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Parliamentarian Out of Order?


Pegwood

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At a recent board meeting the parliamentarian stated that she was temporarily removing herself from her position as the parliamentarian to make a statement. She then proceeded to describe her dissatisfaction with an action the president had taken during an executive session which had taken place a month earlier. She did not indicate during that executive session that she had a problem with anything and had refused to meet with the president prior to the board meeting to discuss by-law revisions. Therefore, what she said at to the board was a complete surprise to everyone. She basically took over the meeting from that point. She is also a member and has indicated she might to do the same thing at our general membership meeting next week. She sits at the head table by the president at both meetings. Does she, as a member, have the right to do this? Did not her acceptance as parliamentarian require that she operate through the president at all meetings and remain impartial at all times?

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RONR page 467: "A member of an assembly who acts as its parliamentarian has the same duty as the presiding officer to maintain a position of impartiality, and therefore does not make motions, participate in debate, or vote on any question except in the case of a ballot vote." and further:" If a member feels that he cannot properly forgo these rights in order to serve as parliamentarian, he should not accept that position. Unlike the presiding officer, the parliamentarian cannot temporarily relinquish his position in order to exercise such rights on a particular motion."

 

 

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Adding to what Guest househunter said, I would wonder how the parliamentarian in your organization is appointed? Normally the president appoints someone he "has confidence" in, as the primary duty is to advise the presiding officer during meetings. The president could then appoint someone else if his choice was unwise, as it appears to be in the instant case.

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Does she, as a member, have the right to do this? Did not her acceptance as parliamentarian require that she operate through the president at all meetings and remain impartial at all times?

 

As a member, she ultimately has the right to speak in debate, however, you are correct that as parliamentarian she should not exercise this right and should maintain the appearance of impartiality at all times during meetings.

 

Yes, this individual presented herself as an "expert" and was selected by the president. If the president is unwilling to remove this person, can someone else point out that the parliamentarian is out of order?

 

Sure, but if the President is unwilling to remove this person, I'm not really sure that will do much good.

 

Perhaps you should remove the President as well. See FAQ #20.

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