speaking... What is impartiality? What does it mean to preside with impartiality? Several clients recently have had me preside over portions of their meetings, and these instances always make me reflect on impartiality. Robert’s Rules of Order tells us that both a parliamentarian and a presiding officer have a duty to maintain a position of impartiality. Does that mean that the parliamentarian or the presiding officer is prohibited from having an opinion on the pending question. Absolutely not.

President Tim Wynn, PRP

The parliamentarian or the presiding officer may have a very strong opinion on the matter. But when presiding or serving as a parliamentarian, one must take a position of impartiality. How does one accomplish this? By having a

passion for the rules. The rules are impartial. If one adheres to the rules while presiding, the assembly will clearly see a position of impartiality. So, when you’re presiding or serving as a parliamentarian, no matter what the issue, always remember that your allegiance is to the rules. Therein lies the power of your position. Therein lies the greatest benefit to those you serve. Impartiality can be practiced in unit lessons during presiding practice, by having members write mock resolutions that they would hate to see adopted. Then members can take turns presiding over each motion in a mock meeting as it is debated and eventually adopted. The objective is for the presiding officer to focus on the rules, regardless of the content of the motion. Tim Wynn, PRP President The Florida Parliamentarian is the official publication of the Florida State Association of Parliamentarians and is published four times a year; February, April, September, December. Subscription rate: $20 per year. © 2015 Florida State Association of Parliamentarians. All rights reserved. Tim Wynn,PRP, Editor-in Chief (386) 228-2242 E-mail: Ann Guiberson, PRP, Editor (727) 641-6308 E-mail: Dr. Eugene Bierbaum, PRP, Associate Editor (352) 333-2442 Email: Carol Austin, PRP, Circulation Manager (813) 833-4747 Email:

DEADLINES FOR COPY February issue Dec 31 April issue Mar. 1 September issue July 31 December issue Oct 31 SEND ADDRESS CORRECTIONS TO: Carol Austin 1515 Pinellas Bayway S, A13 St. Petersburg, FL 33715 FSAP WEBSITE

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Co-Chairman: What is that? by Ann Guiberson, PRP It is not unusual to encounter unusual titles for officers or strange names for procedures in an organization. Titles, procedures, manuals, and other items can be open to a variety of nomenclature. Some, such as the term, “task force” make their way into common usage. But have you ever encountered a group or organization that has co-chairmen? It seems that this leadership title keeps cropping up more frequently. This title not only is non-standard, but its meaning and role raise many questions. According to, the word co-chairman came into being sometime around 1930-1935 and it means “to chair along with another person or persons.” The Merriam Webster dictionary defines “co-” as follows: 1. with, together, joint, jointly 2. in or to the same degree 3. a. one that is associated in an action with another, partner; b. having a usually lesser share in duty or responsibility, alternate, deputy It appears co-chairmen could be equals or in a superior-subordinate situation. Let’s take a look at how some organizations have defined the duties of a co-chair: 1. Association A’s bylaws specify that a co-chair’s responsibilities are primarily to support the chair of the session. In the duties listed the co-chair is supposed to make contact with the chair as soon as possible so that both chair and co-chair are on the same page. Regular communication with the chair is important in making sure everything develops smoothly and that the co-chair is actually able to contribute to the process. Association A also has some vice chairmen. the duties of a vice chairman include assisting the chairman in carrying out important tasks, standing in place of the chairman when he is absent and acting as a go-between for the chairman and the subordinates. The role of vice chairman is an important job on any board or committee because the skills and characteristics needed are very similar to those of the chairman. 2. Association B provides this guide for the roles of the co-chairs: (1) Draft, with other committee members, the final committee report. (2) Research, analyze, and evaluate performance against specified criteria. (3) Meet regularly with chairs; provide written updates for member communications. (4) Facilitate meetings and committee team work (5) Schedule committee meetings; prepare meeting agendas; document results 3. Association C elects one new co-chair each year to serve a two-year term. The newly elected co-chair serves as vice-chair, rising to the senior co-chair in their second year. The newly elected co-chair assists the senior co-chair, as appropriate, during the first year's tenure including taking minutes at the business meeting, publishing a newsletter, responding to public inquiries, and other administrative duties. (Continued on page 8)

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The Florida Parliamentarian

All page numbers are references to Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised, 11th ed., unless otherwise noted. Send questions to the Associate Editor, Gene Bierbaum, PhD, PRP. E-mail:

Question #17

assembly as a new motion. (P. 336, Lines 3-6)

During a meeting held on January 11th, a motion to change our headquarters location was tabled. I intended to move to take it from the table at our next quarterly meeting on April 12th, but I am told that the motion to take from the table will not be in order because the time limit for such a motion will have passed. I am looking for a way to bring this motion back to the floor for consideration. Is there any way that I can do this?

Question #18

Answer #17 The information that you received regarding the timeliness of the motion to take from the table is incorrect. RONR permits a motion to be taken from the table at the next session after it was laid on the table provided that no more than a quarterly interval has elapsed since the motion was tabled. (P. 302, Lines 25) RONR defines a quarterly interval as the time “during or before the third calendar month after the calendar month in which the first session ends.” (P. 90, Lines 1-3) Under this definition, no more than a quarterly interval elapses between a session held in January and any session that begins on or before April 30th of the same year. In the event that the motion is not taken from the table during your April 12th meeting, you then have the option to renew the motion at any future meeting. A motion to renew may be made by repeating the original wording of the motion. This brings the motion before the

During the past several weekly meetings of our organization, speakers have been repeatedly interrupted by points of order, parliamentary inquiries, and requests for information. A speaker who gains the floor for debate may be rudely interrupted 5 or 6 times. Under these conditions, it is almost impossible to comprehend the arguments that the speaker is striving to present. Our meetings have become so chaotic that attendance is dropping. Can you suggest ways to restore order to our meetings? Answer #18 If it is apparent that the interruptions are for the purpose of obstructing business, the chair can rule the interruptions out of order as being “dilatory.” RONR notes that any parliamentary motion, including a point of order and the motion to adjourn, can be used to “obstruct or thwart the will of the assembly.” (P. 342, Line 13) By the use of such tactics, “a minority of two or three members could bring business to a standstill.” P. 342, Lines 30-31) Under these conditions, the chair should take whatever action is required to make rational debate possible. If the problem persists, the organization can adopt a special rule of order to protect against dilatory tactics. One way to do this would be to establish a relatively short time limit (such as 2 minutes) for speeches with the provision that no interruptions are permitted except for emer-

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gencies (such as a fire). This rule can be implemented by delaying points of order and other interrupting motions until the conclusion of the 2-minute speech. Question #19 Our secretary became seriously ill during our annual meeting and an ambulance was called to transport her to a hospital. The meeting then resumed, but no one thought to appoint an interim secretary. Several important motions related to dues and finances were adopted, but we have no written record of the exact motions. What should we do? Answer #19 RONR states that the minimum essential officers for the conduct of business in a deliberative assembly are a presiding officer and a secretary. (P. 22, Lines 1-5) In the absence of the secretary, “a secretary pro tem should be elected.” (P. 459, Lines 33-34) If no provision is made for a secretary pro tem, the meeting should either immediately adjourn or adjourn following adoption of a motion to fix the time of an adjourned meeting. In the event that the above-referenced meeting was permitted to continue in the absence of a secretary, it may be possible to produce a set of minutes by (1) reconstructing the actions taken by the assembly in the absence of the secretary, and (2) adopting a motion to ratify. Reconstructing the actions taken may be accomplished if the actions were recorded on a tape recorder, if several members took notes and their notes are in substantial agreement as to the actions taken, or other verifiable means of reconstruction are employed.* Any reconstruction of the minutes, however, is null and void unless a motion to ratify is adopted.

*Methods of reconstituting minutes are discussed on page 106 of Parliamentary Opinions II, Solutions to Problems of Organizations, American Institute of Parliamentarians (Kendall/Hunt Publishing Co.; Dubuque, Iowa; 1992). Question #20 A main motion related to the organization’s finances was defeated on a tie vote with 8 members abstaining. Later in the meeting, one of the 8 who abstained moved to reconsider the vote and was ruled out of order because he had not voted with the prevailing side. It was clear that any one of the eight who changed their mind could affect the outcome of the vote. Should the member have been ruled out of order? Answer #20 Yes. RONR states that only members who voted on the prevailing side are eligible to move to reconsider. (P. 315, Lines 28-29) An organization may occasionally wish to adopt special rules of order that override the parliamentary authority, and this is one instance where such a rule could apply. A rule could be adopted that, “Only members who voted on the prevailing side or who abstained are eligible to move to reconsider.”

A leader in any deliberative assembly should be prepared for any emergency, so that there is no danger of his being tripped up by some expert parliamentarian. Henry M. Robert (Parliamentary Law, p. 4)

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The Florida Parliamentarian

UNIT LESSON - CLOSING DEBATE Image you are sitting in a meeting and the debate on one question is very interesting even though it has gone on and on. You have an important point to make and rise to seek the floor. All of a sudden, someone calls out “Question!” The next thing you know the presiding officer proceeds to take the vote immediately. Whoa! What just happened? Perhaps no aspect of parliamentary procedure is more widely misunderstood than the procedure for handling the previous question. Members need to learn not only the correct procedures in order to protect their rights to debate as well as how to tactfully restrain leaders when they go astray. Knowing the right way can avoid trampling rights as well as providing a way to end pointless extended debate. Devoting study to understanding and using the motion for the previous question is well worth the time and effort. I. Read RONR Chapter VI, pages 197-209 on Previous Question Can it interrupt a speaker?

Must be seconded?

Is it debatable? Is it amendable?

What vote is required?

Can it be reconsidered?

II. Fill out the chart of the standard characteristics Answer the following questions about the standard characteristics. 1. Presiding officers may close debate when: a. when they believe that further debate serves no useful purpose. b. when a present time for adjournment is near and urgent matters remain on the agenda. c. when no member seeks recognition in response to saying, “Are you ready for the question?” d. at any time they see fit for the good of the assembly. 2. The motion for the previous question is: a. a main motion. b. a subsidiary motion. c. a privileged motion. d. a bring-back motion. 3. Which of the following is NOT true of the motion for the previous question: a. It must be seconded. b. It requires a 2/3 vote. c. It is in order when another person has the floor. d. It can be reconsidered under certain circumstances.

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4. The previous question may NOT be moved when: a. a main motion, a primary amendment and a motion to postpone are pending. b. a motion has been adopted to extend debate to a certain time which has not yet arrived. c. a motion to lay on the table is pending. d. a motion to take a ten minute recess has been made when business is pending. III. Answer each question by circling yes or no. Discuss your answers in the group. 5. The resolved clause of a resolution with a preamble is being debated when a member moves previous question. The motion to close debate is adopted and the chair immediately puts the resolved clause to a vote. It is adopted and the chair then opens the preamble to debate and amendment. Is this correct? Yes No 6. An unqualified motion for the previous question is adopted while a main motion, a primary amendment, a secondary amendment, and a motion to refer to a committee are pending. The chair puts the motion to refer to a committee to a vote and it is lost. The chair then immediately puts the secondary amendment, the primary amendment, and the main motion to a vote. Is this correct? Yes No 7. A motion to close debate on the immediately pending question has been made and seconded, a member moves to amend the motion to close debate by striking immediately pending question and inserting all pending questions. The chair puts the question on the proposed amendment. Is this correct? Yes No 8. The previous question is ordered on four pending questions just as the time for adjournment has arrived. The chair asks the assembly to take the vote on the four questions prior to adjournment. Is this violating procedure? Yes No 9. At a society’s regular monthly meeting, the previous question is ordered on a motion. the motion is immediately laid on the table. Is the order exhausted if the motion is taken from the table later in the same day? Yes No Is the order exhausted if the motion is taken from the table at an adjourned meeting? Yes No Is the order exhausted if the motion is taken from the table at the next regular meeting? Yes No 10. At a society’s regular meeting the previous question is ordered on a main motion and a motion to commit. The motion to commit is adopted, and they recess for lunch. When the meeting resumes, the committee reports and recommends that the motion be adopted with a committee amendment. Is the amendment proposed by the committee debatable? Yes No After the committee amendment is adopted or lost, is the main motion debatable? Yes No Discuss how you would handle inappropriate calls of “Question” during debate if you were the presiding officer. What method do you think would be the least embarrassing for the member? Is there anything a member can do when the presiding officer does not understand the proper procedure for previous question?

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Co-Chairman: What is that?

The Florida Parliamentarian

(continued from page 3)

These examples show a variety of ways a co-chairman is used, ranging from responsibilities like a vice -chairman to defined activities that are divided between two people, to a sort of apprentice/training position subordinate to a senior co-chair. On the surface it seems that co-chairman could be a positive thing by enabling the organization to make the best use of talents. More members could be involved in leadership. For committees that do extensive work such as fundraising or planning and implementing a convention, it may be effective to be able to divide the work between two strong leaders. Not least, in today’s world with so many demands on volunteers’ time, the comfort of having a co-chairman might be an effective way to encourage more potential leaders to step up and take the job. However, having co-chairs could also create problems and must be given consideration. Here are a few questions that should be resolved:  How are the duties of a co-chairman defined? Is there clear division of work rather than vague language?  Who will preside at meetings?  Which one would act in the case of a tie vote?  Can they both debate or only the one who is not in the chair?  When expenses are allowed for chairmen to attend state and national meetings, are both included or just one?  Who will resolve conflicts between the two? Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised, 11th edition, only refers to appointing a chairman of committees. On page 175, it states: “If the chair appoints or nominates the committee, he has the duty to select its chairman—which he does by naming that person to the committee first—and the committee cannot elect another.” On pages 493-496, each method of selecting a committee discusses how the chairman is chosen. The concept of co-chairmen is not mentioned anywhere. By the way, a vice-chairman is not mentioned either. Even though co-chairmen are not found in parliamentary manuals, they do exist in organizations and parliamentarians should be ready to help if the need arises. The first thing an organization should do if they wish to have co-chairmen is include that provision in the bylaws or a special rule of order. Second, it is critical for smooth functioning to have a clear description of the duties and responsibilities of each member of the co-chairman team. The organization may consider this team approach to be essential to their success. It is also equally important that the work of committees with co-chairmen proceed as efficiently and effectively as possible.

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Can You Find These Research Questions In RONR? 1. If the question is taken up on the same day that it was laid on the table, members who had exhausted their right of debate cannot speak on the question again; but if on another day, no notice is taken of speeches previously made. 2. If a motion to Reconsider is made at a time when it can be taken up—that is, when the motion proposed to be reconsidered would be in order initially—the chair immediately states the question on the motion to Reconsider as pending before the assembly. 3. Even a unanimous vote at a meeting is insufficient if that vote is not a majority of the entire membership. 4. If the resolution was adopted by unanimous consent, the chair should ask whether the member was present at the time. 5. The principle is that, if the assembly so desires, a motion already within its control by being only temporarily disposed of has the right of way over a new main motion. 6. In contrast to the motion to reconsider, there is no time limit on making these motions after the adoption of the measure to which they are applied, and they can be moved by any member, regardless of how he voted on the original question. 7. When a motion to discharge a committee has been adopted, another main motion is needed to bring before the assembly the matter that was referred; otherwise it dies. 8. In any published record of the proceedings the expunged material is omitted. 9. The only way to reverse an expulsion is to follow whatever procedure is prescribed by the bylaws for admission or reinstatement. 10. The right of each member to debate the motion to reconsider is separate from the original consideration of the motion proposed to be reconsidered. 11. Its purpose is to prevent a temporary majority from taking advantage of an unrepresentative attendance at a meeting to vote an action that is opposed by a majority of a society’s or a convention’s membership. 12. When something has been done, as a result of the vote on the main motion, that is impossible to undo. 13. To prevent business from being delayed by a committee, however, there are two special circumstances under which the motion requires only a majority vote (even without notice): (a) if the committee fails to report within a prescribed time as instructed, and (b) while the assembly is considering any partial report of the committee. 14. Requires only a majority vote, regardless of the vote necessary to adopt the motion to be reconsidered.

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The Florida Parliamentarian

Unit News - Bradenton and Florida Alpha Units The Bradenton Unit welcomed two guests from Norway to their recent unit meeting. Pictured left to right: Julie Moore, Bradenton, FL; Unit President Linda Smith; Mona Dahl, Norway; Jim Ekgren, Norway; Phoebe McLelland, Ottawa, Canada.

Florida Alpha Unit celebrated the holidays with their annual brunch. Besides games and signing cards for hospitalized veterans, the unit discussed proposed amendments to NAP bylaws.


Sandra Fletcher., PO Box 25842 Tampa, FL 33622, 813-920-5927;; Memberat-large REMINDER: If you moved, changed your email or phone number or your unit added a new member or lost a member, notify Second Vice-President Carol Austin of the information right away! It is a big job to keep the FSAP database accurate and it all depends on Carol receiving accurate information in a timely manner. Please help and do your part. Email Carol: or call her at 813-833-4747.

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APRIL 8, 2017 Florida Unit of Registered Parliamentarians Spring Workshop WHEN: Saturday, April 8, 2017 from 9:30am-3:30pm WHAT: Parliamentary Workshop (co-sponsored by FURP and the GFWC Naples Woman's Club) WHERE: Naples Woman's Club beautiful Clubhouse at 570 Park Street, Naples, FL 34102,(just around the corner from the magnificent Fifth Avenue featuring cafes, boutiques and gift shoppes!) PROGRAM: 9:30-10am

Continental Breakfast Welcome Jalna MacLaren, GFWC Naples Woman's Club President ackie Pierce, Florida Unit of Registered Parliamentarians President 10-11am What You Already Know About Parliamentary Procedure Dorothy Demarest, PRP 11am-12noon I'm Elected - Now What Do I Do? Ann Guiberson, PRP 12:15-1pm Luncheon 1-2pm Bylaws 101: Protections and Pitfalls Helen Popovich, PRP 2-3pm Protocol and Parliamentary Procedure: The Book-Ends of a Successful Meeting Jackie Pierce, RP 3-3:30pm Summary and Closing Remarks Jalna MacLaren and Jackie Pierce COST: $25.00 includes reservation, continental breakfast and luncheon Checks payable to Jackie Pierce and mailed to Jackie Pierce, 174 S. Collier Blvd., 705, Marco Island, FL 34145 HOTEL: In order to make hotel arrangements, please let Jackie know ASAP if you wish reservations for Friday evening, April 7 or Saturday evening, April 8 DINNER: Arrangements will be made for Friday and Saturday dinner parties for all FURP and FSAP members and their guests WE HOPE TO SEE YOU IN NAPLES, FLORIDA FOR A PARLIAMENTARY WEEK-END YOU WON'T WANT TO MISS!!! Questions? Suggestions? Concerns, Please contact Jackie 239-293-3411

Answers to the Lesson and Research: UNIT LESSON ANSWERS 1. C; 2. B; 3. C; 4. C; 5. YES; 6. NO; 7. NO; 8. NO; 9. NO, NO, YES; 10. YES, YES RESEARCH ANSWERS 1. p. 303 2. p. 322 3. p. 310 4. p. 331 5. p.302

6. p. 307 7. p. 314 8. p. 310 9. p. 308 10.p. 322

11. p. 325 12. p. 308 13. p. 312 14. p. 320

Page 12 The Florida Parliamentarian

FSAP Units Represented at the 2016 Annual Meeting

Left: South Dade Unit of Parliamentarians Right: Apollo XI Unit of Parliamentarians

Left: Charlotte County Parliamentarians Unit Right: Florida Alpha Unit of Parliamentari-

Central Florida Unit of Parliamentarians

Miami Parliamentary Law Unit

Florida Unit of Registered Parliamentarians

February 2017 florida parliamentarian  

The Florida Parliamentarian is the quarterly newsletter published by the Florida State Association of Parliamentarians

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