Wednesday, April 17, 2024

County adopts 'Roberts Rules' to govern meetings

Staff Writer | July 22, 2023 1:00 AM

SANDPOINT — The Bonner County commissioners' meetings — as well as all other commission advisory board meetings — will soon be run under the newly revised version of Robert’s Rules of Order.

Simply put, the object of Robert’s Rules of Order is to help an organization or committee accomplish the things it sets out to accomplish in an orderly fashion.

Bonner County Commissioner Luke Omodt proposed adoption of the parliamentary procedure guidelines Tuesday as well as a “sergeant in arms” be appointed to attend the meetings and help keep the peace and restore order when needed. This suggestion was met with scoffs from the audience, who did not seem pleased with the idea.

Commissioner Asia Williams also seemed to dislike the idea, stating that the public could only be censored so much.

“Freedom of speech is not the speech you like,” she said. “It’s actually the speech you don’t like. As a public official, we expose ourselves to that level of negativity from the public. And it is my responsibility to change how you perceive me as an elected official, not to institute new rules by which to say you are held to or bound to.”

Commissioner Steve Bradshaw also chimed into the conversation, telling Williams she had to decide what side of the fence she was on.

When Omodt continued to speak to discuss his motion, Williams very quickly cut him off, saying, “Call to question,” a common statement used with Robert’s Rules of Order. When reprimanded for doing so, she explained that doing what she just did is a perfectly acceptable practice with the rules and she was merely demonstrating how she felt they were more disrespectful than beneficial to the meetings.

After slightly more back and forth discussion, a vote was taken and Omodt’s motion passed two to one, with Williams voting no.