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SusanKCloutier

Challenges to Parliamentarians Decision

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I have been appointed the Parliamentarian by the Regent/President of my Chapter of a National Society.  There are several ladies who often take issue with what others have said and may take issue with my decisions as Parliamentarian.  How do I handle this situation?  One is a former State Protocol Chair and does not seem to understand the differences between protocol and Parliamentary procedures.  The other just likes to argue for the sake of argument.

Thank you for your assistance.

Susan Spies

 

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"The parliamentarian's role during a meeting is purely an advisory and consultative one—since parliamentary law gives to the chair alone the power to rule on questions of order or to answer parliamentary inquiries." - RONR 11th ed., p. 465, ll. 13-16

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They should have very little opportunity to take issue with your decisions, at least directly.  You'll advise the chair, but the chair will make the ruling.  No one will know what you advised the chair.  There's not much to handle, either - if they disagree, they can appeal.

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4 hours ago, SusanKCloutier said:

I have been appointed the Parliamentarian by the Regent/President of my Chapter of a National Society. 

There are several ladies who often take issue with what others have said and may take issue with my decisions as Parliamentarian. 

How do I handle this situation? 

 

Q. Are your decisions based on Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised [11th edition, 2011]?

A page citation should be sufficient. -- A pointing to the table of contents, or to the index, would be generous enough, for most ambiguities.

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My decisions will be based on RONR, to the best of my ability.  The President and I strive to make this administration more professional and to abide by RONR, as previous meetings have been a bit chaotic

I am not finding anything in RONR that specifically addresses this issue, that is if someone challenges the decisions of the Parliamentarian.  I intend, whenever possible, to be able to quote Article, paragraph and section but it may take a few minutes for me to do this.  Do we hold up the meeting so I can do this? 

Do we table the question, request the party to submit in writing her objection and request her and I to do research on the question?  Then at the next meeting I make a final decision based on both person's research?

Thank you for your help.

Susan Cloutier Spies

 

 

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Susan, as Mr. Huynh and Godelfan pointed out in the first two responses to your question, parliamentarians give ADVICE, we don't make rulings or decisions.  We render an OPINION when requested by the chair, and, on occasion, when we notice a serious breach affecting the rights of members or when asked for an opinion by a member.  The chair... and the chair alone.... makes rulings (or decisions).  A member might appeal from a ruling of the chair, but there is no appeal from "the opinion of the parliamentarian".  The chair can accept or reject the advice.  A member has no "right" to question you. 

However, I suppose a member could use the motion "Request for Information" (formerly  known as "Point of Information"), to request the basis of your opinion, but you are under no obligation to respond.  If you do respond, it can be as simple as "That's the way I understand the rules" (or "that's the way I understand RONR) to a more scholarly answer such as citing the rule or page number in RONR.  You do not have to engage in a dialogue and the chair should not allow it.  If a member disagrees with the chair's ruling, he or she can appeal from it. 

It is also permissible for the chair to pause the proceedings briefly by saying something to the effect that "The assembly will stand at ease while the parliamentarian looks for a citation".

Edited to add:  If the chair's ruling on a point of order involving parliamentary procedure is appealed, discussion of what RONR says about the issue can be certainly be mentioned in the limited debate that is generally allowed.  It would also be appropriate, during this debate, for a member to make a "Request for Information" and ask that the parliamentarian cite the applicable rule.  Keep in mind that as a "member parliamentarian", you should not participate in debate, make motions, or vote except when the vote is by ballot.  RONR p. 467.

 

Edited by Richard Brown
Added last paragraph

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Thank you.  I learn so much from this site and really appreciate your response as it covers my 'fears' of these women 'challenging' my advice as Parliamentarian.  As I've said, we are striving to run a more professional administration and move away from the chaotic way things have been done.

Susan Cloutier Spies

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1 hour ago, SusanKCloutier said:

Q1.) . . . IF someone challenges the decisions of the Parliamentarian. 

I intend, whenever possible, to be able to quote Article, paragraph and section but it may take a few minutes for me to do this. 

Q2.) Do we hold up the meeting so I can do this? 

Q3.) Do we table the question, request the party to submit in writing her objection and request her and I to do research on the question?  Then at the next meeting I make a final decision based on both person's research?

A1.) Remember, the parliamentarian does not issue rulings. -- The CHAIR issues rulings. -- The parliamentarian gives "opinions".

A2.) Whatever RULING the CHAIR issues is subject to APPEAL. (There are a few exceptions.)

A3.) No need to delay anything. You either go with the CHAIR's RULINGS, and, when and if it occurs, the APPEAL.

Bottom line: There is no delay with parliamentary rules. You decide the issue right then and there.

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