The Parliamentary Procedure of Doing a Business Meeting

Parliamentary ProcedureThis is the parliamentary procedure of conducting a business meeting. This will guide your organization on how to do a business meeting in an orderly manner. It’s more likely that this guide will continue to help you in running your organization or company meetings.

Also, this guide contains 6,500+ words, and it’s possible that you will not be able to finish reading it on one sitting. Please do bookmark it by pressing CTRL+D; this will make it easier for you to come back to this page anytime.

I was involved in an organization before, and this is the procedure we used in conducting every business meetings. This guide had helped us organized and resolved different matters through none chaotic manner. Indeed, I have read other guidelines regarding doing an effective business meeting, but nothing can beat how this guide in terms of simplicity and readability.

This knowledge is provided to you for free, and with the hopes that it will help your organization or company run a better business meeting.

PARLIAMENTARY PROCEDURE

Parliamentary law is an accepted set of rules by which deliberative assemblies meet to discuss and determine common action. The rules protect the rights of the individual, the minority, the majority, the absentee, and the organization, and should be observed in every meeting of the organization. Every member, therefore, should understand at least the fundamentals of correct procedure and consider it his/her duty to use them in taking part in the business meetings of the organization.

Every president, as a presiding officer, should be familiar with the basic rules of parliamentary procedure. Organization membership represents wide differences of opinion and response. For a group to discuss important issues and to come to a decision, the difference must be aired. It is the leader’s responsibility to be sure that disagreements are brought out in an atmosphere of respect for the rights of every member.

Parliamentary law is designed to maintain order, to ensure justice and equality, to expedite business, and to enable an organization to accomplish its objectives. The principles upon which it is founded are courtesy and justice to all; orderly consideration of one subject at a time; the rule of the majority, the rights of the minority, and partiality to none. It is democracy in action.

“The application of parliamentary law is the best method yet devised to enable assemblies of any size, with due regard for every member’s opinion, to arrive at the general will on a maximum number of questions of varying complexity in a minimum time and under all kinds of internal climate raging from total harmony to hardened or impassioned division of opinion.”— (Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised, page xiii.)

BASIC PARLIAMENTARY TERMS AND PRACTICES

Accept, Adopt, Approve. Applied to report and motions agreed upon—not to be confused with “received.”

Adjourn. To bring the meeting to close.

Agenda. The order of business to be brought up at a meeting.

Assembly. A group, society, club, sometimes called “the house.”

Business. Motion, resolution, subject, the proceedings; the agenda.

Bylaws. Code of rules or regulations accepted by a society for its own guidance.

The Chair. The presiding officer.

Authority is vested in the office (the chair,) not in the person. The person in the chair serves as a means through which the assembly expresses its will. Because he/she acts for the assembly, not for himself/herself, he/she must be impartial. He/she refers to himself/herself as “the chair,” avoiding the use of the pronoun “I.”

Clerk. Same as secretary.

Commit. To refer to a committee.

Constitution. Same as bylaws; sometimes combined, or in two parts. The constitution contains the more basic essentials; the other, procedures.

Debate. To discuss the pros and cons of a motion.

Division of Assembly or the House. Calling for a recount of the vote.

Executive Secretary. A salaried executive, as a general manager under the board and executive committee.

Ex officio. By virtue or because of office.

When it is provided by the bylaws, certain offices automatically confer membership on certain boards and committees. Persons who are committee members because of an office they hold are therefore called ex officio members.

An organization president is not ex officio member of any committee except by special rule of the organization. It is advisable to place in the bylaws a section as follows: “The president shall be ex officio a member of all committees except the nominating committee.” Such a rule enables the president to attend committee meetings when he/she so desires. He/she then has all the privileges of other members of the committee—to offer motions, to speak on motions, and to vote. The vice-president may not take the president’s place as an ex-officio member, unless otherwise provided in the bylaws.

Fiscal Year. The financial year of an organization.

Floor, Obtaining the. Securing the right to speak in a meeting.

Basic to participation in a meeting is knowing how to obtain the floor. The member should rise and address the chair by the official title—“Mr. (or Madam) President”—and then wait until the chair assigns him/her the floor by calling his/her name or nodding to him/her.

Floor, On the. A motion is on the floor when it is being considered by the assembly.

General Consent. Unanimous, silent, used in routine matters, if there is no objection, avoiding a formal vote. Informal agreement of the assembly.

To obtain general consent, the chair should ask if there is any objection to a certain procedure. Silence gives consent. If someone says, “I object,” the question must be put to a vote.

Germane. Closely related; of the same subject matter.

An amendment, for example, must be germane to the motion to which it is applied.

Good of the Order, Good and Welfare. After the business, if there is time, general discussions, constructive criticism, informal suggestions.

House. Same as assembly, meeting, etc.

Majority. More than half the votes cast. One half plus one.

Minutes. The official record of all business transacted in a meeting.

Motion. A formal proposal that the assembly take certain action or express certain views.

The form is, “I move that…”

Seconding a Motion. A second merely implies that the seconder agrees that the motion should come before the meeting and not that he/she necessarily favors the motion.

Some motions do not require a second. For a list of such motions, refer to Table of Motions.

Amending a Motion. Modifying, or changing, a motion.

This may be done before the motion is adopted or rejected.

Main or Principal Motion. Is a motion whose introduction brings business before the assembly. It can be made only when no other motion is pending and it ranks lowest in the order of precedence of motions.

Privilege Motions. Have nothing to do with the pending question or motion, but are of such urgency and importance that they are allowed to interrupt the consideration of other questions, and take precedence over them. They are undebatable because of their high rank.

Incidental Motions. Are those which arise out of a pending question and must be decided before any other business of the assembly that must be attended to and which requires a temporary interruption. They have no special rank among themselves, but they yield to privileged questions. They are dealth with individually as the arise, but they take precedence over the subsidiary motions. Most of them are undebatable.

Subsidiary Motions. Are the most frequently used motions in parliamentary procedure. They are made while a main motion is pending, for the purpose of assisting or modifying it or to delay action or otherwise dispose of the main motion. It supersedes the main motion for the time being and must be dealt with before action can be taken on the main motion. However, all subsidiary motions must yield to privileged and incidental motions.

Miscellaneous and Unclassified Motions. There are few main motions, not classified, which are very much in use in an effort to take up a question again, or to change or undo an action that has been taken.

Notice of Motion. Advance notice of certain motions is sometimes required by a constitution or by-laws. In such cases, members must be advised in writing, a prescribed number of days in advance, of motions which are to be introduced. Generally, this applies in constitution or expenditure of large sums of money. Care should be taken to see that the notice is so phrased that, insofar as possible, the motion may be amended and given final form by the meeting.

Withdrawal of Motions. When a questions is before the assembly and the mover wishes to withdraw or modify it, or substitute a different one in its place, if now one objects, the presiding officer grants the permission; if any objection is made, it will be necessary to obtain leave to withdraw, etc., on a motion for that purpose. This motion cannot be debated or amended. When the motion is withdrawn, the effect is the same as if it had never been made.

Rejected Motion. A rejected motion should not come up again during the same session unless at least two-thrids of the members present approve of a motion. Only the members can reconsider the prevailing motion or the winning side. This motion is not debatable and calls for immediate vote.

Order of Business. Same as agenda—the schedule of business to be considered.

Orders of the Day. Program or order of business adopted that should be followed.

Parliamentarian. One skilled in parliamentary procedure; advises the presiding officer concerning questions of parliamentary procedure.

Pro Tem. For the time being, temporary.

Point of Order. The point of order and the question of privilege are one of the legitimate means of interrupting another member while speaking. (Except that, with the consent of the speaker, questions may be asked.) If a member feels that improper language has been used, irrelevant argument introduced, or a rule of procedure broken, he/she is entitled to “rise to a point of order” interrupting the speaker. The point of order must be stated definitely and concisely. The chairman may ask opinions. The chairman should not argue and should state his opinion authoritatively. His ruling may be appealed by the member. If so, the chairman states his/her decision and the point of appeal, then puts the question which is not debatable: “shall the decision of the Chair stand as the judgment of this meeting?” A simple majority determines the issue. This merely settles a point of procedure and is NOT a vote of confidence in the Chairman.

Postpone indefinitely. A motion to suppress, eliminate or “kill” the main motion.

Preamble. An introduction or a preface to a resolution.

Precedence. Priority in rank.

Prevailing Side. The side having secured the most votes.

Question, The. The business before the house—that is, the motion as stated by the chair.

Question, The pending. The question before the house. A question is said to be pending from the time it is stated by the chair until it is disposed of, either temporarily or permanently.

Question, Last (immediately) pending. The last question stated by the chair when several questions are pending.

Question, Stating the. Placing the question before the assembly. This is the responsibility of the chair. Chair states the motion by saying “It is moved and seconded that…” and Chair repeats the motion.

Question, Are you ready for the. Are you ready to vote? When the chair asks, “Are you ready for the question?” anyone wishing to discuss the question further is privileged to do so. He/she should rise and address the chair to obtain the floor. Silence indicates that the assembly is ready to vote.

Qustion, Putting the. Taking the vote on the question before the house.

Questions of Privilege. If a member feels that his/her own or the organization’s reputation or position is endangered or that will affect the member’s participating actively in the meeting he/she is entitled to raise a “question of privilege.” Procedure is the same as for a point of order.

Quorum. A quorum is the minimum number of members who must be present at a meeting to make proceedings valid. This is generally fixed at a small number, just sufficient to ensure the ability to carry on business. Without a quorum no business may be transacted.

In the absence of special rule, the quorum is a majority of the entire membership.

Recess. A motion used to halt the proceedings temporarily.

Resolution. A form of main motion usually of such length as to be written.

A resolution may have a preamble setting forth the reasons for its adaptation.

Revision of the bylaws. A complete set of bylaws submitted as a substitute for the existing bylaws.

Unless a complete set of bylaws is presented, the proposed changes should not be referred to as  a revision but amendments.

Seriatim Consideration. Considering of a motion, line by line and paragraph by paragraph.

Sine Die. Without a day, indefinitely, final adjornment.

To Table. To table a motion or “To lay on the Table” is an American rule used extensively in Canada and in the Philippines. This motion is not debatable and requires only a simple majority. If the motion is to table only until a particular time, it is debatable as to time only. If carried, the motion in question comes up automatically as the appointed time, or, if indefinitely as to time, it remains tabled until such time as another motion (not debatable) is being introduced. A simple majority only is required in the case.

Take from Table. A motion used to restore a question for consideration again.

Ticket. A state of candidates for office.

Unfinished business. Business carried over from the preceding meeting.

Vote. A formal expression of the will, opinion, or preference of the members of an assembly in regard to a question that has been introduced for consideration.

A majority vote is more than half the votes cast. A two-thirds vote is two thirds of the votes cast. A plurality is the largest number of votes cast for any one candidate for an office. A tie vote is an equal number of votes in the affirmative and the negative.

A motion receiving a tie vote is lost unless the chair casts the deciding vote, which is not advisable. In the event of a tie vote in an election, the assembly should continue to ballot until someone receives a majority vote.

Yield. Concede to, outranked by, give way to. 

VOTING METHODS

By voice (viva voce.)

The correct form for the chair to use is: “Those in favor will say Yes. Those opposed will say No.”

By show of hands.

This method is often used in small assemblies. The chair says, “Those in favor of the motion will raise the right hand. Down. Those opposed will raise the right hand. Down.”

By rising.

The chair takes the vote by asking those in favor of the motion to rise; after they are seated, those opposed are asked to rise.

By ballot.

Secret vote, usually on slips of paper.

ORDER OF PRECEDENCE

Certain motions have priority over other motions when presented for consideration by an assembly. They have an order of precedence. The chart lists motions in the order of their rank.

PROCEDURE OF MOTIONS

There are nine steps necessary to complete action on a main motion:

1. Obtaining the floor.

MEMBER: Rises and addresses the chair, “Mr. (or Madam) President,” and awaits recognition by the chair.

2. Assigning the floor.

CHAIR: Recognizes the member and assigns him/her the floor by speaking his/her name or bowing to him/her.

3. Making the motion.

MEMBER: Introduces the motion thus: “I move that the formation committee plan a series of workshops to explore the subject of how Christian formations are conducted in the religious organizations.”

4. Seconding the motion.

ANOTHER MEMBER: Seconds the motion, “I second the motion.”

5. Stating the motion.

CHAIR: States the motion, “It is moved and seconded that the formation committee…”

6. Opening the question for discussion (debate.) Refer to “Debate or Discussion of the Question.”

7. AMENDMENTS to the motion.

8. Putting the question:

CHAIR: Puts the question—that is, takes the vote. When debate has ended, he/she says, “the question is on the motion that the formation committee plan a series of workshops. Those in favor will say Yes or raise of hands.” (Pause for the vote.) “Those opposed will say No or raise of hands.”

9. Announcing the vote.

CHAIR: States the result of the vote: “The Yes have it; the motion is carried.” Or, “The Noes have it; the motion is lost.”

DEBATE OR DISCUSSION OF THE QUESTION

The mover of the motion is entitled to the floor first. Under the established rules of debate, each member has the right to speak twice on the same question on the same day (except on an appeal,) but cannot speak a second time as long as any member who has not yet spoken on the question desires the floor. No one may speak longer than 10 minutes without permission of the assembly. This rule ensures discussion by all members, rather than a speech by one person. Members must obtain the floor, address their remarks to the chair, and be courteous and impersonal at all times.

One who wishes to stop debate should not all “Question,” but should obtain the floor and say, “I move the previous question.” The name of this motion is misleading, but it means that members wishes to stop debate and have the vote taken. A two-thirds vote is required for its adoption because it interferes with the right of members by closing debate. Full debate before action on a debatable motion is a parliamentary right of every member.

USE OF THE PROPER MOTION

There is a motion designed to meet virtually every situation that arises in a deliberative assembly. The first thing to know about every motion is the purpose it is designed to achieve. Having learned this, one will have no difficulty in knowing what motion to use to obtain the desired result.

Purpose Proper Motion to Use
To introduce a subject to the assembly. Main motion.
To kill (or reject) the main motion. Postpone indefinitely or lay on the table.
To modify, or change, the motion. Amend.
To have the question investigated before voting upon it. Commit or refer.
To defer action in order to gain information or to protect absent member. Postpone until a definite time.
To regulate the privileges of debate. Extend or limit debate. (two-thirds vote.)
To stop debate and force the vote on the pending question. Pervious question or to limit debate.
To lay aside temporarily the pending question to attend to an urgent matter that has arisen. Table.
To keep the association to the adopted order of business. Orders of the day.
To obtain action at once in an emergency matter. Question of privilege or point of order.
To provide for an intermission not arranged for in the program or order of business. Recess.
To close the meeting. Adjourn.
To arrange a time and place for a continuation of the present meeting before the next regular meeting. Fix the time to which to adjourn.
To reverse the decision of the chair. Appeal.
To allow the association to deviate from the standard procedures (not the bylaws.) Suspend the rules. (Two-thirds vote.)
To enforce the rules. Point of order.
To obtain information or make a request of any kind. Point of information.
To prevent a vote and to keep a motion off the records. Withdraw a motion.
To determine the correctness of a vote as announced by the chair. Recount of votes.
To prevent additional nominations. Close nominations. (Two-thirds vote.)
To allow additional nominations. Reopen nominations. (This motion must be made before voting takes place. Majority vote.)
To establish a time when voting shall cease. Close the polls. (two-thirds vote.)
To allow additional members to vote. Reopen the polls. (This motion must be made before tellers begin to count the ballots. Majority vote.)
To bring before the house a question that has been tabled. Take from the table.

PROCEDURE OF AMENDMENTS

After the question has been stated by the chair and before the vote is taken, it may be desirable to change the motion in some way. This is done by amending the motion. A motion may be amended in any of the following ways.

-          By striking out one or more consecutive words.

-          By inserting one or more consecutive words.

-          By striking out and inserting in the same place a word or combination of words.

-          By adding (to the end of the motion) a word or consecutive words.

-          By submitting a new motion for pending question.

There are two kinds of amendments, primary and secondary. A primary amendment amends the main motion and must be germane to it. A secondary amendment amends the primary amendment and must be germane to it. A motion may have not more than two amendments, one primary and one secondary, pending at one time. After they are voted upon, additional amendments may be offered. In taking the vote, the secondary amendment is voted upon first; the amendment as amended is voted upon next; and finally the main motion as amended is voted upon. 

ORDER OF BUSINESS (STANDARD AGENDA FOR REGULAR MEETINGS)

The regular meeting ordinarily cover business in the following order:

-          Call to order. The presiding officer (known as the chair) calls the meeting to order (Rises and raps the gavel once.)

-          Determining a Quorum.

-          Approval of minutes. The minutes of the previous meeting are printed and distributed or are read by the secretary. The presiding officer declares the minutes “approved as read/printed” or, if any corrections have been made, “approved as corrected.”

-          Report of the treasurer. The report is read by the treasurer or printed and distributed prior to calling the meeting to order. The report should not be adopted or approved; but after questions are answered regarding any item as reported, the report is placed on file for audit.

-          Reports. Only those officers or chairmen who have reports to make should be recognized, but the president should be aware before the meeting of reports to be made.

a)      The report of the executive committee/board (not the minutes) is submitted at each regular meeting of the organization to keep the members adequately informed. Members should feel free to call for discussion of any of the items presented. No action on the report of the executive committee/board is necessary unless the report includes statements to be endorsed or recommendations to be adopted. Recommendations should be in the form of resolutions or motions.

b)      The reports of the standing committees are made at each regular meeting of the executive committee/board or general membership meetings. If the executive committee/board decides such reports are necessary for the information of the members and for the progress if the committee work, they are read at the meeting (or mimeographed copies are distributed before the meeting.)

c)       The reports of the special committees are made according to procedures established by the association.

d)      When a committee report has been made, the next business in order is the disposal of the report, the proper disposition depending on its nature.

1)      If a committee report contains only statements of fact or opinion for the information of the group, the reporting member makes no motion for its disposal.

2)      If action is desirable, a motion for its adoption is in order. The person making the report moves the adoption. This motion does not require a second since it comes from a committee. If the motion is carried, the association thereby assumes responsibility for it.

3)      If the report is from the nominating committee, no motion is made to accept it, as committee nominations are treated as if they were made by members from the floor.

-          Unfinished business (it is incorrect to call it old business.) Any business postponed from the previous meeting, or any matter introduced at the meeting on which the action of the association was not completed, is brought before the meeting. A list of such unfinished maters should be prepared for the presiding officer by the secretary from the minutes of the previous meeting. The chair does not ask for “unfinished business.” Only when the unfinished business has been disposed of may new business be brought forward, unless the regular order of business has been modified by vote of the members present.

-          New business or Other Matters. New business includes the considerations and disposal of communications and motions calling for action by the association.

-          Announcements. The dates of the next meeting and of any important activities may be announced.

-          Adjournment. The president may adjourn the meeting by general consent, saying: “Is there any further business to come before the meeting?” He/she pauses and, if no one rises to claim the floor, says: “the meeting is adjourned.”

PRESIDENT DUTIES, PRIVILEGES AND DON’TS:

DUTIES:

  1. To acquire a working knowledge of parliamentary law and procedure and a thorough understanding of the constitution, bylaws, and standing rules of the organization.
  2. Always to appear at the rostrum a few minutes before the meeting is scheduled to begin.
  3. To have on hand a list of committees for a guide in naming new appointments.
  4. To preside and maintain order.
  5. To explain and decide all questions of order.
  6. To announce all business.
  7. To be informed on communications.
  8. To entertain only one main motion at a time and set all motions properly.
  9. To permit none to debate motions before they are seconded and stated; to encourage debate and assign the floor to those properly entitled to it. (No member may speak twice on the same question if there are others who wish to claim the floor.)
  10. To put all motions to vote and give result; to decide a tie vote or not to vote at all; to abstain from voting, if wiser.
  11. To stand while stating the question and taking the vote (in formal or large gathering.)
  12. To remain seated while discussion is taking place or reports are being given.
  13. To enforce the rules of decorum and discipline.
  14. To talk no more than necessary when presiding.
  15. To refrain from discussing a motion when presiding.
  16. To be absolutely fair and impartial.
  17. To extend every courtesy to the opponents of a motion even though the motion is one that the presiding officer favors.
  18. To give signature when necessary.
  19. To be ex officio of all committees, except the nominating committee if so prescribed in bylaws.
  20. To show appreciation to officers and chairman of committees for devoted service.
  21. To perform such other duties as are prescribed in the bylaws.

PRIVILEGES:

  1. To debate motions before the house, if essential, but must surrender the Chair until the vote has been taken. The vice-president is asked to take the Chair until motion has been disposed of.
  2. To use “general consent,” which saves much time when routine matters are considered. Form: “If there is no objection, we will…” If there is an objection, he must take the vote.
  3. To preside during nominations and elections even if he is the candidate. When he is the sole nominee, merely out o a sense of delicacy, he permits the vice-president to put the question to a vote.
  4. To sign checks, usually with the treasurer. One other officer’s name should be authorized in the event that the president or treasurer is unavailable.

DON’TS FOR PRESIDING OFFICER: 

  1. Don’t fail to start the meeting on time (a quorum being present)—ten minutes grace may be allowed. If no quorum is present, start the meeting anyhow; the business will be held over until later when late arrivals will make up the quorum. The membership will take note that meetings start on time and will respond accordingly.
  2. Don’t stand during debate or while a report is being given.
  3. Don’t take part in debate while you are in the Chair. If you must speak, turn the chair over to the vice-president; do not return to the Chair until the vote has been taken.
  4. Don’t allow members to deal in personalities while debating.
  5. Don’t say “I think,” “I appoint,” “It is my opinion,” etc., but say “The Chair thinks,” “The Chair appoints,” “It is the opinion of the Chair,” etc.
  6. Don’t say “You are out of order,” when you mean “The motion is out of order.”
  7. Don’t strike with the gavel any harder than necessary to attract the attention of the members. Standing very quietly may accomplish surprising results.
  8. Don’t lose your calmness, objectivity, or impartiality. 

MEMBER’S DUTIES, RIGHTS AND DON’TS: 

DUTIES:

  1. To obtain the floor before speaking.
  2. To stand when speaking, if confident.
  3. To avoid speaking upon any matter until it is properly brought before the house by a motion.
  4. To keep upon the question then pending.
  5. To yield the floor to calls for order.
  6. To avoid disturbing, in any way, speakers of the assembly.

RIGHTS:

  1. To offer any motion that is germane to the organization.
  2. To explain or discuss that motion, or any matter properly before the meeting.
  3. To call to order, if necessary. (A point of order can interrupt a speaker. It is raised to ensure orderly procedure, particularly when there is a breach or violation of rules or bylaws, or when a member is not speaking on the motion before the house.)
  4. To hold the floor, when legally obtained, until through speaking.
  5. To appeal from the decision of the chair to that of the assembly.

DON’TS FOR THE MEMBERS:

  1. Don’t be late for the meeting. You may be needed to complete a quorum.
  2. Don’t sit in the rear. Leave the rear seats for the late ones.
  3. Don’t say “I move you.” Omit the “you.”
  4. Don’t say “I make a motion to,” say “I move to…”
  5. Don’t wait to obtain the floor in order to second a motion.
  6. Don’t stand while another is speaking.
  7. Don’t fail to take part in the debate if you have a viewpoint to express, or want information or parliamentary assistance.
  8. Don’t claim the floor the second time if there are others who wish to speak the first time.
  9. Don’t be silent during the debate and then criticize after the meeting.
  10. Don’t speak on a motion while the vote is being counted or taken.
  11. Don’t address a woman chairman as chairlady—say “Madam Chairman.”
  12. Don’t carry on a conversation with your neighbor while someone is speaking.
  13. Don’t forget to notify the chairman of a committee of which you are a member if you cannot attend a committee meeting.
  14. Don’t delay paying your dues on time.
  15. Don’t accept an office unless you are willing to assume the responsibilities of the office.
  16. Don’t use your knowledge of parliamentary law to hinder business by constantly raising points of order, and insisting upon the strict observance of every rule at a meeting in which the majority of the members have no knowledge of these rules.
  17. Don’t leave the meeting, unless necessary, until the president declares the meeting adjourned. You may be needed for the quorum, or something very important may come up at the last moment. 

DUTIES OF THE SECRETARY:

The Secretary is the recording officer of the assembly and the custodian of its records, except those specifically assigned to others, such as the treasurer’s books. The recording office is sometimes called the clerk, the recording secretary (when there is also a corresponding secretary or financial secretary) the recorder, or the scribe. Previous secretarial experiences, promptness, accuracy, knowledge of the organization are valuable assets.

DUTIES:

  1. Maintains an accurate record of the organization’s membership.
  2. Record all business transacted at each meeting of the organization and the board of directors and presents the minutes for approval at the next meeting.
  3. Counts the votes when requested by the presiding officer.
  4. Reads minutes of any previous meeting when ask to do so.
  5. Read important correspondence (or give the gist of it,) if there is only one secretary.
  6. Calls the meeting to order in the absence of the president and vice-president until a chairman pro tem is elected.
  7. In consultation with the president, prepares in advance of each meeting a complete agenda, showing the order in which business should come before the meeting.
  8. Has on hand for reference at each meeting a copy of the bylaws; the standing rules; the agenda; the minutes of previous meetings, including treasurer’s report; a list of all committees, including names of members of committees; and a list of the membership.
  9. Signs all order of the treasury jointly with the president.
  10. Acts as a custodian of all records, except those specifically assigned to others, and promptly delivers all records to his/her successor.
  11. Furnish delegates with credentials.
  12. Conducts the correspondence of the organization.
  13. Notifies officers, committee members and delegates of their election, and keeps the names and addresses of newly elected officers and those officers serving a second term.
  14. Notify all members of meetings. 

MINUTES OF THE MEETINGS:

Minutes should contain records of all action taken by the group, including the working of every motion, the name of the member who introduced the motion, and the actions taken on the motion. The secretary may request the maker of a motion to put it in writing if the motion is long or complex.

The minutes should be as brief as possible and should be reported in the order in which the business is presented at the meeting. The action taken by the organization, not what is said by the members, should be recorded. The minutes should be entered in an official minute book which is bound and has numbered pages.

Minutes of the previous meeting are read and distributed for approval at the opening of each meeting. The word “Approved” and the date of approval should be written at the end of the minutes of each meeting. The minutes should be signed by the Secretary.

In writing the minutes this outline is generally used:

-          Name of the organization

-          Date, place, and hour of the meeting.

-          Kind of meeting – regular or special.

-          The president and secretary present (or in the absence of the regular officers, the names of their substitutes.) The minutes should state whether those of the previous meeting were read and approved or if reading was disposed with.

-          Reading of communications.

-          Reports of the Treasurer, Board of Directors, Standing Committees and Special Committees. Summarized, unless written reports are appended.

-          All motions (except those withdrawn;) points of order and appeals, whether sustained or lost; and  the name of each member who introduced a main motion, but not the name of the seconder. Resolutions adopted should be entered in full.

-          All appointments of committees, elected delegates, etc.

-          When a count has been ordered, or where the vote is by ballot or roll call, the number of votes on each side should be recorder.

-          Program topic, method of presentation, names of participants, and important points covered. (For annual meetings.)

-          Any further business.

-          Time of adjournment.

PRINCIPAL RULES OF GOVERNING MOTIONS 

  1. I.                    PRIVILEGE MOTIONS (arranged in order or precedence:)
Order of Precedence May interrupt speaker? Requires a second? Debatable? Amendable? Vote required? Renewable?
  • Fix the time to which to adjourn
No Yes Yes Yes Majority For another time
  • Adjourn
No Yes No Yes Majority Yes
  • Take a recess
No Yes No Yes Majority Yes
  • Question of privilege
Yes No CH CH None Yes
  • Order of the day
Yes No CH CH Majority Yes

II.                  INCIDENTAL MOTIONS (all of equal rank:)

Order of Precedence May interrupt speaker? Requires a second? Debatable? Amendable? Vote required? Renewable?
Point of order Yes No No CH None No
Appeal Yes Yes Yes(2) No Majority No
Objection to consideration Yes No No NO 2/3 Yes(1)
Request to read papers No Yes No Yes Majority Yes(1)
Division of question Yes Yes No Yes Majority No
Withdrawal No No CH CH Majority Yes(1)
Suspension of rules No Yes No No 2/3 No
Methods of voting No Yes No Yes Majority No
Division of assembly No No No CH None No
Close nominations or polls No Yes No Yes 2/3 No
Reopen nominations or polls No Yes No Yes Majority Yes(1)
Consideration by paragraph Yes Yes Yes Yes Maj.(3) Yes(1)
Request for information Yes No CH CH None No
Parliamentary inquiry Yes No CH CH None No
Filling blanks No No No No Majority Yes(1)
Question of quorum Yes No CH CH None No

III.                SUBSIDIARY MOTIONS (rank in order of precedence:)

Order of Precedence May interrupt speaker? Requires a second? Debatable? Amendable? Vote required? Renewable?
  • Lay on the table
No Yes No No Majority No
  • Previous question—close debate
No Yes No No 2/3 Yes(4)
  • Limit or extend debate
No Yes No Yes 2/3 Yes
  • Postpone to definite time
No Yes Yes Yes Majority Yes
  • Commit or refer
No Yes Yes Yes Majority Yes
  • Amend an unadopted question
No Yes Yes Yes Majority No
  • Postpone indefinitely
No Yes Yes No Majority Yes(5)
  • Main Motions
No Yes Yes Yes Maj. 2/3 Yes

IV.                MISCELLANEOUS AND UNCLASSIFIED MOTIONS (no order of precendence:)

Order of Precedence May interrupt speaker? Requires a second? Debatable? Amendable? Vote required? Renewable?
Take from table No Yes No No Majority After
Reconsider Yes Yes Yes(6) No Majority No(7)
Reconsider & enter on the minutes No Yes No No None No
Rescind or appeal Yes Yes Yes Yes (8) & (9) Yes
Ratify No Yes Yes Yes Majority No(7)
Diliatory and frivolous motions No No No No CH-Maj. No
Roll Call Yes Yes No No Majority

NOTE:

CH = Chariman deals with this—no vote required.

1 = The motion can be reconsidered/renewable only if the prevailing vote was a negative one.

2 = There are one or more exceptions.

3 = If the paragraph refer to by-laws, they require a two-thirds vote.

4 = With several exceptions.

5 = Only affirmative vote.

6 = It is undebatable if the motion to reconsider is undebatable.

7 = Motion can be reconsidered if prevailing vote was a negative one.

8 = Majority vote is required if motion is made with notice.

9 = Two-thrids vote is required if motion made is without notice.

REFERENCES:

Vixman, Rachel, ROBERT’S RULES OF ORDER With a Guide and Commentary. Printed and published by Pyramid Publicaitions, Inc., 444 Madision Avenue, New York, New York 10022, U.S.A. Copyright 1967.

Robert, Sarah Corbin, THE SCOTT, FORESMAN, ROBERT’S RULES OF ORDER, Newly Revised. Published in Glenview, Illiois 60025 by Scot, Foreman and Company. Reprinted with permission by National Book Store, Inc., 1984. Philippine copyright 1981.

Fajardo, Reynaldo T., PRINCIPLES OF PARLIAMENTARY PROCEDURES. Published in Manila of the Philippine Republic. Printed by Vibal Printing Company, 927 E. de Los Santos Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City, R.P. Copyright 1963.

Credits to Ricard0 0posa for compiling this guide.